Matthew, Mark, Luke and John

Paul Calvert exhorts us to value our Bibles.

Paul Calvert
Paul Calvert

Earlier this year Prince William visited the Holy Land, getting to know Palestinians and Israelis. It was a very important trip because no member of the Royal Family had ever officially visited Israel before.

Visiting the Land is a great way to get to know the Bible.

Our Bibles are so important to us, yet so many times it sits on a dusty shelf and is never read. The wisdom and understanding that is written on each page is gone to waste because something became more important. People died to bring us the Bible, yet we treat it so glibly.

Doctor Luke wanted to write an account of Jesus' life here on earth; others had already written an account, but he also wanted to express his understanding of Jesus and his life. We have four gospels that show us about the life of Jesus. As we read them we see Jesus' love and compassion for the people who were like sheep without a shepherd; we see Jesus' disgust for the religious of the day, who lorded it over people, but didn't do anything to make people's lives easier. We read about Jesus' miracles, His teachings and His insight into spiritual things. The four gospels illuminate for us so much about Jesus.

People sometimes think that Jesus was a mythical character, but you only have to look at the writings of Josephus to see that Jesus was a true person who lived during Roman times, proving that the four gospels are true.

But did you know there was a fifth gospel?

Yes it's true there is a fifth gospel, and that is Israel/Palestine.

As people come to the Land and walk in the footsteps that Jesus walked, it opens up the Bible so much more to them.

You can go to Jerusalem and pray at the Garden of Gethsemane. You can cross over the Kidron Valley and walk into the Old Walled City of Jerusalem. You can see where the mighty Temple would have once stood. You can go to the Garden Tomb and see that it fits exactly the description laid out in the Bible. You can go to Bethlehem and see the place where Jesus was born and walk through the Shepherd's Fields and actually go down into a cave where the shepherds would have kept their sheep safe at night.

The Holy Land is the fifth gospel and it opens up the Bible as you begin to understand more about the Jewish culture of the day, because after all Jesus was a Jew, and our faith as a Christian has come out of Judaism.

Coming to the Holy Land is a great investment for your spiritual life. It will excite you and give you a passion for its people, but I warn you that once you come, you will want to come back again and again.

So if you have never really read your Bible, take it off the shelf, dust it off and start reading the gospel stories from Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. Get to know the Saviour in the pages, who gave His life for you in the city of Jerusalem.

And once you have read those stories, plan to come to the Holy Land and see the places that you have read about. Let it be the fifth gospel that opens your understanding anew. It is well worth the investment. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.