I always find it so interesting that people thoroughly enjoy art galleries. My wife and I have one friend who says that she could spend all day in just about any art gallery. She enjoys the art so much, and she knows so much about its history, that she can sit there and look at the same painting for extended periods of time. She says that she will even go to different parts of the room to see the same painting from different angles.
Personally, I can stare at a piece of art for about 5 seconds tops. To me it’s just a cool piece of artwork, but I don’t have a deep sense of appreciation for its history or its value. I get bored with it very quickly. I would rather run through an art gallery as fast as possible and move on to a more exhilarating activity as soon as I possibly can. I just do not have an appreciation for the aesthetic value of the art that goes beyond just its physical appearance. Therefore, it doesn’t keep my attention.
Unfortunately, I believe that this is where a lot of people are with Jesus. They have heard about some of the cool miracles that He did and they know that He was an awesome person. They may even deeply respect Him. However, to them, He is not alive today and He offers little to no real value in there lives. These people may even have a deep enough respect for Jesus to go pay Him some homage at church on Sunday mornings. They may refer to Him as a good man that gave us some good principles to follow. However, they have never truly experienced the power of His redemption that came through His sacrifice on the cross. Their lives have not been completely turned upside down and inside out by His unending love and mercy. They don’t really know that He is still alive, well and active today in our lives through the Holy Spirit.
It’s not until we see Jesus this way that we will truly follow Him. It’s not until we experience Him in this way that we will look upon Him like my friend looks at artwork. It’s not until we truly understand and appreciate His beauty that we will just stare at Him for hours on end, and read His word as we try to study Him from every angle and every vantage point. Until we understand His true value to our lives, we will continue to look away and give our love and affection to other things that hold no eternal value.
Most of us know the scripture from Hebrews 12:2 that reminds us to, “Keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfect or of our faith.” However, if we don’t have a clear picture of Jesus to begin with, then this scripture becomes very difficult to apply. If we don’t see Him for how awesome and beautiful He truly is, then we can try and try all we want to keep our eyes fixed on Him, but it will be impossible. We can try to rely on our own mighty, prideful, one of a kind will power, but that will eventually fail. His overwhelming love and beauty must captivate and inspire us if we stand any chance of keeping our eyes fixed on Him.
1 John 4:10 tells us that “This is love: Not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” Until we truly get this, we cannot love others in the way that He desires. Until we understand that the root of any expression of true love is the unconditional love that He showed us, we cannot live as He intended us to. Until we understand His beauty, we will not gaze upon Him as the most beautiful, loving and awesome piece of art that we can even imagine. As we, hopefully, fix our eyes back on Jesus today. Let’s focus on His transforming love and mercy. Let’s stare into His eyes and let those eyes be a reminder of the unconditional love that He showed us when we least deserved it. Let’s appreciate Him for what He truly is. He is not just a good man who deserves a moment of our attention, but a beautiful, awesome God who gave everything so that we may have life and have it to the fullest. He is worthy of being the greatest object of our focus now and into eternity.