The One We Should Resemble

In Daily Devotional by Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey

Theme of the Week: You and Creation

Bible Verse: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 53:2-3

Wisely, the Bible warns against reducing the image of God to the level of physical matter. Any such image limits our understanding of God’s real nature: we may begin to think of God as a bearded old man in the sky, like the figure in Michelangelo’s painting.

The notion of an omnipotent Spirit who spoke the universe into being gets lost. “With whom, then, will you compare God?” asks Isaiah. “To what image will you liken him?” (Isaiah 40:18).
Christians believe we got a true and authentic image of God in the person of Jesus Christ. The Spirit took on flesh, a human body of skin and bone and blood and nerve cells. The book of Hebrews describes Jesus as the “radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being” (Hebrews 1:3).

In other words, if you want to know what God is like, look at Jesus. Ophthalmologists warn against looking at the brilliance of the sun, even for an instant. Doing so will overwhelm light-receptors and sear the retina like a brand of fire. For thirty-three years, Jesus gave us a clear image through which we can perceive God’s own self—something like the pinhole camera that allows us to see a solar eclipse without going blind. Here, though, is a strange truth: the image Jesus revealed surprised nearly everyone.

Although the Bible does not include a physical description of Jesus, there is a description of sorts, in a prophecy of the suffering Servant in Isaiah 53.

In terms of the image the world admires—the image we exploit today in status rankings, beauty contests, and Forbes’ lists of the wealthiest—Jesus made no special mark. Yet that one from Nazareth, a carpenter’s son, a bruised body writhing on a cross, even he could express the exact likeness of God. I cannot exaggerate the impact of that truth as it fully dawns on a person who will never measure up: a leprosy patient in India, for instance, unspeakably poor and physically deformed. For such a person, Jesus becomes a harbinger of bright hope.

Taken from Fearfully and Wonderfully by Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey, InterVarsity Press, Copyright ©2019 by Philip Yancey and the Children of Paul and Margaret Brand. Used by permission.


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About
Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey
Dr. Paul Brand (1914–2003) grew up in India, studied medicine in London, and practiced orthopedic surgery in India and the United States. He achieved world renown for his innovative techniques in the treatment of leprosy. Philip Yancey is one of the best selling Christian authors alive today. His interactions with Christians from around the world and his early church experiences inform his writing on faith, the problem of pain, and unexpected grace.
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Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey
Dr. Paul Brand (1914–2003) grew up in India, studied medicine in London, and practiced orthopedic surgery in India and the United States. He achieved world renown for his innovative techniques in the treatment of leprosy. Philip Yancey is one of the best selling Christian authors alive today. His interactions with Christians from around the world and his early church experiences inform his writing on faith, the problem of pain, and unexpected grace.