At the beginning of this year, I embarked on a journey to read through all four gospels four times during 2013. Reading at the pace of one chapter per day, I've just finished reading through the gospels looking for teachings of and about Jesus Christ.
I'm not sure how many times I had read through the gospels prior to this year. Maybe 8 or 9 times? Yet in this most recent reading, I found myself more intrigued by Jesus than ever. He truly was such a controversial, charismatic, downright offensive person. And yet he had a gentle, unassuming, almost sneaky personality that was really quite lovely.
Jesus' views about himself were unashamedly lofty. He really thought He was something special. Yet not once did he trample over the weak or the outcasts. In fact, His high view of himself seemed to fuel his love and compassion for others.
Perhaps most troubling was Jesus' teachings about the eventual (and eternal) separation of the righteous and the wicked. A teaching made even harder to stomach when coupled with His teachings about the inability of some to hear the voice of God due to the hardness of their hearts. It makes you pause and ask the question, "Do I really know God?" Or, perhaps more importantly, "Does God really know me?"
The most surprising thing to me as I read through the gospels was the focus on Jesus' identity that emerged in all four gospels. It seemed with every turn of the page, the question kept popping up - Who was Jesus Christ? The answer to this question was one that Jesus seemed determined to make people discover for themselves. Perhaps for the same reason you shouldn't explain the punchline of a joke. If you have to explain it, it's not funny.
I can't wait to read through the gospels again. I'm starting in Matthew on April 1st. Join me.