Pictures of Jesus
Should we be seeking pictures of Jesus?
Everyone would love to see a picture of Jesus. What did He really look like? But did you know that there exists no pictures of Jesus from the first century AD. That means, the pictures of Jesus we see today are simply artists' impressions of what they think Jesus would have looked like.
In fact, it is a good thing that no pictures of Jesus remain from when he lived, because the Bible speaks about idolatry being wrong. For if we look in the Ten Commandments, the third commandment states plainly:
"You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth." (Exodus 20:4).
This is the same as pictures of Jesus
To have pictures of Jesus in your home in which you worship is the very thing that God has said is wrong in the Ten Commandments. Even if we are not bowing down and worshipping the picture, how can we not eventually equate Him in our minds with this simple image? How can we look at it every day and not be tempted to see Him as merely the figure in the picture? But can we possibly reduce Christ's nature, character and power to a two-dimensional, four-by-six portrait?
Moreover, most of the portraits of Jesus portray Him as a handsome and winsome young man, while in fact He "had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him" (Isaiah 53:2).
If it were important for us to know what He really did look like, Matthew, Peter and John, who spent three years with Him, would certainly have been able to give us an accurate description of him. Yet, these New Testament writers offer no details about His physical attributes. Does this not suggest that, inspired by the Holy Spirit, they did so in order to carefully avoid encouraging us to make any image of Him?
The real reason Jesus is special
The reason Jesus Christ is special is not because he's a good looking man with a perfectly shaped beard. But rather, it is because of who he is and what he did. The Bible makes clear that Jesus is God in human form (John 1:1, 8:58), and Jesus' purpose on coming to this Earth was to die.
Die? Why did he come to die, you might ask. Because of us, humanity. From our birth, every single person who has ever lived has disobeyed God in many ways. The Ten Commandments describe lying, stealing, using God's name in vain, disobeying parents, and committing adultery as sin. Jesus expands on that list, by saying to lust after someone is adultery at the heart, and to hate is the murder at the heart. Think about how many times have you done those sorts of things so far this week. And yet God has seen every time you've them in your whole life!
Since God has fixed a day when He will judge the world based on everything they have done, this is very important. For the consequence of your sin, the Bible describes, is forever in a place called Hell. The punishment for sin is severe, the Bible mentions that Hell is like a lake of fire where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 22:13). But there is a way to not go there...
There is some great news
The great news is precisely to do with why Jesus came to this Earth. He came to die on the cross 2000 years ago, taking the punishment that we deserve in Hell for our sin, He can take in our place. He could do this because he was completely without sin. But there is something you need to do to be forgiven. You need to trust that your sins are forgiven solely because Jesus died on the cross to pay for them in your place.
You cannot think that going to Church, or doing good things is what will get you to Heaven, because they will not. Salvation is a gift of God, received by faith, not by works. If you do truly believe that, you will then repent. Repenting is where your attitude towards sin and God completely changes. Instead of loving sin, and ignoring/hating God, a repentant person will now love God and hate sin, and continue battling against it for the rest of their life.
Do that today, because today might be your last day on this Earth.
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