Four Books

Morning, glorious fellow offspring of our Creator!

Four books, written at four different times, by four different authors, each with a different purpose. Three of them obviously derive from a common source, either one of the canonicals, or more likely another source, lost to us, but each is unique testimony.

(Fundamentalists, look over there, a squirrel!) Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John don't agree with each other in every detail. They may contain some inaccuracies, and legends. They weren't all written for the same purpose. It's likely only Luke was actually written by the author to whom it's attributed, the rest derived by scribes from oral reports or perhaps notes made by Matthew, Mark, and John. Portions may have been lost, interpolated, mistranslated in repeated transcribing over the centuries.

These four short stories are the best records we've got - practically speaking, the only significant historical records - of the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.

The records themselves may be fuzzy in places, but the witness to Jesus is clear as can be. He shines through. His character, his wisdom, his nobility, and his sacrifice are blindingly clear in all of them, taken together. Like four different camera angles that project a 3-D image.

His claim to being the Son of God is crucial - it's what they killed him over. Then, there's his resurrection. Mary saw him in the Garden, ran as instructed to tell the dubious apostles. She became the first herald of his rising. Some of the boys were the first to question the veracity of her report. Wonderfully, we have the detailed witness of John, who himself ran to the empty tomb. Even the sending of the two brothers to testify to the apostles - straight-up the style Jesus displayed.

The resurrection is not legend, not vague. This is history. That was my impression when I first read them, over forty years ago. It's still my take on those books. The reader is then left to live with that astonishing knowledge.