Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John

Theocentric Studies-Part I February 2, 1996

The four Gospels are neither histories of the life of Christ nor biographies.
They are portraits of the person and work of the long promised Messiah, Israel\'s
King and the world\'s Savior. As portraits they present four different poses of
one unique personality. Matthew by the Holy Spirit presents Christ as King,
Mark as Servant, Luke as Man, and John as God. Although featuring Christ as King,
Matthew sketches His role as a King in closest connection with His character as
Servant, as Man, and as God (Matthew 13:53-19:30). Likewise, although featuring
Him as Servant, Mark depicts Christ\'s servant role in closest connection with
His character as King, Man and God (Mark 11:1-16:1-8). Similarly Luke focuses
the spotlight on Christ as Man and John as God, but like other evangelists they
do not separate Him from His full- orbed character (Luke 4:14-9:50, John 1:19-
2:50). The four Gospels narrate, largely, the same things, but with some
differences. Only Matthew and Luke tell of the Birth and childhood of Jesus
(Matthew 1:14-9:1, Luke 1:5-4:13). Matthew and Mark dwell on the Galilean
Ministry; Luke, the Perean; John, the Judean. John omits most of the Galilean
Ministry, and records visits to Jerusalem that the others omit (Luke 9:51-19:27).
The others omit the Judean Ministry, except the Last Week, which all four cover
rather extensively. The Last Week occupies one-third of Matthew, approximately
one-third of Mark, one-quarter of Luke, and one-half of John. John devotes
seven chapters, about one-third of his book, to Crucifixion Day, sunset to
sunset. Thus all four writers present the one and same Person: the God-Man,
Servant of the Lord, King of Israel, humanity\'s Redeemer. The special emphasis
of Matthew is that Jesus is the Messiah foretold by Old Testament Prophets. As
he quotes from the Old Testament repeatedly, he seems to have had Jewish readers
in mind. Mark\'s special emphasis is the Superhuman power of Jesus, by
demonstrating His Deity by His Miracles (Mark 1:14-9:1). Omits most of Jesus\'
lectures. Narrates things Jesus did rather than things Jesus said. Seems to
have had Gentile readers in mind. Luke\'s special emphasis is the humanity of
Jesus. Representing Jesus as the Son of God. Luke features His kindness toward
the weak, the suffering and the outcast (Luke 9:51-18:27). He seems to have had
the Greeks, who represented culture, philosophy and wisdom, in mind. John places
special emphasis on the Deity of Jesus. Consists mostly of Jesus\' lectures and
conversations. Discusses things Jesus said rather than things He did (John
1:1-18). By describing the eternal pre-existence, human birth, death,
resurrection and ascension of Jesus the Christ and His life and teachings, the
four Gospels present a living, dynamic, unique personality. God became man to
work out man\'s redemption from sin. These four portraits present Him as Lord
and Savior, rather than describing all He did and in the precise order in which
He did it. They introduce us to Him, rather than to His life as a whole. The
Gospels are designedly incomplete as a story, but marvelously complete and
purposeful as a divine revelation of the Son of God, our Savior. And this is
faith\'s need. It is also disbelief\'s stumbling block. Works Cited


National,"The Holy Bible", Authorized (King James) Version.
Philadelphia: The National Bible Press (1963). Cambridge, "The New
English Bible", The New English Translation.
Cambridge: The University Press (1972).

Category: Religion