About the Art
The Gospel According to Matthew is referred to as the most Jewish presentation of Yeshua the Messiah. This is due in part to the emphasis of the narrative itself but also because of the inclusion of numerous references to passages from the Tanakh (Old Testament). Examining this narrative arc both via the text and through the illustrative artwork unveils the Jewish continuity and historical awareness present in this important book.
Art can be a form of expression and a communication platform. Jews for Jesus commissioned Jewish artist Steffi Geiser Rubin to create original art as a vehicle for communicating the Jewishness of the Gospel of Matthew. This illustrated Gospel of Matthew project has been titled “Multitudes,” and Matthew chapter five is its theme chapter. Of the twenty-eight chapters in the Gospel of Matthew, twenty original, full-scale paintings were commissioned to represent the major themes, events, and messages within the book. The remaining eight chapters are illustrated through vignettes (small illustrations).
Both the full scale paintings as well as the vignettes are incorporated into a fine art book, which will be published in June of 2015. The art book will include the art as well as the Tree of Life (TLV) version of the Gospel of Matthew, licensed specifically for this project. Additional products are in development to showcase this art, including a limited number of high-quality art prints and a 2015-2016 Jewish Biblical calendar. All of these products will be available in June of 2015.
Why the Gospel of Matthew?
The Gospel of Matthew is often considered to be the “most Jewish” gospel account. It was written by Matthew, who became a disciple of Jesus. Matthew was Jewish, but his occupation before becoming a follower of Jesus was that of tax collector. His occupation made him despised by the Jewish people of his day, because he worked for the occupying Roman government. They considered him a traitor. Also, tax collectors of that era sometimes took more money than required by the law. But Matthew left his occupation as tax collector when he encountered Yeshua (Jesus) and became convinced that he was the long-awaited Messiah and the son of God.
Matthew’s eyewitness account of Jesus’s ministry, as well as the documented fulfillment of so many prophecies about the Messiah, make for a life-changing reading of God’s inspired Word. Almost every chapter of Matthew refers to the Jewish Scriptures. These Jewish themes are the basis for most of the artwork. In order not only to artistically illustrate the Gospel of Matthew, Jews for Jesus also chose to incorporate the text of Matthew’s gospel from the Tree of Life (TLV) version of the Bible.
About the Artist
Steffi Geiser Rubin was commissioned by Jews for Jesus to create the art for “Multitudes.” Originally from the Bronx, Steffi grew up with a strong Jewish background. In January of 1971 she encountered a man named Moishe Rosen at a Bible study on the UC Berkeley campus. “What do you think God wants from you?” Moishe asked her. A few days later, after reading the four Gospels (the eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ life), Steffi decided to put her faith in Yeshua (Jesus). After becoming a believer in Yeshua she completed her undergraduate education at Simpson Bible College in San Francisco. She also became one of the founding members of Jews for Jesus. The early days of Jews for Jesus provided abundant opportunities for her to use her gifts in art, writing, drama and music, including traveling with the first Liberated Wailing Wall music team, to serve God. More recently, Steffi completed a Masters’ degree in Jewish Studies from Baltimore Hebrew Institute of Towson University. The opportunity to create art to illustrate the Gospel of Matthew in conjunction with Jews for Jesus so many years later feels like a full-circle experience. Steffi currently enjoys life in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
More About the Art…
The twenty original paintings for “Multitudes” were painted by Steffi Geiser Rubin. The key verses, Old Testament references, and image ideas were a collaborative effort between the artist and Jews for Jesus. This art is a powerful display of many of the key themes and messages within the Gospel of Matthew. The twenty original paintings are each 36” x 48” (portrait) acrylic on stretched canvas. Each original is for sale for $8,000. The art will be donated back to Jews for Jesus (JFJ) for display in art shows with a plaque stating the owner of the art. If you are interested in supporting JFJ’s work through this art, and would like to purchase an original from the “Multitudes” series, please contact Marc Sternberg at:[email protected]
About the Art Project — “Multitudes” the Illustrated Gospel of Matthew
The idea for this project initiated as a vision which included original art, creating a fine art book, the title “Multitudes,” and an illustration of Jesus feeding the multitudes (5,000 men plus women and children) by the Sea of Galilee. Additionally, a key theme of this project was that of Yeshua’s (Jesus’) fulfillment of the law and of prophecy. The initial idea was only to include the art and the words of Jesus (like a red letter book), but as the project developed, it was decided that the text of entire book of Matthew should accompany the art in the fine art book that would be published. Jews for Jesus reached out to the Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society (MJFB), for permission to use their Tree of Life Bible Version (TLV) of the Gospel of Matthew in the fine art book to be published by JFJ. The introduction to the fine art book will be written by David Brickner, the executive director of Jews for Jesus. This project is an artistic platform for sharing the truths of Matthew’s gospel.
Yeshua (Jesus) cares for and has compassion on all people, even those who reject Him. This is one of the central themes of the Gospel of Matthew, and it is the one that we chose to emphasize in the title of the project as “Multitudes.” The art commissioned for Matthew chapter five is also the central image used for this project and which forms the cover of the fine art book. The concept of “multitude” or “crowd” appears 27 times within Matthew’s gospel account. Here are the three of the 27 references as reflected in the New King James (NKJV) translation:
“And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain… …then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying…” – Matthew 5:1-2
“But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.” — Matthew 9:36
“And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.” — Matthew 14:14
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How can I Buy the Art?
Purchase our products, including: art book, art prints, and calendar, through our e-commerce store. Click here to visit our store.
How can I Support this Project? There are two ways to support this project: 1. Purchase our products, including: art book, art prints, and calendar 2. Tell others about this project, and make sure your church knows it is available as a traveling art show.
Who do I Contact About Scheduling an Art Show?
Marc Sternberg Phone: (415) 323-6544 Email: [email protected]