“In the beginning was the Word.” (John 1:1)
On December 11, 2016 I preached a sermon entitled “Before the Baby Came.” It was the first in my Christmas series for 2016. If you are interested, you can subscribe to my podcast through iTunes. It’s called 3 5 6 Podcast (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/3-5-6-podcast/id894406067?mt=2)and the messages I preach each week at Valley Grove are there.
At the beginning of that message, I told the following story.
There is an amazing piece of art drawn by a Korean artist and given to the late missionary E. Stanley Jones. It is called “The New Testament Jesus.” It took the artist 2 years to complete the drawing. He meticulously drew the picture by hand with a very fine tipped pen. It’s not a painting, but a picture created by writing thousands of words with shaded letters.
It is actually the entire New Testament written out by hand. There are approximately 185,000 words on the picture with an average of 1,000 words per line. The letters are drawn; some thick and some thin so that they bring out this picture of Jesus. There are 27 angels surrounding Christ and looking at Him, representing the 27 books of the New Testament.
The original work was 6 feet long by 4 feet wide. The figure of Jesus isn’t imposed onto the words…instead the words reveal the picture of Jesus.
As I described that drawing, I told the congregation I had wanted to show them a picture of it on the screen, but the only one I could find online was from the E.Stanley Jones foundation web page. It was a picture of Dr. Jones holding the original drawing and was not clear enough for me to use on that Sunday morning.
I’ve been intrigued by this picture ever since I read about it. Just before Christmas, a man who faithfully attends our church (Mr. Rick Bowling) came by the office. He carried in his hand a framed copy of this picture to give to me. After I told the story, he went online to the foundation and bought a copy and had it framed for me for Christmas.
If you notice, there are some imperfections in the copy. That’s because it is a copy of the original which Dr. Jones folded up and carried with him everywhere he went. If you look on the left side, you will see what probably is a coffee stain from the days of Dr. Jones. I can’t tell you how excited I am to receive this picture.
In John 1, Jesus is described as “The Word.” The Greek word is Logos. Jesus Christ is the WORD of God. As I look at this picture I am reminded that every word of the New Testament is used to reveal this wonderful picture of Jesus Christ. Jesus was the Logos before He came to earth, He is still the Logos today, and He will always be the Logos of God. John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
I pray that in 2017, the WORD of God becomes even more real in our lives as we seek to share with others the Good News of the Gospel.