The Gospels

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Theocentric Studies

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...