Four Witnesses (part one)

As we began our Advent anticipation we looked to understand the darkness and the significance of the light shining into it. Our anticipation grew as we saw in the prophecy of Scripture what kind of man the savior would be and what kind of work he would come to do. Now we come and remember his coming and consider what his work accomplished. We have four primary sources for the story of Jesus’ incarnation.

Jesus coming is gospel. “Good News.” Mar 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

It is good news that Jesus God the Son, Son of God came. This news will describe the life, words, work, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. His life is an example to us. His words are an incredibly profound instruction for us to obey, his work …more than an example he came to be righteous, die, rise again) To pay the penalty of our sin and impart to us his own righteousness. He came to restore us to a relationship with our God. This story, this gospel, is more than entertaining. It is more than deeply satisfying to the soul. It is the power of God for salvation for those who believe. Rom 1:16a For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,…

The apostle Paul and Mark served on mission together. The nature of their mixed relationship of cooperation and division and reunification can be discussed another time, but they both affirmed the gospel. Not just in Romans but also 2Ti 1:8-12 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, (9) who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, (10) and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, (11) for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, (12) which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.

The gospel Mark and the other three writers will detail is the manifestation of this incredible work of salvation that not only rescues us from suffering and shame but compels us to willingly share in suffering and shame. Paul writes to Timothy, “God saved us (though sinful and undeserving) and called us to live holy lives with a holy and costly calling. We can endure these costs because we know that his coming, his appearing, abolished death and brought us life and immortality. This is incredible.

We have seen that his coming was light shining into the darkness and yet the darkness did not understand. John 1:5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

It may not have been understood but it was seen as it was prophesied

Isa 9:2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.

They saw that light and some refused to acknowledge the light – that light was the true light which gives light to every man – so to those who did receive him he gave the right to become children of God. This is the good news.

John 1:9-12 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. (10) He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. (11) He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. (12) But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

Luke 1:1-4 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, (2) just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, (3) it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, (4) that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.

While Luke is writing divine revelation he acknowledges that he came to this work through diligent study. He has conducted the research, verified the sources, and labored to provide an account of this good news that is orderly and trustworthy. It is ordered, logical, and factual that the reader may have certainty concerning the things being taught.

We will look next to the fourth source, Matthew. But recognize that the gospel is already calling for a response from us. It is calling for us to believe what we read and to receive the one who is revealed. The gospel calls us to this faith, but not an unthoughtful faith. It is an informed faith that has had its questions asked and answered in soul satisfying ways. This level of faith is required if a person is going to join with those who share in the suffering of Jesus with their eyes fixed on a better hope.