January 22, 2019

The New Testament begins with a rock solid foundation . . .

If asked to describe another Christian, I’d ask a few questions. Are they walking in the Spirit and relying on God? Or have they ‘tipped’ over and trusting themselves? Or seeming to trust God but faking it? Or do I need to check myself — am I seeking certain traits that blind me to what I don’t want to see? On my own, this is a difficult task, yet with the aid of the Holy Spirit, I could be accurate.

The Holy Spirit was involved as writers described Jesus during His short life on earth. The New Testament Gospels contain four accounts. They sometimes overlap, are not always chronological, and do present distinct views. Jesus is not like us in that He has no dark side or pretense; He was and is sinless, certainly different from every other person. The NT says the Church is “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Ephesians 2:20) so it lays a foundation for the revelation of God with these four accounts.

Matthew introduces Jesus Christ as “King of the Jews” and their Messiah. This book points to the fulfillment of many OT prophecies and an emphasis on Christ’s teaching for the Jews, His ability to heal and cast out demons, and blocks of teaching like the Sermon on the Mount (which includes the Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer), His Parables and the Olivet Discourse. Matthew tells of conflict between Jesus and religious leaders whom He warns with “seven woes” but they put Him to death. After His resurrection, Jesus gives 
His disciples the Great Commission. 
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18–20)
Mark pictures Jesus as the “Servant of the Lord” attentive to His Father’s work, His activities among the disciples, the crowds, and the religious leaders. None of them understood Him. In the end, the religious leaders arrested Him, the disciples abandoned Him, and the crowds jeered Him. Mark points out that only when Jesus died alone on the cross did a Roman centurion recognize that He was the Son of God.

Luke portrays Jesus as “the Son of Man” — the perfect representative of humanity who gave His life “to seek and to save that which was lost.” It was written as a letter to Theophilus after author Luke, a physician, carefully investigated all the facts. He tells of Jesus’ birth, ministry, death and resurrection showing He lived as a man in the power of the Holy Spirit with great compassion for the poor and downtrodden.

John presents Jesus as the “the Son of God” and the eternal Word who became flesh to reveal God to us. John tells of many personal contacts that changed the lives of those who realized His identity and received eternal life. John focuses on seven miracles to show that Jesus is God and seven “I am” statements. This book includes the most well-known summary of the gospel:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
The Gospel of John was written to persuade people to believe in Jesus:
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30–31)
While all the Bible is God’s love letter to me, John’s Gospel is a favorite book. As a new Christian, I was told to read it five times, but before that I already knew who Jesus is, for He walked into my life with that revelation from the Holy Spirit. Reading John’s book affirms that understanding and fills me with great joy. Not only do I know the God who created all things, but that same God came to earth, died for my sin, rose from the dead, and now lives in my heart, making me a temple of His Holy Spirit. He takes care of me just as He cared for people while He walked this earth.

Lord Jesus, no matter what facet of Your life shines light into my heart, all of it is like a diamond, precious and without flaw. You are Lord of all, lovely and full of grace and truth. Thank You for coming, for living, for dying, for living again and forever to love and intercede for this poor sinner.

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