Reflection on the Gospels…

I think now, more than ever we need to be people who are shaped by the story of the Gospels. In our world of scandal, Supreme Court Rulings, Political Correctness, terrorism, global disaster, the Gospels are a breath of fresh air

  • Regardless of your personal feelings on current events the way of Jesus calls us to radical, crazy, self-emptying love
  • Jesus, continually, consistently reminds us to love our enemies, turn the other check, to put others first (cf. Mt 5-7)
  • Jesus calls the church to a counter-cultural, cross shaped adventure of self-sacrifice (cf. MK 8:34-38)
  • Jesus’ story reminds us of where we’ve been and where we are going (Mt 1:1-17)
    • History is moving somewhere, or actually moving in the direction of someone
  • Jesus’ story (the Gospels) demonstrate the importance of the OT
    • The OT was the Scriptures of the early church
    • The number of OT quotes in the NT = 343 quotes
      • The majority of which come from Psalms, Isaiah, Deuteronomy and Exodus
      • There are no fewer than 2309 allusions or verbal parallels to the OT in the NT
        • So, to deny or downplay, or even downgrade the OT is an injustice for the follower of Jesus
      • Jesus grew up in a culture shaped by the stories of the OT
        • These great Biblical themes take on new light in and through Jesus
        • We need to keep in mind that the early church believed that Jesus fulfilled the longings and hopes of the OT
          • A long awaited Davidic king
          • Israel longed for a deliverer
          • Eschatological hope for manna – Jn 6
            • Lord do it again mentality
          • Because of Jesus and the connectedness to the OT:
            • The creation narrative takes on new light in light of the new creation available in Jesus – John 20:15
            • The central plot of the OT comes to fruition in Jesus – The Abrahamic promise (seed/descendant, land, blessing to the whole world)
            • The Exodus is recast in Jesus as one like Moses leading the people on a New Exodus out of sin-slavery (Mark 1; Matthew 5-7)
            • The provision in the wilderness is magnified by the abundance Jesus offers in his feeding of 5000 and the 4000
            • The pillar of cloud and fire by night is in view when we learn that Jesus is Immanuel in Matthew 1:23
            • The Ten Commandments or God’s wishes and intentions for humanity are in view when Jesus goes up a mountainside and begins offerings the words that set the course for how God wants his people to live (Matthew 5-7)
            • The priesthood of believers takes on new meaning when Jesus turns his followers loose on the world to make disciples of all nations (Mt 28:19-20)
          • The Gospels show us how to live in the world, and in community with one another
            • Jesus’ new community crosses racial, ethnic and gender barriers
            • There is a oneness in Jesus that the church is called to model
              • You see it in the stories of a centurion coming to Jesus for help, or a Syrophonecian woman coming on behalf of her daughter, or when Jesus prays for his followers to be One (Matthew 8; Luke 7; John 17)
            • The Gospels invite us to a deeper faith
              • Where nothing is impossible
              • Where
            • The Gospels remind us of the mission of Jesus
              • He was friend of sinners
              • He challenged the religious leaders in their understanding of holiness
                • Whereas they tried to protect the holiness of God, Jesus was contaminating the world with God’s holiness
              • He challenged the religious leaders in their understanding of “neighbor”
                • That Samaritans, the poor, women, and the unclean were valuable in God’s sight
              • The story of Jesus is meant for the whole world
                • There isn’t a place, or a people who aren’t meant to hear about God is doing in and through Jesus Christ

About Jason Retherford

The random musings of a youth minister.
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1 Response to Reflection on the Gospels…

  1. Corey Jones says:

    Thank you for this!

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