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Spiritual Formation

From the Pastor’s Pen: “A picture is worth a thousand words”

We’re all familiar with the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

At this Christmas time of year, we’re reminded of John’s words in his gospel as he describes the birth of Jesus – “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (1:14). In this case the reverse is certainly true; the “Word” is worth a thousand pictures.

Stroll with me for a few moments through the heavenly art gallery and reflect with wonder afresh on a few “pictures” hung there drawn from the Lord Jesus’ incarnation…

  • It’s an eternal picture which has entered into time. The angel’s words to a troubled Joseph paint this picture for us – “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’)” (Matthew 1:23). God’s most often quoted promise in the scriptures is, “I am with you”. In the birth of Jesus this promise is most fully realized – God is indeed with His children in their life journey.
  • It’s a picture divinely drawn revealing the heart and mind of the artist, the mysteries of God. Paul’s words to the Colossians paint this picture for us – “I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness—the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people” (1:25, 26). Wow, what a privilege we have to not only know God’s mysteries which have been revealed to us in Christ, but also to be vessels through which these mysteries are made known to others.
  • It’s a picture which shines light in dark places, in fearful places to bring direction and peace. Zechariah’s poetic words of worship proclaiming the role his son, John, will have in pointing others to the Savior paint the picture for us – “because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace” (Luke 1:78, 79). In the dark and fear-producing places in our lives He would shine His light to bring assurance and confident hope in His care.
  • shepherds

  • It’s a picture which includes you and me. The angel’s words to terrified shepherds paint the picture for all of us – “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:10, 11). The “good news”, which is for all people, was brought to individual shepherds, and, today, is brought to individuals like you and me. Amazing grace that the Lord of the universe has come to us in His Son to draw us individually to Himself!

Truly, the “Word”, which has become flesh and made His dwelling among us, is worth a thousand pictures, actually thousands upon thousands of pictures depicting God’s heart and saving purpose for all people.

Worshipping Him with You,

Ralph Anderson

More about Ralph
ralph_joyceOne Challenge was blessed to have mission pastor Ralph Anderson, and his wife Joyce, at OC International for over 20 years. They tended to our souls through the Word, prayer, counsel, and encouragement. In 2020, Ralph handed over this role to Gill, another great man of the Lord, who is walking alongside OC workers in their ministry journey together.
Read more articles here: From the Pastor’s Pen.

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