He Comprehends Me
Thursday of Advent 1
1 December 2016
While in Athens, my wife and I cruised the cheesy T-shirt shops in the Plaka or tourist market of modern Athens under the shadow of the majestic Acropolis. Yes, I had to have a souvenir. I purchased a shirt emblazoned with a Greek quotation of Socrates (via Plato, of course), "The only thing I know is that I don't know anything." The modern version of this is, "The more I know, the less I know." Socrates was right about this.
 
When Christians delve into the nature of the Son of God and His relationship with His Father, they have the same feeling. The more we know about the Son and His relationship with His Father the more ignorant we feel. We are seeing into the Holy of Holies through the smoke of the altar of incense. The weakness of sight is our own. The lack of comprehension is attributable to our mortality and perversity. Just when we think we have laid our hands on the incomprehensible, the smoke swirls and again what we thought we knew is found to be gone, slipped away.
 
Only when the only Son strides out of the incense as the incarnation of the tent of the presence (Jn 1:14) does He present Himself to faith. So His self-revelation is uniquely tied to His incarnation; His life and death as the God-Man, but faith does not grasp Him in his incarnation so as to possess Him. In His incarnation He possesses us. Faith receives Him, while confessing its inability to comprehend Him. Notice Paul's rhetorical self-correction: "But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God" (Ga 4:9). My knowing of Him is not as important as His knowing of me. The more I know about Him, the less I possess Him. Instead, He knows me and possesses me. Fully. I am comprehended to comprehend.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Hilary of Poitiers
 
"The Son draws His life from that Father who truly has life; the Only begotten from the Unbegotten, Offspring from Parent, Living from Living. 'As the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son also to have life in Himself ' (Jn 5:26). The Son is perfect from Him that is perfect, for He is whole from Him that is whole. This is no division or severance, for each is in the other, and the fullness of the Godhead is in the Son. Incomprehensible is begotten of Incomprehensible, for none else knows them, but each knows the other; Invisible is begotten of Invisible, for the Son is the Image of the invisible God, and he that has seen the Son has seen the Father also.
 
"There is a distinction, for they are Father and Son; not that their divinity is different in kind, for both are One, God of God, One God Only begotten of One God Unbegotten. They are not two Gods, but One of One; not two Unbegotten, for the Son is born of the Unborn. There is no diversity, for the life of the living God is in the living Christ.
 
"So much I have resolved to say concerning the nature of their divinity not imagining that I have succeeded in making a summary of the faith, but recognizing that the theme is inexhaustible. So faith, you object, has no service to render, since there is nothing that it can comprehend. Not so. The proper service of faith is to grasp and confess the truth that it is incompetent to comprehend its Object."

Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 2.11
John 5:24-30

"Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.  Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.
 
"Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me."
(ESV)
Prayer
Lord Jesus, think on me, that I might be known by You and comprehended by You. Amen.
 
For pregnant mothers and their children, that they would kept in God's gracious care until the children can be brought to the sacrament of new life in holy baptism
 
For Chaplain Donald Ehrke (Major), that God would keep him safe and his family under His gracious care
 
For President Lawrence Rast of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, that God would continue to bless his labor in forming men for the holy ministry of Christ's church
Art: VASARI, Giorgio  Annunciation ( 1564-67)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
©  Scott Murray 2016