14 THE SECOND AND THE THIRD NIGHT
For Jesus at least the first night was a night of restlessness and sleeplessness. The second night followed the evening on which a certain Joseph hurriedly performed Jesus' funeral and interred the body in one of the chambers of a new tomb. He had had it hewn out of the rock for his own family, but now he buried Jesus there in haste. This second night is a night of the deepest possible rest. An unusually long rest as well. For the night is the night of the Sabbath. It is followed by the Sabbath itself, the seventh day, on which according to Genesis God granted himself a rest after completing the work of the creation. After that Sabbath there is another night, the third night. Now that his work has been accomplished as well, Jesus seems to partake of this divine rest. He is enshrouded in a long linen cloth, as was his friend Lazarus, when he had succumbed to a deadly disease. He exudes an endless rest. The painting seems to suggest that everything is all right again, that chaos has been subdued. Dead Jesus' eyes are closed of course. Yet one feels that , like God at the end of every day of creation, he has surveyed things again and has seen that everything is all right. The feet that walked so many miles to bring the message of redemption and salvation, to actively be of service to the people, are protruding from the shroud. The hands however are not. Sometimes he had to use them to strike. But those dear large hands he mainly used to cure people, to make them rise again, to put children in his lap and caress them. With these hands he took his mother's hands on the road to the cross and he comforted and caressed her. Now they have been swathed. They are resting too. However, they cannot but radiate strength with an irresistible power, right through the tight, thick bandages, and besides rest and vulnerability they also refer to the most utterly complete surrender a human being can reach.