The King's Antecedents and Status, by Witness Lee


Jesus is all-inclusive. With Him there are many aspects. No one can exhaust in language who and what He is. Who else in history has four unique biographies written of him? Although the New Testament is a short book, it begins with four biographies of one Person, four books telling us of the life of Christ.

Each of us has four sides: the front and the back, the right and the left. If you look at me from the front, you can see seven holes on my face. But if I turn my back to you, all the holes disappear. On my right side you can see a little hole, and on my left side, another little hole. If you would make an accurate copy of my image, you need to take a picture of every side. This is exactly what has been done in the New Testament.

Why do we have four Gospels? Because Christ has at least four main aspects. Christ is great! Because He is all-inclusive and unsearchably rich, He needs several biographies. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John present different aspects of Christ because each writer was a different kind of person. Matthew, for instance, was a tax collector. Among the Jewish people in ancient times, a tax collector was a despised person. Nevertheless, Matthew wrote the first biography of Christ. Mark was an ordinary man, and Luke was a physician and a Gentile. At first, John was a common fisherman, but eventually he became the very aged, experienced apostle. Each wrote a different biography about the same Christ. This living Person needs many biographies.


The book of Acts is the expansion of this wonderful Person. It is the branching out of the all-inclusive Christ. This Christ has expanded from one Person to thousands and thousands of persons. He was once the individual Christ, but in Acts He has become a corporate Christ. Following the Acts, we have all the Epistles, which give a full definition of this wonderful, universal, great Man. Christ is the Head, and the church is the Body: this is the universal Man, Christ and the church. Finally, we have the book of Revelation as the consummation of the New Testament. This book gives us a full picture of the Body-Christ, the individual Christ incorporated with all His members to become the New Jerusalem.


Let us return to the four Gospels. If I were to arrange the four Gospels, I would put the Gospel of John first. When reading the Bible, many Christians start with John and then proceed to read Luke, Mark, and Matthew. The human concept is the exact opposite of the divine. The divine concept starts with Matthew and proceeds through John; the human thought starts with John and goes back to Matthew. Many of us would begin reading the New Testament with John because John is so wonderful. It is a book of life. After John, we would read Luke because Luke is a book of the Savior, telling us of many cases of salvation. Then, of course, we would come to Mark because Mark is short and simple. People read Matthew last because Matthew is too difficult, too mysterious. Not only is chapter one difficult to understand; the parables in chapter thirteen and the prophecies in chapters twenty-four and twenty-five are also difficult. Chapters five, six, and seven, the Sermon on the Mount, are especially difficult. No one can practice it! You strike me on the right cheek, and I turn to you the left. You force me to walk one mile, and I walk two miles. You take my outer garment, and I give you my inner garment. This is too much! Only Jesus can do it! Thus, many place Matthew last. John is dear and precious. In John, Jesus is everything, and we do not need to do anything. Hence, we like John, but not Matthew. We may not say this in plain words, but we have such a feeling in our heart. Nevertheless, the divine order is best. God put Matthew first.

(The King's Antecedents and Status, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)