One of my all-time favorite paintings is Titian’s Noli Me Tangere. The story goes that during World War II, London besieged by bombs, the museum trustees at the National Gallery removed the most valuable pieces of art to protect them. They would hang only one masterpiece a month. Noli Me Tangere was the piece chosen by the public as the one it most wanted to see.

There are all sorts of reasons a people in the midst of that awful, awful war would find comfort and peace in Titian’s depiction of the garden scene. Neil MacGregor, once the director of the National Gallery, guesses it might be that “what it meant to the war-torn Londoners must have been close to the central poetic truth that Titian was originally trying to express—the reassurance of a love so strong that it can survive death.”

There are so many little pieces in the stories of Christ’s last week that I love. I love (though it’s painful) the image of Christ weeping over Jerusalem. I love thinking about the man who owned the colt that Jesus rode into Jerusalem. Can you imagine? Two disciples come and untie your colt—the one that’s never been ridden—and when you ask why, they just tell you that the “Lord hath need.” I like to wonder whether that man had planned on using his colt that day.

I love that right after He cleanses the temple—this rare show—He heals the blind and the lame. I get surprised that when the chief priests see the miracles, their concern is how these miracles and divine shows will take away from their personal power. Certainly there have been times in my life when I’ve chosen to write off the miracle in front of me (“No, that’s not a miracle, I’ll say”), because it didn’t fit my concept or purpose.

I love Christ looking down from the cross and tending to his mother.

But at least right now, my favorite moment in all of that week is the one Titian captures. Mary is standing at the tomb, weeping for her Lord. She doesn’t recognize Him at first, not even when He speaks to her. But then he calls her by name.

“Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not…” (John 20:16-17).

It makes sense to me that those Londoners found comfort by remembering that moment. Certainly in my darkest times, I like to remember that the Savior of the world knows me by name. And while perhaps maybe it shouldn’t, it makes it that much easier for me to turn and see that He is there.

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