Collection: Christ Crucified

ARTIST: Br. Robert Lentz, OFM


Today He who hung the earth upon the waters
is hung upon the Cross
He who is King of the Angels is arrayed in a crown
of thorns.
He who wraps the heaven in clouds is wrapped
in purple mockery.
He who in Jordan set Adam free receives blows
upon his face.
The Bridegroom of the Church is transfixed by nails.
The Son of the Virgin is pierced with a spear.
We venerate Thy Passion, O Christ
Show us also Thy Resurrection.
(Orthodox Matins, Good Friday)

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His name was divinely given. It was to be "John" (Lk. 1:13), which derives from a Hebrew term signifying "Jehovah is gracious."

He was known familiarly as "the Baptist" (bearing no relation to the modern sect), which simply means "an immerser, one who administers the rite of immersion" (see Mt. 3:1; 11:11; etc.). The Jewish historian Josephus even refers to John by this designation (Antiquities 18.5.2).

The importance of John in the divine scheme of things probably is summed up best in the testimony of Jesus himself. "Among them that are born of women there has not arisen a greater than John the Baptist" (Mt. 11:11).