Things have gotten crazy around here and I haven’t been able to spend as much time on posts as I’d like. I wanted to share something from this past weekend that I sort of stumbled into and really rather enjoyed doing.
Sunday I was given the opportunity to preach, something that happens a couple of times throughout the year, and I chose to preach on Matthew 1:1-17. If you aren’t familiar with the passage, it’s a genealogy of Matthew and at first glance it’s boring as boring gets. A list of names that most people struggle to pronounce is hardly all that exciting. I came across this quote from Martin Luther that I think sums up most people’s views on the passage:
“It looks as if this was a useless and futile writing, that he has recited the names of the dear fathers, because we know nothing at all about them, so that this profits us nothing.”
But earlier this year, Gwynne and I started studying Matthew using N.T. Wright’s Matthew for Everyone Bible Study and at the same time the youth group started studying Matthew as a way to understand the Kingdom of God. Something about bringing the book together in that way, combined with some studying I’d been doing out of Wright and Scot McKnight (who wrote this post on the same passage yesterday), opened a door for me and I realized how important these verses are for Matthew. This introductory list of Jesus’ ancestors sits there telling you the end of the story. This Jesus that he’s going to tell you about, he’s the fulfillment of every promise from Abraham and David, all the way through the exile. Everything God told his people, it’s coming true in him. Not only that, but it sets the tone for the rest of the book. If this Jesus is fulfilling all the expectations and is the anointed one of God, then what follows is the story of how God made known the type of Kingdom he would have in this person Jesus.
I blew me away. It still does, and I struggle to communicate it sometimes. The doors have been blown off for me because of this passage, and now I’m trying to figure out how to live, how to teach, how to gospel, all in light of the new reality of Jesus.
Anyways, while I was preparing my sermon I decided I wanted to make some slides to go with it, and for some reason got the idea to do some digital painting. Here are my renditions of the three promises I highlighted in my sermon, the promise to Abraham in Genesis, the promise to David in 2 Samuel 7, and the promise to Israel through Jeremiah in Jeremiah 31.
I was motivated to create these pieces because of the work of Jim LePage and his Word Bible Design series, where he took each book of the Bible and created visual art to represent verses that came off the page for him. His work is great, and if you want to buy some of his prints, do so before December is over. Right now you can get a 40% discount and he’s giving all his profits during this month to help homeless and low-income families in St. Paul, MN.