A couple of hundred years ago a certain Austrian painter was commissioned to paint a picture of the crucifixion. He had composed the scene and had selected and painted all the models. Only one white space was still open on his large canvas. It was kept open for Mary Magdalene. She had been a prostitute who found forgiven by Jesus, and had become one of His devoted followers. The painter just could not find the right model. Walking through the streets of Vienna one day, he was struck by the features of a Gypsy woman. That was his “missing person!” She agreed to sit for him as a model and he took her to the studio where the painting was waiting to be completed.
The woman looked intently at the painting and said “That man on the cross must have been a horrible criminal to deserve a punishment like this”. “No”, replied the painter, “on the contrary. He was a very good man indeed!” “But why then did the people kill him?”, the Gypsy inquired. The painter explained: “He actually died for the sins that we have committed”. “For yours as well?”, the girl asked after a thoughtful silence. “Yes”, replied the artist truthfully. “Then you must love him very much indeed”, concluded the ignorant Gypsy.
These words struck home, for up to that point he had been a Christian by name only. He knew the stories about Jesus, but never personally accepted or applied the deeper meaning of this message to himself. At that moment his eyes were opened. He recognised what Jesus had done for him, personally, and was overcome by love for Him. So this incident became the turning point in his life. The Bible calls such a happening conversion, which means change – a change of heart.
We listened to subject matters that are far from small talk. We thought, weighed, questioned and tested ‘things’ that are ‘out of this world’. We discovered that God reached down as far as our personal minds and hearts. Because He wants us to trust Him, He led us to discover His own trustworthiness by leading our minds to discover it within His prophetic speaking of old, and our knowledge of its fulfilment.
Now we can know who God is, even though in this life we cannot fully comprehend Him. We also found out more about Jesus, God’s salvation for us. Last not least, we also discovered which ‘Book’ carries a divine imprint, and which we can trust and consult it regarding our life on earth and in eternity. In a way we even discovered the heart of God, who said:
”I long to redeem them… “ (Hos 7:13)