Monday, November 19, 2012

Art From Study Notes

One of the members of an online art journaling group I belong to posted a picture of how she was using art with her research proposal notes. She posted this picture on our community group page:

Thanks, Anna Tapp (Anna's blog:, for the inspiration!

We have just started a series called "Images of the Incarnation" at church. So, while studying last week in prep for our Creative Team planning meeting, I was reading in Matthew about how Jesus tells John the Baptist's disciples who He is.

"When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”

Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 6 Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.” (Matthew 11:2-6)

I got off on a rabbit trail as I started thinking about what Jesus says to them. Quoting from the prophet Isaiah, He says that His identity is evident by what they have SEEN and HEARD. So I started looking back through the first 11 chapters of Matthew to see exactly what it is that these men has seen and what they had heard.

First, what they HEARD:
Jesus' ministry begins in chapter 4 verse 17: "From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
4:23 says that, "Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people." (Also repeated in 9:35)
In 10:7, when Jesus sends out the 12 disciples, He tells them to "As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’"
In fact, in the book of Matthew, the word "kingdom" is used 53 times, 48 of those times referring to God's kingdom. 7 times Jesus mentions the kingdom in the Sermon on the Mount; 15 times Jesus mentions the kingdom in His parables, 10 of those times He starts the parable out saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like.."; 21 times outside of the Sermon on the Mount and parables the kingdom is the illustration or point of Jesus' teachings.

So, John's disciples heard from Jesus all about the kingdom of God (heaven). In the Lord's prayer He calls His followers to pray, "your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Matt. 5:10). They heard that the kingdom was now near to them...THIS is the incarnation - the Kingdom of God coming near to us in the person of Jesus Christ!

So, then, what did they SEE?
They saw the very things the prophet Isaiah had foretold:
  • the blind receive sight (Matthew 9:27-31)
  • the lame walk (Matthew 8:5-13, 14-17; 9:1-8)
  • those who have leprosy are cured (Matthew 4:23-25; 8:1-4, 14-17; 9:20-21)
  • the dead are raised (Matthew 9:18-26)
Jesus pointed to himself as the Messiah ~the Savior of the world~ and told them that they had already received the evidence of this through what He taught and preached and by what He did. The kingdom of God draws near to us and points us to the Savior. We see and hear evidence of His identity all around us. We too are called to declare who He Jesus is and then show those around us the evidence of Christ in us by what we say and do.

So, like I said at the beginning of this post, I was inspired by Anna Tapp's artistic notes and while I watched TV yesterday put my study notes on paper artistically.

I love rabbit trails when I'm in God's Word...and it's a bonus when art comes out of it!


  1. The page is beautiful! I'm struck by the exploration of "see" and "hear". How cool is it that at the same time as he quoted their scripture, that he encouraged them to open their eyes and ears and witness for themselves. It seems like an invitation for all of us. There's study, and then there's paying attention to what Christ is doing right in front of us. Art helps with the paying attention :)

    1. You are so right about art helping us pay attention, Anna! Art journaling has added a whole new dimension to my study and reflection on Scripture, as well as another way to dwell with Christ. Thanks again for the inspiration! You were the catalyst behind my "art play"! It's great getting to know you through the TAJ community. :)