The image of Christ

This is a translation of a scriptural meditation from the Russian book, “Day by Day”. Lewis connection follows:

Scripture: “All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Gal: 3, 27)

“You must have the same feelings as Christ Jesus” (Phil: 2, 5)


"All of you know the legend of St. Veronica, who, meeting Christ on the way to His cross on Calvary, in a burst of pity for the Divine Sufferer, offered him a veil in order to wipe the drops of blood and sweat streaming from His exhausted face. When the veil was returned to Veronica all the features of the Savior were beautifully imprinted on it. The veil itself seems to have disappeared, and since that time the face of the Savior “not made by hands” has been drawn in memory of this legend.

In fact, the image of Christ will never disappear. It is reflected in the life of every true Christian and comes alive in every act of love and self- renunciation. It arises before us there, where in every act and every impulse the behest of the Savior is sacredly fulfilled. In vain do we seek in works of art the representation of Christ which corresponds to our ideal. The most skillful brush cannot express those divine, holy features. Let us seek Him among humble, inconspicuous laborers who do the work of God far from human eyes and often give up their life for their brothers without fanfare, without glamor, only for the sake of Christ! There the true image of Jesus of Nazareth will it appear before us in all its true glory."

The primary image of Christ in Lewis’s works is, of course, Aslan – the confluence of strictness and gentleness, and the ultimate self-sacrifice. When I compare Lewis’s “image” of Christ with that of Dostoevsky, I think Lewis comes out the clear winner. Dostoevsky portrays Jesus in “The Legend of the Grand Inquisitor” (from “The Brothers Karamazov”) as a very meek person, who only kisses the Grand Inquisitor on the cheek in reply to the latter’s rant about not granting people the freedom to make their own choices. Aslan, on the other hand, “is not a tame lion”, as neither was Jesus, of course.