Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

03/27/2019

Jeff Grisham

 

A Picture of Jesus

 

  There is precious little in Scripture about how Jesus looked. In Isaiah 53:1-2, we find that there seems to be nothing special about the physical appearance of Jesus. Other than that, we have nothing. Scholars and artists over the centuries have attempted to give us an impression of what he may have looked like, but we don’t really know for sure. Maybe the most detailed description of Jesus that we have in Scripture is found in Revelation 1:12-16.

 

  Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. (Rev.1:12-16 ESV)

 

  This is quite a picture, isn’t it? This is not the pale and emaciated figure that we see in paintings of Jesus from the Middle Ages. This is not the meek and calm face we see in many other artists’ portrayals of our Lord. This was exactly the picture of Jesus that the recipients of Revelation needed to see. It was a vision of Jesus that John needed to see. This vision needed to be seen by people who were being surrounded by the political power of the day, people who were losing everything because of their allegiance to Jesus, and people who may have been beginning to wonder if following Jesus was worth it. John records this vision for them in order to let them know exactly who it is that they follow. The white hair symbolizing his eternal nature, the eyes that see all that is happening, the feet that are able to crush all enemies, the sword of his mouth by which he judges, and his presence among his people all let John’s readers know that Jesus is able to sustain and defend them.

 

  This is a picture of Jesus that many of us need to see today. It seems we are bombarded by temptation every day. Some may be in a constant battle with addiction. Some may be in a place where the relationships that should be the most secure are being threatened by the effects of sin. We may be struggling to the point that we wonder if following Jesus is worth it. John says, “Look at the picture. Jesus can help you overcome.”

 

  We look around in our communities and in our nation and see the marginalization of Christianity and wonder what may happen next. John says, “Look at the picture.” This picture shows us that Jesus is present with is followers. He sees what is happening. He is able to take care of his own. He is the proof that not even death can stop those who belong to him.

 

  We have to deal with suffering and loss. We hurt and we struggle, and sometimes it looks as if the world around us has an easier road. Where is God in our suffering? Where is Jesus in the midst of my struggles? Does he even care? John says, “Look at the picture.” He is with us. He sees us. He knows what suffering is like. He suffered as one of us, and for all of us. May God help us to remember that this same Jesus that John shows us here is the same Jesus that came and lived and walked among his creation, and who died and was raised again in order to save us. May God help us to always remember that following Jesus is absolutely worth it because he is the only one who can say, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” (Revelation 1:17-18 ESV)

 

—JEFF GRISHAM