SENTINEL 12-16-2010
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The Gospel According to Michael?

The good news & the Gloved One

December 16, 2010

If Michael Joseph Jackson had been the first ever to write an inspired gospel, it could rightly be called, The Good News According to Michael. But alas, Matthew Levi, the faithful apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, claims that distinction. Still, the compilation of songs of love, joy, peace, and happiness Michael wrote that find a basis in Scripture do indeed amount to his own special good news to humanity. He desired to imitate Christ.

In fact, he felt that Jesus Christ not only founded the Christian Congregation on love, but was also the greatest man that ever lived. Not surprisingly, Michael loved the gospels, which feature Jesus' life and ministry. Significantly, Matthew wrote the first gospel, which was constituted the "Bible" for the earliest Christians.

The Model in Matthew: The gospel of Matthew was written in 41 C.E., some nine years before the next inspired canonical book (1 Thessalonians) was written by Paul. Matthew's gospel doubtlessly served as the "Bible" or infrastructure document for the first-century Christian Congregation. As individual congregations were established (Ac 14:23), the local body of elders could examine the book of Matthew in seeking guidance and direction from the very words of Jesus Christ, the head of the Congregation. (Eph 5:23; Col 1:18) For example:  

Jesus sent the 12 apostles (essentially the foundation of the Christian Congregation) to preach from door to door (Matt 10:1-31; Eph 2:20-22), so the elders knew to preach in this manner also; Jesus likened his followers to a family (Matt 12:46-50; 23:8), so elders addressed each other as "brother"; Jesus predicted the firm establishment of the Congregation (Matt 16:13-19), so elders could rest assured that this was a divine arrangement.

Jesus predicted congregational growth and the procedure to resolve conflicts within it (Matt 18:1-7; 15-35), so the elders had a ready-made "manual" at their disposal; Jesus outlined what constitutes divorce (Matt 19:3-9), so the elders could act on this information; Jesus condemned ecclesiastical politics (Matt 20:20-28), so the elders were to shun congregational politics; Jesus predicted intensified preaching during the conclusion of the system of things (Matt 24:3-14), so elders were to conscientiously preach during this time period.

Jesus established the Lord's Evening Meal for all congregations (Matt 26:20-30), so elders were to ensure that this annual event was duly observed by their respective congregations; and finally, Matthew ends with the words of Jesus as the latter commands the congregation to make disciples, baptize them, and continue their teaching program the world over (Matt 28:19, 20), so all elders in every congregation knew that beyond just preaching, disciples were to be made earth wide.  

Paul Familiar With Matthew?: The apostle Paul probably converted to Christianity around 36 C.E., about five years before Matthew wrote his gospel. Interestingly, it appears from Paul's speech in an Antioch synagogue that he possessed an intimate knowledge of Matthew's gospel.--Ac 13:26-31; Matt 1:1, 2, 17; 10:5, 6; 26:60; 27:22, 34, 35, 38, 39, 43, 45, 46, 48, 49[?]; 28:6, 16, 17.

Paul was obviously familiar with Jesus' words regarding marriage, divorce, singleness, and families with children found at Matt 19:3-15. When Jesus didn't go into specific detail on these matters, Paul, under inspiration, did. In discussing such matters in his first canonical letter to the Corinthians Paul uses such qualifying phrases as, "But to the others I say, yes, I, not the Lord" (1 Co 7:12); "To the married people I give instructions, yet not I but the Lord" (1 Co 7:10); "Now concerning virgins I have no command from the Lord." (1 Co 7:25) And although gospel writer Luke traveled with Paul, he hadn't yet written his gospel, and neither had he ever met Jesus.

When Paul left his ‘cloak-bag' that carried "scrolls" and "parchments" (perhaps of "Old Testament" books and copies of Matthew's gospel), he asked Timothy to retrieve it. (2Ti 4:13) Daniel also studied the writings of other Bible writers, though a writer himself.

"Daniel was a diligent student of the Scriptures.... [H]e himself wrote: ‘I...discerned by the books the number of the years...for fulfilling the devastations of Jerusalem.' (Daniel 9:2) The books available to him at the time likely included the inspired writings of Moses, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and other prophets. We can imagine Daniel surrounded by numerous scrolls, thoroughly immersed in reading." (The Watchtower, January 1, 2011) Sounds like something Michael Jackson did as a conscientious Witness. Now that's good news.

Peace and blessings to all. Amen.