The Four Gospels---Four Clear Windows into Christ’s life
The Gospel of Matthew
“The book doesn’t reveal its author internally, but it was considered to be the work of Matthew [Matthew Levi], the disciple of Jesus, from a very early date. Matthew as a tax collector would certainly have had the ability to write such a book, and many have suggested that since it contains more references to money than any of the other Gospels, a tax collector would be a likely candidate. This book was obviously written by a Jew and was intended for a Jewish readership. Tradition says it was originally written in Hebrew and later translated into Greek. We don’t know when it was exactly written, but it was clearly completed before A.D. 70, when the temple was destroyed. The purpose of the Book of Matthew was to present Jesus Christ as Messiah and King. The book opens with the genealogy demonstrating that Jesus had the right to reign on the throne of David through the line of His adoptive father Joseph…Throughout Matthew’s Gospel the evidence is presented to identify Jesus as the fulfillment of the messianic prophecies. Numerous quotes are given from the Old Testament to connect Jesus prophecy.” [Opening commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, written by Pastor Chuck Smith, Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, in The Word For Today Bible (NKJV), sel. portions p. 1223]
The Gospel of Mark
“The Gospel of Mark is thought by many scholars to be the earliest of the Gospel accounts…It was written by John Mark (his Jewish name was John and his Roman name was Mark). Mark was the nephew of Barnabas and was just a boy when these events took place. He went with Paul and his uncle Barnabas on Paul’s first missionary journey. Mark didn’t make it through the entire missionary journey, but later he was of value to Paul, and had earned his respect. It is generally accepted that Mark’s account of the life of Jesus is really the recounting of Peter’s story and that it was compiled from Peter’s sermons, his other writings, and from the personal conversations Mark had with Peter…While the Book of Matthew depicts Jesus as King, the Book of Mark presents Jesus as a servant. It tells the story of what Jesus did. It is a book of action, which is to be expected since Peter was always a man of action. It is shorter than the other Gospels because it tells the stories without transcribing the sermons of Jesus. Again, the book is more concerned with what Jesus did than with what he said.” [Opening commentary on the Gospel of Mark, The Word For Today Bible (NKJV), sel. portions, p.1280]
The Gospel of Luke
“Luke was a physician who never met Jesus, and was not an eye-witness of the events of the Gospel account. He was a dear friend of the apostle Paul and probably traveled with him on his last two missionary journeys. Luke was writing as a historian who had compiled the accounts of others in a carefully researched way. He addressed this book and its sequel, the Book of Acts, to Theophilus, who was probably a Greek believer. Luke’s intent was to confirm to Theophilus that the events he was recording were absolutely true…While Matthew presented Jesus as the Jewish Messiah and King, and Mark painted the picture of Jesus as a servant, Luke emphasized the humanity of Jesus, and presented Him as the perfect Man. And who would be better qualified to bear witness to the humanity of Jesus than a physician? Luke wrote in very a high form of Greek, with a very sophisticated vocabulary. He used numerous medical terms, as one might expect. The Greeks were obsessed with humanity, and the quest for perfect humanity, and Luke wanted to show them Jesus, the Perfect Man.” [Opening commentary on the Gospel of Luke, The Word For Today Bible (NKJV), sel. portions, p.1314] Also we find that Luke recorded more of Jesus Christ’s encounters with the scribes, doctors of the Law and Pharisees over their warped interpretation and enforcement of the Sabbath Command, showing clearly Jesus’ intent was to restore Sabbath-keeping to its original high intent, as created in Eden, as a redemptive blessing for mankind, symbolizing and pointing to the future restoration of those Edenic conditions in the world at his 2nd coming.
The Gospel of John
“The Gospel of John is quite different than the other three Gospels which collectively are called “the Synoptic Gospels.” John was written much later than the other three Gospels, probably around A.D. 90. Because the other three Gospels were in wide circulation by this time, John provides stories and teachings that fill in the gaps left by the other accounts. The book was no doubt written by John, the disciple of Jesus, as can be seen by the last few verses of the book, and as is supported by early church history. John gives the purpose of the book in John 20:31, where he says, “these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” In other words, John wrote the Gospel so that people could understand and believe who Jesus is---the Messiah and God in the flesh---and that this awareness would lead to an abundant life…” Pastor Chuck goes on to show that John gave a unique and different kind of genealogy of Jesus Christ. “But in John’s Gospel, the genealogy is found in the first verse, as he says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus was around before Adam, because He always existed, before time began, as God. John’s Gospel gives numerous evidences of the deity of Christ. You will see how many times Jesus described Himself in John beginning with the words “I am.” That was the way God introduced Himself to Moses in the Book of Exodus [3:13-15], and Jesus used this self-description many times in this book…John also presents Jesus as a servant, such as when He washed the feet of the disciples (John 13:1-17), and shows Him to be human (“and the Word became flesh,” John 1:14). Thus the Gospel of John paints a complete picture of who Jesus is, and so is a powerful source for bringing someone into a relationship with Jesus. This is why I usually recommend this book to a new Christian, or to someone who is wanting to learn more about Jesus. It tells the whole story, and was written for the purpose of giving life.” [Opening commentary on the Gospel of John, written by Pastor Chuck Smith, Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, in The Word For Today Bible (NKJV), sel. portions pp. 1367-1368]
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