Christ Appears to Us

This is one of those artwork that, when I first looked at it, I didn’t really like it. But, the more I looked at it, the more I liked it! It’s called “The Appearance of Christ to the People” and it depicts the biblical scene where John the Baptist points out Jesus to his disciples that he has just baptized with water.

The Appearance of Christ Before the People, by Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov, c. 1837–1857. Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.

John the Baptist, wild-looking with his dreadlocks and camel hair robe, holds up his staff, which looks eerily like a cross, and indicates to his disciples that Jesus, the messiah, is there. It’s the first real time in the gospel that Jesus, as an adult, has been introduced as a messiah, and there is much excitement. Everyone has different reactions to the news. Some are wary and distrustful, others are overjoyed. Some have expressions of thankfulness on their faces, and some people just have calm acceptance. And some don’t seem to know what they should think.

And there Jesus is, far off in the distance, almost as if He were waiting for something.

Though, we know from the gospel that Jesus will come to John and be baptized, in the picture it almost looks like people are getting ready to come to him. After all, Jesus seems to stand from afar while everybody else is moving and reacting to His presence. His appearance to the people creates a flurry of activity and a variety of emotions, while Jesus seems to remain fixed and solid.

And in a way, isn’t that what it is like for us as well? God allows us to come to Him, just as the father of the prodigal son waits for the prodigal son to return. But, He will also come to us too, when we need Him most.

And so, while I didn’t like this picture in the beginning, the more I looked at it, the more I loved it. After all, it reminds me that, even when sometimes He might seem to be far off, He is still present in my life. And that is something to rejoice about!

Dear Jesus,

Thank You for being there for us and present in our lives. Give us the strength to come to You and embrace You!


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