[Just as they honor the Father]
I caught my reflection as I passed by the bathroom mirror. I wasn’t impressed with what I was seeing. (No, this isn’t one of those typical woman moments.)
Since my diagnosis of Hashimoto’s Disease, the growth of my hair has suffered some, particularly around my temples; so what I sighted (with my hair up in a ponytail) were these two tufts of hair that stood out on either side of my head. This image immediately brought to mind the rockhopper penguin’s rockin’ coiffure.
All Creation Testifies About God
Hair and health issues aside, I was confident that this penguin was purposefully on my mind. God often speaks to me through nature, thus, it wasn’t too surprising (but still exciting) when I did the research and things started to look interesting!
Three, But One
According to Wikipedia there are three closely related species of rockhopper penguins. These three species are most often viewed as one species, but are sometimes separated into three subspecies.
If you’re a Christian, right about now you may be thinking as I did, ‘Wow, that’s a perfect description of God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.” All are viewed as being wholly God, but all three are also seperate persons of God. (These are great verses to show that all three are seperate persons as well as One: 1 Peter 1:2, John 15:26) This penguin parallel doesn’t stop there. Wikipedia went on to reveal this:
“Not all experts agree on the classification of these penguins. Some consider all three as distinct species, some split the western and eastern forms into the southern rockhopper penguin and keep the northern rockhopper as distinct, while other experts consider all three potential varieties to be one species.
Interestingly enough, penguins aren’t the only thing that experts disagree on. The diety of Christ has been a topic of debate since Jesus walked the earth. As with our penguin parrallel, Jesus is sometimes set apart from the three. (The Holy Spirit is also sometimes set apart from the Father and Son, but that’s a whole other topic.)
Jesus: Man or God?
Jesus has been viewed as an important historical figure, merely a prophet, teacher, man, a created being, or sometimes even God’s own Son, however, by skeptics he’s still believed to be completely separate from God. Regardless, when Jesus walked the earth, He was both. He was fully man and fully God.
“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.” –Colossians 2:9-10
Did Jesus Claim to Be God?
While some say that Jesus never claimed to be God, this simply isn’t true, in fact, He did all along. This is why the Jews reacted so strongly to Jesus words, accusing Him of blasphemy. This is also why they desired to stone Him to death and demanded His crucifixion.
Yes, They Understood
The Jews understood that claiming to be the Son of God meant equality with the Father. Therefore, Jesus was claiming to be God. However, some of the Jews didn’t accept that a mere man could be the Almighty, so they rejected Jesus’ claim. (John 5:17-18 )
Jesus often spoke and taught in ways that we’re difficult to understand; He did this so that only His own followers would be able to understand Him. (Even they had trouble understanding.) He purposely hid what He was saying from the Jews to fulfill the prophecy which stated that they would be ever hearing, yet never understanding. (Isaiah 6:6-10) I’ll explain why Jesus didn’t want them to believe, in a bit.
The Jews even complained that if Jesus was the Messiah He should just say it plainly (John 10:24-30) Jesus reply to them was this:
“I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” –John 10:25-30
After this His Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone Him with, and Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” and they replied, “We are not stoning you for any good work, but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” –John 10:32-33
Who is This?
Even Jesus’ own disciples were rebuked on more than one occasion for not believing. When rough seas terrified the disciples–whose boat was nearly swamped–fear gripped them. Jesus rebuked the wind and the waves and the wind and waves became still. He then spoke to His disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you have no faith?” In their terror, the disciples question each other asking, “Who is this? Even the wind and waves obey Him!” (Mark 4:35-41)
In truth, likely all of the disciples had little faith, and may not have truly understood who Jesus was until after His death and resurrection. Then He was recognized as both their Lord and God . This is evident through the writings of the Apostles. (John 1:1-3; John 1:10 ; John 1:14)
“yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” –1 Corinthians 8:6
Opposition to the Gospel
Returning momentarily to the rockhopper penguin, it’s interesting to me that what causes “experts” to differentiate the subspecies of these Penguins is their location and their location of reproduction. When Jesus walked upon the earth people couldn’t agree on Jesus either, so they used the location of His birth as a reason to debate His claims. (John 7:40-43) Nevertheless, this partial hardening of Isreal was part of God’s plan. Here’s why Jesus didn’t want the Jews to understand the things He was saying:
“I want you to understand this secret, brothers and sisters, so you will understand that you do not know everything: Part of Israel has been made stubborn, but that will change when many who are not Jews have come to God. And that is how all Israel will be saved. It is written in the Scriptures:
“The Savior will come from Jerusalem;
He will take away all evil from the family of Jacob.
And I will make this agreement with those people
when I take away their sins.”
The Jews were made stubborn so that Jesus would be rejected and the foretold prophecy would come true. If all Jews had believed, they would have turned from their sins and been forgiven. They would have also embraced Jesus as Messiah rather than demanding His crucifixion. (Romans 11:25; Matthew 27:22-25) However, we are all responsible for Jesus crucifixion, as all have fallen short of God’s glorious standard and need salvation. It’s through Jesus crucifixion that us non-Jews, from every nation, are able to become part of the family of God.
Without Jesus sacrifice there would be no new agreement. The new agreement was this: Because Israel would not keep their covenant with God, He would give them a new covenant agreement. Through the Prophet Jeremiah, He told them that He would put His laws on their minds and write them on their hearts, so that they would no longer have to teach each other, saying, “Know the Lord,” for they would all know the Lord. God would be merciful and forgive their wickedness, and their sins would be no more. (Jeremiah 31:31-34 , Hebrews 8:8-12)
Through Christ, all who believe gain that new heart. We know God through the Holy Spirit who we receive upon believing. The partial hardening of the Jews towards Jesus is temporary! This will be lifted when enough non Jews have received Jesus as their Lord and God.
The Father Calls Jesus God
Jesus wasn’t alone in His claim. God the Father also calls Jesus God, fully supporting His divinity. Since God doesn’t share His divinity, it should be crystal clear that the Father’s reference in the verse below reflects Their divine equality.
This same verse states that God’s angels were told to worship Jesus. This is signifigant. The angel in Revelation 19:10 warns against worshipping anyone other than God.
“And again, when God brings His firstborn into the world, He says, “Let all God’s angels worship Him.” In speaking of the angels He says, “He makes His angels spirits, and His servants flames of fire.” But about the Son He says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set You above Your companions by anointing You with the oil of joy.” He also says, “In the beginning, Lord, You laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.” — Hebrews 1:6-1
The Firstborn Over All Creation
Jesus is referred to as the firstborn over all creation, Firstborn, means that He is preeminent over all of creation. He created all things and nothing that was created was created without Him (John 1:3) making it impossible for Jesus to be a creation Himself. He is before all things–meaning that He was there in the beginning. (John 1:1) and in Him all things continue and are sustained. (Hebrews 1:3)
“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” –Colossians 1:15 -16
We Aren’t Flightless Birds
In conclusion I return to my flightless friend the rockhopper penguin, who has been given this fitting name for the rocky terrain that it must hop over. Though rockhoppers must hop from rock to rock, we ourselves can stand firmly upon the One true Rock of our salvation –who is Jesus Christ–our Lord and our God. In Christ we are no longer grounded, rather, we shall soar on wings like Eagles. (Isaiah 40:31)
“Jesus answered, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. The only way to the Father is through me.” –John 14:6
“Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent Him.” –John 5:22-23