Trying to think about things other than a boy and a trip... here we go (2.5 hours to go!).
I've been reading through the Gospels (since the start of the year!) and I just wrapped up Luke yesterday. I've got to say, this was the first time I've really wondered about why he seems to have stories the others don't - and tell the ones they share quite differently at times. I often wonder why there are FOUR gospels. I believe there's a purpose. I just don't know what it is. And I'm sure I won't know the full purpose any time soon. But I wonder about it basically every time I read them. Which means I've wondered a lot for the past 9 months as I've kept asking myself "Didn't I read this already?!" All that said - Why are they different? If some of them weren't eye witnesses - how much do you weigh the exact words? What purpose should they serve? How should we apply and how should they shape our lives? I think they should do all of these things - I just want to find more behind them and in them.
It's probably the writer in me. I watch plays, movies, shows as the author - I'm hyper aware of what the author is trying to accomplish and what tools he is using to do so. If I like a character, I analyze why. Most likely the author wants me to like them - why? How did he do it? If I suspect them? Why? What for? And who might he be building up more subtle alongside? I'm always looking for that surprise. I'm three episodes in to Downtown Abbey and I've known for sometime a bit of what the writers are up to - I know who I like, and why they were being kept hidden the first two episodes... I recognize little looks that make me trust people or suspect them.
I guess I read scripture the same way. If it's the Word of God - why did he put 66 books together and then make 4 of them repeat the same thing? Because it's the central point of all the rest of the books? It's the central point of history? It's meant to be the center of my life? It's probably that. And it's probably more - it always seems to be. And more than that - why did put 4 different takes on it in there? It's almost asking for confusion and skepticism. Or is it? Maybe it's teaching us something about multiple perspectives - maybe no one's wrong, but they saw different things, and heard different things.
Rarely do 4 different people walk away having heard the same thing. I'm realizing two people can sit down and have a conversation and hear different things. In fact, it's hard for them to hear the same thing. We are incredibly complicated creatures. And we have got so many filters - how silly to pretend we don't. How naive to quickly point as "accurate" and "inaccurate" - especially with a God who is big enough to say once sentence and speak to the hearts of many men. Hearts He created and understands the diversity and depth of each.
As of now, I think we get to read the story of Christ and His words, from four different hearts and four different life stories and sets of filters. How kind of Him to us, to seek to reach us in so many ways, to make a way for us no matter our set of filters and our history. I'm sure across my life, it will be John that speaks most clearly to my heart the words of Christ, and years later, Matthew, Mark, or Luke. They each captured a glimpse of a man who is The Word. And apparently, He saw their four as fit, and the Gospel as complete.
That is a marvel to me. One I am sure I will be wondering about for the rest of my life.