by Tad Lindley
After the second time I got out of treatment I was really trying to do right, and so I went to a church that had a reputation for being a “born again” church. It was a crowded meeting in an old synagogue and the people were clearly excited about what they believed. I left that service a bit confused. You see, all they ever talked about was Jesus this and Jesus that, and I kept thinking to myself, “These folks are so tripped out on Jesus that they aren’t even worshipping God!” I never went back to that church again. At that point in my life, I failed to see the central truth of the Bible, the greatest commandment of the Old Testament, the Shema of ancient Israel, Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. (Deuteronomy 6:4) I failed to understand that the Old Testament has the Lord concealed, but the New Testament has the Lord revealed!
The Great Mystery
The Bible tells us about a great mystery. It is something that human minds cannot understand, therefore it is a mystery. And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. (I Timothy 3:16)
God was manifested in the flesh. In other words, he made himself visible in the flesh. It is extremely important that we read it for what it says, God was manifested in the flesh, not God Jr., not one third of a committee of three beings, but God. Because seeds of confusion have been sown for centuries, I fully understand that at this point there are two types of people reading these very words; those who think that Jesus is different from God, and those who think that Jesus is none other than God. Let us look at what the Bible has to say about this issue.
In the beginning God created
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and the earth was without form and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters and God said, “Let there be light.” And there was light. (Genesis 1:1-3) God created all things in the ensuing verses of Genesis chapter one.
In the beginning Jesus created
But now look at this straight out of John chapter 1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was with God in the beginning. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made…He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. (John 1:1-3,10) Who was in the world? Jesus was in the world and he created the world. Want more proof that Jesus is the one who created in the beginning? How about this: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and for him. (Colossians 1:16)
Does Jesus = God then?
How could the Old Testament claim that God created all things entirely by himself in Isaiah, I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone, that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself. (44:24), and yet in the New Testament claim so plainly that it was Jesus who made all things? The only way this can be true is if Jesus of the New Testament is one and the same as the Lord of the Old Testament.
But what about the Father?
The New Testament refers to both the Son of God (never, ever does it refer to God the Son, if you hear someone say that please ask them to show you where it is in the Bible), and God the Father. Are they different? Let’s turn to the Bible. In John 10:30, Jesus tells us, I and my Father are one. That could mean lots of things though. Sometimes we refer to a husband and wife as “one” even though they are clearly two different persons. In fact Philip, who heard Jesus state that He and the Father are one, sought to get a little bit more clarity on the matter. In John 14:8, Philip saith unto him, “Lord, show us the Father and it sufficeth us.” In modern English, “Jesus, show us who the Father is and we’ll be satisfied.” Jesus saith unto him, “Have I been so long time with you and yet thou hast not known me Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” (John 14:9)
You’re looking at him
Think about that for a moment. When the body you are occupying wears out, or perhaps it doesn’t and you live long enough to see the Lord descend with a shout and the trump of the archangel, at that time you will see Jesus. Imagine how great that would be. But what if somehow there is one more thing that is bugging you, because the traditions and philosophies of men have told you all your life that the Father and Jesus are two different beings. In that moment what if you stepped up to Jesus and said, “Lord, Jesus, show us the Father and we’ll be satisfied.” What will Jesus say? “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father. I and my Father are one.”
Why do we worship Jesus?
When you come to church and you see people worshipping Jesus, they are not denying God, to the contrary, they have read the Bible and they understand that the Jesus of the New Testament is none other than the Lord God Almighty of the Old Testament who came manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.