“Who do you think she looks like?”
If we had a dollar for every time we’ve heard this question in the last 9 weeks since our daughter’s birth, we’d have a pretty good chunk of change right about now. Psychologists say it’s common for us to look for recognizable characteristics in the people around us; we all look for traits, however big or small, that help us relate to each other and better make sense of our interpersonal relationships.
My oldest daughter is currently obsessed with princesses. So it came as no surprise when she asked me yesterday “Mama, does Jesus wear princess dresses too?” Her question got me thinking again about what Jesus was like during the 33 years of his life on earth. Was his hair scraggly and unkempt? Did he ever get scrapes or bruises playing outside with his friends? Did he have Mary’s nose or Father God’s smile? Did he ever refuse broccoli at the dinner table? Scripture is virtually silent about his childhood years or his physical description (add it to the long list of questions to ask in heaven!) but what we do know definitively is that he was the Glory of the Father.
The disciple John said,
“We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (Jn 1:14)
John goes on to record Jesus saying,
“The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me.” (Jn 12:45)
In other words, Jesus was and is the perfect glory of the Father. ‘Glory’ here means the full incarnate display of God’s splendor; God’s attributes in plain view. When you look at Jesus, you see God with flesh, armpits, facial hair and pinky toes, and yet abounding in love, perfect justice, great mercy, unending compassion (the list goes on!) Imagine spending time with Jesus, as John did, and understanding all this!!
Jesus is wholly intimate and personal, while also fully God. This is one of the greatest mysteries of the Christian faith. In one of my favorite books, The Knowledge of the Holy, A W Tozer writes,
“That God can be known by the soul in tender personal experience while remaining infinitely aloof from the curious eyes of reason constitutes a paradox…” [and yet] (w)hat comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
Personally, I like to picture Jesus - the Messiah, the Savior of the World, - playing dress up with my daughters, doing twirls in the living room until he’s dizzy, holding them tight when they’ve scraped their knees, rocking them to sleep, whispering life and hope over them. Jesus Christ, the Glory of the Father, full of all grace and truth, is recognizable. He is personal. And His fingerprints are everywhere.
But don’t misunderstand. Jesus is not our homeboy. We shouldn’t bend Him into whatever we want Him to be. He is Holy, worthy of all praise and honor. Our intercessor and Sustainer. Fully God, an essential person in the Trinity, to whom every tongue should confess and every knee should bow. The True Redeemer and Hope of Mankind.
Our task, then, is to ask for eyes to see rightly the Glory of the Father in our own lives, ears to hear His voice, and hearts to receive His revelation. When you think about Jesus the Son, and God the Father, what do you picture? What recognizable attributes of the Holy One have stopped you in your tracks? Have you seen His compassion? His abounding love and faithfulness? His great mercy or justice?
May God grant us eyes to always see His fingerprints! May we grow in our love of Jesus so that we, too, might become more like Him. So as we gear up for the birthday party, let’s ask our Father to make us more like His Son, so that when others ask “Who do you look like?” the answer would be a resounding Jesus!