A New Testament road map to a Spirit-based life

As you read, be prepared to take out your Bible and turn to the book of Hebrews.

The earliest Christians thought deeply about the significance of Jesus. The quality of their meditation is reflected in the New Testament. His life, so fresh, yet so congruent with the Hebrew Scriptures, or Old Testament, required a new genre of literature, the Gospels, to articulate it. In addition, the correspondence of the Apostle Paul and other writers is heaped full with insights into the universal meaning of what they understand as the particular, radiant appearing of Truth among humanity: Christ Jesus, the paramount example of spiritual, redemptive living.

Each of these writers, in an individual way, embraces him. They show him the greatest respect, mingled with simple affection. What is more, they do not put Jesus out of reach. No, far from it. They place Jesus and his teachings at the center of life on earth, as the key to the meaning of existence.

This is all the more remarkable when we remember that these people wrote from no special position of privilege. Neither the religious nor civil authorities were their sponsors. They wrote with a power based on experience. Some were eyewitnesses (see, for example, I John 1:1–3); others recorded the reminiscences of the first Christian followers (see Luke 1:1–4). But the ring of authority is unmistakable, expressed on the one hand with a marked sense of individuality, as in the letters of Paul, and on the other hand with determined anonymity, as in the four Gospels, where the authors are unnamed in the texts. But in every case, the writers depict, not so much a life to be analyzed and evaluated, as a Life to be shared, as they follow him.

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Graced by Spirit—even in the storm
May 4, 2009

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