6-Week Series: Against All Odds

Sermon Illustrations

Many years ago a painter by the name of Stenburg lived in Dusseldorf Germany. He was searching for a model to portrait. He chose a gypsy girl from the street, her name was Pepita. It was the first time for her to be invited to an artist’s studio. Her amazed eyes rounded here and there and suddenly stopped at a painting of the crucifixion on which Stenburg had been working. Sternburg was promised a large payment from a church that was about to be completed. He had accepted the commission not because of any firm faith of his own, but because he needed the money and the recognition.

“Who is it?” asked Pepita. “The Christ,” the artist said carelessly. “But what are they doing to Him?” “Crucifying Him,” he answered and asked her to stop speaking while he is working. After posing, Pepita continued her questions. Once for all Stenburg explained the facts of Christ’s death. One day, both Pepita’s portrait and the painting of the crucifixion were finished. And for the last time Pepita came to the studio.

Standing at the masterpiece she turned to Stenburg. “You must love Him very much, Sir, when He has done all that for you; do you not?” Then she was gone. All week Stenburg heard the question but could not answer. Then he came to see that Jesus Christ had died on the cross for ‘STERNBURG’ himself! Pepita’s words had pierced his heart “All this for YOU!”

The painting, known as “Behold the Man” (Ecco Homo), was hung in the Public Gallery in Dusseldorf. Many years later a young nobleman passed through the gallery on his journey. Standing in front of the picture, he read and reread the words at the foot of the frame. ‘All this I did for you; Now what will you do for me?’ The words arrested him and challenged him to throw his life, fortune, fame, at the feet of Jesus. He was Count Zinzendorf , the father of the Moravian Missions.

Zinzendorf came to the conclusion that, “I have loved Him for a long time, but I have never actually done anything for Him. From now on I will do whatever He leads me to do.” One artist’s work of faith would impact the history of Christianity. Zinzendorf’s ministry and mission would later be a catalyst to the work of John and Charles Wesley who founded the Methodist Church.

“All this I have done for you; now what will you do for me?” It’s a good question isn’t it? What is your response?