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The Exact Likeness

by Inspiration Ministries
“No one has ever seen God. The one and only Son, who is himself God and is at the Father’s side nhe has revealed him.” John 1:18 CSB

Gilbert Stuart became perhaps the most respected portrait painter of his time. Born in Rhode Island on this day in 1755, Stuart displayed unusual ability as a boy before furthering his skills through studies in London and Dublin. By the time he returned to America, he had developed into a master.

Given the opportunity to paint portraits of distinguished Americans, he earned a reputation for quality. He also became self-confident, sure of his abilities and unique grasp of the right ways to portray his subjects.

A pinnacle of his career was the invitation to paint a portrait of George Washington. His sittings with the President resulted in several portraits, differing somewhat in image and approach. (One of these is displayed on the one dollar bill.)

Stuart admitted his struggles in capturing the best way to portray Washington, who seemed to show “apathy” toward the project. Yet, despite these struggles, the results were widely praised for the accurate way he displayed the President’s likeness and character. His portraits still are held in high regard and considered definitive. As if we are looking at the real Washington.

Expert masters like Gilbert Stuart have the ability to capture the image they want to create of their subjects. To make them look dignified or scholarly. Wise or understanding. Even foolish or naïve. To make men like Washington look presidential.

But Jesus was not a portrait painter. He came not to create an image but to give us the exact representation of God the Father. To show us exactly what He is like.

Throughout the Christmas season, remember that Jesus’ birth opened a new era. He wasn’t just a teacher, but God Himself, revealing the heart and character of God through His life and character.


Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for coming into this world. Help me to learn from Your example. Help me to be a witness that others might see You through me. In Your name. Amen. Pray that Inspiration Ministries would reach more for Christ in Israel.

Extended Reading

John 1
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