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Notes:JESUS MAFA is a response to the New Testament readings from the Lectionary by a Christian community in Cameroon, Africa. Each of the readings was selected and adapted to dramatic interpretation by the community members. Photographs of their interpretations were made, and these were then transcribed to paintings.

Here we see Jesus patiently teaching about the kingdom of God to a perplexed Nicodemus, whose hands are in a gesture of questioning. Nicodemus has, like so many before and since, gotten caught up in the literal and limited understanding of the scriptures. Jesus attempted to explain the nature of reality in different terms that thereby he (and we) might be transformed. The boundaries we place on ourselves can be escaped if only we are brave enough to venture beyond them. Shall we remain in the cover of night with Nicodemus or step into the light that Jesus offers?


Scripture:John 3:1-17
Person as Subject:Jesus Christ (Biblical figure)
Nicodemus (Biblical figure)
Lectionary links:ALent02
General Subject:Culture: Black
Culture: African
Library of Congress Subject:Christian art and symbolism -- Cameroon

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Copyright Permission:For non-commercial uses, include with the image the Attribution statement below. Variations of the statement are fine as long as the elements in the Attribution statement are included. For other uses contact Éditions de l’Emmanuel,
Attribution:JESUS MAFA. Nicodemus, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved June 19, 2024]. Original source: (contact page:
Record Number:48385 Last Updated: 2022-05-05 11:52:13 Record Created: 2006-12-21 00:00:00
Institution:Vanderbilt University Collection: Art in the Christian Tradition