While the great Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky was living in Switzerland, he visited an art museum in Basle where he saw a painting by Hans Holbein entitled Christ in the Tomb

Dostoevsky was profoundly affected by this painting which depicts Jesus dead in the tomb with harrowing realism.  

When Dostoevsky saw the painting, which was above a door in the gallery, he stood upon a chair to get a closer look at it and then remarked, “Such a painting could make a man lose his faith.”  

At that time Dostoevsky was writing his novel, The Idiot, and he placed those words in the mouth of the central character, Myshkin. The painting figures prominently in the book; some editions of The Idiot even put this painting on the cover.  

Later Myshkin comes to realize that instead of making a man lose his faith, knowing (and feeling) that Jesus really was dead, is precisely the antecedent to overcoming faith. Myshkin comes to understand that there surely were those who had seen the dead body of Jesus in just such a horrifying state as depicted by Holbein in his painting, and only one thing could turn them into the apostles and heralds of the Christian faith: The FACT that Jesus Christ rose from the dead!  

Until we see Jesus as really dead in the tomb, the resurrection is little more than a fairy tale.   – Via Brian Zahnd


(Robert Lowry, 1874)

  1. Low in the grave He lay,
    Jesus, my Savior,
    Waiting the coming day,
    Jesus, my Lord!
    • Up from the grave He arose,
      With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
      He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
      And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
      He arose! He arose!
      Hallelujah! Christ arose!
  2. Vainly they watch His bed,
    Jesus, my Savior;
    Vainly they seal the dead,
    Jesus, my Lord!
  3. Death cannot keep his Prey,
    Jesus, my Savior;
    He tore the bars away,
    Jesus, my Lord!


Wishing you the joys and promises of ‘Sunday’…remember, in His Advent we learned that God is WITH us; in His Passion we learn He is FOR us!


Post Author: Pasturescott

6 Replies to “Saturday’s Vigil”

  1. Once again you have nailed it. Blessed Easter greetings to you and yours. This is incredible blog. I have seen your life’s struggles even if only from afar. I treasure your words more because of that. Thanks be to God Who is strong when we are weak.

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