A Composite Gospel
None of the four Gospels records all of the “Seven Words from the Cross” that are at the heart of much Holy Week worship.
Mark has only one (which Matthew copied); Luke three; and John another three.
Gospels were never meant to be biographies or life-stories of Jesus. Gospels are “preaching” and were written to lead their readers to faith.
Each Gospel is written from the writer’s own theological viewpoint. Each painted a word-picture of the Jesus they loved and followed, and each selected, from all that they knew of Jesus, those sayings and stories that best suited their portrait-and omitted the rest.
I find each of these four pictures moving and inspiring and enriching my faith. But for my devotions-and to pray my way through Lent and the Passion – I want the fullest and most comprehensive account I can get.
To make such a “comprehensive narrative” involves doing what the Gospel-writers did not do. It means not being selective at all but trying to use every detail and aspect in all four of their pictures. (It also means that for this purpose only I have to put their individual theologies and pictures on one side.)
Sometimes, when there are two or more varying versions of the same incident, I have had to be quite arbitrary in which I have used. Sometimes the choice is clear; in others it has been simply by personal preference. Using Mark’s Gospel as a base (which Matthew certainly did and perhaps also Luke) and interweaving those details that are unique to each of the other three produces the following “Composite Passion.”
What we will be doing these next 46 days:
1) There are forty-six days in Lent -the traditional forty “fast” days and the six Sundays (which are festival days and not officially for fasting). I have arranged this composite gospel so that there is a reading and a prayer for each day from, today, Ash Wednesday to Easter
2) You can use this blog in correlation with a group or individually to discover what it means to put God first. By participating you can use this time at the start each day.
• Take the first ten minutes to read and meditate on the scripture and prayer for that day. Then write out in less than 50 words how the scripture and prayer applies to your life.
• The next ten minutes write out one unselfish and random act of kindness that you will do that day. Name a person, then act during that day with love and compassion. Please keep a written record of your random acts of kindness.
• The next ten minutes write out how you would develop you life to be better.
Think about give one hour to God a week. Volunteer this hour at the church.
If you don’t do so give 10% of your earnings to God.
And as mentioned before, do one random act of kindness a day.
Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. – John 13:1
Living God, as in heart and mind
we follow step by step the path that Jesus trod,
help us to see more clearly the full extent of his love
and to find in you forgiveness and healing, refreshing and renewal, strengthening and peace,
through the love that you make plain in Jesus.