Can you generally tell which one is Jesus is in a picture book for children, or in a portrait on someone’s wall?
Of course you can. As plain as everyone else may look, Jesus always looks better. His face is fuller, his eyes more radiant…
There’s typically a kind of beauty or majesty that attracts us to him, isn’t there? Something about his appearance that makes us desire him…
You can tell just by looking at him that this one is the Son of God, can’t you?
I am concerned about what we may be teaching our children through the influence of these pictures of Jesus. Basically, we’re teaching them the opposite of what the Holy Spirit says.
I have never seen a picture of Jesus that is faithful to the Scriptures:
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
Do we understand what the Holy Spirit is telling us? Jesus was ugly. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him.
Yet when he spoke, it was the very words of God. And everything he did was good and right.
I am afraid that by constantly exposing our children to pictures of a winsome Jesus, we are training their minds to look at the outward appearance — training them to be vulnerable to handsome frauds like King Saul.
The pictures of Jesus are sometimes so sentimentalized that Jesus is fuzzy-looking. Here’s fuzzy Jesus and his fuzzy disciples toddling out to a little boat in a little lake…
I’ve never seen a fuzzy Jesus say anything full of that foreign kind of love called agape that we need in our hearts, like “I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all likewise perish!” or “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!”
Well, you say, isn’t that a bit much to expect for children’s books?
Ok, so maybe we teach the fuzzy side of Jesus when they’re little and add the “hard” side later.
How did that work for us?
In our hearts don’t we even now think of that fuzzy Jesus? When we read his woes and his unless you repents and his you are children of your father the devils, don’t we even in our adulthood knit our brows and say, “That’s not the fuzzy Jesus I know” ?
We do. I do.
(This doesn’t even address the question of the second commandment, which also weighs on me regarding these pictures of Jesus.)
Brothers and sisters, I don’t think we’re serving our children by feeding them these false pictures of our Lord.
And yet… these picture Bibles seem so helpful. What’s important?
Discussions and decisions need to happen.