Powerful Artwork Showing Jesus’ Crucifixion on Good Friday

The passion of Jesus has been depicted in various mediums and these artworks attempt to capture the emotional impact of his Good Friday crucifixion.

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What is Good Friday and Why Do Christians Celebrate It?

Good Friday is a holy day on which Christians remember the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Jesus was sentenced to be tortured and die on a cross (some scholars insist that it was not exactly a cross) by the Roman governor Pontius Pilate.

Jesus was accused by Jewish leaders of wanting to overthrow the Roman government by declaring himself king, among other alleged acts.

The Bible explains that Jesus was crucified at a place called Calvary, or Golgotha, directly outside the walls of Jerusalem.

The somber event is described in the Bible as a time of suffering and agony for Jesus Christ as he hung on the cross. Some of his family members and his followers witnessed his death. Most of his closest followers had seemingly abandoned him at the time out of fear of suffering the same fate. Some of the religious leaders who had him arrested also watched Jesus’ painful and humiliating death.

The Bible describes Jesus’ crucifixion as necessary and intended by God as a means of salvation for the world. It was a moment of intense suffering for numerous reasons. Besides the physical pain crucifixions were intended to cause, the Bible suggests that Jesus also suffered emotional and even spiritual turmoil.

The following artworks depict various moments in the series of events surrounding Jesus’ Good Friday crucifixion. Unfortunately, it was difficult to identify the credits for these artworks. If you know the details, leave a comment beneath the article.

Jesus’ Mother Mary By His Side as He Hangs on the Cross

This stained glass work shows Jesus hanging on the cross, flanked on either side by his mother Mary and presumably his disciple John. The Bible explains that amid his suffering, Jesus instructed his beloved disciple to take care of his mother as he would his own (John 19:25-27).

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It is possible, however, that the second person depicted is meant to represent an angel.

good friday photo

Jesus Faces Pilate, Who Washes His Hands of the Whole Affair

The Bible indicates that Pilate did not find Jesus guilty of any offense that deserved capital punishment. However, the Roman governor ultimately gave into pressure from the crowds, riled on by the Jewish leaders who had Christ arrested, and sentenced Jesus to death. Pilate attempted to literally wash his hands of the whole affair (see Matthew 27).

good friday photo

Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus Carry His Cross

The account goes that after Jesus was tortured by Roman soldiers, he was forced to carry the heavy wooden cross he would be nailed to at Golgotha (or Calvary) outside the city walls. However, the burden was apparently too great for him, so the soldiers forced a man named Simon from the city of Cyrene (in Libya) to carry the cross for Christ, according to Mark 15:21.

good friday photo

People Watch as Christ Hangs on the Cross

This is a particularly powerful close up of what appears to be a larger painting. In this artwork, a crowd is looking on at Christ hanging on the cross. A woman, perhpas Jesus’ mother Mary, covers her face, presumably weeping. Another woman and a man (John the disciple?) attempt to console her.

Another looks on, perhaps in reverence or in shock. A religious leader in front of this woman gestures with his thumb over his shoulder at the women. But most everyone’s attention is draw to the scene before them.

crucifixion photo
Photo by Cea.

Jesus’ Bloodied and Bruised Body Is Removed From the Cross

The Bible reveals that a compassionate and apparently believing religious leader named Joseph from Arimathea boldly requested to collect Jesus’ body from Pilate. Notably, Joseph was also a member of the religious council that had demanded Jesus’ death. Luke 23:50-51 says Joseph was a “good and righteous man” who disagreed with the high council’s decision to have Jesus killed.

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This powerful work shows Joseph of Arimathea and several others, including Jesus’ mother Mary, removing Jesus’ bloodied and bruised body from the cross after his death.

Joseph, a wealthy man, had Jesus buried in his own cave-like tomb. As history tells it, Jesus emerged from this tomb on the third day alive and well.

good friday photo

The Good Friday events are recounted in all four gospels, but you Matthew 26 might be a good place to start.

Here are other interesting artistic depictions of Christ’s passion:

black jesus photo
Photo by Steve Snodgrass
africa jesus photo
Photo by A.Davey
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