The film Girl with the Pearl Earring portrays Johannes Vermeer’s famous painting of his servant girl Grete. When Grete sees the portrait of herself unveiled; her eyes grow wide; and she breathes to Vermeer, “You saw inside me!”

What would it mean for evangelism, if we learned to see as the great artists have seen?
In our post-modern world people are treated as numbers, replaceable parts, as screen names. They long not only to be “seen” but to be “inseen” … with insight!

And that is how Jesus sees! The great Van Gogh himself said:

Christ is more of an artist than the artists; he works in the living spirit and the
living flesh; he makes men instead of statues.

Jesus’ artistry is evident in how he saw people … beyond their sins … behind their behavior … beneath their problems … to their hearts. And he “reframed” them.
This is how he saw Simon, “You are Simon. Everyone sees and knows Simon the reed, impetuous, unstable. I see Peter, the rock man … on whom I will build my church!”

This is the evangelist as artist!

And evangelism for us may start with seeing “them” – whoever they are – with the eyes of Christ, and seeing that “they” are not just their behavior – but all that God made them to be and all they can be – remade in Christ!

Leighton Ford

September 2004

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