Posted by: Jo | April 3, 2015

Behold The Lamb of God

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

(Isaiah 53:5)

image When my husband and I were first married we went to live in London and my husband’s uncle, a well-known artist in Australia, was also there at the same time on an extended trip, painting the beauty of Europe. He took both of us under his wing and proceeded to introduce us to the world of art. He walked us through the most famous art galleries of London and how surprising it was, particularly for me, as he opened my eyes to the deeper beauty and meaning behind each painting we saw. He was able to make me aware of emotion in all its forms that true art can evoke in one’s inner being. I was, for the first time, able to sense the raw feelings of the artist, to feel sadness, longing, love, joy, awe, awareness of true beauty.

I was thinking about some of those beautiful paintings when I came across a short video on the history of paintings of the crucifix of Jesus. At first the early church forbad any depiction of that first Good Friday, but through the ages many artists have tried to catch the essence of that day. That made me start to wonder how any human artist could capture the incredible emotions of that momentous day. I came to the conclusion that no human hand was capable of doing so, only through God’s word and the help of the Holy Spirit, can we even begin to grasp or get a glimpse deep within us, the enormity and the range of feelings swirling around Jesus and those who witnessed his sacrifice for us.

The prophet, Isaiah, shows us firstly that Jesus accepted without hesitation, his role in the Father’s plan for our salvation;

“…he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7)

So regret was not evident that day, his total acceptance was.

One of the paintings I saw on the video was by a French artist and this one stood out as it was entitled Crucifixion from the Cross. This gave a very different perspective as the painter chose to paint those standing at the foot of the cross to display the range of emotions they were feeling. Sorrow etched on his mother’s face and those with her. Curious bystanders. Mocking soldiers. The centurion whose face was filled with awe as he exclaimed, “Surely this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54)

imageYes, sorrow was enveloping all those who had walked closely to the Lord, but one emotion was able to drench the whole situation. LOVE. The old hymn, WHEN I SURVEY THE WONDROUS CROSS, puts it this way, “sorrow and love flow mingled down

Jesus’ words from the cross, uttered while in agony, sum up the extent of his deep love for us, that despite all that mankind can do against him, love triumphed that day as we all hear these loving words.

“…Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing…” (Luke 23:34)

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Responses

  1. Yes Jo and He still keeps forgiving us. A blessed Easter to you and your family. Love, Mary.

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  2. Like you, Jo, I find the words of the prophet Isaiah – rather than painters’ images of the Crucified Christ – really meaningful on this day. And then, as you say, there are the words of Jesus himself! Thank you for bringing them to us.

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