One of the world’s greatest masterpieces is Michelangelo’s 14-foot statue of David in Florence, Italy. In 1501, at the age of just 26, the young artist was commissioned to complete a failed project of two previous sculptors that began four decades earlier. The large depiction of David was to be housed in the Cathedral of Florence, but both predecessors deemed the block of marble inferior because of too many imperfections. For this reason the enormous stone was abandoned and neglected in the courtyard for 25 years. For more than two years Michelangelo worked tirelessly to create David from the gleaming white marble. The finished masterpiece revealed something that had never been done before. Not only was it breathtaking, but the statue showed David before his battle with Goliath. Until that time artists had depicted the young shepherd boy in some victorious posture over the fallen giant. Michelangelo wanted the world to see Israel’s future king before the celebrated conquest. He is at the apex of concentration, relaxed yet alert, filled with confident faith that God will deliver him.
This is a powerful picture of our redemption on several levels. Like that slab of marble, we have been discarded as useless—laid aside and neglected. Yet, God saw value in us and chose to redeem our many imperfections and create out of us a masterpiece. “...For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) The block of marble needed redemption. Listen to what C.S. Lewis said: “Non-Christians seem to think that the incarnation implies some particular merit or excellence in humanity. But of course, it implies just the reverse: a particular demerit and depravity. No creature that deserved redemption would need to be redeemed. They that are whole need no physician. Christ died for men precisely because men are not worth dying for.” This block of stone needed redemption. The professionals said that it was inferior and had many imperfections. They even failed at the attempts to redeem it. Only the Master could do the job.
Furthermore, we mustn’t (one of my grandmother’s words) have already won the battle to be His masterpiece. God’s redemption makes us a masterpiece even before the giant is slain. You may have some giants in your life, but you are redeemed and it is that truth that will motivate you to move from one day to the next. Victory will be yours, not because you are so good or so powerful, but because you are redeemed and have a new power living within you. “In Him you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you are sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14)
Perhaps it is good for us to be reminded of our redemption. Redemption is when God takes a broken object or person and restores it to something that is beautiful and useful. That is what He has done with you, and I would encourage you to exercise your beauty and usefulness for His purposes in the days you have here on earth. Centuries later, the masterpiece of Michelangelo offers great delight to every onlooker. You and I will never know in this lifetime just what will be the impact from that which God has redeemed.
Serving Christ Together,
Posted on October 4, 2016