The Impact of the Gospels

8:08 AM Sometimes I wish I had never read the Gospels. How simple and easy life would be if I had never been brought to realize some of the requirements of discipleship as Jesus brings them to life. How easy it would be to take life for granted and to live for myself. But having been reading the Gospels — really reading them — I am not the same person. What a contrast to the soft-minded pulp we humans produce in our efforts to say something profound about Jesus. I sometimes think that serious cogitation is utterly alien to the academic guild. Worse than our errors of scholarship is our wanton ignorance of history. Jesus gladly exposes the shortcomings of our Western academic culture, our false utopias of every kind, be they political or ecclesiastical. He tells us that there is no longer any excuse for us to live mediocre lives without a sense of purpose. He has a place for every one of us in this great task of world evangelization. The awful truth is, Jesus bids us come and die. Unless we come to this place of total commitment, we can never understand the Gospels. O, we can write our books about Jesus, about the “historical quest,” about this or that pseudo-problem that we have invented in order to get a promotion. We have time to study anthropology and sociology and theology but we have no time for prayer. And the answer to every prayer is nothing more than this: God, in all His power, is with us to make up for all of our human limitations. We have so much else to depend on today. Few of us move out in total reliance upon the Lord. No wonder we’re victims of every new “fad” that comes out. No wonder we depend on our pseudo-theology. O, how I want to see the flow of the Holy Spirit in our seminaries. How I want our churches to be free from our bondage to our materialistic playthings. The real tragedy is that I am not immune to the temptation to seek power and position and honor from men. But thanks be to God — the Gospels are there! They are there to call me away from the mess I’ve made of my life, from my lukewarm, plastic, half-hearted Christianity.

O God, help each of us this day, whether or not we are facing surgery or chemotherapy, whether or not we have little or much, whether or not we are young or old, to evaluate our lives in the light of eternity, to surrender our ambitions and plans, to weep once more and feel the love of Jesus for the lost, to put the kingdom of God first, to move in the flow of the Spirit again, to exercise the mind of Christ, to trust our Father to provide for our needs. Help us come and die. Help us find true life. In the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

(From Dave Black Online. Used by permission. David Alan Black is author of Energion titles The Jesus Paradigm, Christian Archy, and Why Four Gospels?.)