Thursday, December 2, 2010

Reflections on Advent – IV

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Matthew 1:1

Each of the Four Gospels begins differently. Matthew begins with the above statement. Mark begins:

The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet…

Luke starts with:

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also…

Then we have John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Four different beginnings, one focal point – Jesus Christ.

Matthew begins by pointing us to the genealogy of Jesus; He is from the kingly line of David; He is a descendant of Abraham – He represents the fulfillment of prophecies given to both of these men.

Mark points us to Isaiah the prophet heralding the coming of Christ and directing our attention to prophetic words bursting upon the scene in the persons of John the Baptist and Jesus. Mark begins his Gospel in an action tempo and never lets up.

Luke begins like the methodical physician he is; he’s done his research, conducted his observations, and now is writing his treatise.

John…well John will be John…and John doesn’t begin with a genealogy, nor with an echo from the prophets, nor with the assurance that he’s done his homework – John begins before history, John begins before the prophets, John begins before the genealogies – John begins at the beginning – John begins at Genesis – John begins before time and space, in the deep fathoms of eternity past…The Word was God.

What do we do with this fourfold claim at the beginning of the Gospels?

  1. God made promises to David and Abraham; Christ fulfilled (and is fulfilling) them.
  2. God spoke through prophets of old; Christ fulfilled (and is fulfilling) those prophecies.
  3. The life of Jesus Christ is an historical fact, verifiable in time and space; His birth, death, resurrection, and ascension are verifiable – there were eyewitnesses to these events.
  4. Christ is God; He is Creator God; one with the Father and the Holy Spirit – and He became flesh and lived among us (John 1:14).
The question is always the same, Who is Jesus Christ? A lunatic? A liar? The Son of God, the Savior of the World? Those are the only three options – as has been said, He didn’t intend to leave us with any others.

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