I’m starting a six week series with our youth entitled ‘Savior’s?’. Its based on a series of topical messages out of Matthew’s Gospel. In prep for it I’m reading through Keener’s and Garland’s intro’s to their respective commentaries. Something Garland says about the purpose of Matthew’s Gospel really struck me this morning,

“”For Matthew, Jesus’ story is the story of God with us (1:23; 28:20) and the coming of the reign of heaven on earth. Who Jesus is therefore cannot be captured by the various titles ascribed to him: Son of David, son of God, son of man, Lord, wisdom. Only the complete story of Jesus’ preaching and deeds, his death and resurrection, will convey the whole truth about who he is.” (emphasis added)

There is something about reading the life of Jesus in the gospels that can’t be replaced by any kind of ‘Christology’ or ‘Systematics’ rendering. Sure light comes to the surface as we look at titles or names for Jesus, but his person isn’t exhausted by them neither is it necessarily best illuminated through them. Jesus for the Church throughout the ages is the Jesus of Matthew, of Mark, of Luke, and of John. He’s the Jesus of redemptive narrative, the Jesus who was headed to Golgotha even while he was the Son of Man, Lord, etc. He was the Jesus who feed the hungry, adopted the prostitutes as friends, and praised the lest of all – children – as models for all to emulate.

Only the complete story of Jesus moves us beyond some scratches on the wall, a cheap and incomplete chalk outline of his person to the real intimate person who loves us, and in whose arms we rest. A Jesus who embraced women and slaves, who cherished foreigners and outsiders, who in the end died with the ‘gutter people’ who’ve been condemned and discarded by everyone of us who are proper and neat.

Jesus is still this person, though ascended in glory, we meet him in the most unfamiliar and unplanned places and faces, we often discard him as a nameless minority or a destitute who clutters our walkways all the while forgetting that Jesus while meek was also the judge of all the earth…Jesus is beyond names or titles – not less than them – but certainly more than them, and worshiping such a Jesus defies compartments and social proclivities…it means a daily dying to self and beholding one as wonderful and mysterious as him in the person we lest expected to see him – Our Neighbor!