My new blog header—the photo collage at the top of each page—represents the life of Christ in five snapshots. Not actual pictures of course, but artists’ renderings of different moments in Jesus’ life. I chose these five because they each mean something special to me. I suppose if I had more room, I could have shown dozens of meaningful glimpses into the life of Jesus, so why these five?
“In the beginning…” is how the Bible begins and how John gets his gospel account started. It is significant that when John begins to tell the story of Jesus he doesn’t talk about Jesus the baby but rather Jesus the beginning. This is re-creation in John’s gospel. The incarnation of God is as dramatic and life-changing as when God spoke light into existence. Ah, the Light of the world—another link between Jesus and creation in John’s gospel account. But it’s hard to show a picture of “in the beginning” or even of light. And since Matthew and Luke both take considerable time to tell the story of Jesus’ birth, that’s my first picture of the life and ministry of Jesus. God became like us, not as a king, but as a baby lying in a manger.
Jesus Cleansing the Temple:
There is some uncertainty about if this event happened early in Jesus’ ministry, near the end of Jesus’ ministry, or on two different occasions. Whenever it happened, it must have been an amazing display! In John 2:13-17, we are told that Jesus’ disciples remembered that it was written “Zeal for your house will consume me” in Psalm 69. And so we witness in this account a great event which tells us a lot about Jesus. He is outraged when he sees people being cheated and robbed—especially in the name of religion. He is holy and will not allow God’s house to be profaned. He is willing to go against the grain and to defy the powers that be if necessary to proclaim the coming of God’s kingdom. Jesus came on a mission, and not everybody who encountered him went home happy.
This episode comes from John 13. Unlike the previous episode, this one was out of public view and is told to us by one who was there. It shocked at least some of them when Jesus got up from the Last Supper with his disciples, took the dress and posture of a servant, and began washing their feet. How humbling. The Son of God is preparing himself for crucifixion and he takes time to wash the feet of men who will all forsake him in a few short hours. The power of his actions grows not only out of the menial task he undertakes but also because of the magnificent task which rapidly approaches. His humility and authority, His love and grace…they form a cord which cannot be unraveled, and we see them all working in unison here. A God who serves.
Dying on the Cross:
In reality the crucifixion of Jesus is an image not nearly as glorious as the one depicted in the picture I chose. The reality of the crucifixion must have been horrific. It’s too violent and mind-numbing to be repeated here, and I don’t like talking about it. It makes me feel guilty and ashamed that Jesus endured all that for me. But how could we show the life of Christ in snapshots and leave out the cross? It happened nearly two thousand years ago, and it still holds power over us. The Son of God, the perfect Lamb, the Holy One let himself die for our sins. The most tragic death in the history of the world. That’s what this would have been if not for…
On the third day after his death, Jesus Christ was brought back to life. I know it sounds impossible; it should. It isn’t the way things usually happen—not three days later! But it did. Hundreds of people witnessed the resurrected Christ, and we have multiple accounts today that attest to the truthfulness of the claim that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead! The tomb was found empty! I can only imagine what those women felt like who first peered into the empty tomb and and shortly thereafter encountered the risen Christ. Fear? Confusion? Joy? Amazement? Wonder? They experienced all these things, I would think. He is risen from the dead! Christ overcame the power of death! This is what makes him my Lord and my Savior.
So what about you? If you had to pick five snapshots to describe the life of Christ, what would they be? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Just leave a comment if you feel like it, and we’ll see what we can learn together.
God bless you,