Thursday, April 2, 2015

Giotto: Holy Thursday

The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over. So, during supper, fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, he rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Master, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.” Jesus said to him, “Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed, for he is clean all over; so you are clean, but not all.” For he knew who would betray him; for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”  (John 13:2-11)
One thing about writing these posts is that I notice things in scripture that I never noticed before. I don't think that I ever noticed that Judas was still present when Jesus washed the disciples feet. When I get a minute, I'm going to sit and think about that for a while. If you look at the picture above, at first it looks like there are only eleven disciples present, but then you can see the twelfth halo in the upper right-hand corner. At first I thought this was Judas, hiding, but then I saw Judas on the right-hand side with a misshapen halo that is black. From my reading, I believe that the halos of the other disciples were originally silver but have darkened over the years.

This fresco of the Last Supper is the one from which I posted the detail on Tuesday.

And the last event of the evening.

I wish I had more time to write about this one, but this kiss may be Giotto's most famous picture. Once again, look how intensely Jesus and Judas look into each other's eyes. What must they have been thinking? And look at Peter on the left, cutting off the soldier's ear from behind. Is that one of the chief priests richly dressed in pink and gold lace in the lower right corner? And what are we to make of that mysterious hooded figure with his back to us, holding onto the cloak of an escaping disciple? 
Now a young man followed him wearing nothing but a linen cloth about his body. They seized him, but he left the cloth behind and ran off naked. (Mark 51-52)

The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his doctrine. Jesus answered him, “I have spoken publicly to the world. I have always taught in a synagogue or in the temple area where all the Jews gather, and in secret I have said nothing. Why ask me? Ask those who heard me what I said to them. They know what I said.” When he had said this, one of the temple guards standing there struck Jesus and said, “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. (John 18:19-24)
The high priest rose before the assembly and questioned Jesus, saying, “Have you no answer? What are these men testifying against you?” But he was silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him and said to him, “Are you the Christ, the son of the Blessed One?” Then Jesus answered, “I am; and ‘you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.’” At that the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further need have we of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” (Mark 14:60-63)

All pictures are from the Web Gallery of Art.



  1. Caiaphas makes it clear that he knows what ἐγώ εἰμι means. We are all presented with a stark choice: either Jesus is a blasphemer, or he is God.

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  3. Yes, through this whole series I am constantly seeing that we are being presented with that choice.

    BTW, every time I see "skyhookt" I think, "Oh, a spammer." It's a miracle I've never deleted your comments by mistake.