Isn’t it ironic how the media always makes a big deal out of the fact that crosses, steeples, or – in the latest case – paintings of Jesus, survive disasters? And, naturally, the parishioners of those churches always insist the “survival” was a “sign” or miracle of God.
Be that as it may, the survival of this particular painting has left me wondering why YHWH would cause a painting of a “gentile-ized” Jesus to be spared, when nobody knows what the Jewish Yeshua (His Son’s given, Hebrew name which means “YHWH is Salvation”) actually looked like. To me, the depiction is simply a lie, worse but not unlike, depictions of the mythical Bigfoot, or Nessi” – neither of which has ever been seen; yet, paintings and drawings of both abound.
The truth is, just as Christmas is decidedly NOT Yeshua’s birthday, a painting of “Jesus” is in no way a true depiction of the actual Messiah who walked on earth for three decades two thousand years ago. The only hint about his appearance that we have is contained in Isaiah 53:1-3 which reads:
Isaiah 53: 1 Who believes our report? To whom is the arm of ADONAI revealed? 2 For before him he grew up like a young plant, like a root out of dry ground. He was not well-formed or especially handsome; we saw him, but his appearance did not attract us. 3 People despised and avoided him, a man of pains, well acquainted with illness. Like someone from whom people turn their faces, he was despised; we did not value him. (CJB)
One can hardly “paint Jesus” from that description – much less, conclude he was amazingly handsome or even “beautiful” as nearly all “paintings of Jesus” portray him!
It would seems that YHWH purposely sent to earth His Divine Messiah at a time when cameras, videos, cellphones and computers didn’t exist - BECAUSE the life and times of Yeshua were NOT to be a three-ring media circus centered on his appearance and other unimportant, humanistic “fluff’; but rather, a matter of FAITH (Emunah/trust, loyalty, like the kind Avram displayed in Genesis 12) rather than perception! (See Genesis 15:6; Deuteronomy 32:4;Psalm 119:30; Galatians 2:20 and 3:22; Titus 1:2; 2 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Peter 1:5-9 , etc.)
So, did “God cause” that painting to survive that devastating fire? Of course, I don’t know, and neither does anyone else. However, I DO know that God is adamant that there be no depictions of Himself in ANY shape or form … and this would include His Messiah!
Deuteronomy 4: 12 Then ADONAI spoke to you out of the fire! You heard the sound of words but saw no shape, there was only a voice. 13 He proclaimed his covenant to you, which he ordered you to obey, the Ten Words; and he wrote them on two stone tablets. 14 At that time ADONAI ordered me to teach you laws and rulings, so that you would live by them in the land you are entering in order to take possession of it.
15 "Therefore, watch out for yourselves! Since you did not see a shape of any kind on the day ADONAI spoke to you in Horev from the fire, 16 do not become corrupt and make yourselves a carved image having the shape of any figure - not a representation of a human being, male or female, 17 or a representation of any animal on earth, or a representation of any bird that flies in the air, 18 or a representation of anything that creeps along on the ground, or a representation of any fish in the water below the shoreline.
19 For the same reason, do not look up at the sky, at the sun, moon, stars and everything in the sky, and be drawn away to worship and serve them; ADONAI your God has allotted these to all the peoples under the entire sky. (CJB)
Human beings have a tendency to to be "shallow" and forget to look beyond appearances....
In light of the above, in my opinion, there is no reason to be in awe over some Christian symbol surviving a disaster - especially a likeness of Jesus, who is ... let’s just tell it like it is ... an endlessly forgiving god in human form who supposedly came to bring "grace" in the form of a new religion to the Gentiles that released them from the personal responsibility of obedience to YHWH’s Divine Instructions in Righteousness. That is simply NOT who Yeshua was!