- Written by RoxAnn Karkhoff-Schweizer RoxAnn Karkhoff-Schweizer
- Created: September 21 2012 September 21 2012
What would someone unfamiliar with the New Testament make of it? How would the stories speak to someone coming to them for the first time? What would this reader take away from this experience? Perhaps they would respond something like this:
The New Testament is about a Man who lived over 2,000 years ago. An authentic, historic human. His words and life were written down over the course of at least sixty years, in 27 books by various authors.
When He was living, this Man made very daring and fearless statements. He said that He is the only way to God, that He is, in fact, the Son of God—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He said that He is the light that will bring us out of our spiritual darkness. He said that if we do not believe in Him we will die in our sins. He claimed that when His bodily temple died, He would raise it again to life. He said He could even resurrect us to life after our death by faith in Him.
This Man had a humble, gentle side, too. He said that if we are weary and laden-down with burdens too hard to bear He can lighten our load. He was observed to cry at the death of a friend named Larazus. He demonstrated compassion and love for the rejected of His society: the lame, the blind, the sick, the outcasts.
He had a group of twelve challenging friends while He was alive. All handpicked friends. Most of them belonged to the fishing industry. One was a despised tax collector. His friend Peter could at one moment boldly stand and confess Him as “the Christ”, and then immediately turn around and scold Him about talking about His upcoming death. Yet this Man never rejected Peter, but forgave him.
After this Man’s death, He appeared to many of His friends in a resurrected body, and then left them, but promised His Spirit would return to them and dwell in their hearts. When this does happen, His friends cannot contain themselves for the joy that overflows in them! So His friends start to talk about Him, to anyone and to everyone, a kind of gossiping that is good. They start in their home environment and then keep spreading the words of the Man. They wanted everyone to know the words, the life, the hope and peace this Man could bring to darkened hearts.
There is an account of a new friend of this Man named Saul. Saul was on a road, and this Man called to Saul out of a bright light. The Man asked Saul, “Why are you persecuting Me?” Saul eventually comes to see his own spiritual darkness. Empowered with a new loving heart, Saul—who has now been renamed Paul—cannot contain himself. Paul wants everyone to know this Man! He travels to distant foreign cities like Corinth, Ephesus, Colossae, Philippi and Rome. He writes many long email-like letters to the people he visits to encourage them, admonish them when needed and teach them more about this Man.
Lastly, the New Testament ends with the writings of John, who was one of this Man’s original twelve friends. John sees a revelation of where the Man presently lives. John writes about what he sees in symbolic terms, describing the people who now reside with the Man and explaining what happened to those who did not believe in Him. The Man’s final words ring in the ears of John: “I am the Beginning and the End … the Alpha and Omega … I am coming back soon!”
Who is this Man? Join the “Gospel to Revelation” Bible Survey class that is now meeting in the Large Fellowship Hall at 10:30 am on Sunday mornings, to meet Him!
Are you involved in a Bible study at Saint John’s? There are plenty of opportunities to study the word through the week. Join one of these groups!