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Of promises and expectations

by Gail Seidel, Entrust

The Disciples, painted in 1898  by Swiss artist Eugene Burnand, is considered one of his greatest works. Burnard was an artist of outstanding range and talent whose art had religious and basic life themes.

Those who take the time to find this painting, now on display in the Musee d’Orsay on the Left Bank of the Seine in Paris, come away saying that viewing the canvas is akin to a  piritual experience. Some say it is the greatest Easter painting ever made.

Consider the painting.

At the blush of dawn, Peter and John are rushing to the tomb of Christ. They’ve just been told by Mary  Magdalene that she and the other women found the tomb empty, that Christ has risen. Her words are ringing in their ears, but their faces and 

their bodies reveal they aren’t sure they can believe her.

What do you observe about John, the younger of the two, on the left?

Next, consider Peter. What do you see in his face? His posture? His body language?

Burnand depicts no women, no tomb and no gardener. Why might he have made that decision?

What do you think Peter and John are expecting here? 

What are they hoping for? What might they be afraid of?

As I look at this picture it  evokes in me a gut feeling of intense anticipation. It makes me wonder,  “What am I expecting from God? Do I really believe and trust what he  promised?”

As you consider your circumstances in this unusual year of 2020, what does this painting evoke in you?

What are you expecting from God? What are you expecting with God in your relationship with him?

Read Exodus 33:14. How does God’s promise to Moses speak to you today?

How might you apply God’s words to Isaiah in Isaiah 8:1-17, to your own view of the culture around you?

How might Philippians 2:12-16 and John 14:1-6 impact your view of your current circumstances?

Take some time to think about  and pray back to God, the truths of Romans 8:28-39. May the Spirit of  Christ who is interceding for us right now, confirm in each of us that  nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God and the  truth that he will never leave us.

Note: This article is adapted from Gail Seidel’s blog post on, originally published May 3, 2017.

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