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  • Writer's pictureBishop Mesrop Parsamyan

The Light of the World

"Light of the World" is the title of the famous painting by the British artist William Holman Hunt (1827-1910). In 2004 I had the occasion to see it in London, at St. Paul’s Cathedral. It is inspired by the words of Christ in the Book of Revelation: "Listen, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into this house and eat with him and he will eat with me" (Rev. 3:20).

The door, of course, is the human heart, and it is said that the artist, having completed the picture, showed it to some friends who praised the merit of the painting. However, one of them pointed out what he considered an omission on the part of Hunt. "You have put no handle on the door," he said to Hunt, who replied immediately, "You forget, we must open to the light, the handle is on the inside." In other words, the artist wanted to stress that only we can open the door to Christ, and we have to be ready and willing to do so.

Reflecting on his work later, Hunt also wrote, "In making it a night scene, lit mainly by the lantern carried by Christ, I had followed metaphorical explanation in the Psalms, 'Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path,' (Psalm 119:105) with also the accordant allusions by St. Paul to the sleeping soul, 'The night is far spent, the day is at hand.' (Romans 13:12)".

Jesus is standing at your heart’s door right now and gently knocking. If you will but stop, be still, close your eyes and listen with your heart and your spirit, you can hear that knock. Will you open your heart’s door right now and let Him come in? Don’t make Him wait any longer. Receive Jesus Christ as your light. And then let Him shine for you and through you.

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