Jesus, the Gospels and mission

As part of a course on the Gospels, General Epistles and Revelation we spent time this morning ‘Responding to the Gospels’. In previous weeks we have covered the background to the Gospels and each Gospel in turn. Today I gave the class a few different options for reflecting on the Gospels, after which we shared our insights and reactions. Here are my instructions for some of the optional activities:

1. Reflection on The Return of the Prodigal Son
Read Luke 15
Reflect on Rembrandt’s painting
Flick through Henri Nouwen’s book
Think about how the two brothers and the father are portrayed
How do they relate to one another?
How is their lost-ness portrayed?
With whom do you identify?
Look for details; the Father’s hands; the son’s knife, the embrace

2. Jesus in Art
How has Jesus been portrayed in art? How have different eras and cultures depicted him? How might these help us to reflect on the person and work of Jesus, perhaps in new ways?
A number of art books are available. Also, they look for images on the web; a good place to start is

3. Quotations from Philip Yancey’s The Jesus I Never Knew
There is a pile of Yancey’s quotations at the front. Pick some and chew them over. Look up the relevant passages in the Gospels. Several copies of the book are available so read around the quotes for further inspiration.

4. Revisiting the text
Revisit a passage, theme or issue in the Gospels that has interested/confused/inspired/frustrated you. Get some commentaries and other resources and spend some time working it through.

5. Spiritual theology and the Gospels
Have a look at what Eugene Peterson has to say about the Gospels as part of his Spiritual Theology series (nb. Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places, and Tell it Slant).

6. Meditation
Read, reflect on and pray through part or all of John 13-17. What do we as individuals or as a church need to learn from this immensely rich passage?

I happened to have a spare copy of Henri Nouwen stunning book, The Return of the Prodigal Son, which I am giving away to the member of the class who writes the best comment on this post in relation to ‘Jesus, the Gospels and mission’. Let the contest begin!!