“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 known”. (Jn 1:18 NIV)
Before Jesus came to dwell amongst men God was a stranger. God had said to Moses, “You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live” (Ex 33:20 NIV). Other great teachers had similarly “drawn a blank”. Xenophanes had said, “Guesswork is over all”. Plato had said, “Never man and God can meet”. T.R. Glover, said, “Whatever God was, he was far from being within the reach of ordinary people”.
So John made a startling claim when he asserted that Jesus has revealed God to us. Jesus could do this because he was “the one and only Son”. “He is unique”. The word translated ‘one and only’ had come to mean unique and also especially beloved. It is the conviction of the New Testament that Jesus is unique, that there is no one like him, that he can do for people what no one else can do.
Also Jesus is God. Here John repeats what he said in his first verse. This does not mean that Jesus is identical with God; it does mean that in mind and character and being Jesus is one with God. Maybe it might be better if we thought of it as meaning that Jesus is divine. To see him is to see what God is.
And further Jesus is “in the bosom of the Father (RSV)… a Hebrew phrase which expresses the deepest intimacy possible in human life. In Jesus Christ the distant, unknowable, invisible, unreachable God has come to human beings; and God can never be a stranger to us again” (W. Barclay, The Gospel of John, p56).
Lord, thank you that in Jesus I can see God.