Repentance En Masse

Today’s reading is all about Nineveh repenting of their sin and dressing in sackcloth and ashes. And what better imagery than that to delve into on Lent?

First! The readings of the day, so you can have some context of the enormity of the event!

And…the artwork!

The Repentance of Ninevah, by John Martin, c. 1829. Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire, England. Via
The Repentance of Ninevah, by John Martin, c. 1829. Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire, England.

What a grand scene, right? It gives you a sense of the huge scale of this dramatic scene and allows you to really experience it in a new and wonderful way. (Which, by the way, is why religious art can be so powerful!)

At first it merely seems like a sea of gray in the background, until you look closer and realize that it’s an incredibly large amount of people, too numerous to count. Which, frankly, is incredible because that’s a lot of people! And, look at the city! It seems to stretch on forever! What an epic scene to envision — this great city bowing down to God!

Of course, back in Jesus’s day, this particular image would come right away to the mind when one mentioned Nineveh to the Israelites. So, that’s exactly Jesus does! Check out the gospel reading of the day…

As Christians, we are called to repent. No, Jonah isn’t going to be coming us and reminding us to repent. But, Jesus has come and called us all to repent and follow Him.

And, as He reminded us in scripture, He is greater. After all, He’s God!


Questions to Ponder:
  • Were Jonah to come through and preach destruction, would you listen? Why or why not?
  • Though this is a large crowd, it is nothing compared with the amount of Christians now! Can you imagine how big the amount of people would be in this image, if it were of all the Christians celebrating Lent?
  • In what ways are you called to repent?


Dear Jesus,

Help us repent and follow You.


Karina Tabone

Karina Tabone is a wife, mother of four, author, blogger, and lover of Christian artwork. She's the author of the Illustrated Rosary series, which pairs every prayer of the Rosary with beautiful religious artwork. She likes also milkshakes, sunshine, and mystery novels. Follow her on Twitter at @illustr_prayer.

Leave a Reply