Picturing Jesus

“Welcome Home” Copyright 2011 Danny Hahlbohm
Over the centuries, many have speculated what Jesus looks like. Artists have created stained glass depictions of the Lord as well as paintings like Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” Artwork like this can minister to people. On the night of my conversion, I saw this painting in the home of my sister and her husband. To this day, it holds a special place in my heart. It’s a reminder of how much the Lord loves us.

Recently I turned down a friend request from a young man whose Facebook page promoted religious ideas that go beyond mainstream Christianity. Among them was criticism of Christians having artwork of Jesus. This man considers that idolatry. Let’s examine the Second Commandment… 

“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” 
- Exodus 20:4-5 (KJV)

One could misinterpret this passage as a complete prohibition of statues and pictures of any living thing. Other translations clarify verse 4 forbids the worship of them. The Holman Christian Standard Bible renders it as “Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth.” The Amplified Bible, Classic Edition says, “You shall not make yourself any graven image [to worship it]…”

If the Lord walked the earth today, I don’t think He’d object to people wanting selfies of Him. The Savior might even have His own Facebook page. However, I believe it would be idolatry if one were to bow down and worship photos of Him. The Lord wants to have a personal relationship with each of us. That can’t be done with an image.

“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” 
- John 4:24

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