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Christian Art and Culture

The Gospel of John, Photographed

  • Debbie Holloway Assistant Editor, Crosswalk.com
  • 2013 9 Sep
  • COMMENTS
The Gospel of John, Photographed

Many scenes written about in the Gospels have become iconic in Christendom: Mary’s encounter with the angel Gabriel, a dove descending over Jesus’ baptism, Jesus feeding the 5,000 on a hilltop, Jesus turning water to wine at the wedding in Cana, Jesus and Peter on the galilee in the midst of a fierce storm, next to the tiny fishing boat...the list goes on. Over the centuries, these scenes have been etched in stained glass, painted onto walls, woven into tapestries, and depicted in films and TV specials.

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But how many of us, especially in the West, have been privileged to see the actual landscape where Jesus Christ walked? A pilgrimage to the Holy Lands is a rare opportunity for most Christians, but David Kevin Weaver now offers us a chance to view the life of Jesus through new eyes. After undertaking an extensive photography project in Israel, Weaver has produced a coffee table book entitled The Gospel of John, Photographed through Four Line Media.

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Weaver takes the most emotive, poetic gospel (John) in arguably the most lyrical English translation (King James Version) and merges the gospel account with 170 photographs taken in the land where Jesus Christ was born, raised, ministered, died, and was resurrected. Each photograph is positioned carefully against text which, more often than not, references an element or geographic location found in the corresponding photo. Not only are historic sites like the Dead Sea and Golgotha displayed, but the spirit of modern-day Israel is shown with equal prominence. Weaver’s photographic journey features average people on the street, law officers, public art, bustling marketplaces, the Muslim and Christian quarters, vineyards, churches, synagogues, skies, signposts, and breathtaking landscapes. This geographic region, so close to the cradle of life on earth, is at once thoroughly modern and unspeakably ancient.

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The beauty of the book is twofold.

First, it allows the reader a glimpse into the world of John the Baptist, Peter, and Mary Magdalene. Have you ever wanted to know what an olive or fig tree looks like, or what Jesus’ view was when he approached Jerusalem from outside the city? This collection of photographs is the perfect window into what many of us have only imagined for years (or lifetimes) of reading the Bible.

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Secondly, Weaver’s juxtaposition of modern-day Israel with the 1st century text of John’s Gospel reminds the reader of God’s truth and humanity’s frailty in a powerful way. Our clothes and methods of transportation may be different today in the 21st century, but we are still in desperate need of a God who reaches out to us with love and mercy. Nowhere are God’s authority, love, and empathy in fuller display than in the pages of John’s Gospel. It’s impossible to miss the power and passion radiating from the red letters of Christ, and Weaver’s photographs accent the text in a truly unique way.

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What is most clearly communicated through this journey of The Gospel of John, Photographed? In one reader’s opinion, it is a reminder that whether it’s the 1st or the 21st century, Jesus is Immanuel. God with us.

David Kevin Weaver is a project leader for a hotel company and has long enjoyed travel. He has trained himself in the areas of his true passions including art, design, and photography. Weaver photographed the images he displays in the book in Israel with a Leica D-Lux 4 compact digital camera. The Gospel of John, Photographed is the first in a trilogy containing photographs of the complete writings attributed to the Apostle John.

The Gospel of John, Photographed can be purchased from www.fourlinemedia.com, www.amazon.com, and through all major booksellers upon request.

Debbie Holloway is the Family Life Editor for Crosswalk.com

Publication date: September 25, 2013