The New Testament includes four versions of the life, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Man. We call them the four Gospels.
Matthew tells how Jesus comes to bring the reign of God on earth and fulfill Old Testament prophecy. Mark crackles with intensity and immediacy as Jesus hastens from one event to the next, healing and teaching. Luke, the doctor, takes a gentler turn and provides a tool for Jews to use when catechizing Gentile converts to Christianity. Finally John, in language that is both simple and profound, proclaims the truth of who Jesus is: God in the flesh come to redeem the world.
As a composer uses harmonizing strains to form one grand piece of music, so also the Gospels create a full picture of Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God who became man to suffer and redeem the world. The Gospels do not compete with each other; they are not telling different stories, but complement each other, playing various melodies and harmonies of one great story.
And the story is this: God fulfilled His promise to Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, David, indeed to all Israel and the whole creation by sending His only begotten Son into the flesh to live the perfect life we cannot and to suffer, die and rise again for our sins and our justification.
During your celebrations of Jesus’ resurrection this April, let me offer you a challenge. As you read each of the articles in this issue, read the corresponding Gospel afterward. The entire Gospel. All at once. You will not regret it.
Roy S. Askins
Managing Editor, The Lutheran Witness