FEEBLE REFLECTIONS OF CHRIST'S GLORY
Jesus Christ said that a disciple, “when he is fully trained,
will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). So his followers should be recognisable by their likeness to Christ,
as they follow his teaching and his example.
For example, Jesus said to his disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just as I’ve loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you’re my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). He also said “A tree is known by its fruit” (Mt 12:33). So one way you can tell if people are followers of Christ is by their love for one another, emulating Christ’s love.
This is no small thing. Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one should lay down his life on behalf of his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you” (John 15:12-14). John later wrote in 1 John 3:16, “By this we have come to know love, because he laid down his life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives in behalf of our brothers.” So making sacrifices for one another marks us as Christ’s followers.
Christ also taught, “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). Christ preached what he practised: he showed love to his enemies and he called his followers to do likewise. He still denounced the sin of his enemies (it would not be loving to condone them), but he never did them any harm, he never returned their insults, never struck back at them. He turned “the other cheek”, just as he taught his followers to. So his followers are recognised by that fruit…or they should be.
Jesus also was described as “going about doing good” (Acts 10:38). If Jesus went about doing good, so should his followers. “For,” says Ephesians 2:10, “we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
The outcome of people emulating Jesus — reflecting his likeness — was described in the following quote ascribed to Diognetus, as far back as the second century, and we'd love to be described thus, here in the 21st century.
For the Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity. The course of conduct which they follow has not been devised by any speculation or deliberation of inquisitive men; nor do they, like some, proclaim themselves the advocates of any merely human doctrines. But, inhabiting Greek as well as barbarian cities, according as the lot of each of them has determined, and following the customs of the natives in respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking method of life. They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do all [others]; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring [lit. throw away foetuses]. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death, and restored to life. They are poor, yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all; they are dishonoured, and yet in their very dishonour are glorified. They are evil spoken of, and yet are justified; they are reviled, and bless; they are insulted, and repay the insult with honour; they do good, yet are punished as evil-doers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened [roused] into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners, and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred…
…Christians dwell in the world, yet are not of the world.
This is the sort of thing we want to see reflected in our own lives — Christ’s likeness, Christ living in us, for…
the grace of God which brings salvation has appeared to all people, instructing us that, having renounced ungodliness and worldly desires, we should live discreetly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Christ Jesus, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness, and to purify for himself a people for his own possession, zealous for good deeds.
Dim reflections we may be,
but we aspire to grow in Christ's likeness and brightness.
Seeking to better understand and practise the way of the Lord.
Flawed (but forgiven) people following a flawless Lord.
Not in the entertainment business.