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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


Daily Boost

Oct. 8, 2010 - A Living Similitude

By William E. Richardson

Artists specialize at rendering likenesses of others. To know what some of our former U.S. Presidents looked like, we can visit the Lincoln Memorial or Mount Rushmore. We can also refer to the images on our coins and dollar bills.

For centuries, artists have captured the essence of famous faces by brushing paint onto canvas. Others have chiseled images into granite and marble. Thanks to artists, we can see what someone looked like many generations after they lived.

Each depiction of someone from the past is called a similitude. The word simply means “a visual likeness or resemblance.”

What about Jesus? No one living during His lifetime left us a painting or statue of Him. We don’t really know His height, the length of His hair, nor His skin tone. We have no similitude of Jesus. Or do we?

The paragraph headings in my Bible list Matthew 5:1-12 as The Beatitudes and verses 13-16 as The Similitudes. Knowing that a similitude is a visual likeness helps me better appreciate what those verses are saying.

They call for all Christians to live lives that portray Jesus’ likeness. Not the physical likeness we don’t know, but the moral likeness He taught and demonstrated.

Jesus Himself spoke the words of The Similitudes. He said the flavor of our Christian lives should season the world around us and the light of our Christian witness should shine into the world’s darkness. That’s a similitude of Jesus.

The Lord concluded by saying: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, NKJV).

Who’s the artist in that depiction? The Heavenly Father, the ultimate Artist. Our Christian lives are His paper, His canvas, His granite. With the unique material each of us submit to Him, God works to create a similitude of Jesus.

None of us are a perfect likeness. But like Jesus’ followers living in Antioch, where people were first called Christians (Acts 11:26), others will see enough of Jesus in us to make the connection.

The call is to be living, flesh and blood similitudes of Jesus. That’s much better than a painting or a statue.

— William E. Richardson is senior pastor of Afton (Iowa) Assembly of God and author of the “God’s Billboards” newsletter.



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