Jesus Christ, the One Who Is

As is common in iconography, the divinity of Jesus Christ is expressed by portraying him not as an infant, but rather as a small adult raising his right hand in a blessing gesture. In the halo around the child's head, three Greek letters are inscribed that form the word Ho On, “The One Who Is”, which expresses the eternal origin and destiny of the child. The cross inscribed in the halo points to the end of his earthly life and the resurrection. This transforms the cross into a symbol of life, victory and glory.

Foto: Håkan Bengtsson

The presence of the Torah scroll is another reminder of a central Christian belief. John 1:14 expresses it in this way: “The Word became flesh and lived among us.” In a similar way as the Torah – the five books of Moses – entails God´s revelation, this child embodies God´s Word and shows who God is. Hence, there is a parallel between the Torah and Jesus Christ: both reflect God´s revelation to humanity.

When Christians speak of the “Old Testament”, or even the "law", they should bear in mind that for Jews the Torah is something comparable to Jesus. Likewise, when Jews speak of Jesus, they should consider that for Christians he is comparable to what the Torah means to them. Taking such a comparison seriously ought to create understanding and respect between Christians and Jews.