Four Gospel Stained Glass Windows
The Greek titles of the gospels have been used in order to be instructive as well as authentic as possible.
A separate creature (lion, ox, eagle, and man) will be found on each glass that represents one of the various manifestations of Jesus as uniquely portrayed by the gospel writers. These creatures appear in both the Old and New Testaments (Ezekiel 10:1, Revelation 4:7), and the early church writers applied these four creatures to the four gospels (Jukes, Andrew. The Characteristic Differences of the Four Gospels. New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1853).
Often only the most familiar, unique features of a book are represented.
Each glass has been critiqued by New Testament scholars as well as an art historian to insure the highest level of professional work.
The windows were originally placed where the clear glass is now located between the sanctuary and the foyer. When the new addition to the Church was added in 1991, the stained glass windows were moved to the Gospel Chapel.
Gospel of Matthew:
The King of Kings
Gospel of Mark:
The Servant of God
The theme “King of Kings” confronts us from the opening sentence of Matthew’s gospel:
1) The long list of ancestors is designed to establish the relationship of Jesus to Abraham and David so that we are ready for the Magi’s question, “Where is he who was born King of the Jews?” (ch. 2:25)
2) Jesus begins His preaching with the pronouncement, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (ch. 4:17).
3) The Sermon on the Mount constitutes the Magna Charta of Jesus’ kingdom (ch. 5:1-7:29).
4) His parables commence with the formula: “The kingdom of Heaven is like...” (chs. 13:24, 31, 33, 44, 45, 47; 18:23; 20:1; 22:2; 25:1). In fact, there are no fewer than fifty references to the kingdom in Matthew’s gospel, and it must be viewed as a leading concept (Johnsson, William G., Religion in Overalls, Nashville: Southern Publishing Assoc., 1977, p. 26, 28).
This is the Greek title: According to Matthew.
♦The lion just below the left hand of Jesus with the children:
Matthew “presents Jesus as the Son of Abraham and the Son of David, the father of the nation and its most illustrious King” (5 BC - 273). What animal depicts a King better than the king of beasts—the lion. Jesus is called “the lion of the tribe of Judah…” (Revelation 5:5).
♦The ten lamps at the bottom of the glass:
These lamps represent the familiar parable of the ten virgins (ch. 25:1-13) which teaches “personal preparation for our Lord’s return; His coming seemingly delayed. Our need of the Holy Spirit” is also portrayed (5 BC - 207).
“Three divisions each composed of 14 generations (ch. 1:17) would total 42 instead of the 41 listed by Matthew. This seeming discrepancy has been explained by various means. Some propose that the name Jeconias should be counted twice, as the last name in the second group and the first in the third group. Others are of the opinion that Matthew originally listed the name Jehoiakim between those of Josias and Jechonias” (see v. 11) (5 BC - 281).
Another explanation for 41 instead of 42 names in the list is that Christ is included and Joseph is excluded from this genealogy because Joseph is recognized as only the husband of Mary and not Jesus’ father (ch. 1:16).
♦The thirty circles:
These circles represent the thirty pieces of silver that Judas betrayed Christ for (ch. 26:15). Thirty shekels of silver was the traditional price of a slave (Exodus 21:32).
The Shekel of Tyre. Phoenician - 126 B.C., “30 Pieces of Silver.” The true international money from the Greek era was the shekel, stater, and tetradrachm, all roughly equal to four days wages for a laborer. Experts consider this coin as one of the 30 pieces of silver paid Judas (about $15) for betraying Jesus Luke 22:47). This coin was also the one found in the fish’s mouth (ch. 17:27). The God Me Karth on the obverse was the Tyrian figure for the pagan god Baal.
♦Jesus with crown of thorns on his head:
Jesus was mistreated and mocked: “Hail, King of the Jews!” (ch. 27:27-31) to demonstrate how much He was willing to endure to give us a place in His kingdom. He wore a crown of thorns in order that we might wear a crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4).
♦Roman numerals VII:XII on the right side of the grapes:
These numerals represent Matthew 7:12—the golden rule. The golden rule summarizes the obligations of the second table of the decalogue—loving our neighbors—and it is the acid test of the genuineness of a man’s religion.
♦Jesus with the children:
This scene illustrates Jesus’ desire to have children as a part of His kingdom (ch. 19:14). It also shows that to enter the kingdom requires becoming like a child—humble and trustful (ch. 18:1-3).
Jesus is telling the children about His great love for them. They are unaware that when He talks about His love, it is tied in with His suffering and death, at which He is pointing in this scene.
♦The phrase: “Our Father”:
This phrase represents the beginning of the best-known prayer in scripture, The Lord’s Prayer (ch. 6:9-13).
♦Flower in the lower right corner:
These flowers represent the “lilies of the field” (anemone coronaria) mentioned in Matthew 6:28. That, perhaps, Jesus used as a term for “wild flowers” to illustrate His not being unconcerned about people’s needs, since He took such good care of the “wild flowers.”
It should be noted that the long-stemmed starlike field flower we know as the lily may be only one of many species called lily in the Bible…. The lily was a common flower of the field (Song of Solomon 4:5), possessing a lovely fragrance (Song of Solomon 5:13) and an artistic form, copied in architecture (1 Kings 7:19, 22, 26; 2 Chronicles 4:5) (SDA Bible Dictionary - 653).
♦The grape vine:
The vine represents the pruning in our lives that must precede our abundant fruit bearing, which is needed to enter Christ’s kingdom.
Also, the parable of the laborers in the vineyard is represented (ch. 20:1-16). It illustrates that the rewards of the kingdom are based on God's generosity and man's motive for service.
The grape leaf is that of the Malaga Blanc/Dabouki whose origin and synonyms were Syria. The fruit cluster was conical, fairly large, well-filled and the berries were ellipsoidal and very large, white in color with thick skin (Pierre Galet, A Practical Ampelography: Grapevine Identification).
♦The wise men:
These men illustrate that Jesus is desirous that men from all walks of life enter His kingdom (ch. 8:11).
♦Male-female symbols in center of stars:
This modern symbol is intentional to symbolize Christ as the seed that not only was come (ch. 1:23), but is to come again—possibly in our day (ch. 24:44).
♦The sixteen sections of glass across the top of the window:
Represent the number of chapters in the book of Mark.
♦The title: The Servant of God:
Mark portrays Jesus as the patient servant spending and being spent to serve the sons of men (ch. 10:45).
This Greek title appears in a Greek New Testament, which means “According to Mark.” The earliest manuscripts bear the simple title: According to Mark. Later, as the term gospel came to be applied to the story of Jesus’ life and ministry, it was incorporated into the title of this book. The title found in the King James Version, The Gospel According to St. Mark, appears only in late manuscripts (5 BC - 563).
♦The boat scene:
The violence of the furious squall is portrayed with the waves breaking over the boat while Jesus is in the stern, peacefully sleeping on a cushion. This show real contrast (ch. 4:35-41).
♦The sunrise, with one beam of light pictured in the upper right side above the demoniac’s head:
The one beam represents Jesus’ first trip across the sea, which Mark records.
♦Jesus healing the blind man on the left side of the glass:
This is the only recorded instance of Jesus performing a healing in two stages (ch. 8:22-26) (5 BC - 629).
♦The Greek word—Eutheos:
This word means “immediately.” It is a key word in Mark, and he uses it more frequently than any of the other gospel writers to emphasize the actions that surrounded Jesus’ ministry.
♦Male figure with club in hand:
This represents the demoniac(s) in the country of the Gerasenes (ch. 5:1-20). He is depicted with some clothing, even though the text suggests that he was naked (Luke 8:27). This was done to avoid offending anyone by nudity.
♦The ox head in the lower right corner:
This symbolizes Jesus as both servant and sacrifice.
♦S J J A P B M T J T S J appearing across the bottom of the glass:
These are the first letters of the names of the twelve disciples (ch. 3:16-19). The last letter “J” is an extra space apart from the other letters. This symbolizes that Judas was separated from the twelve by his betrayal of Jesus.
♦LEPTON OF CAPONIUS, Roman—6 A.D., Widow’s Mite:
The Lepton, the smallest coin in circulation at that time, is referred to as the mite twice in the Bible, both times in connection with the widow (ch. 12:42, Luke 21:2). It was worth about 1/6 of a cent.Caponius was the first Roman procurator of Judea. During his rule, Christ questioned the temple priests (Luke 2:40-50). There are two widow's mites in the picture. Can you find them?
♦Title “The Son of God”:
“Only in the Gospel of John is Jesus reported as using the title of himself (chs. 5:25; 9:35; 10:36; 11:4). The Jews of Christ's time clearly understood the title in its highest sense (see ch. 19:7). John’s objective in writing a Gospel was to provide convincing evidence that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; (ch. 20:31)” (SDA Bible Dictionary - 1032).
♦logos in the lower right corner:
This is the key Greek term in the gospel of John which means “Word” (logos). John used logos to represent “Jesus as the incarnate expression of divine wisdom that made salvation possible, of the divine character and will, and of divine power active in the transformation of men’s lives” (5 BC - 894).
♦Morse code on the top left side:
__ .... . ... . __. __ __ __ __ __. .
The Morse code here ties in with the other Morse code in the glass throughout the Sanctuary. The Morse code is used in the other glass to give in Morse code key texts and subjects of the Seventh-day Adventists twenty-seven fundamental doctrines of belief. John’s aim is not so much biographical or historical as it is theological, which would place his interest and focus on doctrine that relates to Jesus.
♦The scroll in the upper left-hand corner:
This scroll is diagonally across from the word logos to emphasize this important word for John. The scroll is above the Jesus turning water into wine miracle, whereas the word logos is below Jesus carrying the cross. This is to symbolize how the Word addresses itself to man’s highest joys and deepest sorrows.
♦The sheaves of wheat as seen on the middle left side:
The wheat sheaves symbolize Jesus as the bread of life of which bread is made. The exact number of seven pairs of grain for each sheaf represents the Word of God as the perfect answer to all our needs.
♦Twenty-one sections of glass across the top of the glass:
Represents the twenty-one chapters in the gospel of John.
The Greek title: According to John.
♦The cluster of grapes:
There are thirty-three grapes to represent the age of Jesus when He died. Also, this cluster represents the all-sufficient life of Jesus that was crushed.
♦The sections of glass at the bottom of the glass—a group of three and a group of sixteen:
These sections represent John 3:16.
In Hebrew, as in English, this name is a form of the verb “to be” and implies that its possessor is the eternal, self-existing one (ch. 8:58; DA - 469, 470).
♦The dove above Christ’s head:
This signifies the Holy Spirit empowering the ministry of Jesus.
♦The basin with towel:
Represents the foot-washing ceremony instituted by Jesus at the Last Supper, which is recorded only in the gospel of John (ch. 13:1-17).
♦Teardrop placed above the grape cluster:
Represents the shortest verse in scripture—“Jesus wept” (ch. 11:35).
♦WAVY water line just above basin and above the word logos:
This connects the idea of the foot washing with baptism, as well as the cleansing effect of the blood shed on the cross for our sins.
♦The white lamb carried by Jesus:
This represents Jesus as pure and innocent.
♦Jesus with staff:
Jesus is portrayed as the shepherd and His staff is in seven sections to symbolize the perfection of this instrument.
Consider carefully the purpose and significance of the shepherd’s rod and staff. The eastern shepherd’s rod is an extension of his right hand, his weapon of defense against enemies, the mark of his power, and authority to protect and discipline his flock. In the same way the Word of God is an extension of Himself. It bears the mark of His authority. It is a sure weapon against evil (Hebrews. 4:12; Ephesians. 6:17). With it, God disciplines His children (2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 12:5, 6). The staff is an instrument unique to the shepherd and is used for control of the sheep, for guidance, and for comfort. Our divine Shepherd gently convicts, leads, and comforts us through all the vicissitudes of life (Senior Sabbath Lesson, 4th quarter, 1983, p. 50).
The color green symbolizes how the cross of Jesus brought life to men through His death. This cross overlaps the resurrection concept (eagle and tomb) behind it that speaks of life in Jesus as well.
♦Eagle in front of stone:
The eagle being a creature of the air reveals Jesus as the One who is from Heaven and whose home is there. The circle in front of the eagle represents the tomb that the resurrected Jesus was victorious over. The eagle is about to ascend, and this represents Jesus’ anticipation of His ascension to His Father after His resurrection.
♦Title “The Son of Man”:
“Son of Man” was our Lord’s favorite designation for Himself, occurring more than 80 times in the Gospels. The title stresses the reality of His human nature, even as the companion title, “Son of God,” affirms His deity. Others never addressed Jesus by the title “Son of Man.”
This is the Greek title: According to Luke.
♦Sycamore leaves in the upper left-hand corner:
This symbolizes the Zacchaeus story (ch. 19:1-10).
♦The ascending Jesus:
Represents the resurrected Jesus as retaining His human nature after His resurrection (ch. 24:39, 40).
This is a Greek word that only Luke uses for pound as a sum of money, and only in the nineteenth chapter of Luke (ch. 19:13, 16, 18, 20, 24, 25). “It was not a coin, but a Greek monetary weight unit equal to 100 drachmas” (SDA Bible Dictionary - 733).
Roman numeral for five thousand, to represent the feeding of the five thousand by Jesus (ch. 9:10-17).
♦Ten circles at the bottom of the glass:
These ten circles have a twofold significance:
1. The ten lepers (ch. 17:11-19) with the last circle being a different color to symbolize the one thankful leper.
2. The parable of the ten pounds (ch. 19:11-27) and the different colored circles represents the unfaithful servant with the one pound.
♦The lost coin:
The parable of the lost coin (ch. 15:8-10) mentions a woman’s search for a silver coin that made up a complete set of ten coins, that when she found it the discovery made her very happy. See if you can find the lost coin in the glass.
♦Face of a man in the left side above the Good Samaritan scene:
“The face of a man…bespeaks human sympathy, as it is written, ‘I drew them with the cords of a man, with bands of love’(Hosea 11:4). Luke shows how the ‘Son of Man’ could have compassion on the ignorant, seeing He also is compassed with infirmities” (Andrew Jukes, Four Views of Christ, p. 18).
♦Large hands of Jesus:
The hands of Jesus have intentionally been made large to emphasize His desire to bless mankind.
♦Geode under the Good Samaritan scene:
Represents Jesus’ first temptation (ch. 4:1-4) after the forty days of fasting to turn the stones into bread. This temptation was directed at sustaining His human nature, which is stressed throughout the gospel of Luke.
It is noted that a Geode is a Brazilian Smoky Amethyst.
♦The material depicted in glass from left to right, counter clockwise:
1. The ascension of Jesus (ch. 24:50-53).
2. Male figure symbol as “Son of Man” (ch. 5:24).
3. Good Samaritan (ch. 10:25-37).
4. Birth of Jesus (ch. 2:1-7).
5. Jesus in role of saving mankind (ch. 19:10).
6. Parable of the prodigal son (ch. 15:11-32).
Note that all figures are connected to each other to symbolize how all men are joined together as members of the human race. It also shows how Jesus is joined to the human race as well through his permanent human nature.
This is the star that was prophesied by Balaam: “There shall come a Star out of Jacob…” (Numbers 24:17).
In the Matthew glass, the Magi are pointing to this star which was not an actual star or planet, but was a distant company of angels (DA - 60) (ch. 2:9, 13; Matthew 2:2).
♦Beams from the star that extend to Jesus as a babe, the Son of Man, and His ascension:
These symbolize that the secret of the successful human life of Jesus was the power that constantly came from above. This connection He maintained throughout His life on earth.
Gospel of John:
The Son of God
Gospel of Luke:
The Son of Man
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