Category Archives: Sunday School Art

The Parables of the Barren Fig Tree and The Ten Bridesmaids

The Parables of the Barren Fig Tree and The Ten Bridesmaids (or Ten Virgins) are two eschatological parables that our class treated together.

The Barren Fig Tree (from Luke 13) is brief: The owner of the fig tree hasn’t found any fruit on it for three years so demands that it be cut down. The caretaker replies: “Leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.”

The Ten Bridesmaids (from Matthew 25) are waiting for the bridegroom. The five wise bridesmaids brought extra oil for their lamps. The five foolish bridesmaids did not bring oil, left to buy more, and were gone when the bridegroom arrived. “‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’” Jesus concluded: “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”

The parables address two different failures of discipleship. The Barren Fig Tree is about the failure to bear fruit. As Klyne Snodgrass says, “We do not know when we will be called to account for our lives. We need to recover some sense that our actions really are significant and remember that the gospel includes judgment, mercy, and a call for repentance and productive living” (Stories with Intent, p. 265).

The Ten Bridesmaids is about the failure to be prepared. As Craig Blomburg puts it, “Like the foolish bridesmaids, those who do not prepare adequately may discover a point beyond which there is no return—when the end comes it will be too late to undo the damage of neglect.” (Interpreting the Parables, p. 241)

Although Jesus used both parables to give warning to his contemporaries of imminent judgement, there are clear applications for his Second Coming.

Naomi’s drawing is one of my favorites. Rather than a wedding, the ten women have been waiting for a bus to “Future Boulevard.” The five wise women are climbing onto the bus. The five unwise women are scattered about the neighborhood: two window shopping, one buying coffee, and two at the door of a move theater. (The wedding theme of the four movies playing reminds us of the original setting.) The barren fig tree stands, ignored, on the street corner.

More Barren Fig Tree Art

I didn’t find much Barren Fig Tree art: Two by usual suspects Jan Luyken (The Parable of the Fig Tree) and James Jacques Joseph Tissot (The Barren Fig Tree) and another by Steve Hammond (The Barren Fig Tree).

More Ten Bridesmaids Art

Art illustrating the Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids is more common, most of it highlighting the differences between the two sets of women.

The only artist who gives every bridesmaid her own story is the Mormon painter Gayla Prince. According to her web site, “prints of her painting ‘The Ten Virgins’ have sold over one million copies. She has been invited to give over 500 presentations of that paintings symbolism to groups around the United States. She then developed a slide and script presentation that has been given by thousands of presenters to millions of people worldwide.” A version of her presentation is here; a larger version of the painting is here.
Music

For this class we sang “Where Is the Kingdom” (And Jesus Said #1), which includes a reference to the Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids (“It’s like those young women with oil in their lamps”); “Heav’n Is Like Ten Bridesmaids Waiting” (AJS #54); and “Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning” (Singing the New Testament  #47). And Jesus Said also includes another Bridesmaid song “Waiting for the Bridegroom” (AJS #53) and two Barren Fig Tree songs, “Jesus and the Fig Tree” (AJS #23) and “A Fruitless Fig Tree” (AJS #24).

This is the seventh post in a series about the Parables of Jesus Sunday school class I co-taught at Trinity CRC in Ames. In each post, I make a few observations about the parable, share Naomi Friend’s original artwork she drew during our class, post links to other art about the parable, and share our favorite songs about the parable. Previous posts covered the Parable of the SowerThe Parables of the Mustard Seed & the LeavenThe Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great PriceThe Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin, The Parable of the Lost Sons, and The Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds.

The Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds

The Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds is one of my personal favorites as it seems to capture the confusing nature of the the present age: good and evil mixed together, often indistinguishably.

A farmer sows good seed, but his enemy comes at night and sows weeds. (The weed is thought to be darnel, which looks like wheat but if ground with it will spoil the flour. The King James translates the word as “tares.”) The farmer tells his servants not to pull up the weeds because in doing so “‘you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

The parable is one of the seven kingdom parables in Matthew 13, one of only two with a title given in the Biblical text (Jesus’ disciples call it “the parable of the weeds in the field”) and one of only three that Jesus explains.

According to Jesus, two types of seed are the people of the kingdom (sown by the Son of Man) and the people of the evil one (sown by the devil). At the end of the age, the angels will “weed out of [God’s] kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.

In his discussion of the parable in Stories with Intent, Klyne Snodgrass says that “God is not the only one at work, and not all actions in this world can be attributed to God.… Evil happens that can only be identified as the work of an enemy” (p. 215). This is such an important corrective to the “everything happens for a reason” theology circulating in the church today.

Naomi’s drawing (as always, drawn during the class with occasional input from other members) shows the enemy (dressed in black) at the left sowing the bad seed. At the right, another figure is harvesting the wheat with a sickle while stacks of weeds burn behind him. Four insets show how the two different plants look identical when they are young but very different when fully grown. At the center, the weed wraps itself around the wheat.

More Art

Almost all of the Wheat and Weeds artwork I found focuses on the enemy sowing weeds. Exceptions include a 1992 triptych by Dinah Roe Kendall (Wheat and Weeds), and Scott Freeman’s The Parable of the Weeds Among the Wheat, which appears to depict Jesus sowing wheat.

A few pieces focus on the harvest/judgment, including William Blake’s The Good Farmer, Probably the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, James B. Janknegt’s Grain and Weeds (2002), Scott Freeman’s The Parable of the Weeds, and Bassano-Schule’s The Parable of the Tares (17th Century).

The weed-sowing artwork includes:

Music

In addition to “Where Is the Kingdom” (AJS #1) we sang two other songs from And Jesus Said: “Wheat and Weeds” (AJS #12 & 13) and “Mixed Like Weeds in Wheatfields” (AJS #14).  Neither recounts the story in the parable. The former (with lyrics by Richard Leach and set to two different tunes) is four lines long:

Wheat and weeds: growing time; wheat alone: harvest come.
Truth and lies, hope and rage, love and fear: wheat and weeds.
Lies pulled up, rage consumed, fear cast out: harvest time.
Truth along, hope fulfilled, love enthroned: kingdom come.

Mixed Like Weeds in Wheatfields” (with lyrics by Carl Daw) sets Jesus ministry into the context of “worldly power, undaunted” that opposes it. “Though such evils flourish and grounds for hope decrease, deep and well our planted God’s seeds of love and peace.”

This is the sixth post in a series about the Parables of Jesus Sunday school class I co-taught at Trinity CRC in Ames. In each post, I make a few observations about the parable, share Naomi Friend’s original artwork she drew during our class, post links to other art about the parable, and share our favorite songs about the parable. Previous posts covered the Parable of the SowerThe Parables of the Mustard Seed & the LeavenThe Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great PriceThe Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin, and The Parable of the Lost Sons.

The Parable of the Lost Sons

The story typically known as the Prodigal Son deserves its reputation as one of the greatest of Jesus’ parables. The parable follows the younger of a man’s two sons as he rejects his father, comes to ruin, and then returns to his father’s warm welcome. It then shifts focus to the older son, who is angry with the welcome given his brother and refuses to join the celebration. The father gets the last word, pleading with the older son to join the party because his brother “was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”

One of our regular class exercises is discussing possible names for the parables (the only named parables are in Matthew 13). This parable’s traditional name focuses on the younger son’s wastefulness (prodigal means wastefully extravagant) rather than his being lost (like the parables of the lost sheep and lost coin that precede it). I like the “The Lost Sons” since the parable is about two sons who are lost in different ways—just like the lost sinners Jesus welcomed and the Pharisees who complained about this.  The parable could also be named after the father—“The Loving Father” or even “The Prodigal Father” (since he is wastefully extravagant in his love).

Kyle Snodgrass, who calls the parable “The Compassionate Father and His Two Lost Sons,” says: “The parable is a narrative demonstration of the grace with which God reaches out to embrace sinful people. Jesus did not need to introduce the idea that God accepts sinners, but his message of the kingdom emphasized that he was restoring Israel, that end-time forgiveness was being offered now, and that this was the critical time for repentance. The God that Jesus represents and proclaims is precisely the forgiving and merciful God reflected in the parable” (Snodgrass, Stories with Intent, p. 140).

lost-sons

Naomi’s drawing is a triptych showing  the younger son squandering his wealth in wild living (note the slot machine), the younger son coming to his senses, and his father welcoming him home while the older brother looks on in disgust.

More art

I found far more art related to the Prodigal Son than any other parable and organized it by which aspect of the parable it depicts. Artists who painted multiple scenes from the parable include James Jacques Joseph Tissot, whose The Prodigal Son in Modern Life consists of Departure, In Foreign Climes, The Return, and The Fatted Calf, and Steve Prince, whose series (eyekons) consists of The Prodigal Appetite: HallooThe Prodigal Journey: Exit Wounds, and The Prodigal Return: Your Past may be Stained,but your Future’s Untouched.

Sacred Art Meditations has a collection of Prodigal Son art. Images of Prodigal Son art from the Larry & Mary Gerbens Collection can be found online at eyekons and the Calvin College Center Art Gallery. I’ve linked to the images at eyekons because I can’t figure out how to link directly to art on the Calvin College page; however, bigger images can be found in Calvin’s slideshow.

Departure
In a Distant Land
Keeping Swine
Coming to His Senses
Approaching Home
The Loving Father
The Fatted Calf
The Other Brother
Multiple Scenes
Music

Our class sang the same three songs for our Lost Sheep/Lost Coin class and our Lost Son class. Two—“Shepherd, Do You Tramp the Hills” (SNT #39) and “It Was God Who Ran to Greet Him” (AJS #37)—refer to all three parables with four stanzas, one for each parable and the fourth to sum things up.

The other is “Far From Home We Run, Rebellious” (AJS #39/SNT #40/LUYH #122)—one of the few parables songs in Lift Up Your Hearts—which is about the Lost Son. The son puts the singers in the position the younger son. Here is the first stanza:

Far from home we run, rebellious,
seeking cities bright with dreams.
casting loose from love that claims us,
craving life that glitters, gleams.

The song covers the parable in five stanzas; the sixth replaces the celebratory feast with communion: “Bread and wine for celebration on the table now are spread…”

There are three other songs in our hymnals based on the three “lost” parables:  “A Shepherd with a Hundred Sheep” (AJS #35), “And Jesus Said” (AJS #36), and “Shepherd, Shepherd” (AJS #38). The other Lost Son song is “How Far Away Is Heaven” (AJS #40).

This is the fifth post in a series about the Parables of Jesus Sunday school class I co-taught at Trinity CRC in Ames. In each post, I make a few observations about the parable, share Naomi Friend’s original artwork she drew during our class, post links to other art about the parable, and share our favorite songs about the parable. Previous posts covered the Parable of the SowerThe Parables of the Mustard Seed & the LeavenThe Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great Price, and The Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin.

The Parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin

The Parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin are part of a trilogy of parables in Luke 15 about God seeking the lost. Jesus told them in response to the criticism that he “welcomes sinners and eats with them” (v. 2). In the parables the recovery of the lost sheep and the lost coin are occasions for celebration. Indeed, “there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (v. 10).

According to Klyne Snodgrass, “What is revealed about the character of God is the value he places on even the least deserving and the care he extends to such people. God is not passive, waiting for people to approach him after they get their lives in order. He is a seeking God who takes initiative to bring people back, regardless of how ‘lost’ they are” (Snodgrass, Stories with Intent, p. 109).

Therefore, “If God is a seeking, caring God, then his grace should characterize our self-perception and our treatment of other people. The awareness that God seeks us brings freedom and confidence to life. That his grace is to determine how we treat others should cause us to be caring and sensitive” (Snodgrass, p. 110).

lost-sheep-coin

Naomi’s drawing uses a maze to illustrate the search. The shepherd and the woman (with lantern) stand at the beginning of the maze, which leads to the sheep in one corner and the coin in another.

naomi-lost1

As usual, Naomi made the drawing during our class. However, she did stick around afterward to make the maze more difficult. Since Naomi takes the class’s feedback into account, sometimes she erases part of her drawing, as these two photos show.

naomi-lost2

More art

Additional depictions of the Parables of the Lost Sheep and Coin include art by the usual suspects: Dutch illustrator Jan Luyken (Parable of the Lost Sheep & Parable of the Lost Drachma), James Tissot (The Good Shepherd [c. 1890]) & The Lost Drachma [c. 1890]), and John Everett Millais (The Lost Sheep [1864] & The Lost Piece of Silver (1864]).

James B. Janknegt contributes The Good Chicken Farmer (2003) and The Lost Money (2003). 

Additional art on the Parable of the Lost Sheep:

(There is also plenty of additional art on the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd [see here for instance], which often gets combined with this parable. I’ve only included a few of these.)

Additional art on the Parable of the Lost Coin:

Music

We chose the same three songs to sing during our Lost Sheep/Lost Coin class and our Lost Son class. One was “Far From Home We Run, Rebellious” (AJS #39/SNT #40/LUYH #122)—one of the few parables songs in Lift Up Your Hearts—which is about the Lost Son. The other two refer to all three parables with four stanzas, one for each parable and the fourth to sum things up.

“Shepherd, Do You Tramp the Hills” (SNT #39) is written as a call and response between the questioner and the shepherd, woman and father. Here is the second stanza:

“Woman, do you scour the house, just to find one coin that’s lost?
Since you have the other nine, is it really worth the cost?”
“But that coin you count so small has for me a special worth.
When it’s found, the sight will fill all my house and heart with mirth!’

“It Was God Who Ran to Greet Him” (AJS #37) spells out the parables’ messages: “It was God who ran to greet him…”/“It was God who swept the kitchen…”/“It was God, who as a shepherd…” Finally, “It is God who runs to meet us, conscious of our every need; then, as we in turn help others, God rejoices in each deed.”

There are three other songs in our hymnals based on the Lost Sheep & Lost Coin (and Lost Son) parables: “A Shepherd with a Hundred Sheep” (AJS #35), “And Jesus Said” (AJS #36), and “Shepherd, Shepherd” (AJS #38). Both parables are mentioned in “Christ Came to Save Us from Ourselves” (AJS #32) and “Where Is the Kingdom” (AJS #1), our regular opening hymn. The Lost Coin also gets a stanza in “Go Worship at Emmanuel’s Feet” (AJS #2).

This is the fourth post in a series about the Parables of Jesus Sunday school class I co-taught at Trinity CRC in Ames. In each post, I make a few observations about the parable, share Naomi Friend’s original artwork she drew during our class, post links to other art about the parable, and share our favorite songs about the parable. Previous posts covered the Parable of the SowerThe Parables of the Mustard Seed & the Leaven, and The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great Price.

The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great Price

The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great Price are another pair of short parables found in Matthew 13. In both stories, the protagonists find something so valuable that they give up everything they have to obtain it.

The parables illustrate the great value of the Kingdom of God, which surpasses all our other possessions. They also suggest the high cost of discipleship and the need to give up anything that would keep us from obtaining it. “That the merchant sold all may be hyperbole, a standard feature of parables, but if so, the hyperbole underscores that the kingdom cannot be fitted into some previously existing system. All other systems have to be given up in order to experience the kingdom.” (Snodgrass, Stories with Intent, p. 252).

According to Klyne Snodgrass, ‎”We also need to realize what time it is. If the kingdom is present, radical response is needed now. If the kingdom is worth all we have, then joy and celebration should accompany our finding and involvement with the kingdom. The problem with most of us is that we would like a little of the kingdom as an add-on to the rest of our lives… [The Parable of the Treasure] urges us to abandon what we thought was the focus of life and focus entirely on what God is doing with the kingdom” (p. 247).


Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great Price

Naomi’s interpretation of the two parables (as always, drawn during our Sunday school class with input from class members) is straightforward: a man searches for treasure in a field and the hands of a merchant hold a pearl. In the background, a house for sale reminds us that the pearl merchant and the man who found the treasure sold all they had.

Everything for Sale

 More art

These two parables seem to have inspired less art than many others. My favorite Hidden Treasure art found online are a three-part series by James B. Janknegt: Treasurefield #1: Find the Treasure (2003), Treasurefield #2: Sell Everything (2003), and Treasurefield #3: Buy the Field (2003). Janknegt also created The Pearl of Great Price (2003).

Dutch illustrator Jan Luyken (1649-1712) also made engravings of both parables (Parable of the Hidden Treasure and Parable of the Pearl of Great Price). This stained glass window at Scots’ Church in Melbourne also includes both parables.

I found a few other examples of Hidden Treasure art online:

 Music

And Jesus Said includes two Hidden Treasure songs, one Pearl of Great Price song, and one song about both parables. Our favorite of these was “What Did You Find” (AJS #26). Here is the first stanza:

What did you find while plowing this morning?
What did you find as you worked in the field?
What did I find? I found a great treasure,
and now I am going to buy the field.

The other song we sang in class was from Singing the New Testament: “The Kingdom of Our God Is Like” (SNT #34), which is set to DOVE OF PEACE and covers five Matthew 13 parables in five stanzas. Here is the Pearl of Great Price stanza:

The kingdom of our God is like
a merchant who to own
the rarest pearl sells everything
to gain that pearl alone,
to gain that pearl alone.

This is the third post in a series about our Parables of Jesus Sunday school class. In each post, I make a few observations about the parable, share Naomi Friend’s original artwork she drew during our class, post links to other art about the parable, and share our favorite songs about the parable. Previous posts covered the Parable of the Sower and The Parables of the Mustard Seed & the Leaven.

The Parables of the Mustard Seed & the Leaven

The Parables of the Mustard Seed & the Leaven are two short parables from Matthew 13 about the humble beginnings of the Kingdom of God.

The mustard seed was known in the ancient world for its proverbial small size. The seed Jesus had in mind may have been the black mustard plant, which can grow to 10 feet. The leaven the woman worked into the dough would have made enough bread for 100-150 people.

The parables have been understood as referring to the church, individuals, or Jesus’ life. The commentaries I rely on claim their original focus was on Jesus’ ministry. According to Klyne Snodgrass, the Parable of the Mustard Seed “pictures the presence of the kingdom in Jesus’ own ministry, even if others do not recognize it, and Jesus’ expectation of the certain full revelation of the kingdom to come” (Stories with Intent, p. 222).

The application I take from the parables is that the smallest things we do for the Kingdom can bear unexpected fruit. Snodgrass again: “We should expect and implement ‘mustard seed’ thinking, neither disparaging insignificance nor doubting what God can do and does do with small beginnings.… If people are given over to God’s purposes, small beginnings still come to fruition. God seems to be about the business of leavening—magnifying—what seems insignificant” (Stories with Intent, pp. 227, 235).

Art

Naomi was out of town during this lesson so I have none of her original artwork to share. I did find some other art on these parables, but they seem less popular subjects than many other parables.

Parable of the Mustard Seed art:

Parable of the Leaven art:

David McCoy’s The Kingdom Is pictures six different parables from Matthew 13.

Music

And Jesus Said (Selah) includes six songs related to the Parables of the Mustard Seed and Leaven. We chose two of them: “O My Garden” (AJS #21) and “The Kingdom of God Grows Silently” (AJS #19).

“O My Garden,” set to CHARLESTOWN, takes the perspective of the gardener marveling at the growth of the mustard seed.

“O my garden” says the gardener,
“how the mustard seed has grown!
so much more than I imagined,
now it crowds all I have sown.”

“The Kingdom of God Grows Silently” (lyrics by Joy Patterson, music by Amanda Husberg) is my favorite parable hymn and one of two—along with “Where Is the Kingdom” (AJS #1)—we sang most weeks in class. The first two stanzas liken the Kingdom to a mustard seed and to rising yeast. The third pictures the people of God watching eagerly for the Kingdom to appear. Here is the first stanza and chorus:

The Kingdom of God grows silently, silently
like a small mustard seed grows in the earth,
sprouting and pushing its way toward day’s clarity
soon a plant tall as a tree comes to birth.

The Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of God
has come, and now is, and is coming to be
the Kingdom of God fulfills on the earth
God’s visions of justice and peace.

This is the second post in a series about our Parables of Jesus Sunday school class. In each post, I make a few observations about the parable, share Naomi Friend’s original artwork she drew during our class, post links to other art about the parable, and share our favorite songs about the parable. The previous post was on the Parable of the Sower.

The Parable of the Sower

Jesus proclaimed the Good News with dramatic stories drawn from the stuff of everyday life: planting, baking, tending livestock, fishing, weddings, family conflict, crime. I’m starting a series of posts on our Sunday school class about these stories—the Parables of Jesus.

Building on our Minor Prophets class, we designed the Parables class to include both art and music. Naomi Friend returned as our artist-in-residence and James Slegers became our musical director.

We also moved into a new class room, which we decorated with Naomi’s Minor Prophets art.

classroom1

I’ll make a separate post about how we organized the class, but what I’m going to do in each parable post is to say a bit about the parable, share Naomi’s drawing, link to other artwork based on the parable, and list the songs we sang.

The Kingdom Parables in Matthew 13 (at the center of the book) are one of the highlights of Jesus’ teaching: seven stories he uses to describe the Kingdom of God. The Parable of the Sower is about hearing the message of the Kingdom, describing four different responses to the message—each represented by the outcome of seed scattered by a farmer—and ending with the admonition “Whoever has ears, let them hear.” In the language of the parable: be good soil.

The parable is one of only two with a title given in the text and one of only three that Jesus explains. Jesus also uses the parable, in response to a question from the disciples, to explain why he teaches in parables. Quoting Isaiah 6, Jesus predicts that his proclamation of the Kingdom will result in hardened hearts, but tells the disciples they are blessed by their hearing.

I’m struck by the generosity of the sower. He scatters the seed widely, not just in places where it seems likely it will take root, but also in places where it seems unlikely to. He displays a patience like that seen in the Parable of the Wheat and Weeds, which also features a farmer willing to wait for harvest.

sower

Naomi’s depicts the sower as a contemporary farmer in overalls and a ball cap, but sowing seed by hand. He sows on a path (with birds), stony places (at far left), thorns, and good soil. As always, Naomi made her drawing during during our hour-long class in dialogue with class members.

 More art

During each class, we also looked at other parables artwork. Here are some best examples I found online:

Nine more examples of Sower artwork can be found at Sacred Art Meditations.

 Music

Each week in our class we sang songs related to the parable. Many of these are from And Jesus Said: Parables in Song (Sela Publishing), which contains 55 songs based on parables. A second good source is the CRC/Faith Alive hymnal Singing the New Testament, which contains songs based on various New Testament passages.

The two Sower songs we sang were “Where Is the Kingdom” (AJS #1) and “Lord, Let My Heart Be Good Soil” (SNC #79).

“Lord, Let My Heart Be Good Soil,” a 2002 hymn by Handt Hanson, can be found in Sing! A New Creation. (The tune is here.) The song is a prayer that our own hearts will be like the good soil of the parable:

Lord, let my heart be good soil,
open to the seed of your Word.
Lord, let my heart be good soil,
where love can grow and peace is understood.

“Where Is the Kingdom” is the opening song in And Jesus Said and contains references to around a dozen parables. It’s set to the tune of  BUNESSAN (“Morning Has Broken”). We used it regularly as an opening song for the class. (And Jesus Said includes five other Parable of the Sower songs so there are plenty to choose from.)

Up next: More Kingdom Parables from Matthew 13—The Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast.

Minor Prophets Art: Malachi

Malachi was the final book we looked at in my Minor Prophets class, but I was absent and didn’t get to see Naomi draw this.

The altar in the upper right-hand corner is adjacent to two of the corruptions of worship that Malachi denounced: offering blemished sacrifice (1:6-14)—note the cow with bleeding eye—and subsequently “flood[ing] the Lord’s altar with tears… because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings” (2:13).

The lower left-hand corner (set off by refiner’s fire; 3:2) contains the “scroll of remembrance… written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name” (3:16) and a frolicking well-fed calf (4:2).

Malachi

This is the ninth (and final) post of Naomi’s art from our Minor Prophets Sunday school class. Previous posts were on JonahAmosHoseaZephaniah and Nahum & ObadiahHabakkuk, Haggai, and Zechariah. Naomi’s professional art is available at naomifriend.com. Coming next will be Naomi’s parables art.

Minor Prophets Art: Zechariah

In Simply Jesus, N.T. Wright places Zechariah, one of three post-exilic minor prophets, with Isaiah and Daniel as the three books most important for Jesus as he worked out his vocation. Zechariah is the source of the oracle about a king arriving on a donkey (9:9-10) that Jesus enacted during the triumphal entry; that oracle is followed by a promise of the Lord coming to save his people (9:11-17) and warnings about false teachers.

“Putting together this strange, apparently jerky and disjointed set of oracles, we begin to see a pattern emerging,” writes Wright. “Israel’s exile is to be reversed under the rule of the anointed king, who will end up ruling the world world. The pagan nations will do their worst, but God himself will come to fight against them, but he will be king over all the earth.”

zechariah

The passages discussed by Wright are all from the second half of the book. The first half contains a series of visions, many of which Naomi used in her drawing. These include the man among the myrtle trees (1:7-17), the man with the measuring line (2:1-13), clean garments for Joshua the high priest (3:1-10), the gold lampstand and two olive trees (4:1-14), the flying scroll (5:1-11), and the four horses—red, black, white and dappled (6:1-8). These are mostly hopeful messages for the remnant living in Palestine.

The drawing is unfinished; I believe the space in the upper left was reserved for the prophet himself. As with all the other drawings in this series, Naomi drew it during our hour-long Sunday school class with input from class members.

This is the eighth (and penultimate) post of Naomi’s art from our Minor Prophets Sunday school class. Previous posts were on JonahAmosHoseaZephaniah and Nahum & ObadiahHabakkuk and Haggai. Naomi’s professional art is available at naomifriend.com

Minor Prophets Art: Haggai

With the Book of Haggai we begin the post-exilic prophets, who looked forward to the coming of Christ even as they struggled with the messy reality of life among the remnant who returned to Jerusalem.

When Haggai received his first oracle from the Lord, work on rebuilding the Temple had been on pause for almost two decades. “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” Haggai asked.

In what seems like an all-too-rare prophetic success story, Haggai got results. Zerubbabel the governor, Joshua the high priest and “the whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the message of the prophet Haggai, because the Lord their God had sent him. And the people feared the Lord” (v. 12).

Naomi’s Haggai drawing is as straightforward as his message. The prophet stands before the temple his hands full of building tools—hammer, chisel and nails.

Haggai

 

In the second half of the book, Haggai receives three more messages from the Lord promising good things for the obedient people, chief among them: “The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,” a prophecy we believe was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

This is the seventh post of Naomi’s art from our Minor Prophets Sunday school class. Previous posts were on JonahAmosHoseaZephaniah and Nahum & Obadiah and Habakkuk. Naomi’s professional art is available at naomifriend.com