My husband and I entered the gallery in silence and were greeted by the same. No, it was not empty. We waited patiently for our turn to view the Caravaggio.
As we waited, I watched, I listened – silence – an occasional whisper, a soft footstep would interrupt the quiet of the room, but absent was the busyness of normal daily life and giddy conversation.
As I looked around I doubted that every person in the room was a believer – yet – somehow they sensed it. This was not merely another man. It was a sacred silence – an unspoken unanimous respect.
Finally we stood face to face with the masterpiece. Not what you would expect. There was no evidence of the beatings, no blood from the piercing thorns upon His head. It was not the sight one would have seen by the time Pilate presented Jesus and said, “Behold, the Man!” [John 19:5]
Then it struck me; the overwhelming sense of humility in the uninjured and silent King presented before us.
As I gazed upon the downcast face of Christ in the painting, I was reminded – This is God. He could have stopped this. He could have said no. He could have rallied His legions of angels. He could have called down fire from the sky.
But He did not.
Instead He humbly accepted…
- the betrayal
- the floggings
- the beatings
- the mockery
- the disrespect
- the spittle
- the hate
I thought about how there was no silence that day, but rather screeching condemnation and wailing in the streets. Yet He remained – humble – to the end – knowing…
that every knee will bow before Me; every tongue will confess to God. Romans 14:11
and His words to His followers were these…
…you too now have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one takes your joy away from you. John 16:22