Over seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ, the prophet Isaiah spoke of the coming Messiah’s suffering, death, and resurrection. BY HIS STRIPES WE ARE HEALED is the second sculpture in the “Redemption Series,” pieces Delesprie designed as tools for witnessing. Illustrated in graphic detail is the bound Savior, grimacing as He receives the first of many lashes at the hands of the Romans, as ordered by Pontius Pilate. These stripes of which Isaiah speaks can be seen most prominently on the front of Jesus’ tortured body.
Turning the sculpture clockwise reveals more of the roots and trunk of a “tree of good and evil.” Jesus, the sinless Lamb of God, embodiment of everything pure and righteous, is pictured thrust against the very evil object used in His death. Embedded near the base of the tree are skulls, which represent the place of Jesus’ crucifixion, Golgotha (Aramaic for “the place of the skull.”)
Also visible are three crosses, upon which Jesus and two criminals were nailed. The crosses themselves are tiered. The highest one represents the cross upon which the Savior of the world gave His life as a ransom for many. Below and slightly to the right is another one, this for the criminal who received Jesus’ forgiveness and promise of eternal life moments before his death. The final cross belongs to the thief who refused to repent, and chose instead to hurl derision and insult at the One who alone held the key to his souls future.
The final item of note rests between the skulls and crosses: the empty tomb. The massive stone, placed between rails for ease in sealing the tomb, has been rolled to one side. Revealed is the place where Jesus’ body was placed that memorable Friday, just before dusk. Three days later, on what is now referred to as “Resurrection Day,” the tomb emptied, and remains empty to this day. The hope of Eternal Life is a key tenant of Christian faith. Without it, Delesprie sculpture would become nothing more than a depressing figure in the midst of horrific punishment.