Classic Christianity – Bob George (12-17-18) Synoptic Gospels
Bob George shares from the synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to provide insight into the greatest story ever told about the greatest man who ever lived. He shares insight from what God has revealed to men through eyewitnesses, those who walked and talked with Jesus. Indeed, Jesus is more than a man and a good teacher. He indeed is God in the flesh. He is three parts in one, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This concept, or doctrine, is often referred to as the Trinity. Bob shares an illustration in order to help explain the Trinity. There is so much information concerning Jesus. Not only do we have the reports of eyewitnesses but we have the writings of the prophets of the Old Testament. Did you know there are over 600 prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah, and those prophecies were all fulfilled in Jesus Christ? It would be wise for people to look into these things more closely. Have you ever heard in a Christmas carol these words: “Oh come Emmanuel”? Do you know what that means? Emmanuel means God with us. Have you thought about the meaning of such words? Do you know that the scriptures provides the details, explaining that Jesus really is God in the flesh who came to dwell with men so that men may know God. What does it mean to know God? He did not come so people could just know about God, like someone would know about Abraham Lincoln or George H. W. Bush, but to actually know him personally.
Bob George introduced the topic by mentioning a brilliant theologian who memorized all the synoptic gospels in Greek and then wrote down how they harmonized together. These passages in scripture are like listening to a message in stereo, the greatest story ever told.
The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
Just in these passages in John, one comes to understand about the Trinity, that Jesus really is a person in the Godhead, consisting of the Father (God), the Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit, three parts in one person. No one has seen God but Jesus came to make Him known. For if you have seen Jesus, you have seen the Father (John 14:9).
A seminary professor once remarked that if you deny the Trinity you lose your soul but if you try to fully understand it you lose your mind. We as humans, created beings, cannot fully understand God. Yet Jesus came to make Him known to us. Bob George used an illustration of an egg, consisting of three parts, the shell, the yolk, and the white. There is only one egg but three parts. Every illustration tries to explain spiritual truth in things human beings can see naturally in this world. Nevertheless, Bob used the illustration to help people grasp the concept of the Trinity, that the Godhead is one God but consists of three parts, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Word represents the yoke. So if one were to re-read John 1:1 replacing Word with Yolk, that might help some people better grasp the concept of the Trinity.
By just reading John 1, what conclusions can be drawn through simple use of logic or reasoning, such as replacing “Word” with “Jesus” in John 1:1. When one reads, “the word became flesh”, who is this word that became flesh? Notice also that the Word is identified as “He”, a person, starting in verse 2. Look at this scripture concerning John the Baptist’s testimony concerning Jesus.
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”
32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”
What is the meaning of this phrase “A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me”? John the Baptist was born physically before Jesus came into this world as a person in the flesh! We know this from the gospel of Luke. Looking more closely at the account recorded by Luke, further details are provided concerning Zacharias and Elizabeth, John’s parents, and Mary greeting Elizabeth while she was still pregnant with Jesus. So how can John say that Jesus was before him? Jesus is the preexistent one, God, whom man cannot see. No one has seen God and no one has seen the Holy Spirit. Those parts of the Trinity cannot be seen. Jesus himself, when explaining the Spirit to Nicodemus in John 3 explained that the Holy Spirit, although cannot be seen, compared the Holy Spirit to the wind. No one can see the wind but they can know the effects of the wind. The Holy Spirit is at work behind the scenes revealing truth to men. So too, God is Spirit and one cannot see God.
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
No one knows what the Spirit looks like for He is invisible. This body houses you. This body is not you but houses you, the invisible you. When you die, the body still here, lying in a coffin, but you are not. Likewise, the Holy Spirit is inside Jesus and is Jesus, the preexistence of Jesus, the preexistence of God, always been here, always there, the invisible person of God. God was never born or created. Jesus was born in the flesh, but existed apart from the flesh and is God and is the Holy Spirit who always is and always will be, the preexistence one.
So by careful analysis, one can conclude that Jesus is the Word that came from heaven, that He is the light of the world, that He was with God in the beginning and is God, the creator of all that is seen and unseen. He came into the world to make God known to men, and indeed Jesus is God in the flesh and is the Holy Spirit who speaks truth to men.
In verse 1, In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God and was God
In verse 2, Jesus was with God in the beginning
In verse 3, Jesus is the creator.
In verse 4, Jesus was life, eternal life is in Jesus
In verse 5, Jesus is the light for mankind so man can know God (spiritual life, man can be born again spiritually, the spiritually blind man can see)
Man can see Jesus. Why do you suppose Jesus became a man? Jesus is the exact representation of God that man can see. Man can see perfect love in Jesus Christ. The miracles Jesus did testify that He is God. For no one can do the miracles He did unless God were with Him (John 3:2). Jesus even testified that anyone who has seen Him has seen the Father (John 14:9). He even said, “I and the Father are one”(John 10:30). Here is one scripture that shows the Trinity all working at the same moment in time.
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
So what does it mean to know God? Did you know that Jesus is taught in schools in Israel, by rabbis, even though Jesus is totally rejected as the Messiah? They know about him. They know him as a great teacher and a good man and acknowledge him as the most famous Jew who ever lived. But they failed to understand what he came to accomplish. The rabbis even have 1000 years of Old Testament teaching proclaiming the coming of the Messiah! Did you know there are over 600 prophecies from the Old Testament prophets that were all fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ? Prophecies such as Jesus to be born in Bethlehem, born of a virgin, and that he would be called Emmanuel, God with us? Here is a listing of 353 prophecies fulfilled: “https://www.accordingtothescriptures.org/prophecy/353prophecies.html“. In the scriptures, as recorded through the prophets, one day in God’s timing, He will send the Messiah to save people from their sins and take their sins away in the eyes of God.
So it is still true today that most people have no clue of what Jesus came to do. How many of you have heard Christmas carols, such “Emmanuel, God with us” but were clueless concerning what Jesus came to do? Did you come to know Jesus as being God with us, who died to take away the sins of the world as John the Baptist testified? Did you know he was raised from the dead so as to give life to man, by putting His Holy Spirit in man so that man may know God? John the Baptist testified that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit. Did you ever ponder over what that means, being baptized with the Holy Spirit? How is it then that men today fail to recognize Jesus?
Why is Jesus referred to as the light of the world? Because man is spiritually dead, in darkness, without the living God in him. Jesus came so man can see that he is in darkness, already dead in sin, and in need of life, spiritual life. Jesus is the light of the world and the world is in darkness. John the Baptist came as a witness to that light but was not the light. John testified of Jesus so that God might be revealed to Israel. Jesus, the Son of God, becomes the light of the world as he took on humanity. He dispels the darkness so we can have daylight. Jesus is the light shining in the darkness. How would you like to live in total darkness? Like singers or musicians that cannot see physically, born blind, that is the condition of the world spiritually until come face to face with the Light. As a witness, God sent John to testify of the Light, to tell us about the true Light who enlightens everyone. Jesus came into the world, and even though the world made through him, the world does not recognize him.
So what is the good news that Mark wrote? The good news is this; that man can become a child of God, a new identity, born again spiritually, having the life of God in Him, to have the Holy Spirit dwell in him. How can this happen? By believing and receiving what Jesus came to do.
12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
A child of God is the identity of everyone born again. In John 3, one can read what Jesus told Nicodemus what born again means. Unless one is born again, not a physical birth in a mother’s womb a second time, but a spiritual birth, being baptized with the Holy Spirit of God.
Notice that by believing and receiving, the scripture does not say you have the right to become a Presbyterian, a Methodist, or a Catholic. There are no denominations in heaven, just children of God. Man turned it into a religion but God meant a relationship with Him. You are not joined to a church or joined to anything. That is why no church membership where Bob was the pastor. Why? Because you are already a member of the body of Christ, the true church that God made you a member of when you became a child of God. The church is His church made of born again people, period. You are born into God’s family, not of man’s natural desire or human will, not a natural birth of mom and dad, but born again of the Spirit of God.
So again, what did Jesus come to do? He came to earth so man might know God when they see the Light that He shines in the hearts of men. The Word became flesh, took on a human body. For God to save mankind, for his creation to know him, not just about him, but know him, He sent His Son, Jesus to go to earth to become one of us, a person in the flesh, in human form. The first time anyone ever saw God is when they saw Jesus. I can relate to another human being. God took on flesh and blood so I can talk and walk with him, to know him. That is why he came. To be with us so we can know him. A lot of people know about a person. People an know about Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, but you do not know them. Information about them through the internet, TV, radio or magazines but you never met them face to face. Bob knows Joe because he has been with him. Jesus wants us to know God, not about Him but to know Him. Those who lived during World War II can testify about what they have seen and heard. They were there and were eyewitnesses. Those living in Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, in Pearl Harbor, fleeing when the Japanese attacked, they are eyewitnesses and can testify concerning the truth of what they saw and heard.
And there were men, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and the Apostles, who were eyewitnesses of Jesus, who walked and talked with him, saw the miracles he died, saw the empty tomb, and saw Jesus walking on the earth. Even Thomas, one of the disciples of Jesus, saw the nails in his hands and the hole in his side after he had risen from the dead. He saw him walking and speaking to him. John testifies that Jesus is full of grace and truth, that he is the glory of the Father. These men, Mathew, Mark, Luke and John, who wrote the gospels, were eyewitnesses, who walked and talked with Jesus. John testified about him that He existed before me. He was not born physically before John. John was born 6 months before Jesus became a man, born in the flesh through Mary. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only has shown us what God is like. Now I know what God is like because I know what Jesus is like, perfect love.
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Even the Apostle Paul met the risen savior, Jesus Christ. He heard His voice saying, “Who are you persecuting?” Jesus identified himself to Paul (known by Saul at that time) as the person he was persecuting. This is what Paul wrote concerning Jesus Christ.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I know Jesus who told me that. He took on human flesh and lived among us.
1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
Luke starts out by writing to Theophilus, explaining why he is writing these things. Luke was among the first generation who saw the events the Old Testament prophets spoke about that were fulfilled in Jesus Christ and how eyewitnesses confirmed these things. Luke sought to do a thorough investigation by speaking with eyewitnesses to report these events for future generations, to know the truth, the certainty, of these things and to know God through Jesus Christ. He wanted to write these things down accurately. He did a thorough investigation and checked out eyewitnesses so you may have full confidence in details, the details of every event that took place.
As one continues to read in Luke 1, you read details concerning the birth of John the Baptist. You read about the account of Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist, and there encounter with an angel from God who told them that they will have a child in their old age, and because of Zechariah doubt the message by the angel of the Lord, he was unable to speak. And that this child will have a special assignment, in regard to fulfilling a prophecy in Isaiah, of John being a prophet of God, being filled with the Holy Spirit from conception, as a voice of one crying in the wilderness, preparing a people ready for the Lord.
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