The picture shown here is believed to be the last photograph of Abraham Lincoln. The photo was recently discovered in a family photo album of Ulysses S. Grant. His great-great grandson suspected that the tall human figure in the center of the picture could be Lincoln and that the structure in the background was the White House. Keya Morgan, a Lincoln Historian, was brought in to determine the truth of the matter. He deduced that several things in the picture pointed to the fact that Abraham Lincoln was indeed the central figure in the photograph including the height, the hairline and facial hair, and of course the general surroundings. Finally, he asked a very important question of the Grant descendant. He encouraged him to take the photo out of the album and look at the back of it to see if the original photographer had signed his name. Morgan explains, "If you don't know who the photographer is, it's like not knowing who your father and mother are," When he did, he turned it over he saw the seal of photographer Henry F. Warren with the following inscription, "Lincoln in front of the White House". Astounding!
Indeed, it is astounding to think that something as obvious as reading the back of a photograph was overlooked in the identification of the central figure in the image. I wonder how many times General Grant's family members gazed at the picture in curiosity. As they examined the photograph over the years, did they engage in fervent discussion and debate over the identity of the tall figure? If so, how amazing is it that no one ever thought to remove the picture from the album and read the back of the photo? Surely, the questions would have been settled in their minds long before the historian came along.
This historical discovery reminds me of our search for God. In our curiosity and wonder, we observe the innumerable evidences that surround us. We marvel at the natural creation, and engage in the beauty and artistry of this world. In doing so, there is a natural yearning within us to worship! So, we do. We worship everything in the created order with only a tip of our hat to the creator.
Yes, we acknowledge the existence of God. We even find great comfort in discussing and analyzing Him. We read our Bibles and use it like a handbook for good living. We even acknowledge the Bible as the very Word of God. We wear t-shirts promoting His causes, and bracelets espousing His moral value. We know the story of the cross and can recite it with ease. Still, despite our saturation in Christianity, we ask deep questions regarding His identity. We might not ask them out loud, but they ring incessantly in our ruined souls. Who is this Christ?
Just as the curious soul fails to flip the photo and have His questions answered once and for all, the ruined soul ignores the very documentation that he holds in his possession. It is in the sciptures, that we find God's signature. He has authenticated His identity from Genesis to Revelation. From the moment He reveals the plan of redemption to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3, to His future expectation of the great Revelation, we are overwhelmed with God's Gospel.
If we have eyes to see, we realize that Jesus Christ is the central figure in Genesis, Isaiah, Revelation, and every book in between! Though not as obvious as the 4 gospels, when we look for Christ in any part of the Bible we will find Him. We see Him as Lion, Lamb, Judge, Saviour, Creator, Redeemer, and King! He is the leading actor in this unfolding drama, and we're bit players.
If we have eyes to see, we will be broken and humiliated when we discover that nothing in the Word is about us. It is about Christ.
If we have eyes to see, we will rejoice in the truth that is not about us. If the Bible was about our forgiveness, our fulfillment, our hopes and dreams, our righteousness, ironically none of those things would be possible!
If only our eyes would be opened to the truth of God's glory! We would see that His glory is everything we could ever hope for. His glory is our hope for redemption! His glory is our hope for eternal fulfillment! His glory is our only shot at righteousness!
We should rejoice that God revealed Himself and His desire for glory. I don't know why He chose to do so in an ancient document. Maybe that's all we can endure. I do know that when it comes to the Word of God, if you don't know who the author is, it's like not knowing who your Father is.