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Listen while you read: "Jesus The Very Thought Of Thee"1 (Lyrics)

On a visit to London, England, a friend escorted me to a number of historical and popular sites, one being St. Paul's Cathedral. A heroic survivor of the World War II blitz, and site of the 1981 royal wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, the beautiful cathedral was full of sightseers. My particular interest was to see the world-famous painting, The Light of the World, by pre-Raphaelite artist William Holman Hunt, a larger version of the original 1853 painting. Ship owner and social reformer Charles Booth commissioned this second, larger painting in 1904, donating it to St. Paul's Cathedral. There, it has been seen by many thousands, and the artwork has inspired musical works such as Arthur Sullivan's 1873 oratorio, The Light of the World.

The painting is a representation of Revelation 3:20, where Christ says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me." (NKJV) A robed Christ with halo, bearing a lantern which illumines His dear face, stands before a planked wooden door, covered with vines and undergrowth, long unopened. The door has no handle; it must be opened from the inside. Jesus knocks quietly but insistently. Holman wrote, "I painted the picture with what I thought, unworthy though I was, to be by Divine command, and not simply as a good subject", the handle-less door representing "the obstinately shut mind".

The Lord Jesus calls to the hearts of lukewarm believers and unbelievers, asking to come in and have dinner, that is, to share a warm and intimate fellowship with them. Doesn't He have the right to bash down that door or to enter in some other way? However, He chooses to call to each person's heart by showing mercy and providing for us, by sometimes allowing judgment and discipline, and by encouraging us through Scripture, through the testimony of faithful believers, and through His Holy Spirit. The one who opens the door to Jesus repents of personal pride, self-reliance, dependency on human wisdom, and lukewarm faith.

The words of Revelation 3:20 were written to half-hearted Christians living in the trade-wealthy city of Laodicea, but are just as meaningful to people of today. Jesus offers this great invitation to share in a life-long personal fellowship and relationship; it is not a courtesy call! He is calling us to repent of the sin that separates us from a loving God, and to open our lives once again, or for the first time, to His love and fellowship. I pray that we will all hear His call to us today, and welcome in the heavenly Guest to share in our lives and homes.

Prayer: Thank You, dear Lord, that You love us so much that You know each heart intimately, and yet wait patiently for us to open the door to You. We pray that You will use the testimony of Your faithful believers to cause many more to open the doors of their hearts to You. Amen.

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About the author:

Shirley Moulton <shirley_moulton@yahoo.ca>
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Amen, Shirley.


    Great message Shirley. Thanks for sharing.


    Grateful for your faith and sharing it today, Shirley.


    Thank you, Shirley, for inspiring us so beautifully today.


    Thanks, Shirley, for this interesting story and its application to our lives.


    Yes, Jesus is the light of the world. He is faithful as we shine our light to others. Thank you so much.


    Thank you, Shirley, for sharing this devotional with us. That’s one of my favorite pictures of Jesus! Blessings.


    Dear Shirley,
    Thank you for your inspiring devotional, Shirley. We have this beautiful, framed picture of Christ at this special handleless door at the Apartments.


    Very interesting story, Shirley. I was right there by St. Paul’s one time but didn’t go in. Now I wish I did. If I had known the history, I definitely would have opened that door. Thanks and God bless!


    Greetings Shirley,
    Many thanks for this devotional which reminds us that opening our hearts to the Lord and seeking His guidance is the route to go in our daily lives. He is ever ready to receive us and is our greatest source of peace and comfort.
    Blessings for the meaningful writings you do.


    Thank you, Shirley, for the wonderful devotion and how you describe our heart to the door with the handle on the inside. I was thinking of the hinges on the inside and what is it that causes us to keep that door closed. How can we as Christian oil the hinges on the outside and show Jesus’s love so those hinges on the inside and the latch can open to ourselves and others. I know my own heart can get hard, but God wants it to be supple and warm. Thank you. Blessings.


    Hi Shirley
    “The Light of the World (1851–1853) is an allegorical painting by the English Pre-Raphaelite artist William Holman Hunt (1827–1910)”
    When I was a student at Edinburgh College of Art in the early 1960’s, we rubbished the Pre-Raphaelites, especially The Light of the World … but as you say, it has an important message. However, the artist’s surname is Holman Hunt; he was one of the leaders of the movement.
    Thanks for the memories and your message.


    Good morning Shirley,
    Yes, God is very patient with his believers and always there to welcome us back into the fold when we stray. I think of his light wanting to shine through me to remind others of his love. It is always good to have another reminder like this painting to bring his love into perspective in our lives. People’s stories help us to strength our faith as yours did this morning as I watch the sun brightening the sky. As I pray your prayer, I join with you that we will be able to open or reopen the heart of others to our Lord. May you have a joyful day and continue to inspire others.


    He is the Light and the darkness shall not overcome him.

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