God’s Mirror

“God’s Mirror”
John 14:1-14
Sunday May 22, 2011 – Fifth Sunday of Easter

In the sequel to his book, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” Lewis Carroll sends Alice on a new adventure, “Through the Looking Glass.”
In this tale Alice discovers that she can step through a large mirror in her living room and into an alternative world where things are very different from what she expects.
One of the key features of this new world is that it seems to be a mirror image of reality.
She sees lots of opposites and time appears to run in reverse.
Alice finds a book of poetry, called “Jabberwocky,” that is written backwards and can only be understood when she holds it up to the mirror.
To be sure, Lewis Carroll’s writing is the stuff of childhood fantasy and far-fetched fiction.
What intrigues me about this story is this book that requires a mirror to be read.
I’ve always thought of mirrors as being simple reflections of what we put in front of them; this story causes us to think of this particular mirror as a tool for clarity.
Alice cannot understand this poetry without the aid of the mirror…She can’t really see without the mirror
In John’s gospel this morning Jesus tells his Disciples that they can see God by looking at him.
Jesus offers himself as a looking glass through which we can all see the Living God and begin to understand God’s promises.
Let us pray…

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be truly pleasing to you,

O Lord, we pray in the name of Jesus.

Amen.

John 14 is part of a larger farewell discourse that goes through Chapter 16.
This is Jesus’ last chance to sum up his message – kind of like a teacher’s last review before the final exam…
In these two chapters Jesus has to cover a lot of material very quickly and hope that his students retain it…
It’s a pretty daunting task.
Think about what leads up to this scene:
·         They’ve all gathered in the Upper Room for supper;
·         Jesus blesses bread and wine and calls it his body and blood;
·         He stoops down and washes their feet;
·         He predicts Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial;
·         Then he tells them, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
·         Is he kidding?
It’s no wonder the boys are a little confused and have questions.
We are all pretty familiar with this gospel text…
We’ve heard it preached many times in many different settings…
We often hear the first part of this text at memorial services…
We talked about this text just two weeks ago in our discussion of Thomas…
It’s always about questions and promises; it’s always about salvation.
These are great themes to study, but they are not the only themes in the text.
That is why I brought Alice’s looking glass into the conversation this morning…
One of the themes that stands out to me today is the idea that seeing Jesus allows us to see the Father…
In the Old Testament we are constantly reminded that no one can ever see the face of God and live to tell about it.
All of the ancient biblical patriarchs are given glimpses of God’s awesome power,
but none of them ever actually gets to see God face-to-face.
Yet, here in John’s gospel, Jesus says that, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”
On the one hand, this could be frightening when you remember the ancient warning that no one can see God and live…
On the other hand, you might view this as a whole new revelation of God that is an improvement on the ancient original…
Jesus says, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?”
In a very real sense Jesus is the mirror that allows us to understand the mystery of God much like Alice’s mirror allowed her to understand Jabberwocky
But, Jesus is not simply a reflection of God’s glory; he is a looking glass through which we can actually see God’s glory and live to tell about it.
Jesus is not just God’s Mirror; he is a divine lens through which the fullness of God is visible to us…Jesus is both human and God at the same time.
Now, put this together with the rest of what Jesus says here…
Jesus tells the Disciples that the words he speaks are God’s words…
He says that it is God who does the work through him…
Then he says that those who believe in him will go on to do even greater things
in his name…
And he says that all of this is done for the glory of God.
Think about what that means for us…
If everyone who believes in Jesus is in a relationship with him,
then that relationship allows us to know Jesus…
If everyone who knows Jesus knows the Father also,
then we know God because of our relationship with Jesus…
And, if Jesus’ followers are all going to be given the power to do even greater things in his name, then we are part of that legacy of doing for the glory of God.
If Jesus is God’s mirror – the looking glass through which God is made visible,
then we are mirrors of Jesus and through us God is visible today.
Think about it – isn’t that really what Jesus is saying here this morning?
“Very truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and,
in fact will do greater works than these…”
That is a huge responsibility!
When we claim to be Christians, we take on the responsibility of being God’s mirrors in the world…
And it is not enough to be mere reflections of God; we are literally looking glasses through which people look to get a glimpse of God…
The question then becomes: What do people see when they look at us?
Our friends, our family, our neighbors and co-workers – They know who we say we are…
When they look at us, however, do they see who we profess to be?
Are we doing works in the name of Jesus for God’s glory?
Are we holding up a looking glass that points toward Jesus Christ?
Do the people in our lives recognize the Lord within and through us?
Or, do they go away wanting us to show them the Father, because they
missed seeing him in our lives?
Mirrors can be tricky things…
They can offer sharp, clear reflections of the objects in front of them…
Or they can distort images into something ugly, like a fun house mirror…
Mirrors can help us to see ourselves more clearly and recognize what others see
when they look at us…
I think Jesus plays several roles as God’s mirror…
He reflects the image of God in which we are all created…
He provides a looking glass through which we can see the face of God and
live to tell about it…
And he helps us to see ourselves more clearly so we can know how others see us.
As God’s mirror, Jesus is both a blessing to us and a challenge for us.
If we are to be faithful followers of Christ we must be willing to walk through the looking glass and become what God wants us to be…
We must also provide a way for others to see God through us so that they can come to know him as we do…
And we must be willing to look honestly at our reflection to see ourselves as God sees us and as other people see us so that we will always be aware of the reflection we are sending out into the world.
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…Amen
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