Friday, April 22, 2011

A Man of Sorrows and Acquainted with Grief

He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces. He was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. -Isiah 53:3-5

Today is Good Friday. In dozens of countries, and in hundreds of cities and towns throughout the world, the remembrance of the crucifixion of Jesus will occupy the attention of the faithful. Pictures and statues of Jesus, often depicting a man who looks a lot like the way that local people look, shown in a landscape looking very much like you would find nearby, fill churches where worshippers gather.

The photograph above appeared on the Internet a few weeks ago, accompanying an article about the retreat of freedom fighters from the town of Ras Lanuf, Libya. The look of utter despair on this man's face, with the crown of thorns worn by Jesus replaced by a crown of bullets, seemed a modern yet timeless metaphor of the ancient story of the suffering of Jesus and of the cross.


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