Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Looking at the Photograph

One brand of Christian theology proposes that God has elected only a few people to be saved and that it is them for whom He died. Another brand of Christian theology proposes that God wishes that all would be saved but that only those who will ultimately repent are the ones for whom He died.

But there is a third way. The third way is that Christ tasted death “for everyone” (Hebrews 2:9) and that, from the moment of birth—no, even before birth—He has been trying to draw everyone to Himself. The apostle John hints at this latter action when he writes in the first chapter of his Gospel that Jesus “lightens all men [and women] coming into the world” (John 1:9). This means that, no matter where you are born, where you live, what your theological views are, no matter what your life circumstances are, Christ is actively shedding light into your life and trying to draw you to Himself.

The Greek word in this context for “lighten” is photizo and it is where we get the word “photo” or “photograph.” So think of it this way: from the moment a person is born—no, I forgot again: from the moment a person is conceived—Christ is trying to show him or her a photograph of Himself.

But there’s more good news! The verb photizo is actually in the present tense in this verse—which is to say that this act of trying to draw people to Himself is not a one-time deal that Christ begrudgingly goes through to meet a requirement but an ongoing action throughout a person’s life. In other words, Christ is constantly trying to show all of us a photograph of Himself. He is constantly trying to draw us into companionship with Him.

And this is great news for us. But not only us, but also those for whom we are praying. It doesn’t cause us to sit back and do nothing for them as a result. But we can take comfort in knowing that Christ is, indeed, trying to draw them to Himself also. And now, it becomes a matter of us simply being placed in a position to help those others understand what the photograph of Christ is all about.

So take comfort. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert and people were healed by simply looking, do the same with Christ. Look at the photograph of Him and be drawn to your Savior.

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