People don’t read scripture enough as it is but for sure, they are not reading the four Gospels enough.
I once heard Dallas Willard say that “the Pentecostals’ Bible wears out at Acts 2, the Baptist’s Bible wears out at Romans 8 but the Gospels go largely untouched.”
Other denominations have their pet scriptures that they barely deviate from and constantly reference but very few of them center around the four gospels that discuss Jesus’ life, ministry, and teachings. I have often wondered why this is?
I am one that has a high Christology. Jesus humbled himself as a member of the Trinity and took on the limits of flesh but retained all of the divinity of God. He was the smartest and greatest person who ever lived and is worthy of my love and obedience. There is no other person or idea that is worth following. Jesus is the answer to all of life’s questions and I intend to Grow Up in my imitation of Christ.
If I don’t read the Gospels regularly then how am I going to understand Jesus’ priorities, teachings, love, mercy, miracles, convictions, and compassion? He said himself, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” I can’t see God but I can use Jesus as my lens to make God and his power and love more visible to me. By immersing myself in the Gospels, I am reminded over and over my need for Jesus and his salvation.
I have enjoyed Trevor Hudson’s book, Seeking God. In this book, Hudson uses St. Ignatius as a guide to imaginatively enter the stories of the Gospels – to place yourself at the scene of a Gospel miracle and be a fly on the wall for Jesus’ most intimate conversations. In this reading of scripture, I am not just dabbling in nice stories of Jesus doing cool stuff but I am imagining the world around Jesus, the care in which he interacts with people, his urge to serve and not control, and the determination of his mission. I believe that Jesus is not just sent to die for our sins and then rise three days later but to live like us in order to redeem all that belongs to this messed up world. The Gospels are my window into God’s redemption story of love through his son, Jesus. I can’t fully grasp all that Jesus is and all that he has done and is still doing if I am not getting to know him through the Gospels. To neglect this portion of scripture is a great mistake and one that leads Christian believers down paths that are often distractions or worse – counter productive to God’s Kingdom.
If you have never read one of the gospel accounts, I would start with Mark. It is the most action packed and quickest to read. From there, take your pick. Matthew’s emphasis will be of a Jewish nature; John’s emphasis will be on the last days of Jesus and his trial, crucifixion, and resurrection; Luke’s emphasis is on the compassion and fullness of Jesus’ ministry.
Don’t ever let yourself think that the Gospels are less than in any way or reserved for 4th grade Sunday School classes. These books of the Bible show us Jesus and that is a great, great gift.
Receive today the gift of the Gospels.