The Light of the World by William Holman Hunt is one of my favorite depictions of Jesus.
He’s outside the door waiting for us. An old, decrepit, worn door with no handle that looks as if it hasn’t been touched since being built. And it can only be opened from the inside. Yet Jesus isn’t hammering on the door yelling for whoever lives there to open up or threatening to kick it down. He is gently knocking, waiting for the inhabitant to take the initiative to open the door and allow Him into his or her home.
Jesus isn’t a militant force who commands us to follow with threat of smite.
He understands that we must be the ones to open our hearts to accept Him honestly and lovingly. If you have ever spoken to a non-believer or have been one yourself, you know that you are the only one who can make the change. Evangelists and priests and church-goers can tell you as much about the glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as they can, but until you recognize the desperate longing in your heart for His pure love, the door will stay shut.
In Luke 24:29, in the passage about the walk to Emmaus, what acts as the first step in allowing the disciples to recognize Jesus is that they invite Him into their home. Even after He interprets scripture for them, they have to invite Him in. There are so many opportunities for us to encounter Christ on a daily basis, but until we say ‘yes,’ we won’t see the beauty of the source of the light.
The time is now. This may not be the second coming of our Lord, but it is the coming of Jesus into your heart. And He’s already here. He has been waiting outside the door of your heart for your entire life, waiting patiently until you open the door. He is waiting for you.
And when you do open the door, you will encounter the greatest love and mercy you will ever experience. Any description of the feeling is inaccurate and incomplete – but my best try is as if your eyes have been opened and you are seeing light for the first time, just like the lantern He holds in His hand. He illuminates your soul. As if you are in the greatest pain and your comfort has come forth to wrap you in his arms and keep you safe. As if you have been trapped in the lowest pit and someone has removed the top shutting you in and dropped down a ladder.
The climb up will not be easy, and your life will not become sunshine and daisies and angels singing hallelujah. You will continue to experience failure, regret, shame, sadness, guilt, hopelessness, sin, and all of the other bad things that this world contains. But you will know that there is a God whose love and mercy is greater than any sin that you could possibly commit. He is eternally yours, regardless. He doesn’t want perfection. The door Jesus is approaching isn’t ornate and clean and beautiful; it is dirty and old and worn. And He still wants to enter.
The Lord does not pressure us. He waits patiently for the day that we realize how desperately we need Him and open our hearts. He wants you. He’s knocking on the door of your heart. So open up and let Him in.