Welcome back to Beyond the Pew. As we continue this series on Scripture, we’re going to be focusing today on the life of Jesus.
So there are four different books in the Bible, the Gospels, which means “good news,” these four books tell the good news of Jesus and focus in on his life and tell us about who he is. Those four books are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Now just because there’s four, doesn’t mean that these books all contradict each other or they’re telling different stories or giving us different perspectives on Jesus to the point where they contradict each other, that’s not true, that’s not happening.
They’re, a lot of times, telling the same stories but really just highlighting different parts of who Jesus is. It would be the same thing if you asked your spouse to tell someone about you or your child to tell someone about you or your boss to tell someone about you or a friend of yours, they’re all going to highlight different things about you because their relationship with you is unique. That same thing is going on in the Gospels. It’s not that some aren’t true or some are contradicting one another, no, they’re just highlighting different parts of who Jesus is.
So one of the things that you see in Matthew’s Gospel, is he’s highlighting a lot about who Jesus is as a Jew, because Jesus is fulfilling all of these different requirements or different things that the Messiah was said to have. So there are prophecies about who this Messiah will be, and Matthew is going to highlight a lot of those, and you won’t see those same themes in Luke’s Gospel.
It’s not that some aren’t true or some are contradicting one another, no, they’re just highlighting different parts of who Jesus is.
If you’re looking for a Gospel to start reading, Mark’s is the shortest, and it’s really action-packed. A lot of the sections start, “And Jesus did this, and then Jesus went here and immediately.” So it moves pretty fast, and it’s the shortest of all of them. So maybe give that one a try if you’re looking for a place to get your feet wet, start with Mark’s gospel.
A few things for you to know, just to set the scene culturally and politically about the Gospels, there are a few things going on in this part of the world at this particular time period that are important to know. Sometimes I think those can be stumbling blocks if we don’t know what they are, because Jesus came at a particular time in history. So if we don’t know what’s happening, we’re gonna feel lost.
So a few of those are that everybody is looking for the Messiah, this Anointed One. God’s people are seeking to know who is this person who’s going to come save us and restore us to God, who’s going to free us from sin. And there have been other people who have been around at this time who have claimed to be the Anointed One, claimed to be the Messiah or other people, followers who have thought that they found the Messiah and that it wasn’t the right person. You see some of the people in the Gospels thinking that John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, is the Messiah, so everybody’s trying to find this Messiah, and they’re trying to figure out if it’s Jesus. So that comes up a lot in the Gospels.
God’s people are seeking to know who is this person who’s going to come save us and restore us to God, who’s going to free us from sin.
Another major thing going on is that Rome has taken over this part of the world. So there’s a lot of distrust towards the Romans and a lot of hostility towards Rome and you see that throughout the Gospels because Rome is there, the Jewish people are trying to get any kind of power and authority that they have left. So there’s a lot of power plays happening between the religious leaders, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, who don’t like Jesus and see him as a threat, and then you also have King Herod who’s really more of a figurehead. He doesn’t have a lot of authority at all, but it makes it look like Rome’s not in complete control even though they are. So just know that that’s a little bit of the political scene going on, so that when you read these things in the Gospels, you’re not completely thrown off.
Some things that you see Jesus emphasizing in the Gospels, he’s really focused on helping us understand the truth of God’s love for us. He came that we would understand God’s mercy, and so you see him teaching and preaching to try and help us better know God’s love for us and to know how to respond to that, to know what it means to live as a follower of him, to know what it means to live as a child of God. So Jesus is constantly going around trying to preach truth.
You also see him trying to bring life. So he’s going around and he’s working miracles, and he’s bringing healing to people, not because he’s trying to show off, but because he’s trying to free us from anything that would bind us, and he’s doing this in a physical way because he wants to set us free from from our ailments and from death. But he’s also trying to show us that he wants to do that in a spiritual way as well. He wants to free us from our sins. So, you see those two things.
A few other examples of what Jesus is doing in the Gospels, he talks about his father all the time because that’s where his heart is. He loves his father, and he shares that relationship with his father with all of us. That’s why he came, to reconcile us, to bring us back into relationship with God the Father. That’s why he dies on the cross, to free us from sins and from anything that would keep us from living in the love of God. In John’s Gospel alone, Jesus talks about his father 108 times. That’s his main focus. It’s a priority for everything that he does. He’s constantly trying to point to the Father.
That’s why he dies on the cross, to free us from sins and from anything that would keep us from living in the love of God.
Another major thing he’s doing is gathering followers to establish a church. He wants to be able to spread the truth and the life that he has to everyone in the world, not just in this tiny little region of the Holy Land. And he wants this message to be spread, not just while he’s walking around on the earth, but for hundreds and thousands of years to come. And that’s why the church is so important, and that’s why he’s taking time to found and establish the church by calling followers to come after him.
And the last thing you see that I want to highlight is his emphasis on the Holy Spirit. He talks about the Holy Spirit coming to continue to teach us truth and to fill us with life, and that the Holy Spirit will enable us to know him more deeply and to remain close to him, even after he dies and rises and now is in heaven. He sends us his spirit so that we would be close to him, and so that we would live as children of God, and so that we would do even greater things than he did. That’s his hope. Those are his words.
So these are things that Jesus focuses on in the Gospels, and we should look for these things and try and learn more about them as we read the scriptures. We will be praying for you at Ablaze and hoping that you’re diving into the Gospels. Again, we recommend starting with Mark. Please know that you are in our prayers, and we hope that these videos help you really dive into the Word of God. From all of us at Ablaze, God bless.