- Mar 15, 2021
Since this Sunday we (the orthodox Christians) will celebrate the triumphant entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, I wanted to submit to your eyes the images above which depict the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius (a pagan Roman emperor that lived in the 2nd century A.D.) and the icon of Jesus Christ entering into Jerusalem on a colt. They have been put together by the Romanian icon painter Sorin Dumitrescu in the book Noi și icoana (tr. The icon and us).
Orthodox Christianity is essentially visual: the unseen God of the Jews is finally revealing Himself into the man Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ is for us both God and man. He is God incarnated. Jesus Christ is the icon (John 14:9) and the Word of God. Also, Jesus Christ is the second person of the Holy Trinity. The Holy Trinity is One God, Three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
I know that most Christians in here agree with these two statements (1. that God is Holy Trinity and 2. that Jesus Christ is the second person of the Holy Trinity incarnated), but I felt the need to explain this for those who do not know (people who call Jesus Christ "the son of God", without believing that He is God the Son).
The title of the thread could have been "How we expect our leader to look like versus how God chose to present Himself to the world".
Marcus Aurelius' statue is the projection of our (worldly) aspirations: power, success, dominance, confidence, intelligence, sex-appeal, adoration from other people etc. He is the summa of qualities we expect in a leader, a deified (idolized) emperor. Even the horse is parading and seems to be aware of its worth and is showing off.
Jesus Christ, on the other hand, is humble and peaceful, he doesn't show the same skills of riding a horse as Marcus Aurelius. He doesn't ride the colt, He sits on his back in a feminine way. He doesn't greet, doesn't do any gesture to win the people, to conquer/seduce them; compared with Marcus Aurelius, He completely lacks the allure of an emperor. He is the anti-emperor. With the right hand He blesses them and in the left hand he is holding a paper scroll containing the greatest news for the world. The colt is innocent, eating grass, unaware that on its back sits the King of kings.
The throne of God has been temporarily replaced by the back of a colt and soon after, it will be replaced by ... the cross. The same people who yell "Hosanna!" will yell a few days later "Crucify Him!"
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ enters into Jerusalem, the Lamb of God is carried towards His sacrifice.
"O Thou who ridest on the cherubim and art praised by the seraphim, thou hast sat, O gracious Lord, like David on a foal, and the children honoured Thee with praise fitting for God; but the Jews blasphemed unlawfully against Thee. Thy riding on a foal prefigured how the Gentiles, as yet untamed and uninstructed, were to pass from unbelief to faith. Glory be to Thee, o Christ, who alone art merciful and lovest mankind." (The Triodion).
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