‘He is the divine portrait, the true likeness of the invisible God and the firstborn heir over all creation.’ (Colossians 1:15 – The Passion Translation)
We have been painting portraits for generations. A portrait is a depiction of a person, specifically their head, face and shoulders. It’s a way of recording for future generations an image of the likeness of people of note – lovers, artists (self-portraits), royal people, barons… Or even in some cases, the face of poverty.
With our smartphones, we now have instant portraits and selfies, capturing the moment in time as it happens. Recording it onto Facebook or Instagram as a lasting etch in time for all to see.
But these original artists, painting portraits of noteable people, spent hours defining detail, highlighting significant features, trying to capture the moment of a person’s life and to record their beauty and grandeur for the world to see.
‘He (Jesus) is the divine portrait…’ The Passion Translation of the Bible draws out of familiar words an artistic impression of God’s portrait (or self portrait). For generations God’s people prayed, ‘show us your face’ or ‘show us your glory’. All of the epiphanies of the Old Testament, – including Moses encounter in the cleft of the rock, where he could only see God after he had passed by; Abraham’s encounter with the three visitors; the glory of God that burst into the Temple following Solomon’s dedication; Jacob’s wrestling match with God; Gideon’s angelic visitation whilst in a winepress:- cannot compare to the portrait that God painted of His life in Jesus.
And it was in Jesus, that the Father, chose to fully show His face – his portrait was complete. It was a portrait of two kinds: divinity and humanity.
The portrait of Jesus shows us the complete picture of God and what He is like but also the portrait of every aspect of human experience… Love, joy, sorrow, hope, anger, compassion, mercy, death, resurrection… without the blemishes or corruption of fallen humanity: rather a glimpse of true humanity, lived out in the glory of relationship with God.
It took a human lifetime of 33 years to craft a painting so beautiful and complete that, whoever looks at that portrait with intent finds a God so irresistible that their lives are transformed from glory to glory.
This is the portrait that changed my life… And can change yours too.
God bless you