Summary: Communion Meditation for October 4, 2009
(Slide 1) How do you see Jesus? If you could paint a picture of Him, what would He look like?
(Slide 1a) What color eyes would you give Him?
(Slide 1b) What color hair would you give Him?
(Slide 1c) How tall would you make Him?
This past week I attended a series of lectures at Anderson University in which the presenter, Dr Rodney Sadler, Jr from Union Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina showed this picture. (Slide 2) Source: http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/research/1282186.html
It is a composite done by a retired English medical artist, Richard Neave. Neave and his team measured the skulls of Galilean remains from the time of Christ, and with a sophisticated computer program, developed this composite model of what a first century Galilean may have looked like.
The article, which was the cover story in the December 2002 Popular Mechanics concluded with this statement, “From an analysis of skeletal remains, archeologists had firmly established that the average build of a Semite male at the time of Jesus was 5 ft. 1 in., with an average weight of about 110 pounds. Since Jesus worked outdoors as a carpenter until he was about 30 years old, it is reasonable to assume he was more muscular and physically fit than westernized portraits suggest. His face was probably weather-beaten, which would have made him appear older, as well.”
(Slide 3) One of the pictures that we have often seen, and perhaps have in our homes is this one, from the work of Warner Sallman whose collection is housed at Anderson University. Take a moment and look at the differences between the two.
One of the points made in the lectures was that we often ‘see’ Christ through the lens of our own cultural background but that Jesus, when He came to earth, lived in a human body within in a particular time, place and a particular culture. And the lecturer went on to say that there is a disconnect with it that can cause us to misplace, if you will, Jesus in a way that our faith can become distorted.
I share these pictures this morning, not to upset anyone whatsoever, but to stir our hearts this morning as we consider that while living in a particular human culture; and taking on the characteristics of a particular human race in human history, Jesus is more than a picture of one culture, He is the redeemer and savior of all humanity; of all cultures.
Our text for this morning is in keeping with the emphasis of the meditation title. (Slide 4)
Our text for this morning is Isaiah 53:1-6: (Slide 5) Who has believed our message? To whom will the LORD reveal his saving power? My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot, sprouting from a root in dry and sterile ground.
(Slide 6) There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised, and we did not care.
(Slide 7) Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God for his own sins!
(Slide 8) But he was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed! All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the guilt and sins of us all.
Jesus would never be on the cover of People or GQ or in an ad for Ralph Lauren. He was too plain; too mundane to look at.
But was, and is, our savior. He was bruised for our iniquities!
As we prepare for communion in a few moments, I would have us think about (in silence) the following questions:
(Slide 9) How might I be re-making Jesus in ‘my’ own image?
• What about Jesus do I have trouble accepting?
• How might my image of Jesus need to change so that I better worship and obey the true and living Christ?
(Moments of silence)
In the day and age that Jesus lived on this earth, people had many different opinions of Him. Some thought Him to be Moses, others Elijah, and others the Devil. But Jesus was none of them!
Jesus Christ was, and is, the Son of God! He is our savior and our redeemer! By His sacrifice on the cross for us, we have the forgiveness of our sins available to us, but only through Him and no one else.
Let us give thanks to God this day for our salvation. Let us confess our sins and accept His salvation of us. Let us begin to see Jesus with new eyes as He must be seen. Let us stop making Him in our image and see Him for who He really is… Amen.