Digging into the Gospel
If you were to enter any of the great cathedrals of the world, you would likely see a section of the building marked by the seals of the, “Four evangelists.” It’s long been known that each of the Gospels, written to different audiences, placed special emphasis on different aspects of Jesus’s life and ministry that were relevant to it’s early readers. So each gospel author came to be represented by a different symbol, based on their depiction of Jesus. So…
- Matthew’s gospel came to be represented by a man, because the Gospel opens with the human genealogy of Jesus as the son of David.
- Mark’s gospel was represented by the lion, because it begins with John the Baptist roaring through the wilderness with a message of the kingdom’s immanency.
- Luke’s gospel adopted the symbol of the ox, an animal used in sacrifice and service. For it is in Luke’s gospel that the humility and servant-hood of Christ is most fully realized. And finally,
- John’s Gospel, the last of the four written, has been marked by the eagle. It was believed in ancient times that the eagle could stare straight into the sun, and John presents to us Christ, the very image of the invisible God, who’s face is brighter than ten thousand suns.
In the Beginning… same text, different book
John begins his Gospel where it is most fitting, in the beginning, and from this we learn the first and most majestic truth about Jesus. He always has been, for he is himself in very nature, God. This will frame everything else we read in the coming months. Many in our day will ask the question, “What is God like?” John, would smile and reply, “God is like Jesus, because Jesus is God.” So we ought to keep this in mind as we read, as Jesus calls His disciples, as he gives Simon a new name, as he deals with Nathaniel's skepticism and doubt. Through every word, and action He is revealing to us God’s character. That, in our world, is how we know people better, it is by becoming more familiar with their character. This is the great treasure of the Christian life, that we may know God, not as we have speculated, but as he truly is. Because he has given us His very word in the form of Jesus of Nazareth. He has invited us to know Him, because his simple calling of the first disciples was not for them only. “Christ the risen king continues to issue his summons, ‘Follow me!’ May we ever answer the call.
Questions to Ponder – Reply back in the Comments Section:
1. Why does John think it’s important in the beginning of His gospel to start before the world began?
2. When Jesus calls Simon, he gives him the name “Cephas” which means rock. We know him better by the name Peter. Why does Jesus give him a new name? Is there something in that name that describes him well?
3. Nathaniel has doubts about the truthfulness of Jesus’s claim to be the messiah. How does Jesus respond to his doubt, and what does this teach us about how God meets with us in our doubts?