November 2014, Prismacolor pencils on A3 cartridge paper
I don’t buy for a second that Jesus died on the cross so we could live pain-free lives. He didn’t avoid pain; he embraced it. His death tells me I will feel pain and he shows me how I can respond to it.
This picture is about two ideas. The first one comes from a bible college lecturer:
Jesus was betrayed, abandoned, rejected, humiliated, mocked, whipped, and crucified. He was alone, empty, weak, hurt, and broken. He could have responded with fear, anger, bitterness, resentment, self-pity, hatred, and violence. He could have taken all the bad in the world and sent out more bad.
Instead, Jesus took all the bad, held it, transformed it, and sent it out as good. He gives mercy, grace, compassion, forgiveness, freedom, peace, and love. He took darkness and death and turned them into light and life. He offers these good things to us so now we can offer them to others.
When bad things happen to me, I don’t have to become unforgiving, withdrawn or vengeful. That would be the easier option, but it causes more suffering for me and others. Instead, I can choose the harder path and hold the pain until it turns into healing and something good that I can offer to others.
The second idea in this picture comes from a message about communion:
When Jesus took the bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it, he modelled what would happen to him on the cross. He was broken and he was given. I used to think brokenness was a bad thing but now I think it’s a beautiful thing because it was only through being broken that Jesus could be given. He models how we will be given too.
It is our brokenness that often connects us most deeply. Through our brokenness we can comfort the broken, and we can give empathy, understanding, strength, wisdom, kindness, and hope.
The amazing thing is, the more we are broken, the more we can be given.