Thursday, February 21, 2013

Do You Really Know Jesus?

Welcome back everybody! A lot of stuff has happened this past week! First of all, as usual, it’s time for updates!

“The King on a Cross” Easter production is coming along greatly! We have the many of the previous missing parts filled: Simon Peter, Mary Magdalene, a total of four Roman soldiers, a total of two angels and a nicely sized crowd. Praise the Lord we got all those parts filled! If we didn’t, well, we are sort of only six weeks from showtime! The play is scheduled for March 29th and 30th. The exact time is to be determined. Please come to Leptondale Bible Church to see our re-enactment of one of the most compelling moments in history – when Jesus, who became man, died for our sins on a cross of Calvary so that we may have eternal life through Him and Him alone!

I am still working hard to finish my latest stop-motion movie project: “Planet of the Dinosaurs”. As you might recall, the photos for the first three episodes (“Out of Africa”, “The Tropical Poles” and “Back to the Jurassic”) are all taken. So that makes these episodes about 50% finished. Currently I am working on the fourth of the sixth episodes of the series: “Asian Marvels”. I expect to have it all finished by the 28th if not sooner. The series as a whole is roughly 26% finished and Lord willing, it should be completed during the month of April. I hope so! I am so excited! Here’s another piece of information you might like to know: each episode is hopefully going to stretch about thirty to forty-five minutes each. Here is my latest clip for you to enjoy, it will take you back in time to prehistoric Mongolia, 4,900 years ago:

If you were to go out and ask people you run into on the street what Jesus Christ looks like, they would probably describe Him to look something like this:

Or this:

Or maybe this:

But the real question is: do we really know what He looked like? We have to remember that even though these paintings of “Jesus” are wonderful in terms of quality, they were painted by people who lived a long time after Jesus was on earth and therefore didn’t really see Him. In most pictures of Jesus, we see Him as a majestic looking man with long straight hair and a kind looking gesture on his face. There are a few problems with this idea – the most obvious being his lineage!

While Jesus is 100% God, He is also 100% man, so He has human ancestry . . . sort of, but not in the way we think of “family relations”. You will recall from the first few chapters of Matthew and Luke that Jesus was born of a virgin’s (or Mary’s) womb, so therefore He wouldn’t have human relations the way we think of relations (I hope I’m making sense, if not, please send me an email addressed to Jesus’ human “lineage” was Hebrew, so He would probably have looked like a Hebrew. Hebrew people don’t normally have long straight hair!

The one and only way we can know anything about what Jesus looked like is to look in God’s Word – the Bible. But the Bible doesn’t say much about Jesus’ physical appearance. In fact, I encourage you to try find a verse in the New Testament that describes His appearance. So while the New Testament is (at least for the most part) silent about Jesus’ appearance, the Old Testament gives us sneak peeks, and believe me, they don’t look anything like most pictures drawn by artists – famous and non-famous alike!

The sections to look in to find out what Jesus was like and what he really looked like is Isaiah 42:1-4, 52:13 and 53:1-3. Here they are:

Isaiah 42:1-4: “Here is My Servant, whom I uphold, my chosen One in whom I delight; I will put My Spirit on Him, and He will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out. In faithfulness He will not falter or be discouraged till He establishes justice on earth. In His teaching the islands will put their hope.

Isaiah 52:13: “See, My Servant will act wisely; He will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.

Isaiah 53:1-3: “Who has believed out message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces, He was despised, and we held Him in low esteem.

The book of Isaiah was written hundreds of years before Jesus walked the earth. Yet, even though it doesn’t say His exact name, we know for a fact that the Isaiah, the human author of this book was describing the Messiah. But how would Isaiah know anything about Jesus if He hadn’t seen it happen? The answer is simple: Isaiah (who was a prophet) was inspired by God while writing this! In Isaiah 53: 1-3, it mentioned how Jesus “ . . . had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him.” Now, when we look at those pictures of Jesus that are often found on church walls, do they reflect what Isaiah says about Jesus’ appearance? Do the pictures show Jesus looking like a majestic man with long flowing hair? NO WAY, HOE-SAY! So where on earth did the artists who painted those Jesus pictures get their ideas from?

So if Jesus’ appearance didn’t draw people to Him, what did? Well, if you read your Bible often, you will recall dozens of verses that say what you look like on the outside doesn’t matter at all! Take a look at Proverbs 31:30 – “Charm is deceptive, and beauty if fleeting . . .”. The rest of the verse talks about how a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised, but the first half of this verse applies to guys like Jesus too.

So should we really care what Jesus looked like on the outside? “Yes” and no.
“Yes” is sort of a pseudo-answer. Why? Well because we as Christians should not be focused on building our “image” of Jesus based on the pictures we see. In other words, we should be worshiping Christ as Himself, not as a picture that some guy who hadn’t seen Jesus made!
“No” because Jesus’ character is what matters. And we as Christians should use Him as our example to live our lives by. You can read about Christ-like behaviors, or “Fruit of the Spirit” as they’re often called, to form in Galatians 5:22: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance (patient), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” These actions that Christ displayed and we as Christians should display them too and “. . . let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven,” Matthew 5:16.

We sure went through a lot today! Please be sure to stop by next week for more cool things to learn about. Bye!

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