Our New Image
Today we see the love of God patterned and shaped by the very Son of God who is risen from the dead. During this Easter season here at International Lutheran Church, we will be reading through the first letter of John to the churches in Asia Minor.
The Apostle John’s first letter to the churches is familiar to us as it makes up some of the key elements of our weekly liturgy – like our opening confession (1 John 1:8-10). This letter, like all of John’s writings, points us to the love of God revealed in Jesus His Beloved Son. This love of God the Father made manifest in Jesus is the very focus of the gospel that transforms our lives. Through this sacrificial love, God demonstrates His love for us. Through this love we have been made children of God, pure and righteous just as He is pure and righteous. This love becomes the very image and pattern of our new lives together in Him.Maybe you have had the opportunity to take in some of the spring flowers that are all around us. Our family has certainly enjoyed taking long walks on the Namsan trails and observing all the beauty of God’s creation. The visual as well as aromatic reminders of God’s creativity cannot be missed. Yet these patterns and images, scents and rhythms are only a dim reflection of the beauty of the One and Only Son of God, and the life that He laid down for you and me. He is the very image and pattern that has been shaped to display in our lives. Made pure and righteous through His forgiving love, we become the very example of God’s love today, here and now.
Just as Jesus died to take away our sins, so He lives that all the world would know His grace and mercy. Peter and John boldly gave witness to the power and presence of Jesus our Savior following the healing of the lame man in the presence of so many people (Acts 3:11-21). Our lives also give witness to His grace and mercy in both big and small ways. This pattern of death to life is the very pattern of our own lives in Him as He has made us alive again in Him. As Baptism and the Lord’s Supper bring us into this pattern of death and life anew, they give to us its result and promise – the forgiveness of our sins. We are made pure, made righteous, and because of that our lives change and reflect the pattern that we will finally be made like on that last day.
The world that God created is filled with an amazing variety of patterns, shapes, rhythms and images that He has made, but the single greatest image and pattern is that of our risen Jesus. He is the very image and pattern that gives to us a new identity in righteousness and purity. This hope is our future just as it is our present reality in Him who is risen from the dead.
Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!