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White Crucifixion by Marc Chagall

Listen to the Audio version of Station 10

Jesus bears our wounds

John 19:34-37


But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.

Text Reflection:


Upon the cross, Jesus bore the wounds through which we find healing, justice, freedom and life.

Art reflection

White Crucifixion by Marc Chagall


Marc Chagall was a Russian-born Jew living in France. The White Crucifixion was his incredible response to the atrocities of “Kristaylnacht” (Night of Broken Glass). Windows of Jewish owned stores, houses and synagogues were shattered and buildings brought down with sledgehammers. 2000 synagogues torched. Innocent, defenseless people brutally beaten in the streets by mobs of Nazi “brownshirts” and German civilians. Hundreds died and tens of thousands rounded up, arrested and taken to concentration camps.

Chagall brought together Jewish and Christian imagery in an unsettling way. The White Crucifixion became a bridge for both Jew and Christian to enter into the painting as a pathway to solidarity.


Unlike many European renderings of the cross, Chagall depicted Jesus as a Jew. He is one of the oppressed. For many Jews, the cross had been a source of oppression but Chagall used the cross as a symbol representing the suffering of the oppressed. For the Christian, Jesus not only bore witness to but bore upon himself the suffering of the oppressed.


Through this painting, Chagall condemned the world for their silence and invited Christians to respond in light of their own teachings on Jesus. He reminded them that anti-semitism was fundamentally anti-Christian.

Surely, the Christian would hear the words of Jesus saying, “As you do unto these, you do unto me.” Yet, the world remained silent.

  • What does the artist's statement help you see in the painting that you did not notice at first?

  • What do the colors, textures and postures stir in you?

  • What does this reveal to you about the passion of Jesus?



As you gaze at the image, where do you see woundedness, wrongs, or injustice?


Surely he bore our diseases, and took our pains; yet we considered him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, and he was crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought our peace was on him; and by his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray. Everyone has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he did not open his mouth. As a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is mute, so he did not open his mouth. In his oppression his justice was taken away. Who will consider his generation? For his life was cut off from the earth. For the transgression of my people he was led to death. Is. 53

What insights about Jesus, the cross, and the world do these verses bring out in the painting? How might you compare and contrast them? Are there any assumptions you hold about Jesus that are revealed?



What present day sufferings would you paint in this scene? Pray as you consider how Jesus bore these wounds in his body.



Loving God, who has created humankind in Your own image; grant us grace to fearlessly and boldy contend against injustice, and to make no peace with oppression; and that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice for all people and nations, to the glory of Your Holy Name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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