“With many stories like these, he presented his message to them, fitting the stories to their experience and maturity. He was never without a story when he spoke”.
Mk 4:33 EHP
It is usually instructive to read a biography of a great person. A good biographer will research facts, interview the person’s family, friends and colleagues and present an interesting account of the person, full of insights and comments. Often they will unearth previously unknown facts that show the person in a new and different light.
The gospels were not biographies. They are a selection of memoirs about what Jesus said and did. Mark’s gospel is thought to have been dictated by Peter, revealing several eye-witness details. When it was written the number of people who had known Jesus and lived with him was decreasing as older people died. A written record was necessary. Mark wrote what Peter could remember – maybe thirty years after the events being described. But they were written recollections and the vast number of things Jesus said and did was more than any one person could recount. The collection Mark and Peter assembled was not exhaustive. They had to leave many things out. Matthew and Luke added other items and memories. John recalled many things the other three had omitted and elaborated on the meanings and message about Jesus that his selection contained.
As Christian disciples we rejoice in the picture we can have of Jesus from the four gospels. Taken together they describe the greatest life ever lived. The gist of what they convey is, “This is what life under God and from God, is all about”. He spoke then and he speaks today – because he used simple stories that will last for all time.
Tell me the stories of Jesus I love to hear.
– W. H. Parker