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"Lord , what will you have me to do?"
Two famous portraits by the German artist Sternberg — his "Dancing Gypsy Girl" and the "Crucifixion" — are linked to one another by an unusual set of circumstances.
The pretty girl who served as the model for the first portrait took an unusual interest in the unfinished painting of our Lord's final suffering. One day, she commented, "He must have been a very bad man to have been nailed to a cross like that."
Sternberg replied, "No, He was a good man, the best that ever lived! Indeed, He died for all men."
"Did He die for you?" asked the puzzled girl. This question made a profound impression on the artist. He did not know the Lord as his personal Savior, and didn't understand that salvation is received by faith alone.
Some time later, however, he attended a meeting of humble believers who led him to Christ. Sternberg, his technical skill now coupled with a heart full of love and gratitude, completed his painting of the crucifixion and under it wrote the words: "This I did for thee; what hast thou done for Me?"
It was placed in a famous gallery where a young aristocratic count named Zinzendorf saw it and was touched by the words written under it. He was a Christian but was convicted of his failure to serve the Lord. He later became the organizer of a missionary brotherhood known as the Moravians.
If you read John 19:16-22, you will be brought face to face with the voluntary death of Jesus Christ. I urge you to answer the gypsy girl's question, "Did He die for you?" If He did, "What are you doing for Him?"
The Rev. Louis Abel is the Pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Chiefland and this summer was able to visit the World War II Museum in Hawaii while on a mission project there.