By Rev. Douglas Rollwage
Special to The Guardian
t’s a month too late for New Year’s resolutions. So let me instead, propose a 2018 goal that together in 2018 we might get to know Jesus a little better - maybe a lot better.
And the best way to do that, to get first-hand knowledge about Jesus, is by reading the Gospels, the four books known as Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
If you want to come to know Jesus and what he said and did and why that should matter to you, there is no better place to go. Their purpose is to tell you just what it was Jesus did, said, and promised, so that you can come to know him too.
After all, if you are not reading the Gospels, over and again, you are cheating yourself of the greatest opportunity that life has to offer: the chance to meet Jesus, to come to know Jesus and to come to believe Jesus. And, in the act of believing, have fullness of life now, and life eternal, in the way he personally revealed it.
These Gospels are no ordinary books. All four Gospels get their power, their purpose, their life, from the presence of Jesus within them. Collected and composed on the basis of life-changing eye-witness testimony, the Gospels reflect the birth, life, teaching, miracles, death and resurrection of Jesus – and his impact on those who met and followed him - with an immediacy and power no other book or film can.
These books were collected, copied, distributed and guarded – often at risk of life itself – by those who knew and understood the importance of first-hand, accurate testimony of the reality of Jesus. They became the “definitive Four” because of their faithfulness to the recollections of those who experienced Jesus directly. And through them, you can experience Jesus too.
If we feel that God is not playing a very big part in our own lives, perhaps it’s because we haven’t provided God with much opportunity and that we are missing out on a great deal. I know that if we open the door a bit wider, if we open our hearts and our minds to what God could really do in us and through us, if we give God a chance, a good chance; well, I suspect the sky wouldn’t even be the limit. Just take a look at what Matthew, Mark, Luke or John had to say and find out for yourself.
Take a look at what Jesus has done. Take a look at what God has done for others through him. Read through a Gospel or two, or three, or four, and find out more. If you start this afternoon with just a chapter a day – that’s my challenge to you today to daily read a chapter of a Gospel (and a Gospel chapter is generally a page or less – five minutes– you’ll be through Matthew and Mark and well into Luke by Easter. And you will know Jesus – his words, his actions, and his voice – like never before.
Journey with me. Read the Gospels, a chapter a day. Meet Jesus all over again. Think about how that might make a difference in your life. Give it a chance. For if you don’t, I’m afraid you are cheating yourself of the greatest opportunity that life has to offer, the chance to meet Jesus, to come to know Jesus, to come to believe Jesus and, in the act of believing, have real and eternal life in the way he personally revealed it (John 20:31).
It is satisfaction guaranteed, or your life cheerfully refunded. This is good news!
Rev. Douglas Rollwage is the senior minister at Zion Presbyterian Church. A guest sermon runs regularly in Saturday’s Guardian and is provided through Christian Communications.