What Does Jesus Look Like?
When you picture Jesus, what do you see? Let us know in the comments! Here's our latest blog post from our Youth Minister Jonathan Schnarr.
Have you ever wondered what Jesus looks like as he sits on the throne in heaven, surrounded by angels and spiritual beings who continually worship him 24/7?
Maybe our imagination is impacted by novels, children’s books or mythology and we picture a white cloud with an elderly grandad and a flowing beard…
As part of our Impact & Impact+ youth discipleship groups on a Thursday and Sunday evening, we are reading through the book of Revelation at the moment. Last week we looked at the very first chapter which describes John’s vision of Jesus (I would really encourage you to have a read yourself – and maybe continue in chapter 4&5 as well).
After a long discussion about what having a “double-edged-sword-tongue” would be like (how do you drink without swallowing the sword? How do you prevent injuring yourself when you speak or chew?...) I got struck by the majestic description of this godly figure.
John is seeing Jesus in all His glory, shining so bright John can barely stand in His presence. And while John’s own language fails to really describe what he sees, suddenly Jesus reaches down and places his right hand on John’s shoulder, reassuring him and reminding him who He is: The Alpha and Omega, the Living One, alive forever with the power over life and death (Revelation 1:17-18).
As we were studying this passage, I realised that, sometimes, I 'narrow down' Jesus in my prayers to make him more accessible: I use language such as friend, father, Lord or even dad because that’s how I naturally relate to God - but in light of Revelation, they don’t really capture Jesus’ character at all. God is so much bigger and better, more majestic, powerful and greater than I can ever begin to describe or imagine. Jesus really is the beginning and the end – yet he knows me inside out and draws close to me in my excitement as well as my sorrows. I needed to be reminded that our God, the Creator of the universe doesn’t fit in a neat little box, but instead blows all our categories out of proportion.
One way Christians throughout history have tried to comprehend God’s character, is through negation (also called apophatic theology). Recognising that God is far more than 'good,' we could say that God is NOT evil and instead of saying that he is beautiful (because he is incredibly beautiful and even more than that) we could say he is NOT ugly. Since the first century, some Christians have used this way to inform their worship, to prevent themselves from 'narrowing down' an awesome God and to draw closer to him.
I want to challenge you this week to reflect on God’s character as you read through Revelation 1: How could you describe God’s character and do you find it helpful to draw close to him by reflecting on everything God is NOT? Let us know how you are finding this slightly different way of worshipping our God, YHWH (Yahweh), this week. Jonathan (Youth Minister)
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