Painted by Akiane Kramarik at age 8. Learn more and view her gallery at akiane.com
The Word in the word
There are three passages in the Gospel of John that bring home a very important point:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who cam from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1,14
You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. John 5:39-40
Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:30-31
Most of the time that you hear a Christian refer to the word of God they are referring to Scripture. However, the point that John makes in the very beginning of his gospel is that the clearest statement God has ever made in revealing Himself to His creation is through the revelation of Jesus Christ (1:1,14). Someone could memorize the entire Scripture, but if they missed Jesus Christ they would have missed the whole point (5:39-40). And the whole point is to have the life that He came to give, which happens when we believe that He is the Messiah, the Son of God (20:30-31).
Understanding this does not take away from the function, importance, inspiration, truth and authority of Scripture. However, it does set up a fundamental ordering that can revolutionize the way we approach the Scripture. That is, we have a completely different experience when we approach the Scripture looking for principles, information, guidelines, rules, etc., and when we approach the Scripture looking for Him. Of course, the Scripture gives us many principles, guidelines and revelations, but He is the one we are seeking.
Some Personal Experience
I came to know Jesus near the end of my time at college. As a person who had been raised in church I had all of the information that I needed, but I did not know Him. The Scripture was dead to me and He was dead to me. I lived my life driven by my own selfish desires and had no guilt about that. I was totally lost, and inside I was dying. One day I walked into a class to hear a guest lecturer speak on the authorship of the book of Deuteronomy (what I was doing in that type of class is another story for another time). I sat down on the back row of the classroom, pulled my hat down low, stared at the table in front of me, and thought I might not make it any further. It was probably the closest thing to an authentic suicidal thought that I have ever had before or since.
What happened next is hard to describe, as words do not do it justice. It was as if Jesus Himself walked up behind me and grabbed me by the nap of my neck. I was arrested. I could not move. I could not look up. I could not really hear the discussion going on in the classroom because of the fear of the Lord that gripped my heart. It was overwhelming, but it was also the most meaningful awareness of the presence of God that I had ever experienced in my life. I did not want Him to let me go. But I also was uncertain how long I could handle His presence. There is a Hungarian proverb that goes like this: God has feet of wool and hands of lead. We cannot hear Him coming, but there is no doubt when He takes hold. I was living that proverb.
Near the end of the lecture it was as if He took a step back. I still felt like He was standing right behind me. But it felt like He let go of my neck in order to allow me to hear what was happening in the class. Some timely words were spoken that I won’t go into, but it was exactly what I needed to hear. Then I heard Him speak in my heart as well, and I melted like wax. For the first time in my life I knew that I felt the presence of God. And for the first time in my life I knew that I heard Him speak to me. I was useless for about ten minutes. I put my head down on the table and bawled like a baby.
A funny thing happened that day. That type of experience is where most people give themselves to the Lord. They pray a prayer of repentance and confess Jesus as their Savior. I did not do that. Instead I told Him that I would do whatever it took to find Him. At that moment I think that both He and I were pleased. He awakened me. And now the chase was on.
It actually took a few months before I fully gave my life to Him. But during that time I probably read more Scripture than I had in my entire life combined. I could not put it down. Not because I was looking for information. But because I was looking for Him.
The Road to Emmaus
One of the final stories in the Gospel of Luke tells us about two disciples who were walking on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus, about seven miles altogether. They were dejected over the death of Jesus, and confused over reports that His body was now missing from His tomb. While they were walking Jesus Himself came up and walked along with them, “but they were kept from recognizing Him” (Luke 24:16). Jesus asked them what they were talking about, and they told Him all that had happened in the last few days. Then Jesus explained to them from Moses and all the prophets all the Scriptures that concerned Him (24:27).
As they approached their village Jesus continued as if He was going further, but the pair of disciples urged Him to come stay with them. So, He went in with them and when they were at the table He took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them. At that moment their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He immediately disappeared. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us” (24:32)?
All of us have experienced seasons where we felt dry. When we were downcast, unsure of the events that were taking place around us. Times when we could not make sense of what God was doing. Times when we opened the Scripture, yet could not understand the words–and more importantly, could not find the Word. If that is you today consider your Emmaus road, that moment when your heart burned within you just before He opened your eyes to see that it was Him. And then dig into the word of God until you find Him. You might be surprised how quickly the living water springs up in the desert, and how good it feels to have your heart burn within you once again. Most importantly, you might find more than refreshing ideas. You might find Him.
It all comes back to the Word – Jesus. Thanks for sharing your story.
Yes it does, Jeremy. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.
Jonathan, I love this idea of looking for HIM in scripture. I will be thinking about this today. Powerful.
Powerful for me too, Emily. Has helped me to today as well.
“Oh, happy day!”
Yes it was!
As I searched for fairness, justice, and love for all, I was actually searching for Him, His essence – thank you for helping me realize this.
You’re welcome! Glad it was a helpful realization for you. Your comment reminds me that really everything I have ever searched for in life was really driven by my deeper search for Him, and yet so often I never realized it. Thanks for sharing.
What a wonderful thing to inspire others to do — dig into the Word of God!! The Bible is the most exciting “thing” on the planet.
A memorable post, and that picture of Jesus seems so real.
Stevie, I’m not a big fan of “Jesus pictures,” but that particular one really grabs me. As does some of Akiane’s other work. She is an amazing child prodigy! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read and comment.
powerful…Jesus is our Word of God! and himself the Word made flesh
Absolutely, Paul. Thanks for stopping back by. Blessings.
Powerful and awesome.
Jonathan, you described my experience when I was 19 and 20 years old on a Merchant Ship as a cadet off the coast of Africa. I looked at the moon as it raced across the water and tried to turn away to no avail. It was April 8th which will be Easter this year.
After those two days…no internet, no phones, no cd’s or mtv…I went in a fearless search for The Word…And yet the Word was pursuing me.
Thanks for reading my blog. My book TEAR IN THE DESERT touches on this. I am writing the second book, TEAR IN MY SOUL. Pray for me.
Your writing is clear and inviting…and provocative. Blessings.
Thank you, Father Ron. Your description of the Merchant Ship off the coast of Africa on a moonlit night captures my imagination. I will be sure to check out Tear in the Desert. Thank you for reading and commenting.
Thank You, Jonathan. It is amazing how we can now communicate with just our fingers. I wonder if it is so fast and easy that we don’t have time to simple “be still and know the Beloved.” The way you approach your blog sounds healthy. Many of the great saints wrote a “blog” but never knew their thoughts on God would be so public. Peace.
Awesome story, and I love your genuine response. When I was first searching for the Lord, I stayed up late into the night because I’d started reading Luke and couldn’t put it down. I still go back to Luke’s gospel in my dry seasons.
Hey, Lex. Thanks for your comment. Somewhere on your blog I caught at least a snippet of your story. I also love going back to the “headwaters,” those passages that the Lord used to first awaken my heart. They never lose their life! As you can guess from my story, one of those for me is Deuteronomy. Not sure how many others go back to that particular book, but it works for me!
Jonathan, Charlie asked me the other day if I liked writing my comments on your posts and sending them to “Don T Reply, i.e. “donotreply.” So today I’ll try to do it the right way. I loved this post as I do all your writings. I had to sit here and wipe the tears streaming down my face from reading such a touching experience. Thanks for being so open as well as full of wisdom in sharing each day. I look forward to it every time.
Paulette, I cracked up at “Don T Reply!” Well, you are such a great encourager for Emily and me! Thanks for taking the time to comment on the blog. We love you and Charlie so much. Can’t wait to get you back!
I love your openen – ness and transparency! Also, the photo was drawn by an 8 year old???????????????????????// Only ” God ” could have blessed him to do that! Truly amazing!
I know! Unbelievable. You should visit her website. Thanks for your comment.
I really enjoyed this, Jonathan. The combination of reading passages on Jesus as the Word, your story about encountering Him as the living Word, and the reminder to reach into my own Emmaus roots to return the blazing joy of knowing Him as eternal Word. All these facets were pure joy and a blessing!
May He break bread and celebrate the new life together with you, friend.
Corey, that is great to hear. So glad we have gotten connected. And thanks for reblogging it too. Blessings, brother.
Same here. Your welcome for the reblog; I definitely want people to know Who the Word is. Peace!
Reblogged this on Missionwriter.
I love that picture. I read the book ‘Heaven is for Real’ where they discussed this young artist and her picture of Jesus.Your blog spoke to me but the last paragraph mostly. So many of us open the scripture and don’t understand what we read. He’s always there though! I needed this reminder today, thank you for writing it!
I love the picture too, Megen. There is something so striking and moving about it. I’m glad the post was a blessing for you today. Thanks for taking the time to let me know!
Sharing this in my Saturday Sampling on 3/10/2012 at http://www.emilyelizabethstone.com
Just saw clip on this young lady the other day. She was saying how she wasn’t even religious but the God told her to paint this picture so …she did!
Yeah, it”s an amazing story. And her artwork is captivating. Thanks for dropping by!
[…] The Word […]
Amazing testimony. I just LOVE it when He shows up. Thanks for sharing such an encouraging word.
Beautiful painting, but …
Question: If Akiane has had visits, dreams and visions of heaven and Jesus most all her life, why did she need a human model to paint Jesus’ face? All her other paintings of people are just painted right out of her head. This beautiful painting is not Jesus at all, but a regular guy who at first balked at sitting for the portrait. Ever since I bought this painting in greeting card form, I’ve had the most gnawing bad feeling that I’ve disobeyed the Word of God at Exodus 20:4. The true Believers I know who are far more mature in the Lord than Akiane and her family tell me they’ve seen Jesus and he does not look like this. What are we seeing here? I’ve read several blogs about this now and I am ripping these greeting cards up and getting rid of them today. No more doubts. One blogspot calls Akiane an indigo child and gives some info about her upbringing and training as a home schooled child who had no neighbors and outside influence beside her own mother. Strange. All this hyper spirituality from such a non-biblical family? What spirit is she really of? Indigo child? Based on the writeup and her paintings and poetry, I can believe that now. She never mentions any scripture and therefore my belief is there’s more witchcraft going on than Godliness. The painting is not a painting of Jesus Christ our Lord at all and that bugs me. She’s obviously not seen Jesus then contrary to all her talk about visions and dreams and visits with him all her life. On the blog that refers to her as an Indigo child, there is also a quote from Akiane about her definition of love which sounds to me like she’s pro same gender coupling as long as those involved are guided by love. Hmm … I urge all of you who hold this beautiful painting so dear, as I certainly did: beware of the last days deceptions which the Lord has warned us would be so great that, if it were possible, even the elect could be deceived by them. Akiane’s dad, an ex-Catholic, her mother an atheist from Lithuania, neither of whom gave their children any training in the Word of God who is Jesus Christ. Sounds to me like a perfect recipe for a spiritual infestation of the wrong kind. Again, the girl never talks about the Word of God. She never talks about the problem of sin and rejection of Jesus’ teachings and salvation. All the big names in show biz have had her on and made quite a stir about her. I know other real Believers and their little kids who are light years ahead in understanding spiritually than Akiane and they never get this kind of notice. Frankly, I now believe this painting is foisted on a gullible public both Christian and non-believers to put a little witchcraft into our homes in the form of this painting and thereby polute us. I thought about just simply asking the Lord, is this really a painting of you, Jesus? But I decided to just trust the Word I already know which is not to make images or likenesses of any thing either in heaven, earth or the waters under the earth, and not to bow down to them or serve them. The Lord is Jealous even to this day. Again, my far more devout and spiritually and biblically aware friends who’ve seen Jesus – so few! – say this is not what he looks like. One friend took a look at Akiane’s painting and told me the Jesus he was is not that good looking! The temptation for me was to think that, well, that little Colton kid also agrees with this Akiane painting, that it’s Jesus he saw in his vision or visit to heaven, and children as so innocent. Children are also vulnerable. I can’t believe it just because it’s little innocent kids. And if these kids have been trained up by parents who have Pagan/Wiccan, atheist or their own version of Jesus leanings, I can’t trust any of what they tell me. We humans have an unfortunate problem: we tend to see images and fall down and worship them. God expressively forbids idolatry, doesn’t he? Words are far more important in God’s economy, His words anyway, not what he looks like. I’m so glad I found a number of blogs about this, because something needs to be said about it. It is dangerous to follow this Pied Piper Akiane with her super sweet demeanor into the lair of the deceptive angel of light that is Satan. He is always seeking whom he may destroy. I hope more dialogue comes to this post about this painting. It’s nice, but it AIN’T Jesus. Another Catholic/Satanic lie/deception exposed. No, I don’t think the shroud of Turin is Jesus’ burial shroud either. Just another Catholic trinket to distract the masses from the real Jesus. Jesus lives, and that for ever and ever. Amen.
“One friend took a look at Akiane’s painting and told me the Jesus he was is not that good looking!”
I meant to say “… the Jesus he SAW …”