Biggness, Smallness, and the Image of God – Reflections on God as Creator, part 3

Now, lets think about the life of Jesus.  How does he have to say about us in our smallness?  There is one episode in the Gospel of Luke that gives us something to ponder about our role as image-bearers.  Luke 20.20 starts the story:

20 Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be sincere. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. 21 So the spies questioned him: “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. 22 Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

23 He saw through their duplicity and said to them, 24 “Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.

25 He said to them, “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

26 They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent.  Luke 20.20-26

What does it mean to give back to God what is God’s?  Well, if Caesar’s image is on a coin… so what…he can have it!  God’s image is on you!

If you want to know how to live in a world where there are governments and systems that are corrupt.  Don’t worry about things that bear Caesar’s image.  Worry about giving back to God what is God’s; namely, YOU!  You are the image of God!  You are called to offer you body as a flesh and blood representation of what God is like!  Go and be God’s image to the world that is dying and in need of healing.  Go relate to other people in community, to the creation itself, and ultimately to our Father in heaven!

Jesus shows us that it is time to reclaim our rightful place in the creation project as God’s divine image for the sake of the world.  But, what does it look like to be an image bearer?  What model do we have?  The idea of reflecting a really big God can seem a bit overwhelming in our smallness.  But again the truth still remains that: in His bigness, he finds us in the smallness.  God became small for our sake when he sent Jesus.  And guess what Colossians chapter 1 tells us about Jesus:

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  Colosssians 1.15-17

So if we want to know what it looks like to be an image of God, all we have to do is look at the one who became small for our sake: Jesus!  Do you see the dichotomy of big and small in this passage?  Jesus is the image of God and therefore invaded our history by finding us in the smallness.  Yet he existed before all things were created and in fact, he is the one who holds everything in the universe together!  Jesus is simultaneous big when you consider his Creative power, yet he is small when you consider that he became what we never were able to be: a person who bears the image of God perfectly!  In his bigness he finds us in the smallness!  And as we look to Jesus we find out that we are called to become image-bearers once again, just as he perfectly bears the image of God.  Check out this last passage in Romans chapter 8:

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. Romans 8.29

Jesus is our model for knowing how to be put back in right relationship with: God, others, and the creation project.  We’re being given the opportunity to become what we are meant for, broken people who become more and more like the image of God as revealed in his Son.  As we look to Jesus, bigness and smallness collide… and we again are confronted with the amazing reality that in his bigness he finds us in our smallness.  This fact ought to overwhelm us!

Have you ever had a moment like this; when you encountered the reality of how big God is and compared to you?  A moment when you trembled in amazement and wonder. I had a moment like this when I was in my car a couple years back.

When I drive a long distance, I often will let this be a time to pray and connect with God.  I sometimes listen to sermons in my car or a worship CD.

One night, I was on my way to my grandparent’s home out in the country and was having a deeply moving worship experience.  Then, the song, God of wonders came on.  This song began to resonate with me in a powerful way, and I could feel the presence of God’s Spirit in the car.  Then, something happened that I will never forget…as the chorus kicked in and I sang “God of wonders beyond our galaxy”… I saw the most beautifully illuminated shooting star that I have ever seen.  It was right in my line of sight!  It was as if God were reminding me that within his bigness that he wants to find me in my smallness.

He wants to love me so much that this love reflects off of me and shows the rest of the world how passionately he cares for it!  What would it look like for God to invade your smallness?  Are you ready to reflect the beauty of the image of God?

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  • http://takingtheyoke.blogspot.com Ray Hollenbach

    This has been an enlightening series, Kurt. Thanks so much. Today I was particularly touched by the opening: “if Caesar’s image is on a coin… so what…he can have it! God’s image is on you!” That is vivid and powerful.

    • http://groansfromwithin.com Kurt Willems

      That concept has rocked me in the last year or so too Ray! Thanks for coming by and for the encouragement!


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