The Picture of God

Pictures of so important to many of us.  Do you remember ever looking a pictures of your mom or dad in order to enjoy remembering what they were like?  Most of us have a photo of a loved one, because it somehow captures who that person is. The popular saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words coveys that we communicate with pictures sometimes more effectively that with words.  We even think in pictures.  Let me ask another question: “where would you find a picture of God that would capture the essence of God?”  What would you expect to see? A Victorian painting of a blond hair blue eyed Jesus?  An old guy, who looks a bit like your granddad, sitting on a throne?  A great white light?

I believe that you would see as you approach the frame of God’s picture the image of a barbarous execution of a man (Luke 23:13-55) – A picture of Jesus is the perfect picture of God (Col. 1:15).  Even the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message says, “All Scripture [OT & NT] is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.”

How does seeing Jesus as the perfect picture of God affect our lives?

Well for one thing, I think that believing Jesus is the picture of God helps us read the entire Bible in a Christ-centered way.  Jesus said this himself (John 5:39, Luke 24:44-48).  Philip saw this (John 1:45).  Peter recognized this (1 Pet. 1:10-12).  Paul knew this (2 Cor. 1:20).  Now we need to be careful.  Some people use this truth as a license to misinterpret scripture.  When you read any passage of Scripture, you should always be asking How does this passage show us Jesus who is the image of God?”.  I see Luke 24:46-47 providing a helpful template.  Peter Krole says that every [part] of Scripture reveals Jesus by explaining at least one of the following truths: 1) The Messiah would suffer (die); 2) The Messiah would rise from the dead; 3) We must repent of our sin and be forgiven; 4) This message (that the Messiah’s death and resurrection make forgiveness actual) must be preached to all nations.

In my Bible reading, I normally ask these 2 questions:

  1. What does this text reflect about the nature of God who provides redemption?
  2. What does this text reflect about the nature of humanity that requires redemption?

Here’s my key point: We must first understand the main point of an Old Testament passage before we can connect it to Jesus.  Jesus isn’t necessarily in every detail, but his message is there.  So as we read the bible and apply to our lives, make sure you are looking for the “True Image of God” – Jesus.

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