Why Is It Wrong To Have Pictures of Jesus?

Most children’s books on the New Testament are full of pictures of the Lord Jesus. Many people cannot see any wrong in this.

Why do we not agree?

First: We are strictly forbidden to make any “likeness” of God (Exodus 20.4), and Jesus is God. Images, stained glass windows, and pictures, however sincere the intent, have never had a good spiritual effect.

Second: We do not know what the Lord Jesus looked like. The four gospels abound with details of His holy character, His love, His righteousness, the things He did, the words He spoke – but the Holy Ghost is silent concerning His human appearance. He has not seen fit to give us one detail about the colour of His hair, or anything else. These so-called pictures of the Lord Jesus are not what He looked like; for no one knows. How would we feel if a person, who had never seen us, sent round an imaginary picture he had drawn of us (that was nothing at all like us) and said, “That is So-and-so”?

Third: It is wrong to separate the Godhead and the sacred humanity of the Lord Jesus. He is God as well as Man. The most beautiful picture of the Lord Jesus (even if it were exactly true) could only show His humanity. It would be impossible to convey what our hymn writer says: “The God shines gracious through the Man.”

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– B.A. Ramsbottom

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