St Asaph's Naked Christ

St Asaph’s Cathedral in Wales has a rather gruesome representation of the crucified Christ. I’m not a fan of images of the Son and I care for them even less in places of worship. Nevertheless, the stark realism of this representation is a helpful contrast to the rather staid and stylised figures seen in many cathedrals. It communicates to us the utter horror of the cross. I don’t just mean the physical pain that so torturous a death inflicted. The shame of becoming, for a few hours, the world’s most wicked person (as far as heaven’s court was concerned) is here depicted. Of course our Jesus was not in the slightest bit wicked, but He was reckoned as such when He was dying. This sculpture rightly captures the sense of horror felt by One so righteous at the moment upon which the sins of the world were heaped upon Him.

The body already seems to have decayed, resembling a dug-up corpse from a mass grave, as one newspaper put it. The Holy One was not permitted to taste decay, and yet here is a dying man dying the deaths of many millions. Death ravages His body as He collects the well-earned wages of the human race.

1 Peter 2:24: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

The Naked Christ, by Michelle Coxon, St Asaph's Cathedral, Wales.