Before I get to The Story, I have to give a ‘thumbs up’ to the movie God’s Not Dead. Go see it this week if you can. There’s a battle raging for the hearts and minds of our kids, especially those in high school and college, and this movie shines the spotlight on the need for knowing why we believe what we believe as Christians. The Apostle Peter reminds us, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” (1 Peter 3:15)
This week in The Story it’s like coming home, isn’t it? These are the stories of John the Baptist and Jesus that we’ve heard since childhood – for most of us, at least. How do we look with fresh eyes? One of the ways is to look a little deeper into the intent of each of the four gospel writers. What was their purpose in writing? How do their stories weave together to make a unified message of who Jesus is?
Matthew wrote primarily to a Jewish audience, emphasizing Jesus as ‘King.’ Mark’s take was to present Jesus as a ‘servant’, hence no genealogy, since a servant’s ancestors were not considered important. Luke placed emphasis on Jesus as ‘man’ (fully human), and according to singer/author Michael Card, “the book of Luke is filled with amazement.” And finally, John wanted to make sure we see Jesus as ‘God.’
We see these attributes – king, servant, man and God – in each of the stories we read this past week – and those we’ll read in the future. We also see two points of view this week in the stories about the woman at the well and Nicodemus – the first as an outsider (a Samaritan) and the second from the inside track of the religious leaders of the day. Don’t you love the way Jesus relates to each? I mean, he doesn’t get rattled by the questions. He simply reveals himself in each case as the only way to life.
As Pastor Sean reminded us on Sunday, Jesus was focused on his mission, not afraid to be offensive by speaking the truth, and always inviting others to follow him and join in his work of making disciples. Just as you will see if you go to the movie, we never know when we’ll be challenged to defend the reason for the faith we have. So in the weeks to come, let’s press in hard to see the familiar stories about Jesus in new and deeper ways. And as you read God’s Word, purpose in your heart to let it read you!