Thursday, September 26, 2013

That Great Truth (with pictures!)

Close your eyes just for a moment and picture Christ in your mind. Seriously, go ahead and do it now before reading on.

‘The Lord [God] said to my Lord [Jesus],
“Sit at My right hand,Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." (Acts 2:34-36).

Now close your eyes and do it again, only with the verse above in mind.

Any difference?

All too often we fall into the trap of picturing Christ as a weak, kind of feminine, suffering Man of Sorrows. Far too often the image we have of Christ is one in need of our sympathy, who will forgive us our sins but has no real power. Many times, our image of Jesus goes something like this:

or this:

Now don't get me wrong. I am not trying to dehumanize Christ. He felt human sorrows and felt human pain and was tempted in every way just as we are.  When Lazarus died Jesus wept even though He would bring him back to life. He truly suffered heading towards and on the cross. Living the human experience was by no means a cakewalk for the Savior of the world.

However, we cannot stop there. Jesus did not stay on the cross. He was not a weak, effeminate wallflower who always spoke softly and gently to every person He came across. He flipped over tables and drove animals out of the temple courtyard, He blasted the religious leaders with words I don't think anyone would call "tolerant." He even shut down His own disciples and spoke in such a way at one point that many quit following Him because they didn't want to give what He said it would require.

He lived a human life, He died a human life, but He did not end there. Christ rose again. He came back in power, and He ascended to Heaven to the right hand of God. Jesus is one with God. Perhaps we would do well to remember that. 

The images above make it easy for us to feel sorry for or want to give our sympathy to Christ. But we don't worship a Christ on the cross. We don't worship a weak-willed man. We worship a risen Savior who rules over everything in the universe.

So instead of getting stuck on picturing Jesus as those images above, maybe we could picture Him closer to how He is now.

Maybe something like this:
or this:

or this:

Instead of going through the mental hoops of figuring out how to give Christ our sympathy, how to feel sorry for Him and feeling bad because of what He had to do in order to save us from our sins, we can realize that He is above all and over all and has more power and glory than we could ever possibly comprehend. Is it terrible the things that Christ suffered? Yes. Is is heartbreaking to think that He had to do so because I could not? Yes. Is that where I end my thoughts and meditations on Christ? Absolutely not.

This is That Great Truth. All things in Heaven, on Earth, and under the Earth have been put under Jesus' control and authority. We live on His Time in His Kingdom in His Age. He is the Christ Victorious. He speaks and Heaven and Earth obey Him. He tolerates the wickedness in this world only so that more may be saved by His blood. 

Furthermore, we live because He lives. We live in the Victory of Christ the Risen Savior. We worship the One True Man who is also the One True God. Let us recognize That Great Truth and live in the Power that only He can provide.

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