Email Archive

The Golden Reed (8)

5 March 2022

“Christ became
just as we are,
so we could become
just as He is”

The standard of the “golden reed” in Revelation 21:15 is a picture of God’s desire to uplift our frail human nature (the “reed”) with His glorious divine nature (the “gold”; see our previous Note, “The Golden Reed” 7).

The substance of the golden reed is, of course, the gold, while the form is that of a reed. Moreover, all of the value comes from the gold; the reed is, so to speak, merely the vessel for carrying and expressing the gold.

So, a living according to this standard will have a very human “form,” or appearance—and yet, from within such a human appearance, something divine will be expressed, something of marvelous, eternal value.

Wasn’t this just the kind of life Jesus lived as a man on the earth? Everyone could see that He was a lowly man (Phil. 2:7), “the carpenter’s son” (Matt. 13:55), and that He was subject to all the limitations of the human condition. Nonetheless, His living was an expression of His divine nature, so that He could say to the Father at the end of His life:

“I have glorified You on the earth.”
— John 17:4

To understand this more clearly, suppose that Jesus, instead of being incarnated as a mortal man, had come to earth as the glorified Son of God. Everyone who saw Him would have been terrified of Him! And of course, they would also have been clear that they themselves could never be that kind of person.

But He did not do that. Instead, in the words of one of the early church fathers:

He became just as we are, so that we could become just as He is.
— Irenaeus

And so, now He now calls us to follow Him by living just the same kind of life that He did.

If we have a religious concept, we may feel that God wants us to live a life that is purely divine, an unbroken manifestation of His power and glory. Or, at the other extreme, we could feel that He wants us to merely be good human beings, living sinless, righteous lives, but apart from Him.

Neither of these is what God actually desires. We need to seek Him for a revelation, to show us that what He desires is a life that is so human, and yet, at the very same time, so divine; this is the only life that meets His standard. Through this kind of living God will be glorified in us, and our human nature will be uplifted with the divine nature, so that we will be prepared to meet the Lord.

Sent to our mailing list on
— 5 March 2022 —