I recently heard a young man talking about the picture that comes to mind whenever he thinks of Jesus. I also have a picture, one of Jesus on the way to the cross, which comes to mind particularly when I am at the communion table.
However, this young man was challenged to imagine a different picture of Jesus, one with his arm around the young man. This spoke to me.
While we are filled with gratitude when we see Jesus as the crucified saviour, we also realise it was our sin that nailed him to the cross. Perhaps then, there is also a feeling of guilt.
So, what is the correct picture we should create? Is there one, or many?
The picture of Christ crucified always brings me great sadness. It reminds me of my sin that put him on the cross; but the picture of Christ-my-friend brings a sense of joy, love and appreciation of someone who is walking with me through life’s journey.
Pictures matter because they are indelibly printed on your mind, and you can reflect upon them whenever you wish.
Einstein said, ‘the true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination’. Shakespeare did not have a lot of props, but he painted word-pictures on the canvas of our minds.
There are many pictures of Christ that we can focus on: the baby born in a manger, Christ the man, his crucifixion, his resurrection, his current position in heaven, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, his triumphal return, his love for us, and the fact he calls us friends.
Each of these pictures stirs up something within us so, I encourage you to find your picture.