Shared August 21st, 2014
John 3:26, 30 “And they came unto John and said unto him, “Rabbi, He that was with thee beyond the Jordan, to whom thou bearest witness — behold, the same baptizeth and all men come to Him. John the Baptist: 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”
I came across a piece of writing at Christian stories that went exactly like this, that when Leonardo de Vinci was forty-three years old, the Duke Ludovinco of Milan asked him to paint the dramatic scene of Jesus’ last supper with his disciples.
Working slowly and giving meticulous care to details, he spent three years on the assignment. He grouped the disciples into threes, two groups on either side of the central figure of Christ.
Christ’s arms are outstretched. In his right hand, he holds a cup that was painted beautifully with marvelous realism. When the masterpiece was finished, the artist said to a friend, “Observe it and give me your opinion of it.”
“It’s wonderful!” exclaimed the friend, “the cup is so real I cannot divert my eyes from it.”
Immediately Leonardo took a brush and drew it across the sparkling cup! As he did he exclaimed, “Nothing shall detract from the figure of Christ!”
Beloved, after having gone through this week, why don’t you make a little self- assessment? Why don’t you do a little self-examination? This is what I mean: Do we know whatever, if any, is in our lives and which is so distracting from Christ? Now, I am assuming that you profess to be a Christian and that Christ dominates everything in your life. Is there anything that is detracting from the Christ-life? Are we accountable to Christ? Is He in our lives?
Did you ever hear of that popular, 1500-year old prayer titled “St. Patrick’s Breastplate”? St. Patrick’s Breastplate is also known as The Lorica (the cry of the deer) and it is a popular prayer, which is attributed to one of Ireland’s patron saints.
According to tradition, St. Patrick wrote it in 433 A.D. for divine protection; that was before the successful conversion of the Irish King Leoghaire and his subjects from paganism to Christianity. Recently, others have been suggesting that its authorship is anonymous. Anyway, it is a long prayer but a part of it caught my attention; here is that part:
Christ be with me, Christ in the front, Christ in the rear, Christ within me, Christ below me, Christ above me, Christ at my right hand, Christ at my left, Christ in the fort, Christ in the Chariot seat, Christ at the helm, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks to me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.
You know, when Jesus died, He died for certain people. When Jesus died:
He died in the place of the liar.
He died in the place of the fornicator.
He died in the place of the murderer.
He died in the place of the satan-worshipper.
He died in the place of the thief.
He died in the place of the adulterer.
He died in the place of the blasphemer.
He died in the place of the idolater.
He died in your place!
Why should something else detract from the presence of Christ in my/your life? “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Proposed prayer: “Dear Lord, please help me to put You first in everything. Help me to avoid those things that compete with or try to steal my desire to put You first. Please grant that nothing I ever do or say will ever detract from You being seen in me. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.”