For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.
One possible danger from having a picture of Jesus: suppose someone (i.e. False Prophet or Antichrist) shows up looking like that picture? One might be tempted to accept him as Him!
In synagons a fish was engraved represented Jesus Christ, and we all know why and for what purpose.
Was this idololatry?
Dear George, yes, that'd be idolatry.
I teach Old Testament at a private school, and this question always comes up about images when we study the 10 commandments. Students have pictures of "Jesus" at home, and they are concerned. I ask them if He really looks like the picture they have - they have never considered that we don't know what Jesus looks like!
The danger lies in giving the picture or statue special "value," such as praying to Jesus while gazing at the picture or statue. This would clearly be idolatry. And we are creatures prone to this danger.
Better to not have any pictures or statues - removes the temptation to think of them "more highly than we ought."
I agree that many Christians, and Catholics especially, pray to the Virgin Mary and other Saints for intersession. I recently have left the Catholic Church because of this. As well as other rules and regulations that do not conform to Biblical teaching. I feel that having a beautiful statue of Mary while having an emaciated crucified Jesus on the cross just does not seem right. If the risen, glorified Lord were portrayed front and center I might have a different opinion. To me there is a very fine line between veneration and worship and we must be very careful of stepping over that line. Go to the Master and speak to Him in private, without the intercession of anyone or anything to get in the way of true prayer and communication. Thank you and may we all be Blessed.
This is an interesting question...