Jesus or Duane Allman on a Walmart Receipt?
A recent story appeared on the web about an image of "Jesus" appearing on a Walmart receipt. You can find the story and image here. No one wants to question the sincerity of the couple who believe God blessed them. But is it impolite to ask the question, How do they know it's Jesus? Admittedly, it is odd how the apparent image of a man's face can appear on a piece of toast or a Walmart receipt, but who is to say that it must be Jesus? Why not one of the Allman Brothers? How does anyone outside of the first-century witnesses who personally observed the ministry of Christ know what the Savior looks like? Why can't these purported images be a number of bearded figures from history?
To be sure, the desire to see Jesus is not at all sinful. In fact, it is something that all Christians should desire and will be able to experience at the consummation of all things. The apostle John writes that we will behold the face of God in the face of Christ on the last day (Rev. 22.1-4). For the time being, however, Christ has given us four things to behold until we can see him face to face: the Word, water, bread, and wine. We can hear Christ speaking in the Word whenever it is read or preached. We can behold our Savior with our own eyes whenever we celebrate the sacrament--when we participate as a corporate body in the baptism of an individual and see the water applied or when we taste, touch, and smell the bread and wine of the Lord's Supper. When we look upon such things there is no question as to who we see--Jesus has revealed the Father inerrantly, infallibly, and unquestionably. But when we look upon a piece of toast or an old Walmart receipt, one man's "Jesus" is another man's 70's rock-n-roll icon. Why trade in Word and sacraments for a piece of toast or a receipt?