Do you have any opinion about seeds? Most of us are city dwellers, so perhaps our only connection to seeds is through the things they grow into: fruits and vegetables. Occasionally we’ll even eat seeds, but that still doesn’t make the topic of seeds any more exciting than talking about the weather for on a date.
The Bible, on the other hand, appears to get very excited about these little things we call seeds. In particular, Abraham is promised on numerous occasions that his “seed” will be too numerous to count. I was making some bread yesterday (yes, I am a cook!), and I took some caraway seeds to mix in with my flour. You can bet that I wasn’t even remotely in the mood for counting tiny bitty seeds. They look so insignificant! And yet, of course we know that every single one of those seeds has within it enormous potential, and a future much larger than might appear on the outside.
In Abraham’s world, having at least one seed (= descendant), and preferably a whole bunch, was probably the most important thing in life. That’s why you can imagine the thoughts going on in his mind as we read in Genesis 22 about how God asked Abraham to smashhis one and only seed. This was countable stuff. One seed. I don’t need to go into all of the pain Abraham went through in order to even get that one seed, his only son Isaac. You already know that stuff. At his age (he was a centenarian), what were the chances that he would strike gold again or win the lottery twice? Continue reading
Charles Blondin was one of the greatest tightrope walkers of all time. He first crossed Niagara Falls in 1859, then repeated it blindfolded, in a sack, pushing a wheelbarrow, on stilts, and sitting down midway while he cooked and ate an omelette.
He did it once, however, carrying his manager, Harry Colcord, on his back. According to Colcord, the trip was terrifying. Blondin was only 5-5, 140 lbs. The ropes that keep the tightrope from swaying were broken. Blondin grew tired about 1/3 of the way across and made Colcord get off so Blondin could rest. Colcord then had to climb back up. Colcord had been warned not to look down, but he did and panicked.
But, what could Colcord do? Nothing. He was told to rest like a dead weight and NEVER try to balance if Blondin should seem to stumble or tilt.
They made it across.
What are the lessons for us? Trust. Surrender. Obedience. Colcord had complete faith in Blondin. When it really counted, Colcord realized he was powerless and trusted Blondin to get him across safely. How many of us, in our walk with Jesus, are more like the spectators in the crowd? We’re on the sidelines watching and may even feel like we’re part of the event. But, when it really matters, do you really trust God enough to risk everything? Would you ever lay it all on the line? That’s the difference between believing and being a disciple of Jesus.
Yes, that’s The Place’s very own Ralph Figueroa stepping in as the Lord’s stunt double for Oxygen Church Media, who provide Christian graphics. You can see Ralph in action as Jesus on many images on their site.
But, many, if not most of us have wondered what Jesus looked like. Here’s a traditional depiction of Jesus in Ethiopian Christian art:
There a whole entry in Wikipedia speculating on the physical appearance of Jesus. In it, some scientists have created a portrait of Jesus based on the bones that have been uncovered in the area from that time period:
Does it really matter? If it does, how and why?