The Setting of the Pearl
George H. Morrison
It is generally agreed that the Gospel of St. Mark is the earliest of the four Gospels, and it is notable that in this earliest Gospel there is no genealogy at all. St. Mark does not give the ancestry of Christ nor does he say a word about His lineage. He stands beside the flowing river and never seeks to trace it to its source. St. Mark, from the very outset, has his gaze fixed upon the Savior and brings the reader face to face with Him. There is no attempt to explain the fact of Christ by relating it to the long past. All that will come in season, for unrelated facts can never satisfy. The first thing is to have Jesus shown us, to be confronted with Him as a living person, and that is the divine office of St. Mark.
But just because man is a reasonable being, he can never find rest in isolated facts. And in the next Gospel, the Gospel of St. Matthew, you have our Lord related to the past. St. Mark plunges into the heart of things. He confronts you with the Savior. He says: "If you want to understand the Lord, the first thing is to fix your gaze on Him." Then St. Matthew takes that isolated fact and traces it back to David and to Abraham; Christ is "the son of David, the son of Abraham" (1:1). St. Matthew is thinking out what Christ implies, the Christ who had changed His life down to the deeps, and the great truth which dawns on him is this, that it takes David and Abraham to comprehend Him. In other words, St. Matthew says that if you want to understand the Lord, you must take in the whole of Jewish history. To St. Matthew Christ is the crown of Jewish history. Without Him it is inexplicable. It was to Him that the sacrifices pointed. It was of Him that all the prophets wrote. That is why, for all its difficulties, we never can dispense with the Old Testament. Christ is the son of David, who is the son of Abraham.
Then you come to the Gospel of St. Luke, and in St. Luke you have a larger setting. ...
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