Tuesday, July 4, 2017
Hebrews 1:3a He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word.
Origen tells us that Jesus is “the reflection of the total glory of God.” (Commentary on the Gospel of John 32.353) Everything of God is visible in Christ Jesus. This is a great affirmation of Jesus, the Messiah, who bears the glory of God in his own image. Not only is he the visible image of God, but the Messiah has all power and authority to sustain all things. For humanity there remains an anticipation of the partial reflection of God’s glory.
As God’s holy people we are called to reflect the Image. This can only occur when we are in a right relationship with Jesus. This verse helps us to understand a bit of what it means to reflect the image, because it provides a greater understanding of “the” image, or “the” reflection. A reflection can only be understood in relation to the original. What is the original which his being reflected? This is where the understanding becomes quite profound, for Jesus truly is God in the flesh. We say these words, but have we really considered their meaning?
Jesus wasn’t just a good man, but was the “exact imprint of God’s very being.” It is in Jesus that we see God at work in the world. In Jesus we see God’s love in action as he goes to the very margins of society, healing the sick and ministering to the poor. It is in Jesus that we see God who gives of his own life sacrificially for the sake of those who deserve nothing. It is in Jesus that we begin to understand love at a depth that we may never grasp. It is in Jesus the we see a sustenance of the whole world in his words and deeds. It is in Jesus that we experience God’s hope for all of humanity; to be transformed into a beautiful and holy reflection of Jesus.
Jesus is “the” reflection, but we are invited to become as much of a reflection of him as we possibly can. For a mirror to clearly reflect an image it must be clean. Therefore we need the empowering of the Holy Spirit to cleanse our mirrors from the filth of sin which will mar the image. Next, we need to draw closer to the original — to Christ — for the closer we are to him, the more “the” reflection will fill our mirrors. I can have a clean mirror and still be a long way away from Jesus. For the refection to become clearer and more profound, filling my entire being, I need to be as close to Jesus as I possibly can. There is nothing else in life more important than becoming like Christ. This is the goal — the telos - of humanity, for to be truly human is to be like Jesus! This was God’s intention for all of humanity.
Jesus, “the” reflection, is the prototype. He is the one whom we are called to follow and to reflect in this world. If anything in life is taking priority over reflecting Jesus, we must pray that God would remove it so that we can become all that God created us to be. “The” reflection is to be visible in humanity so that the world may see Jesus in action every single day. Your reflection of the image may be the only Jesus that someone will see today.
Lord, the idea of reflecting your image is a bit overwhelming. Within our own capacity it is not possible. Our heart and desire is to know you and for you to continually transform your people into your image. Amen.