In our children’s church, Kingdom Kids, we’re learning how to use faith in our everyday lives – at home with family, at school with friends, at church. Last week, we learned about having faith despite the things that we can see and touch. We began this journey by jumping into our time-machines and flying back in time to get to know the man that we, as Christians, have put our entire faith in: Jesus.
We posed this simple question to the kids: What did Jesus look like when he was on earth?
In preparation for this class, I went home and asked myself the same question. I knew He had to be different from all the movies that I’ve seen, but was I prepared for the “real thing”? I went on the Internet and found a research paper written by forensic anthropologists (scientists who work with human remains to determine ethnicity and uncover information about how the person lived and died based on their bones). These forensic anthropologists gathered data from skeletal remains from Jesus’ time frame and the place where He was raised and used computer graphics to build a face that would more accurately resemble Jesus and the people of His time. My reaction? WHAT??? THAT IS NOT JESUS! THEY ARE LYING! WHAT DO THOSE SCIENTISTS KNOW ABOUT ANYTHING? I bucked up pretty hard against…a picture? What if they were right and Jesus really did look like this picture? Did it change what He did for me? Does it change the truth about God’s Word? I felt so embarrassed! Oh, this was going to be a great class!
Throughout the morning, the kids made Jesus-Heads that all pretty much looked the same. Pale, translucent white-skin. Blue-eyes that would make your heart flutter. Long, flowing blond hair, just like the hair in the Herbal Essence commercials. The kids took a vote and decided which of their Jesus pictures was the closest resemblance to the “real” Jesus.
We sat them all down and held up a traditional picture of Jesus. YEP, THAT’S HIM RIGHT THERE! It looked just like all of their Jesus-heads. Then, we showed them the picture the scientists drew based on the evidence they have found. Mouths dragged the floor! They jumped up out of their chairs! They yelled at us! They argued! They might even have been foaming at the mouth! They all but cussed us out! THAT’S NOT JESUS…HE’S GOT DARK SKIN! HE DIDN’T LOOK LIKE THAT! THAT’S NOT HOW HE LOOKS IN THE JESUS VIDEOS THAT I HAVE AT MY HOUSE! JESUS HAS WHITE SKIN AND BLUE EYES AND BLOND HAIR AND….
Immediately, the kids’ reactions reminded me of myself. Last year during Seeking Time, I asked God to help me strengthen my faith. And you know what? He did! Before I knew it, my sisters and I were certified foster parents in the state of Georgia. We were “Mamas” to FOUR of our little cousins. My responsibilities at church changed and expanded. I started a second job and barely had enough time to watch CSI on T.V.! WHAT??? Was God serious? I didn’t ask Him for that! I asked Him to strengthen my faith, not give me gray hairs before I turned 30! It was suppose to be easy! I argued! I yelled! I foamed at the mouth! I called Him a Liar because my picture of Him helping me strengthen my faith didn’t line up with HIS picture. After the resistance, I’ve learned how to trust God in ways that I never knew that I could. My life has changed FOREVER for the better because I accepted His picture for my life instead of the one I thought I should have!
Those kids in Kingdom Kids left our class expressing a wide range of emotions. Some held fast to their traditional view of Jesus. Some left accepting that He probably did look differently than what they thought. When the picture of what you think and know about yourself and your life is challenged by God’s picture, plan and truth, what is your reaction? Do you quit and give up? Do you yell at God? Do you argue with Presbytery? Do you foam at the mouth? Or do you accept the new image and try to be conformed to it? Think about that the next time you pass that picture of Jesus hanging on your wall!