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Graffiti on the Face of Jesus

February 13, 2018

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10

The graffiti mafia struck again. I read about it in the morning paper after Chicago gangs had defaced a variety of historic landmarks the night before. If you are a city dweller, you’ve seen it on a regular basis—beautiful buildings that grace the landscape and stand as monuments to the glory of their architects become spray-painted targets for dissonant images and messages.

As I read the article, I was taken by the thought, I wonder if my life is like graffiti on the face of Jesus? We are reminded in Scripture that we are “God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works” (Ephesians 2:10), and that we are to imitate Him (Ephesians 5:1). It is clear that our purpose in life is to give the people we encounter an opportunity to see what the real Jesus is like.

If you are like me, most of the people in your family, at work, or in your neighborhood know that you are a follower of Jesus. Once our connection to Jesus is known, people pay close attention to how we live. They have this strange expectation that we should be different—like Jesus! I wonder if the people-watchers are disappointed?

When we get real with ourselves, we have to admit that too often they see anything but Jesus in the way we live. Using others for our own advantage, being quick to judge and to speak poorly of others, and refusing to forgive make us just like the next guy. When others notice our “all about us” attitudes, any thought that we bear a resemblance to the real Jesus who came not to be served but to serve is “graffitied” by our obsession with ourselves. Why is it that we are prone to manifest as much greed, anger, aggressiveness, and sensuality as the average pagan? Our record on issues that relate to racial prejudice and cross-cultural sensitivity is particularly not like Jesus. While we appropriately lift a prophetic voice against moral ills such as abortion and homosexual behavior, we are strangely silent on issues that touched the heart of Christ: poverty, oppression, and injustice.

Apart from our activities on Sunday and our conformity to external codes of do’s and don’ts, the world doesn’t notice much difference. All they are left to see in Christianity is the loss of a day of leisure on the weekend and the denial of common pleasures. Few people find that kind of Christianity compelling.

To stay in shape, commit yourself to one true reflection of Jesus every day!


  • Can you spot a “graffiti” moment or habit in your life? What can you do to remove it and let the reality of Jesus clearly show up in your life?
  • Read Ephesians 5:1-21 and note the issues, both positive and negative, that relate to a clear view of the beauty of Jesus in and through your life. Choose one issue and create a specific plan to begin the process of cleaning up the face of Jesus in your life today.
  • Check out Galatians 5:13-25. In this text, you’ll see several examples that provide a clear view of Jesus.
  • Identify some of the issues that touched the heart of Jesus. Do the issues of poverty, oppression, and in justice motivate you to personally show His face in this broken and unfair world? Why or why not?