This painting altered my perspective of Christ’s Atonement and crucifixion forever.


This particular painting taught me many lessons that feel so needed right now. 

As part of my study and preparations for this painting, I read about the history of and different types of Roman crucifixions, and I was struck deeply by how inhumane, humiliating and awful they were.

Details like the fact that those being crucified were kept at eye level so they could be constantly affronted and berated by those who rejoiced in their deaths deeply affected me with unexpected intensity. 

In new ways I mourned for Christ’s experience, I mourned that people are capable of such cruelty, and I mourned for Mary,  watching helplessly,  as her Son suffered unimaginably.  

During my work on this painting I began to realize that perhaps the familiarity and necessity of the events in Christ’s atoning and death can actually desensitize the realness of them for us. And that it definitely had for me.

Christ’s role in God’s plan has been taught to many of us since birth and I realized that I had begun to feel that Christ’s understanding of His role in God’s plan had made the actual experiences themselves somehow easy for Him and those who loved Him in a physical and literal sense. 

But when I reflected on my own comparatively small struggles, and how I’ve come to understand that their transformative effect on my life is in large part due to just how unbearable and overwhelming they have felt to me. Do you relate? 

This really changed the way I looked at our Savior and His willing Atonement and 

Crucifixion. I felt impressed (and overwhelmed) as I realized in a new way that “He gave His life” not because it was so easy to give, but because He understood and trusted it was worth it.  

He chose to atone for us, He chose to allow his death, not figuratively but quite literally, not easily but freely all the same;  with fully encompassing love, compassion and mercy for “all who would ever live upon the earth”.

I felt loved and cared for in a new, deeply personal and healing way. 

Who can sit with us in our grief, sorrow, pain or guilt better than a Savior who bravely faced it all for us?

And even when we don’t feel like we can find support and community in the people around us, He is enough, always enough. Often we find Him in the love of people around us too, but even if not, in Him always. 

My experience studying Christ’s great sacrifice in this way gave deep meaning to these words from Henry Eyring, a leader in my congregation, as I read them;

“When you wonder how much pain you can endure well, remember Him. He suffered so that He would know how to lift you up. He may not remove the burden, but He will give you strength, comfort, and hope. He knows the way. He drank the bitter cup. He endured the suffering of all.”

This painting, I hope will be a reminder of our Jesus Christ, a Savior, our Savior, willing to sacrifice, and uniquely able to be with us in all our pain.