My Father’s Face – April 21, 2023
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18
Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 3:18
See series: Military Devotions
In the mornings, I shave my father’s face.
I know the face I see in the mirror is my own, but it certainly resembles my father, though he died fifty years ago.
I didn’t always look like him. There was a time when I was small, and he was big. His hairline was receding when I was sporting a flattop. He had wrinkles when I didn’t.
No one would have confused me with my father when I was a teenager. But there were some who did notice a resemblance. “You look like your dad!” they said. I doubted that. But in time, even I could recognize a similarity.
The apostle Paul also recognized a similarity to a father. He told the congregation at Corinth all about it. But the father he spoke of was God the Father.
He pointed them back to Moses at Mt. Sinai at the time when Moses came down from the mountain with the two stone tablets bearing the Commandments. The Bible reports, “his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord” (Exodus 34:29). His face was shining so brightly that the people were afraid to even come near him. It was as if he had soaked in some of God’s glory.
As a result, Moses had to put a veil over his face. After some time, that bright radiance wore off. It no longer reflected the glory of the Lord God.
The law of God given on that mountain was glorious. But it was a frightful glory. We explain the first of those Commandments with the words, “We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.”
The holiness of the Lord of glory should frighten us. Don’t think he doesn’t know what we have been thinking or doing. Don’t think our excuses will be tolerated. Don’t think that he has repealed the decree, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
There is blinding glory in the words that accuse and condemn us. Good thing those are not the only words that he brings to us!
The message to the Corinthians, and to us, is that there is a follow-up message from the throne of glory. This one was not written in stone but was carried to us in person by the beloved Son of God.
He came from the Father to glorify his Father’s name by completing the work of salvation for us. In prayer to his Father, he spelled out what this entailed. “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3).
This is the glorious work of the gospel that will never fade.
Jesus came to earth so that we might come to know his Father. He lived, suffered, and died so that his Father could become our Father.
The amazing end result? He told his Father, “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one” (John 17:20).
“I have given them the glory that you gave me!”
Could this be true? It must be. The holy Son of God does not lie!
Thus, the apostle’s words are almost shouted out to ring in our ears. “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory.”
We reflect the Lord’s glory! As we grow in faith, we are looking more and more like our Father who is in heaven.
This is not our doing. This is not something we can brag about.
This is the work of the Lord, the Holy Spirit.
Who would have thought it? Who would have expected that weak, faltering creatures such as us could be elevated to such a level?
Who would believe us? How many would point an accusing finger at us because they have witnessed our failures to live a holy life? What can we say to that?
We don’t have to explain. We just need to point them to Jesus. Let Jesus explain it to them. Let Jesus reveal that he has already made up for our failures—and theirs, too. Let Jesus tell them, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
Now we better understand what Jesus meant by, “and have it to the full”!
What more could we want? What more could we ask for in life than to be claimed by the holy God as one of his own? What greater honor could there be?
At this stage in life, I feel good about looking in my mirror and seeing a reflection of my dad’s face as I grow older.
But that doesn’t compare to the wonder and joy of knowing that I am gradually growing to become more like the Father of Jesus.
I’m eagerly waiting to see my dad’s face again in person. That will be a joyous day.
But to see my Father’s face—that will be a heavenly day.
Our Father, who lives in heaven, but who loves us who live on earth with a boundless love, may our lives glorify your name! Grant that, we pray, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Points to ponder:
- Why are we more apt to focus on the law of God rather than the good news of the gospel?
- We know that in heaven we will share in the Lord of God. Why might it surprise us to learn that we already reflect that glory?
- What keeps us from bragging about this?
Written by Rev. Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Stillwater, Minnesota.
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