Locations of visitors to this page
Jesus with a Six-Pack
Scripture: Mark 12:28-34; Hebrews 1:1-3; Matthew 16...
Track 2 of in the series
Running time: 57 minutes, 26 seconds.
All of us have mental images of what Jesus looked like. I know for me, my mental images are ones that Ive seen in books, paintings or on TV. But in order for us to start on our journey to discover what raw spirituality is, we must start with our God pictures. What does God look like to you

Click above to listen in this window.
Right-click to download MP3. With one-button mouse, control-click.

Be sure to scroll down to read the transcript.

Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

Jesus with a Six-Pack

If you were to interpret God for someone who never heard of Jesus before, how would you do it?

Jesus interprets God in the language of a human life. Hans Urs von Balthasar

The acid test for any theology is this: Is the God presented one that can be loved, heart, soul and strength? If the thoughtful, honest answer is ďNot Really,Ē then we need to look elsewhere or deeper. Dallas Willard

All of us have mental images of what Jesus looked like. I know for me, my mental images are ones that Iíve seen in books, paintings or on TV. But in order for us to start on our journey to discover what raw spirituality is, we must start with our God pictures. What does God look like to you?

Did Jesus have a six-pack under his tunic? Did Jesus have blue eyes, speak with an English accent and have blondish long hair? Was he tall and handsome? What is your mental picture of Him? What happens if He was short, fat and really ugly? Do you find it strange that nowhere in the Bible is there a physical description of what Jesus looked like? Why is that? But more importantly, what is your mental picture for Almighty God?

I personally feel that it is not Godís physical features that are important, it is His spiritual attributes that are what is critical to know and understand. The picture of Himself He gave us was in the form of a man, a Son. The physical interpretation of God Himself is Jesus.

In the Gospel of Mark there is an account when the Sadducees were arguing with Jesus over Godís judgments on certain situations. Basically the dialog was over two different perspectives of God. The Sadducees viewed God as legalistic while Jesus presented God differently. In fact, I believe Jesus presented a good snapshot of what God is like.

Mark 12:28-34 (NIV) One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." "Well said, teacher," the man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.

Describe for me what God is like from this passage? When we listen to Jesus we develop healthy-pictures of the one God. Jesus throughout His ministry painted for us through His words, actions and reactions on what God is really like.

Hebrews 1:1-3 (ESV) Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Right in the middle of the Gospels, Jesus takes His disciples way north up into the Golan Heights to a city named Caesarea Philippi. At this spot is where the headwaters of the Dan River begin that becomes the Jordan River. Caesarea Philippi was considered the most religious place in the region and was inundated with all sorts of pagan worship and places. Today heavy excavation is taking place and we have a great understanding of what this city was like, how it looked and why it was such a popular place for the religious of the region.

Matthew describe for us a drawing lesson Jesus gives to His disciples. In fact, this lesson was at a masterís level for drawing. The image to draw was the Son of Man.

Matthew 16:13-20 (NIV) When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets." "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.

The masterís drawing class of Jesus that we are invited to participate in basically has three parts to it. The first explores the place where we paint. The second explores the pictures that other people paint. The third explores our picture. What and why?

When you children were young, were there places you told them they couldnít go? Why were these bad places? Do you still warn them not to venture into these places?

For the Jews, Caesarea Philippi was a place that all Jews avoided. It was the center for pagan worship, primarily to the god Pan. For the Jew, there was no good reason to be there. The city sat at the base of the tallest mountain in the region, Mt. Hermon. At the base of the mountain was a huge rock face with a cave entrance believed to be where Pan lived.

During the springtime, water would flow from the cave due to the snow melt on top of the mountain. The name given to that cave by the pagans was the Gates of Hades. It was here where the pagans would make human sacrifices to the god Pan and offerings to their other gods.

True or False: It is very wrong to host a Bible study in a no-go zone?
True or False: The places we are in and the people we are with influence greatly the God pictures we draw.

In this very hostile place, God asks His disciples two very important questions. Answering those questions will vary according to the context they are asked in. If we are people who are comfortable suburban people in air-conditioned buildings, we might paint a different picture of God if we were those at the edge of town in a low rent housing unit, dirty, noisy with no heat.

Raw spirituality develops as we paint pictures of Jesus in diverse places and with people that challenge our worldview and affluence.

Of all the people you hang out with, are friends with and prefer to be friends with, what percentage are non-Christians, donít go to church?

I love to engage in conversation where people are describing their image or concept of God. These are the types of conversations Tyler tries to get students to engage in. What are the paintings others create of God? Jesus asked His disciples what they observed form those around them of the paintings they had of the Son of Man. Back then the images they had were the heroes from the Old Testament; guys like Jeremiah and Elijah. Some saw Jesus as another John the Baptist.

In your opinion, what does the world today see God as? What pictures are they painting of Him? Where do these images come from?

Our culture is awash with so many images of Jesus. Unfortunately, many of the images are distorted, gross and even evil looking at times. The exciting part of raw spirituality is becoming aware of what pictures others paint of God and then go out and paint the beautiful pictures of God by how we live our lives amongst them. Just like Jesus did, His life was the exact mirror of who God is. We too must do the same thing.

The hardest painting of all is our image of God. Jesus asked His disciples, ďbut who do you say that I amĒ? It is one thing to view and understand how others paint Jesus, the critical question is what does our painting look like? Is our image of God correct, both from our perspective and how we live out our perspective every day?

How many of you doodle? What do they look like? If you had to doodle an image of God and His character, what would it look like? Here is my favorite description of Jesus; it comes from His own words.

John 15:12-15 (NIV) My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

Here Jesus paints Himself to us as a friend, a teacher, savior and Lord. Unfortunately too many people delete or skip the part of God where He says, ďDo what I commandĒ. They love the friend and savior part but donít like the Lord and teacher part. But when Christians do this, they cheat themselves. They end up missing the adventure of getting in on what the Master is doing. They never get to experience the awesome power of God working in their lives.
I want to end this lesson with a simple prayer. I ask that you sometime this week to pray it and see what happens afterwards.

Holy Spirit, help me to draw healthy pictures of Jesus.