Thursday, 22 December 2011

TKJG Chapter 6: The Gospel in the Gospels

The early Christians called Matthew, Mark, Luke and John the ‘gospel’ because they are the gospel! The story of Jesus. To call these books the gospel is precisely to express that Jesus himself, the entirety of his acting, teaching, living, rising, and remaining with us is the ‘gospel.’ The four gospels and the gospel are one. The story told in Mark calls hearers to belief in the person who is described in it, Jesus, the Messiah and Son of God, and thus to eternal life; in other words it seeks to be wholly and completely a message of salvation. Luke’s purpose is not merely to narrate the deeds and words of Jesus but to show how these did in fact lead to the experience of salvation and to the formation of the community of the saved. John shows how the principle institutions and feasts of Israel, those annual celebrations that told Israel’s Story and that shaped both memory and identity for every observant Jew, fin their own completion in Jesus. These Gospels do not arrange the story into our way of framing the plan of salvation, and neither do they format the story into our favourite method of persuasion. Instead they declare the Story of Jesus, and that story is the saving, redeeming, liberating story.

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