There was a point when I wanted to move on from the gospel. I tried more intense bible study, watching videos on apologetics and theology, and looking for challenging things to “advance” my faith.
I was bored of the same sermons and conferences with altar calls and reminders that Jesus loves us and he died for us. I, as Jackie Hill Perry puts it, “believe[d] that it is possible to graduate from Christ’s gospel” (Gay Girl, Good God).
A year in the gospels
After 2019, I realised how wrong this is. I spent the whole year in the four Gospels.
Though repetitive at times, it forced me to reflect on who Jesus is, why he came, and how desperately we need a Saviour. One of my favourite verses that summarises this message is Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Our holy God, becoming human, suffering the worst death on the cross, to be resurrected and gift us eternal life is something that never fails to amaze. And I can’t help but be in awe of Jesus.
Our response to the gospel
Each Gospel gives a different perspective. I think the endings give us four different angles to think about the message from.
Luke’s is the most recent revelation to me, as it ends on the Ascension, and the disciples began to worship God with joy and adoration of the resurrection (24:50-53).
Mark is a mystery ending at 16:8 in the original manuscript, we are left with the women in fear. It’s like Mark is asking, How would you, the reader, respond in this situation? Do you believe Jesus is alive?
John has a call to believe too, but he is more explicit in stating the purpose of his gospel is that “you may believe, and by believing you may have life in his name” (20:31). He is intentional about the truth he presents about Jesus.
Matthew gives the famous Great Commission (28:18-20) to the disciples. Jesus initiates the kingdom with the promise that he is with us. It is a call for us to participate in the kingdom too.
The Gospels end by handing it over to us. We are called to live worthy of the gospel (Philippians 1:27), so we can never move on from it, and the writers have made that clear in their accounts. This message of redemption in Christ should centre our lives. It propels us forward in life as it did the early believers. We must always keep in mind who Jesus is and the power of the gospel.