Held By Jesus

I love this picture of Jesus holding this man and cannot stop looking at it.  It’s called Forgiven and it’s by Thomas Blackshear. For me, it so perfectly captures so much about who we are and Who He is. Our weakness and His strength. Our wretchedness and His glory. Our hopelessness and His faithfulness. Our sin and His love.

The man is so worn and beaten, scuffed, sullied and weak. His legs have given way beneath him. He can no longer go on. Maybe it is despair, maybe it is the weight of sin. But what an incredible, beautiful picture of hope. Jesus is with him. I will never leave you nor forsake you, says the Lord. In our darkest moments, Jesus is present and steadfast and able.

Not only this, but Jesus holds him and sustains him. On his own, this man would be lost, his life in ruins. But when he can stand no more, Jesus stands for him. When he is close to falling, Jesus holds him up. He is so strong and I am so weak.

And look at what is in the man’s hands. This was really poignant for me. In one hand is a mallet, in the other the nail. The nail driven into the very hands that hold him. It is our sin that sent Jesus to the cross to die that unimaginable and horrific death, and yet as undeserving as we are, He loves us and bears with us and is merciful.

*Picture Reference: Forgiven by Thomas Blackshear 


~ by Birgit on November 23, 2007.

62 Responses to “Held By Jesus”

  1. wow. that picture is great! and you do a good job of unpacking its meaning and significance. grace and peace.

  2. Great to hear from you and thanks for your encouragement, may God bless you.

  3. I can tell you from my own down time. That jesus does indeed carry the load and never relaxes his embrace untill you are ready to stand tall on his word again. And then he is never far away. you can feel hid presence. This picture says it all.

  4. You are an amazing inspiration. May the good Lord continue to shower His blessing upon you.

  5. Hi Elena, thank you so much for visiting, welcome, and also for your lovely comment, it’s such a blessing. May God bless you too :)

  6. You have said all that can be said about this print. My Grandmother gave me this while in the hospital after a horrible bike wreck. Once back in this world so to speak, it was the first thing i focused on. Shortly after recovering i became a father of two beautiful daughters and trully beleive he held me the same way to live for fatherhood. Our LORD is so beautiful, as is the print above. I look at it every single day. Your site pays the respect to this art which it deserves. have a great day.

  7. Hi Jason, thank you so much for stopping by and for leaving this comment. Your experience here is a blessing to read, that you were able to focus on this painting of Jesus holding this man, as you recovered. How amazing God is, that now you see that He was holding you in the same way, and has since blessed you with a family. He is so good! With every blessing to you and your family.

  8. Dear Birgit,

    I saw this picture of Jesus holding the young man in a music vidoe of Mark Schultz’ “Broken and Beautiful”. The young man bears an uncanny resemblance to my youngest son who took his own life this past July. When I saw the picture I thought “That’s Brian as Jesus took him home”. I’ve read a few of your entries and have been blessed by them. Thank you and praise to our Lord Jesus for His Grace and Mercy!


    Lee Carlson

  9. Hi Lee, thank you so much for your reply. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. It was a blessing to read how God has ministered to you through this picture, with a sense of Jesus taking your son home. It’s lovely to hear from you, and every blessing to you and your family.

  10. hello.

  11. hello birgit,awsome site with one of my favorite paintings of christ,almost 2 yrs ago i started doing outreach in our downtown core kelowna bc canada and was blown away by the holy spirit i see christ in the broken people of our streets and the more i do the closer i feel to god and his kingdom,i have been truely blessed and give thanks daily for his love and grace…don.s

  12. Hi howa, every blessing to you.


    Hi Don, thanks for stopping by and for your reply. It’s wonderful to hear that this is one of your favourite pictures of Christ. It’s one of my favourites too, and fills me with love and gratitude for His grace every time I look at it.
    It’s also so good to hear how of your outreach to the people of the streets in your downtown area and how you are experiencing more of Christ as you minister. May He continue to give you grace in your ministry and bless each of the people you meet.

  13. Woahh.. you unpacked that image with such beauty. “Cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7) We do not need to look toward earthly objects and desires to fulfill our needs, but out satisfaction and peace in our hearts comes from Jesus who lives within.

    “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25)

    He WILL sustain and provide for us. He WILL hold us.

    Ahh Selah.


  14. Thank you so much, John. It’s wonderful to hear your thoughts about how truly good God is to us. How Jesus never leaves us, but as you say, sustains us, gives us peace and holds us.
    Bless you and thanks for stopping by.

  15. What a beautiful picture Birgit. Thank you for sharing and for all that you do xx

  16. Thank you, Birg.

  17. It’s so beautiful, isn’t it Dee? So glad you got to see it xo


    Lots of love, Michelle.

  18. I love this picture!!

  19. How could I order and pay for a copy of this drawing. Could this be available in on a shirt for others to see. I can see my face on this person. It has touched me in a special way. How can a man love so much, the very people who put him on the cross? Awesome message, Awesome Son, Awesome GOD.

  20. Omg I saw this picture on a card left at work and lost it. My son committed suicide in Oct 2009 and my only fear is whether God will forgive him.

  21. Hi Karen, My heart went out to you as I read your reply. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. As I read your comment, I was just reminded of this verse in the Bible, that talks of God’s compassion and tender mercies towards each of us (Psalm 145:9). May God be with you.

  22. Beautiful picture

  23. I have the same reaction, I also can’t stop looking at it. To God all the glory and praise :)

  24. Hi Rose, yeah, I feel the same :) God bless.


    Hi Mike, thanks so much for your thoughts here, to God be the glory! :) God bless

  25. This is great. Thank you so much….


  26. Thanks so much Angie, and thank you for stopping by.
    Many blessings to you.

  27. This picture has helped me so much over the last few years. I had it put up right above my steering wheel in a truck i used to haul cattle. (no time to rest) It really helped carry me on and it continues to help me, I recently got it tattooed on my arm. It now is an instant story of my walk with jesus to anyone who notices it or a chance to plant a seed after a hand shake.

  28. Jarad, thank you so much for sharing about what this picture means to you, and how much it’s helped you. What a great thing, that you have it in your truck to remind you of Jesus always with us, always loving us. And now on your arm, that others may have the chance to ask and know about God in your life. Many blessings to you, and thanks for stopping by.

  29. I love this picture. It makes me remember all the struggles I’ve been through, and the love and mercy God has shown me. I am going to get a form of this picture in a tattoo.

  30. 10000 likes

  31. Hi Dennie, thanks so much for sharing about what this picture means to you, and God’s amazing goodness in your life. Lots of blessings to you.


    Thanks so much Kranthi Raj :) Lots of blessings to you!

  32. The first time I saw this picture a few days ago, I couldn’t stop the tears. My husband had between an addict for years and has slowly but surely come to have a strong and personal relationship with Jesus. Seeing where he was and where he is with our loving Fathers forgiveness gave me such joy. This picture captured both of our struggles in so many ways…but to know that it was Jesus holding us up when we couldn’t go any farther…that’s amazing. Thank you, Jesus, for carrying us.

  33. What an amazing testimony Jennifer, of the power of God, and His love, in you and your husband’s lives.
    I so relate to your response to this beautiful picture, it so perfectly captures Jesus’ strength, compassion and love for us in our struggles. Thank you for stopping by, and God bless.



  36. Hey Birgit,
    this is an awesome picture which speaks of the unconditional & abounding love of Christ. I very well relate this picture to my own personal life as a youth. when all my strength is gone, it is the lord who carries me..God bls u for all the work u doin to spread the good news. Jesus loves you!!!

  37. Hi Carmel,
    Thanks so much for your wonderful reply!
    It ‘s so great to hear how you relate to this picture – it truly captures so much about His strength in our weakness and pain,
    and as you say, how unconditionally and completely we are loved by Him!
    Thanks for stopping by, and God bless.

  38. I am definitely feeling like I am that man in the picture lately. I thank the Lord for his grace and mercy in our weaknesses. Financial struggles and physical struggles can really take a toll on anyone!!!

  39. Bless you Keith, it sounds like it’s not easy time at the moment, may God continue to pour out His grace, strength and love in your life. With every blessing to you and your family.

  40. This is one of my favorite images…..

  41. Hi Linda, I know what you mean :) It so beautifully captures God’s grace and Christ’s love. Lots of blessings to you.

  42. This is for all those who think they have fallen. The Lord is with YOU always! For my Children, whom I Love every second of each day since they have been born, You are loved from here to Eternity, You are my heart.

  43. Hi Regina, thank you so much for these beautiful, encouraging words, about how much we are so loved by Jesus.
    Lots of blessings to you, Birgit

  44. It is a wonderful picture that dipicts what God do to people like me as shown in the picture.

    The world needs to understand the unconditional love of Christ in all races,relegions,tribes,cultures and nations….God Bless

    Siyos & Helen …. PNG

  45. Hi Siyos and Helen, thank you for such a wonderful and encouraging reply about the unconditional love of Jesus for us all, and the incredible grace and compassion He gives us. Thank you for your visit and lots of blessings to you both.

  46. That could be any of us1

  47. Really true, Mark, thanks for your reply.

  48. Wow…this pix makes me wanna cry. Its so true in a sense that Christ is forever with us regardless of the many times we pushed him away to the point of nailing him. He still cares for us and loves us still despite anything else we’ve done. Thank You Jesus

  49. Thanks so much for your reply Seru, it truly is an incredible thing how much we are loved by Him. As you say, even in those times we push Him away, He loves us, and is always faithful to us. We are deeply loved by Him. Lots of blessings to you.

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  51. i awoke this morning with my son on my mind. soon to be 21 and he is struggling with living life….an anointed young man with a giant calling on his life. he had almost 10 months of sobriety under his belt and has recently gone back to his old habits and friends. three weeks have come and gone and as i was thinking and praying for him, the picture of jesus holding the young man came to mind……i saw this in a book store several years ago and the image was seared in my heart. it’s so awesume how the holy spirit who is always at work can nudge and there it was, instant recall. so i simply put in something like “jesus holding a young man” and your blog popped up. i must say, how greatful I am that you so many years ago chose to act on what the Lord placed in your heart by starting this blog. i rarely search the web, so I know this was a divine happening. I just wanted to let you know what a blessing your site is and I plan to visit more often now. God bless you and all you do.
    Neely L. in Texas.

  52. Hi Neely, thank you so much for your reply here, and apologies for the delay in mine. I really felt for your son, and for you, as you described his struggle. May God’s presence, and Spirit, and love, and grace be with him.
    I love hearing stories of God’s leading in situations, and how it is that you were reminded of this beautiful picture, and happened to come here. Your response is such an encouragement, thank you. With every blessing to you.

  53. This has made me so happy!!! i saw this picture a couple of years ago in one of my church teacher’s class room and fell in love with it. I cannot believe I have found it today!!! this is my Favorite Picture of Christ!

  54. Hi Natalie, It’s so lovely to hear how much you love this picture, and I’m so happy for you that came across it! Lots of blessings to you.

  55. I find myself thinking about this image from time to time. Hoping to find out more about it I googled it and here i am. I think the contrast between the period clothing of Jesus and the contemporary clothing of the “crucifier” speaks to the costant presence of Christ. I identify with the image of the overcome man. I think the image captures the moment the modern crucifier realizes what he has done and the same moment that Jesus shows “its ok-i’ve got you”.

  56. I saw this picture today and it brought me to tears we hurt inside and when we can take no more christ holds us up with love and forgiveness I feel my sins are the hammer and nails that the man holds yet jesus forgives us and holds us always amen

  57. I saw this picture tonight it brought me to tears I realy know now that jesus lifts us up when we can’t go on anymore bless all who see this picture amen.

  58. Reading your description of the picture; held by Jesus, is as if I had written it….as it speaks directly to me. Well done!

    Praise Jesus!

  59. Hi Brigit,
    Wonderful blog! I’ve lost your email address! So sorry – do email me on mine. I haven’t managed to get hold if the talk notes but am still trying. I hope you’re having a wonderful Easter. Much love,

  60. Birgit, thank you for posting this painting and for your description of it. In a few words you powerfully capture how profound this piece of art truly is. I am struggling in my faith, my marriage, my family, my walk with the Lord. I fight sin and despair, guilt, and shame, but remember His faithfulness. In many ways I see myself as the man in this painting, worn down and weak, so in need of Christ’s strength just to stand, so in need of His mercy and grace, so in need of His touch. This painting gives me hope when the enemy would have me walk away. This painting, and your words, so poignantly point to the Savior. Thank you so very much, and praise Jesus for all He has done! Jesus, I need You every hour!

  61. Michael,

    Just the fact that you are experiencing and feeling all the things you mentioned …shows God’s working in your life. Don’t allow the enemy to gain victory..and if he does…know that Jesus is waiting for you to call on Him. He will pick you up and carry you the rest of the way. Be not discouraged and downtrodden..for The Lord is with you every step of the way. May you experience countless blessings.

    A friend in Christ

  62. Dear Paul, Phyllis, Dave, Ali, Michael and friend in Christ, thank you to each of you for your replies. My apologies that I have not replied to your thoughts and comments as I had done previously. After a long time away from blogging, I have returned again recently, and so even though it’s very late, I would love to reply now :)


    Paul, it’s a wonderful insight you’ve shared about the clothing of Jesus and the man in this picture, and the way that the contemporary clothes of the man with the mallet connects him (and us) with those at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion – and that Jesus’ robes reflects His constancy. That as He died for the lost, the broken, and the sinner then, so He has died for each of us, the lost, the broken, and the sinner, today. Thank you for your visit, and sharing your thoughts, lots of blessings to you.

    Phyllis, it is beautiful how this picture, and what it reflects of the depths of Christ’s love and sacrifice for us, moved you. May God continue to reveal the beauty of the Gospel to you, and His great love for you. Thank you for sharing your response, lots of blessings to you.

    David, thank you for your encouragement. It is wonderful that you feel that this spoke directly to you, may God’s Spirit continue to impact you with His grace and the knowledge of what Jesus has done for us on the Cross. Lots of blessings to you.


    Ali, thank you so much for your message here, and it was so lovely to connect with you by email :) Take care, and love and blessings.

    Michael, I am very sorry not have responded to your reply before now. My heart so goes out to you with what you describe of your difficult experiences and struggles in your relationship with God. I hope it might be of some comfort or reassurance to know that I know of many, myself included, who are able to relate to what you describe of these painful struggles. I am so thankful for your honesty. It has been some time since you left this reply, but I would love to pray for you now in response:

    *Father, thank You so much for Michael, and for his life, and for his love for You. Thank You that you have given him such grace to persevere in his faith, in spite of the very difficult struggles he has faced. Lord, I thank You for Your immense love for Michael, and I pray that You would reveal even more of Your presence and Your grace in his life. I pray that He would deeply experience the reality that You are the God Who never leaves us nor forsakes us (Deuteronomy 31:6), and that You have such compassion for the pain and brokenness we experience (Psalm 56:8). I pray that you would give Michael grace and breakthrough in his circumstances, I pray that You would lead him beside still waters and refresh his soul (Psalm 23:2-3) and that Your goodness and mercy would follow him all the days of his life (Psalm 23:6). In Jesus’ Name.*

    With every blessing to you and your family, Michael.

    Dear friend in Christ, thank you for your wonderful encouragement to Michael, and for the encouragement and blessing that your words also bring to each of us as we read what you have described of Jesus’ presence always with us, and the way that as we call upon Him, He is so faithful to meet us in our need, to embrace us, and to carry us. With many blessings to you.


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