Da Vinci's 'Roadblock'


The Christian who carries a chip on his shoulder, no longer carries the Cross


      Take a good hard look at Leonardo Da Vinci's wonderful work: "The Last Supper". Can you see a smudge anywhere? Or at least some sign of re-working? It should be right there around Judas. Judas is the third man on our Savior's right—can you see his notorious money-bag? But...smudge? No. 

I couldn't see it either, and I even got out a magnifying glass. This is a very enhanced version of the great masterpiece, actually. The original is not at all this bright and crisp now, but I didn't find it on the original either. 

Which means that Da Vinci did a masterful job of correcting things. And I love the story behind it all. 

They say that Da Vinci's painting would never have been completed if he hadn't made that correction and if he hadn't made the incredible decision to forgive a man.

 The great artist's personal life is full of mystery actually, and so I'm not really sure if anyone knows just who the 'enemy' was but, as the story goes, it was a fellow artist that had had a bitter quarrel with him, just before he started work on the project. And Da Vinci was so angry and bitter over the abuses of this man that one of the very first things he painted into that picture on the chapel wall was Judas...

...the Betrayer; and I'm sure you know where this is heading! Yes, for the face of Judas, Da Vinci painted a perfect portrait of the man who had wronged him! 

That would certainly settle the score! Everyone in the community would know exactly who it was; and that poor man's face would be the face of Judas for centuries on end! 

Da Vinci probably felt pretty good about that. You know the old adage: "Don't get mad. Get even."  

But the problem now was that he had to finish the painting. And it all went pretty well for a while...

...until it came time for him to paint the face of Jesus. Suddenly, Da Vinci hit a roadblock. Forget the painting of it; the man couldn't even sketch it! Something just kept blocking him from doing it. Day after day he kept trying to do it and every night he would just give up in complete frustration. What was his problem? He had painted the face of the Savior before! What on earth was stopping him now? 

One morning, Da Vinci stepped back up to the painting...and there was that face of his enemy again, staring up from the wall! And suddenly Da Vinci knew: he would never successfully represent Christ, with that expression of personal vengeance and bitterness painted in right alongside it! 

Quickly, he blotted out the face of Judas—he would finish that up some other time—and he went back to work on the face of the Savior...and nailed it, in just a matter of hours. 

It's a beautiful story. And—you know?—you and I can often find ourselves up against that very same roadblock! 

As Christians, we all know that our lives must be an 'expression' of Jesus Christ. People should see, in us, the likeness of our Savior; the evidence that He is present; that He has transformed our lives. 

And that will never show up on the canvas, dear ones, if we do not forgive (or the wall, to be more precise).

Wrestle with this, dear Christian! Because your witness is at stake! And the integrity of your faith and practice. 

Listen! The Christian who carries a chip on his shoulder, no longer carries the Cross! Think of this: in the end, it will not be your Biblical knowledge; in the end, it will not be the fervency of your worship; it will not be your years of service or the extent of your Christian ministry that defines you as a true follower of Christ! No, no! This is your Savior's DNA! In this you bear a resemblance to Him: He forgave! 

"Father forgive them! For They know now what they do!"   Lk 23:34

Besides, He commands us to do this: 

"Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger...along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another just as, in Christ, God forgave you."  Eph 4: 31

Pretty appropriate for this day and age, don't you think? 

Loved being with you last week! 

See you Sunday!                                RAS


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