Will the Real Jesus Show Up?

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.

Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.

10 Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. 11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. 12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. 13 But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, 14 for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said,

“Awake, O sleeper,
rise up from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.”

Ephesians 5:1-14

20191019-DSC09808

Arkansas Lake | Hensley, AR | October 2019

We were at a Billy Joel concert just two years ago. He is a talented musician, although his music doesn’t reflect the best Christian virtues. That, however, is not the reason for mentioning him. Near the beginning of the concert, Billy looked up at the large Jumbotron screen above the stage. He did a double take, and then said, “Hi Dad!”

I know the feeling. There are also times when I look at my face and see my dad staring me in the mirror. I’m not really sure how I feel about that – except that he was a good father, husband, and Christian man. He died when he was 64 so I’ve outlived him by several years already now.

God wants us to be his imitators, reflections of his character and attitude toward people and the whole of creation. We don’t really know what God looks like. In fact, it’s likely that we don’t really have a good idea of what Jesus of Nazareth looked like. But I’m almost positive that he did not look like a caucasian with blond hair and blue eyes.

I remember when I first encountered a picture of a black Jesus. I was incensed. How dare they!?! Interesting that I never had that reaction to a white, blond haired blue eyed Jesus. Some researchers have concluded that Jesus may have looked like this construct based on anthropological and archaeological studies.

real-Jesus

What the real face of Jesus might have looked like based on research of 1st century skulls. It’s all speculation, but interesting nonetheless.

Who knows what he really looked like. And no one has seen God apart from Jesus – God in the flesh. We are left, therefore, with a call to imitate God as a call to reflect his nature, character, desires, and purpose in the world. We’ll never do that perfectly, but the calling is clear.

This is why we are to avoid sexual immorality, for such behavior only uses other people. It is not true love.

This is why we are to avoid crude language and rather give thanks to God, for he is the giver of everything, and we honor him when we acknowledge as much.

That is why we are to shine the light of God’s love and truth on ourselves and the world. That way we expose our need for the mercy and forgiveness of God, and enlighten the people around us about truth, grace, love, kindness, holiness, and justice.

I have been told that my sons bear a strong likeness to me. I suppose that may be true. I hope, however, that they bear an even greater likeness to my love for God, my faith in him, and my hopes for their and their children’s eternal wellbeing.

2 comments
  1. dianne moses said:

    Dear Pastor Bahn, I am certain that you often have a thankful response to your Reflections and mine will only be one of many, but I must tell you that you brought back a memory of my first learning of Jesus and our Father in Heaven when at the age of four, my maternal grandmother took me to her Methodist church and there I was told of Jesus and our Father in Heaven, a Father who loved me and who I could talk to and who answered children’s prayers. I was so excited and I could hardly wait for bedtime and for bedtime prayers when I could ask my newly found Father in Heaven to bring my earthly Daddy home to me! It would be 29 years before that would happen for unknown to me and my family that longed for Daddy was enduring those long ago electric shock treatments in a mental hospital and would one day be one of the 20% of patients to be able to live outside of an institution in society and have a fully functioning life! I truly believe that my childhood prayers were heard and were answered for that earthly Daddy would prove to become my role model of strength of faith and love! I would only have him in my life for eleven years before his passing, but he was a great blessing for me and my children. His loving smile remains in my memory to this day. Thank you for bringing this memory to mind in this early morning hour, Pastor.

    God bless you, always Dianne Moses

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • Greetings Dianne! Good to hear from you. I’m so thankful for your personal note and story of God’s touch on your heart. Keep praying! Your name comes up on my calendar from time to time with a note: Pray for Dianne Moses. So I do! Best to you in Jesus! DLB

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