The Idea of Canon (Part 5) (The Covenant & the Cross #20)


Today’s passage of Scripture is Isaiah 28:9-10 which reads: “Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from Billy Graham. He said: “The word of God hidden in the heart is a stubborn voice to suppress.”

Our topic for today is titled: “The Idea of the Canon (Part 5)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

The focus of the Gospels is on Jesus and His claim to be the Messiah. As such, they omit much of what we would like to know about the life of Jesus. What was He like as a child? How did He play with other children? What kind of student was He? How did His parents treat Him? How did He relate to His brothers and sisters? He is termed a carpenter, but we know nothing about His work. He is called a Nazarene, but we know nothing about His hometown. Thus, as biographies, the Gospels leave a lot to be desired. However, the way they are structured gives us a hint that their purpose is something else. For example, the bulk of each gospel (from about 27 percent of Luke to almost 40 percent of John) covers the last week of the life of Jesus (less than one-tenth of one percent of His life).

John’s gospel gives a hint as to what this purpose is. He writes that he only included a few miracles that Jesus had performed in order that the reader “may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” The key word is “Christ”, the Greek equivalent of “Messiah” (they both mean “Anointed One”). Thus, a good definition of a gospel might be “a book that proclaims that Jesus is the Messiah and gives evidence to demonstrate that fact.” The primary evidence that Jesus is the Messiah was His crucifixion and resurrection, which is why the Gospels spend so much time on the last week of Jesus’ life. He presented Himself as Messiah and was crucified for making the claim; however, the resurrection vindicated Him.


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