In this episode, Chad and Jason discuss the importance of understanding the whole narrative of scripture and begin introducing the Gospel of John.
Intro (Keith): Welcome to the Kanakuk Institute Podcast, where we continue to equip leaders with biblical skills for a lifetime of ministry.
Chad (00:13): And welcome back into the Kanakuk Institute Podcast. My name is Chad Hampsch, and excited to have a recent grad in studio with us today, Jason Lightfoot. Jason, welcome to the podcast.
Jason (00:28): Glad to be here.
Chad (00:29): We are super excited to be together today, and we’re going to take you on a journey. This is the beginning of a journey. We’re going to jump into the book of John. So, excited to kind of take this time on the podcast to really set up and to talk about John’s significant in the whole story of the Bible. So Jason, you just came out of the Institute, learned the Bible Overview, kind of the big story. If you were encouraging listeners, what would you say is important about learning, like, the whole story of the Bible?
Jason (01:02): Yeah, well for one, obviously the whole of the Bible is God’s Word, and as a whole, I think, as a church, as believers, where we’re at right now, we just don’t understand the whole Bible. I certainly did not understand the Bible before I came to the institute. I understood some parts of it well, much more emphasis on the New Testament than the Old Testament. But, the New Testament is all fulfilling what happened in the Old Testament, and if we don’t understand the whole of Scripture, then we are completely losing out on the richness of any one part of it. And so as we go in to study any book, if we don’t understand what came before it, it would be like the equivalent of me picking up a novel, like flipping to like chapter 9 and starting to read and expecting to make sense of everything that’s there. I might be able to understand some parts of it, but I would have huge chunks of context in that chapter that I’m reading that are missing from my head. And the same is true with scripture you might be able, and surely you can, read a gospel and pull out the gospel and be saved. That’s what the gospels are for. But you certainly won’t understand everything that’s there to learn.
Chad (02:19): That’s good, and you know, you have recently, obviously been on a college campus. You’ve worked with college students, you know, for the last four or five years. Why is it so important for a college student to really be able to grasp this so that they don’t handle scripture in a wrong manner?
Jason (02:35): It’s super easy to approach either a verse or a chunk of scripture, and read it, and feel like, “Oh that sounds like something that I know what that’s talking about.” And I might have completely misapplied that scripture. If you don’t understand the story that it fits within or the argument that it fits within, you’re just going to fit it into whatever you want to make it fit into. And you can ultimately make the Bible say whatever you want, which is completely the opposite of the point of reading the Bible.
Chad (03:07): Yeah, that’s good, that’s good. So, before we jump into, kind of, you helping us have that framework, for those that maybe are listening for the first time of just need to be reminded of that story. But for just a second, what has knowing the upper story or the big story of the Bible done for you personally as far as personal devotion. Not just head knowledge, but heart knowledge with the Lord.
Jason (03:32): Yeah, right now in my quiet time I’m going through Jeremiah. I’m doing a chronological plan, so I’ve read through the Kings and the Chronicles and fit in the prophets where they fit in, and I’m now on Jeremiah. And as I go through, I used to read Jeremiah or any of the other prophets and just all of it would go over my head, and I’d catch like a couple phrases here and there and I’d be like, “Oh that verse sounds nice,” but I’d have no idea what it meant. But now I’m going through and there’s just these super deep rich ties to many books before Jeremiah in the timeline. So much of it tied back to the Davidic Covenant, and a lot of it ties back to the Abrahamic Covenant where you’re looking at the promises that God has made to his people so many years ago, and how he has continued to be faithful in spite of a nation’s continued rebellion against him. And then even the prophets themselves look forward to as God brings judgement, he’s still going to bring his people back to him, and some of those promises in the prophets we’re still waiting on. And so I’m like reading both looking on things that have happened and anticipating things that will happen, and it makes, just it’s so exciting to read the Bible now.
Chad (04:46): Yeah, yeah, it brings such a richness, and a different lens to read it through. So, if a college student came up to you, Jason, and said, “Hey, how does the Bible fit together?” But you only had two minutes, you know, to really help them understand. What would be kind of the key concepts that you would want them to understand of what we call, it’s often called the metanarrative, which just means the big story of the Bible.
Jason (05:10): Yeah, ultimately, the big story of the Bible all focuses on the person of Jesus. God created man in the garden, man fell, and the Lord immediately gave a promise that the serpent’s head would be crushed by the seed of the woman, that being Jesus. And the entirety of the Bible is waiting for the seed of the woman until he comes in the New Testament, and then we see his life in the gospels and then we see the result of his work on the cross and his resurrection explained in the epistles, and then we see the consummation of the relationship that Christ will have with his bride, and then, eventually that God will have with Israel as he works all things to their end in Revelation.
Chad (05:52): That’s good. One of the things I constantly tell people is, “When you read your Old Testament, just, you can almost hear God whispering, ‘He’s coming. He’s coming. He’s coming.’” And so when we read, we read it in a way that we understand what was happening at the time, but also that, like you said, that it was pointing forward to something in the future. So, like I said, we are going to jump into the book of John. And John is unique to the gospels, as you know Jason, and so I wanted to give a little bit of context before we just dive right in, so that we know where it fits in the story. So most of y’all know this, but there are four gospels. Gospel means, “good news” and there are four of them. So, we’re going to give you just a little bit of a framework of the four gospels and how they’re different. So Jason, you probably remember this from your time at the Institute, tell us about Matthew. What did you learn about Matthew? Keith taught you Matthew at the Institute. What makes Matthew different from Mark, Luke, and John?
Jason (06:55): Matthew is extremely Jewish in the way that it is written. It is targeted to someone who understands in and out the entirety of the Hebrew Bible, which would be the Old Testament. So it’s weaving in a lot of numbers that would have had great significant, especially with the genealogies at the beginning. It’s weaving in how Jesus is the Jewish king, like that’s the focus of the first part of Matthew. Jesus is the Messiah, and then the Jews reject their Messiah, and then you see Jesus turn his attention to those who have faith. And so you’re watching this kingdom program play out with a huge focus on Jesus being the Jewish messiah.
Chad (07:38): That’s good. And that’s important for people to understand. A lot of times people go, “Why does Matthew feel different from Mark? Mark feels different from Luke.” They’re supposed to. The audiences are different, and even the intention of the author is very different. And so, you guys may have heard this, Matthew, Mark, and Luke are often called the synoptic gospels, and a lot of times big words like that are used and they don’t need to be. A synoptic just means synopsis. And Matthew, Mark, and Luke were really trying to just give us a snapshot, a synopsis, of Jesus’ life. None of them include all of the details. John tells us that there are not enough books in the library of the world to tell all that Jesus did. But none of them give all the information, but they’re not contradictory, they’re complimentary. And so as we look at all four gospels, we get a more full picture of the life and times of Jesus. So Matthew, written to a Jewish audience. Very Jewish. And should be the first voice. The Old Testament was done, there had been 400 years where Israel had not heard anything from God, and now we have a Jewish man who comes onto the scene and points to the fact that Jesus fulfills those prophecies. The other two gospels are different in a couple of different ways. Number one, Mark. Mark is fascinating. He was a traveling compadre with Peter. Great relationship with Peter. Saw the majority of Peter’s ministry. And so he comes at it from that perspective writing to gentiles. Then we have Luke. And Luke traveled with Paul, and Luke is considered widely one of the greatest historians of the first century. Not just biblical historians, but historians. And he set out to give us a succinct and exact understanding of the life and times of Jesus. So Matthew, Mark, and Luke are giving us this wonderful picture of Jesus’ life with different audiences in mind and seeing it from different perspectives, whether they traveled with Jesus themselves (Matthew), they traveled with Peter, they traveled with Paul. And then you have John. And John is altogether different, which is where we’re going to spend our time over the next several weeks. John traveled with Jesus as you know. He refers to himself in the book as the disciple that Jesus loved. He never calls himself by name. But we know he had a deep and intimate relationship with Jesus and was at significant events in the life of Jesus. And John tell us his primary reason in writing this book. And he tells us in John chapter 20 verse 31. He says, “But these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that believing, you may have life in his name.” A couple things that stand out there. One, John is literally bringing witnesses forward to show us that Jesus is God’s son. And that, and not only is he God’s son, but in our belief, we may have life. And one of the major themes of the book of John we’re going to see over and over again is that God sent Jesus so that you and I may have life. Now that’ll preach. We can spend some time there and we will, but John is building a case for the fac that Jesus is the Son of God. That’s why John is such a great book when you’re working with a new believer or somebody that wants to be discipled because John just lays it out, as you were saying earlier. John just lays it out so clearly in the book of John what he’s trying to communicate is Jesus is the Son of God. He only touches on eight miracles in the book of John. It’s a very succinct and tight picture of the life of Jesus and each of those miracles is on display for a very specific reason. So, we’re excited to jump into the book of John. Join us again next time on the podcast and we’re going to start in John chapter one and begin to work through the text. Thanks for joining us. Have a great day and thanks so much for being a part of the Kanakuk Institute Podcast.