Thursday, March 31, 2022

Lent - Temptations in the Wilderness - Christ & Satan in a powerful Landscape 16C-17C

Temptation of Christ by Jan Brueghel the Elder 1568 - 1625

The Temptation of Christ
Matthew 4:1–11; Mark 1:12–13; Luke 4:1–13
Bible (Revised Standard Version)

Matthew 4

4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry. 3And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4But he answered, “It is written,
‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
5Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,
‘He will give his angels charge of you,’
and
‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ”
7Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” 8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; 9and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10Then Jesus said to him, “Begone, Satan! for it is written,
‘You shall worship the Lord your God
and him only shall you serve.’ ”
11Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to him.

Mark 1:12–13

12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13And he was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to him.

Luke 4:1–13

4And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit 2for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, he was hungry. 3The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’ ” 5And the devil took him up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7If you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours.” 8And Jesus answered him, “It is written,
‘You shall worship the Lord your God,
and him only shall you serve.’ ”
And he took him to Jerusalem, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here; 10for it is written,
‘He will give his angels charge of you, to guard you,’
11and
‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ”
12And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” 13And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Lent - Temptations in the Wilderness - A hungry Christ & a Satan with Bread & Horns 16C

 
Temptation of Christ by Juan de Flandes (Hispano-Flemish, active 1496 - 1519) 

Modern Version of The Temptation of Christ

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: " 'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"  Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Lent - Temptations in the Wilderness - 40 Days with Christ & Satan 13C

Psalter (f.6) England, Central (Oxford) 1st quarter of the 13C British Library Detail

All 3 Gospels relate that Jesus spent a period of 40 days & nights in the desert immediately following His Baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist & the dramatic recognition given by Heaven to this event. The number 40 obviously has resonance with such Old Testament events as the 40 days & nights of the Great Flood (Genesis 7:9), the 40 days & nights that Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments from God (Exodus 24:18) & the 40 years in which the Hebrews wandered in the wilderness (Numbers 14:32-34).  Mark’s reference to the Temptation of Jesus is the shortest of the three. Matthew (Matthew 4:1-11) & Luke (Luke 4:1-13) both describe in detail the temptations tried by Satan, temptations to power & pride, which Jesus resisted. All three agree that at the end of these 40 days & nights, Jesus was tired & hungry.

"Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan
and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days,
to be tempted by the devil.
He ate nothing during those days,
and when they were over he was hungry.
The devil said to him,
"If you are the Son of God,
command this stone to become bread."
Jesus answered him,
"It is written, One does not live on bread alone."
Then he took him up and showed him
all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant.
The devil said to him,
"I shall give to you all this power and glory;
for it has been handed over to me,
and I may give it to whomever I wish.
All this will be yours, if you worship me."
Jesus said to him in reply,
"It is written:
You shall worship the Lord, your God,
and him alone shall you serve."
Then he led him to Jerusalem,
made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him,
"If you are the Son of God,
throw yourself down from here, for it is written:
He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,
and:
With their hands they will support you,
lest you dash your foot against a stone."
Jesus said to him in reply,
"It also says,
You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test."
When the devil had finished every temptation,
he departed from him for a time.”
Luke 4:1-13

Monday, March 28, 2022

Lent - Temptations in the Wilderness - Precarious Christ, a Dark Satan, + encouraging Angels 13C

Temptation of Christ  Duccio di Buoninsegna (Italian artist, 1255-1319)

Modern Version of The Temptation of Christ

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: " 'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"  Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Lent - Temptations in the Wilderness - Angels Comfort tired & hungry Jesus 13C

Christ Ministered to by Angels  From a Pictorial Bible, French (St. Omer), c. 1190-1200  The Hague, Koninlijk Bibliotheek  MS KB 76 F 5, fol. 12v (detail)

“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,
& he remained in the desert for forty days,
tempted by Satan.
He was among wild beasts,
& the angels ministered to him.”
Mark 1:12-13

All three Synoptic Gospels relate that Jesus spent a period of 40 days & nights in the desert immediately following His Baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist & the dramatic recognition given by Heaven to this event. The number 40 obviously has resonance with such Old Testament events as the 40 days & nights of the Great Flood (Genesis 7:9), the 40 days & nights that Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments from God (Exodus 24:18) & the 40 years in which the Hebrews wandered in the wilderness (Numbers 14:32-34).  Mark’s reference to the Temptation of Jesus is the shortest of the three. Matthew (Matthew 4:1-11) & Luke (Luke 4:1-13) both describe in detail the temptations tried by Satan, temptations to power & pride, which Jesus resisted. All three agree that at the end of these 40 days & nights, Jesus was tired & hungry.

Here the angels look like they are tidying Jesus following His confrontation with Satan.  Both Mark & Matthew conclude their descriptions with a reference to ministering angels who attend Him at the end of the time. Unlike the temptations themselves, which are frequently depicted in art over the ages, the ministering angels are not seen that often. They appear in a few medieval manuscripts like this one, but usually in the background of a scene of the temptations.

Friday, March 25, 2022

The Annunciation of the coming Birth of Jesus to Mary in Spring Gardens - Illuminated Manuscripts

The Annunciation in a Garden, Book of Hours (Bodmer Hours), ca. 1400–1410 Michelino da Besozzo (Italian, act. 1388–1450). Renaissance (about 1400–1600) manuscript artists depicted gardens in a variety of texts, and their illustrations attest to the Renaissance spirit for the careful study of the natural world. In a society then dominated by the church, gardens within the miniature & in the margins surrounding were also integral to a Christian visual tradition.

The Annunciation is a day of celebration for many Christians throughout the world which reminds them of the time when the Virgin Mary was asked by the Lord to bring into the world a Savior who would be named Jesus.  Mary as Mother of Jesus was prophesized in Isaias 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, & bear a son, & his name shall be called Emmanuel.”
Psalter Annunciation in Garden, 1180. (National Library of theNetherlands) The Annunciation ca 1450, Book of Hours

The Annunciation is mentioned only a few times in the New Testament. The gospel of Matthew begins by describing the heritage of Jesus stating “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham:” (Matthew 1:1). In Chapter 1:2-16, continues listing Jesus’ heritage ending with a conclusion in verse 16 stating “And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” (Matthew 1:16).  Matthew describes the Annunciation of Mary. The Virgin Mary was found with a child, before she & Joseph “came together” Matthew 1:18). Joseph had concerns about what to do in this situation, until an angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: “Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost. & she shall bring forth a son: & thou shalt call his name Jesus. For he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21).
 The Annunciation in a Garden from the Book of Hours,  Flanders c.1460

Luke is the only other gospel to mention the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary. Luke states that: “the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; & the virgin’s name was Mary. & the angel said unto her: 'Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women..And the angel said to her: fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, & shalt bring forth a son; & thou shalt call his name Jesus.” (Luke 1:26-31)  Mary, being of such a young age, was in wonder, because she had not been with any man. Gabriel answered “.The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, & the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. & therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
The Annunciation to Mary by the Archangel Gabriel, with Anne Boleyn's note in the lower margin (London, British Library, MS King's 9, f. 66v).
The Annunciation in a Garden, about 1469

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Lent - Temptations in the Wilderness - A Firm Christ & an Unrelenting Satan 12C

Temptation of Christ - mosaic in Monreale Cathedral, Sicily (Building begun 1174)

Modern Version of The Temptation of Christ

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: " 'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"  Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Lent - Temptations in the Wilderness - 3 Temptations - Christ & a Persistent Satan 15C

1430 Claes Brouwer History Bible Dutch (Utrecht), c.1430 Hague KB 78d38II Illustrates 3 Temptations.

Modern Version of The Temptation of Christ

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: " 'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"  Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Lent - Temptations in the Wilderness - Coptic Icon of Christ & Satan & 2 Worried Angels

Coptic Icon of The Temptation of Christ. Christianity is said to have been brought to Egypt by St. Mark early in the 1st century & spread quickly throughout the region. Coptic Christians ranked on par with those in Rome & Antioch at the Council of Nicaea (325 CE). 


Modern Version of The Temptation of Christ

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: " 'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"  Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

The Temptation of Christ
 Mark 1:12–13
Bible (Revised Standard Version)

Mark 1:12–13

12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13And he was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to him.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Lent - Temptations in the Wilderness - Christ, Satan, & a hovering Angel 12C

1170 Miniatures of the Life of Christ French (Corbie), 1170-1180 Morgan m44.005v

All 3 Gospels in the Bible relate that Jesus spent a period of 40 days & nights in the desert immediately following His Baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist & the dramatic recognition given by Heaven to this event. The number 40 obviously has resonance with such Old Testament events as the 40 days & nights of the Great Flood (Genesis 7:9), the 40 days & nights that Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments from God (Exodus 24:18) & the 40 years in which the Hebrews wandered in the wilderness (Numbers 14:32-34).  Mark’s reference to the Temptation of Jesus is the shortest of the three. Matthew (Matthew 4:1-11) & Luke (Luke 4:1-13) both describe in detail the temptations tried by Satan, temptations to power & pride, which Jesus resisted. All three agree that at the end of these 40 days & nights, Jesus was tired & hungry.

Modern Version of The Temptation of Christ

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: " 'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"  Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Lent in the Wilderness - Stanley Spencer 1891-1959 Christ Considers the Lilies 1939

Stanley Spencer, (English painter, 1891-1959) Christ in the Wilderness Consider the Lilies

The origin of the season of Lent lies not in a conscious re-enactment of the Lord's time in the wilderness, but in the preparation of Christians for the celebration of the resurrection of Christ at Easter.  In many Christian churches, Lent starts on Ash Wednesday lasting for 40 days (not including Sundays) reflecting the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness. Related to Jesus' time in the wilderness, the Bible states;

‘And why take ye thought of raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not neither do they spin; And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.’
Matthew 6:28-29   King James Bible

British artist Stanley Spencer (1891-1959) sought to give some form to the Lent's 40 days. In the 1930s-40s Spencer set himself a goal of creating 40 paintings, one for each day Christ was in the wilderness. The series, called "Christ in the Wilderness," never came to full completion. Eighteen drawings were made & 8 paintings completed. Each of the designs explores the solitary figure of Christ interacting with various elements of the wilderness - a hen, a scorpion, lilies, eagles. The paintings titled "Driven by the spirit into the wilderness" was inspired by Mark 1:12.  Nothing overt in the paintings speaks of the details Christ's 40 days in the wilderness, echoing Mark's lack of narrative specifics. The figure of Jesus is not the slim body commonly seen in paintings. A bulky figure & billowing garment are common to all the finished paintings in the series. Spencer envisioned the pictures hanging as a group on the ceiling of a church. In such a position Jesus' garments would be perceived as billowing, ethereal clouds.

“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.  He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.”  Mark 1:12-15

Friday, March 18, 2022

Lent - Temptations in the Wilderness - Clever Devil turns Stones into Bread

Satan Tempting Christ To Change Stones Into Bread, (Matthew 4-3-4) breviary, Rouen before 1498 Besançon, bibliothèque municipale, ms. 69, p. 269.  Fairly strange looking Satan.

Modern Version of The Temptation of Christ

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: " 'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"  Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

All three Gospels relate that Jesus spent a period of 40 days & nights in the desert immediately following His Baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist & the dramatic recognition given by Heaven to this event. The number 40 obviously has resonance with such Old Testament events as the 40 days & nights of the Great Flood (Genesis 7:9), the 40 days & nights that Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments from God (Exodus 24:18) & the 40 years in which the Hebrews wandered in the wilderness (Numbers 14:32-34).  Mark’s reference to the Temptation of Jesus is the shortest of the three. Matthew (Matthew 4:1-11) & Luke (Luke 4:1-13) both describe in detail the temptations tried by Satan, temptations to power & pride, which Jesus resisted. All three agree that at the end of these 40 days & nights, Jesus was tired & hungry.

During His 40 days of fasting & praying in the Wilderness, Satan tempted Jesus: to make bread out of stones to relieve his own hunger; to jump from a pinnacle & rely on angels to break his fall (both Luke & Matthew have Satan quote Psalm 91:11–12 to indicate that God had promised this assistance); & to worship Satan in return for all the kingdoms of the world.

The temptation of making bread out of stones occurs in the desert setting where Jesus had been fasting. This temptation may have been Jesus' last, aiming towards his hunger.  In response to Satan's suggestion, Jesus replies, "It is written: 'One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." (a reference to Deuteronomy 8:3)

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Lent in the Wilderness - Stanley Spencer 1891-1959 Christ & The Eagles

Stanley Spencer, (English painter, 1891 – 1959) Christ in the Wilderness The Eagles

The origin of the season of Lent lies not in a conscious re-enactment of the Lord's time in the wilderness, but in the preparation of Christians for the celebration of the resurrection of Christ at Easter.  In many Christian churches, Lent starts on Ash Wednesday lasting for 40 days (not including Sundays) reflecting the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness. Related to Jesus' time in the wilderness, the Bible states;

‘For wheresover the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.’
Matthew 24:28 King James Bible

British artist Stanley Spencer (1891-1959) sought to give some form to the Lent's 40 days. In the 1930s-40s Spencer set himself a goal of creating 40 paintings, one for each day Christ was in the wilderness. The series, called "Christ in the Wilderness," never came to full completion. Eighteen drawings were made & 8 paintings completed. Each of the designs explores the solitary figure of Christ interacting with various elements of the wilderness - a hen, a scorpion, lilies, eagles. The paintings titled "Driven by the spirit into the wilderness" was inspired by Mark 1:12.  Nothing overt in the paintings speaks of the details Christ's 40 days in the wilderness, echoing Mark's lack of narrative specifics. The figure of Jesus is not the slim body commonly seen in paintings. A bulky figure & billowing garment are common to all the finished paintings in the series. Spencer envisioned the pictures hanging as a group on the ceiling of a church. In such a position Jesus' garments would be perceived as billowing, ethereal clouds.

“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.  He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.”  Mark 1:12-15

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Lent - Temptations in the Wilderness - Christ & Satan 15C

1430 Bedford Master and his Workshop Bk Hrs French (Paris), 1430-1435 Morgan m359.050va

“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,
& he remained in the desert for forty days,
tempted by Satan.
He was among wild beasts,
& the angels ministered to him.”
Mark 1:12-13

All 3 Gospels relate that Jesus spent a period of 40 days & nights in the desert immediately following His Baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist & the dramatic recognition given by Heaven to this event. The number 40 obviously has resonance with such Old Testament events as the 40 days & nights of the Great Flood (Genesis 7:9), the 40 days & nights that Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments from God (Exodus 24:18) & the 40 years in which the Hebrews wandered in the wilderness (Numbers 14:32-34).  Mark’s reference to the Temptation of Jesus is the shortest of the three. Matthew (Matthew 4:1-11) & Luke (Luke 4:1-13) both describe in detail the temptations tried by Satan, temptations to power & pride, which Jesus resisted. All three agree that at the end of these 40 days & nights, Jesus was tired & hungry.

Modern Version of The Temptation of Christ

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: " 'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"  Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Lent in the Wilderness - Stanley Spencer 1891-1959 Christ into a mountain to pray

Stanley Spencer, (English painter, 1891-1959) Christ in the Wilderness He departed into a mountain to pray 1939

The origin of the season of Lent lies not in a conscious re-enactment of the Lord's time in the wilderness, but in the preparation of Christians for the celebration of the resurrection of Christ at Easter.  In many Christian churches, Lent starts on Ash Wednesday lasting for 40 days (not including Sundays) reflecting the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness. Related to Jesus' time in the wilderness, the Bible states;

‘And when he had sent them away he departed into a mountain to pray.’
Mark 6:46  King James Bible

British artist Stanley Spencer (1891-1959) sought to give some form to the Lent's 40 days. In the 1930s-40s Spencer set himself a goal of creating 40 paintings, one for each day Christ was in the wilderness. The series, called "Christ in the Wilderness," never came to full completion. Eighteen drawings were made & 8 paintings completed. Each of the designs explores the solitary figure of Christ interacting with various elements of the wilderness - a hen, a scorpion, lilies, eagles. The paintings titled "Driven by the spirit into the wilderness" was inspired by Mark 1:12.  Nothing overt in the paintings speaks of the details Christ's 40 days in the wilderness, echoing Mark's lack of narrative specifics. The figure of Jesus is not the slim body commonly seen in paintings. A bulky figure & billowing garment are common to all the finished paintings in the series. Spencer envisioned the pictures hanging as a group on the ceiling of a church. In such a position Jesus' garments would be perceived as billowing, ethereal clouds.

“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.  He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.”  Mark 1:12-15

Monday, March 14, 2022

Lent - Temptations in the Wilderness - Christ & Satan 13C

1280 Psalter - Hours of Yolande of Soissons  French, 1280-1299 Morgan m729.039v

“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,
& he remained in the desert for forty days,
tempted by Satan.
He was among wild beasts,
& the angels ministered to him.”
Mark 1:12-13

All 3 Gospels relate that Jesus spent a period of 40 days & nights in the desert immediately following His Baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist & the dramatic recognition given by Heaven to this event. The number 40 obviously has resonance with such Old Testament events as the 40 days & nights of the Great Flood (Genesis 7:9), the 40 days & nights that Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments from God (Exodus 24:18) & the 40 years in which the Hebrews wandered in the wilderness (Numbers 14:32-34).  Mark’s reference to the Temptation of Jesus is the shortest of the three. Matthew (Matthew 4:1-11) & Luke (Luke 4:1-13) both describe in detail the temptations tried by Satan, temptations to power & pride, which Jesus resisted. All three agree that at the end of these 40 days & nights, Jesus was tired & hungry.

Modern Version of The Temptation of Christ

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: " 'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"  Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Lent in the Wilderness - Stanley Spencer 1891-1959 Christ Driven by the Spirit.

Stanley Spencer, (English painter, 1891-1959) Christ in the Wilderness Driven by the Spirit. 1942

The origin of the season of Lent lies not in a conscious re-enactment of the Lord's time in the wilderness, but in the preparation of Christians for the celebration of the resurrection of Christ at Easter.  In many Christian churches, Lent starts on Ash Wednesday lasting for 40 days (not including Sundays) reflecting the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness. Related to Jesus' time in the wilderness, the Bible states;

‘And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.’ Mark 1:12
Matthew 6:28-29   King James Bible

British artist Stanley Spencer (1891-1959) sought to give some form to the Lent's 40 days. In the 1930s-40s Spencer set himself a goal of creating 40 paintings, one for each day Christ was in the wilderness. The series, called "Christ in the Wilderness," never came to full completion. Eighteen drawings were made & 8 paintings completed. Each of the designs explores the solitary figure of Christ interacting with various elements of the wilderness - a hen, a scorpion, lilies, eagles. The paintings titled "Driven by the spirit into the wilderness" was inspired by Mark 1:12.  Nothing overt in the paintings speaks of the details Christ's 40 days in the wilderness, echoing Mark's lack of narrative specifics. The figure of Jesus is not the slim body commonly seen in paintings. A bulky figure & billowing garment are common to all the finished paintings in the series. Spencer envisioned the pictures hanging as a group on the ceiling of a church. In such a position Jesus' garments would be perceived as billowing, ethereal clouds.

“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.  He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.”  Mark 1:12-15

Friday, March 11, 2022

Lent - Temptations in the Wilderness - Christ & a very charming Satan 13C

1228 From a Psalter-Hours French (Paris). c. 1228-1234 New York,  Pierpont Morgan  MS m153.019r  Detail

“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,
& he remained in the desert for forty days,
tempted by Satan.
He was among wild beasts,
& the angels ministered to him.”
Mark 1:12-13

All 3 Gospels relate that Jesus spent a period of 40 days & nights in the desert immediately following His Baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist & the dramatic recognition given by Heaven to this event. The number 40 obviously has resonance with such Old Testament events as the 40 days & nights of the Great Flood (Genesis 7:9), the 40 days & nights that Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments from God (Exodus 24:18) & the 40 years in which the Hebrews wandered in the wilderness (Numbers 14:32-34).  Mark’s reference to the Temptation of Jesus is the shortest of the three. Matthew (Matthew 4:1-11) & Luke (Luke 4:1-13) both describe in detail the temptations tried by Satan, temptations to power & pride, which Jesus resisted. All three agree that at the end of these 40 days & nights, Jesus was tired & hungry.


Modern Version of The Temptation of Christ

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: " 'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"  Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Lent in the Wilderness - Stanley Spencer 1891-1959 Rising from Sleep

Stanley Spencer, (English painter, 1891-1959) Christ in the Wilderness Rising from sleep in the morning  (1940)

The origin of the season of Lent lies not in a conscious re-enactment of the Lord's time in the wilderness, but in the preparation of Christians for the celebration of the resurrection of Christ at Easter.  In many Christian churches, Lent starts on Ash Wednesday lasting for 40 days (not including Sundays) reflecting the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness. Related to Jesus' time in the wilderness, the Bible states;

‘I will arise and go to my Father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before thee.’ Luke 15:18

British artist Stanley Spencer (1891-1959) sought to give some form to the Lent's 40 days. In the 1930s-40s Spencer set himself a goal of creating 40 paintings, one for each day Christ was in the wilderness. The series, called "Christ in the Wilderness," never came to full completion. Eighteen drawings were made & 8 paintings completed. Each of the designs explores the solitary figure of Christ interacting with various elements of the wilderness - a hen, a scorpion, lilies, eagles. The paintings titled "Driven by the spirit into the wilderness" was inspired by Mark 1:12.  Nothing overt in the paintings speaks of the details Christ's 40 days in the wilderness, echoing Mark's lack of narrative specifics. The figure of Jesus is not the slim body commonly seen in paintings. A bulky figure & billowing garment are common to all the finished paintings in the series. Spencer envisioned the pictures hanging as a group on the ceiling of a church. In such a position Jesus' garments would be perceived as billowing, ethereal clouds.

“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.  He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.”  Mark 1:12-15

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Lent - Temptations in the Wilderness - Christ, Satan & a negotiating Angel 12C

The Temptation of Christ by the Devil  first half 12C (possibly 1129–34)
Spanish The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met tells us that the fresco comes from "The hermitage of San Baudelio de Berlanga was constructed in the beginning of the 11C at the heart of the frontier between Islamic & Christian lands.  One hundred fifty years later, its extraordinary palm-vaulted interior was transformed with the addition of two cycles of vibrant paintings: an extensive life-cycle of Christ at the top & scenes of hunting & animals at the bottom, derived from Islamic art. The large figures of the biblical cycle, the clear outlines, & the radiant colors ensured that the story would be legible from the floor. The fresco conflates three episodes from Christ's Temptation. At the left, the Devil dares Christ to turn stones into bread. In the middle, Satan challenges Christ, standing on the gable of the Temple, to throw himself down. The angel talking to a demon at the right refers to the last temptation of Christ, who, after refusing to worship the Devil, is ministered by angels."

“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,
& he remained in the desert for forty days,
tempted by Satan.
He was among wild beasts,
& the angels ministered to him.”
Mark 1:12-13

All 3 Gospels relate that Jesus spent a period of 40 days & nights in the desert immediately following His Baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist & the dramatic recognition given by Heaven to this event. The number 40 obviously has resonance with such Old Testament events as the 40 days & nights of the Great Flood (Genesis 7:9), the 40 days & nights that Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments from God (Exodus 24:18) & the 40 years in which the Hebrews wandered in the wilderness (Numbers 14:32-34).  Mark’s reference to the Temptation of Jesus is the shortest of the three. Matthew (Matthew 4:1-11) & Luke (Luke 4:1-13) both describe in detail the temptations tried by Satan, temptations to power & pride, which Jesus resisted. All three agree that at the end of these 40 days & nights, Jesus was tired & hungry.

Modern Version of The Temptation of Christ

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: " 'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"  Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Lent in the Wilderness - Stanley Spencer 1891-1959 Christ & The Scorpion

Stanley Spencer, (English painter, 1891-1959) Christ in the Wilderness The Scorpion

The origin of the season of Lent lies not in a conscious re-enactment of the Lord's time in the wilderness, but in the preparation of Christians for the celebration of the resurrection of Christ at Easter.  In many Christian churches, Lent starts on Ash Wednesday lasting for 40 days (not including Sundays) reflecting the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness. Related to Jesus' time in the wilderness, the Bible states;

‘Behold, I give unto you the power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.’ Luke 10:19

British artist Stanley Spencer (1891-1959) sought to give some form to the Lent's 40 days. In the 1930s-40s Spencer set himself a goal of creating 40 paintings, one for each day Christ was in the wilderness. The series, called "Christ in the Wilderness," never came to full completion. Eighteen drawings were made & 8 paintings completed. Each of the designs explores the solitary figure of Christ interacting with various elements of the wilderness - a hen, a scorpion, lilies, eagles. The paintings titled "Driven by the spirit into the wilderness" was inspired by Mark 1:12.  Nothing overt in the paintings speaks of the details Christ's 40 days in the wilderness, echoing Mark's lack of narrative specifics. The figure of Jesus is not the slim body commonly seen in paintings. A bulky figure & billowing garment are common to all the finished paintings in the series. Spencer envisioned the pictures hanging as a group on the ceiling of a church. In such a position Jesus' garments would be perceived as billowing, ethereal clouds.

“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.  He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.”  Mark 1:12-15

Monday, March 7, 2022

Lent - Temptations in the Wilderness - More Temptations & More Angels

Maitre Francois, Temptation of Christ  From City of God by Saint Augustine of Hippo  French, c. 1475-1478  The Hague, Meermano Museum  MS RMMW 10 A 11, fol. 423r (detail)

“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,
& he remained in the desert for forty days,
tempted by Satan.
He was among wild beasts,
& the angels ministered to him.”
Mark 1:12-13

All three Synoptic Gospels relate that Jesus spent a period of 40 days & nights in the desert immediately following His Baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist & the dramatic recognition given by Heaven to this event. The number 40 obviously has resonance with such Old Testament events as the 40 days & nights of the Great Flood (Genesis 7:9), the 40 days & nights that Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments from God (Exodus 24:18) & the 40 years in which the Hebrews wandered in the wilderness (Numbers 14:32-34).  Mark’s reference to the Temptation of Jesus is the shortest of the three. Matthew (Matthew 4:1-11) & Luke (Luke 4:1-13) both describe in detail the temptations tried by Satan, temptations to power & pride, which Jesus resisted. All three agree that at the end of these 40 days & nights, Jesus was tired & hungry.  In this image, the scene of the angels ministering (& snacking!) at a table in the far background, behind the 2 scenes depicting the temptations.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Lent in the Wilderness - Stanley Spencer 1891-1959 Foxes Have Holes

Stanley Spencer, (English painter, 1891-1959) Christ in the Wilderness The Foxes Have Holes

The origin of the season of Lent lies not in a conscious re-enactment of the Lord's time in the wilderness, but in the preparation of Christians for the celebration of the resurrection of Christ at Easter.  In many Christian churches, Lent starts on Ash Wednesday lasting for 40 days (not including Sundays) reflecting the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness. Related to Jesus' time in the wilderness, the Bible states;

‘ And Jesus saith unto him, the foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.’ Matthew 8:20

British artist Stanley Spencer (1891-1959) sought to give some form to the Lent's 40 days. In the 1930s-40s Spencer set himself a goal of creating 40 paintings, one for each day Christ was in the wilderness. The series, called "Christ in the Wilderness," never came to full completion. Eighteen drawings were made & 8 paintings completed. Each of the designs explores the solitary figure of Christ interacting with various elements of the wilderness - a hen, a scorpion, lilies, eagles. The paintings titled "Driven by the spirit into the wilderness" was inspired by Mark 1:12.  Nothing overt in the paintings speaks of the details Christ's 40 days in the wilderness, echoing Mark's lack of narrative specifics. The figure of Jesus is not the slim body commonly seen in paintings. A bulky figure & billowing garment are common to all the finished paintings in the series. Spencer envisioned the pictures hanging as a group on the ceiling of a church. In such a position Jesus' garments would be perceived as billowing, ethereal clouds.

“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.  He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.”  Mark 1:12-15

Friday, March 4, 2022

Lent - Temptations in the Wilderness - Exhausted, hungry Christ & Satan 12C

1124+ Psalter of Christina of Markyate  English, St. Alban's, 1124-1145  Hildesheim, Dombibliothek, p. 33 (3)

“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,
& he remained in the desert for forty days,
tempted by Satan.
He was among wild beasts,
& the angels ministered to him.”
Mark 1:12-13

All 3 Gospels relate that Jesus spent a period of 40 days & nights in the desert immediately following His Baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist & the dramatic recognition given by Heaven to this event. The number 40 obviously has resonance with such Old Testament events as the 40 days & nights of the Great Flood (Genesis 7:9), the 40 days & nights that Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments from God (Exodus 24:18) & the 40 years in which the Hebrews wandered in the wilderness (Numbers 14:32-34).  Mark’s reference to the Temptation of Jesus is the shortest of the three. Matthew (Matthew 4:1-11) & Luke (Luke 4:1-13) both describe in detail the temptations tried by Satan, temptations to power & pride, which Jesus resisted. All three agree that at the end of these 40 days & nights, Jesus was tired & hungry.

Modern Version of The Temptation of Christ

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: " 'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"  Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Lent in the Wilderness - Stanley Spencer 1891-1959 Christ & The Hen

Stanley Spencer, (English painter, 1891-1959) Christ in the Wilderness The Hen

The origin of the season of Lent lies not in a conscious re-enactment of the Lord's time in the wilderness, but in the preparation of Christians for the celebration of the resurrection of Christ at Easter.  In many Christian churches, Lent starts on Ash Wednesday lasting for 40 days (not including Sundays) reflecting the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness. Related to Jesus' time in the wilderness, the Bible states;

‘...how often would I have gathered my children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings...’ .Matthew 23:37

British artist Stanley Spencer (1891-1959) sought to give some form to the Lent's 40 days. In the 1930s-40s Spencer set himself a goal of creating 40 paintings, one for each day Christ was in the wilderness. The series, called "Christ in the Wilderness," never came to full completion. Eighteen drawings were made & 8 paintings completed. Each of the designs explores the solitary figure of Christ interacting with various elements of the wilderness - a hen, a scorpion, lilies, eagles. The paintings titled "Driven by the spirit into the wilderness" was inspired by Mark 1:12.  Nothing overt in the paintings speaks of the details Christ's 40 days in the wilderness, echoing Mark's lack of narrative specifics. The figure of Jesus is not the slim body commonly seen in paintings. A bulky figure & billowing garment are common to all the finished paintings in the series. Spencer envisioned the pictures hanging as a group on the ceiling of a church. In such a position Jesus' garments would be perceived as billowing, ethereal clouds.

“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.  He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.”  Mark 1:12-15

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Ash Wednesday

In the early Christian church of Rome, the length of the Lenten celebration varied, but eventually it began 6 weeks (42 days) before Easter. This provided only 36 days of fasting (excluding Sundays). In the 7C, 4 days were added before the 1st Sunday in Lent in order to establish 40 fasting days, in imitation of Jesus Christ’s fast in the desert.

It was the practice in Rome for "penitents" & "sinners" to begin their period of public penance for the "guilt" of their offences on the 1st day of Lent in preparation for their restoration to the sacrament of the Eucharist. They were sprinkled with ashes, dressed in sackcloth, & obliged to remain apart, until they were reconciled with the Christian community on Maundy Thursday, the Thursday evening of The Lord's Supper, before Easter. 

When these practices fell into disuse (8C–10C), the beginning of the penitential season of Lent was symbolized by placing ashes on the heads of the entire congregation. (Probably because we are all, each & every one, "penitents" & "sinners" by thought, word, & deed, each & every day.)

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

In 875 AD Imagining the origin of the Gospels

Illuminated Manuscript, Gospels of Freising, Evangelist Portrait of Matthew, Walters Art Museum Ms. W.4, fol. 33v Freising, Germany c 875.

A gospel is an account describing the life of Jesus of Nazareth. The most widely-known gospels are Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John.  Some Christians use the term "gospel," otherwise known as the "good news," in reference to the general message of the biblical New Testament.  Here Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John are portrayed with a few of their fierce friends writing about the life of Jesus.
Illuminated Manuscript, Gospels of Freising, Evangelist Portrait of Mark, Walters Art Museum Ms. W.4, fol. 90v Freising, Germany c 875.
Illuminated Manuscript, Gospels of Freising, Evangelist Portrait of Luke, Walters Art Museum Ms. W.4, fol. 126v Freising, Germany c 875.
Illuminated Manuscript, Gospels of Freising, Evangelist Portrait of John, Walters Art Museum Ms. W.4, fol. 178v Freising, Germany c 875.