There is something new happening in Israel at the moment – the first public exhibition of Messianic art in Haifa is now on display in the city’s Auditorium. Six Messianic Jewish believers have brought their artwork together and put it on show for the public for a couple of weeks, and collectively, the show is giving local Israelis a taste of the Kingdom of God.
The reaction to the exhibition has been extremely positive so far. The collection of six diverse painting styles, some more overtly Messianic than others, has aroused considerable curiosity and provoked a lot of conversations about faith. It is the grace of God that has enabled the exhibition to go ahead, as Messianic Jews are not generally accepted in the public view, but none-the-less, the doors opened and Yeshua’s own people have been able to show their art in the municipality centre.
The poster here shows the self portrait of one of the artists, Yontatan Goldberg, and he put up a few words with a Bible verse to accompany each of his pictures. In their own ways, the paintings of each artist give glory to God, and point to the One who gives the talent.
Amy Sheetreet, another of the artists who took part in the exhibition, tells us more about her work, and her journey to faith.
One of Amy’s guiding verses has been; “Taste and see that the Lord is good”, as it says in Psalm 34:8. She wants to make work so attractive that it will draw people toward God, to come and get a taste of his Kingdom, and to see how good He is. She works with mosaic designs, saying that it is reminiscent of the way archaeology brushes away the years of dirt to reveal what has been hidden underneath. Just as Israel is full of ancient treasures to be discovered under the ground, Amy’s work seeks to brush away the years of dirt that have obscured the truth about Biblical Judaism; about God, the land of Israel, the people of Israel, and to reveal it all in its beauty. Her work contains many verses from the Bible, and each one is an expression of the Word of God.
Questions to God in a sea shell
Amy Sheetreet was born into a Jewish Family that attended synagogue every week. As a child, she asked her mother, “If God makes babies then why do we have to die and go to heaven?” Amy was greatly troubled by the questions of life, death, and what happened beyond the grave. Not only did she have a great fear of dying, but she also wondered, “What was I before I was born? Will I be nothing and totally forgotten? What is my purpose here on earth?” She took her questions to God, and wrote a prayer asking him that she would have answers to these questions before she died, and put her prayer inside a seashell. But the questions still tormented her as she grew older. “I wanted to know if God exists and the meaning of life. I even asked my Rabbi if Yeshua could be the Messiah. He said no. I was left empty and cried.”
The Light shone into the darkness
Amy went to college to study art, but the work she produced reflected the darkness that she felt inside. She had become very depressed. “Life seemed to be meaningless. I was lost”, remembers Amy, “This is when a young man told me about Yeshua. I prayed a few weeks later and was cleansed of all my sin and shame, as before I had felt so dirty. I went home that night, turning in my bed and thanking God… He made me a new creation and gave me a new heart!” Like most Jewish families, Amy’s family were upset at her decision to accept Yeshua as her Messiah, and tried to persuade her to change her mind. But her faith only grew stronger, and over time, they saw that her life was changing for the better. Eventually, her mother also accepted Yeshua and came to faith. At first, Amy felt awkward about her Jewish identity in church. She says, “I thought they wouldn’t accept me there. Then the pastor explained to me that Yeshua is Jewish too and that it is the most natural thing that I, a Jew, would accept my Jewish Messiah. The One that my people have waited so long for.”
Amy’s life and work in Israel
In 1987, Amy moved to Israel, where she works as an artist. Today, her work reflects the huge change that she has experienced: it is full of light and hope. “I prayed that God would use my talent as an artist for His glory, and turn the old style of darkness in my art to artwork that would bring light and joy to others; to touch the hearts of people and turn them back to God. My vision is to remind the Jewish people of their God through my colorful greeting cards and art, and to encourage those who already put their trust in God; both the Jew and Gentile.”
Praise God for the way he has drawn so many Jewish people to himself in miraculous ways, and please pray that this exhibition continues to reach more Jewish people as they stand before these works of art, each one pointing to the glory of God. Please pray that many would be moved to investigate, and come to faith in Yeshua as their Messiah, just as Amy did.
You can see Amy’s work here: www.amysdesignsofisrael.com