When I was in fourth grade, my Sunday school teacher announced a contest to memorize the 23rd Psalm. The prize was an 8-by-10-inch portrait of Jesus in a beautiful gold frame. I memorized the psalm, won the contest, and proudly hung the painting on my bedroom wall. In this iconic painting, Warner Sallman portrayed Jesus as a bearded man with long wavy hair, gazing up to heaven. He looked meek and mild to me—a tame Jesus who asks little and gives little.
That painting wasn’t the only image of Jesus in our house. The other portrait, a print of Richard Hook’s Head of Christ, was much larger and showed Jesus looking you straight in the eye. He has shorter, unkempt hair and a short beard. He looks ready and able to drive out the moneychangers and cast out demons. That portrait of a radical, powerful Jesus presided over my Dad’s workshop in the garage.
How do you see Jesus? Do you see him as a wimp who has no relevance today? Or do you see him as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the creator of the universe, a real man embodying a real God? The answer to that question determines whether you can rely on Jesus when you feel worried or afraid. Only the latter Jesus has the power to change your mind and heart, to cast out the demon of worry and fill you with his peace.