[CF Devotionals] 2019-08-09 - Our Image of Jesus ~ Part 1

Originally published on 11-11-2011

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Who is Jesus to you? Write description of your relation to Jesus. For example you may write "Jesus saved me." What does Jesus look like? Take a minute to picture Jesus in your head. Describe or draw the image you see when you close your eyes and think of Jesus.

Let's look at the first thing you wrote regarding your relationship with Jesus. In asking many people to do this over the years, I have noticed a common thread in all of these. We’re almost always the object. Jesus saved me. Jesus loves me. Jesus fill-in-the-blanks me. Jesus is my Redeemer. Jesus is my Savior. Jesus is my this or my that. The object of the relationship is self-centered. It seems to me like we have forgotten that Christ is the center of Christianity, and we instead follow the religion of "me-anity" where it’s all about me. Oh yeah, in "me-anity," we still have Jesus - but he’s not the real Jesus. He’s what one pastor I heard speak on the subject called "Jesus with benefits" or what I call Genie Jesus. Jesus does this for me and Jesus does that for me. It’s all about me.

And usually these images of Jesus reflect that, as well. I bet most of you saw a white guy with a beard. Fact is, Jesus was not a white guy. Being from the middle east, he looks more like Osama and Hussein than us. But we want a Jesus like us, since he is for us.

There are primarily four images of Christ that we see:

  1. Baby Jesus: This image is usually of a tiny baby in a manger filled with straw. Jesus came for us. He was born for us. He’s so cute and cuddly, he just loves us to death. And best of all, we can take this little Jesus and his baby God powers with us wherever we go. Or when Christmas is gone, if we have no need for him, we can pack him neatly away in a little box. Too many people want a pocket-sized, convenient Jesus that they can pull out for special occasions or emergencies. But as Ricky Bobby's father-in-law knows, Jesus grew up. He had a beard. That brings us to the second Jesus.

  2. Bathrobe Jesus: This is the grownup Jesus who walked with the disciples. He is wearing his robe and spending time with people, with a smile on his face. He wants to be your best friend. He wants to be your companion; he wants to just hang out and be your buddy. This Jesus is humble and would never fuss at you for your sins, but he will be there to perform miracles for you anytime you rub his lamp. It is true that Jesus walked and talked with his disciples, but he wasn't always smiles. He engaged the Pharisees and confronted the hypocrisy he saw, but that detail in this image is left off, most of the time. It is true, though, that he came and taught - but he also died, which brings us to the third image of Jesus.

  3. Crucified Jesus: Images of a dying Savior are what come to many people's minds first. After all, Christianity's symbol is a cross, right? This is a good Jesus to have around, too. He’d die for you. He loves you. He wants you. Again, this vision of God allows it to be all about us. But guess what. Jesus didn’t stay on that cross; he died, was buried and came out of the grave.

  4. Risen Jesus: There’s also the risen Jesus that is usually wearing white and is standing in front of the empty tomb. He defeated death for you and will get you out of any other jam you find yourself in. He’s in heaven, preparing a place for you. Again, with this image, it's often all about us. This is not God’s plan. Sure Jesus loves us and wants to help us, but what is Jesus like, right now?

I thank God for each of these times in Jesus' life. They are each important. If he were never a baby, he wouldn't have become the man to walk around in a robe, and he never would have taught the disciples or performed all the miracles. Were it not for that grown up Jesus, he never would have been crucified. Without crucifixion, there'd be no payment for my sin and yours. That was the only way. Jesus even begged his father to let him do something else, if there were any other way. Without crucified Jesus, there'd be no risen Jesus. And if he weren't raised, we would still have to face death alone. Thank God for each of these; they are each important. But… Keep the things you wrote down for those first two questions, until next week.


[email adam] acdum@hotmail.com

All scripture references from KJV unless otherwise noted

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