Help for New Expositors – Don’t Photobomb Jesus

photobombIsn’t it interesting that there are no physical descriptions in the Bible of what the Apostles or Jesus looked like. This is hard to believe in our self-driven culture where the Instagram selfie perfectly captures the ethos of our day.

There is one extra-biblical description of Apostle Paul found in The Acts of Thecla, where it says that Onesiphorus described Paul as “a man short in stature, with a bald head, bowed legs, in good condition, eyebrows that met, a fairly large nose, and full of grace. At times he seemed human, at other times he looked like an angel.”[1] It appears that Paul had a face for radio!

In our world, “image is everything” and yet, for those who stand before the world to proclaim the Word of God, we are simply called to be a faithful, unwavering voice of truth in a dry, wilderness of error and darkness (Mark 1:3; Amos 8:11).

When this is the case, we shouldn’t worry about being impressive or even whether anybody notices us. We shouldn’t be jockeying for prominence among the evangelical superstars or trying to be seen so we can move up the ladder of fame. This is exactly the opposite of what Jesus expects of his servants. Mark 10:42-45 shines brightly against the growing evil of popular Christianity and its longing for attention. It hurts to read Jesus’ words and think about how much modern evangelical Christianity ignores these words:

And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.” (Mark 10:42–44, ESV, emphasis mine)

It is when we open our mouths, when we speak the Word of God that people should be amazed–not at us, but at our great and awesome God. If we draw attention, let it be to our Lord and Savior. If we thunder and rail, let it be against sin as we call men to holiness. If we speak with great authority and power, let it be from the Scriptures alone and not ourselves. And when we leave a room where we have preached the mighty deeds of our God, and people stand back and say, “What a mighty God! O, how I want to know Him more!” may we be content to slide out of the room and rejoice that our God chose to use us, sinners saved by grace, to bring more people into His presence. SDG

[1] The Acts of Thecla 3. Translation by Bart D. Ehrman in Lost Scriptures: Books That Did Not Make It into the New Testament (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 114.

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