It’s always great when our loved ones come home, or we go to visit, after being separated for a long time. Even in today’s technologically connected world where we can talk in real time to each other through live video, there is still no substitute for being there in the actual presence of our friends and family. The “real thing” is much better than the image.
This is, partly, why God, in the second commandment, instructed us not to make an image of Him (or anything else) to worship. If we make an image, it cannot represent the reality and we end up worshiping false gods instead of the one true God. Jesus was God in human flesh, and those few humans who had the wonderful privilege of being with Him for the years He was on the earth had a very special opportunity indeed. They are the ones who wrote the books of the New Testament. Those writers longed to see Jesus again, and they gave us hopeful encouragements about how much better the “face-to-face” encounter would be:
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
(1 John 3:2, ESV)
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12, ESV)
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.
(Philippians 1:21-23, ESV)
Our attitude should be like the Apostle Paul’s, quoted just above. We look forward to the day when we will see Jesus Christ in all of His wondrous glory. But, until then, we can strive to please Him through our words, work, and worship which is our fruitful labor in the here and now. May God help us to please Him in all we do so, when we do see Him face-to-face, we might hear Him say “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Master!”