Bringing the Text to Life

The Iconic Jesus Luke 2:22-40

The Iconic Jesus

Art: “Undefeated.” Used with permission of Stephen S. Sawyer.

Jesus is more popular than ever, but what Jesus are we talking about?

Jesus as a boxer?

The image is no doubt offensive to many on several levels.

The artist, however, may have been thinking about Jesus’ victory over sin, death and the devil. Kayoed. Down and out for the count.

Yet, even if this isn’t your image of Jesus, and it probably isn’t, it’s also true that no two people have the same image of a man who is still incredibly popular.

In American Jesus, by Stephen Prothero, a recent book by the chair of the Department of Religion at Boston University, it’s all spelled out. Jesus is a man “nobody hates.” According to figures Prothero reports, roughly 85 percent of the U.S. population is Christian. Sure, that includes people who may not have been to church since they were baptized as an infant, but even subtracting those, there are a lot left. In fact, according to Prothero, two-thirds of contemporary Americans say they have made a “personal commitment” to Jesus, and three-quarters of our countrymen...

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