All This for You

There is found in the story of one oil painting the truth of the application of the love of Calvary to all persons.

The artist, Sternburg, who lived in Dusseldorf in Prussia, was commissioned to paint the crucifixion. He knew the story of the crucifixion by heart but was not a believer. One spring morning he was walking in the forest near his city when he met a gypsy girl making straw baskets. She was lovely. He enlisted her to be a model for another painting he was doing of a dancing girl. She was asked to come three times a week. As she posed, her searching eyes found the painting of the crucifixion. “Who is that she asked?” Sternburg: “The Christ.” “What is being done to Him?” Sternburg, “They are crucifying Him.” “Who are those people with the angry faces?” Sternburg, “Now look here! I cannot talk. You have nothing to do but stand as I tell you.” Days later she asked, “Why did they crucify Him? Was he bad, very bad?” Sternburg, “Listen, and I will tell you once and for all. Then no more questions.” He told her the story of the cross. It moved her to tears.

Finally, her last day came. She stood motionless but emotionally before the painting and said to Sternburg, “You must love Him very much when he has done all that for you?” “All that for you” rang through his mind for days. He knew he did not love Jesus. Sometime later he was saved. Out of gratitude he sought to express his love through finishing the painting of the crucifixion. It was soon hung in the great museum in Dusseldorf. Underneath the inscription: “All this I did for thee; What hast thou done for Me?”

One day Sternburg visited the gallery and saw a lovely girl standing before the painting weeping. It was Pepita. They greeted and she said, “O Master! If he had but loved me so!” The new Sternburg told her of Jesus’ love for her. In near unbelief and with deep gratitude she accepted Jesus as Savior.

Some years later the painting was visited by the wealthy young nobleman, Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf. This young aristocrat was trained for a diplomatic career in the Court of Dresden. On a trip to Paris he stopped in Dusseldorf to rest his horses. While there he visited the art gallery. He noted the painting of Sternburg and was struck by it. He stood paused to read the inscription: “All this I did for thee; What has thou done for me?” His eyes met those of the thorn-crowned Jesus. He could find no answer to that question that satisfied his mind. Hours passed, the light faded; time came for the gallery to close. It was night when he left the gallery, but a new day had dawned in his experience. From that day all that he had was placed at the cross of Jesus – his wealth, fame, heart and life. He declared, “I have but one passion. It is Jesus, Jesus only.” Jesus became his life’s passion.

You who have previously trusted Him pause and express your love to Him

You who have never done so are urged to do so now.