On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,
and the people there were observing him carefully.
In front of him there was a man suffering from dropsy.
Jesus spoke to the scholars of the law and Pharisees in reply, asking,
“Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?”
But they kept silent; so he took the man and,
after he had healed him, dismissed him.
Then he said to them
“Who among you, if your son or ox falls into a cistern,
would not immediately pull him out on the sabbath day?”
But they were unable to answer his question.
Though this image shows a different Healing episode than the one in today’s lectionary reading, it really caught my eye.
From the British Museum website:
This was the most famous of Rembrandt’s prints throughout the eighteenth and much of the nineteenth century. Its traditional title can be traced back to within a few years of its creation, and a later story holds that Rembrandt himself paid this very high price at auction in order to buy back an impression.
The etching illustrates various incidents from chapter 19 of St Matthew’s Gospel: ‘And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there’ (v. 2). The group on the far left are presumably Pharisees asking Christ about divorce (v. 3-9). A young mother steps up to Christ so that he may lay his hands on her child. Peter thrusts her back, looking to Christ for approval. ‘But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.’ (v. 14). The variety of poses, facial expressions and gestures give us clues to the character and inner life of over thirty-five individuals in this print. Rembrandt perfected them in a number of preparatory drawings.
The great mass of dark tone above Christ, an effect very difficult to achieve in etching without breaking up the surface of the copper plate, is unprecedented in the history of the medium. The result is one of Rembrandt’s most remarkable and highly finished works.