I’m a firm believer in studying the entire story of God and his people as it is recorded for us in what we call the Bible. Not only should we read and meditate on the words of the New Testament, we need to understand the Old Testament story to fully appreciate the New. However, we should never stray too far from the New Testament in our study of the Old as ours is a story that’s not only going somewhere, but in a sense, has already arrived through the person of Jesus Christ. Of all the good places to spend time in the New Testament, there’s no better place than our four gospels. Each of the four evangelists had a specific purpose in recording the life and times of Jesus and each records these events from a unique perspective. To fully appreciate that perspective, one is best served in reading these gospels in their entirety and in context, rather than jumping around or trying to “harmonize” them. In fact, harmonization does more damage than good in understanding the story that each writer is trying to tell. But regardless of how we go about studying Jesus’ life as recorded for us in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the important thing to remember is that his story is our story!
If we are to truly be Christ’s church in the world, then the anchor of our lives and faith has to be securely rooted in the gospel of Jesus. He is the founder of our faith and the one who will finally bring our lives to completion. If we are to be transformed into his image, then we need to immerse ourselves in his life and teachings. Because we are his disciples and follow in his footsteps, we need to take time to learn from this one who is meek and gentle, and yet, firm and demanding. As we continue through the gospel portion of the story, let’s fix our eyes on this man who fixed his eyes on his Father and was obedient all the way through death and into resurrection life. He has gone ahead of us, but he hasn’t left us behind. He’s given us his Spirit to enable us to become citizens of his new creation. In the meantime, may our lives reflect Jesus back into this present age. May our lives be “little gospels”, so to speak. May God’s will be done in our lives, both corporately and individually, as we await the renewal of all things. – Shay