By Daniel Downs
Over the past five years, a number of people claim seeing Jesus or an image of Jesus. It is believed that the Shroud of Turin (Jesus burial cloth) bears the image of Jesus. Photos of the image reveals a facial image. In 2008, people in Kingsville Texas saw an image on a water tower that looked like the face of Jesus. The local news report not only interviews those who saw “Jesus” but also shows pictures of it. Recently, Sun News, a U.K. newspaper, reported the discovery of an image of Jesus located somewhere in Eastern Hungary. His image was captured by the Google Earth satellite. More interesting is a report by the U.K. newspaper, Daily Mail Online, in which a sonogram reveals an image of Jesus. The young pregnant nurse was so amazed that she and her husband gave their son the biblical name Joshua.
What do all of these and many other reports like them mean?
For many like the young nurse who was experiencing a difficult pregnancy, the image of Jesus gives reassurance that God is present. These images of Jesus are a sign of God’s present. The images of Jesus offers people hope that during difficult times things will work out. The appearances of Jesus’ images reminds people of God’s grace through the one who not only died to redeem them from the consequences of their sins but who is alive today helping them live God’s way in the present.
Yet, the Bible teaches some deeper than this. It teaches that the image God wants to see is not in shrouds, in fine paintings, in fields, and not even in sonograms. He wants to see the image of Jesus in all of us. The image of Jesus is the original. It is the image and likeness of Himself created to be reflected by us. We do bear the physical representation of His image. The problem is the lack of His likeness lived by us. We fall short of the glory of God because we all have or do act in godless ways. Violence, war, envy, hate, greed, manipulation, selfishness, perversion, lying, deceiving, stealing, cursing, and the like are the daily behavior of human beings. Jesus is the opposite picture. The image of Jesus is the likeness that God seeks in us.
Easter is a celebration of Jesus’ willingness to be made the source of our renewal in the image and likeness of God. Jesus had to die in order for God to acquit us of our moral crimes, and his resurrection was necessary for our renewal. For it is the power of the resurrection by the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead at work in our lives that empowers to live God’s way. Through this same Sprit of Christ, we will be renewed to the image and likeness of God, and that is our glory.