The Crucifixion - Sacrifice
The centre panel shows the Crucifixion. We remember Jesus’s death on the Cross on Good Friday, and reflect on the sacrifice Jesus paid willingly for all our sins.
At the top of a cross a placard is attached, with the letters INRI inscribed – standing for Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum. This is Latin for “Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews” (John 19:19), detailing the supposed “crime” for which Jesus has been convicted.
Mary his mother stands praying to the left, perhaps recalling Simeon’s prophecy of the anguish she would feel (Luke 2:35). John, the disciple whom he loved, stands to the right (John 19:26), soon to be charged with the care of Mary.
Mary Magdalene kneels before him, her hands reaching towards him. Yet Jesus’ hands are outstretched - outstretched to embrace the world through his sacrifice as Saviour of the world (John 4:42) – “Salvator Mundi,” as written in Latin by his arms.
While their faces are downcast in sorrow, as those of many believers would be following his death (Luke 24:17), the sun and moon on the window look forward to the changes to the world that will come when Jesus returns (Acts 2:20).
The background to the Christ on the Cross is blood red, indicating the life poured out in sacrifice. This sacrifice is not in vain – it is made so that we may live. Plants spring up around the cross; an evergreen indicator that death is preceding new life – life in the embrace of a Love never dies (1 Corinthians 13:8).
Blessed Lord Jesus,
Through your death on the Cross
You sacrificed yourself to save us from sin,
So that we may not die but live with you in glory.
Let me remember the sacrifice that you made
And the breadth and depth of your love for us all.
Let me take up my cross to help and support others.
Help me to live your wide embrace of your people and your world.
May I be willing to give my life and my heart in your service as you gave yours for me,
And through this, to make your love and sacrifice known in the world.