by Roger Thomas

This content is part of a series.

Christ at Heart's Door (18 of 18)
Series: New Testament Sampler
Roger Thomas
Revelation 3:20

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,
I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

Tonight I call your attention to what may be the best known verse in Revelation--3:20. The verse has been vividly illustrated in an equally familiar painting. Let's use the painting to analyze the verse.

Artist Warner Sallman painted Christ at Heart's Door in the late 1940's. Sallman worked as a freelance artist and magazine illustrator in Chicago. In 1994, the New York Times called him the "best known artist of the century." His fame primarily grew from another painting, The Head of Christ. He completed that work in 1940. It was immediately popular because of what many called "a serene, best friend" presentation of Jesus. It was soon picked up by the Salvation Army and the USO who distributed it in pocketsize to US soldiers. By the time the war ended, Sallman's Head of Christ was one of the most recognizable pieces of religious art in the world. Christ at Heart's Door and several other paintings with the same recognizable face soon appeared.

Sallman based Christ at Heart's Door on our verse from Revelation. In many ways, the painting is a visual parable. Imbedded in the artwork are several clues that help us understand the verse.

We will come back to the painting in a moment. First, a note about the verse. Revelation 3:20 comes in the last part of the last letter to the last church in Revelation, the last book of the Bible. Revelation provides heaven's answer the question "what on earth is God doing for heaven's sake?" It explains how he is going to make it all turn out alright despite the fact that it doesn't always look like it now. Before addressing the fate of the world, Revelation speaks to the condition of the church. In seven brief memos, Christ diagnoses the health of his church and prescrib ...

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