Sunday, December 03, 2006

Jesus of Nazareth in the Four Gospels

The Gospel of Matthew: Jesus of Nazareth is the King of Israel come to return all true Israelites from exile, back to life under the delightful rule of God.

The Gospel of Mark: Jesus of Nazareth is the brilliant, compassionate, authoratative Son of God, greater then Caesar Augustus.

The Gospel of Luke: Jesus of Nazareth is the Teacher of the Way back home to God; his wisdom, his healing, his power, his love make for a new kind of God-community.

The Gospel of John: Jesus of Nazareth reveals the way to eternal life, available to those who have returned home to God from exile: Jesus is the way to eternal life, the truth of eternal life, the source of eternal life.

The gospels were written by Jewish men who thoroughly understood their Scriptures: the Law, the Prophets, the Writings. They were writing about a Jewish man, who in their lifetime announced that the Exile was over.

The Jewish people were defined by the Exodus and the Exile. God brought them out of Egypt, thus the Exodus. But God put them in Exile, for they had turned away from Him. God promised that he would exile his people if they turned away from Him and his Way. After repeated warnings and heartfelt pleadings to return to him that fell on deaf ears and blind eyes, God fulfilled his promise to exile them. God had promised to return them to the Promised Land, if they would return to Him and his Way. Northern Israel turned away from God, and God turned his back on them in 722BC. Southern Israel turned away from God and God turned away from them in 586BC. Over five hundred years later the people of Israel were still in exile, they still had not returned to God, thus their land had not been returned to them.

Jesus came as the promised one to return God's people back to the promised land, to return them back to God and His Way. The Gospel of Matthew is this story to the Hebrew people scattered all over the world. The Gospel of Mark is this story to the Roman citizens baffled by the noteriety of this Rabbi Jesus. The Gospel of Luke-Acts is this story written to a Greek nobleman who seeks truth and God. The Gospel of John is written to all who want to believe that Jesus is the way to eternal life.

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