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The Four Gospels

The Four Gospels

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The Four Gospels

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  1. The Four Gospels Overview

  2. A modern publisher would say ‘you’re fired’ to all four evangelists. The Gospels are not like modern biographies. They’re about the ‘good news’ of Jesus Ministry.

  3. The fragment beside is taken from his Letter to the Ephesians Ephesus – modern day Turkey St Paul’s letters are among the earliest Particularly his Letters to the Thessalonians Northern Greece C. 50 AD The earliest NT writings

  4. Fragment of St Matthew’s Gospel Fragment of St Luke’s Gospel Four Canonical Gospels Fragment of St Johns’s Gospel

  5. The fragment is of the so-called ‘gospel of Thomas’ Simon Peter said to them: Let Mary go forth from among us, for women are not worthy of the life. Jesus said: Behold, I shall lead her, that I may make her male, in order that she also may become a living spirit like you males. For every woman who makes herself male shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. This fragment is from so-called ‘sayings of Jesus’ Egyptian papyri Apocryphal Writings

  6. Canonical = according to the rule of the Church This means that they are accepted as authentic Divinely inspired and therefore accepted as part of Holy Scripture Apocryphal = not approved by the rule of the Church This means that they are not accepted as wholly authentic Not accepted as part of Holy Scripture Terminology Christians accept the Torah, Wisdom, History and Prophecy of the OT as canonical

  7. Inspiration according to Islamic understanding Muhammad’s receiving of the Qu’ran Grace sidesteps nature? Inspiration according to Judeo-Christian understanding The various author’s talents, abilities and even limitations are engaged Grace builds on nature Inspiration – 2 understandings

  8. Process by which the gospels came about … Christian oral tradition Eyewitness accounts Use of written records now lost Comparison of the above to correct distortions Gospel formation

  9. St. Matthew's Gospel The Apostle Matthew (Levi) For people who were Jewish converts to Christianity. Jesus' Jewish background and Jewish customs are explained. Many quotations from the Jewish Scriptures to show that Jesus was the fulfilment of God's promise to the Jews about the Messiah. Evangelists: St Matthew

  10. St. Mark's Gospel Short Gospel Concentrates on the last week before Jesus died. Shows how Jesus accepted suffering and won final victory. To encourage the Church in Rome which was suffering persecution. Message was to keep faith in Jesus in spite of troubles. Evangelists: St Mark

  11. St. Luke's Gospel Gentile writer for a Gentile church. Includes many stories to show that Jesus is the saviour of the whole world. Shows how Jesus had time for the outsider, for people in society who were normally on the margins - women, the poor, foreigners, the sick and sinners. Evangelists: St Luke

  12. St. John's Gospel The Apostle John Many differences between St. John's Gospel and the other three. Only Gospel in which Jesus openly claims to be the Messiah. ‘I am the Light of the World’, ‘I am the Bread of Life’ are in this Gospel. This Gospel has a very ‘spiritual’ feel. Evangelists: St John

  13. Terminology check Terminology check synoptic apocryphal inspiration evangelist Judeo-Christian Christian oral tradition gentile canonical persecution Messiah

  14. Synoptic Gospels Mark's gospel - 676 verses (16 chapters) Early records Memories of Peter Stories from first disciples Written in Rome about A.D. 65 Luke's gospel - 1149 verses (24 chapters) about 350 verses from Mark about 600 verses from sources known to Luke about 250 verses from a source known to Luke and Matthew Written in Syria (?) about A.D. 70-80? Matthew's gospel - 1068 verses (28 chapters) about 600 verses from Mark about 218 from sources known to Matthew about 250 verses from a source known to Luke and Matthew Written in Antioch (?) about A.D. 70-80?

  15. The Synoptic Gospels are about a mysterious reality … The Kingdom of God The Reign of Darkness is on the way out The miracles and the parables ‘unpack’ this reality for the people Many of the parables of Jesus begin with: ‘The Kingdom of God (Heaven) is like this …’ Kingdom of God

  16. For the ordinary people, miracles show evil (sickness, death) being defeated The back-up the claim the Jesus is the Messiah Exorcisms (driving out demons) was a dramatic sign of defeat of the Evil One Very important ministry in the early Church Why miracles?

  17. Some miracles are healing miracles …demonstrating the Messiah’s power over sickness, evil & death Some miracles are called nature miracles … demonstrating the Messiah’s power of natural processes Types of Miracle

  18. Parables explain the unfolding reality of God’s Kingdom using simple comparison stories Parabolos = throw alongside Simple, everyday stories were thrown alongside … the mysterious reality of the Kingdom of God To help make sense of this mystery Parables

  19. Some parables are allegorical An allegory is a ‘coded message’ that relates through the code to reality E.g. Parable of the Sower Some parables are eschatological This means they talk about the ‘end times’ E.g. The Parable of the Last Judgement Parables continued …

  20. Summary so far … St Luke’s G St Matthew’s G St Mark’s G The Synoptic Gospels … Are mainly about the Kingdom of God/Heaven A mysterious reality unpacked through … parables miracles

  21. Terminology check nature miracle apocryphal synoptic miracle healing miracle inspiration parable Kingdom of God Judeo-Christian gentile evangelist allegorical parable Messiah Christian oral tradition eschatological parable persecution exorcism canonical

  22. Jesus was opposed by ‘the religious authorities’ Pharisees Sadducees Scribes Their main objections were about Interpretation of the law especially about the Sabbath and work Mixing with ‘outcasts’ (sinners, tax collectors, pagans, etc.) Suspicions of blasphemy Behaviour in Temple Opposition

  23. Pharisees Some points of agreement with Jesus 6000+ Not ‘full-time’ religious – had jobs Clear differences, too Very strict Jews – fasted twice a week, prayed regularly etc. Ordinary Jews respected them

  24. Scribes Some belonged to the Pharisee party Literally means ‘writer’ A.k.a. ‘lawyers’ or ‘teachers of the law’ Made copies of the sacred Torah Debated finer points of law – prone to legalism Gradually came to be seen as experts in the Jewish Law

  25. Sadducees High Priest, chief priests were Sadducees Wealthy priests who controlled the Jewish Temple Doctrinal differences with Pharisees Were on reasonably good terms with the Romans Jesus clearing of the Temple a direct challenge to them Not that well liked by many ordinary Jews

  26. The Jewish Temple

  27. The Jewish Temple

  28. Samaritans • Samaritans lived in Samaria, a land between Galilee and Judea • Samaritans were seen as ‘half-breeds’ by other Jews • Samaritans considered themselves proper Jews • They had built a Temple in their lands • Samaritans and Jews avoided each other • Often, Jews would cross the Jordan rather than cross through Samaria

  29. Tax Collectors (Publicani) These were also known as ‘publicans’ Sometimes worked on the Sabbath They were seen as collaborators Levi/Matthew & Zacchaeus They were outcasts from respectable Jewish society They earned their money by overcharging

  30. Zealots (Sicarii) These were freedom fighters or terrorists, depending on whose side you were on A.k.a. daggermen Simon the Zealot Believed pagan Romans had to be driven out of the land, by force if necessary Their motives were religious Masada – the Zealots’ last stand

  31. Political Situation

  32. Pontius Pilate • Pontius Pilate, Procurator • Seacoast town of Caesarea • Had military standards bearing the emperor’s image erected in Jerusalem • Robbed the Temple treasury to build an aqueduct • When the Jews protested, he disguised some of his men and had them infiltrate a protesting crowd • Slaughtered many of the Jews • Seemed to want to clear Jesus of the serious accusations brought by the Sanhedrin • Pressure from the chief priests and crowds made him cave in

  33. New facts & vocabulary Procurator Zealots Torah Temple Synagogue Synagogue Herod the Great Herod Antipas Pontius Pilate Sadducees Pharisees Caesarea Sicarii Publicans Scribes Masada

  34. A Wanted Man • In that last week in Jerusalem … • Some of the Scribes and Pharisees had tried to trap Jesus … • As had the Sadducees … • Through dangerous questions • In the end, Jesus was betrayed by an insider • Judas Iscariot • Jesus could have escaped

  35. Last Supper • The Passover meal commemorates the great way God liberated the Israelites from slavery in Egypt • The Last Supper was a Passover meal with a twist • Jesus said his own blood rather than a lamb’s blood would seal the New Covenant

  36. Covenant Connection Blood of the Lamb Canaan via Red Sea In Egypt Israel Promised Land God’s People Slavery Freed Eternal Life via Baptism Church Blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God To sin

  37. Jewish Trial Various witnesses whose stories couldn’t agree Mood to find guilty rather than give fair trial A hasty gathering of the Sanhedrin Torah ruled that false witnesses should receive the punishment of the accused Jesus’ ‘I am’ secures the blasphemy charge High Priest asks whether Jesus is the Messiah

  38. Roman Trial They put it to him that Jesus was an unauthorised king In this way a blasphemy charge could be switched to treason Pilate had already been primed by the Chief Priests Jesus is condemned to be crucified – but is first scourged, mocked and crowned with thorns Pilate’s not convinced, he offers the people a deal The people go for Barabbas

  39. Scourging & Crowning Crown of Thorns Replica made using local thorny shrubs Might have been a ‘cap’ Flagellum Small handle with leather or rope strands Bits of metal or sharp bone tied in the strands

  40. Suffering … • ‘Via Dolorosa’– the ‘sorrowful way’ through the Jerusalem streets to Golgotha (Calvary) just outside the city walls • According to St Mark, Jesus took six hours to die

  41. Burial • The Gospels tell us that Jesus was buried in haste • The Passover was a approaching (sundown) • Touching a corpse would offend against ritual hygiene • So Jesus is wrapped in a shroud • And laid in a new tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathaea • Women made plans to return

  42. New facts & vocabulary Ritual hygiene shroud Passover patibulum Titulus stipes Joseph of Arimathaea sedile Golgotha Flagellum Via Dolorosa Calvary Covenant Barabbas

  43. Central doctrine of Christianity Without it, Christianity is worthless, St Paul wrote Easter is the greatest feast of the Church Every Sunday = mini-Easter All the gospels are clear on the fact of the bodily resurrection Although none except St Matthew’s give us any clue as to how it happened Resurrection

  44. St Mark’s Gospel gives clues First, the death must be real Abuse, scourging, etc. Simon of Cyrene Pilate’s astonishment at early death Gets confirmation Details about the burial provide further clues … No signs of life during deposition New tomb Large stone to cover the entrance Evidence …

  45. St Mark tells us that women watched the whole thing Mary Magdalene, another Mary and Salome St John tells us that Jesus’ mother Mary was by the cross St Mark tells us that the women took note of where he had been buried (cf. 15:47) They needed to return to anoint the body after the Sabbath On that Sunday dawn they were worried about who would remove the stone Witnesses …

  46. The stone had been rolled back They saw a young man ‘dressed in white’– angelic presence Tells them of the news of Jesus’ resurrection St Mark tells us that the women ran away terrified St Matthew tells of how Jesus spoke to them St John gives details of two visits to the empty tomb What they saw …

  47. Psychological state of the Eleven Fear & disbelief St Mark tells us that the risen Jesus told them off about this St Mark (epilogue) tells us of the bodily Ascension of Jesus Love is stronger than death Preparation for the Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost Church = Christ’s bodily presence on earth Other evidence