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Lent reflection 5

Lent 5 Wednesday 17 March

by Deacon Selina

Jesus before the High Priest – painted in 1617

This is one of the most famous works of art by Gerrit van Honthorst. Painted in Rome, it shows the powerful influence of Caravaggio.

The scene focuses on the burning candle in the centre of the composition, and beside it is the arm and raised finger of the High Priest. Under Jewish law, Jesus' claim to be the Messiah was punishable by death, and the book on the table in front of the High Priest contains the High Priest's Mosaic Law.

The following poem has a pacey rhythm and is by Dorothy Wilson. It comes in two parts.

Part 1

After the blind were healed, and the crippled did walk,
Some men were jealous, and then there was talk.
This man, Jesus, the reason for fame?
The Son of God? What an outrageous claim!
He's just a man, watch him and know.
It's blasphemy, that's what! Arrest him! Now, go!

Thirty pieces of silver bought Jesus that day.
Betrayed by a kiss, they took Him away.
They tried Him, they thought they had it down pat!
But some said He did this, others said He did that!
They finally agreed, they said with a nod.
He blasphemed when He said, He's the Son of God!

The custom of the day was to set someone free.
Pilate said, 'This Jesus is who it should be!'
The people said, 'No, release Barabbas to us!'
They kept on until they raised quite a fuss!
The people, led by the chief priests that day,
Said, 'Take this Jesus, and let's make him pay!'

He was dressed in purple, the colour of kings.
They mocked Him and then cast lots for His things.

Perhaps nowhere, other than in John 4, does Jesus so overtly declare himself to be the Messiah.  The Samaritan woman at the well says "I know that the Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us," and Jesus responds, "I, the one speaking to you--I am he."

Who is Jesus for you and what difference does he make to your life?

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