"The Picture of Jesus"
June 21, 2014
The next day he (John the Baptizer) saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" John 1:29
Pam and I have been married now for well over four decades. For the most part, those years have been joyful and marked by an ever-deepening love.
That being said, I must confess to one area where we have profound differences. That area is family photos. Indeed, when I see her coming at me with a stack of pictures, I either run and hide or I pretend to have contracted a highly contagious disease and urge her to keep her distance. You see, I can look at a stack of 100 photos in under two minutes.
The method I use is this: Step #1: I look at the picture. Step #2: I move the picture to another pile. Those steps are repeated until all the pictures have been seen. On the other hand, Pam doesn't look at a picture. She examines them, pores over them, and gets into a lengthy discussion about each and every one. If she's in the picture, she says things like, "Look at my silly smile. I never take a good picture" or "I didn't know this picture was going to be taken. Do I really look like that?"
I'm not lying when I say, "You always take a great picture." Even so, Pam, like most of us, doesn't like the way the camera shows her.
I think the Savior must have felt the same way.
Yes, I know cameras hadn't been invented when Jesus walked among us, and there are no photographs of the Savior. Even so, people came away with a mental snapshot of the Savior when they met Him, and most of the time, the picture they had was not a good one.
Very seldom did any of them see Jesus for who He was. Shortly after He was born, King Herod looked at Him and saw a rival for his earthly throne. Herod had a bad picture. Then there were the pictures carried around by the Jewish religious leaders. Their picture of the Savior was always blurry and out of focus. Depending on the day, they saw the Christ as being possessed by the devil, a liar, a charlatan, a con-man, or a challenger to their authority over the people. The crowds pictured Jesus as a political leader or a provider of all their physical needs, wants and wishes. Jesus quickly pointed out that those pictures weren't especially accurate either. Everyone had a bad picture of Jesus.
Now, I suppose I need not point out some things haven't changed over the centuries.
Right now in the world, there are a lot of snapshots of Jesus being circulated; a lot of bad pictures of the Savior are making their rounds. There are pictures that show Jesus as a teacher, a philosopher, an observer of the human condition. Those pictures are both unflattering and inaccurate.
People need to see Jesus as He really was: God's perfect Son who came into this world to seek and save the lost. In that cause He lived a perfect life, resisted temptation, and carried the sins of all of us to the cross. On Calvary's heights, He finished paying the debt our transgressions had incurred, and with His third-day resurrection from the dead, He assured all who believe there is forgiveness and eternal life.
The picture of the risen Redeemer ... that is a picture which is worth hanging in a prominent and honored place in our hearts, for it is a picture which shows God's Son for who He really was -- and is.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may the world see You for who You are: its Savior and Redeemer. Then, having seen, may they be given saving faith. This I ask in Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries