Harmony Christian Church
Harmony Christian Church
Week 1 - The Accounts (Harmony of the Gospels Section 1)
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Follow along in Section 1 @ https://www.harmonychurch.cc/timeline-of-jesus/birth-preparation/

OPENING ILLUSTRATION:

So, I have a confession of how much of a dork I am.

Years ago, when we were gearing up to plant our church, I had a therapist tell me that I needed to take 4 hours a week to go off by myself and be alone to just let my brain process.  I wasn’t supposed to do anything.  Not take a book, not listen to anything, not be around people.  Just be totally alone to let all the thoughts in my head role around to their end…

So, I went out into the country where we lived at the time in Kansas – just prairie as far as you can see.  No trees, no big hills, just prairie, wheat and corn.  I would walk around trying to not do anything for 4 hours…  But every time, I would end up doing the same thing…  I’d end up seeing a coyote track and some scat and I’d end up attempting to track coyote’s….

Ha, I know, I’m a nerd…

I was supposed to be out there letting my brain process, but I couldn’t do it, I wanted to track down a coyote and wrestle it to the ground and wear it around my neck like some kind of trophy 🙂

I’m not a master at tracking things

Shoot, my wife will tell you I can’t even find my own underwear without her help 🙂

but one thing I’ve gotten good at over the years is tracking Jesus and His story in the scriptures…  

Today we are starting a year long journey to track Jesus through the eyewitness Gospel accounts

We are going to spend the entire next year preaching through Jesus’ life and ministry…

Because of that, I need to give you some context of what this years going to look like…

Where we’re going…

For the first few months we will be looking at Jesus’ life through a topical lenses in order to understand some of the major themes Jesus highlighted in His ministry.

Then in December we take a turn and begin tracking Jesus’ life chronologically using a resource called a Harmony of the Gospels.

https://www.harmonychurch.cc/tracking-jesus-harmony-of-the-gospels/

So, let’s define some terms for you – so we’ll all be on the same page…

Defining Terms

I just said we are going to be using a “harmony of the Gospel.”  What is that?

A harmony of the gospels is a resource where scholars (in this case the ones that put together the Life Application Study Bible) take the accounts of Jesus’ life in the various Gospel accounts and put them in a chronological order and pair them together.

What’s a Gospel?

So, Christians will talk about “the Gospel” which we mean the fact that God came to save us from our sins and that He died and rose from the dead to do so.

But the word Gospel actually is just a word that means, “Good News” – in the Greek it’s Euangelion 

Euangelion was the good news that would go out when a Roman soldier had experienced victory in war or when news about the caesar and his exploits

Christianity has 4 books we call “Gospels” – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John

These are eyewitness accounts of the life of Jesus

Actually, one of the requirements the early church had when creating the cannon or measure of scripture was that these books had to be written by someone who knew Jesus or was close to someone who knew Jesus…

Listen to Luke’s words in the first part of His Gospel:

Luke 1:1-4

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a] among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Luke was a doctor in ancient times – he had not personally seen Jesus, so he set out on a journey to track down people who had seen and known Jesus.  The stories we have in Luke are an 

Because Luke’s goal was an orderly account, we’ve based our Harmony on his order of events. 

the other gospel writers weren’t as concerned with order.  They have been preaching these stories for years and as they grew older they realized that Jesus wasn’t going to return as soon as they thought so they begin writing down the stories to ensure that future generations have them.  

Because of that their versions of the stories are not chronological.  This is one of the things that is really hard for modern readers.  

Americans want scientific precision

But the Ancient Eastern mind wasn’t like that.  They wanted precision in the essence of truth and were not concerned with details being precise.

that doesn’t mean that we can’t trust historically what happened – but it does mean that when there are things that seem contradictory, we will stop and explain them and help you get context for what they mean…

ILLUSTRAITON:

It reminds me of coming home the other day and Jenni started to tell me a story about her friend who had gotten 29 things for $5.  Immediately my kids piped up and said, “it was 25 things for $5”.  Jenni’s response was, “it doesn’t matter…”  Why didn’t it matter?  Her point in sharing the story wasn’t the exact amount of things her friend got for the $5, it was that her friend got an amazing deal…

The Gospels are often times like that – they’re trying to convey the essence of the story of God’s salvation work in Jesus, not provide a legal transcript of the events.

this is hugely important as we work through the gospels – that you think Eastern, not Western…

I’m excited about tracking Jesus with you all over the next year.

I’m excited to join Luke in his investigation…

Imagine for moment if these 4 guys had decided to not investigate?

Imagine if the story of Jesus had been lost to time and not written down?

Instead, you literally carry around the words of eye witnesses who talked with Jesus.

When you read the story in Luke and hear that Mary treasured these things in her heart – that’s because Mary told Luke that…

I’ve been thinking about what my hope for you in this series is…

If I had to put it into a few words I would say that you take on the name of the person Luke is writing this for – did you pick it up?  He’s writing to a person – their name is Theophilus and Luke is writing his Gospel so Theophilus will know that what he’s been taught is true…  Theophilus actually commissioned two works from Luke – the book of Acts also exists because of him.  My guess is Theophilus was a rich believer who lived in the Greek world who wanted to know if it was all true…

The name Theophilus means “Lover of God”…

b

My hope for this series is that as we look at the life of Jesus, you won’t just want him for salvation – a good thing.  But that you will fall madly, head over heals in love with Him and want to Him.

b

That  you’d become Theophilus…