I asked my students taking New Testament Survey to read half of one of the gospels, then write at least one paragraph answering this question: “According to what you read, who is Jesus and what is his mission?”
I loved reading these micro-papers about Jesus. There was nothing fancy about them. They were mostly simple recitiations of how the gospel writers themselves directly answer this question. But the plain truth about Jesus is so beautiful and encouraging! It brought me joy to see that truth affirmed in each summary I read.
Here’s what they found:
- Jesus is God.
- Jesus is human.
- Jesus is so good!
- Jesus fulfills the Old Testament prophesies.
- Reactions to Jesus are strong.
- Jesus forgives sins.
- Jesus helps people in big ways: healing, exorcism, raising from the dead!
- Jesus has great authority in his teaching.
- In his words, in his actions, and in the testimony of others—God the Father, John the Baptist, angels, and even demons—who Jesus is and what his mission is is very clear.
For next week, I asked my students to read the rest of the gospel they started, and think about the various ways people react to Jesus in the gospels.
When’s the last time you read one of the gospels from beginning to end?