The story is told that a young count,a young nobleman born in the early 1700’s in Germany by the name of Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf went off after graduating from the university at Wittenbuerg on a grand tour of Europe. Visiting the art museum at Dusseldorf, Nikolaus Zinzendorf was forever changed by the painting entitled, Ecco Homo (“Behold the Man”).
Imagine a portrait of the ‘thorn-crowned Christ’, Who’s eyes are gazing at you, and written beneath the painting were the words, “I have done this for you, what have you done for Me?”
Zinzendorf is quoted to have said, “I have loved Him for a long time, but I have never actually done anything for Him. From now on I will do whatever He leads me to do.”
Check out the history! All because of a trip to an art museum and being personally touched by a portrait of Christ, and the words below, “I have done this for you…”Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf became a very influential leader in Christian history, living his life for Him.
Yes, again, in the very same art museum, many,many years later, a young woman ‘sat down opposite the same painting’, the story goes. The picture was studied, the words were read…and a poem was birthed: “I gave My life for thee, My precious blood I shed, That thoumight’st ransomed be, And quickened from the dead; I gave, I gave My life for thee, What hast thou giv’n for Me? I gave, I gave My life for thee, What has thou giv’n for Me?
(I Gave My Life for Thee, Frances R. Havergal/ Phillip P. Bliss).
In this day of technology, we can view so many pictures and we have endless words streaming towards our eyes and filling our minds, but on this Sunday, this first day of the week, can we stop and take notice of our ‘thorn-crowned’ Savior and stop for a moment to take it all in – what our Jesus has done for us because He first loved us, (even when we don’t turn our eyes toward Him).
But there’s no art on this page, but we can see it so clearly, when we stop to consider our Lord on His day. Stop for a moment, and read these words, long ago that were written, but perhaps, perhaps, they were written for today – let Jesus speak and remind us what’s true, that He gave, He gave, He gave it all, He gave His life for me and for you:
“My Father’s house of light, My glory circled throne, I left, for earthly night, For wand’rings sad and lone; I left, I left it all for thee, Has thou left aught for Me? I left, I left it all for thee, Has thou left aught for Me?”
“I suffered much for thee, More than thy tongue can tell, Of bitt’rest agony, To rescue thee from hell; I’ve borne, I’ve borne it all for thee, what hast thou borne for Me?
I’ve borne, I’ve borne it all for thee, What hast thou borne for Me?”
Perhaps, today, we can sacrifice and give praise. Perhaps, today, we walk through the doors of a church and gaze at the pictures on the wall – God, open our eyes! May we see that You have eyes on each of us, looking straight in our eyes… And in Your gaze, may we see grace in Your eyes! May we hear You say, “I love you,”, I am always here”, “I will never leave you” – “I gave my life for you.”
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45).
Perhaps today, we are convicted, (but not condemned!), to make a decision to give our lives, back to HIM! and perhaps our lives will be lived like artwork on a wall! Speaking volumes and drawing others to live for Him too!