On November 2, the Governor of North Sulawesi province in Indonesia dedicated a monument dubbed “Yesus Memberkati” (Eng: Jesus Bless) . The 30-meter tall statue is the tallest statue of Jesus in Asia, and 2nd tallest in the world only to that in Rio de Jenairo, Brazil which is 8 meters taller. However, standing at 150 meters above the sea level at 20 degree angle it is believed to be the tallest “floating” statue of Jesus in the world.
It took 2 years in making, and another 8 months to assemble, the statue is located in an elite residential complex Winangun of Citra Land in Manado. It was donated by a real estate tycoon Ciputra, and its cost was around Rp. 5,000,000,000 (5 billion Rupiah, or around US $ 556,000).
I commend Ciputra’s deep religious commitment and his gracious act of spending a lot of money to have this religious icon built. However, personally I can’t agree on this act on two fronts- social and theological.
Socially I’m afraid that the presence of this statue will once again trigger the religious tension between Islam and Christian in that region. Within the past decade we have seen escalated tension between the two groups that resulted in a lot of fightings and killings. If we think deeper, what or who this statue is for? Is it built to widen God’s kingdom and to spread the Gospel? I don’t think so! It’s a dumb statue! (dumb here means can’t talk). How a dumb statue can preach the Gospel? No, it cannot! Or is it built to glorify oneself, or one group of people? I dare not judge anyone’s heart or motive because I can’t see their hearts.
Theologically I am against the making of the images of the Deity. It is consistent with the teaching of the Holy Scriptures as summarized in Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 35. I’m also concerned that some people will actually worship the image, which is prohibited in the 2nd commandment.