But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9
Let me ask, have you ever had a good picture taken? I haven't. My passport picture makes me look like a bouncer from a cheap skid-row bar. That's probably why the border guards of the various countries I have visited wave me through when I'm leaving, but want to put me into quarantine for a month when I'm arriving.
Very few of us take good pictures, do we?
Our parents may have thought the infant pictures they took of us in our bare skin posed on a bear skin were adorable, but we've hidden them away because we are embarrassed.
Our school pictures ... most of them we would have gladly tossed in the garbage like a bad report card. Do you remember the conversation when we were making our official selection? We finally settled on the picture about which mom said, "Well, honey, you don't look too bad in this one. At least you're sort of smiling -- in a silly sort of way."
Then there are wedding photographs. I stand and applaud any photographer who can make a living selling wedding photos. Why? Well, think about it. When his proofs are passed around, what does the conversation sound like? Isn't it something like "Look at me in this one. I've got that same, old idiotic grin." "My eyes have enough red in them to make me look like I'm possessed by the devil." "Look at me. I look like I weigh 500 pounds."
It occurs to me Jesus had the same problem. Jesus never had a good picture made of Him either.
No, no, I'm fully aware that cameras hadn't been invented when the Savior walked this earth. But that doesn't change the fact that, while He lived, nobody ever got a good picture of Jesus: Who He was, and why He'd come. I mean, think about it. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the wise men went to Jerusalem because they had a bad picture of Him. They saw Him as a mortal monarch, a potentate whose place would be in a palace. King Herod had a bad picture of Jesus. Herod thought that Jesus was a heaven-sent usurper, who had designs upon his throne.
The Pharisees had a bad picture of Jesus. They thought He was a devil, a deceiver, a fraud, and a fake. John the Baptist, from his prison cell, found his picture of the Messiah had become a little blurry. That's why he asked the Lord, "Are You the One who was to come or should we be looking for someone else?" (See Matthew 11:3.) Even the disciples had a bad picture of Jesus.
Things aren't much different today. Because of a bad picture of Jesus many in this world are doing all they can to diminish His divinity and show the world only His humanity.
This is why we need to do all we can to show the world a good picture of the Savior. This we do with our words, with our life's witness, by pointing to the Holy Scriptures which tell of Him who came to this world to live for us, suffer for us, die for us, and then -- having defeated death -- rise for us.
When people see Jesus that way, they have a good picture of our Redeemer and Lord.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may I do all I can to reflect a good picture of the Redeemer to the lost who are all around me. May I clearly show the Savior who died so they might live. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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