It’s a dark and stormy Friday night. We’re driving through thunderstorms and heavy traffic to visit The Boston Children’s Museum with our two grandsons, Soren (7) and Nils (4). It’s taking a lo-o-ong time, and the boys remind us of this regularly. We make conversation about all manner of things, some of it focusing on the recent Olympics and how amazing some of those athletes are.
Out of the blue (as is the way of children), Nils pipes up: “But when I grow up, I want to be Jesus!” There is silence in the car as we ponder this stunning statement. Four adults—two parents and two grandparents—process the theology. We are at a temporary loss for words.
But not Soren. Soren, you see, is never at a loss for words. He feels a sense of responsibility, as the older, very grounded-in-reality big brother, to help Nils stay better connected with reality. Nils has a wonderfully wild imagination, complete with “camo-friends” who attend the University of New Hampshire, live underground, and camouflage themselves when adults approach but reveal themselves only to Nils. You see the situation.
“But Nils,” Soren corrects emphatically, “ you can’t actually BE Jesus. You know that, right? You can’t really BE Jesus!”
I’m still processing the conversation. (Nana minds are slower than 7-year-old minds.} An interesting theological dilemma. Of course we know the uniqueness of Jesus, the One and Only Son of God. But aren’t we supposed to be in the process of becoming more and more like Him? What is that verse about being more and more “conformed to the likeness of His Son”? (Romans 8:29 NIV) There seems to be an “already in process” and a “not yet” aspect here. I’m grateful for the future promise: “But we know that.when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (I John 3:2)
In the meantime, we are called, are we not, to become more and more like Him. How does this happen? A question far beyond this humble blog post. But a question I think it’s good to ask during this Lenten season.
As I ponder the challenge, two observations:
- We become like the people we hang out with. Becoming more and more like Jesus is, at least for me, a lifetime challenge. But odds are that more progress is made as I spend more time with Him.
- Becoming more like Jesus seems to have a lot to do with seeing Him—actually seeing Him. I think of Mary’s dazzling cry on Easter morning: “I’ve seen the Lord!” (John 20:18)
My prayer for us all as Holy week approaches is that we may we see Him with new eyes, bask in the reality of His presence in our everyday ordinary lives, and live with this future hope:
As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness. (Psalm 17:15 NKJV)