The Manchester City Art Gallery houses a painting of Christ by Holman Hunt. It shows Jesus standing inside his father’s carpenter shop in Nazareth. He has momentarily put his saw down and is stripped down to a cloth around his waist. A weary Jesus stretches his arms above his head, casting a shadow onto the wall, a shadow in the shape of a person crucified. A long narrow tool rack hanging on the wall intersects perfectly with his shadow to give the impression of the crossbeam of the cross.
There is a woman in the foreground on the left hand side. She kneels among the woodchips, with her hands resting upon a chest that houses the gifts of the magi. It is Mary, startled by the cross like shadow cast by her son.
Hunt shows us in artform what the Gospels show us with words. The shadow of the cross was cast over Christ’s life from the beginning. His death lies at the heart of his story, and ours.