The Christian faith is all about a person: Jesus Christ. Faith is not an academic exercise; it’s a loving relationship with that person. At the very center of space and time, God himself inhabited a human body and walked this earth. It’s how we know what God is like, and he reveals to us what we could never have imagined: from weakness comes strength; from failure comes victory; from rejection comes acceptance; from service comes lordship; from humiliation comes glory; and from death comes life. Everything in this world, in its own way, points to Christ.
Jesus is pictured in the ancient law of Israel. Indeed, the Old Testament commandments are not just a prescription for living but a description of God himself – one who will not lie, who will not steal our souls, and who is forever faithful. Within the Godhead, the Son honors the Father. The Old Testament prophets, inspired by God, documented remarkably precise details of Jesus’ life many centuries before his birth. The historical accuracy of the Bible proves the credibility of its message: It is a precise lens focused on the person and work of Christ.
The New Testament gospels reveal the extraordinary personality of God in Christ. Left to our imagination, we might invent an untouchable sovereign capable of doing anything, dishing out favors to those who serve him and punishing those who reject him – but that’s not how he is at all. Instead, in the person of Jesus, God himself laughed and cried with us, avoided the trappings of privilege and power, questioned the piety of religious leaders, and was touched by the innocence of children. No one – whether rejected madman or serial adulterer or battle-scarred soldier – is beyond his reach or redemption. He willingly subjected himself to suffering and death – at the hands of the very people he came to save – because our God can save his people in no other way.
Whereas the revelations of science are a threat to comfortable religious tradition, they bring into sharp focus the creative genius behind our world. The workings of the universe reveal Jesus Christ: the one who tuned the physical constants and guided events to create a vast web of beauty. He carefully prepared for us human bodies with the senses needed to understand and embrace him. It’s a world that we can enjoy and begin to understand. It’s a world that God himself could enter as a man.
In On Being a Theologian of the Cross: Reflections on Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation, 1518 (Theology), Gerhard Forde emphasizes the importance of Luther’s insight: “The cross alone is our theology.” The inspired words of the Bible, and the whole of creation, life, and human thought, exist for one reason: to reveal Christ as “the power of God and the wisdom of God” and his death on the cross as the defining moment of our world. As a Christian song puts it: “In his death is our birth; in his life is our life.”