Artists throughout the centuries and filmmakers in more recent times have struggled with the dilemma of how to depict Jesus. The images they shaped may capture an aspect of Jesus or reflect the spirit of the age and the culture in which they were formed. They may also serve to distance him from us and present him frozen in time with little relevance to the lives we lead today. Yet through the ages, countless people's lives have been reshaped and redirected by him.
Once a vigorous opponent of those who followed Christ, the transformed Paul had this to say about him in the first chapter of Colossians:
15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
16 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body.
He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead.
So he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
21 This includes you who were once far away from God.
You were his enemies, separated from him
by your evil thoughts and actions.
22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself
through the death of Christ in his physical body.
As a result, he has brought you into his own presence,
and you are holy and blameless
as you stand before him without a single fault.
If you would like to read more about this, we produced a booklet in 2009 entitled "Jesus, the Full Picture".
|Jesus, the Full Picture|
"In Australia, worship is an unusual term because we don't seem to have a major religion that is synonymous with our culture. To worship is to ascribe worth to something and submit to what it asks of us, knowing it is best for us. Even though we don't find ourselves ascribing worth or submitting to a God-figure, we certainly worship and adore many things, because the human being is designed to naturally get devoted or ascribe worth to something. Right now, consider honestly what it is you worship or adore?
As human beings, we are designed to grow and learn from outside ourselves. No one comes fully equipped for life from the moment they are born. We are not robots. A God-figure must be more than mere human to be our guide and certainly must be more than a mere physical object or philosophical concept. We need the something we worship to provide answers to questions like these:
What is our purpose in life? How should we live our life? What is the right and wrong way to act? What are the attitudes and legacy we should be passing on to our children?
How do we figure out life after death? Where did we come from? Why has my life turned out the way it has? What do I do to find liberation from past mistakes?
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