By Bev Schwind
There is a painting I have seen that I purchased for our home. It is “The Risen Christ by the Sea.”
The artist is Jack Jewell. His painting depicts a laughing Jesus holding a fishing net, and the sea is in the background. Jesus was a Fisher of Men, and now He commands us to do the same.
During the Lenten season we think about the suffering and the cross, but then there is Resurrection Day! When I look at the picture, it is not a smiling face, like a pose, but a victorious Jesus. Jesus knows His work is completed and it will bring salvation to many.
Jesus identifies with our feelings. He felt compassion for Mary and Martha and wept with them at the death of their brother, Lazarus. I imagine Him rejoicing as He watched the healed lame man leap for joy or the blind made to see by His touch. Jesus wants us to share the joys in our lives along with the sorrows with Him.
Many churches will begin the Lenten season (40 days before Palm Sunday) on what is called Ash Wednesday. The forty days was put in place by the early church to signify the forty days Jesus was in the wilderness and fasted, before His public ministry began. Ash Wednesday begins the seventh Wednesday before Easter. Sundays are not included in the forty days as that is to be a day of celebrating the resurrection in itself. So the six full weeks plus the four extra days; Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday are the 36+4 = 40 days before Easter.
I shared the picture of The Risen Christ to a class of women and, as I walked to each one and held the picture, a big smile or giggle came from them. Just looking at the picture made them happy. Knowing Jesus brings happiness in our lives.