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Meeting Jesus in the Gospels

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  • Posted April 29, 2009

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    Suitable for individuals and groups

    George Martin, known for his popular writing on Scripture, offers 55 meditations on the Gospels as they have come to him over the past 20 years. Each meditation begins with a scripture passage and ends with reflection questions. Major headings are getting to know Jesus, pondering his love, the friends of Jesus, following Jesus, to pray with Jesus, living as Jesus' disciples, and the way to resurrection.

    A reflection in the Pondering His Love section looks at Good Shepherd scriptures. In the parable of the lost sheep, Martin points out, the shepherd went out to get the sheep rather than just wait for it to find its way back. In the same way, God searches for us when we are lost in sin. John's good shepherd gospel (10:11, 27-29) says the sheep follow their master's voice and will never perish. He will lay down his life for the sheep and no one will "snatch them." Martin acknowledges that for some life seems a struggle between Jesus on one side and evil forces on the other. "Jesus assures us that we are not going to be swept away as hapless victims of these forces," he writes. He has a claim on us and he is not going to let go."

    The Following Jesus section contains a reflection called "the next step," based on Matthew's story of the rich young man (10:17-22). This man had followed the commandments, and now was asking Jesus to tell him the next step toward eternal life. That, of course, was to sell his belongings and give the money to the poor, and the man went away grieving. Martin tells us that Jesus was inspired by his love to ask the young man to "trade treasure on earth for infinitely more valuable treasure in heaven. Jesus likewise asks things of us out of his love for us." If, like the rich young man, we draw back or if we try and fail, what then? Martin asks. He muses over the unwritten ending to Matthew's story: "Perhaps (the young man's) wealth progressively paled against the memory of Jesus looking at him in love." Perhaps one day, with God's grace, he was able to take the step Jesus asked of him.

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