“The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” ~ Matt 20:28
The Artist Carl Bloch was a friend of author Hans Christian Anderson. It is interesting to think of the most celebrated writer of fairytales as being a neighbor and friend.
Carl Bloch’s wife died young leaving him with 8 children to raise alone. Knowing this sheds a new light on an unknown figure and causes me to wonder about his life struggles and how they might have informed his art.
Bloch painted 23 scenes from the Life of Christ for the King’s Chapel at Frederiksborg Palace and after careful consideration, this scene of Jesus in Gethsemane, touched my heart.
Son of Man
As I gaze at this scene I remember that the color blue is a symbol of the divine and the color red is a symbol of humanity, earth and Jesus’ passion. I can see how the blue garment is receding from view and I pause to consider how Jesus, in this moment, fully takes on the title “Son of Man.”
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. ~ Phil 2: 6-7
Lingering here I read:
Love the Lord God with all you heart and with all your soul and with all you mind and with all your strength. ~ Mark 12:30
How does a person really achieves such a great love?
The thought of this kind of fullness of the Lord, can not be produced on command–you might desire this deep love for God, you might pray for it every day, but even in the best of times to completely quiet our individual egos and silence all the fears and doubts so that we might let go of responsibilities and fully embrace a commune with our Lord is difficult to attain.
Letting go of all our short comings, learning to begin again…
Gazing at this precious scene of Jesus crushed under the burden of what he knows is coming…I can see how much God longs for and desires mankind.
With this scene there are no words…this painting expresses the inexpressible. It is a perfect picture of God reaching out to us in the most sacrificing way he can by giving us His son. In this moment Jesus is being fully handed over to be adopted by man. Jesus wraps himself with a full garment of humanity:
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. ~ Gal 4: 4-5
To see Jesus in his time of weakness being tenderly attended by the angel, makes my heart melt and inspires my imagination. I long to take the angels place so my Lord would lean upon my shoulder for comfort and rest.
In this defining moment of grief, Jesus embraces humanity and fully takes on the mantle of Son of Man. His divine immortal nature is receding so that in the end he will suffer our mortality– our death. And the weight of this is crushing, and I am touched to see the angel comfort him.
In Jesus’ Name–Son of God—Son of Man