Monday, March 7, 2011

Peter's Fish

Since 1994, I've been reading through the Bible every year, so every year I read the incredible story of Peter's fish and the coin. There is a fish called "Peter's Fish," that is by tradition a tilapia, although which of the hundreds of tilapia varieties it may have been is a guess. Our own Gulf Red Snapper bears a remarkable resemblance to some of them and, luckily for me, was in the local market when this painting was conceived.
I wanted to do a painting like this because I am so moved by the Biblical story. Here's an excerpt from Matthew 17, so you can see it: When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?”  He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel.  Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”
Here's what hits me: Jesus told his disciples that he would make them "fishers of men" and the fish became the symbol of the first church. Peter often got himself in trouble by speaking too quickly, as he did here, but later he would become the spokesman for the first church. The shekel was 4 drachmas, to pay for both Jesus and Peter. Jesus, who did not have to pay, being the Son, still paid. And he paid for Peter. This is a picture of the Gospel. Peter, the first one who would publicly speak the Christian message, draws the payment, miraculously provided by God, from the mouth of the symbol of the church, which is the Body of Christ.
This painting is going to be in a show at Christ Church Cathedral in Houston. It looks better in person so come to the show with me!   


  1. great. great, great, great, great, great. so so great. personally, I think it is great. Great!

  2. I'll bet that's just about the greatest critique I've ever received, and to come from you makes it greater still :-) thank you greatly!

  3. Your paintings are showing greater luminosity! As our friend the Babahr would say, they're just grrrreat!

  4. Great encouragement and great friends; I'm so great-ful :-)