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The Four Holy Gospels

The Four Holy Gospels

Makoto Fujimura

Courtesy of Crossway Publishers

2011

"Go, what thou dost do quickly." Even Christ had cast these words of anger at the Judas who betrayed him. For a long time the priest had thought that these words were a contradiction in the love of Christ; but now when he saw the trembling face of this fellow as he squatted on the ground, sometimes raising his eyes like a whipped dog, a black and cruel emotion rose from the very depths of his being. "Go," he whispered in his heart, "what thou dost do quickly."

- Silence, Shusaku Endo

Kichijiro, a broken Japanese Christian in Silence, seems to dog Rodrigues’ steps in the novel, offending Rodrigues’s sense of what a Catholic Christian should be. He steps on the fumi-e, blasphemes against the Virgin Mary, and spits on the fumi-e to apostatize. He seemingly tortures Rodrigues with thirst by feeding him salty fish when there is no water available, and then he betrays Rodrigues to the authorities. Considering Kichijiro, Rodrigues meditates on Jesus’s response to Judas, his betrayer.

John 13:26-30, which contains Jesus’ words to Judas, “Go, what thou dost, do quickly,” are difficult to understand. Are they command? Permission? Bitter irony? Rodrigues doesn’t know—yet. This illumination of the passage by Makoto Fujimura offers a visual aid to the lessons Rodrigues is learning in his journey about strength and weakness, brokenness and wholeness. The ground pigments and squares hint at fumi-e and the red color points to the shared suffering of Christ.

 

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