While some may think of photography as a modern invention, there are some hints in antiquity that man dabbled with the idea that images could be projected on to light sensitive materials but keeping a permanent record of that image didn’t seem to be a concern. The first successful fixed images were made in the 1800’s by Nicephere Niepce but they required at least 8 hours and up to several days of exposure in the camera and the results were very crude. The first man to accomplish a more practical process was Louis Daguerre. The daguerreotype required only minutes of exposure in the camera and the pictures were clear with fine details. Photography took off from there with the advent of photographic paper, reduced exposure time in the camera, rolls of film, and cameras designed specifically for amateur use. The introduction of digital cameras revolutionized photography even further so that what took days to produce by Niepce can now be taken on your phone and almost instantly posted on the world-wide web.
There is something special about holding those family pictures in between my fingers and looking at the people pictured there. While I’ve never met my ancestors when I look at their pictures I get a strong feeling of who I am. Pictures and heirloom photos may be considered part of the “little things” that fill my home. But this week they were also an illustration of the Lord and how He understood Who He was and what He came to do.
In Luke 18:31-34 Jesus announces to the disciples “we are going to Jerusalem” after which He proceeds to describe His betrayal, suffering, death and resurrection which will take place there. It was as if Jesus was holding in His hands the snapshots of all the prophets’ words concerning Him (handed over to the Gentiles: Ps. 41:9; 109:4-5; Zech. 13:7; mocked, mistreated and scourged: Is. 53:3-5, 7; killed: Is. 53:8-9; Dt. 21:23; rise again: Ps. 16:8-11; 2 Sam. 22: 6-7; Ps. 18:4-6; 116:3; 2 Sam. 7:12-13; Ps. 132:11; Hos. 6:2). One can almost imagine the disciples’ objections to this trip since opposition to Jesus had risen steadily (Jn. 16: 7-8, 16) but Luke notes that Jesus knew this is how the words of the prophets would be accomplished (Lk. 18:31). This word, teleo, means not merely to end something (as in turning off a video game whether you’ve won it or not) but to bring something to its destined goal, to carry it through to perfection. Jesus, as John notes in his gospel, was able to do this because He knew that the Father had “given all things into His hands” (Jn. 13:3). When Jesus looked at those prophetic pictures, He knew Who He was and what He came to do.
Many years ago, in those ancient days of film, I would often get a roll of film developed and look forward to seeing what came out. Once in a while there would be a picture which was unidentifiable. Somehow the shutter went off and the camera recorded a random view. In spite of my best efforts I could never figure out what the object in that picture was. In a way that is how the disciples first reacted to Jesus’ announcement. Our Bibles say they did not “understand” what Jesus meant. This Greek word refers to the inability to assemble individual pieces of information into an organized whole- as in assembling the pieces of a puzzle into organized picture. In contrast the following verses (Lk. 18: 35-43) record the story of a man who did see the big picture (literally and figuratively!). When you look at the pictures of Jesus’ final week of ministry do you understand the big picture? Do you recognize He had to go to Jerusalem and why? We don’t like to think of the reason for the cross. It is far more popular to think good thoughts about ourselves in reference to God’s love rather than to acknowledge the Sin which Jesus bore for us to satisfy God’s wrath (Rom. 3:21-15; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 2:14-17; 1 Jn. 2: 1-2). But more importantly, do you see the fulfillment of all the pictures painted by the prophets in the events which took place then? If you do, your celebration of the resurrection is joyous indeed! Thankfully, unlike those pictures I could not identify, the final picture of this week is recognizable- the accomplished work of Jesus as testified by His resurrection (Mt. 28:6; Mk. 16:6; Lk. 24:6). He is risen indeed!
Ann H. LeFevre, M. Div.
https://www.annhlefevre.com; Olivetreeann@mail.com; https://www.linkedin.com/in/annhlefevre; https://www.facebook.com/ann.h.lefevre