Upon reading my brief review of Heaven Is For Real did you, too, not end up asking that question?
Whilst reading the book I was most interested in this simply because Jesus’ face had been out of sight during my encounter, as explained here (at 1st Validation). Also, I was familiar with ‘portraits’ of ‘Master Jesus’ to be found in New Age circles but didn’t regard them as being authentic.
Can you imagine how deeply stunned Todd and Sonja Burpo were whilst driving with their two children to hear their 4 year old suddenly reveal that he’d heard angels and met Jesus Christ?
From their vehicle’s back seat little Colton pipes up in answer to a gentle tease about hospital by saying what mum and dad were doing whilst he was dying on an operating table with a severely ruptured appendix that had poisoned his abdomen. It wasn’t so much his accurate description of what they were doing in two different places – on the phone and praying; well, losing it with God! – that hit them. (Only much later did his father learn the finer points of how that prayer of desperation was answered!)
They had to stop at a nearby snack bar to hear again, and digest, Colton’s very quick account of what happened whilst being operated upon. As only a young child can, he described being with Jesus. Over the course of many weeks a fuller account gradually emerged, usually popping out during play times, of what Jesus looks like and of many things Colton ‘did and saw’ during minutes, not hours, of earth time. There was also, and more importantly, what Colton knew. Almost all of this could not be attributed to any teaching or children’s Bible stories!
The first answer to what Jesus looked like was the answer to a spiritual ‘riddle’ : what’s the only thing in heaven that’s the same as it was on earth?
He’d said, right off bat, “Jesus has markers”.
His father claims Colton didn’t know about the crucifixion wounds at that age because their Weslyan church made no references to or had any pictures of them. For nearly three years his parents would show Colton dozens of illustrations depicting Jesus but they all left him cold. He never saw one that he thought was right. He just could not recognise Jesus in any.
One day his father came across a CNN report of a young girl Akiane Kramarik, a child prodigy who began painting exceptionally sophisticated artwork at the age of 6 years. A couple of years previously she’d begun having ‘visions’ of heaven, even though both her parents were atheists! The authors of Heaven Is For Real write, ‘Slowly her mom began to accept that Akiane’s visions were real and that, therefore, God must be real’.
As I watched (writes Todd) a montage of Akiane’s artwork play across my computer screen, the narrator said, “Akiane describes God as vividly as she paints him”. (p 143)
That was similar to how Colton spoke of Jesus – both children spoke especially about His beautiful eyes. So his father told Colton to come and take a look, asking what was wrong with this one. The boy said nothing, just stared, and he was asked again – still silence and then he got nudged:
My seven-year-old turned to look at me and said, “Dad, that one’s right”.
Entitled “Prince of Peace, Resurrection”, her portrait can be seen in Akiane’s Official Gallery under ‘Age 8’ and the next year shows Jesus praying, “Father Forgive Them”. To learn how she saw and painted Him read For child art prodigy Akiane, Jesus is for real (link no longer available)
Below, Ray Downing demonstrates how the picture Colton saw matches the image of the deceased Christ as captured millennia ago on The Shroud of Turin.
Also, you can watch Colton at 11 tell his story on video on heaven is for real website.