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Week Seven | God’s Image Stamped in Dust

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Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus Online Biblical Study
Reading Assignment – Chapters 13 & 14
Listen to the Audio version | Reading Time: 4 minutes

Even though it was before my “time”, I remember there being posters that initially looked like a random design, however, when looked at a certain way, the pieces would merge and form and a hidden image seemed to pop directly out of the poster.  

I would stare at these posters for what seemed like hours trying to focus and see what was right in front of me.  Finally, after adjusting my eyes the correct way the picture would suddenly appear.  What was once a two-dimensional image became vivid and full of life.  

All it took was adjusting the way I was viewing the photo for the full picture to be seen, and much the same can be said for how we see God through the Bible.

Merging Our Inner Eyes

The opening story of chapter 13 of Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus, immediately caught my attention.  Sue Berry went most of her life not realizing she was seeing the world around her differently than everyone else.  For her, everything was two-dimensional, flat, and often lifeless.  Having seen this way her whole life, she had no idea what she was missing.  

In her forties, when Sue made the choice to begin therapies to correct her vision, she did exercises daily to train her eyes, but to her disappointment noticed little change.  That is until one-day parts of her vision began to take their three-dimensional form, and little by little her sight was changed.  “Over the next few days, she started seeing the world in a whole new way” (pg 165-166).  

Stop for a moment and imagine how this would have felt, how awestruck she must have been.  

Like Sue, many of us have been going our entire lives not seeing the full picture of God because our inner eyes have separate focuses.  Many of us grew up reading the Bible and viewed God of the Old Testament and Jesus of the New Testament as two separate entities.  

“Your mind may refuse to merge your perception of Jesus with that of His heavenly Father, if you see Christ’s compassion for sinners as an utter contrast to the harsh judgment of the God of the Old Testament.”

Lois Tverberg, Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus, pg. 166

Just as Sue began the exercises to correct her vision, we too must put in the work to fix ours.  The first step is to merge our inner eyes, to overlap God of the Old Testament with who He also is in Jesus in the New Testament.  When we do this, our understanding of who He is begins to take full form.

God’s Image Stamped in Dust

When we look at the Bible through a Middle Eastern Lens, we no longer see the need to resolve the paradox that is created by the “wrathful Father” of the Old Testament and the “compassionate Son” of the New Testament. 

“The more you see God’s heart, the more you see the character of Christ from the very first pages of Genesis.  Our dual images of God in the Old and New Testaments start to merge together when we see that the suffering of Christ began in his Father’s heart at the dawn of creation, when we see God our Father bearing the cross for our sins.  It’s only when we focus the two images into one that we gain spiritual ‘depth perception’ and begin to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of God.”

Lois Tverberg, Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus, pg. 178

We were created in God’s image.  Formed from the dust by His hands, he breathed His own life into us (Genesis 2:7).  We are God’s image stamped in the dust.  

We cannot become like God, to live up to the image in which we were created, until we fully understand who He is.  We can do this by merging our inner eyes to see God and Jesus as one. 

 “And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God.  And now we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ.  He is the only true God, and he is eternal life.”
1 John 5:20, NLT 

The more we view scripture through the Middle Eastern Lens, the closer we are to viewing Jesus the way His first followers did.

“In just the same way, as we imitate Christ as his disciples, we carry his image to those around us and cause them to be like him too.”

Lois Tverberg, Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus, pg. 183

1. We have often viewed God in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament as two separate entities.
2. We need to merge our views of the two into one to understand who God truly is.
3. We were created in God’s image, and to be more like Him we must first understand who He is.

In what ways can you actively work to merge your inner eye? What are some reasons it is difficult for you to compare God in the Old Testament to Jesus in the New Testament?

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Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus | Lois Tverberg

A 7-week study that will challenge you to follow Rabbi Jesus more closely by re-examining His words in the light of their Jewish context, to provide a richer, deeper understanding of His ministry, compelling us to live differently, and to begin to understand why His first Jewish disciples abandoned everything to follow him, to live out His commands.

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Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus by Lois Tverberg - Fall 2022 Online Biblical Study | Intentionalfilling.com

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