What if the red letters and narrative of Jesus were all we had of the New Testament? What if there were no epistles of Paul, Peter, James or John — just the gospels and Acts? If all we had was Jesus, how would that change our perspective on things? What might be different?
I asked this question of C. McNair Wilson, our BlogTalkRadio guest Tuesday night, and he said two things. The first made me wonder, the second, for some reason, made me cry.
First he said it would be a great relief. It would be a relief because Jesus simplified things. He didn’t make it easier to do, mind you, just easier to understand what to do. For instance, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40). So you can focus on doing two things, or you can learn and follow all the Law and the Prophets. Do the first and you will be fulfilling the second. That’s a great relief.
The second thing McNair said that would be true if we only had the red letters and narrative of Jesus, is that it would be more than enough.
I love the word of God. I love most of all the words of Jesus. To reduce the New Testament down to the red letters and have it be “more than enough” touches my soul deeply. Jesus is all we need. Have Jesus and you have the whole thing.
Bystanders listening to Jesus claimed that no one spoke like He spoke. Indeed. He said things no one had ever said before, or since. “I am the light of the world.” “You are the salt of the earth.” Who talks like this? The one who invented language, that’s who. The one who came from God and went back to God. The red letters stand alone. They form words that are forever fresh, arresting, mysterious, easy to grasp, and hard to understand. No one ever spoke like this man.
The words of Jesus are more than enough because we will never get to the bottom of what they mean. Just like we will never get enough of Jesus.