This is part of a 10-day series on the person of Christ in the 2016 Lent study.
Image is a powerful thing.
You and I live in a unique time in history—the digital media age—where much of our communication is free, immediate, and global. We can pretty much say whatever we want, to whomever we want, whenever we want. And with the power of social media, we have a tremendous amount of control over the image we portray of ourselves.
Not long ago, a group of models and actresses began posting pictures of themselves without makeup, as a protest against the impossible standards of physical beauty their industries demanded of them. Their point was that without Photoshop, makeup, and lighting, they looked just like the rest of us.
Our beauty should be found in what we really are—not some doctored-up, false image. Our images should reveal our true selves.
Today’s Scripture passage talks about the true image of Christ. The focus, however, is not on His physical appearance, but on His divine essence. When Paul says that Jesus Christ is the “image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15) and the “exact imprint of His nature” (Hebrews 1:3), he is making the profoundly startling claim that Jesus Christ is God.
It’s a claim not everyone accepts. The religious leaders of Jesus’ time cried blasphemy at such claims (John 10:31-39), so it’s not surprising that blasphemy became the central charge levied against Jesus leading to His crucifixion (Luke 22:66-71). The problem is that the religious leaders were both right and wrong about Jesus. They were right in concluding that when Jesus said, “before Abraham was I am” (John 8:58), He was claiming to be God. But they were wrong when they judged His claim to be false.
What the Bible teaches—and what the church has upheld throughout history—is that God and man can only be reconciled through a man who is God. Only someone who could perfectly represent both the image of God and the image of man could forge the peace that is needed between the two.
Jesus demonstrated the perfect holiness of God as God.
He also represented the perfect righteousness required of man as a man.
Jesus both offered and became the perfect sacrifice for the world’s sin as the God-man, making Him the only One who could accomplish the perfect reconciliation of all things.
All of Jesus’s “I AM” statements come together to give the world the image of who He truly is—the Son of God and the Savior of sinners. “For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile everything to Himself by making peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:19-20).
Thanks be to God.
written By Nate Shurden