Summary: This sermon helps us to look at God’s character in regards to the Trinity. It only scratches the surface of this doctrine, but is written to help the congregation begin to look at God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
1.In the Jewish culture, a familiar term that is used during worship and regular conversation is the word Midrash.
2.A Midrash is a type of biblical interpretation found in rabbinic literature.
3.Midrashic interpretations usually pay close attention to the meanings of individual words and grammatical forms.
4.Midrashes would be used to help explain something that wasn’t well explained in the Bible.
5.Basically rabbis and other religious and educated people would try to both theologically and rationally make sense of a word or phrase in scripture.
6.Another way of saying it would be reading the white between the black.
7.In our verse for today, it would be only natural that there would be 21 different Midrashes, trying to understand and explain the phrase “Then God said Let us make man in our likeness.”
8.The words in question are ‘us’ and ‘our’.
9.Here’s what two different midrash say:
See: Bialik, Hayim. N. & Reavnitzky, Yehoshua. H. The Book of Legends Sefer Ha-Aggadah. Schocken Books: New York; 1992. pg. 12 & 13.
10.In both of these Midrashes, they describe the words ‘us’ and ‘our’ as God consulting with the ministering angels.
11.This idea of a heavenly council comes from 1 Kings 22.19 which says: “I saw the Lord sitting on His throne with all the host of heaven standing around Him on His right and on His left.”
12.The idea is that these heavenly angels are there as counselors to God, just like a King has counselors in his courts.
13.This idea of God consulting angels or a heavenly council is very foreign to us as Christians, but just like Jews, we too try to make sense out of our understanding of the Bible.
14.This morning, we too are left to wrestle with the meaning of the words ‘us’ and ‘our’.
15.What did God really mean when He said “Let us make man in our image.”
16.Several years ago, I was sent me an email that talks about what God is like.
It goes like this: "God is little like General Electric. ‘He brings good
things to life’. God is a little like a Visa Card. ‘He’s everywhere you want to be’. God is like Scotch Tape. ‘You can’t see Him, but you know He’s there’.
God is like Alka Seltzer. ‘Oh, what a relief He is’. God is like Tide. ‘He gets the stains out that others leave behind’. God is like Bounty. ‘He’s the Quicker Picker Upper’. God is like Pepsi. ‘He’s the choice of a new generation’."
17.This is a cute email that tries to explain the complex nature of God into simple terms that our simplistic minds can handle.
18.The reality is, we will never know every detail and integral part of God b/c it’s beyond our understanding.
19.But with that being said, there are some things that we do know about God.
20.“Then God said, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
21.It is clear that God is talking to someone else in this passage.
22.Based on the Jewish Midrash, the Jewish community tends to lean on the idea that God is consulting the heavenly counsel of angels.
23.But Christians lean in a different direction when we question who God was talking about.
24.Many Christian scholars, pastors, and lay people would agree that when God is saying “let us make man in our image,” God is talking to Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
25.One of the foundational tenants of Christian faith is the doctrine of the Trinity.
26.This doctrine says that the nature of God is in three forms: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
27.Each has a different role, but they make up the same being.
28.God the Father is in charge of ruling over the world.
29.He’s the boss, the man you report too.
30.This image can be clearly seen in the TV show “High Way to Heaven.”
31.In the show, Michael Landon plays an angel who is down on earth serving God.
32.Often in the show when asked a question, he would say that he needed to ask his boss- referring to God.
33.God the Son is in charge of the redemptive powers of the world.
34.This is seen in the sacrifice and power of the cross on Calvary.
35.Finally, God the Spirit or Holy Spirit empowers us with strength and grace to carry out God’s work.
36.A good example of this can be seen in our scripture last week during Pentecost Sunday.
37.The Apostles were commissioned to go out into the world and be witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.