Metaphysics Course

This blog is a collection of essays and lesson comments from several of the Universal Life Church courses on Metaphysics. We have a Spirit Quest Course and one on A Course In Miracles.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Four Gospels

First let me start by saying that the word "Gospel "is both in its original Greek and our own Saxon –English signifies "good tidings"
There could be no better tiding than our lord Jesus Christ coming into the world for the sinful man or woman. Coming into the world to seek and save that which is lost.
The four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
Each represents a distinct character of Jesus Christ and they are as follows, Matthew represents Jesus as "lion", signifying a sovereign king. The gospel of Mark represents Jesus as the "ox", a servant. Also in the gospel of Mark you will never see Jesus called "Lord" until after his resurrection. Next we have the gospel of Luke which represents Jesus as "the Man", because of his intelligence, his insight and his understanding of life.
Also this gospel is the gospel of the man who was perfect "Incarnate", the only truly perfect human being. Lastly, the gospel of John represents Jesus as" The Eagle", for his deity, meaning that Jesus became a human being, while at the same time soaring above as fully devine.The four symbols combinded together reflect the characters of Jesus Christ. That is why the four gospels should be "viewed together" (synopsis) in order to get a complete picture into the different characters of Jesus Christ, much like assembling a puzzle, one or ten pieces of the puzzle do not allow you to see the whole picture, you must complete the puzzle in its entirety in order to see the whole picture.
So must you read all four gospels to get a good understanding of who Jesus Christ really is?
What I have given you thus far is a short overview into the person of Jesus Christ, now I would like offer you a more detailed account as to the meaning of each gospel.
Matthew begins his book by showing how Jesus Christ was a descendant of David. But Matthew goes on to show that God did not send Jesus to be an earthly king, but a heavenly king. His kingdom would be much greater than David's because it would never end. Even at Jesus' birth, many recognized him as a king.Herod, the ruler, as well as satan, were afraid of Jesus' kingship and tried to stop him. We must be willing to recognize Jesus for who he really is and worship him as king of our lives.
In Matthew 5 verses 3-10 we have what is known as "THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT" because Jesus gave it on a hillside near Capernaum. This sermon probably covered several days of preaching. There are at least four ways to understand the beatitudes.
(1)They are a code of ethics for the disciples and a standard of conduct for all believers. (2)They contrast kingdom values(what is eternal)with worldly values(what is temporary).(3) They contrast the superficial "faith "of the Pharisees with the real faith Christ wants.(4)They show how the old testament expectations will be fulfilled in the new kingdom. These beatitudes are not multiple choice-pick what you like and leave the rest. They must be taken as a whole. They describe what we should be like as Christ followers.  Despite opposition from the Pharisees and others in the religious establishment (chapters 12-15), Jesus continued to teach concerning the kingdom of heaven (chapters 16-20).During this time, Jesus spoke with his disciples about his imminent death and resurrection (16-21) and revealed his true identity to Peter, James, and John (17:1-5).But soon opposition mounted, and Jesus know that his death was near. He let the disciples know what to expect before his return (chapter 24) and how to live til then (chapter 25).
In Matthew's finale (chapters 26-28),he focuses on Jesus' final days on earth- the last supper, his prayer in Gethsemane, the betrayal by Judas, the flight of the disciples, peter's denial, the trial before Caiaphas and Pilate, Jesus final words on the cross, and his burial in a borrowed tomb.
Now moving on to the gospel of Mark, here I am going to explain to you as to why, out of the four gospels, this one is the shortest one.
First of all, mark was much like a reporter today, who is at the scene of an event as it is happening and they generally keep us informed as the events occur. Well Mark was much the same way, he did not dwell on the biography of Jesus like Matthew or Luke, it does not speak of Jesus' family or carrer, the gospel of Mark is a record of Jesus' actions and achievements.
On the first page it starts with John the Baptist's fiery preaching and the beginning of Jesus public ministry. Mark is interested in Christ work, not only his words. You can see this because Mark records eighteen of Jesus' miracles and only four of his parables.
Another point to the short gospel is because Mark presents the events in the order they occurred but he gives little or no historical linkage between the events, in other words he simply sticks to the facts, (what happened).Also Mark felt that writing to a roman audience, he did not have to recite Jesus' genealogy or old testament prophecies because they had already been fulfilled and the Romans were the type of people who loved action so Mark presents Jesus to the Romans as a man of action. The Romans did not ask "where did he come from?" or "what did he say?" but "what has he done?" So in conclusion Mark felt that the gentiles did not need a Jewish history lesson, he felt they wanted a clear picture of Christ. Like I stated earlier, the Romans understood power and actions, so Mark saw to it that they (Romans) got exactly that, no nonsense, concise, action packed summary.   
Now we enter into the gospel of Luke, Luke was chosen to be the writer of this gospel quite possibly because of his background as a physician. Men and woman in this practice make it their business to deal in facts and of course scientist belong in this category, they check data and conduct experiments, test theories and draw conclusions. Luke was a constant companion of the Apostle Paul, he met Paul in Macedonia (Acts 16:10).
According to Paul, Luke employed himself in the practice and study of Physics, this is why Paul called him "Luke the beloved Physician" (col 4:14). Luke only sought his information from firsthand accounts as it states in Luke 1:2, which says "By those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word".
Luke wrote this gospel to the gentile nation, rightly fitting, because Luke himself was a gentile Christian and he was the only gentile to write a gospel and also the book of Acts, as per our early church fathers, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Tertullian.
Also this can be verified in Luke 1:1 and Acts 1:1, in which Luke uses the name "THEOPHILUS" which means ("One who loves God") or ("Friend of God"). Some believe that the name does not refer to an actual person but rather, to all people who love God, and they also believe the name "THEOPHILUS", suggest a gentile. This falls in line with the contents of both Luke and Acts, which gives the appearance of being written to a predominately gentile audience.
Furthermore, Luke avoided Jewish expressions such as "scribe" and "rabbi" and used in its' place words such as "lawyer" and "Master" (see and compare Luke 9:33; 11:52 with Mark 9:5; 12:28). Luke's purpose for writing is because he wanted to provide ,"THOSE WHO LOVE GOD" with a "carefully investigated" and "orderly account" of the life of Jesus (Luke 1:3) and this may be why God chose Luke to write this gospel.  Also throughout the entire gospel of Luke, you can see that Luke wanted to leave us with this message, that Jesus is the unique Son of God, humanity's perfect leader, and only savior. He offers forgiveness to all who will accept him as Lord of their lives and who believe that what he says is true. Christians know this profound truth, that Christ has changed our lives forever. He also wants to tell us that we have a great responsibility to share the good news with others. We know that the world is lost, with millions on a collision course with " ETERNAL SEPARATION FROM GOD" or as Charles H. Spurgeon used to Quote in his sermon "THOSE WHO BELIEVE,SHALL BE SAVED, THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE SHALL BE DAMMED".
These men and woman need to meet and know the savior, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Luke shared the truth with us in his gospel, what are you doing to share the gospel with others. 
Here we have the final of the four gospels, the gospel of John. The gospel in which Jesus goes out in full force to prove that he is "THE SON OF GOD" and that he is "GOD THE SON". To write this gospel, God chose the apostle John, because John wrote what he saw with his own eyes, unlike Mark and Luke, who wrote eyewitness accounts. The gospel of John represents Jesus Christ as the deity, THE SON OF GOD, God the Son and John wrote everything that needed to be written to prove this point.
First let me start by giving you a breakdown of the gospel of John and you'll be able to see how Jesus Christ when about to prove who he truly was. First we start with "THE INCARNATION OF THE SON OF GOD (John 1: 1-18).
Secondly, we have "THE SON OF GOD IS PRESENTED TO THE WORLD" (John 1:19 to 4:54).
Thirdly,"THE SON OF GOD FACES OPPOSITION" (John 5:1 to 12:50).
Fifth and final one is "THE CRUCIFIXION AND RESURRECTION OF THE SON OF GOD" (John 18-21). Let me share with you a little background information into the term" Son of God". To the Hebrews, to call someone "the son of God" was to say that he is identical with that person. So when the Hebrews heard Jesus refer to himself as the "Son of God", to them this meant that Jesus was saying he is "God".
That is why the Scribes and Pharisees angrily challenged Jesus, because Jesus was making himself out to be equal with God.
They used the term "that's blasphemy!", but the fact of the matter is that it was not blasphemy, it was the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but. Another point John brought out concerning Jesus' deity, is found in Luke 4, in which Jesus preached in the synagogue at Nazareth, Jesus quoted Isaiah 61 in which he said " THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD  HAS  ANOINTED ME".  Let's and look at these words for one second, first, what does "MESSIAH" mean? Well "MESSIAH" means "The Anointed One", so by saying this Jesus fulfilled the first half of his mission-which was to come and preach  the good news to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, set the captives free( first coming). The second half- to proclaim the day of God's vengeance (his second coming). To further demonstrate that Jesus was God, John gives you seven marks of a Messiah which are:
1.     The changing of water into wine  (John 2:1-11)
2.     The healing of the royal officer's son 
(John 4: 46-54)
       3. The healing of the paralyzed man who lay at the pool of Bethesda.
                      (John 5:1-9)
   4. The feeding of the five thousand
                    (John 6: 1-14)
  5. Walking on water.
                  (John 6:20)
  6. The healing of the blind man.
                 (John 9: 1-12)
 7. The raising of Lazarus.
               (John 11:1-44).
Also in his gospel, John uses five great words of our lord that would further prove his claim that Jesus is the Son of God. They were the words which God spoke to Moses to identify himself at the burning bush. God spoke and said "I AM WHO I AM" (Exodus 3:14). That is Gods' expression of his very nature. Now Jesus uses these words to establish his claim to be God. Listen to these words which come from the lips of Jesus.
"I AM" the bread of life. (John 6:35) or you could say "I AM GOD", THE BREAD OF LIFE, and so on. Next he says "I AM" The light of the world, (John 8:12). "I AM" The Gate (John 10:7), "I AM" The good Shepherd (John 10:11), "I AM" The resurrection and the life (John 14:6).And lastly, "I AM" The Vine, apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5).
Seven times Jesus uses the revealing name of God from the Old Testament and linking it with New Testament symbols as you have just seen. John 1:4 says "The word becomes flesh and made his dwelling among us". Look at these words very carefully, the GREAT " I AM" came down from the safety of his kingdom, manifested the person of Jesus Christ, TO HEAL,TO SERVE, TO BLESS, TO DIE AND RISE AGAIN, all this was done so that we may not perish, but have everlasting life.
Please, for the sake of your life, take a moment and read the gospel of John, read and think about what I've written to you. Let not all the writings of the Apostles and the Prophets be in vain. Think for a moment and look at all that God has done for us so that we don't suffer eternal separation but that we may have eternal life. Eternal separation can't be good if he did all this so that you may be where he is, In a place filled with life and glory. Remember these words and let them be forever in your mind in hopes that someday you will give your life to "THE GREAT I AM".

That is the message of the Gospel of
                      Gilbert Paul Moreno


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