Friday, September 29, 2006

Gospel Liturgy

Many of you know Matthew, Mark, and Luke have a lot in common. This is why the three are referred to as the synoptic Gospels because they generally follow the same literary outline. But, even the Gospel of John, very different as it stands in comparison to the other three, places John the Baptist’s ministry at the beginning as fundamental to the whole glorious story of Jesus the Messiah coming to save his people. We cannot possibly begin to understand Jesus Christ and His mission for the world, and what He has accomplished for the world through His life, death, and resurrection until we begin to wrap our minds around John and what he was doing out in the desert next to the Jordan.

John the Baptist no doubt was a radical in first century Judea, and his ministry was challenging all the different strands of Judaism of his day. Without any authorization from the authorities of his day, other than God the one who proclaimed that one would go before Him to prepare the way for His coming, John was beginning a New Exodus by leading the way for many to pass through water so that they may be forgiven of their sins and prepared for the one who would come after him.

All four gospels begin with John, and all four gospels end with Jesus. All four end with the Resurrected Lord of the universe surrounded by His disciples adoring him. We have come this day to surround the Lord’s Table and feast on Him that we may receive His life and be changed. But, we cannot possibly understand that meal and receive its blessing unless we begin at the beginning with the message John brought forth. Repent! For the kingdom of Heaven is at hand! The one who was to come after me has come and died and he lives forever more. Turn from your wicked ways, confess your sins, and receive the Holy Spirit!

Let us confess our sins together.

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