God Was Pleased to Reveal His Son (Galatians, Part 11)
This week we continue exploring the book of Galatians using a question-and-answer format.
15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
What is the significance of Paul’s statement that God “was pleased to reveal his Son to me”?
Let me answer that with another question: If Jesus is the surpassingly-beautiful and supremely-glorious treasure that the Scriptures say that he is (and the treasure that all who love and trust him have experienced him to be), then why do the great majority of those who hear of him not immediately see him that way? The answer is that people need God’s help to see Jesus as beautiful. And that’s exactly what God did with Paul: he opened Paul’s eyes and allowed him to truly see Jesus for who he truly is.
As far as I can tell, this word for “revealed” in the New Testament is only used when God does the revealing. So God takes things that are hidden from people, and then reveals them so that we can see them clearly. Jesus states this in Luke 10:21 when he prays to his Father, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.”
In Matthew 16, God is the one who reveals to Peter that Jesus is the Son of God, and the King sent to make everything right again. When Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do you say that I am,” Peter replies, “You are the Christ [the anointed King sent by the Father to restore the broken world], the Son of the living God [the one who fully reveals the love, beauty, and power of the Father to his people].” And then Jesus tells Peter—watch this—that “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” In other words, Peter only saw Jesus as the anointed King and as God’s Son because the Father opened his eyes to see Jesus that way.
Paul reiterates this concept—that God’s people must have the Father’s help to see Jesus as he truly is—in 2 Corinthians 4. On the one hand, Paul says, Satan (“the god of this world”) is anxious to blind people so that they do not see Jesus in all of his beauty and glory. Paul says that Satan has “blinded the minds of unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.” But God is not outdone. God is at work actively opening people’s eyes to see Jesus as beautiful. Paul compares this eye-opening activity of the Father to the dawn of creation when God called forth light in a darkened universe. He says, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
One more thing. We have seen how God opens our eyes to see Jesus, but we need to remember also that this is really the Father’s pleasure to do so. Paul says that God was “pleased to reveal his Son to me.” God’s people need to remember and meditate on this. God is pleased to reveal his Son to us. It gives the Father great joy for us to see Jesus as he himself sees his Son—to let us enjoy the beauty of Jesus just as he does, so that we can see and delight in his Beloved Son along with him!