Are You Content to Stay in Your Prison?
The Young Beggar by Bartolome Esteban Murillo
We know from the title of this painting that we are looking at a young beggar of about ten to twelve years old. He sits with ragged clothing in what looks to be a storage cellar. The sun pours its warmth and light into the dark cellar by a low window and lights up the boy.
He has been sitting in darkness -- in dirt and filth picking off fleas. Misery shows on his downcast and sad face. The new day shows no promise for him as he examines his clothing for more fleas. He has no sense of purpose, no enthusiasm for the day. There is nothing to go to, no one to meet up with.
He is like the living dead and a perfect picture of what we all are like without Jesus Christ. Each of us -- no matter who we are or where we come from, were born in sin passed down from our first parents Adam and Eve. We have grown up in our sin (which is really independence from God and reliance on ourselves). We are like this beggar in that we sit in darkness content with the few things we can gather for our self. We sit in our rags and filth looking inside ourselves, picking off fleas and trying to make ourselves comfortable. We are dead in our sins and trespasses.
But our whole picture changed when Jesus Christ came to earth. He is like the light pouring into the window of our life. His light has found us in our pitiable condition and He has invited us to come out of the cellar and be raised to a new life. Our hopeless state changes completely with two words -- "But God."
"But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, has made us alive together with Christ...."
Ephesians 2: 4-5a