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Not Your Typical Jesus



The mind thinks in pictures. Let me explain. Close your eyes and think of the word “pie.” What image is in your mind? A piece of pie? A pie chart? If you heard the word pie rather than reading it, your mind may have thought of the Greek letter and associated it with either a fraternity or a mathematical formula.

Let’s try another word, the word “light.” Your mind may be filled with an image of the sun, or a lamp, a feather, a cigarette lighter, or something else you associate with the word light.

What image comes to your mind when you hear the word Jesus? The nativity? Maybe an image of Jesus with little children? What about DaVinci’s painting of the Last Supper? Perhaps you are envisioning the image of Jesus on the cross.

The book of Revelation begins with John’s explanation of the setting and occasion for his writing. He had been banished to the island of Patmos because of his testimony of Jesus Christ. He was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day when he heard a sound. Check out his description of what he saw as he turned around.

I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance (Revelation 1:12-16, NLT).

John had personally known Jesus and had walked with him for three years. He had seen Jesus in multiple contexts and in a wide variety of settings. Undoubtedly John thought often of Jesus following his ascension and would have perhaps reflected on many of those images. But the time had come for John to release those historical images and receive a new vision of who Christ is.

I wonder if our discipleship becomes hampered because we are holding on to ancient images of Christ. There’s nothing wrong with the Christ of history, but if the only vision we have of Christ is the Christ of the gospel record then we (unintentionally) limit him to what he did 2,000 years ago. Let me encourage you to pursue a fresh vision of Christ. A good way to do that is accomplish that goad would be to give the book of Hebrews a careful read. There you will find a lot of insights to what Christ is doing today.


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