This is my Friend

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As a Christian artist I’ve drawn my fair share of “images of Christ.” Clueless as to whether they bore any resemblance at all, and really not so much thinking there was even the possibility because I have not seen the Lord in person. While I have no regrets about the images I’ve drawn and painted, a sermon from my Pastor has had my mind a little pre-occupied with the notion that I really need to sort out how I will depict Him in the future.

What really pricked my heart on the issue of His image was when the Pastor, who is such a wonderful Bible scholar, said during his sermon that many of the images of Christ resemble the images of Zeus, the Greek God. And so in true Shari form I had to google that theory. It only took one image for me to see it, and my stomach absolutely rolled over. I was nauseous at the thought that any of my art would ever depict the same. Well… knowledge is power right? So I went to a scripture reference made by the Pastor during that same sermon in the book of the Song of Solomon, chapter 5. A vivid description of Christ

Song of Songs 5:10-16 KJVS

[10] My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand. [11] His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven. [12] His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set. [13] His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh. [14] His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl: his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires. [15] His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars. [16] His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.

White and ruddy? Biblical terminology differs greatly from that of today. Most often it’s far more eloquent, but this… well for me it didn’t sound the least bit flattering. But in the day of it being composed, it was of great favor. White, as that of a lily and red as that of a rose speaks to both his divine and human nature according to commentary. The purity of white would make perfect sense, but does not speak to the color of His skin, but rather the divinity of God. The red perhaps reflects that He is a partaker of the same flesh and blood as His people.

While many, many, modern images of Christ have his hair as a light brown with highlights to be coveted that never struck me as correct, which verse 11 confirms with the description of his hair as “locks are bush, and black as a raven,” giving the impression of a corse jet black hair perhaps sparkling like gold in the sunlight as aforementioned, but certainly not blond! I googled images of Christ and not one image was that of a black haired Christ, but of the American preferred brown with streaks fo gold. Why is that I wonder?

Next in the physical description were the eyes. I love the thought of looking into the eyes of Christ, and even more so at this description of them saying “His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set.” While the color of doves eyes vary, those that I viewed were the richest brown, and the kindest…not fierce and furious but rather loving, concerned about His people.  Washed with milk I would imagine would have the clarity of the whites of His eyes. Not blood shot from lack of sleep or weariness, but rather crystal clear and sparkling as cool water. Oh how that though comforts my weary soul that too often bears bloodshot tired eyes.

His eyes were also “fitly set.” I would say the anatomy of Christ is as perfect in proportion, without flaw, without ever the need for any of our earthly mechanics of appearance fixing.

The narrative continues: His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: the commentary of John Gill aptly says perhaps in His humility His cheeks are blushed with color, He who was equal with God, yet took upon Himself the form of a servant. For me that is the greatest missing component of the body of Christ. Servitude.

There is no doubt in my mind of the significance of the next illustration of “his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.” Myrrh being one of the spices at his birth and at His death. The significance is so much deeper than my pea brain can imagine I’m sure. But I can imagine, because I have experienced the power of the words that come from the lips of Christ. His words are sweet, filled with grace and pardon, and they defend my soul against the demons of Hell who would desire that I live in the defeat of sin. Oh how true, and praise Him for His goodness throughout my life.

The body of Christ bears in it the scar that my sin have inflicted. It’s a thought I don’t like to ponder, knowing that every sin I’ve committed is cause for His pain and suffering on the cross, and my 24 hour a day, seven days a week need for grace and mercy. But this image is not one of the beaten Christ on the cross, but of the Victorious Christ who is coming again in glory!

[14] His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl: his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires. [15] His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars. [16] His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.

He is my friend… oh word. He is altogether lovely and there will be a day when those of us who know Him as Lord see Him face to face, and we’ll probably say something like… wow…. that is not what I thought You’d look like. But the world would have us attach an image that could be used now and in the future to mislead people into thinking someone is God who is not and that is the ultimate danger of images of Christ. So for now, I’ll share with you that image of the statue of Zeus. And then the image above that I doodle in ponderation of the day I will see my Lord… He who will be so much lovelier than my doodles.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeus

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Shari Johnson. (aka The Jesus Chick) has been encouraging women of faith and youth for a closer walk with Christ for over ten years. Having a burden for the leadership in American Churches, much of her writing is meant to spear on the servant of God to do more for the cause of Christ in these uncertain times. With humor, transparency and solid bible teaching Shari outlines messages that are easily understood, life applicable, and often with easily remembered points to ponder in hopes that they’ll be reflected on throughout the day and serve as encouragement on the go. Her servant’s heart is grounded in her own local church believing that it is there that the greatest impact can be made and unfortunately suffers the greatest neglect across America. Shari speaks at women’s gatherings in hopes of leaving a giggle in their soul and a burning desire to serve in their own local body of believers having it said of her “I laughed, I cried, and I was drawn to the foot of the cross…” Which is what it’s all about. For information on scheduling Shari, call her direct at (304)377-6036, message her via email at talk2shari@gmail.com or find her on Facebook!

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