In the last week of the year 2015, I woke up to read the story about the record breaking statue of ‘Jesus’ the Christ commissioned by one Obinna Onuoha at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in the village of Abajah in Imo state.
There were lots of celebration of this record (the largest ‘Jesus’ statue in Africa) and the international press even called the statue a symbol of peace.
However, one thing disturbs me about this record breaking statue of Jesus erected in Nigeria. First of all, no one knows what Jesus looked like, yet we erect statues of ‘Jesus’.
What if the statue is a statue of satan, how do we know? If this sounds far fetched to you, then consider what The Holy Bible says in 2 Corinthians 11:14 “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”
In John 4:24, Jesus said “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
You cannot worship God through a statue! The ancient Israelites did not do it. Jesus Himself did not do it. The early Christians did not do it. So where did we get this idea from?
Jesus lived at a time when statues were rampant. Caeser’s statues littered Palestine and Judea and even Jerusalem. Jesus could have easily permitted His likeness to be captured in a statue, or to be drawn, but He did not allow it.
The question to be asked is why?
The answer to that question may be found in Exodus 20:4 which says “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below”?
The fact is that it is actually the pagan religions of Ancient Rome that practiced the act of making idols of their gods and goddesses.
This practice was smuggled into Christendom (which is very different from Christianity) when Constantine the Great was converted to Christianity due to the influence of his mother, Helena.
The ruling elite of Ancient Rome saw that if they did not contain Christianity, it would erode their power, so they came up with Christendom through the Holy Roman Catholic Church.
Notice the words, Holy Roman Catholic Church. What in those names are derived from The Bible?
Roman means the church is of Ancient Rome. Catholic means it is all embracing (meaning that it fused all the pagan religions into a Catholic faith). Church simply means a place where a deity is worshippers.
The word Catholic simply means a wide variety.
The issue then was that images of gods and goddesses fetched the Ancient Romans a lot of money in custom and taxes which was why there was a riot in the ancient city of Ephesus when Paul tried to abolish the making of statues to the goddess Diana (also known as Artemis).
In fact, the following conversation sparked the riot:
“A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in a lot of business for the craftsmen there. He called them together, along with the workers in related trades, and said: “You know, my friends, that we receive a good income from this business. And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all. There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited; and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty.” When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”-Acts 19:24-28.
From the above, you can see why the creators of the Catholic Church felt they had to accommodate people like Demetrius.
The truth is that we do not know what Jesus looked like because He did not want us to know what He looked like. Jesus wanted us to worship the Spiritual God who is The Father and not a physical form.
And consider this. Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi. He did not have blonde flowing hair or piercing blue eyes. He was a very strong man because He single handedly chased away the merchants from the temple in Jerusalem.
This effeminate, feeble looking, long blonde haired Adonis figure that is passed off as Jesus is not Him.
Jesus did not want us to focus on his fleshly form. In fact He said “The Spirit gives life; THE FLESH counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you-they are full of the Spirit and life.”-John 6:63.
Reno Omokri is the founder of the Mind of Christ Christian Center in California, author of Shunpiking: No Shortcuts to God and Why Jesus Wept and the host of “Transformation with Reno Omokri” (Sunday at 2.30PM on San Francisco’s KTLN, Chanel 25 on Comcast).