Why are the Gospels so Important? Part Two
A second way in which the Gospels could be considered redemptive is their spiritual nature. Each of the four books contains examples of Jesus' teaching. These teachings reveal much about God and His desire to bring salvation to the world.
Matthew's Gospel is the most Jewish of the four and appears to have been written to Jews who had become Christians. Matthew contains the brilliant Sermon on the Mount. Here, one of the things that Jesus discusses is the true nature of the Law. For example, Jesus uses two of the Ten Commandments as illustrations. Jesus quotes the commandment, "You shall not murder." He then goes on to explain that it is not enough to just fulfill the letter of the Law. If we get angry with someone to the point of violence, we have broken the Law.
Jesus also quoted, "You shall not commit adultery." He said that it was not enough to just not commit the act of adultery. Jesus said that if we lusted in our hearts after someone, it was the same as if we had broken the Law. This teaching was revolutionary for His hearers who were often taught that rote obedience was the most important thing. For Jesus, what was really important was what was going on in our hearts.
Matthew also contains much of Jesus' teaching about the Kingdom of God. He prefaced many parables with, "The Kingdom of Heaven is like..." These snapshots about the Kingdom conveyed what Jesus thought we needed to know about life in God's Kingdom.
As mentioned previously, each of the Gospels contains the crucifixion and resurrection story. Mark gives his readers a theological insight into what Jesus' death meant. In Mark 10:45, Jesus said that He came, "to give my life as a ransom for many." Jesus' death had a spiritual meaning that went beyond Him dying a martyr's death. Jesus' death can actually be viewed as a sacrifice. This idea is developed in other parts of the New Testament, particularly the Letter to the Hebrews.
John's Gospel also conveys a strong redemptive message. The key word in his book is "believe." It is used almost one hundred times in John. in every encounter that Jesus has with someone in John, He is seen trying to lead that person to have faith or to believe in Him. In John 20:30-31, John even states that the reason that he wrote his book was to lead people to faith in Christ.
While each Gospel is unique and different in certain ways, all four of them convey the same basic message. They show a historical faith in which God stepped into history in the form of a Man. The Gospels also convey a spiritual faith recording the words that Jesus preached and taught to help people find faith in Him. The redemptive value of the Gospels is a powerful truth and one that will be impacting people until Christ returns.
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