Describing the Indescribable
How do you tell someone what chocolate tastes like? How can you describe the color orange to a colorblind person? How do you help describe the lifting sensation of a boat trimming on the lake? We all tend to take experiences, tastes, sights and compare them with familiar things. I have tasted a variety of chocolates, enjoyed several brilliant sunsets, and known the exhilaration of 60 mph on the water when the motor tilts just a few degrees, so each of these has meaning for me. They are my comparison experiences. I can measure them by my own experience.
How do you tell someone what God is like? Prophets had sought to do that. Moses had tried to do that for the massive people group called Israel. Prophets, priests, and kings led others to call out to God, but certain angst, doubt, or rebellion came with each generation. God was someone to know ABOUT, not someone to know. And what could be used for comparison? To try and describe the heart of God in human terms would be like trying to illustrate a rainbow using grayscale.
Until Bethlehem. Until Jesus. Jesus shocked the system. He loved the unlovable, welcomed the broken, forgave the sinner, confronted the proud, healed the lepers, and washed the feet of the people He led. Jesus was “real” in the sense that every person on the planet needed. For three years, Jesus revealed himself to 12 men and the many followers who traveled with them. He told them how God thinks, what He values, how He works, and who He loves. After three years of loving, leading, forgiving, healing, and demonstrating the love of God, one of his disciples–Philip–made a simple request.
“Show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”
Jesus’ answer haunts me, elates me, encourages me, and convicts me.
“Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!”
All they had to do was follow Jesus, listen to Jesus, emulate Jesus, trust Jesus. It wasn’t sophisticated theology or tricky grammar. Jesus became the only way to honestly describe the indescribable God of the universe. And He knew we would never understand without Jesus.
We understand what we can compare. So, Jesus entered the world through a womb to understand God in terms of our experience and need. Then, when we couldn’t reach up to Him, He stooped down to us!
That is Christmas!