My family went to St. Louis for a vacation last week. One of the cathedral buildings, Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, was recommended as a place to visit. I was very impressed when I looked inside and out of the building. As you can see in the photo, the size of the cathedral is so huge. Everything in it is a work of art, and it is splendid. The whole building is filled with the contents of the Bible. From the creation of heaven and earth to the Second Coming of Jesus, the paintings are based on the important contents of the Bible. Later I went to the museum in the basement of the building. I could see that a lot of people worked hard to build this cathedral. In front of the center of the cathedral was a statue of Jesus crucified with the decorated in a splendid and elegant manner.
There was another place I visited shortly before returning home. St. Louis Art Museum. There were also many attractions here. I noticed some pictures that were the image of Jesus in the early Renaissance painting. One of them is the picture that appeared in the bulletin today. In the Middle Ages there were many paintings of the Bible as well as paintings of Jesus. Among them, the picture of Jesus in the early works of Renaissance has one characteristic: Jesus is always represented as a baby. Many paintings show that Mary held the baby Jesus. As I watched the works, I began to think about these and other ideas. The idea was that every person and every age can have different images about Jesus. Some are inspired by Jesus hanging on the cross, and some are attracted to and inspired by the baby Jesus. It is the same now. Everyone could realize that their experience of Jesus was different, and that their gaze on Jesus was also very different.
However, it is also true that there were some inconveniences in my visit to the two places. The appearance of Jesus hanging on the cross in a beautiful place was awkward. It did not seem to match the death of Jesus. It may be shown that Jesus crucified was praised in such glamor. Also, the pictures of the baby Jesus in the mother's arms were a little awkward. Then I remembered the story I had heard before. It was about the reason that Jesus was always a baby in the Renaissance. In the works of art, people's minds at that time will be expressed. Then, in the Renaissance, people wanted something from Jesus. It is the appearance of the baby Jesus, which showed that people wanted a restless baby who was not able to speak properly and laughed out of his mother's arms. The image of a child who had to rely on her mother Mary was a projection of the hearts of those who did not want to give their lives to Jesus. 'It was filled with people’s desire as a figure of a cute baby that people didn’t want Jesus to get involved in their life. Is not that a plausible interpretation?
So, what is Jesus like to you? Is it the image of Jesus who died hanging on the cross? Or is it the image of Jesus who is laughing in mother’s arms? And this question seems to be able to be changed in this way: Who is Jesus to you? Why do we need Jesus? The scripture said that Jesus is the word of salvation. Do we really need salvation? If necessary, why is it Jesus?
Today's text is the second half of Paul's sermon. Paul was trying to introduce Jesus to people. It is especially a part of the Israelites explaining why Jesus is needed and why Jesus is the Messiah. We can see that there is a big difference between the image of the Messiah that Israel had and the image of Jesus that Paul presented to people.
Most of all, the Israelites had a hope for the Messiah. At this time, the Israelites eagerly desired the Messiah to save them from the Roman colony, like Moses led the Israelites from Egypt. So their desire for the Messiah was a powerful leader who would free them from the helpless reality of suffering. They needed a peaceful king who could ease the problems of all areas of their lives. As they memorized and read the Prophets, they had eager that Messiah would come. However, when Jesus, the Messiah, came to earth, they did not recognize Jesus as Messiah. The image of Jesus in their minds and the image of Jesus in front of their eyes were so different although they were remembering the Word of God. Rather than entertaining Jesus, they persecuted Jesus, and they used the power of Rome, their enemy, to kill Jesus the Savior because the image of the Messiah they had was not found in Jesus. Above all, Jesus did not have any will to fight the Roman Empire.
Of course, the people of Israel have been enthusiastic for a while. It was when Jesus was doing miracles. The sick man was cured, the dead man was alive, and the hungry men were full. There was authority in the words of Jesus: when Jesus spoke, it was as it was said. People were paying attention to Jesus as Messiah to save them from the oppression of Rome. But Jesus did not move as people wanted. The appearance of Jesus hanging on the cross was only helplessness itself. It may be that people do not have any attraction. As he was on the cross, Jesus became a symbol of the cursed. Jesus did righteous things, but he died on the cross. It is an image of Jesus that people had. They can’t see any expectation of Jesus.
Of course, the Bible says that Jesus died, and that the resurrection took place to comply with what is written in the Bible. Then why did Jesus have to go back to the cross? Again the same question, do we really need Jesus? What is the image of Jesus in us? Is it the image of Jesus on the cross surrounded by colorful ornaments? Or is it the image of the baby Jesus in his mother’s arms?
Through his message, Paul introduces who Jesus is. First, Paul introduces Jesus as the Savior of Israel. That is to say, Jesus came into the history of mankind. It took a long time that the Father God sent Jesus to this land and set him up as the Savior. It shows that thousands of years would be needed to fulfill God's promise. It is because the work of setting up the Savior with Jesus was so important. However, for some reason, it is hard to understand why God would have waited so long for humanity to see Jesus. However, the event of God's way at the time of God is where Jesus came to this earth.
So, what is the reason why Heavenly Father sent Jesus, your son, to this land? And I think I can ask these questions. Why do we need Jesus who is the word of salvation? What salvation do we want?
The reason we need Jesus is because Jesus is the life, the way, and the salvation.
We cannot live without God. We cannot live out of God. God made us that way. God has given us the hope of reaching the glory of God. It is wisdom to realize this. 'The fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.' The Bible says. Nevertheless, many people want to live without God. They think that they can make a righteous world without God. They want to make a peaceful world without God. But is there such a world? What is the appearance of the world without God? The image of the human being accused by the Bible is the evil of those who live without God. It is the appearance of people who live according to their own opinions. So the world is getting more confused. It is also the content accused by Judges. It is the figure of the people who pursue the pleasure of the world. The ending was full of vanity. This is the confession of King Solomon who enjoyed all the pleasures of the world. "It is vanity, vanity and vanity." It will be a regret for a man who have lived without God.
Romans 3:23 tells us what we are, ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
The scripture said that we are all sinners. That is why we cannot reach the glory of God. Therefore, we have to die. No one in this world has an exception. That is why we need Jesus. That is why Jesus had to die on the cross. It is a message that God wanted to tell mankind for a long time. We humans cannot live without God, and those who want to come to God must be sanctified through blood sacrifices. And the Bible tells us that Jesus is the only way for us to come to God. Jesus has brought us to the glory of God.
What is the image of Jesus who showed God's will for us?
The image of Jesus in the Bible shows us suffering for us. Jesus was disgraced, slaughtered, scourged, crucified, and died. Why did Jesus have to do this? It is because of us. It is He that brings us to the glory of God.
" But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53: 5). "
It is the image that God wants us to show through Jesus. That is why we need Jesus. Also, the resurrection of Jesus confirms that we have forgiven our sins with His blood.
"Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.”
This is what we know: Through Jesus the forgiveness of sin is proclaimed to us. Jesus has opened for us to the glory of God. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the resurrection. That's why we need Jesus. We should know Jesus.