Guy Reid presents us with the face of the Christ at his most vulnerable and defenceless moment, when he confronts us in the starkness of his death. For me, this image speaks poignantly of Pilate's words "Behold the man!" when he presents Jesus before the baying crowds (John 19.5). Here is the starkness of our humanity, confronting us, humanity in deathly silence, yet also in the strange beauty of our first form - "And they were both naked, and were not ashamed" (Genesis 2.25).
This sculpture hangs in the Church of St Peter ad Vincula ("in chains"). With his back turned toward the nave, it reminds me of that moment when Peter himself could not bring himself to stand with the suffering Christ and thus three times denied him. "And the Lord turned and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out and wept bitterly" (Luke 22.61f). For Peter, it was only when confronted with his own failures, and his rediscovery that he could look upon his suffering Lord, that his renewal could come.
For Christians, this stark image of Christ is of the one who, in the prophet's words, is "despised and rejected, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" - one from whom, indeed, "we hid as it were our faces from him" (Isaiah 53.3). For all people, this is an image upon which we should look, fully, eyes wide upon, hiding neither our faces nor his, ashamed not of our nakedness nor of his.
The Revd Dr K G Riglin
Chaplain, King's College London
St Thomas' campus
Stories behind the Stations