Portraits of Jesus: Advent 2020

In his landmark book, Ways of Seeing, John Berger argues that every piece of art carries with it a way of seeing. “Painters reconstruct what they see with brush marks on canvas.” Photographers select the angle, lighting, and scene. Likewise, the viewer of art has a way of seeing that draws on their life experience and culture. Berger’s theory makes sense of the wordless experience of wonder that we have when we gaze at a portrait, reflect on the subject’s immortalized facial expression or posture, and find we have a window into their character or inner world, centuries later.

2020 Advent Devotional

Similarly, the gospel authors intended to enrich our way of seeing Jesus by leaving us an array of portraits that reflect the experience of walking and talking, living and working with him. As we see Jesus heal and feed people, teach, laugh, serve and even crack a whip, we have windows into his character. This year, NSCBC has compiled an Advent Devotional, which aligns with the schedule for the Saturate Bible Reading Plan, which has many reading the four gospel accounts over the last four months of the year. Over the next four weeks of Advent, we’ll be sharing posts each weekday that will expand on the portraits of Jesus we see in the Gospel of John, the final book of the Saturate Plan. We hope this focus on the gospels sparks in you a renewed way of seeing Jesus that results in a deeper love and devotion.

The Way We See Jesus

John tells us, “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.” (1:18) If we have seen Jesus as the Bread of Life, then we know God our Father as the source of nourishment for hungry bodies and searching souls. If we have seen Jesus as our Fellow Mourner, we can be sure that we never bear our losses alone. As we meditate on Jesus’ life, may we be captivated. And may we be stretched by one another’s way of seeing Jesus and find a deeper unity, rooted in who he is for us.

Download the Full Advent Devotional Here