Compassion! – Willliam Adolph Bouguereau, 1897
Background: At first glance this is a confusing picture. It is not a historical representation of the crucifixion. The man embracing Jesus while carrying a cross is not Simon of Cyrene, nor one of the thieves. Rather he is a symbolic representation for every disciple of Jesus who has heard His call to take up the cross and follow Jesus.
In short, Bouguereau invites you to put yourself in this picture and be the man who is embracing Jesus. He invites you to meditate and act upon how you will respond to the Savior who has died for you.
Pay close attention to the man’s face. What do you think he is feeling about Jesus? What do you think his prayer to Jesus might be? What will be your response to Jesus?
Scripture: Mark 8: 34-35
He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.