6 August 2015

1 John 3:1-3

“Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.” (v. 2)

Psalm: Psalm 27


In the Gospel accounts of the Transfiguration of Jesus (Matthew 17:1-9; Mark 9:2-9; Luke 9:28-36) we are told that God lovingly acknowledges Jesus as God's Son, using similar words to those used at Jesus' Baptism, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him" (Luke 9:35, cf Luke 3:17). Just as at the Baptism these words come as a confirmation of Jesus' ministry, so the Transfiguration is the confirmation of the next terrible stage of Jesus' journey - his suffering and death on the cross.

John, in his first letter, acknowledges how great the love of God is for us, for we are God's children. God loves each one of us with a love which is greater and deeper than any other love we can know.

From time to time we catch glimpses of God and an awareness of God's presence in us, but we do not have the full picture. John is speaking of the 'now' and 'not yet' of the Christian faith. The day will come when we will see Jesus in all his fullness and we will be like him because we are children of God.

We become more like Christ not only by the glimpses we catch on the mountain tops of our Christian experience, but also by living in a Christ-like way in the world. Peter, James and John wanted to build shelters on the mountain to preserve the moment of Jesus' transfiguration, but that was not the point of the experience.

They had to return to their day to day journey with Jesus, which would take them to Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-53) and beyond. We have to live as Christ in a world which will misunderstand and reject us, but safe in the knowledge that we are loved as children of God. And in that we find our confidence.

To Ponder

  • What does it mean for you to know that you are God's child?
  • Where do you often catch glimpses of God?

Bible notes author

The Revd Diane Clutterbuck

Diane is an ordained presbyter in the Methodist Church. She works as as a coach, supervisor and trainer mainly in the public and voluntary sectors with people and organisations who are committed to growth and development.