The gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) do not leave open the option of considering Jesus as simply a good, moral teacher. A man who was merely a man and said the things Jesus says in the gospels would not be a moral teacher. As C.S. Lewis points out, “He would either be a lunatic - on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.” Who do YOU say that Jesus is?
Matthew purposes to establish that Jesus is the Messiah, fulfilling the prophecies of the Old Testament. Mark is full of action and miracles and shows that Jesus claims to be the (prophesied) Son of Man. It emphasizes the suffering Messiah (as opposed to a conquering King the Jews were expecting). Luke was a doctor and was meticulous and detailed. He seeks that we “have certainty” about Jesus (from the first chapter) and also shows how Jesus came to reach the lost and outcast. John has a completely different tone than the other gospels. It is more poetic, deep and even mystical. John establishes that Jesus is the Son of God and is divine.
INVITATION: Join in our overview of the Gospels and their claims of the “good news” (the meaning of gospel) of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Messiah who was prophesied in the old testament. He is the Son of God and the fulfillment of scripture. Who do YOU say that he is?
Monday: Matthew 1:18-23 and 2:1-6: Matthew often wrote about how Jesus fulfilled what the prophets had said about the Messiah, including the virgin birth (from Isaiah 7), place of birth (Micah) and other prophesies from the old testament. Have you ever spent time pondering or in prayer, or perhaps studying how the old testament and new testament fit together? Do you consider such things coincidences or do you believe Scripture is the Word of God? If you struggle with this, perhaps you will consider praying from a story in Mark: “Father, help me in my unbelief.” God is faithful. He will meet you in your unbelief and in your doubt.
Tuesday: Mark 2:1-12; Psalm 103:1-3. Only Jesus can forgive sins. In this account from Mark, Jesus does just that and causes everyone to wonder about him and call him a “blasphemer.” Do you regularly go to Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins? How might you include that as part of your regular prayer life? All of us can come up with false guilt about things we deem as sin or feel badly about, and that can certainly be cumbersome and overwhelming. What might it be like for you to ask GOD to convict you of sins and then pray for forgiveness for only those? Many people find freedom in prayer when they begin to ask God about what to pray rather than put the burden upon themselves. Perhaps that might be helpful in your prayer life?
Wednesday: Mark 14:61-62: At his trial Jesus, beaten and bedraggled, proclaims himself the Christ. Such a declaration must seem ridiculous to those gathered, that the man whom they are about to execute is the Messiah. Are you called to proclaim Jesus the Christ to people to whom that reality might seem foreign or even ridiculous? To people who are sick or dying? To doubt ridden people? To people who are destitute? In what ways might God want you to communicate divine truth? Do you have a friend with whom you could discuss this and who would be in prayer for you regarding this call on your life? Who might God bring into your path this week who needs to hear the “good news?”
Thursday: Luke 4:16-21 and 5:27-31: Jesus’ ministry is for ALL. Crowds became angry that he was including tax collectors, prostitutes and even the Gentiles in his ministry. Have you ever taken an unpopular stand on someone’s behalf? Imagine what that was like. Are you willing to take a stand for the sake of Jesus? Even the most slight proclamation of “absolute truth” in our culture is often met with resistance. Do you believe Jesus is absolute truth?
Friday: John 8:58-59: Jesus states that before Abraham was born, “I am!” What do you think about Jesus’ claims of being the great “I am” throughout scripture?
Saturday: John 20:30-31: “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Who do YOU say that Jesus Christ is? Profess to him today all that He is in and for you. Then, spend some time in gratefulness to God for who he is in your life.