The Four Faces of Jesus: Heavenly Melting Pot (Part 3) (3-26-17)

Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.” (Isaiah 2:2)

In 1908, Israel Zangwill wrote a play that would evolve into the United States new nickname; The Melting Pot. His play aimed to display the hope of a triumphant fusion of different cultures, ethnicities, and nationalities into a new, unified nation where all could dwell under the same banner in harmony. Although Zangwill’s play coined the nickname for the U.S., its concept had originated back in 1782 where J. Hector St. John de Crevecouer expressed this same hope for the newborn Republic of the United States in his Letters from an American Farmer. This idea of melting together several different cultures, ethnicities, and nationalities into one enormous unified country, echoes the Master’s accomplishment on the cross. In Him, the beginnings of this wonderful dream became a reality because “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). This also reflects the direct commandment He gave His disciples of spreading the good news to all of mankind; regardless of creed, ethnicity, or gender. In our previous composition, it was discovered that this was the purpose of the Holy Spirit inspiring the four accounts of the Gospel. However, we paused in the realization that the world of these four scribes was entirely different from our modern world. This truth upholds the fulfilled necessity of writing four accounts of Christ’s Gospel. The apostle Paul’s inspired words exhibits the effect that the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus had on a society engulfed by discrimination. Ergo the detailed list provided by the apostle to the churches of Galatia. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John’s known world was composed primordially of Jews, Romans, and Greeks. The term gentile simply refers to any person who was not of a Jewish descent; therefore, both Romans and Greeks were in this category. In the first century, the Jews were very discriminatory toward Gentiles. They viewed all Gentiles as uncivilized, barbarian, and filthy people. Among several different ways to scoff at the Gentiles, Jews very often expressed their disdain for them by calling them uncircumcised. In doing so, the Jews were boasting about their proud heritage of being descendants of Father Abraham since circumcision was established by Jehovah God as “a sign of the covenant between Me and you” (Genesis 17:9-11). Nevertheless, they would also call Gentiles uncircumcised as an insult aimed at them by implying that they were unhygienic people. This insult was understood by the Jew because the practice of circumcision was the removal of the male foreskin which, medically speaking, is the most unsanitary and unclean part of the male body. Jehovah had ordained circumcision as the emblem of His covenant with Abraham to represent the holiness His chosen people were to display by removing sin from their person (Jeremiah 4:4). Yet (as has been mentioned in our other treatises), the people of Israel solely understood this practice in a literal way. Once more they failed to comprehend the spiritual significance of circumcision. For this reason, the apostle Paul boldly explained that “in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6). Their pride of being the descendants of Abraham became the catalyst of their deplorable approach toward Gentiles. Their lethargic comprehension of the spiritual matters prevented their faith from ever growing. The Romans, however, were not exempt from this heinous sin. History speaks of the pride of a Roman very often, especially when related to the mighty legions of Rome. It cannot be denied that Rome has left its immense footprint in the sands of time. Until this day, Rome continues to influence many parts of the world with its military history. After all, Rome dominated the majority of the known world during the first century. The Greeks, for their part, were not as guilty of being discriminatory, but did fall prey to national pride and arrogance. These were the domineering influences in culture when the four gospel accounts were penned by the Holy Ghost’s chosen writers. These three main groups influence our world still today. History has recognized Judaism as being the first to promote a monotheistic religion, acknowledged the Greeks as being the “cradle of wisdom,” and has shone her spotlight upon Rome as the military powerhouse of the ancient world. Meditating upon this, it becomes abundantly clear why God targeted these three different cultures to produce His heralds that would fill the world with good news. The Jewish, Greek, and Roman influence has transcended time with their intertwining history in the ancient and modern world. In examining closely how the Lord was able to complete His mission on earth, we are able to see all three cultures connected to Him. It is interesting to note that the target audience for the four gospel writers was foreshadowed in His cross. More accurately, these three cultures were hinted at in the superscription that described the accusation that led to His crucifixion (Matthew 27:37, Mark 15:26, Luke 23:38, and John 19:19). Luke and John both mention that this sign placed on the cross of Jesus “was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin” (John 19:20). The languages chosen by Pilate were the common spoken tongues of that time, reflecting the lasting impact this had in the minds of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Inadvertently, Pontius Pilate was the first to proclaim to every person (Jew, Gentile, Greek, or Roman) living in that part of the Roman empire the good news of the long awaited arrival of God’s Messiah. It is astonishing to witness how God converted what was meant to be a mockery into a trumpet of good news. It is also amazing to learn that although there were three specific target audiences and one generalized one, these four inspired writers were able to harmonize with one another. Indeed, to trace the harmony between the four books that unified the entire world in Jesus is to awe in God’s power of bringing to fruition a celestial melting pot. To be continued…

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