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Thursday

Pictures of Jesus: Zoetic



Jesus is zoetic. OK, what does zoetic even mean?

The word “zoetic” is related to “Zoe,” which means “life” in Greek.

“Zoetic” refers to something that is alive, real, and vital. It sort of implies something that is so full of life that it makes living more real and complete.

That’s Jesus.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
(John 14:6, NIV)

Can you imagine how the 12 apostles must have felt, sitting in a boat and suddenly seeing Jesus, waving to them from the shore? Sure, He appeared to them in the Upper Room in Jerusalem after His resurrection, but there He was again. What a sight!

Italian Renaissance artist Tintoretto painted this sight in his work titled Christ at the Sea of Galilee. I love seeing Peter, climbing out of the boat, like he couldn’t wait to walk on water again.

And there’s Jesus, full of life and ready to fill His followers with abundant life as well. That’s zoetic.

[Jesus said] “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:10, NIV)
Christ at the Sea of Galilee
by Tintoretto
c1578

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The Scripture memory tips series is ongoing, but the April A to Z Blogging Challenge has started, and Heart of a Ready Writer is participating again this year. Watch for the Bible memory series posts, which may be interspersed with the Pictures of Jesus series during the month of April.


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Wednesday

Pictures of Jesus: Yielding



God’s Son, part of the divine and holy Trinity, yielded to God the Father to accomplish the divine purpose of redeeming mankind from the power sin and death.

That’s a very full sentence, chock full of theology and spiritual truth. In a nutshell, it means Jesus agreed with the Father that we were worth saving.


[Jesus] being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 

And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself  by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!



Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place  and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,  in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,  to the glory of God the Father.(Philippians 2:6-11, NIV)

Head of Christ, by Spanish Renaissance artist El Greco (1541-1614), is a striking image, I think. Looking up, Jesus appears to have His eye on the Father and His will. For millennia, Bible scholars have pondered whether Jesus had full revelation of the road before Him, during His earthly ministry.

If the Son does not know the day or time of His second coming (See Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32.), is it possible that the Father possesses additional knowledge yet unshared? Could it be that Jesus was asked to trust God’s plan, even without knowing all of the specifics of how that might unfold?

Yet He yielded. And He asks us to yield to God as well.

Yikes. That’s not easy, even when we know it’s the best thing for us. It’s hard, although we know, deep in our souls, that the Father’s plan is designed to turn out better than anything we might attempt to devise.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.

(Romans 12:1-2, NIV)

Being a living sacrifice is a tall order. A traditional sacrifice is captured, bound, and killed. Surely that hurts. It’s real. But a living sacrifice has the ability of kicking and screaming and protesting and trying to climb off that altar, again and again. I know what such fits feel like. I’ve had ‘em.

Yep. Yielding isn’t easy. But God is glorified and pleased by it. And it makes us more like Christ.

Yielding is saying “Yes” to God, especially when our feelings urge us otherwise. And we cannot do it without an abundance of His help.

Head of Christ
 by El Greco
 c1585

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The Scripture memory tips series is ongoing, but the April A to Z Blogging Challenge has started, and Heart of a Ready Writer is participating again this year. Watch for the Bible memory series posts, which may be interspersed with the Pictures of Jesus series during the month of April.


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Tuesday

Pictures of Jesus: eXquisite




Jesus is excellent and exceptional and extraordinary. But He is also extremely exquisite. “Extremely exquisite” may sound redundant, but the Lord of Lords merits the emphasis.

The beauty of the Lord is beyond our comprehension. When we perceive Him face to face, we will undoubtedly be dumbfounded by His appearance in glory.

But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? (Malachi 3:2a, NIV)

Peter and John caught a glimpse of His glory at the Transfiguration. (See Matthew 17:1–9; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28–36; and 2 Peter 1:16–18.)

I wonder how that must have felt and how the experience changed those two men forever.

Angels know Jesus’ exquisite beauty.

The angels who encouraged Him during His 40-day solo trek of fasting, prayer, and temptation in the wilderness clearly saw it as well. Plus, they were familiar with His heavenly appearance, having known Him before He took on lowly human flesh for His earthly ministry of sacrifice and salvation.

American painter Thomas Cole (1801-1848) caught this moment on canvas for his work titled Angels Ministering to Christ in the Wilderness. It’s a beautiful scene, shedding light on the lovely Lord, contrasted against the barren countryside.

How wonderful will it be when we are able to behold Him in His glory. Only through His grace may we look forward to such a sight.

Your eyes will see the king in His beauty and view a land that stretches afar. (Isaiah 33:17, NIV)

Angels Ministering to Christ in the Wilderness
 by Thomas Cole
 c1843

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The Scripture memory tips series is ongoing, but the April A to Z Blogging Challenge has started, and Heart of a Ready Writer is participating again this year. Watch for the Bible memory series posts, which may be interspersed with the Pictures of Jesus series during the month of April.


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Monday

Pictures of Jesus: Weary



I’m tired. Often, I am weary. It sort of goes with the territory for anyone living with multiple sclerosis, as it does for those with hosts of other life challenges. But I am pretty sure I’ve never experienced the sort of soul weariness Jesus did, when He took on the sin of the entire world.

Jesus understands fatigue.

He has been there. I do not begin to understand the mystery of how the all-powerful Son of God could become tired. Can the Lord grow weary?

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.
(Isaiah 40:28, NIV)

Still, Jesus took on human flesh and weakness for a time. I cannot scarcely fathom the will power it must have taken for Him not to call in angelic forces or summon divine strength when things got tough.

But Jesus endured weariness, temptation, and pain. He faced situations requiring extreme patience, self control and endurance. And He did it.

Christ Consoled by the Angels, by Mexican painter Juan Patricio Morlete Ruiz (1713-1772), captures this concept quite clearly. The image shows angels caring for the Lord after He has been lashed by the Roman guards. One angel catches Him. Others wipe up the blood the Savior has shed, capturing the precious drops in golden goblets. A few more hover over His head, praying and encouraging Him.

Together, these heavenly helpers (called “ministering spirits” in Hebrews 1:14) serve the tired and suffering Messiah, who will soon be carrying His cross to Calvary.

That’s weariness. 

Surely, this One can identify with us in our own weakness, when He shares His own strength with us. For Jesus is not a distant, withdrawn, or unknowing figure. He fully understands what we face. And He accompanies and equips us all the way. What a Savior.

Christ Consoled by the Angels
 by Juan Patricio Morlete Ruiz
18th Century

Feel free to follow on GooglePlus and Twitter. Don’t miss the Heart of a Ready Writer page on Facebook.


The Scripture memory tips series is ongoing, but the April A to Z Blogging Challenge has started, and Heart of a Ready Writer is participating again this year. Watch for the Bible memory series posts, which may be interspersed with the Pictures of Jesus series during the month of April.


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