Jesus came and walked the earth for a mere 33 years and then returned to His heavenly position. His disciples first knew Him as a man on earth, but we know Him as the revealed Son of God, once again seated in the heavenly places.
To reveal means to uncover something unknown and to see with clarity something that was previously a mystery. But how do we see and how does that relate to a revelation of Jesus?
The word “see” can be understood in many ways. We can look with our eyes by observing. Perceive with the senses and our inner vision of “knowing” or by understanding from discovery or experience. But we can also see through visions and dreams and through the use of metaphor.
As an artist, it has been my experience that whenever I have taught drawing, I have to first teach people how to see. Once students understand this, it is like watching a light of revelation go on, suddenly everything becomes clear and the discovery excites them. It is the same with discovering Jesus. We first have to learn how to see!
How Do We See Jesus Now?
It’s an interesting question. When I shared this question with a friend, he immediately responded with, “How can you not see Jesus?” After pausing for thought, he then went on to say that it can be a bit like “Where’s Waldo?” If you don’t know what Waldo looks like, then he can be hard to find.
What Does Jesus Look Like?
When I first met Jesus, it was through an invitation to give my life to God during a sermon preached by my father. I was very young when I heard this sermon. My dad spoke about how Jesus had died to remove our sins and bring us to God, and the invitation was made to give our lives to Him. My spirit rose to the invitation and I remember submitting my life into God’s hands.
But at that point, I did not know Jesus. Revelation for me came as I was taught the scriptures and it was through this that I saw Jesus. It was in the process of studying what He did, how He functioned here on earth, and in His heavenly role that I came to know Him. I have come to realize that Jesus has to be found and for this, there has to be revelation, but how does that occur?
John the Baptist
John the Baptist recognized who Jesus was when He asked John to baptize Him, and this was confirmed when the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, descended from heaven and rested upon Jesus. But it was not always the case that Jesus was so easily recognized. The disciples didn’t always recognize him. In the account of Jesus walking on the water, they thought they were seeing a ghost!
…But when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified (Mark 6:49).
Later, after the resurrection, Jesus appeared again and caused the disciples to question Him.
While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have” (Luke 24:37).
The Holy Spirit Reveals
In Luke 25, we see the devout and righteous man Simeon who was told by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he saw the promised Messiah. He was led by the Holy Spirit the whole time in this account, both to go into the temple and in recognizing that the baby he saw was indeed Jesus.
And so, it is with us today, the Holy Spirit witnesses and reveals Jesus to us. John’s gospel chapters 15-17 are key to our understanding of this. When He warns them of His imminent departure, Jesus is about to return to heaven but says, “When the Advocate (The Holy Spirit) comes, whom I will send to you from the Father — the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father — he will testify about me.” In John 15:26, we see clearly that it is the Holy Spirit that reveals Jesus to us.
How Can We Receive a Revelation?
…If from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul (Deuteronomy 4:29).
Referring to God rather than Jesus and speaking to the Jewish nation, in particular, this verse says that if they search for God with their whole hearts, they will find Him. I believe this truth stands for us today; if we desire to “see” Jesus with our whole hearts, He will indeed be revealed to us, for it is God’s heart that we encounter Jesus. For it is in and through Jesus that we come close to God.
Wanting to See Jesus
In the delicate intricate weaving of the small and beautiful touches that are of your hand, I see beauty; I see your love. You weave your touch through my day. Your intricate beauties are not lost by me (Petrina Kent, 7/9/13).
This is an excerpt from a poem I wrote about Jesus and it touches upon how we can see Him metaphorically. A friend responded to it by asking how it was that I saw Jesus in small things when she didn’t. I was saddened by this, but the truth is that we must want to have Jesus revealed, we must yearn for him just as those two disciples did on the road to Emmaus.
The Road to Emmaus
This painting is an invitation to journey. I was asked to produce a book cover on the theme “The Road to Emmaus.” I deliberately painted a path of confusion and despair but with light and hope ahead for us to aim for. And just as the blood of Jesus is woven throughout this painting by the use of the color red, He comes as we journey, and He walks with us.
Photo Credit: Petrina Kent
We do not always recognize this or Him, and we might, at times, stumble and fall. But He places His hand upon us and gently guides, revealing Himself bit by bit until we walk into the fullness of revelation and the joy of His glorious presence.
I deliberately did not paint figures in this painting, or a village to aim for because each viewer places himself within the painting at the point he feels he might be on his journey of discovery. And the as-yet-unseen Christ draws alongside, it is Christ Himself who reveals Himself to them, and might I boldly suggest that He did this because of their hunger to see Him as He spoke to them.
And so, it is with us, our destination is also no earthly village; it is to be hidden in Christ in the heavenly places, in the full light of His revealed glory.
I come to you Jesus, The one who loves my soul, I look to you and pause to wonder. What path have you trod? What made it even possible that you should consider me, the guilty one, full of pain and shame, full of sin, Lost in a wilderness of despair? It had to be love. You loved me enough to leave your majestic throne, Walk the dusty path Mocked Undone Giving all for me, Making it possible for me to be Forgiven, Cleansed Set free.
Yes, You did this for me and You call me now to gaze upon You! So, I look to you the beautiful one and I see Majesty, Humility, Love, and Purity. There is so much to consider, So much as yet unseen in My Redeemer, My Lover, My King, And I would know You more. Yes, I would know You more (Petrina Kent, 2019).
Ask, Seek, Knock
I leave you with this challenge Jesus Himself set:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7,8).
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Sergey Tinyakov
Petrina Kent is a Christian and a professional artist. Her delight is to honour God through her art. It is her desire to share His love, and to encourage and to inspire others in their faith through the truth of the scriptures. She sees. She loves. She paints.