Thirteenth Station

Jesus is taken down from the cross

From the Gospel according to John (19:38-40)

After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews.

1992 073 014 V0001 1George Tooker (American, 1920–2011), Drawings for “The Stations of the Cross,” 1984, Pencil on tracing paper. Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame. Gift of the artist. 1992.073.014


As I gaze upon this image and reflect on the Gospel passage, I feel the weight of loss. Have you ever lost a loved one? How did you mourn them? I imagine Joseph and Nicodemus, friends of Jesus, going to the cross where Jesus was hanging. This sketch reminds us of what they must have seen there: Jesus’s scarred hands and dripping blood. Jesus’s friends touched his battered and lifeless body, tenderly caring for him. The Gospel account doesn’t tell us how long it took for them to take Jesus’s body down from the cross, but I’m sure it seemed like forever. It must have been a time of heartbreak, grace, and mourning.

In this time of COVID-19, we are all experiencing loss—personally, communally, nationally, and globally. This station calls us to consider how we are honoring, mourning, and tending to those losses. Are we attending to our  suffering and that of those around us? How are we caring for those we love, albeit with text messages and cookies instead of aloe, myrrh, and spices? And just like Joseph and Nicodemus, how are we allowing ourselves to move through feelings of grief and into the present moment with tender care for one another? 

– Rachelle Simon, Assistant Director of Community Standards

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