Scenes of Jesus on the cross have been created by artists from Peter Paul Rubens to Salvador Dali. And these sometimes surreal, often sublime works have left an indelible mark on the Christian collective consciousness – just as Jesus’ death itself has done.
But while the crucifixion at the hands of the Romans ended Jesus’ life, it apparently wasn’t the first attempt to remove him from society. Christ, it’s said, suffered persecution throughout his time on Earth, with this torment having begun at birth. Yes, the story of the Nativity itself involves a plot to kill the newborn Messiah.
According to the Gospel of Matthew, the Three Wise Men made a pit stop on their way to visit the infant Jesus in Bethlehem. As the Magi paused at the palace of Herod, King of Judea, though, it seems that they unwittingly became part of the ruler’s plan to murder the newborn baby. Herod, you see, is believed to have been violently protective of his throne, killing anyone whom he perceived as a threat to his position.