By J.R. Miller
Perhaps no other great picture ever painted is richer in its spiritual teachings, than Holman Hunt's "Light of the World." It is a gospel in itself. The Savior of men stands before us in imposing beauty, masterful and kingly in his strength. He is clad in a priestly robe, indicating His office as Redeemer. On His head is a crown, suggesting royalty--but it is a crown of thorns, reminding us of His suffering and sacrifice. His form is luminous--He is the Light of the world, not only in His teaching--but also in His person, and His character. He carries in His hand a lantern, symbol of His teachings, which have gone into all the world, a lamp to men's feet, showing them how to live and giving joy and comfort everywhere.
The attitude of the Savior is also in accordance with the representation
of the Scriptures. He is standing at the door of a cottage, interpreting His own word in the Revelation: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock." His face shows eager love and yearning. He longs to be admitted. He does not wait to be sought--but seeks to save and to bless, coming Himself from heaven--to men's very doors to be their guest.
In this representation we have the whole meaning of the Incarnation, with its love and condescension, its revealings of tenderness and compassion, its sacrifice. He is knocking, and there is no indication that His knocking is heeded within. The door is still shut--there is no sign that it is being opened. Yet the heavenly Friend has not grown impatient, does not turn away. He stands in a listening attitude, and continues to knock. All divine love, grace, and yearning--are expressed in His face as He stands there.
As we look closely at the picture, we find another teaching in it. There is no knob or latch outside the door. It can be opened only from within. We have this also in the words in Revelation: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock--if any man hears My voice and opens the door--I will come in to Him." Why does He not force the door--and enter with the blessing He longs to bestow? That is not the way of love. It only knocks and waits. We can shut it out if we will. We can shut out the mighty, patient, loving Christ, if we will. Have we opened? Will we?