It was worth the 600 year wait. Even Mark Twain was impressed.
“They say Milan Cathedral is second only to St. Peter’s in Rome. I can’t understand how this can be second to anything made by human hands.
The “Duomo di Milano” in northern Italy, admired by more than five million visitors each year, is the fourth largest cathedral in the world. This Gothic masterpiece has 3,400 statues, 135 gargoyles and 700 figures. It is “supervised and protected” by the Milano Madonnina, “the heart and soul of the city”. This half-ton, 13.6-foot-tall statue of the Virgin Mary covered in 6,750 gold leaves stands 356 feet above the ground!
Construction of Milan’s breathtaking monster began in 1386 and ended six centuries later in 1965 with the inauguration of the final gate. Workers in the 14th century extracted white Condoglia marble, which is pink in color, from mountains almost 100 km away and transported it to Milan via specially dug canals. Thousands of workers, artists, engineers, sculptors and specialists have been involved over the years, including 78 different architects.
Covering an entire city block, emblazoned with 135 spiers (“a forest of marble”) and “something to see wherever you look”, the exterior of the Duomo is a feast for the eyes of men and angels alike. The roof also conceals visual splendors and is worth the climb of 200 steps. Even the Swiss Alps, 162 miles to the north, are visible on a clear day.
However, the interior beauty of the “Duomo di Milano” also inspires as visitors walk through the enormous entrance doors, complete with their own intricate carvings and carvings.
The gothic vaulted ceiling rises 147 feet above the multicolored marble floor. Fifty-two columns visually transport the eye to the heavens and to the rose window and other stained glass windows depicting stories from the Old and New Testaments, the Apocalypse, saints, and significant figures and events in the history of the ‘Church.
Milan Cathedral has been a miracle in the making for six centuries; but eventually it’s over.
The sacrificial death of Jesus Christ as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,” together with his burial and bodily resurrection, was a miracle of an eternity in the making. The New Testament reveals that it was all part of God’s eternal plan. Jesus was not surprised when “He was despised and rejected by mankind.” He knew he had to die before he even came to earth. In fact, He came to die.
The apostle Peter wrote that “Jesus was chosen before the creation of the world, but he was revealed in these last days because of you” (1 Peter 2:20). “It was according to the eternal purpose which God hath accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,” declared the apostle Paul (Ephesians 3:11). The apostle John referred to Jesus as “the Lamb which was considered slain from before the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8).
Before God created the heavens and the earth, before the Eternal said, “Let there be light”, and before God created Adam and Eve, the Father had already decided together with His Son and the Holy Spirit (the Godhead, three in one!) that Jesus would lay down his life and shed his blood on the cross.
Before giving them the breath of life, God knew that Adam and Eve would sin. God foreknew that all men and women who would ever live would also succumb to sin and spiritual death because of it. Before “In the Beginning,” God knew we would all need a Savior. So He made a plan. His plan was, is, and always will be Jesus!
There is no “plan B” and no other way to be saved. As the apostle Peter proclaimed, “And there is no salvation in any other, for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Jesus himself said: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Did Jesus know what he was talking about? Obviously since God raised him from the dead and glorified him for eternity!
Certainly, the ugliness of the crucifixion was beyond measure. Mocked, brutally beaten, stripped naked, nailed to a Roman cross, and crucified like a common criminal, Jesus’ appearance and suffering were appalling to the eye. It had become a repulsive and hideous sight.
However, the life-giving blood of the Son of God, the perfect sacrifice of a sinless man who paid our eternal death penalty, accomplished what he was always meant to accomplish: Jesus paid the price for every sin ever committed by anyone who has ever lived, is or ever will live. However, we must recognize him as Savior and accept his sacrifice on our behalf. Jesus paid for everything; all we owe him.
Even before the beginning of eternity, God asked his Son Jesus to carry out his plan. When Jesus died on the cross, lay dead in the grave, and burst alive early that Sunday morning, He could triumphantly declare that He had completely done God’s will. “It’s finish!”
Gregg Nydegger is the evangelist for Christ Church in Monticello.