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How it looks to look like Jesus

By Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr.

This week I’ve been thinking about something that happened in Mark 9, which Christians commonly refer to as “The Transfiguration.”

“Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them” (Mark 9:2-3).

What was happening? Jesus was revealing his glory. He was not becoming glorious. He was already glorious. But, for a few moments, Peter, James and John got a glimpse of his glory.

The Apostle Paul said this in 2 Corinthians 3:18 — “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

Paul is saying that as we look to Jesus more and more, we become more and more like him. Simply put, we become like what we behold.

If we are caught up with the things of this world, and are constantly looking to the ungodly things of this world, then we will look more and more like that. But if we are entranced by Jesus Christ and are looking to him more and more, we will become more and more like him.

The Spirit transforms us to be more and more like Christ as we gaze into and interact with the Scriptures. He uses other godly people as part of our transformation as we interact with them in our local church. He uses prayer and ministry and worship as part of our transformation. It is his purpose for us.

As Romans 8:29 says, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.”

Francis Chan tells about having a guest speaker at his church, a missionary who was sharing a beautiful story about sharing the good news about Jesus with a remote tribe in Papua New Guinea.

At the end of his message, he said, “I have to credit my former youth pastor, Vaughn, for what I am doing today. It was his love and influence on me that made me want to love people and tell them about Christ.”

The next week Francis had another guest speaker who told about his ministry to children in poverty. He concluded by saying, “I am doing what I do because of the influence of my former youth pastor, Vaughn.”

The next week Francis welcomed a friend named Dan to his church, and after Dan’s message, he said, “It’s funny. The last two guys who spoke here mentioned the influence of their former youth pastor, Vaughn.”

Dan looked at Francis and said, “I know Vaughn. He’s a pastor in San Diego, and he takes people into the dumps of Tijuana, where kids are picking through garbage. I just spent the day with him there recently. As we walked through slums, kids would run up to him, and he treated each one with such deep love and affection, hugging them, giving them food and little gifts, and telling them about Jesus. Francis, it was eerie: The whole time I kept thinking, ‘This is what it would feel like to walk with Jesus.’”

Would anyone say that about you?

Dr. Thurman R. Hayes is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.