In the name of the Father, The Son & the Holy Spirit The Four Gospels
The Gospels • They were written in different times and different places, yet there aren’t any contradictions. • The first three Gospels recorded similar miracles and incidents and focused on the ministry in Galilee. • The miracles and incidents in the Gospel of St. John focused on proving the divinity of Christ.
The Stages of The Lord’s Life The life of our Lord was recorded in phases as follows: • The stories of the nativity, the shepherds, the wise men, the circumcision, the trip to Egypt and back to Nazareth. All recorded by Matthew and Luke. • The childhood phase when our Lord visited the temple where he asked the teachers questions and challenged them (Luke 2:41-52).
The Stages of Lord’s Life 2 • Preparation for ministry when our Lord was baptized (Mt 3, Mk 1, & Lk 3) and tempted in the wilderness (Mt 4, Mk 1, & Lk 4). • Three years of ministry (recorded by all) • The Holy week (recorded by all) • The Resurrection and Ascension (recorded by all).
The First Year of Ministry • The miracle at Cana of Galilee recorded by John 2:1-11. • The first speech at the synagogue in Nazareth recorded by Luke 4:16-30. • The conversation with Nicodemus in Jerusalem recorded by John 3:1-21. • Meeting the Samaritan woman recorded by John 4:1-32. • Peter, Andrew, James and John becoming fishermen recorded by Matthew 4:18-22, Mark 1:16-20 and Luke 5:17-26. • Healing the paralytic in Capernaum recorded by Matthew 9:1-8, Mark 2:1-12 and Luke 5:17-26.
The Second Year of Ministry • Choosing the twelve apostles recorded by Matthew 10:2-4, Mark 2:13-19 and Luke 6:13-16. • Raising the son of the widow of Nain recorded by Luke 7:11-17. • Raising the daughter of Jairus recorded by Matthew 9:18-26, Mark 5:21-43 and Luke 8:41-55. • The parable of the sower recorded by Matthew 13:1-53, Mark 4:1-34, and Luke 8:4-18. • Feeding the multitudes recorded by Matthew 14:13-23, Mark 6:30-46, Luke 9:10-17 and John 6:1-5.
The Third Year of Ministry • The Transfiguration recorded by Matthew 17:1-13, Mark 9:2-12 and Luke 9:28-36. • The good shepherd recorded by John 10:1-21. • Raising Lazarus recorded by John 11:1-26. • Cleansing the 10 lepers recorded by Luke 17:11-19. • Blessing the children recorded by Matthew 19, Mark 10, and Luke 8. • Dinner with Zacchaeus recorded in Luke 19:1-10.
The Gospel Reference • Which of the following references is more accurate: The Gospel of St. Mark or The Gospel according to St. Mark? • Why four Gospels; wasn’t one enough?
Why Four Gospels? • John 21:25 ”And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” • Different perceptions, different audience, and different purpose.
St. Matthew addressed the Jews A Jewish Fact: They were waiting for the Messiah, the son of David. Message: Christ is the expected king according to the prophecies and the genealogy of Jesus.
The Gospel According to Matthew The book is properly placed at the very beginning as it forms the foundation on which the New Testament structure was built. It represents a connecting link between the Old and the New Testaments by referencing prophetic literature. It clearly shows the One divine King, who was promised to the Old, as the messiah of all ages.
About St. Matthew/Authorship The opinion of the early Church is evident from the testimony of Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, & Eusebius point to Matthew, a Palestinian Jew, as the author. Possibly his name was changed by the Lord after his call to the discipleship, just as those of Peter and Paul. When Jesus called him, he made a great feast for the Lord, to which he invited many publicans & sinners. St. Clement of Alexandria describes him as a rigorous ascetic (extreme self-denial ), living “on seeds and herbs and without flesh.”
Characteristics of Matthew’s Style The style of Matthew was described as smoother than that of Mark, though not so vivid. The arrangement of the material differs considerably from that in the other Synoptics. The predominant subject is, the Messiah and his Kingdom, as referenced in most stories. Clearly brought out that the mission of our Lord is to the Jews only and that the establishment of His rule will be a restoration of the fallen throne of David.
The Jewish Style We find a characteristically Jewish numerical arrangement of things in this Gospel. The genealogy in ch. 1 consists of three groups of generations of fourteen each. There are seven petitions in the Lord’s prayer in ch. 6; a group of seven parables in ch. 13; and seven woes on Pharisees and Scribes in ch. 23. May sound impersonal, lacking in individuality. Its individualism of language consists mostly in the frequent use of certain words and phrases.
St. Matthew – Quick References & Statistics Matthew: A Tax collector and apostle. Also known as "Levi." Probably written after Mark (37-68 AD). Referred to Jesus as “The King of the Jews” Main goal was to highlight evidence to prove Jesus is the promised Messiah.. Contains 28 chapters, 1071 verses, 23000 words, 29 miracles, 23 parables, 10 sermons and referenced the old testament 45 times.
St. Mark addressed the Romans At Romans Fact: They were the powerful nation, the mother ship of the surrounding nations. Message: Christ is the powerful minister, who fulfills the needs of humanity.
The Gospel According to St. Mark The Gospel was written by St. Mark the Apostle, who preached the land of Egypt. Mark is his roman name; his Hebrew name is John (which means God has mercy). He came from a Jewish mother, who was the sister of Barnabas the Apostle. His parents immigrated to North Africa for trading opportunities where they were attacked and mugged by thieves and lost what they had, then returned to Palestine.
Characteristics of Mark: Descriptive His goal is to depict the scenes of which he speaks in lively tones and colors. There are many minute observations in his work that are not found in the other Synoptics. He mentions the look of anger that Christ cast on the hypocrites about him, 3: 5. Jesus taking little children in his arms and blessing them, 9: 36; 10:16; Remarks that Jesus, looking at the young ruler, loved him, 10: 21,
St. Mark – Descriptive Examples Mark 3:5 And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. Mark 9:36 Then He took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when He had taken him in His arms, He said to them, Mark 10:21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”
St. Mark – Other Characteristics More emphasis on our Lord as the powerful minister, who serves others without being dictatorial. A concept that was foreign to the Romans who controlled the world. Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. Since it was directed to the Romans, Jewish customs were fully explained and some remarks to the Jews by Jesus were left out. Mark 15:42 Now when evening had come, because it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath.
St. Mark – Quick References & Statistics Mark: A missionary with Barnabas and Paul. Most likely the first Gospel written (40-65 AD). Referred to Jesus as “The Powerful Servant of God” Characterized as fast paced and visual. Contains 16 chapters, 678 verses, 15000 words, 23 miracles, 13 parables, 5 sermons and referenced the old testament 23 times.
St. Mark’s House St. Mark hosted the Lord in his house in many events as mentioned by St. Mark, and the other Gospel writers: • The Lord’s supper • The Lord’s appearance after His resurrection • The Pentecost
St. Luke addressed the Greeks A Greek Fact: They were the wise nation, the mother of the great philosophers. Message: Christ is the Son of Man, who was born of a woman. He is the true God out of the true God, and the only savior of Humanity.
The Gospel According to St. Luke The author speaks of himself explicitly in the preface of his Gospel, however we rely on the unanimous testimony of the early fathers (i.e. Irenaeus , Origen; Eusebius, Athanasius, Gregory, and Jerome). Irenaeus asserts that “Luke, the companion of Paul, put down in a book the Gospel preached by him.” St. Luke evidently looks at things with the eye of a physician. In 1882 Dr. Hobart published a work on, The Medical Language of St. Luke, showing that in many instances the evangelist uses the technical language that was also used by Greek medical writers. St. Luke carefully distinguishes demoniacal possession from disease, 4:18; 13:32; states exactly the age of the dying person, 8:42; and the duration of the affliction in 13:11.
Addressed to Theophilus Luke 1 Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled[a] among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, Acts 1 The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
St. Paul’s Companion There is what has been called the Paulinism of Luke as a characteristic feature of the third Gospel, and is just what we would expect in a writing of St. Paul’s companion. We also find great similarity between this Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. If St. Luke wrote Acts, he also composed the Gospel. The only certain knowledge we have of St. Luke is derived from Acts and from a few passages in the Epistles of St. Paul. From Col. 4:11,14 it appears that he was not a Jew and that his worldly calling was that of a physician. St. Eusebius & St. Jerome state that he was originally from Antioch in Syria.
Characteristics of Luke: Completeness This Gospel surpasses the other Synoptics, beginning with a detailed narrative of the birth of St. John the Baptist and of our Lord himself, and ending with a record of the ascension from the Mount of Olives. In distinction from Matthew and Mark, this Gospel even contains a reference to the promise of the Father. The detailed narrative of Christ’s going to Jerusalem in 9: 51 is also uncommon to this gospel.
Characteristics of Luke: Details Christ is set before us in this Gospel as the perfect Man with wide sympathies. We are told of the truly human development both in body and spirit of Jesus in 2: 40-52, and of his dependence on prayer in the most important crises of His life, 3: 21; 9: 29. Those features of the Lord‘s miracles of healing are clearly brought out that show his great sympathy; “Peter’s mother-in-law suffers from a great fever; and the leper is full of leprosy. The hand restored on the Sabbath is the right hand, the centurion’s servant is one dear to him, the son of the widow of Nain, is an only son, the daughter of Jairus an only daughter, the epileptic boy at the hill of transfiguration is an only child.”
Characteristics of Luke: University This Gospel comes nearer than other Gospels to the Pauline doctrine of salvation for all the world, and of salvation by faith, without the works of the law. In the synagogue at Nazareth our Lord points out that God might again deal with the Jews as He had done in the days of Elijah and Elishah, 4:25-27; He declares that the faith of the centurion was greater than any He had found in Israel, 7: 2-10; He sends messengers before his face into Samaria, 9:52-56; He demands love of Israel even for the Samaritans, 10: 30-37; He heals the Samaritan leper as well as the others, 17: 11-19; and speaks the significant word: “Blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it, 11:28.
Characteristics of Luke: History More than the other evangelists Luke relates his narrative to contemporaneous history and indicates the time of the occurrences. It was in the days of king Herod that the birth of John the Baptist and Christ was announced, 1:1, 26; during the reign of Caesar Augustus, that Christ was born, 2: 1; while Cyrenius was governor of Syria, that the taxation took place, 2: 2; in the fifteenth year of Tiberias, etc., that Christ was baptized and began his public ministry, 3:1, 2. There were also very indefinite expressions of time found throughout the Gospel, as: “and it came to pass, when he was in a certain city,” 5:12; “and it came to pass on a certain day,” 5:17; “and it came to pass also on another Sabbath,” 6: 6, etc.
St. Luke – Quick References & Statistics St. Luke: A Greek doctor who travelled with Paul. Wrote Acts as sequel.. Written after Mark and Matthew (59-61 AD). Referred to Jesus as “The Perfect Savior of Man” Characterized as careful and historical. The largest New Testament book, contains 24 chapters, 1151 verses, 25000 words, 23 miracles, 37 parables, 13 sermons and referenced the old testament 23 times.
St. John addressed the heresies A Heresies Fact: They claimed things like” only the body was born, while the divine Spirit descended later”. The divine Spirit later left the body on the cross. Message: The sacred body of Jesus Christ is divine. The Word (the Logos) existed since the beginning .
The Gospel According to St. John The author of this Gospel is St. John the beloved, who was one of the twelve disciples of Christ. He was born in Bethsaida of Galilee. He was the brother of James, the son of Zebedee, and the companion in his discipleship to the Lord. He came from a wealthy family, as his father could afford to have workers on his ships (Mark 1:10). Our Lord entrusted him on the cross with St. Mary. St. John enjoyed leaning his head on the Lord’s chest; and thus he was called “the disciple whom Jesus loved (John 21:20) John means “God has mercy”
The Message of “Love & Zeal” St. John spoke about love in all his writings and taught his disciples to love one another. He wrote the Gospel at the request of his children so that they could benefit from his invaluable record after his death. His Gospel was meant to complement the other Gospels so that we would have a complete picture since it’s impossible to record all the events of our Lord’s life (John 21:25). Long after the other three Gospels had spread, heresies started to emerge. As St. John accompanied our Lord more frequently than others and saw key miracles such as the transfiguration and raising the daughter of Jairus, and as he was the only living disciple at the end of first century, it was important that he responds and refute the claims of the heresies.
Authorship of A Jewish Background The author evidently had an intimate acquaintance with the Old Testament. He was a Palestinian Jew and clearly shows that he is well at home in the Jewish world. He is intimately acquainted with Jewish customs and religious observances and with the requirements of the law.
Examples of Jewish Traditions St. John knew that, according to the strict Jewish conception, it was unlawful to heal on the Sabbath, 5: 1. Circumcision was allowed, 7: 22 He is aware of the Jewish expectation of Elijah, 1: 21; and of the ill-feeling between the Jews and the Samaritans, 4: 9. He understood that the Jews regarded a misfortune as the result of some particular sin, 9: 2 & that they considered one unclean who had entered the house of a Gentile, 18: 28. He is thoroughly acquainted with Jerusalem, 5 : 2; the valley of Sichem & mount Gerezim, 4: 5 ; with the temple, 8: 20; & with Capernaum & other places around the sea of Galilee, 7.
St. John, An Eyewitness to the Lord He explicitly claimed himself an eyewitness in 1 John 1-3: 1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— 2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
Characteristics of John: Theology The gospel of St. John emphasizes more than any of the others the Divinity of Christ. It has no historical starting-point, like the Synoptics, but recedes back into the depths of eternity, and starts out with the statement sublime in its simplicity: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The Logos-doctrine is not uncommon to this Gospel; Every indication of our Lord’s human development and early ministry is strikingly absent. We find no genealogy here, no description of Christ’s birth with it’s attendant circumstances, and no narrative of his baptism and temptation. St. John the Baptist testifies to his Divinity, as soon as He enters on the scene. The miracles of the Lord, narrated in this Gospel, are of such a character that they give great prominence to his divine power. The noble man’s son was cured from a distance, 4:46; the man at Bethesda had been infirm thirty-eight years, 5: 5; the blind man at Jerusalem had been born blind, 9:1; and Lazarus had already lain in the grave four days, 11:17.
Characteristics of John: Focus on the Messiah The teaching of Christ greatly predominates in John’s Gospel, but is different from that contained in the Synoptics. We find no parables here but elaborated discussions, not about Kingdom of God but the Person of the Messiah. The simple teaching regarding the Kingdom is replaced by a more penetrating instruction in the deeper realities of faith. In connection with his miracles or other historical facts, our Lord presents himself as the source of life, 4: 46-54; the spiritual nourishment of the soul, 6: 22-65; the water of life, 4: 7-16; 7: 37, 38; the light of the world, 9: 5, 35-41; and the living principle of the resurrection, 11: 25, 26.
Characteristics of John: Chronological The Gospel of John is far more definite than the Synoptics in pointing out the time and place of the occurrences that are narrated. We are generally informed as to the place of Christ’s actions. Definite mention is made of Bethany, 1:28; Cana, 2: 1; Capernaum, 2:12; Jerusalem, 2:13; Sychar, 4: 5; Bethesda, 5 : 2, etc. The designations of time are equally distinct, sometimes the hour of the day being given. The chronological framework of the gospel is found in its reference to the great feasts. John the Baptist sees our Lord coming to him the day after he had met the delegation from Jerusalem, 1: 29; and again on the following day, 1: 35. A day later Christ called Philip and Nathanael, 1: 43-51; on the third day there was a marriage in Cana, 2: 1; it was at the sixth hour that Christ sat down at the well, 4:6; at the seventh, that the nobleman’s son was cured, 4: 52; in the midst of the feast that Jesus went into the temple, 7:14; and again on the last great day, 7: 37; and about the sixth hour that Christ was delivered unto the Jews by Pilate, 19:14.
St. John – Quick References & Statistics St. John: A Fisherman, an apostle & a chief priest. Wrote 5 NT books and died at an old age. The last Gospel written (80-98 AD). Referred to Jesus as “The Son of God” Characterized as the Gospel of belief. Contains 21 chapters, 879 verses, 18000 words, 10 miracles, 3 parables, 8 sermons and referenced the old testament 14 times.
The Four Living Creatures We believe that the four living creatures mentioned in Ezekiel and Revelation refer to the four evangelists. • The first beast was like a lion; referencing the Gospel of St. Mark that began with the voice crying on the wilderness. • The second beast was like a calf; referencing the Gospel of St. Luke that began with the alter and the offerings.
The Four Living Creatures 2 • The third beast was like a face of a man; referencing the Gospel of St. Mathew that began with the line up of Christ’s genealogy. • The fourth beast was like a flying eagle; referencing the Gospel of St. John that goes way beyond earth and the events to the depth of the divinity.
Conclusion There is not another book or group of books in the Bible to which the Gospels can be compared. They are four and yet one in a very essential sense; they express four sides of the one Jesus Christ. In studying them the question naturally arises, how we must benefit from them. We refer to the conviction that the writers of the Gospels were minded to prepare for the following generations more or less complete histories of the life of Christ. The Gospels tell us comparatively little of that rich and varied life of Christ, of which they knew so much.
Glory be to God forever and ever; Amen Questions & Comments