The Exact Image of God

Col 1:15
“He is the Image of the Invisible God, the firstborn of all creation”

Jesus is the Image of the Invisible God, is what this verse says to me.  In my heart I hear, Jesus is the image of the suffering God.   This hits me like Pujols bat on a fastball straight down the pipe.  I dont think I ever really put it together until I read this passage.

Many words can be used to describe Jesus:  Humble,  Love, Healing, Gentle, Light, Teacher, Compassion, and Suffering.  It’s this last word that really hits home.  Suffering.  In Matthew 11:29-30 Jesus invites us to accept the burden, the burden of the world, which includes the suffering of humanity.  Jesus himself is suffering.  His passion stands witness to the suffering of humanity that he took upon himself.

What really strikes me is that God is suffering.  This is a new thought to me.  To actually think of God as suffering.  Many of us have an image of a fatherly figure, white beard, sitting on a thrown, all powerful.  Not this suffering God.  But here we have Jesus, nailed to a cross, beaten, broken and He is the exact image of the invisible God.  What a foreign thought.  It took years for me to really, I mean really to understand (as much as my human mind can) and to see the suffering Christ.  It wasnt until my own human bondage was too much for me to carry that I had to take up Christ’s yoke that I could carry my own.

It was through my own suffering that I was able to create the new me.  To allow change, to be lead to conversion, to know that I am not alone in my suffering.  It is comforting to know that God is suffering with me.  I am not sure why I never put the two together.  Jesus is God.  As Jesus said in John 14:10-12, He is one within the Father and the Father is in Him.  So why did I not see God as suffering?

I think its hard for us as humans to accept our suffering and its even harder for us to accept a suffering God.  As a child, I always felt sadness when I looked at the crucifix and had a deep understanding of His Passion.  I think the Passion story hit me more than the Christmas story, but was very hard to accept.  We do this in our own human condition.  We hide our brokenness.  We buy things to make us feel good.  We engage in physical love without the bond of real love to feel good.  We do not want to look at our suffering.

Without the acceptance of our own suffering, of our pain, we can never see the face of God.  The story of Job is the perfect example of this.  After all his suffering, all his pious friends telling him that he must have sinned against God, after all Job’s yelling, ranting about justice and his day in court with God, he accepts it all without an answer after God finally talks to him.  Job had to look within his own heart to find God, and once he heard God, there was no need of an answer to why.  Because Job accepted his suffering and God, he was able to carry his load.

It is this acceptance and acknowledging his pain and suffering that leads Job to God.  It was through my own suffering that I was able to find God and truly understand agape love.  A love so true and honest, a love of myself, of God and of my own human condition.

Christ asks us, he begs of us to embrace our suffering.  Thru our suffering we grow in our spirituality.  We move closer to Christ and become more Christ like.

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~ by Polish Jedi on September 9, 2009.

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