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Friday, December 13, 2013

The 100 Guilder Print (Insights)

Before reading these insights, I encourage you to do the Bite Size Study the 100 Guilder Print.

Bible Study

1. Can you identify one or more overall themes for this print?

I've identified various groups in Rembrandt's print (below), but I encourage you to look deeper for more details in the faces, dress, and symbols present in this artwork. Reading Matthew 19 will help.


Below is the print without text and Matthew 19 below that.


Matthew 19

When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. 2 Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. 
3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”
4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”
8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
10 The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”
11 Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”
13 Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. 
14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there. 
16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” 
17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
18 “Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”
20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 
22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. 
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” 
26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” 
28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

"The many contrasts in this engraving are striking: light on the left, dark on the right, high on the left, low on the right, rich vs. poor, adult vs. child, human vs. animal, Jews vs. Gentiles, healthy vs. sick, seeing vs. blind, with or without distinction, self-satisfied or begging for help, proud or kneeling."

This quote is from Art Way and I recommend you check out their site for more insights into this print. Art Way explains this overall theme:

The many contrasts show us that the Gospel transcends human paradigms: God's grace accomplishes the impossible.

I noted several things in my study:
1. Different responses to Christ
  • The Pharisees wanted to test Him out of jealousy and unbelief.
  • The Disciples questioned Him and had trouble with some of His teachings.
  • The rich young ruler refused His counsel.
  • The parents (both wealthy and poor) wanted Him to bless their children.
  • The multitudes followed Him for various reasons: healing, teaching, seeking, following, undecided.
2. Several possible overall themes:
  • Grace is available to everyone, but not all will accept it.
  • Christ is involved in the lives of all men and women of all ages from children to the aged, rich and poor, educated and uneducated, religious and seekers. He's interested in their marriages, family life, health, finances, theology, and every other area.
  • The different responses to Christ's message don't change the fact that His message is the only way of life and it will prevail.
These are not the only possible answers. I'd love to hear what themes you came up with.

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