Friday, September 25, 2015

Bowing His Head to His Mother

In John’s Gospel (19:30) we read: “So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His Spirit.” Hearing these words, and observing the Byzantine iconographic tradition, it is fair to say that Jesus Christ bows here to show that He has given up His Spirit, but who does He bow too? 

If we observe the icon, then we see that the dead Son of God bows to His mother, who was there present together with St John the Evangelist. This shows respect to His beloved Mother, the Theotokos, and shows continuity to the Church, since Jesus claimed, before His death, “Woman behold your son” to John; and to him he said “Behold your mother” (John 19:26). Here John, the beloved disciple, is identified as Christ, i.e. he puts on Christ’s identity, as Christians do during the Sacrament of Baptism.

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