Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor
Volume V, Issue VIII
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn depicted Christ in the workaday clothes of a medieval artisan.
Accurately Depicting the Savior
There is a recurring vision somewhere in my subconscious, where having reached Heaven, I see Jesus in all His glory. Falling on my face, I am overwhelmed. After a while, His hand softly touches my shoulder as He bids me rise: "Come see what I'm working on." He says and then we walk to His workshop.
So many times I have visited an artist or a craftsman, and received that blessed invitation to enter the place where they create. It is an honor to be cherished, especially when a Master invites you as a fellow artisan. Such is the feeling of Christ's invitation in my dream.
Prior to Rembrant, the Seventh Century Master, artists routinely depicted Christ with crisp European features, either as a very heroic figure or in great agony. [1.]
In 1631, Rembrant moved
from his hometown of Leiden, The Netherlands, where he was born in
1606, to the port city of Amsterdam, where he purchased a house in the city's Jewish Quarter.Ten years later, he was using the Shepardic Jews in his neighborhood as models. Since Jesus lived in the Middle-east and not Europe, Rembrant's portrayals strike a strong chord of reality in their composition.
The painting above has Jesus wearing the workaday clothes of a medieval artisan. You can just imagine the smells of the workshop still lingering in those clothes. I've met a few stonemasons who's honest features remind me of this picture.
Depicting Messiah has long been a challenge to the serious artist, [2.] and the theologian as well! There seem to be a lot of thoughts about who Christ is. Some of them seem as overworked as the paintings. Scripture gives us a good basis for knowing Christ's nature though. Ironically, it is two English scholars who give us some of the better word portraits. Clive Staples Lewis [3.]and John Ronald Reuel Tolkien [4.] both wrote great depictions.
Lewis portrayed Christ in the character of Aslan, the Lion of Judah. Tolkien's Aragorn (think of the book character more than the movie one here), also displays characteristics of the Redeemer.
Today, more than ever, it behooves us to present as honest a picture of Christ as we can. Much of our society puts little value in our faith, but are they perhaps looking at an incorrect picture? A faulty rendering can discredit something that is actually of great value! [5.]
Looking at the lives of John Newton, William Wilberforce, Florence Nightingale, Charles Dickens, William H. Howland, George Müller and a host of others actually reads like a companion volume to the Hall of Faith described in Hebrews 11. Their stories and their testimonies must be honestly examined before we discard the Faith that moved them. [6.]
This week the 'other' weekly news magazine presents Marco Rubio [click to read] as 'Savior' of the Republican Party. We at THYME would like to gently suggest that the term is greatly overused when referring to political figures.