Tag Archives: Jesus

The Beloved Apostle’s Gospel

Book of John; is a different Gospel than those called the synoptics’. John has his own unique audience that he is writing to. Remember that John was the youngest of the Apostles, and most likely Peter was the oldest. In John 21:20, after Peter has been given his “death prophecy” he asks about the “other disciple” – Jesus lets him know that is not to be his concern. John was allowed to live until a very old age. He is known as the “Elder”. John writes his Gospel, not with a different message, but from an entirely different vantage point. He has witnessed or was well acquainted with he lives, [deaths of the other fellow apostles] of those who had been preaching the Good News. Most of the 1st generation evangelist/apostles have been dead for nearly 15-20 years by the time he writes. He has knowledge of the saints, but also of the Fall of Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70. H e is well acquainted with the “imperial worship” and persecution; having experienced it first hand, yet remained alive from the ordeal.

John, one of the “son of Thunder” is now a mellow, aged man that has witnessed so much of first century Christianity. He has been taking care of Mary [mother of Jesus] and both resided at Ephesus. It’s like John has outlived everyone, and only he remains. John is yet to write the final treatise of God – the Book of Revelation; he is a loving Elder statesman for the faith. In his Gospel, John is combating heresy of Gnosticism. The Gnostics have been around for sometime, some even think they found strength in the Essene’s and John the Baptist followers. The Gnostics are proud of their belief system and knowledge. They promote a “dualism” of man; where the physical and spiritual are separated and have no effect on each other.

John opens his Gospel with a solid apologetic statement to the “eternal existence” of Jesus. The Words “In the Beginning” find substance in light of Genesis 1:1. While Jesus the flesh was born during the reign of Herod the Great, Jesus the Son of God was pre-incarnate.  1 John brings a wonderful witness to the bodily presence of Jesus – in that He [Jesus] was heard, touched, seen – all sensory input that Jesus was real, not a figment of someones imagination.

The history of John as the forerunner is prophecy fulfillment. John’s work of repentance and baptism, pave the way for Jesus’ own ministry. Now since the people affirmed John as a real prophet, they were is great dilemma when it came to who Jesus really was; for if he is the Christ, then they must worship him and acknowledge that John the Baptist got the identification of the “Lamb of God” correct.

John has a unique way of bringing to the reader the lives of the Apostles before they were apostles. I find it quite interesting that many of the Apostles are related to each other very closely.  We see early on the work of Andrew bringing others to Jesus, specifically, his own brother.

John is different n how many Passovers Jesus and the disciples attend. Some have Jesus only at 2 Passovers, whereas John has him early. John is really difficult to follow at times, for His message is not to follow Jesus’ ministry in a chronological way as Matthew, Mark and Luke do; but to bring significant case where the reader has to declare that Jesus is the Son of God. John 20:21; gives us the reason for John writing, that you might believe in Jesus Christ and that believing you may have life in His name.

The famous chapter 3, shows us how that religious leaders, having spent their lives in pursuit of God, actually miss God. In Chapter 4, the woman at the well reflects that Jesus in fact came to sinners, not to the Jewish religion. In Nicodemus and the Woman we have the stark contrast of lives – good and holy Vs. immoral and dirty. The Gospel is for all people, for all are broken and need the Savior’s healing touch. In many of the periscope John includes,  are unique to his gospel. John is not trying to prove that Jesus is a real historical person, but that He was truly the Son of the Living God..


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Luke’s Legacy

We begin this week reading the Gospel of Luke. Luke is known as the companion of Paul on most of His missionary journeys. The capacity with which Luke traveled with Paul is often one of conjecture. Did Paul need a medical doctor with him because of his “thorn in the flesh” or because of the many beatings and physical injuries? Either way, the good doctor has left us with two exquisite books in the New Testament.  While Luke is a doctor, we also find that he is also an accomplished historian. The preamble of both is books tells the reader his purpose for writing; to explain and affirm what “most excellent Theophilus” has been taught. While we may not know if Theophilus is a real person or a pseudo character for Luke’s writings; we do find that Luke takes great pains in making sure of the factual information.

Luke is known as one of the synoptic gospels. Much of what is found in Luke is also contained in both Matthew and Mark; with Mark believed to be the source for much of the other two gospels.

Luke also begins his Gospel “at the beginning” – only Matthew gives us any other insight into the birth narratives of John the Baptist ans Jesus. The reason for Luke beginning at the birth, brings in specific dates and personalities of the time. One such question of Luke’s accuracy was the “first census” of Quirinius as governor. It was thought for centuries that Luke was mistaken, however, historical records show that Luke the historian is right.

The birth narratives provide Christianity with the humble beginning of our Savior. The point of the narratives, that God was at work in History bringing salvation to the world. The incarnation of Jesus, the Christ is essential to all that follows in His ministry and sacrificial death and resurrection. If Jesus is but a mere man, birth like anyone else, much of our Gospel becomes myth and folklore.

The Son of God became a man; He [the creator] “Put on humanity.” While the virgin conception is paramount for Jesus to be the incarnate Christ, it is also imperative that we know that Jesus is completely flesh and blood like you and I. Jesus was tempted in all points like you and I, but without sin. Jesus is more that a symbol, he the exact representation of the Father to us. Jesus could say – “he who has seen me has seen the Father; I and the Father are one.”

This may seem like a very boring subject; however the Church Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, met for settling the issue whether Jesus was God. The Council affirmed that Jesus was “of like substance” as the Father; co-equal with God.

Luke uses a transition word of “Now” all throughout his Gospel. It notes a change, or an event that occurs. His Gospel is a chronologically formatted writing, in other words sequenced on how things actually happened time wise.

Beginning with the Forerunner, John the Baptist; Luke gives us the background of how the birth of both the “one like Elijah” and the Messiah came to be. Jesus and John are cousins, which in itself is quite interesting; for we learn that John started his own ministry, as if He didn’t know that Jesus was the Messiah. Anyway – John the voice crying in the wilderness after 400 years of silence captures the notice of the people.

The nativity narratives bring angels, shepherds and ordinary – yet favored people to life. The prophecies of the Old Testament are included to bring coherence to the scriptures.  God is at work in time and people to bring about His salvation plan. The characters of the “Christmas story” are well-known. The story doesn’t end really until we get to the Temple scene where we meet Simeon and Anna; two godly people advanced in years waiting for the “consolation of Israel.”

The Christmas story of Luke is much more joy filled than that of Matthew with the cruel King Herod and the infanticide tragedy. The joy is captured for us by the songs of Mary and Zacharias and Simeon. The Angels sing, the people sing, the historical coming of Jesus in real-time and place cannot be denied and is readily confirmed by Luke for us. This baby, miraculous as His birth was clearly establishes that “God has visited earth is His beloved Son.” The promised Messiah, announced and affirmed by Luke establishes the “Now” ministry of Jesus.

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