His portrait hangs in the most sacred places in the church; many Christians even pray to it, believing him to be the son of God, Jesus. Others have him on calendars in their rooms and as stickers on their cars and doors.
What many Christians risk is becoming idolators, all because the man whose photograph has widely been circulated as a picture of Jesus is only an actor who played the role of Jesus in a movie.
Bible scholars say there is no known portrait of Jesus Christ as there were no photographers in Jesus’ era; images in that era are those that were engraved in stones.
However, the reenactment of events and happenings in Jesus’ era through the eyes of scriptwriters has shot some prominent actors who have over the years played the role of Jesus into fame, and now their images are worshipped as idols.
One of such prominent actors whose portraits have widely been circulated as that Jesus Christ is actor Robert Powell.
Ever since he played the character Jesus in the 1977 movie 'Jesus of Nazareth,' Robert Powell’s portrait has been mistaken by many Christians as a true image of Jesus Christ and has since been accorded reverence and has become an object of worship for many.
Another actor who played Jesus is Jim Caviezel, who also featured as Jesus in ‘The Passion of the Christ,’ which is the greatest selling Christian movie of all time.
Actor Robert Powell has recently expressed concern about the ‘sacrilegious’ use of his images, and has asked Christians to stop worshipping him as the true Jesus, but that would require an elaborate campaign to reorient the minds of religious fanatics whose faith is closely tied to the image.
Reverend Joseph McCarthy, General Director, Torchbearers Mission, simply describes the phenomenon as “idolatry”.
According to him, the development goes against the second commandment, which enjoins Christians not to make unto themselves graven images of anything in the likeness of man , animal or any of God’s creation.
“To take a portrait and begin to venerate that portrait is equal to making an idol out of it”, he argued.
He explained that most Christians seem not to understand the connection between the second commandment and that practice.
Reverend Dr Fred Degbe, the immediate past General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG), says paintings we find around portrayed as the images of Jesus and his disciples cannot be accurate, and can only pass for an artist’s impression of how people in Jesus' era might have looked like.
He was, however, emphatic that there is no known portrait of Jesus.
“The closest of any artistic representation that may seem accurate may have been those that were cast in stone”, he argued.
He also emphasised the point that any worship of these images contravenes the precepts of the Bible, which enjoins Christians to refrain from image worshipping.
He, however, added that the reasons why some images found their way into the church was a way to help people concentrate on worship.
He mentioned, for example, that in the era of the Roman Empire, there was a conscious effort by the church to refocus attention from images of the gods; and in their place, images semblance of Jesus, his disciples and Mary were used to help people concentrate on worship.
Rev Degbe, however, emphasised that how these images turn out to be objects of worship largely depends on the one worshipping.
“A lot of it depends on the heart, the intention, and the motive and what the person is doing with the figure”, he said.
Source: The Finder
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