Image source: photographed at the San Gabriel Mission Museum.
The native American artist has painted a simple and stark picture to represent the fourteenth station. Everything is dark except the dominant image of the white box slab where Jesus body would be lain upon. In the background, there is a faint representation of a hillside with stick-figure like trees but it is all very dark and almost indistinct. There are several figures to the left and to the right. Are they asleep? Are they dead? Are they prostrated in mourning? It is hard to tell. Everything is dark – except the white box where Jesus body would be lain upon.
Is the artist foreshadowing the resurrection as there is no body of Jesus laying on the white stone slab?
Run an image search on Google with the search terms: “stations of the cross jesus is laid in the tomb.” The gathered images almost always have Jesus body in the painting sometimes covered in burial cloths sometimes not. Sometimes laying on a stone table sometimes not.
On the night before Jesus’ death, he spoke at length to his disciples, in particular some devoted to the reality they soon would experience: that he would die and they would no longer see him and then yet, they would see him again after the resurrection.
John 16:16-22 (NRSV)
“A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.” Then some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying to us, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” They said, “What does he mean by this ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Are you discussing among yourselves what I meant when I said, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’? Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy. When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.
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!
Vainly they watch his bed, Jesus my Savior,
vainly they seal the dead, Jesus my Lord!
Death cannot keep its prey, Jesus my Savior;
he tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord!
— Robert Lowry