In the New Testament we meet God the Son, Jesus. Jesus is unique in the persons of the Trinity because of something called incarnation. Incarnation refers to the idea that Jesus came in the flesh. Jesus took on a human body. For 33 years he lived as a human. When you think about your relationship with God, what does it mean that God became human? What I’m getting at is this: if Jesus took on a body, his body located him at a certain time and place. Just like us.
We Christians believe that we humans are hybrid creatures, with a soul/spirit and a body. We have an immaterial part and a material part. Our physical body is seamlessly merged with a spiritual part. That is quite similar to what happened when, through the Holy Spirit, God joined the spiritual Christ who is the second person of the Trinity, with a physical human body in the woman of a young Israelite virgin named Mary. That baby did not have a human soul. It only had a human body. It was a human body joined with the spirit of Christ. After the baby was born, his human parents, Mary and Joseph, gave him the name Jesus.
It is wonderful to read the Gospels, the four books of the Bible that describe the life of Jesus: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. In those four accounts of Jesus’ life, we get to see what God is like. If you want to know what God is like, just read the Gospels. Jesus is God. He said that he and the father are one. The New Testament writers affirm it. If God seems mysterious to you, then immerse yourself in the Gospels. I think this is why many Christians are so enamored by dramatizations of the life of Jesus, like the TV show The Chosen, because they gives us an idea of what Jesus might have been like. My Old Testament professor Dave Dorsey once said that if God walked into the room, he would be so gracious, it would take your breath away. Imagine that. And the disciples and friends of Jesus got to be in actual walking and talking relationship with him! I’m jealous of that. I wish Jesus would show up in my life so I could talk with him. But he said in John 14-16 that it is better for us that he left, because he was sending someone to take his place.
So can we have relationship with Jesus? Certainly, yes! Jesus himself talked about it quite frequently, that entering into a relationship with him is vital if we want to experience both eternal life and abundant life. To enter into a relationship with him, we first believe in him, which we will learn about in our forthcoming blog series on the Gospel of John. John frequently describes Jesus as saying, “Believe”. But that belief is tied to action, which is why Jesus called his disciples (and us) to follow him. We have a relationship with Jesus when we believe and follow.
But also remember that Jesus died and was resurrected with a new spiritual body. Then he ascended to heaven, and Acts 1 tells us that the disciples watched him leave. While they must have been sad, Luke tells us in Luke 24:50-53 that they praised God at that time. I’m not sure I totally understand that, except that something happened a short while later. Jesus kept his promise. He sent the Spirit.
In the next post we’ll survey what it means to be in relationship with God the Spirit.