How would you finish that statement if you were thinking about life? To some it all makes perfect sense whilst to others it is complete nonsense. If you know something about this picture then it makes sense but if you don’t, then it is abstract and beyond understanding. The artist alone can explain what was in his mind and what he saw – for sure it wasn’t a baby! Do you know The Artist who alone brings sense to this life? His colours and brush strokes come at times boldly whilst at other times faintly but there’s no doubting that the picture includes a baby, a mystery, a messed up world that is made good and you are in it! At first the canvas is all dark, but then the Word is fleshed out and light blazes into the picture with the Incarnation of Christ Jesus as a baby, God with us. Into the darkness comes the Light of the world, but not everyone sees it or understands it.
- ‘It makes sense that there is no sense without God’ – Edith Schaeffer
- ‘I think most people who get into their 50s reassess what made sense and what didn't make sense’ – T. D. Jakes
- ‘I just go out and try to make sense of the world around me’ - Martin Parr
- ‘I know everything should be photographed. It helps me make sense of my existence’ – David Bailey
- ‘Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable’ – C. S. Lewis
Billy Graham once used a simple analogy: a father and son were looking at an ant colony that was in crisis for survival as the ‘ant exterminator’ was coming the next day. The boy wanted to warn the ants but realised they would only listen to him if he became one of them! For us in our survival crisis, Father and Son agree that God the Son will join himself to the human race so that he can save it. Jesus Christ is born as one of us by the power of the Holy Spirit. Making sense of mystery can happen immediately or through gradual understanding similar to when you see the hidden image within a ‘magic eye picture’. God helps us make sense of the picture if we ask him to.
- ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him’ – John 14:6-7
- ‘Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves’ – John 14:8-11
- ‘The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth’ – John 1:9-14
- ‘The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together’ – Colossians 1:15-17
- ‘We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began’ – 1 Corinthians 2:6-7
- ‘To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ’ – Colossians 1:27-28
- ‘Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory’ – 1 Timothy 3:16
- ‘Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’ – Philippian 2: 6-11
- ‘I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them’ – John 17:26
In these verses, the mystery is revealed: the baby, the perfect life, the cross where the crisis of sin is dealt with, the resurrection of Christ Jesus as the first of many for everyone who accepts his sacrifice and the restored connection with God the Father. Ask for eyes to see it and a heart to humbly accept it.
Back to the picture at the top then! Quit squinting, tilt your head on one side and things might or might not become clear!
TAGS – picture, mystery, incarnation, resurrection, crucifixion, revelation, hope