Sunday, 17 February 2013
In A Reflective Mood...
The Blackfen Faith Group has been planning a trip to the National Gallery to see a small selection of Christian art. Hearing about some of the pictures reminded me of my favourite: Christ before the High Priest by Gerrit van Honthorst.
The first time I saw the picture, it took my breath away...
I'd read in the Gospel accounts how Christ hadn't answered Caiaphas, the High Priest, after he had been betrayed by Judas and captured in the Garden of Gethsemane. I hadn't given much consideration to the fact that Jesus was silent in the face of the false accusations.
Looking at the picture, I could suddenly see that Christ's silence radiates power. Caiaphas is supposedly the one in charge by virtue of his office, but Christ's silence appears to make him uncomfortable, challenging him to recognise that the accusations are false. I get the feeling that, the longer Christ stands there, saying nothing, the more pricked Caiaphas' conscience becomes, the angrier he gets, and the more determined he becomes to rid himself of this man who dares to challenge his authority. And Jesus stands there, in silence.
This is also, I think, the true depiction of meekness: we have been conditioned to think of meekness as synonymous with weakness and lack of spirit. On the contrary, true meekness involves self-mastery and strength of character - something exemplified by Van Honthorst's masterpiece.