Thursday, August 23, 2012

"Touching up" Jesus' image

You have to see it believe it: an elderly lady in Spain became concerned about how a 19th century painting of Jesus in her church was becoming more and more worn out, with paint peeling away in places. Her solution? Take a brush and pallet in hand and fix it up herself. You can see the “results.” It’s uncertain whether the art can ultimately be repaired from the attempted repair. The irony: according to news reports, the granddaughter of the artist had already given money to the church for a professional restoration; the would-be Rembrandt was unaware of it.
There’s spiritual lesson here. How many times have we worried about how to present Jesus to others, through our words or lives—or conversely, given it no thought at all—and wound up “touching up” His image to others? We like to think that only cults are good at giving people “another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4; cf. Galatians 1:9). But when we “touch up” Jesus’ image with manmade rules and traditions, or focus only on one aspect of our Lord Jesus that gives an imbalanced view, we could well be giving others around us a very distorted image of Him that tops even the botched painting “restoration.”
One key to avoiding this: have Paul’s hunger of wanting to know Jesus more each day: “…that I may know Him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death… (Philippians 3:10, ESV). By spending time with Jesus each day in the Word and prayer—however we practice this—we will be sure to give others around us an untainted image that will draw them to Him.

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