Grandfather Telling a Story,
Painting by Albert Anker (1831-1910),
Painted in 1884,
Oil on canvas
© The Museum of Fine Arts, Bern

Grandfather Telling a Story,
Painting by Albert Anker (1831-1910),
Painted in 1884,
Oil on canvas
© The Museum of Fine Arts, Bern

Gospel of 5 September 2023

His teaching made a deep impression on them

Luke 4:31-37

Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath. And his teaching made a deep impression on them because he spoke with authority.

In the synagogue there was a man who was possessed by the spirit of an unclean devil, and it shouted at the top of its voice, ‘Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.’ But Jesus said sharply, ‘Be quiet! Come out of him!’ And the devil, throwing the man down in front of everyone, went out of him without hurting him at all. Astonishment seized them and they were all saying to one another, ‘What teaching! He gives orders to unclean spirits with authority and power and they come out.’ And reports of him went all through the surrounding countryside.

Reflection on the painting

Luke tells us at the beginning of today’s Gospel reading that the teaching of Jesus 'made a deep impression' on everyone. Because what he said and did made such an impression, everything could be passed on by word of mouth until it was eventually written down in our Gospels. The Gospels were thus largely written out of an oral tradition first. And that oral tradition came from people being impressed by what they saw.

These oral gospel traditions were the first stage in the formation of the written gospels as information was passed by word of mouth. Story telling was at the center of the beginnings of Christianity. We have to remember that Jesus died around 33 AD. For some thirty to forty  years, there was no written account of his life. During that time, we have very little in the way of written records within Christianity. Our first writer in the New Testament is Paul, and his first letter is dated around 50 to 52 AD, still a good 20 years after Jesus died. But it appears that in between the death of Jesus and the writing of the first gospel by Mark, people are clearly  telling and sharing the stories which made their way to the Gospels.

Our painting by Swiss artist Albert Anker dates from 1884 and depicts a grandfather telling a story to his grandchildren. We can well imagine that in the earliest church times, people would have sat with their children and grandchildren and shared stories about this amazing man, Jesus. Our charming painting depicts three generations of the farmer’s family: the grandfather and grandmother (dressed in black in the background), the daughter on the left holding a canister of milk, and the grandchildren.

Share this Gospel Reading

Did you like this Gospel reading and art reflection?

Join in the discussion about this artwork & Gospel reading

Subscribe
Notify of
94 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jamie Cardinal
Member
Jamie Cardinal
10 months ago

( I posted this comment with the song from youtube ..and its approval was not accepted…not sure what that means…maybe I post this then without the youtube)

I didn’t know much about Albert Anker so I looked him up….on wikipedia LOL.
Albrecht Samuel Anker (April 1, 1831 – July 16, 1910) was a Swiss painter and illustrator who has been called the “national painter” of Switzerland because of his enduringly popular depictions of 19th-century Swiss social life.

“Grandfather Telling a Story” (1884) is interesting to me because it makes me think of my own personal memories of my grandfathers, and uncles, and my own father…..some of my relatives were quite the characters. Some of my relatives were very uneducated and very rural…in France and Canada, back in the day, farmers were not educated and today I suppose many people might look down upon them….being a rural, uneducated farmer without much money is not exactly a glamorous life…anyway, they had such beautiful imaginations…stories about wars and the hardship of the Great Depression and their feelings when man landed on the moon, etc etc… .my Italian relatives may have been somewhat better off financially, but they were just as imaginative with their stories. I love thinking of the stories now. My one big regret is not listening and being more appreciative when they were alive….not understanding what they were trying to tell me. I am highly educated LOL, but a boor…the complete opposite of them. Anyway, for some odd reason this painting made me think of the song “Man of the Hour” by Pearl Jam and the movie “Big Fish”.

To all the dads and grandfathers out there….with love and appreciation!
Here is a youtube of the song: Man of the Hour!

Pauline Wood
Member
Pauline Wood
10 months ago
Reply to  Jamie Cardinal

I really enjoyed reading your reflection

Jamie Cardinal
Member
Jamie Cardinal
10 months ago

I didn’t know much about Albert Anker so I looked him up….on wikipedia LOL.
Albrecht Samuel Anker (April 1, 1831 – July 16, 1910) was a Swiss painter and illustrator who has been called the “national painter” of Switzerland because of his enduringly popular depictions of 19th-century Swiss social life.

“Grandfather Telling a Story” (1884) is interesting to me because it makes me think of my own personal memories of my grandfathers, and uncles, and my own father…..some of my relatives were quite the characters. Some of my relatives were very uneducated and very rural…in France and Canada, back in the day, farmers were not educated and today I suppose many people might look down upon them….being a rural, uneducated farmer without much money is not exactly a glamorous life…anyway, they had such beautiful imaginations…stories about wars and the hardship of the Great Depression and their feelings when man landed on the moon, etc etc… .my Italian relatives may have been somewhat better off financially, but they were just as imaginative with their stories. I love thinking of the stories now. My one big regret is not listening and being more appreciative when they were alive….not understanding what they were trying to tell me. I am highly educated LOL, but a boor…the complete opposite of them. Anyway, for some odd reason this painting made me think of the song “Man of the Hour” by Pearl Jam and the movie “Big Fish”.

To all the dads and grandfathers out there….with love and appreciation!
Here is a youtube of the song: Man of the Hour!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmUP1gp6cTs

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
10 months ago

Our parish priest was the diocesan exorcist. He didn’t discuss it (though we did have a chat about a case of a couple living near me (no details of names etc) when I was sitting next to him on a coach to somewhere) I never even knew about this aspect of his ministry until this. He certainly never joked or treated the subject lightly, or indeed ever mentioned it again.

Jeanne M
Member
Jeanne M
10 months ago

Have so enjoyed looking at the mosaic, SFG, and learning about the ancient origins of the craft. Always wanted to see the Ravenna mosaics….. though those in San Clemente, Rome, are pretty special.

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeanne M

Thank you- I don’t pretend this mosaic can be compared to the ones in Ravenna that we have seen on here at times, but it is a lovely thing and we have enjoyed giving it a home for a short time!

John Hobbs
Member
John Hobbs
10 months ago

Good programme on BBC RADIO 4 now 16.21 BST (and therefore BBC Sound for later) about Caravaggio with good religious analysis! He was probably a Peaky Blinder of his day with his penchant for violence with swords!

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
10 months ago
Reply to  John Hobbs

I think he killed a waiter bcause the chef had put oil rather than butter on his artichoke!

John Hobbs
Member
John Hobbs
10 months ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

I’ve had bacon fried in washing up liquid on an army exercise and something cooked in motor oil when I went motorcycling in Argentina. Fortunately, I didn’t eat much of either before realising and don’t recall it causing murderous intent! Caravaggio’s poor behaviour is often put down to artistic temperament without which we wouldn’t have the upside? I think society is much more ready to forgive or turn a blind eye to crimes of dishonesty or violence than it is other crimes. Certainly, I don’t hold out much hope for the works of Rolf Harris for example!

Jeanne M
Member
Jeanne M
10 months ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Yes, bit extreme…..

Jeanne M
Member
Jeanne M
10 months ago
Reply to  John Hobbs

Thanks for the tip…..

Jeanne M
Member
Jeanne M
10 months ago

Interesting article in cruxnow.com re a conference hosted in 2019 in Rome, aimed at bringing together the Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Anglican and Lutheran churches on the subject of possession and exorcism. These churches all believe in possession by evil spirits, and the urgent necessity of getting rid of them. The most shocking thing is that there is, it seems, now a lot of “voluntary” possession, where people invite those spirits into their lives. It makes me shudder. Sorry not to provide a link, I’m not sure how to on this site…. well worth a read.

Sean Perkins
Member
Sean Perkins
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeanne M

You can do it accidentally too by fooling around with things like the Ouija board, Majick etc.

Jeanne M
Member
Jeanne M
10 months ago
Reply to  Sean Perkins

Indeed….

Jeanne M
Member
Jeanne M
10 months ago
Reply to  Sean Perkins

They are very dangerous….

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
10 months ago
Reply to  Sean Perkins

There are bad books but we can censor them. You can learn from reading them.

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeanne M

I find it difficult to believe people can invite demons in. I’m not sure they should get the attention they are seeking. I will say again it isn’t. for me, these supposed demons and dramatic (sensationalist?) possessions that should gain our attention as the small every day sins we commit without thinking, that do the most damage.

Jeanne M
Member
Jeanne M
10 months ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

I agree, for most of us it’s the everyday sins that can bring us down. But if the church has provision for exorcism, must there not be a genuine problem of possession …?

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeanne M

I don’t doubt it but I believe it to be quite rare- whilst everyday sinning is very common and gets very attention though very dangerous too, probably more so but this is just my opinion. I think the devil provides us with these distractions to take our attention away from the real wickedness!

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
10 months ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

I quite agree. Narcissistic sinning. I’m more wicked than you. No you’re not, you’re a very naughty boy!

Readings related to Luke 4:31-37

4 September 2023

Luke 4:16-30

They handed him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah

2 September 2019

Luke 4: 16-30

The scroll of the prophet Isaiah

1 September 2021

Luke 4:38-44

Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high...

6 September 2023

Luke 4:38-44

He laid His hands on each and cured them

Join our community

In addition to receiving our Daily Gospel Reading and Art Reflection, signing up for a free membership allows you to: 

The mission of Christian Art is to offer a daily Gospel Reading paired with a related work of art and a short reflection. Our goal is to help people grow closer to God through the magnificent pairing of art and the Christian faith.

CONNECT WITH US

Join over 70,000 people who receive our daily Gospel Reading and Art Reflection

Skip to content