As in the 2 other art blogs (you can read them here and here), artwork moves my soul but only if I slow down and contemplate, much like God's word. The painting below did not initially strike me since the Getty museum is filled with pictures of Jesus. I was actually looking at, I think, this one when I began to notice “Christ on the Cross” by El Greco (1541-1614) seen below. I read the plaque, listened to the audio, and then just contemplated it, keeping in mind what I had learned. This picture was painted for personal reflection for people who did not have photos, radio, movies or television. It was meant to move them from the secular to the spiritual. Maybe it can still do the same.
What I noticed first was the depressing, encroaching darkness. Notice the clouds are almost completely blocking out the sun. The black and blue hues communicate that a punishing evil is engulfing the whole world. In the bottom right corner, the soldiers, a picture of worldly power, march in victory with banner held high. They turn their backs on Jesus, and are, therefore, unknowingly, being swallowed by the darkness they created. It is this impending darkness that dominates the majority of the painting.
The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:5 NAU
Of course, in the middle of this bleak scene, Jesus, alone with eyes raised upward, is commending His spirit to the Father. What is fascinating is that the sun is behind the clouds. Jesus with his back to the cloud-covered sun is fully illuminated from within Himself. He is truly the Light of the World. El Greco makes his point further by bending the body of Christ in a flame configuration. Can you see it?
In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:4-5 NAU
Here is the point of the painting and this post: if our world is getting darker and more evil and if the power brokers of society aggressively turn their back on God charting their own failed course, we need only to fix our eyes on the True Light “and the things of earth will grow strangely dim” as the old song goes. The Light is with us, in us, and for us. Someday He will be the only source of Light we need (Rev. 22:5).
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:12-14 NAU
May we all enjoy this day with Jesus because of His Grace and Truth that reveals the light of His glory!
If you would like a worship song to cap off this devotional thought then may I suggest Lauren Daigle’s “Light of the World” video below: