The Gospel in Art: Jesus Resolutely Takes the Road to Jerusalem


The siege and destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans under the command of Titus, copy after David Roberts, 1850

Source: Christian art

Gospel of September 27, 2022
Luke 9:51-56

As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem and sent messengers ahead of him. These left and went to a Samaritan village to make preparations for him, but the people would not receive him because he was heading for Jerusalem. Seeing this, the disciples James and John said, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to kindle them? But he turned around and reprimanded them, and they left for another village.

Reflection on painting

In today’s Gospel, we learn that Jesus resolutely took the road to Jerusalem. “Resolutely” tells us a lot about Jesus’ state of mind when he embarked on this journey. First of all, it shows how determined he was to go down this path no matter what happened on this journey. Second, it also shows us that he was very aware of his fate and what awaited him in Jerusalem. He knew that the time was approaching for his return to Heaven, and he accepted it voluntarily and freely.

As we know, Jerusalem has had a very checkered history: it was attacked 52 times, taken and retaken 44 times, besieged 23 times and destroyed twice. I don’t think any city in the world matches those statistics. The oldest part of the city was settled in the 4th millennium BC, making it one of the oldest cities in the world. The painting we are looking at now shows us one of these historic battles in Jerusalem. This is a reproduction of a lost oil painting titled “The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans under the Command of Titus, AD 70” by David Roberts. The original, dating from the mid-19th century, was sold at auction in 1961 to an Italian art dealer in London. The painting made its way to Rome but was lost soon after. David Roberts, a Scottish-born artist, rose from poverty to become one of the most popular painters of the 19th century, traveling extensively in Egypt, the Middle East and the Holy Land. To ensure the greatest possible accuracy in the original painting, which was completed in 1849, Roberts drew on the writings of Jewish historian Flavius ​​Josephus, an eyewitness to the Roman siege and destruction of Jerusalem.

When in today’s reading Luke writes that Jesus is moving resolutely towards Jerusalem, he means that Jesus is moving resolutely towards his Passion… with great determination and an awareness of his own destiny…


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