Monday, November 30, 2009

ORIGINS - Part 1

POPULAR MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT CHRIST - His likeness

Did Jesus have long hair or blue eyes? Is he the person portrayed in countless images, icons or movies?

To say the truth, no hard evidence exists of the physical likeness of Jesus, despite all the claims about the Shroud of Turin, the so-called earliest depictions by saints, etc. Jesus in my point of view will always remain a Man of authority, assertiveness, and complete control yet humble and compassionate towards the oppressed. The images you have seen throughout your life contradicts all the above mentioned and instead paints a very different picture of a person who looks like a rather poetic, alienated, and intellectual man.

When the temple soldiers came to arrest Jesus in Gethsemane, they had to confirm His identity and hence they asked, “Who among you is Jesus the Nazarene?” Jesus answered them, “I am He.” Doesn’t that mean Jesus looked like a common Jewish man of His times? I’m sure there wasn’t anything in the looks of Him that suggested the very incarnation of God on earth. What did satisfy the disciples that Jesus was the Son of God was the way He preached and the authority He proclaimed.

28When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law. – Matthew Ch. 7

Another thing we should consider is that Jews of the time of Jesus thought it shameful to keep long hair. Why then would Paul speak against the very thing in 1 Corinthians Ch. 11?

14Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him,

Many try to dispute that Jesus was a Nazarite and therefore he did not put a razor on his head.
There is however a sharp difference between a ‘Nazarite’ and a ‘Nazarene.’

Sunday, November 15, 2009

GRAN TORINO

A couple of days before, I saw a movie called ‘Gran Torino.’ The movie was directed by legendary action star Clint Eastwood and Eastwood starred in it as well. The movie is rated ‘R’ for its language and it is totally unsuitable for children, but unusually (and please don’t start throwing eggs at me) I would recommend every mature Christian to watch this movie for its general theme.


Eastwood plays a Korean war-veteran, who knows much about deaths in life more than life itself. Being a soldier who once killed ruthlessly, he is violent man and someone who wants to be left alone. After his wife’s death, some Hmong immigrants move in next door. At first Eastwood’s character does not like his new neighbors at all, but events cause him to grow very close in friendship with a Hmong boy. As the friendship grows, the Hmong boy’s family is harassed by gang members daily. Now Eastwood’s character is concerned about the family, and at first immediately tries to solve it with violence. But violence brings more violence and the family ends up traumatized and Eastwood’s character is left in shock as with how much more trouble he has brought with violence.


Eastwood now sits alone in the dark with a priest, and quietly decides in his own mind that he must end this once and for all. At this point the viewer is left thinking that Eastwood wants to kill all of the gang members. Remember that the character knows more about death than life. But shockingly, he instead sacrifices his very own life --- for the safety of the Hmong boy with whom he became friends, landing all of the gang members in jail for murder before a lot of witnesses. At the end of the movie the protagonist has stated that he “is at peace.”

Sacrifice is something that we Christians tend to dissociate ourselves from. We praise a lot about our Savior’s valuable sacrifice for our sins, but in stark contrast forget the Lord’s saying in the gospel of John.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

How many of us does not take this literally but instead flee when our friends and loved ones are in need.? Yes, sometimes Jesus’ words are very demanding of our lives, but we should realize than the moment we arise from the water in baptism, our lives are His and not our own. Sacrifice is indeed a very demanding word and sometimes it may mean death. But God is with us and he is ready to reward us always.