On a recent mission trip I had a chance to literally stand at the feet of Jesus. Well, it was an Italian marble statue of Jesus, but my experience there was indeed as if He were standing by me in person.
I have been to this country several times and have always been intrigued by thebeautiful white statue across the harbor. Not only is it picturesque, but italways reminds me of God’s presence over the city. Rising high above thissecularized society is a beautiful image of Jesus Christ looking on in love.This time our group was able to drive right up to the stature and walk aroundfor a close-up look.
It is a breathtaking piece of art. I love the subject, of course, but the marbleis massive and the immensity of this statue is unexpected up close. As I stoodat the feet of this statue my mind tried to take in the work and effort requiredto erect this grand sculpture in this place. How many man-hours had it required?Where was it created? Did the sculptor work here at this location or at another?
Later, I focused on the beauty of the artist’s work, the details of theface and hands. The intricate lines and indentions that become invisible whenobserved from a distance are striking up close. I love the stalwart expressionon the face of Jesus, as if no one or nothing could cause Him to leave this place.Looking at the sculpture gave me a sense of Jesus’ presence and love. Ourtime at the feet of Jesus was quick, but so many things happened there, I couldn’tfully take it all in until later.
Two encounters particularly stand out. Where there are tourists there are opportunistsready to squeeze out money for anything. You had to be on your guard at the feetof Jesus because misguided people were there looking for an opportunity to useyour love for Jesus to their advantage. It was also a place where I got to sharemy love for Jesus with a stranger. Our interaction was brief and I could onlyleave him with a tract, but the statue of Jesus opened the door for me to tellanother about what the real Jesus means to me.
My experience at the feet of Jesus that day reminded me about the experienceof Jesus on the cross. There were two thieves, one on either side of Jesus. TheBible is careful to detail not only the number who were crucified with Jesus,but also the way their crosses were lined up (Luke 23:32-33), one on the rightof Jesus and the other on the left. I didn’t think about it until later,but the people I met at the feet of Jesus have a choice to make about Him. Theycan either choose to insult Him or accept Him. There is no in-between. Therewas no in between for the thieves that were crucified with Him. Luke 23:39-43tells their story: one was with Him in paradise later that day and the otherwas separated from Jesus for all eternity.
Being literally at the feet of Jesus that day exposes my same experiences everyday. Every day, everywhere I go, I can sense Jesus standing firmly nearby, notgoing away, totally enraptured by His love for me and the ones He sends intomy life. Each day I make a choice to notice the impact of Jesus in the livesof everyone I meet.