Certain pictures always capture my attention. This picture was taken on the set of “The Passion of the Christ.” A little break in the filming.
What’s the first thing that comes to our mind when you see this picture? Like most of us, I live in some eagerness to have a conversation with Christ someday. Things I would ask, what I might say. But when I look at this picture and if I knew He would look like this when I had my chance, I know the content of that conversation would change a little… a lot…
My first reaction to this photo has always been me explaining to Jesus how hard life has been. With me almost completely unaware of how bloody he is while listening intently to me. At the center of my universe is me and my struggle. A universal struggle in the story of humanity.
This picture inspires me to ponder the nature of Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet did not sin.” The nature of connection and how much we seek that out with people and how God sought that out with us. To reconcile us back to him even though we were the ones who walked away.
I have a young friend who came to church, responded to God, yet over time has become cynical to everything, and everyone related to the One we celebrate this weekend. A God of infinite resources who recognized a problem that only He could solve. The solution was with the shedding of blood just like He had always talked about in the Old Testament. Without the “shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.” God didn’t ask us to solve the problem we created, giving creedance to the saying, “what we attain too cheaply, we esteem too lightly. It is dearness only that gives anything value” Thomas Paine
The expectation was for a perfect spotless lamb without defect. Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
It always makes me wonder how someone could be upset about the idea that the problem we as people created, could be solved through the personal sacrifice of the One who was never the source of the problem, only the solution. To have so much venom for the one who stepped into the darkness to be and bring the light. To hear the good news of what God has done and not reach for terms of endearment, but rather contempt. Adventures in missing the point to say the least.
If the Jesus pictured above were to sit across from you today, what would you say? What would I say? I think I know for me, and I would tell you but that might keep you from forming your own response which would be the greatest part of this exercise…
What I love most about this picture is the intensity with which Jesus is listening in this picture, in spite of what’s obviously happening to Him. Thank you for hearing, loving, seeing me, may I live that way too.