Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Christmas and the Four Gospels
Matthew 1:21-22 “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet."
Yesterday we began considering the whole Bible in light of Christ's first coming, and traced God's redemptive plan from Genesis to Malachi. We ended at the cradle. Today, we will journey from the cradle to the cross as we consider Christmas in the Four Gospels.
Seeing Christ in the Gospels
The cradle of Bethlehem is spoken of in Matthew and Luke's Gospel and the cross of calvary is spoken of in all four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. We come to understand God the Son coming from eternity into time to live a perfect life, die a sinless death and raise to victory over death, hell and the grave.
In Matthew we see Christ our King. He is King as it touches His lineage back to King David in the Old Testament and He is King as it touches His Eternal pre-existence as the Son of God. He is the King who came, taught, healed and was rejected by His own people. The lineage of Christ's royal bloodline and the scene of the wisemen worshipping the two-year old Christ in Matthew 2 begins this grand theme of Jesus is King. As one journey's towards the end of Matthew, there is found the emphasis of Jesus' Kingship with regards to His possession of all power as God-incarnate in Matthew 28:18.
Mark shows us Christ the suffering servant. He came to die and give His life a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45). Though Mark does not gives us the early life of Christ, yet it focuses our attention as to why he was born - to live as the believer's credited righteousness, to die for the forgivness of sins and to rise to provide both.
Luke portrays Christ as the Son of Man, full and complete humanity. He is the Master who calls his disciples to die to themselves and live for Him. Luke the physician points us to the Great Physician Jesus Christ. Luke begins His Gospel with the early life of Christ: His birth, His presentation at the temple and the shepherds. We see 72 names listed in Christ's geneaology - stretching from Adam to Christ.
John, the beloved Disciple pens for us the glory of Christ as God in human flesh. In John's record we see emphasis upon Christ's undiminished Deity and perfect humanity. We see John's fondness for the number seven in telling us His version of Jesus' life: seven signs or miracles and seven times where Jesus identifies Himself as "I am".
What Christmas is all about
Now all four of these Gospels take us through Jesus' life to His cross. The three days following Christ's crucifixion witnesses His resurrection from the dead and then His ascension 40 days thereafter. When you put all four gospels together together, you have a complete picture: the babe in Bethlehem would be the Savior on the cross. The Savior on the cross would rise again, demonstrating Himself to be the God of glory. All Four Gospels work distinctly and together in communicating the glory of the incarnate God - Jesus Christ - invading history. The Kingdom of God has been inaugurated by Jesus following His ascension into Heaven, yet if He had not came in the virgin conception/incarnation, there would had been no cross, no empty tomb nor inauguration of any Kingdom. In as much as we are right to celebrate all that Jesus achieved, let us not forget the way in which He came to affect such salvation - namely, the virgin's womb and the miracle of His incarnation. This is what Christmas is all about.