The book “Songs of the Deliverer” tells the story of Christ re-imagined in modern day. The book is a work of fiction but the stories and characters are based on the New Testament. These Reflections are written to highlight the Biblical pericopes featured in the second book of the series, Faith Wins, to be published in 2016.
Referenced in Chapter 10
The apostles walked with Jesus and were commissioned by Christ to “go and make disciples of all people.” They included Matthew and John who would fulfill their sacred duty with the publication of their respective Gospels. The other Gospel authors, Mark and Luke, were not original apostles but learned the story of Christ from others. Mark was a colleague of Peter and is thought to have written his Gospel from the speeches Peter gave. Luke was a companion of Paul and stated that his Gospel was an orderly account of all that had transpired with Jesus similar to an investigative reporter.
There are other valuable sources of the Gospel which remain largely unknown. There is a theory that a collection of sayings existed which was shared among the Gospel authors. This is referred to as the: Q source (“Q” referring to the German word “quelle” meaning “source”.) This theory applies specifically to the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. These are known as the synoptic Gospels because of their high degree of overlap. In some cases, there is word for word overlap. The Q source theory would explain the common verses.
Although we don’t know if the Q source theory is true or what the other sources for the Gospels were, there is strong evidence of the disciples of Jesus collaborating to make sure the story of Christ is known.
The Bible tells of a gathering of elders to discuss critical issues of faith. There was dissension among them as to whether the Gentiles (people who were not Jewish) could be saved by Christ. Peter stood before them and said:
“Brothers, you know that some time ago God chose me. He appointed me to take the good news to the Gentiles. He wanted them to hear the good news and believe. God knows the human heart. By giving the Holy Spirit to the Gentiles, he showed that he accepted them. He did the same for them as he had done for us. God showed that there is no difference between us and them. That’s because he made their hearts pure because of their faith. Now then, why are you trying to test God? You test him when you put a heavy load on the shoulders of Gentiles. Our people of long ago couldn’t carry that load. We can’t either. No! We believe we are saved through the grace of our Lord Jesus. The Gentiles are saved in the same way.” (Acts of the Apostles 15:7 – 11)
Paul refers to this meeting, later to be known as the Council of Jerusalem, in his letter to the Galatians:
“I went up again to Jerusalem. This time I went with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. I went because God showed me what he wanted me to do. I spoke in private to those who are respected as leaders. I told them the good news that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I wasn’t running my race for no purpose. And I wanted to know that I had not been running my race for no purpose.” (Galatians 2:1 – 2)
Paul was committed to bringing the word of Christ to all people and he would not be deterred. After their discussion, it was agreed by the Council that Paul would deliver the message of Christian faith to people of all nations. Paul describes it this way:
“My task was like Peter’s task. He had been trusted with the task of preaching to the Jews. God was working in Peter as an apostle to the Jews. God was also working in me as an apostle to the Gentiles. James, Peter and John are respected as pillars in the church. They recognized the special grace given to me. So they shook my hand and the hand of Barnabas. They wanted to show they accepted us. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles. They would go to the Jews. They asked only one thing. They wanted us to continue to remember poor people. That was what I had wanted to do all along.” (Galatians 2:7 – 10)
The Council was now unified. They prepared a letter for Paul so he could deliver the message with authority.
“So the men (Paul and his companions) were sent down to Antioch. There they gathered the church together. They gave the letter to them. The people read it. They were glad for its message of hope.” (Acts 15:30 – 31)
Though enduring conflicts and challenges, the mission of the Gospel Council was realized. To deliver the message of Jesus Christ to all people of every nation. To deliver the message of hope to you and me.
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