Step back for a moment and contemplate God’s point of view. A spirit unbound by time and space, God had borrowed material objects now and then – a burning bush, a pillar of fire – to make an obvious point on planet Earth. Each time, God adopted the object in order to convey a message and then moved on. In Jesus, something new happened: God became one of the planet’s creatures, an event unparalleled, unheard-of, unique in the fullest sense of the word.
The God who fills the universe imploded to become a peasant baby who, like every infant who has ever lived, had to learn to walk and talk and dress himself. In the incarnation, God’s Son deliberately “handicapped” himself, exchanging omniscience for a brain that learned Aramaic phoneme y phoneme, omnipresence for two legs and an occasional donkey. Instead of overseeing a hundred billion galaxies at once, he looked out on a narrow alley in Nazareth, a pile of rocks in the Judean desert, or a crowded street of Jerusalem.
Because of Jesus we need never question God’s desire for intimacy. Does God really want close contact with us? Jesus gave up Heaven for it. In person he reestablished the original link between God and human beings, between seen and unseen worlds.
In a fine analogy, H. Richard Niehubr likened the revelation of God in Christ to the Rosetta stone. Before its discovery scholars could only guess at the meaning of Egyptian hieroglyphics. One unforgettable day they uncovered a dark stone that rendered the same text in three different languages. By comparing the translations side by side, they mastered hieroglyphics and could now see clearly into a world they had known only in a fog.
Niebuhr goes on to say that Jesus allows us to “reconstruct our faith.” We can trust God because we trust Jesus. If we doubt God, or find him incomprehensible, unknowable, the very best cure is to gaze steadily at Jesus, the Rosetta stone of faith.
Reaching for the Invisible God (135-39)