“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure.”(1 John 3:1-3 ESV)
When my son was born, we traced his features. The eyes were his Dad’s, no question. The mouth and chin came from my mother. The hair was mine. But the ears—where in the world did he get those unusual ears?
It drove us crazy. Finally, an old photo of my husband’s father from Vietnam turned up. Yep, those were the ears! The resemblance question was solved.
John tells us that Christians bear a family resemblance to God. We are children of God, and we know it, because Jesus has come into the world as our Savior, to live and to die and to rise again. Now everyone who trusts in Him will be reborn into God’s family. We have Jesus’ word on the subject, and we trust Him.
We can even see the resemblance a little for ourselves. After all, we have seen Jesus in action in the Gospels and in our lives. “He is the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15a ESV), so we know what God the Trinity “looks like,” just by looking at Jesus. And we can look at other Christians and see how the Holy Spirit is working in them to make them grow, more and more, to resemble Jesus.
But the rest of the world looks at us and has a problem. “Look at those strange people,” they say. “What is going on with them? They aren’t like us. Why did that guy take a homeless person into his house? Why did she spend hours doing paperwork for refugees who will never pay her back? Why did those kids work hard to raise money just to help hurting people they don’t even know?”
God knows we often get it wrong as Christians. But by the grace of the Holy Spirit, we get it right often enough that people ask questions. And what they are really asking is, “Who do you look like? I see a family resemblance among you—who is your Father?”
This is the time we can point them to Jesus, our Savior and older Brother. His picture is right there in the Gospels—they can see for themselves what kind of person He is, and the things He does: caring, helping, teaching, rescuing. By God’s grace, they will see enough resemblance to Him in our lives that they will be willing to listen. And the Holy Spirit can plant faith in their hearts as well, making them children of God and our brothers and sisters—one blessed family, growing in love and care for the world.
Prayer: Dear Father, make me more like Your Son Jesus. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on November 2, 2022
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved
1. Who do you resemble—not necessarily in appearance, but also in habits, quirks, smile, favorite phrases?
2. Tell about a fellow Christian in whom you see a strong resemblance to Jesus. How can you tell? Be as specific as you can.
3. If Jesus suffered, we too should expect to suffer. It is part of our resemblance. How do you lean on Jesus when you go through hard times?