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A Portrait of Jesus

This week we continue our study in the gospels. There were four different writers with four different approaches, but each of them is painting one picture -- a picture of Jesus. And as they work together, the painting becomes the richest and most beautiful painting in all of history. Matthew paints Jesus as the Sovereign King. Mark depicts Jesus as the Servant. Luke emphasizes Jesus as the Son of Man. And, finally, John presents Jesus as the Son of God. Let's look at some of the unique features of Jesus in the rich portrait that this week's scripture readings display.

The story of Jesus casting the demons out of the man who lived among the tombs and into the herd of pigs allows us to witness the authority He holds in the realm of spiritual warfare. These demons knew who Jesus was and were completely aware of their ultimate fate.

The story of the woman healed from her bleeding not only proved the power of Christ, but it also illustrates His supremacy over the Law. During Old Testament times, God dwelt in the temple which the Israelites were commanded not to defile when they were unclean. During New Testament times, God dwelt with men in the incarnate person of Jesus. Through Jesus, the consequences of the Law fell to Him. Instead of the woman causing Jesus (God's dwelling) to become unclean, He caused her to become clean.

When Jesus performed few miracles in Nazareth due to the people's lack of faith, He was not limited by them. This simply demonstrated His permissive will. He allows us to make choices and live with the blessings and consequences that result.

As Jesus sent the disciples into the mission field, He was teaching them that though they will face trials and seemingly impossible tasks, He was all they needed to do the work to which He called them. His strength and His Word were all they needed to endure persecution without losing faith or turning back.

When Herod killed John the Baptist, we get a glimpse into Jesus' human nature. John was Jesus' cousin who He had almost certainly grown up with. Even though Jesus was not surprised by John's death, He demonstrated His deep emotional response by immediately withdrawing to a solitary place to grieve. Jesus understands our sorrows and heartaches.

In the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus displays several aspects of His nature, but one subtle one shows up when Jesus directs His disciples to pick up the leftovers before they head on in the next step of their journey. The 12 disciples pick up exactly 12 basketfuls. This demonstrates that when we serve others and give away what we have to meet their needs first, Jesus will always have something left over for us.

As you read the rest of the stories this week - as Jesus warns against the teaching of the Pharisees, is transfigured on the mountain, receives Peter's declaration of Him as God's Son, teaches in a way that draws some yet repels others, predicts His death on the cross, heals more, teaches more, and loves more - what do you see for the first time or in a new way that makes the portrait of Jesus that you see richer and more beautiful and even life-changing for you?

~ Chris Bekermeier

October 7th Readings
MARK 5:1-20
MATTHEW 8:28-34
LUKE 8:26-39
MARK 5:21-43
MATTHEW 9:18-26
LUKE 8:40-56

October 8th Readings
MATTHEW 9:27-34
MARK 6:1-6
MATTHEW 13:53-58
MATTHEW 9:35-38
MARK 6:7-13
MATTHEW 10:1-42
LUKE 9:1-6

October 9th Readings
LUKE 9:7-9
MARK 6:14-29
MATTHEW 14:1-21
MARK 6:30-44
LUKE 9:10-17
JOHN 6:1-15
MARK 6:45-52
MATTHEW 14:22-33
JOHN 6:16-21
MARK 6:53-56
MATTHEW 14:34-36

October 10th Readings
JOHN 6:22-71
MARK 7:1-23
MATTHEW 15:1-20

October 11th Readings
MARK 7:24-30
MATTHEW 15:21-28
MARK 7:31-37
MATTHEW 15:29-31
MARK 8:1-10
MATTHEW 15:32-16:4
MARK 8:11-21
MATTHEW 16:5-12

October 12th Readings
MARK 8:22-30
MATTHEW 16:13-20
LUKE 9:18-20
MARK 8:31-9:1
MATTHEW 16:21-28
LUKE 9:21-27
MARK 9:2-13
MATTHEW 17:1-13
LUKE 9:28-36

October 13th Readings
MARK 9:14-29
MATTHEW 17:14-21
LUKE 9:37-43
MARK 9:30-32
MATTHEW 17:22-23
LUKE 9:43-45
MATTHEW 17:24-27
MARK 9:33-37
MATTHEW 18:1-6
LUKE 9:46-48
MARK 9:38-41
LUKE 9:49-50
MARK 9:42-50
MATTHEW 18:7-35