1 Timothy 1:15-16 - The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life.
You may have noticed it's a bad time to be a statue.
In the U.S. of A., schools are covering them; municipalities are thinking about moving them. But the statue situation is not confined to our country. In England they are debating about what to do with the likeness of Admiral Horatio Nelson, the brilliant naval hero who came out a winner when he went head-to-head against Napoleon. In Australia, some have called for a removal of any likeness to Captain James Cook: the British sailor-fellow who was the first European to bump into Australia.
In all the statue stories I've read, I've noticed two statues which seem to be forgotten. The first is Michelangelo's likeness of young David: the marble statue, which is housed in the Galleria dell'Accademia of Florence, Italy. It stands 17 feet tall and is a must see if you are ever there.
The second statue is the bronze likeness of St. Peter. It is hundreds of years old and is located in the Vatican.
Now the reason I call these to your attention is that they are an artist's rendition of two fairly important sinners.
You recall how David had multiple wives, was guilty of adultery and murder, and did a pretty poor job of keeping his children disciplined and in line.
Then there is Peter. Peter walked on water and then he sank; he promised to remain loyal and then fell asleep when Jesus asked him to pray. Peter fought with his sword in the Garden, and then he ran away. He was bold enough to follow Jesus to the high priest's house, but then he denied ever having known his Savior.
What reason would any artist have for memorializing these fellows in marble or bronze? Now that I think about it, most of the Bible's heroes of faith have a few flaws. Noah was known to enjoy his wine a bit too much; Abraham was willing to give away his wife to save his hide. Moses disobeyed God's command to speak to a rock to provide water, and Jonah ignored God's direction and went his own way.
Now, please understand, we're just skipping the stone across the surface of Scripture's pages here. If we had time to look deeper, we would find every person has flaws and failings, sins and shortcomings. In short, they all had feet of clay.
So, why does the Bible tell their stories?
Simple. They are there because the Lord wants us to see that He loves sinners, that He saves sinners, and He can use forgiven sinners to accomplish His purposes. These folks were all sinners, but they were transformed sinners who were used by God, and He can use us the same way.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for my sins I offer my confession -- for Your forgiveness, my thanks, and a request that the Holy Spirit use me to accomplish Your wishes. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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