What Is it about human nature that makes us feel SO insecure that we have to have a bigger one, a better one, a dearer one … ?
The crazy thing is that this insecure competitiveness now seems to extend to who’s going to have the biggest stone or concrete Jesus.
First there was the phenomenal and striking statue of ‘Christ the Redeemer’ with its 30 metre span above Rio de Janeiro …
Since it was placed on top of the 2,300-ft peak of Corcovado mountain in 1931, this figure has been one of the most famous symbols of Rio. It stands 30 metres tall (as wide as its high) on a 6 metre pedestal, and weighs 700 tons.
It is certainly a very striking sculpture in an outstanding landscape …
But Poland couldn’t be happy with that.
It wanted a bigger one.
So now, towering over the western Polish plains in Swiebodzin there’s another Jesus statue, with outstretched arms and golden crown … the fulfilment of a local priest’s grandiose dream. Rev Sylwester Zawadzki explained when it was finished in 2010 that the statue stretches to 108 feet, or 33 metres – a metre for every year that Jesus lived, including the height of that golden crown. (And this is the sort of small thing the question of ‘whose is biggest?’ really hinges on … should you count the crown?)
But there is bad news for Poland coming in from Bolivia.
You see, across the Atlantic in Bolivia there’s a place called Cochabamba and their Cristo de la Concordia (Christ of Peace) is actually believed by many to be the largest statue of Christ in the world.
The statue is 34.20 metres (112.2 ft) tall, on a pedestal of 6.24 metres (20.5 ft), bringing its total height to 40.44 metres (132.7 ft). This statue is slightly higher than the Polish statue (if the 2 metres high crown of Christ the King is not counted) making IT the largest statue of Jesus Christ in the world.
Well … obviously it’s NOT Jesus … because it is concrete, or stone, or something man-made.
And it is NOT Jesus … because it is white. (Aha! There’s a thought!)
And it is NOT Jesus because it took workmen and cranes to lift its arms and head – and Jesus is the One Who said that He would not need builders to put Him on His pedestal, fix on His arms and hoist His heavy head! Quite the reverse. He said that if the people of His day destroyed the ornate, elaborate, decades- old and still unfinished Jerusalem Temple of His day then He could raise it up again in three days. It was a stunning assertion … but you can read about it in John 2:19 (… though in fact He actually seems to have had something a lot more astounding than a bit of blockwork in mind!)
This big statue in Rio is just NOT the real live Jesus, because … having died on the Cross … Christ rose from the dead and lives and breathes to this day (but that’d better be another blog!) Neither is the Jesus statue at Swiebodzin in Poland nor at Cochabamba in Bolivia.
The big question I have concerns why it is people feel their statue has got to be the BIGGEST!
(Or even why they feel they have to have a statue of Jesus at all.)
Surely it would be better to have a real- live big Jesus watching over you and your town, than a stone one that needs you to make and maintain it? It would certainly be a lot cheaper for us too!
And that real live living One is after the One Who promised long ago … (John 10:27-28)
“27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no-one can snatch them out of my hand.”
And surely He makes me safer than (about) 30 metres of dead concrete and steel?