General Sketch of the New Testament in the Light of Christ and the Church, A - Part 1: The Gospels and the Acts, by Witness Lee



When we come to the first four books of the New Testament, we can see seven major points. The first item that the New Testament shows us is incarnation. The entire Old Testament leads us to the point that God is brought into man. God coming to be a man and mingling Himself with man is the first item of the New Testament. If we have this insight, the entire holy Word will be open to us.

The Kingdom

After Christ’s incarnation, John the Baptist came out to proclaim the kingdom. From that time to the end of the New Testament, the line of the kingdom goes on without interruption. We can see the unbroken line of the kingdom throughout the remaining books of the New Testament. John the Baptist was the first one to proclaim the glad tidings of the New Testament, and the first word uttered by him was, “Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near” (Matt. 3:2). When the Lord Jesus began His ministry, He spoke the same word (4:17). The disciples sent by the Lord were instructed by Him also to pronounce the same thing. Therefore, the second main point in the New Testament is the kingdom with its requirements.

As we have seen, a definition of the kingdom was given by the Lord in Matthew 6. At the end of His prayer, He said, “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever” (v. 13). Power here indicates authority. In a kingdom there are two things—authority and glory. Authority deals with the enemy, and the glory expresses the Ruler, God Himself. If we read the New Testament again with the point of view of the kingdom, we will see the matters of authority and glory.

The Real Condition of Fallen Man

The third main item revealed in the four Gospels is the real condition of the fallen human race. We cannot see this picture as clearly in the other books of the New Testament. In the four Gospels there are many stories and cases that reveal to us the miserable condition of fallen mankind. These four books tell us that wherever the Lord Jesus went, He encountered sins, misery, sickness, weakness, death, demon- possession, and the evil power of darkness. These are the characteristics, the real condition, of the fallen human race. When we read the four Gospels, our eyes are opened to see the true condition of our race.

The All-sufficiency of Christ

Fourth, these four books reveal the all-sufficiency of this God-man, Jesus. There was not one need that He could not meet nor one case or problem that He could not solve. No matter what kind of need or trouble we have, He is the unique solution.

The Wonderful Life and Living of Jesus

The four Gospels also reveal the wonderful living of the Lord Jesus. The book of Matthew shows us a life that brings in the reality of the kingdom and enables us to fulfill the requirements of this kingdom. In Mark this life brings in the real obedience to God. Luke’s Gospel reveals a life which is able to make us a genuine, proper, and normal man before God and among men. In John, this life is able to express God and live out God through the human life and nature. These are the four aspects of the living of Christ in the four Gospels. This is the fifth item mentioned in the Gospels. If we see these items, the Gospels will be very clear to us.

(General Sketch of the New Testament in the Light of Christ and the Church, A - Part 1: The Gospels and the Acts, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)