This is a painting of the First Station by German Catholic priest, Sieger Köder. Our Lord is not central to the work as usually depicted in art. Rather, Jesus is close to the viewer. It’s Köder’s way of telling us that Christ is alive and close in the person of the viewer. This scene gives insight to what I read this morning.
Pope Benedict XVI is on point in the second volume of his book, Jesus of Nazareth. When speaking of Pilate presenting the scourged Jesus to the Jews (not the People of Israel, but our Lord’s enemies and those in temple authority) Pilate pronounces the words, “Ecce homo” or “Behold the man!” This statement takes on a depth of meaning that is beyond that historical moment when Pilate stands as the political judge of the Son of God. YES! Behold the man! His perfect humanity is beaten and scourged, he become unrecognizable. The body of God is the utter reflection, the manifestation, of the inhumanity of worldly power, violence, corruption. It is the visible reminder of what happens when man takes control of the world. It is the manifestation of sin. Yet, our Lord loved us even at this moment.
In Köder’s work, there are three figures. Which one are we? The one who clutches onto the Torah with eyes detached from Love, seen as those manipulating God’s Law; the one who washes his blood stained hands in water, the water that was once changed into wine, now becomes the symbol of political judgement; or are we the one who gives his back to be beaten, the obedient servant, the mute lamb, the face of peace …. in where truth lies in the powerless?