The Four Faces of Jesus: The Full Picture (Part 15) (6-25-17)

For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” (Colossians 2:9-10)

Puzzles are a unique way of combing entertainment and art. In order for the problem solver to achieve seeing the full picture, every piece of the puzzle is essential. If a single piece is missing, that puzzle will be incomplete and unable to display the entire picture. Although each piece has a different shape or form, it is the slight difference that makes them all fit together. The entertaining challenge is finding the appropriate way each piece fits with each other; the prize is the gorgeous artwork exhibited by the several pieces as one. Verily, it is a tedious process that requires much patience and endurance that exercises a person’s mental ability of observation and critical thinking. For many, the same can be stated when studying the Bible. Like a puzzle, a text used outside of it’s proper context (immediate or remote) will not fit with the rest of God’s inspired Word. The apostle Peter warns us that in the Bible there “are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures” (2nd Peter 3:16). These men of whom the inspired apostle speaks dangerously of attempt to force Holy Scriptures to fit in accordance to their convenience. Sadly, the Holy Spirit reveals that these “evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2nd Timothy 3:13). Allowing these forced pieces to remain in place distort the rest of the image the puzzle is meant to exhibit and will only “increase to more ungodliness” (2nd Timothy 2:16). Therefore, the importance of “rightly dividing the word of truth” is illuminated since this is the absolute way to “present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed” (2nd Timothy 2:15). Hence the necessity and the motivation for striving to piece together the entire portrait of Jesus of Nazareth with the pieces provided to us by the cosmic scribes. It has been stated before that these four men (inspired by the Holy Ghost) each present a different aspect of the Messiah’s mission here on earth. Although each scribe is unique in his presentation of Christ, they fit flawlessly with one another never deviating from God’s inspired pattern. It is wise to understand that a valuable attribute that unequivocally confirms Holy Writ to be from God is the consistency found in all 1,189 chapters of the Bible. An additional amazing feat that further reveals God’s holy Hand is knowing that approximately 40 different scribes were selected by Him to pen these words, scattered throughout several centuries from each other, teaching the exact same Divine message. Once more, Peter confirms this undeniable truth since he exhorts “that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2nd Peter 1:20-21). Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were faithful to this absolute truth in their task of fully revealing the Master to the world. Their extraordinary accomplishment began by understanding the audience they wrote for. This allowed the amanuenses to target the source of confusion pertaining to their specific audience revolving around the understanding of who Jesus was. They were wise to acknowledge, and not ignore, the presence of wicked men who taught “perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves” (Acts 20:30). For Matthew, these “savage wolves” came in the form of the Jews residing in Jerusalem who insisted in denying that Jesus of Nazareth was the long hoped for Messiah. The lack of understanding on their behalf regarding the Messianic prophecies mirrors the peril highlighted by the apostle Peter’s words to the church in the first century (2nd Peter 3:16). The inaccurate belief that the Messiah would be a literal warrior king was corrected by Matthew detailing Jesus’ rightful claim to David’s throne. Using fifty-three Old Testament passages (the most of all four), Matthew impeccably portrayed the royal visage of Jesus to all of his readers. Although King, John Mark points his spotlight to Jesus’ fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy regarding Jehovah’s Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53). Mark turned his attention to the Christians living in Rome who were under duress as a consequence of Nero’s horrid persecution. Striving to encourage his brethren by emulating Peter’s optimism that they should “rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings” Mark reminds his readers that Jesus, as the Christ, was sent to serve mankind on His cross. Indeed, to know that they suffered as Christ suffered brought much solace to the troubled hearts of those living in Rome during those turbulent times. Similar to Matthew, Mark’s Gospel of action gives an eyewitness view of Jesus bravely wearing the mantle of God’s suffering Servant, proving that Isaiah 53 was in fact a Messianic prophecy despite the Jews denial of it being so. Undoubtedly, the period when Luke wrote his Gospel account was plagued by apathy and violence. The poor were regarded with disdain by the aristocracy and cataloged by the teachers of that time as unworthy of being accepted as students. A cruel action practiced by Jew, Greek, and Roman alike. Being a physician and observing how human indifference was destroying the lives of many, Luke turned his gaze to the pattern left by the empathetic and compassionate man named Jesus. Luke announced to the world the coming of He who left His throne in heaven, to become the Son of Man. The beloved physician was fully aware how necessary it was for God to send His Son in human form so that humanity could have “a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17). Yet, John confirms that before Jesus was the Son of Man, He was the Son of God. In his Theological dissertation, the beloved disciple unites both worlds, Jew and Greek, with his masterful use of logos. The eagle-eyed John completes the circle by refuting Gnosticism by being the first to boldly claim that Jesus, the Son of God was in fact the Incarnate Word. Astoundingly, the four fold melody is in perfect harmony with one another lauding Jesus as King, Servant, Man, and God only as the Christ. Indeed, how sweet a sound these scribes melody makes!

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