I haven’t talked about this yet, but I am going to. My excitement about a particular comic book cover was too much, I just had to talk about this first before I got to the many other things I want to talk about.
It is a cover for an upcoming issue of the controversial Second Coming comic book, and I love the facial expression Jesus is making in it. When I first saw it, I spend minutes just looking over the art. (I love comics, what can I say?)
As I looked at it more and more, I found myself wondering,
What face does Jesus make when you and I pray?
Just look at it. What does Jesus’ face say to you?
While we don’t know who the people in prison with Jesus are (or what will happen in this comic book series that would land Jesus in jail) it does depict individuals praying. They are asking for things.
Any Christian will tell you that prayer is a lot more (or should be) than just asking for things, but it does include that. So as I looked over the cover art, I wondered if this what the idea behind Jesus’ face.
Is Jesus tired of people just asking for things?
One person wants a dead pet (can rats really be pets?) brought back to life. Another person wants a finger healed or grown back. Someone else wants the water turned into wine, and a fourth wants the stones the jail is trying to pass off as “food” turned into a fantastical feast.
But is that really all Jesus is? Is Jesus our go-to guy for all our demands? Do we default to him when we need things as if he is our genie in the sky?
Hey, Jesus, I need a thing. Amen.
Dear Jesus, can you please miraculously change Problem X for me? Thanks.
Dear Lord, make my spouse…make my work…make my bank account….make my life…make my relationship…make, make, make, mine, mine, mine…
Is Jesus a fixer?
Scripture wouldn’t call Jesus or God a fixer, per se. But the Bible does talk about God wanting to give us good things.
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
The problem comes when we limit God or Jesus to ONLY that. Jesus is ONLY the fixer of my life problems. God is ONLY the Cosmic Vending Machine that gives me what I want.
Yes, we can ask God for things, but there is much more to prayer than just that.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Back to what Jesus’ face may be saying and how it is impacting my prayer life. While I thought about the things that the criminals were asking for, another question came to mind.
Is this all they think of Jesus?
While it touches on what I just talked about, is Jesus just a fixer, it also goes a step further.
Is the relationship you have with Jesus contractual?
When I look at the prisoners in that comic book cover art, I can’t help but imagine that they would attempt to bargain with Jesus.
Jesus, if you heal my pet rat, I won’t stab another guy in a rival gang again.
Jesus, if you can turn this water into wine, I promise I’ll never use your Daddy’s name in vain again.
Their prayers would be a business deal. Some give and take, though they would be more interested in the taking than giving. They are happy to have a contractual, business-like relationship with Jesus, but is that what Jesus wants?
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
While God, as a Good Father, does want to give you the things you ask for, He wants to give you something so much better still: Himself.
He wants to live life with you, to have His Spirit moving and dwelling in you. He wants to have regular communion with you, to help you, shape you, encourage and uplift.
God wants to be so much more than a giver of gifts in your life. The problem is we so often forget, I often forget that God wants to be in relationship with us.
That brings me back to the question,
What face does Jesus make when you pray, when I pray?
Is Jesus tired of you asking for things?
Is our relationship with Jesus contractual, lacking the language of relationship?
We often talk about how much we are praying, whether we are using the “right” words or proper phrasing to get a particular result. We talk about when we should pray, the posture we need to take to achieve a real connection to God.
Maybe it is time we thought about the content of our prayers and how Jesus may be reacting to them. The face he may be making may not be a good one.
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This article first appeared on Christian Thought Sandbox.