The most prized possession of Keble College, Oxford is this painting by William Holman Hunt. Hunt painted it in 1853-54, inspired by Revelation 3:20 about Jesus standing at the door and knocking, waiting to come in and sup with those who hear his voice and open the door. He titled his work, “The Light of the World.” It may be the most famous painting of Jesus in which he does not appear on the cross. He appears knocking on a long-unused and overgrown door, faintly lit by the general light of the moon, carrying in his hand a brilliantly glowing lantern. The painting is placed in a little room connected to the Keble chapel.
I am grateful to William Holman Hunt for this image. I will tuck it away with my favorite pictures of the risen Christ, to be recalled when I need light in the darkness. The lantern he holds is real, and its rays illumine that poor overgrown doorway. I can’t wait for the man inside to open the door and see it. Open it wide, dark man. Open it all the way.
Jesus is the light of the world. Like Zechariah said when his son John the Baptist was born to proclaim him, Jesus is the sunrise.
“…because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in the darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”