Hi! I’m your new interim pastor, Kevin David. Rather than attempt to fill Pastor Scott’s rather large ministry shoes and try to continue to write the newsletter’s “Pastor’s Corner,” I’m simply going to write to you from the “Interim Pastor’s Perspective.”
During our “getting acquainted period” of this interim pastorate, our worship will follow the Evangelical Covenant’s Revised Common Lectionary, Year B for 2017 – 2018 and trace the Biblical narrative about Jesus. Mapping such a course necessitates our viewing Christ’s mission through the Gospels. More specifically, the Gospel narratives written by Mark and John provide the lectionary framework for our worship schedule allowing us to “see” Jesus from differing perspectives.
Much like different, individual witnesses of the same event, Mark and John, and, in fact all four Gospels view many of the very same events and stories related to Jesus from a variety of vantage points. Matthew and John are eyewitnesses: Matthew as an ‘outsider’ (former tax collector, now called to be an apostle) looking in at Jesus and John as an ‘insider’ looking over Jesus’ shoulder as Jesus’ closest friend and one of the three inner circle: Peter, James, and John. Mark and Luke wrote their narratives by interviewing others who were eyewitnesses, such as Peter for whom Mark wrote and the apostle Paul with whom the physician Luke traveled. Some early (ancient) theologians believe either Mark or Luke or both may have been members of the 70 disciples who actually followed Jesus and the 12 apostles.
By studying the same event through more than one Gospel narrative, we are able to learn much more and make a greater application to our own lives because the imagery becomes less linear and more multi-dimensional. The Synoptic Gospel of Mark reminds me of the TV program, Dragnet’s Joe Friday, who repeatedly spoke the famous line: “Just give me the facts, ma’am!” For me, the Gospel of John offers insights and asides that only a close companion could share. It’s like the TV show Walton’s Mountain, with John-boy narrating and explaining the plot with details the three Synoptic Gospels do not relate.
Some interesting facts about John Mark (Mark): his mother owned a house in Jerusalem and used her home as a meeting place for the Christian believers (Acts 12:12). Mark’s name was actually John. Mark was his surname and he was thus referred to as John Mark, or simply Mark by other Biblical writers. Colossians 4:10 explains that John Mark was the
cousin of Barnabas.
John, the brother of James (the sons of Zebedee) was Jesus’ closest friend. John’s Gospel is not one of those called the Synoptic Gospels because his is a departure from a fact-based narrative, such as Matthew, Mark, and Luke which have many similarities, and shares a more intimate, relational narrative. John only provides seven of the parables told by the other three. Important to us are some factual components in John’s narrative that are not told by the others: The Wedding in Cana where Jesus turned the water into wine (John 2:1-12); Jesus’ meeting with the Pharisee, Nicodemus and
explaining, “You must be born again” (John 3:3); healing the nobleman’s son from long distance (John 4:46-54); and the raising of Lazarus from the dead(John 11).
The rich, word-tapestry of these Gospel narratives provide the background and the framework for understanding that Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh is God and one with the Father. The applications constructed by the Holy Spirit in these Gospels reveals a testimony of Grace which may be comprehended and acted on by the simplest of people. In Christ we may receive Grace by exercising faith in Him. As John reveals (1:29): “Behold! [Jesus is] The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!”
It is my prayer that this summer series of messages following the Lectionary Gospel lessons will provide us with rewarding new applications to familiar Biblical stories. Who knows, we may even learn some new applications as well!