Are Pictures of Jesus Wrong?

he Charlie Hebdo Massacre

A kindergarten teacher was observing her class of children while they drew pictures. Occasionally, she would walk around the room to see each child’s work. “What are you drawing?” she asked one little girl who was laboring diligently at her desk.  The child replied, “I’m drawing God.”  The teacher paused and said, “But no one knows what God looks like.”  The little pupil replied, “They will in a minute.”

Charlie Hebdo (Charlie Weekly) is a French satirical weekly magazine that describes itself as strongly pro liberal and especially anti religion; equally mocking Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, etc.  The publication, begun in 1970, started out as a daily political ridicule of then French President, Charles de Gaulle (thus the name Charlie) but in recent years has turned to more spoofing of the world’s major faiths.  And it is Islam that has taken particular offense, especially the cartoon depiction of their Prophet, Mohammed.  So for the last decade they’ve been opposing the publication; both in court (suing under the hate law statute) and on the street (protesting outside their offices).  Then in 2011 things turned violent.  Charlie Hebdo published a cartoon strip mocking Sharia Law with Mohammed stating, “One-hundred lashes for not laughing.”  The result was the computer hacking of Charlie’s website and the fire-bombing of Hebdo’s offices.  But rather than cutting back on the satire, as requested by Paris, the anti-religionists upped the ante with cartoon drawings that began to depict Mohammed, now and then, in the nude.  This was the final straw for two Islamic extremists, and despite the presence of a policeman out front as protection (oddly enough a Moslem officer), he, and eleven others inside, were brutally executed with the two murderers shouting, “God is great” and “The Prophet has been revenged.”  Ironically, the attack turned the publication’s next issue (normally selling 60,000 weekly) to 5,000,000 being bought.  And all across France, people marched carrying signs that read, Je Suis Charlie (“I Am Charlie”).

All this raises the question – Are pictures of Jesus wrong?  Here’s what the Bible teaches about that.  God is not against images being made of Him (as long as those depictions aren’t worshipped).  Such things as the Tabernacle, the Temple, and the Lord’s Table are all full of divine pictorials (lion, lamb, dove, etc.).  But God is against images being made of other gods and those depictions being worshipped.  This is what the second commandment forbids in Exodus 20:4-5, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.

Now the reason Islam is so anti any pictorial depiction of Mohammed is that they view him as a man, not God, and therefore do not want any image that might cause people to worship him as a deity.  (By the way, this is the same reason Islam does now allow any drawings of Jesus either; for he, too, is considered by them to be just a man and therefore not be idolized as a deity.)

The bottom line?  When it comes to a human depiction of Mohammed, a picture isn’t worth a thousand bullets.  But when it comes to a heavenly depiction of Jesus, that  picture is worth a thousand words and so many more.