Once again we are blessed to be able to share another beautiful painting from Jan Hearn. This one is inspired by today’s Gospel reading from John 8 and particularly brings to life verse 28: “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He”.
Scripture tells us that Jesus is ‘the image of the unseen God’ (Colossians 1: 15), ‘the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being’ (Hebrews 1: 3). It is through Him that the invisible God chooses to reveal Himself, through Him that He desires to be known.
One of the things which really struck me when I started studying Catholic theology was that Jesus didn’t have to submit to the terrible death He endured; indeed, just one drop of His blood would have been enough to redeem the entire human race. Rather, Jesus willingly took up the cross and laid down His life so that fallen human beings would have proof of that which we often find so hard to believe: that there is a God who loves us infinitely and that, regardless of what we’ve done, we can be forgiven.
The cross, therefore, is redeemed, no longer being an instrument of torture reserved for the worst criminals, but transmuted into the ultimate expression of a God who longs to reveal the breadth and depth of His love.
This is reflected in Jan’s painting as we see Christ, neither bloody nor in agony, but with His arms stretched open in invitation: come to Me, His blissful expression denoting the satisfaction He takes in the good work He has completed: it is finished. The beauty and goodness of God radiates out in the form of a rainbow behind Him, a symbol of the covenant love to which he now invites the whole world. It is circular, eternal, with neither beginning nor end, and from it, no one is exempt.
Written by Lucy Stothard, art © Jan Hearn