My Interpretation of the Art Work, “Mammon” by Alex Gross

My Interpretation of the Art Work, “Mammon” by Alex Gross

Written by Kevin E. Jesmer 9-25-17

“Mammon.” A painting by Alex Gross. What does this painting have to say about false religion of our day? I am inviting your interpretation. Especially what do you think of the Christ figure.

I see a hipster Jesus concentrating on bible study and conquering death. But not through his suffering and death and resurrection, but through knowledge and relevance. …more on other things later.

People also don’t like a suffering Jesus. They like a cool, thoughtful casual Jesus. It is because they don’t want to suffer either.

I don’t believe that is Jesus on the cross. It looks more like Confucius. I think it means other things that people put in place of Jesus, hoping that these false saviors can save them. The hipster Jesus is not suffering at all. He appears quite casual.

I also see a false savior dying on the cross. It could represent eastern mysticism or oriental religion. The snake us there, intertwined, representing Satan who has hand in presenting false messiah or saviors to the world. Money is also on the cross. Many think money is their savior.

I then see people oblivious to what is going on. Focusing on their cell phones, or taking pictures and yet blind to the spiritual reality. Nature seems more important than salvation. What us the end result of this? A person in the background did running and harassed by death. You also seem to have an impotent Jesus, hipster though he may be. He is also powerless to draw the attention of the people away from their cell phones.

The people are disconnected from nature and spiritual life. The sky is overcast with no sun, Revealing. That they are living in darkness. One has a nice purse and there are billboards and electronics. Lots of materialism. But no spiritual substance or understanding. As a result,… lostness.

Lostness and a whole lot of people who are harassed by the power of death, desperately in need of the true savior Jesus who died on cross and rose from the dead.

I would like to add some more about the hipster Christ. He is confident in his relevance and Bible study to crush the power of death. His foot on the chest of the skeleton appears as a victory, but not a complete victory. The power of death is active in another location, harassing the pilgrim in the background. We may think that our relevance and Bible study has power to overcome the power of death. There is some good done through it. But it can never procure a complete victory over the power of death. Only the Gospel, with the Lamb of God, Jesus can do that.

The man being attacked by “death” with a sword, looks like an old testament prophet, being attacked. This is what happens when a society abandons the one and only true Savior for lesser saviors, that are no saviors at all. They are in spiritual darkness, they worship false gods, they are harassed by death and they kill the prophets that are sent by God, Acts 7:25 reads, “Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him–” (NIV)

There are other false saviors that people trust instead of Jesus. Technology, money, false religious, nature, human society, big business, friends on social networks, traveling and experiences (Like taking pictures), one humanity, the sacred cow.

The title, “Mammon” is meaningful too. Mammon is what the Israelites in Moses time were crying out for. It is not what God wanted to give them. It is what they wanted. They wanted to go back to slavery in Egypt to eat mammon. Mammon is bad spiritual food. When we eat it, it suffer for it. We need to eat the bread of heaven, Jesus, and not mammon, even if we are convinced that is what we need. Trust God and what he provides. Numbers 11:13, “Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!'”

I also see that when people are blind to the spiritual reality, Christianity is a photo op. The lady is taking a picture of Jesus. She is curious. Maybe she will post it on facebook. But she does not appear to be drawn into worship. She just wants to take a picture. For many Christian things, like old churches and historical sites are nothing more than photo ops. They are tourists. The sites do not draw them into worship of the One the sites were meant to glorify.

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