2004-02-24 - Looking Unto Jesus
Exodus 20:4 You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.
There are at least two ways that Christians look upon Jesus today. One is by placing a picture or likeness of Christ on a wall, on the dashboard of a car, or any number of similar ways. The other way is to contemplate Christ's character while meditating on the meekness, humility, and compassion of Christ toward us. We find a good guide to this second sort of looking unto Christ in the beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12).
In contemplating Christ's great work of redemption we see more and more clearly the natural darkness of our hearts and our helplessness apart from Christ. Meditating on Christ's free offer of salvation will help to show us, partly, how Christ condescended to our needs and cause us to be ashamed at how callous we have been toward the greatest event in human history. When we look upon Christ and see how He responded when slighted by others we will naturally be less disposed to take issue when we are slighted. Focusing upon the character of Christ will cause us to be less irritable and dissatisfied. We will become, as the saying goes, more Christlike -- more soft, more meek, more courteous, and more peaceable.
While we are not required to undertake the same humiliation that Christ did, the words of Christ in Matthew 10:24 still apply, "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master." We should keep this in mind when we are mistreated. A focus on Christ's mistreatment at the hands of others will help us undergo the trials we have to endure. It is interesting that Scripture never brings out that the Son of God's pride was hurt because He didn't get the respect He should have as our Creator. It is almost an absurd thought.
I hope you will notice that I have focused here on the second manner of looking unto Jesus. Meditating, contemplating, and focusing upon Christ, His life, His atonement, and His offer of pardon to us from our sins, is how I would suggest we look unto Christ. The first manner of looking unto Christ I have not dealt with. We don't need images of Jesus. Any image we find or use is not a true representation of who He is or what He looked like. I grew up with an image of Jesus in my head that is seared there still. The pictures I saw showed Christ as a six foot (or so) tall man, skinny, white, with dirty blond hair. I doubt he really looked that way.
This is why I do not intend to see the new Gibson movie coming out Friday on the Passion of Christ. I don't need another image seared in my head about how Christ looked. I am sure it will be a very powerful film and I hope that the Lord uses it for His glory. However, I don't need an image and Scripture is clear that images are of no use and we are not to make them. I want to know the Christ of the Scriptures and I don't need an image planted in my head as to how He looked. The Bible tells me of His incarnation, life, character, death, resurrection, and future return. That is what I need to know of Christ.
Soli Deo Gloria,