The Temptation of Christ (1854)

The Temptation of Christ, painted in 1854 by Ary Scheffer (1795-1858) is an oil painting on canvas exhibited at Liverpool’s Walker Gallery. The devil shows Christ the land he can rule if He will only worship him rather than the Father. Scheffer underlines Christ's refusal by having Him point upwards whilst the devil gestures downwards. The dark tones and unsteady pose of the devil contrast with the brighter colours and confident stance of the Lord Jesus. Whatever the devil offers, he can only ever point downwards towards the pit to which he belongs. Whatever following Christ costs us, be that prestige, wealth, popularity or comfort- our direction is only ever upward.

And were this world all devils o'er,

and watching to devour us,

we lay it not to heart so sore;

they cannot overpower us.

And let the prince of ill

look grim as e'er he will,

he harms us not a whit;

for why? his doom is writ;

a word shall quickly slay him.


God's word, for all their craft and force,

one moment will not linger,

but, spite of hell, shall have its course;

'tis written by his finger.

And though they take our life,

goods, honour, children, wife,

yet is their profit small;

these things shall vanish all:

the city of God remaineth.


-Dr Luther