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Famous Pairs

Famous pairs usually have something in common. They are the right combination of two people who help one another do together what they could not have done on their own. A short list might include:

Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers

Abbott and Costello

Car Talk’s Tom and Ray

Sherlock Holmes and Watson

The Lone Ranger and Tonto

Together, these duos give us memories of a classic fight, a dance, a comedy, a crime-solving genius, and a childhood hero. Yet they don’t do it without the other. Apart from their counterpart, or without a similar relationship, these personalities probably never would have become household names.

The Bible also gives us its own list of famous pairs that include:

Adam and Eve

David and Goliath

Abraham and Lot

Samson and Delilah

Jacob and Esau

In many ways, each of these twosomes have also become household names. But this second list deserves more attention than the first. The relationships of the Bible do more than entertain us. They work together to tell us the truth about ourselves and our God.

In the process, they also provide the back-story for the coming of One who would eventually lift the chemistry of famous pairs to a whole new level. This person, who we now know as Jesus, came as a form of divine communication the apostle John referred to as “the Word.” In the prologue to his gospel, John wrote:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1,14 NKJV).

John then went on to put Jesus in a series of pairings that work together to lift truth and grace to their ultimate meaning.

Jesus and John the Baptizer: They seldom showed up together in public. When they did, it was just long enough for John to point to Jesus and say, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me’ ” (1:15 NKJV).

But what kind of introduction is this? When the time came for the baptizer to announce something like, “Ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to introduce you to the One you’ve been waiting for,” he didn’t say what many would have expected. He didn’t declare, “And here now is your long-awaited King.” Instead, he pointed to Jesus and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (1:29 NKJV).

To continue telling this amazing story, the apostle John then used his prologue to place the “Lamb of God” in another kind of relationship.

Jesus and Moses: Since Moses had been gone for almost 1,500 years, he showed up, supernaturally, only once with Jesus. It happened on a mountain in northern Israel. On this occasion, Moses, who had seen the fire of God burning on the top of Mount Sinai, saw in the face of Jesus during His transfiguration a light that was as bright as the sun (Matthew 17:1-8). As momentary as this appearance was, it had lasting significance. According to John, “The law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17 NKJV).

The moment had come for Moses no longer to be seen as the hope and pride of Israel. Now it was time for the celebrated lawgiver to be outshined by a Savior who was full of grace and truth (5:45-46).

Jesus and His Father: Immediately after saying that “Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ,” the apostle introduced us to the ultimate famous pair. Pointing to Jesus’ interaction with His Father, John wrote, “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known” (1:18 NIV).

Later, when Jesus talked about bringing His friends home to His Father’s house, one of His disciples by the name of Philip asked, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father” (14:8-9 NIV).

Jesus went on to say that by word and action He had come to show that the Father in heaven is just like Him, and that He is just like His Father (14:10-11).

Nowhere did the revelation of their heart rise higher than in the sacrifice they made to pay the horrific price for our sin and rescue (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 2:1-2).

Father in heaven, we have given our applause to those who have entertained us. But nowhere have we found anyone like You and Your Son. Nowhere else have we found reason to worship and declare with all creation, “To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13 NIV). —Mart DeHaan

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