In God’s Image

John 10: 31-42
Jer 20:10-13 / Psa 18

If those to whom the word of God came were called “gods”, can you say that the one whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world is blaspheming because I said, “I am God’s Son”?
(John 10:35-36)

To all persons reverence is due,
As everyone’s image is divine.
All thoughts, words and actions must be true,
If our likeness be in God’s design.

The Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus said, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these are you going to stone me?’ The Jews answered, ‘It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you, but for blasphemy, because you, though only a human being, are making yourself God.’ Jesus answered, ‘Is it not written in your law, “I said, you are gods”? If those to whom the word of God came were called “gods” — and the scripture cannot be denied — can you say that the one whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world is blaspheming because I said, “I am God’s Son”? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.’ Then they tried to arrest him again, but he escaped from their hands. He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing earlier, and He remained there. Many came to Him, and they were saying, ‘John performed no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.’ And many believed in Him there. (John 10: 31-42)

Reflection

No man deserves to be stoned, whether by rocks or insulting words. The first chapter of Genesis says, “God created man in His image, in the divine image He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen.1:27). It was the Jews who were going to commit a grave blasphemy by stoning Jesus if He had not prevented them.

Every person has God within him, because we are not only made in His image and likeness, but by Christ’s death and resurrection, we have been made one with Him as children of God, and inheritors of His kingdom in heaven. What an awesome thought! And yet, if we ponder deeply on the matter, we are truly gods in the way God designed our existence. As Scriptures say, God made us “a little less than a god, …crowned with glory and splendor, …made lord over the work of His hands, …set all things under his feet” (Psalm 8:5-6). If God did not endow us with such reverence, would He have taken all the trouble to humble Himself, be shamed and tortured and die for our sake? That’s how precious we are in God’s eyes. So how come we can’t accord the same kind of regard and respect for our fellow human beings?

We are all born in the image of God, but sadly, it cannot be said that we constantly retain His likeness. Only by loving our neighbors as Jesus has taught us can this be so. Not by conforming our behavior to this world and age, where “we see indistinctly, as in a mirror,” according to St. Paul (1 Cor.13:12). Centuries of ethnic and religious conflicts up to the present age are like stones thrown at the message of love that Jesus preached and lived in the Gospel. Only by prayers and by the grace of God will these aberrations cease. Only then will mankind finally reflect the image and likeness of God in this world. And only then shall we finally live in His kingdom.

As the Holy Week draws nearer, let us reflect on the ways that we can project the image of God to others, in the kind words that we speak, and in the good things that we do. Let us honor God’s countenance in every person we encounter today.

When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars that you set in place — what are humans that you are mindful of them, mere mortals that you care for them? (Psa 8:4-5) Father, we praise You for Your great love. Amen.

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