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In pursuit of the image of Jesus

Some things have to be true --- nobody is imaginative enough to make them up and think that public would believe it.  A family in Splendora, Texas, has a mildew spot on their shower wall that supposedly looks like Jesus.  Of course, the more accurate statement would be that they think it looks like what is a popular depiction of Jesus --- mo one really knows what Jesus looked like.  It’s not unlike what happened years ago when Sun Myung Moon (leader of the Unification Church), was on trial for income tax invasion and he testified that he had a vision of Jesus.  During the cross he was asked how he knew it was Jesus and he replied that “He looked just like His picture.” 
 
Beyond that significant hurdle, the entire identification process is very subjective.  To me, the mildew looks more like the mask associated with the Scream movies than a depiction of Jesus.  One of the family members is quoted as saying, “Maybe it means something. Maybe look into yourself and see if you need to change something in your life.”  While I can’t say too much about the mildew, I do think they’re on to something with that last statement.
 
I suppose there’s something about human nature that causes us to be preoccupied with seeing Jesus in mildew, grilled cheese sandwiches, telephone poles, etc.  But I also know that God’s real interest isn’t in us seeing the image of Christ but in us allowing Him to make our lives over so that we take on Jesus’ image. 

After Paul’s gargantuan statement in Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, (a verse we are very familiar with), he says something that we’re not as familiar with in the remainder of the verse when he speaks of those who love Him as people “who have been called according to His purpose.” 

His intent in this section is to reassure the disciple that God is in control.  He’s writing to Christians who were living during the reign of Nero.  Not long after they received this letter, the emperor would begin his persecution of the church that would result in death for many of the Christians at Rome.  Paul wants them to know that no matter what the circumstances, no matter how dark the moment, they can be assured that God is in control and able to bring good from deaths that might seem senseless.  That is after all, exactly what He did with the death of His Son. He took the greatest crime in history and worked it for the redemption of mankind.

With this in mind, the words “those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose,” should remind us that we are to live as disciples of Jesus, not consumers of religion.  We have been called according to God’s purpose, not ours.  What is God’s purpose?  Verse 29 tells us it is to be “conformed to the image of His Son.”  It isn’t for us to always be happy, have everything we want, or never suffer --- it is for us to live stronger, deeper, nobler lives.  It is for us to look like Jesus!

Maywe lose ourselves in pursuit of that image.
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