Saturday, March 31, 2007

Reflection, April 1, 2007

As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho Press, here is a selection from our book of daily devotions, "Living as the Beloved: One Day at a Time," by the Rev. Dr. Sandra Bochonok.

Please read the Scripture passage and Dr. Bochonok's meditation. We hope you will be blessed.

Reading a Gospel for the first time

"Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed."
Luke 1:1-4

One of the questions most frequently asked of me is, "Just what is a Gospel?" Millions of people throughout world history have asked that important question. Gospels are the Jesus stories that have brought hope to people throughout the centuries. Each Gospel lesson teaches spiritual empowerment. One does not have to be a Christian to read them or live by these life-nourishing principles.

The Gospel writers are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. None attended formal seminary, yet each individual writer brings his unique perspective and understanding of the amazing spiritual leader named Jesus Christ. Quite frankly, Jesus turned their earthly world upside down and they had to share these adventures with God. So they wrote about his birth, life, ministry, death, and amazing return from the dead. These stories have transformed lives in every culture, language, and country over the past two millennia. People have joyously gone to their deaths as martyrs of the Jesus faith rather than betray or deny this amazing teacher, healer, preacher, friend, beloved companion, and prophet.

All the Gospels are good reading. Matthew writes from an orthodox Jewish perspective and includes many of the major teachings of Jesus. Mark's Gospel is shorter and written for people without a Jewish background. Luke is a non-Jewish physician who carefully researched the Jesus stories for a two-part series. The Gospel of Luke is written to describe Jesus as the Great Physician while the book of Acts, also attributed to Luke, is an adventure account of the early church. John's Gospel is written from the heart about beloved Jesus.

The Greek meaning of the word gospel means "good news." Gospels are written accounts by four writers who shared what they knew about Jesus' teaching, about the Jesus way of life. The Gospels are a carefully gathered selection of stories and teachings by people, called disciples, who followed Jesus. Disciples are spiritual apprentices who study the teachings and life of their spiritual leader. They share these teachings and lifestyles with others. Christian discipleship begins with two simple words uttered by Jesus, "Follow me."

God, help us be spiritual apprentices as we begin our reading adventure with you! Begin a spiritual revolution in our lives today. Show us what it means to follow Jesus. Amen.

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