9 LIKE A WORM
The women and the crowd have left again, so far away we cannot see them any more. Once more Jesus is utterly alone. Fallen for the third time. There is no end. On the contrary, it gets worse every time. The red fire of the pain may glow less fiercely on the outside but is the more intense inside. The snares of death really have become traps. They have brought Jesus down and simultaneously hold him in a smarting, suffocating embrace. This is how he is lying there, the eyes closed already as if getting up was out of the question. We may assume that his head is so full of stabs of pain that there is no more room for an apt word from the Scriptures, whether applicable to this horrible moment or pointing towards a possible way out. For Jesus both used to hear these words being read and used to read out these words himself in the synagogue. But we can do what he could not do himself. We read in Isaiah: " I have presented my back to those who wanted to beat me, and my cheeks to those who wanted to pluck out my beard." And in one of the Psalms, that must have been as dear to Jesus as to the writers of the gospels, and which must have been in Ted Felen's mind as well when he painted this: "I am a worm, I no longer count, despised by the people, rejected by the people, everyone who sees me laughs and mocks me." This is how he is lying here. Whereas a little bird's feathers, crushed to death in traffic, can still have something endearing, a worm, trodden into the earth, can only call up physical disgust. That would have gone too far for Ted Felen, he would not want to be with the crowd that malign Jesus. I suspect that that is why he has made the blue of the 'second fall' darker and has toned down the red of the fallen Jesus. Thus Jesus rather evokes compassion than disgust.