Several of the artists associated with the Progressive Artists Group explored Biblical themes in their work. Krishen Khanna was particularly fascinated with scenes from the life of Christ, and painted a series of works including the Last Supper and Emmaus.
The present work, though not a specific incident, shows a scene from the life of Christ. However, a unique feature of Khanna's work is that the "entire series is interposed with the ordinary and the humble folk of the street." (Yashodhara Dalmia, The Making of Modern Indian Art, The Progressives, New Delhi, 2001, p. 210.)
As the artist himself notes, "The Christ series are set here in Delhi, Nizamuddin in fact, and appear as current happenings. He is wandering amongst us or sleeping with us followers on the road islands. They are not religious pictures as such. They deal with persecution and the consequences meted out to those who do not fit into ready-made slots, more so if the endeavor is to change a total view of life and not merely tinker with existing institutions. I painted Jesus, not in the image given by European painters, but as one of the fakirs one sees around Hazrat Nizamuddin." (As told to Chanda Singh, 'Looking Beyond His Canvas', India Magazine, September 1984.) Khanna's adaptation to an Indian context allows for a greater identification with the scene and the figures in the painting.