There are innumerable pieces of art around the Holy City. Art of all kinds: paintings, sculptures, mosaics, stained glass windows, metal work, wood work, on and on. Today I am going to share some of the artistic renderings of Christ that are in Jerusalem. May these images help you to ponder the deep meaning of this week and to give thanks for the incredible gift of God’s love made manifest in the life of our Savior, Jesus.
Readings for Tuesday of Holy Week: Matthew 23:1-24:51, Mark 11:20-12:44. Luke 21:1-38, John 12:37-50
This mosaic depicts the agony of Jesus as he prayed in Gethsemane. It is inside the Church Of All Nations, above the rock where Jesus supposedly prayed. Notice the angel coming from heaven to strengthen him (Luke 22:43).
The Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu (Latin for “cockcrow”) is built over the alleged site of Caiaphas’ house, where Peter denied Jesus. The church has several mosaics on its outer façade depicting the events that occurred when Jesus was before Caiaphas, the high priest. This mosaic shows a shackled Jesus being questioned. The caption reads: “The Offenses At the House Of Caiaphas.”
A close-up of the mosaic above the altar inside the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, of Jesus being mocked.
Another mosaic outside the church, this one of Jesus being lowered into the cell where he was imprisoned until Friday morning. The French speaks of a deep pit (“fosse profonde”).
A stained glass window inside the Condemnation Chapel on the Via Dolorosa, the road Jesus walked with his cross to the crucifixion. This church marks the second of the Fourteen Stations of the Cross: “Jesus Receives the Cross.”
Crosses at the Holy Sepulcher Church, built over the most ancient and likely sites of Golgotha and the Tomb. This is the most holy Christian site in the world.
Ancient wooden door into the Holy Sepulcher Church. This side of the church was built by the Crusaders sometime before 1180.
Colorful images of the saints and angels inside the Holy Sepulcher Church.
Greek Orthodox crucifix, with silver details, above the altar that is over Calvary inside the Holy Sepulcher Church.
Mosaic of Jesus being taken down from the cross, inside the main entrance of the Holy Sepulcher Church.
Mosaic of Mary and others with Jesus, before he is placed in the tomb. This is part of the larger mural inside the main entrance of the Holy Sepulcher Church.
Stained glass window in St. Andrews Church in Jerusalem.
Painting of Jesus above the altar of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Prayer for Today: Dear Lord, we grasp the significance of your suffering and death in fresh, deep ways through stunning visual renderings of art. They are beautiful, unique “incarnations” of what you endured on our behalf. Thank you for creative artists who pour themselves into their work as a sign of their worship, offering all of their talents to you. Like the poor widow in the temple who gave everything she had–two copper pennies to you–today may we offer all of ourselves to you too. Amen.