Friday, June 13, 2008

With Precision

I think that part of the reason that one can read the same passage of Scripture many times and take something new away each time is that the Bible is written with great precision. The nuances (even in translation), the poetry, the metaphors, the stories, are all compiled and transcribed with great care, precisely as God intended them... specific, intentional, and with great, even amazing care.

Consider if you will, a scene discribed early in the gospels... Jesus is walking along the Jordan River, and comes upon John (his cousin), who is, at the time, engaged in baptizing the local (and possibly some not-so-local) folk. Jesus and John see each other and after some discussion about appropriateness, John baptizes Jesus. When Jesus comes up out of the water, "heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him." (Matthew 3:16, NIV). You know this story... now ask youself what happens next... That's right, they hear a voice from heaven... and what does God say?

About 80% of the people to whom I've posed this question say "This is my son, in whom I am well pleased." The Father's public affirmation of his Son at the Son's baptism. Well and good... but wrong! God is actually taking an opportunity here to expound on the nature of His love for His Son... and by extension, His love for all of us! What God says (Matthew 3:17, NIV) is, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." Yes, God says He's pleased.... but that is the SECOND clause in the sentence. The primary clause says" My Son whom I love." First and foremost, the Father LOVES the Son... it happens, at the time, that He is pleased. I think that we can safely say that God loves all of us first and foremost.

Personally, I take GREAT comfort in that, 'cause I think there are (plenty of) times when the Father looks down on me and says, "This is my son Kit, whom I love. In him. I'm really not very pleased today..." But He still loves me... he loves me FIRST, and beyond my comprehension. There is solace, comfort, and strength in than knowledge, and in the experience of that boundless, unconditional, and unfailing love. I'm grateful for the precision with which the Bible gives us the whole truth.


Stephanie said...

What a beautiful and encouraging post. I felt wrapped in it. Thank you for taking time to focus on the precision.

Chris said...

I got it right... If, you had asked me what came next I'd have gotten it right. LOL!

Thanks Kit for the insight into Precision.

Old_Guy said...

Congratulations, Chris! You too, are loved!!!
-Old Guy

Herman said...

I wonder what emotions Jesus experienced when He heard those words. He had always known that His Father loved Him, and yet I'm sure He appreciated it ... and it empowered Him in His ministry?

And what did John think about it? Did it change his view of Jesus? And his view of himself?

It reminds me of the scripture in Matt 8:27 where Jesus' disciples ask one another:
"Who is this man???"

Toph said...

Well, it took me a while to comment on this, but the point still rings true (as if the precision of Scripture fades with time). I just have to say that I've really seen this reading Calvin's commentary on Zechariah. I understand very little of the minor prophets, and Calvin does an excellent job of explaining the Scripture with attention to the precise terms and phrasing. It is wonderful to see Christ in the Old Testaments in more obscure passages.