Every Christmas for many years, Paul Harvey would retell the parable of the Man and the Birds. In brief, it involved a man who saw a flock of birds in distress on a cold snowy morning. He tried to get them to go into a nearby barn for shelter, but they would not go. He tried to entice them with breadcrumbs; he tried waving his arms to get them to go in the right direction; but they would not. Eventually it dawned upon him that the birds were frightened of him. They did not realize he was trying to help them.
The story continues:
“If only I could think of some way to let them know that they can trust me. That I am not trying to hurt them, but to help them. But how?…
“He thought to himself, ‘If only I could be a bird and mingle with them and speak their language. Then I could tell them not to be afraid. Then I could show them the way to the safe warm… to the safe warm barn. But I would have to be one of them so they could see… and hear… and understand.’”
It is no leap at all to relate that to John 1:1, 14: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Jesus reveals God to us in a way that our frail minds can understand. He came to bring us a message of salvation in language we could hear, believe, and receive.
J.I. Packer says this about revelation:
“First, what need is there of revelation? Answer: certain vital things are hidden from us, veiled from our eyes, till God discloses them. Secondly, what is the aim of revelation? Answer: to give us knowledge of these things. God wants to share them with us. Thirdly, what should our attitude be in face of revelation? Answer: we should attend respectfully and thankfully receive all that God imparts to us. When He speaks, man must be ready to listen, to learn and to respond.”
Through nature we come to an incomplete understanding of God. Certain of His attributes are clearly revealed, and we read that the wrath of God justly comes upon those who refuse to accept this revelation (Romans 1:18-20).
In Scripture, God’s plan of salvation is revealed: beginning from the formulation of the plan even before the world was created (cf. Ephesians 1:4); to the first hint given in Genesis 3:15; to pictures in the Passover (Exodus 12); and the sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 12). In fact, W.A. Criswell preached a sermon series (which has been published in a book), revealing what he calls a scarlet thread of redemption that runs through the entire Bible, illuminating God’s gracious plan to redeem a people for Himself.
But it is in Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, that we come to truly know the Father:
In Jesus’ own words:
- John 1:18 – No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him know.
- John 14:6-11 – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’ Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.”
- John 17:25-26 – Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them, and that I myself may be in them.
In the words of others:
- Hebrews 1:1-3 – In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
- Philippians 2:6-7 – Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
Finally, it must be stated here very clearly that God has a specific reason, a very special purpose, for sending Jesus into the world. He had an important message for us to hear and understand:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16-17)
Will you heed God’s revelation, and receive His gift of salvation?