December 27, 2018
Want some good news? Here's some, in a quick little Bible study refresher course: As you may know, only the Gospels of Matthew and Luke tell what have become familiar the Christmas stories of Jesus' birth and early days. It's from those two books that we get the familiar stories of Joseph and Mary's travel to Bethlehem, Jesus being born in a manger, shepherds, the wise men, and so on. The Gospel of Mark has no such stories: it starts out with Jesus already a full-grown adult. And the Gospel of John refers to the birth of Jesus by telling us that that birth was the Word of God, which (who) has always in existence from the very beginning, becoming enfleshed, or human, in the person of Jesus. Each of those Gospels adds a valuable perspective. And all four convey good news: Matthew and Luke emphasize the good news that God chooses to be involved in ordinary human history and uses ordinary human beings for extraordinary purposes. Mark gets right to the point of the birth, which are the things Jesus said and did while alive, and how those words and deeds are good news for us, because of what they say about God. John reminds us that while Jesus was unique, he was not out of character for God, because Jesus, as the Word-made-flesh, was the culmination of the good news that God has been trying to get through to us ever since creation, which is to make God's goodness and love known to us human beings in ways we can understand. In other words, no matter who is telling the story of what God was doing in and through the person of Jesus, it's good news. As in Good News. If you ever encounter a preacher or a church conveying any other message, you can bet they aren't basing their religion on the God revealed most fully in Jesus. Because while the four Gospels vary quite a lot in the WAY they tell the story, the story is the same: Jesus is "good news of great joy" of God's loving involvement in the world.
See you Sunday,