29th April 2013

The Emphasis of the New Testament

“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water,”
John 4:10 (NIV)

In 49BC a legion of Roman troops crossed over a minor river in North East Italy. Such rivers could be crossed easily and normally – there was no reason to record the details for posterity. What made this commonplace occurrence one of history’s most pivotal events was its significance and meaning. Julius Caesar had crossed the Rubicon with a legion of soldiers. This was considered to be a deliberate act of insurrection which plunged the Roman Republic into civil war. The phrase, “crossing the Rubicon,” has passed into the English language to emphasise the significance of an event with the meaning “to pass the point of no return.” 

The New Testament does not focus on days, dates or times of events, nor does it simply list a series of events. The New Testament, especially the gospels, emphasises the significance and meaning of the events recorded. In the verse quoted above, the Samaritan woman knew neither the identity nor the significance of who she was talking to and consequently had no knowledge of the blessings that came through him. It was the significance of who Christ was, fully God and fully man, that gave meaning and authority to all that he said and did. 

It is not good news that a man, after a life of self-giving and love for his fellows, should be tortured, mocked, and finally cruelly executed. The good news comes when we understand and accept the significance of those events and what he achieved through his life, death and resurrection. The Bible does not just say Christ died and was resurrected but interprets the significance of the events; that he died for our sins (1Corinthians 15:3) and was resurrected for our justification (Romans 4:25). 

In the last two chapters of the fourth gospel, John stated that he could have written numerous books on the events of Christ’s life (John 21:25) and recorded numerous signs that Christ did. (John 20:30) But he edited all the available data and wrote only one gospel, incorporating only seven signs. The signs were edited and written for a specific purpose, to focus on the significance of Jesus and through him address one of humanities greatest problems, that of unbelief. As John states, “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31) Thus, John, along with the other gospel writers, sets the reader alongside the disciples as they progressively come to faith, so that the reader may also come to understand the identity and significance of Jesus. 

Heavenly Father, we pray that you will open our minds to how we can spread the good news concerning the identity and significance of Jesus into an unbelieving world.


 eddiemarshAbout the Author:
Eddie Marsh attends the Sheffield congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Sheffield
Please phone or email for Meeting Place

Meeting time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Eric Senior
Phone: 0114-220-8356
Email: sheffield@gracecom.org.uk

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