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Remove Cultural Stereotypes From Our Worship

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Google “Jesus” and in addition to bible verses, you will see countless images depicting our Lord and Saviour as a Caucasian male. You will see a few images of him with Mediterranean features, even less with him as an African and none of him as Asian or Mongolian. That said. All and any use of images depicting Jesus in any ethnicity is idolatry. Whatever the reason, we have been commanded to not do it, so let’s stop. Be encouraged. 

 

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below”. Deuteronomy 5:8

 

Whenever you read the Ten Commandments you can’t miss this one, it’s right near the top. So why do we persist in using images (pictures) of Caucasian males to depict Jesus?

 

One of Jesus’s disciples refused to believe Jesus had risen unless he could put his finger in the holes left by the nails. Jesus allowed him the practical experience of placing his finger in the holes left by the nails, but said this, “blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe” John 20:29. Jesus knew there‘s going to be many generations that would not see him in a physical body. 

 

There is power in the name (not image) of Jesus to break every chain!! There’s an army rising up; let’s shake off the yoke of idolatry and fear and take our place in the rising. 

 

Now don’t think I’m upset, I’m not, I’m just shocked that, the church could be so blinded by the prince of this world, to reinforce a stereotype that serves zero spiritual purpose. 

 

On a guided tour of Rome, the guide explained that before Christianity arrived in Europe, the people worshipped idols. However when Christianity arrived, one idol was maintained to help people understand their new God. Is the guide’s story is true, I don’t know. But what is true; the depiction of Jesus follows the practice to depict other gods… Think.

 

I have defended the church when some friends have pointed out the obvious – it’s idolatry Roy. Partly because I really didn’t want to entertain the thought that the church could be maintaining idolatry over Spirit and TRUTH. 

 

However the more I see images being used even in our own church, the more I am burdened with the question – are these images Spirt and TRUTH; or culture and idolatry? Clearly they are not Spirit and Truth. So what is the purpose of their use? I really cannot find a positive purpose. 

 

Clues informing us that using images is completely wrong, exists in the gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all lived, walked and talked with Jesus. In their gospels, why did they not provide a detailed description of Jesus?

 

They were more than capable, their detailed descriptions of the miracles Jesus performed have made movies. They could easily describe the features of Jesus’s face, his hair… they lived with Him. They saw Him in His resurrection body – everything made new – what more reason did they need to describe Jesus’s appearance in detail? 

 

Could it be they had an intimate understanding of the commandment “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below”?

 

It’s no coincidence the writers omitted that information. 

 

Our belief is not based on knowing the ethnicity of Jesus our Christ. It’s like saying, if Jesus is an African then people in Europe will not accept Him as their Lord and Saviour… However in the land of the Caucasian, Jesus is portrayed as a Caucasian. Think!!

 

Our belief in Jesus is based on the power in His name and He, being the Son of the Living God who gave His life for our sins and rose from the dead to be the first of the resurrection to eternal life with God. 

 

We must rid ourselves of all cultural stereotypes and idol representations of Jesus our Lord and saviour, which are neither Spirit nor Truth. It’s the power in His name that’s impressive. It’s the spiritual power to heal, bring salvation that’s truly impressive and eternal. Be encouraged 

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