Surprises can be interesting. Sometimes they are wonderful and thrilling—like the person who works hard at his job with no expectation of reward or recognition but is surprised with a coveted promotion. It’s a time of joyful shock, and the ear-to-ear grin stays plastered to his face for days and days. What a great surprise!

There are other times, however, when surprises can be heartbreaking, even terrifying—like the person who goes in for her routine health checkup feeling great, only to be told, “We’ve found something.”

Surprises, good and bad, have the potential to knock us back a little. They challenge our comfortable presuppositions about life.

When Jesus revealed God to us, it had, and still can have, that same kind of unsettling effect. He stretched the limits of understanding God for the people of his day, or our day. Jesus takes us to the edge of the universe and allows us a clearer glimpse of the Father than we have ever had before. What we see there is likely to be far more wonderful and vastly different than what we probably expect.

The surprising side of God challenges us to rethink our spiritual and biblical paradigms. Jesus helps us consider a view of God that is likely to be quite different than what we would have imagined.

Jesus revealed God in such unexpected ways that we simply do not have adequate labels by which to categorize the heart of the Father that Jesus revealed.

So, what did Jesus tell us about God that is surprising? Admittedly, we can only begin to tell the story. But in the pages that follow, we will see a few of the ways that God’s revelation of Himself in Christ is more wonderful—and surprising—than anyone could have expected.

Bill Crowder