Posted by George Morrison

Wouldn’t it have been enough to grant Philip’s request to “show us the Father”? Philip was only echoing Moses request for that elusive blessing of seeing the face of God. Was that not what the Aaronic blessing was all about:- The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you, The Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace. This was the ultimate blessing and the opposite of cursing which was epitomised by the Lord turning his back in judgement on those who were disobedient and went after other gods (Deut.11 verses 26-28) To this day no one has seen the face of God and lived (Exodus 33 verse 20). There has been only one exception. St John in the opening 2 verses of his Gospel gives us a picture of intimacy. The face to face relationship between God and Jesus – the definitive blessing. Its absence was the essence of the curse. So what is He doing on a cross – depicted so inadequately in the many Passion Plays taking place this weekend? St Paul says Jesus on the cross has become a curse for us (Galatians 3 verse 13). The synoptic Gospels record God turning his back on the crucified Christ who utters his cry of dereliction, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The death of Jesus is on behalf of us. He takes the curse of the law for sinners. He is our substitute. Jesus said it in many different ways. His life for mine. “I lay down my life for the sheep” (St John 10 verse 15). He paid my debt. “For even the Son of Man came ….to give His life as a ransom for many” (St Mark 10 verse 45). The intimacy that Jesus experienced with the Father was shattered on the cross. At that moment God turned out the lights. The Bible tells us that the world was encompassed in darkness. God was bearing witness to the trauma of the hour. Jesus was forsaken. He was cursed, and had become a sin offering. He was cut off from the Father. He was the anathema. And it was for us. One day believers will experience the fullness of the Aaronic blessing. We will see the face of God.