What do you find most persuasive?

A cool part about Christianity is that the story of Jesus is told in narrative form four different times. Early scholars and teachers of the Christian faith found these four “gospels” (unlike some other “Tales of Jesus”) compelling as having come from reputable eyewitness testimony and not contradicting each other. So what you have, if you are trying to understand the Christian faith, is four lovely lenses through which to look.

Take their starting points. Mark’s first story is of Jesus launching into public ministry by way of an exorcism. Luke has Jesus returning to his hometown and going to church. Matthew has Jesus teaching on a mountain to the crowds, like a New Moses for first-century Jews.

John (the Bob Dylan, poet-philosopher of the Bible) tells first a story filled with loaded imagery to suggest a new era of manifest abundance and delight: Jesus changing water into wine at a wedding banquet.

I love this aspect of the Bible. In each of these lenses we wonder about both the author and the audience. Was the exorcism story something that persuaded Mark to be devoted to Jesus, or was it what the churches he was writing to needed to hear? Was John a wine-lover, or was he trying to win over a Napa Valley-type community to the Christian faith?

In meeting Jesus, you can expect the same: A unique experience in which Jesus becomes meaningful and glorious to you in some particular way. I can’t predict how, but if you keep reading on in the (gospel) stories, bringing your questions, doubts, hopes and prayers to him, he will eventually grow on you in the way you find… persuasive.