how paintings began
For many thousands of years, people have drawn and painted pictures. The first tools they used for drawing were sticks burned in a fire, called ‘charcoal’. They also used colours from rocks and plants, and mixed them with animal fat to make paint. The oldest pictures ever found were painted on the walls of the caves where people lived. These cave paintings can be seen in many places around the world. They help us to learn more about the people who lived a long time ago. Over the years since then, people have learned more about painting on cloth, paper, glass, wood and even on walls of buildings. They have discovered new ways to make different coloured paints. There are many wonderful pictures we can see today, some painted hundreds of years ago, others very recently. People who can draw and paint very well are called artists. If they can sell their paintings, they may paint pictures as their job.
There was a famous artist in England, called William Holman Hunt. He painted many pictures, but his best is called The Light of the World, painted 160 years ago. It is now one of the most well-known paintings in the world. Holman Hunt painted this picture at night, sitting in a hut where he could see a field in front of him. For many nights he worked on his painting. Every part, even the small pieces of grass, had to look like night-time. The picture shows Jesus Christ, holding a lamp. He is standing in front of a door, knocking on it. It is an old door with weeds and grass growing around it. There is no handle on the outside to open it. This painting can now be seen at Oxford University in England. Holman Hunt painted the picture again when he was much older. Another artist helped him because, by then, he was too weak to paint it by himself. It is in a big church (Christian building) in London where many people go to look at it.
“Why I painted it”
When he finished his painting, Holman Hunt said, “I felt God told me to paint this picture. It is a very special painting because it has a message. Jesus cannot open the door because it has no handle. The person inside must open it.” It is the same for us. We cannot be friends with God, because of the wrong things we have all done, said and thought (we call these ‘sin’). It is as if there is a closed door between us and God. But God sent Jesus Christ into the world to take away the punishment that we deserve for sin. Jesus died the death of a criminal, even though he had done nothing wrong. He died so that we might be free from our sin and have healing for shame we feel. Jesus took the punishment instead of us, to bring us life and healing inside. Now, because of what Jesus has done, we can ‘open the door’ to him. We can say ‘sorry’ for all our sins. Jesus will forgive us and we can have a new life following him. We can know God as our helper and friend. One day we will be with him in heaven. But we must open the door of our life. There is a verse in the Christians’ holy book (the Bible) that says: “Listen, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him.” *Have you opened the door of your life to Jesus yet?