7 If you know me, you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
My friend Brian’s grandfather died recently. Brian went back home to be with his family. Brian had loved his granddad, and everyone had always said, “You’re so much like him.” Brian showed me pictures of his granddad, taken when he was Brian’s age. The resemblance is incredible. It’s like looking at Brian if he had lived in the 1950s. I never met Brian’s granddad, but feel like I have, because I’ve seen Brian.
When our babies are born, we look for the family resemblance. We compare old baby pictures. “He has your eyes.” “I’d know her anywhere.” Our family DNA plays out in our faces, in our mannerisms, and in the way we speak and act.
John, more than any other Gospel writer, tells us about Jesus’ family resemblance. In John 1:18 he wrote, “No one has ever seen God but the One and Only, who is himself God, has made him known to us.” He later quotes Jesus in John 14:9, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”
The Message Bible paraphrases Hebrews 1:3 this way: “This Son perfectly mirrors God and is stamped with God’s nature.”
What is God like? If you want to know, look at Jesus. Jesus is not just a representative of God, on mission for God. Jesus is God. How does God treat people? Jesus shows us. What does God want to do about disease? Jesus shows us. Is God approachable? Jesus shows us. What are God’s priorities? What’s it like to be His friend? How does He speak? We see all this in Jesus.
Not only do we see what God is like in Jesus, but we also see what we are meant to be like. Romans 8:29 in The Message says, “The Son stands first in the line of humanity God restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him.”
When we join God’s family, we also should bear the family resemblance—Christ’s way of treating people, which is God’s way of treating people. We should have Christ’s humility, Christ’s love, and Christ’s passion for the world—so much so that it’s right to call us Christians, which means, “little Christs.” That’s what God intends for us: that when people look at us, they might say, “That’s what God is like.”
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Is there someone in your family you resemble? A family trait you bear? Is there someone in your life you admire and want to emulate? Why?
- What do you see passed down in your family that you don’t want to mirror? Why? How will you pass down something different?
- Read Ephesians 5:1 and 1 Corinthians 11:1. As we think about being disciples who make disciples, what is the most important quality of God that you want to imitate and pass down to others? How are you trying to cultivate this?