Four Gospels - One Story
JULY 28 - Nº 209 Matthew 1:1; Mark 10:45; Luke 1:1-4; John 20:30-31
As God was preparing the world for the coming of His Son, the Messiah, there were basically four groups of people living on the planet:
1) Abraham’s descendants known as the Jews or Israelites. They were the nation God chose to be His representatives to the rest of the world (see #8 - Abram Leaves for Ur). 2) Romans who unified and connected the world with a sophisticated system of roads (see #208 - 400 Years of Silence) and who were currently in power. 3) Greeks who had greatly impacted the world with their language and culture during the reign of Alexander the Great (see #208 - 400 Years of Silence). 4) The rest of the world regardless of religion or ethnicity.
The four Gospels were written to these four audiences. The goal of each author was to convince his readers that Jesus Christ was (and is) their Messiah. The stories shared are often the same (especially in the first three Gospels), but the focus is different. Matthew wrote primarily to the Jews to prove that Jesus was their King. They were familiar with the Old Testament and its promises of a Messiah who would one day rule the world and bring them peace. Matthew shared how these promises would all be fulfilled by Jesus. He began with Jesus’ royal credentials. His genealogy proved he was the son of David and rightful heir to the throne. Early in his life, he was worshiped by kings from other countries. His actions were powerful and his commands authoritative. Mark wrote to the Romans. Being a good servant was extremely important in their culture. Everyone was a servant (except Caesar himself), and all except the lowliest had servants of their own. Mark wanted to convince the Romans that Jesus was the perfect servant. Therefore, he filled his pages with action, recording more miracles than any other Gospel. Mark does not contain a genealogy, since it doesn’t really matter where a servant comes from. It only matters how well he serves and how much he sacrifices. Luke wrote to the Greeks. He recorded the events of Jesus’ life chronologically rather than thematically, as the other gospels did. The Greeks were students of humanity. Their arts, literature, and sports all pursued the perfect human mind and body. Luke demonstrated that Jesus was the perfect man they were searching for. He was strong and tender, intellectual and practical. Luke recorded more stories of Jesus with women and children than any other Gospel writer. He traced Jesus’ ancestry back to Adam. John wrote to the whole world. He wanted everyone to know that Jesus is the eternal Son of God, yet he was willing to become a man. He highlighted seven miracles that Jesus performed to reveal his sovereignty. And he shared seven instances when Jesus used God’s own name for himself, claiming that he was “Yahweh” (translated “I Am!”). God wants everyone to know His Son! That is why there are four Gospels!
The Gospels each portray Jesus in a different light. Look back over these summaries and ask yourself: Which aspect of Jesus’ character do I need to embrace more: his power and authority as King; his love as a servant; his understanding as a man; or his holiness as the Son of God?