Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Jesus Walks on the Sea

Title: Jesus Walks on the Sea

Artist: William Hole

Medium: Printed book illustration

Size: 29 x 24 cm

Date: c.1905

Location: From “The Life of Jesus of Nazareth Portrayed in Colours.” London: Eyre & Spottiswoode.

The fifth miracle account that displays Jesus' power over nature is recorded in Matthew 14:22-32. This miracle is known as Walking on Water, or Jesus Walks on the Sea.

Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. After dismissing the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone. But the boat was already over a mile from land, battered by the waves, because the wind was against them. Around three in the morning, he came toward them walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified. "It's a ghost!" they said, and cried out in fear. Immediately Jesus spoke to them. "Have courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." Peter answered Him, "Lord, if it's You, command me to come to You on the water." "Come!" He said. And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid. And beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out his hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" When they got into the boat, the wind ceased.

Hole uses his water colors to dazzling effect in his rendition of the disciples as they sight Jesus crossing the sea. The water shimmers, the clouds tumble, the moon glistens, and most of all, Jesus shines. There is no doubt that he is walking on water, no possibility of a sandbar or concealed isthmus. It is easy to understand the disciple’s terror, for they still failed to comprehend the true nature of their Lord.

William Hole (b. Salisbury 1846 – d. 1917) relocated to Edinburgh as a youth where he received his education at the Edinburgh Academy. After serving for a time as an apprentice to a civil engineer, he decided that he wanted to see more of the world. While traveling through Italy he befriended some artists in Rome who convinced him that he should pursue a career in art. On returning to Edinburgh, he began formal training in both painting and etching at the Royal Scottish Academy.

Title: Christ Walks on Water

Artist: Ivan Aivazovsky

Medium: Oil on Canvas

Size: tbd

Date: 1888

Location: tbd

Once Jesus has given the command, walking on water is simply a matter of trusting the One who has performed so many miracles in the past. Peter's failure comes as he observes the wind, looking to his situation rather than to God's power that is sustaining him. Still, Peter knows by this point whom to cry out to! It is important to note that while Jesus is disappointed with Peter's inadequate faith, Peter has still acted in greater faith than the other disciples - he is learning. Faith cannot be worked up by formulas or emotion, but it grows through various tests as we continue to trust our Lord and he continues to teach us. Faith grows out of a relationship with the Person of Jesus, and in no other way.

Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky (July, 1817 – May, 1900) was a Russian painter of Armenian descent. He was born in the town of Feodosiya, Crimea (modern-day Ukraine) to a poor Armenian family. His parents' family name was Aivazian. Some of the artist's paintings bear a signature, in Armenian letters, "Hovhannes Aivazian" . His talent as an artist earned him sponsorship and entry to the Simferopol gymnasium No.1 and later the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts, from which he graduated with a gold medal. Earning awards for his early landscapes and seascapes, he went on to paint a series of portraits of Crimean coastal towns before travelling throughout Europe. In later life, his paintings of naval scenes earned him a long-standing commission from the Russian Navy stationed in the Black Sea.

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