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We Are Made In Whose Image?

"Is it that He made us in His image, or have we made Him into our own?"


We Are Made In Whose Image?

By Rabbi Bruce Booker


Many years ago when I was in the Marine Corps, stationed in Japan, I visited a church. There, on the wall, hung a picture of Jesus. However, it was not the picture of Jesus that I had come to familiarity with in the States, which was an image of a white, Anglo-Saxon Jesus.

imageYou see, the Jesus portrayed there on that church wall had a face that looked Japanese.

Years later, I noted in a national magazine article a picture of Jesus on a church wall in Africa. There, He was portrayed with the characteristics of an African.

And so it is, I am sure, with the Jesus’ of all the nations. In whatever nation, race, and culture He is portrayed in, He looks like them.

But that is not the extent of the similarities. It is not simply in appearance that the Jesus in our culture holds similarity. Our Jesus often acts like us, eats like us, talks like us and does what we do- in short, our Jesus IS us – however Capitalized.

Sometimes, there is a concern expressed by Christians that we in the Messianic Movement are going overboard when we address Him by His real name: “Yeshua” instead of Jesus. Or when we cite the Torah as His standard of living a holy life – which is what it was – as opposed to our own lack of observance to Torah in Christendom (“we are not under Law…”). Or when we observe the Moedim (Appointed Times – Leviticus 23) instead of Christmas, or Easter, or other pagan-originated observances now extent in Christian life. That is what He would have done.

Yet, because our walk and talk is SO different than what most Christians are used to, there is a fear verbalized by some believers that we are walking away from the “true faith” in Him; that we are moving into legalism when we begin to walk out Torah in our own lives (as He did).

Now, I am not opposed to their concern. On the contrary, it is good that believers sincerely question and seek out theimage truth. But, it is also important to remember that as we search for that truth that we begin to challenge our own traditions when it comes to their compatibility with Biblical practice. And when we begin to do this, we must be careful not to toss out the truth, especially when it conflicts with our own traditional practice.

For so long in Christianity we have come to accept a practice in our faith in Yeshua the Messiah that was not His. We have accepted as norm a practice that actually conflicts with and opposes the Biblical practice that He observed in His life. Then, when presented with a Jesus so “Jewish,” so different than our own Jesus, we recoil from the Jewish Jesus and return to the one we grew up with – the one that looked and acted like us.

The fact that Jesus is so universal, so accepted by people the world over, from so many cultures and races, speaks to His appeal to all of mankind. But the Jesus that is accepted by the nations is the Jesus that looks like the nations.

Yet when all is considered, would the world be so readily accepting of a Jesus that looked and acted so “Jewish?” One that wore tzit-zit on the corners of His garment, one that ate Biblical kosher, or one that observed the Torah in His life? Would they accept a Jesus that wore “payettes” on the corners of His beard – as do the Orthodox Jewish men?

But it is this “Jesus” that most accurately reflects the truth of who He really was and is – a Jew! If Jesus were presented to all men in that garb, in that frame-of-reference; would He be as readily accepted? Would He be as popular among all the nations as He is?

I wonder. I suspect that from the reactions of some Christians to those of us in the Messianic Movement who portray Him and seek to follow Him in that light, that He would be as much rejected in that role as we are. It is far more comfortable for most Christians to keep Him in the image that they currently have of Him – that of themselves.

The Jesus made in our own image does not challenge us to live as the real Jewish Yeshua did as a Torah observant Jew. Thus, we can accept Him as we see Him – as merely an extension of ourselves – a far more comfortable endeavor.

imageWhen in Bible college and studying the gods of the nations through history, I discovered that they had gods that were pretty much like them: they ate, they drank, and got drunk, they had sex, they played, they fought; and, overall, they were like the people they reigned over.

So, as I sit here musing over this in the light of the gods of the nations, I wonder this of our God and Jesus: “Is it that He made us in His image, or have we made Him into our own?”



Rabbi Bruce R. Booker

Beth Yeshua Messianic Congregation

Priest River, ID

4 Comments on We Are Made In Whose Image?

  1. Surely, our creator is not a physical being. Nor does he have an “Image” or morphology in any sense we could comprehend, much less a human form. Nor any gender, but for convenience sake, I’ll use “He”. Is the human form, head, legs, arms, hands, the “G-d’s image” spoken of ? or is there something else that makes us uniquely human ? When Adam saw that he was naked, he was using a newly endowed sense of self, an awareness that set him apart from all other creatures. Suddenly he could think in the abstract – about concepts like there being such a thing as a yesterday, or a tomorrow. Concience was born, the idea of such a thing as right or wrong. He could look up at the stars at night and feel a sense of wonder…This special awareness is surely what “In his image” means. How closely does the introspective, philosophical Christianity of today compare to the actions of Jesus ? Was he not an iconoclast? a rebel? a troublemaker? He “Refused to comply” and became a gadfly to the ruling corrupt authorities, prosletized for reform and moral cleansing and even went on a rampage in the temple, attacking the moneychangers. This is the image of Jesus we need today,a crusader, in our fight to restore our rebublic.

    50 Million God fearing Christ loving people were tortured and murdered by the Roman Catholic Church in order to endorse lies about the Christ and God’s Laws. If you practice the sun worshiping practice of going to Church on SUNday and use the name Jesus you are one of the many victims of the anti Christ.
    Please understand this history and how to be right with God and see past these lies.
    MARK OF BEAST ( 1 )

    Acts Chapter 5; 30 KJV
    The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.

    Acts 10:3 9 KJV
    And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:

    Acts Chapter 13; 29 KJV
    And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.

    1 Peter Chapter 2; 24 KJV
    Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

    Galatians Chapter 3; 13
    Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

  3. I think about this from time to time. I have come to the conclusion that Jesus assumed a look that would be neither controversial nor an exception, in order that people wouldnt be distracted by his physical appearance. He wanted people to hear his words, and not focus on his physical features. I’m sure he was a very unassuming looking man, as his way was to teach all people. Jesus was a Jew, so he looked Jewish. But took on the look of all jews, probably with no outstanding features.

  4. i am not a Jew but have thought this same thing of myself and the church in America for many years. And although i have failed miserably over the years i have and am trying to live by the commandments set forth in the words of Father God and Jesus.
    Four years ago i was woken at 2:30am with these words on my heart and mind, “Be holly as I am holly, do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”.
    Has been a rough road to travel at times but so look forward to that small gate at the end.
    Thank you for the encouragement, and keep up the true faith.
    Aging thank you
    Will be praying for you.

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