Friday, October 29, 2010

A Beloved Portrait

The women’s Bible study group that I attend is embarking on a study in the gospel of John. We are using John MacArthur's study guide to aid us in our exploration of this glorious gospel account.

As you may already be aware, the gospel of John is the fourth gospel contained in the New Testament. Many people have asked over the years why there are four different gospels and not one composite. The answer is simple – each gospel presents a different depiction of Christ. In Matthew, for example, Jesus Christ is presented as the promised king and Messiah of Israel. Mark, on the other hand, portrays Christ as a servant/prophet and focuses a large portion of his account on Christ’s miracles. And when you come to Luke's gospel, Christ is described as the perfect man walking among the people of the world. Luke has a special focus on Christ’s humanity.

As we begin to investigage John’s account, we learn that his intent is to present Jesus Christ as the Son of God. This is the burden of John’s message as he states in 20:31, “These things are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that believing you might have life through His name.”

According to John MacArthur, when we come to the gospel of John, “we enter into the most sacred holy place of all, the holy of holies and we see God in person, God in flesh. And so the fourth gospel is the gospel of all gospels. It is the holy of holies of the New Testament. It is almost as if we ought to take off our shoes for we stand on holy ground as we approach this gospel because it presents in the most magnificent glory the deity of Jesus Christ. It talks about His humanity, it talks about His servant hood, it talks about His kingship, but it presents primarily His deity. It is behold your God that John is trying to get across.”

I must confess that even though I have been a Christian for more than 20 years, I realize that my own understanding of Christ is limited because I have not spent nearly enough time getting to know Him. As one woman said during our first meeting last night, “I want to know and understand Jesus beyond just my salvation.” And that really is the crux of our study. As Christians we are in a personal relationship with Jesus. We are not His followers because of what He can give or do for us but because of who He is.

Many people come to Jesus for what He can give and the scripture warns us that there would be a day coming when people would mistake gain for godliness (1 Timothy 6:5). I believe we are living in those days, especially in America. So much of what the church focuses on is what we can get from Christ instead of what is already ours in Him. So often the temporal cares of this world distract us from the one message God is always trying to get across – I am enough. Truly, He is enough.

I hope you will join me over the next few months as I study the gospel of John. Please feel free to comment and let me know what you are learning about Jesus.

“I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between Him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creation of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for Him.” – Napoleon

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