Today we begin the New Testament! The four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) will be intertwined chronologically (as much as they can be). Skeptics will point to the differences in these four accounts as evidence that the Bible is not reliable; I disagree. If four people witness a traffic accident, they will give four different accounts with various details observed from their viewpoint and understanding of what happened. In the same way, each of the authors of the gospels gives us a different perspective. One event may have had more impact on them than another. They may have been first-hand witnesses to some things and received other information second-hand. Each author also has a different audience in mind, so things that would naturally have been understood by their audience may be left out. But when we read all four gospels together, we will have a wonderful, complete picture of the life and ministry of Jesus, the incarnate Son of God.
Today’s read included John 1:1-18 in which the beloved disciple, John, gives us a lesson in theology as he introduces Jesus to us. Here are just a few “big concepts” that are contained in his introduction.
1. Jesus is God and has always existed.
2. Jesus was an active participant in the creation of the world.
3. Jesus is the Light. Darkness cannot understand Him or overcome Him.
4. Jesus enlightens every man; thus, all men are accountable and without excuse for their sin.
5. Jesus, being God, became flesh and dwelled among men.
7. Jesus came to explain God to us because no one has seen God.
8. Those who receive Jesus are granted the right to become children of God.
Wow. These 18 verses lay a foundation for the greatest news mankind has ever received: the gospel of Jesus Christ. John’s purpose in writing is clear. He wastes no time in getting to the point: we must believe in Jesus, and He is worthy of our belief. He is who He says He is.
As we begin our journey through these first four books of the NT, we must keep in mind that they are “the gospels.” They are written for the express purpose of presenting Jesus as the Son of God, the One who came into the world, lived a perfect life, and died on a cross for the sins of the world so that we might believe. While they are historical accounts, they are written to breathe spiritual life into you and me, today, because Jesus is alive today. He is not just a good man, a wise prophet, or leader of a religious sect with good ideas about morality and values. He is the Son of God, and He came to make us children of God, if we will believe.