Learning Goals: • I will understand what “Gospel” means and how the gospels originated. • I will understand that the Gospel writers are “evangelists”
The gospel stories focus on the life of a man the prophets had been speaking about in the Old Testament. This man, Jesus of Nazareth, was from the beginning, a message of good news and this is the literal meaning of the word “gospel”.
The four gospel writers are also known as “evangelists”. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John wrote for different groups of people with different backgrounds and each gospel writer had a different view, or “portrait” of Jesus.
Some interesting points: • Mark wrote in Rome before A.D. 70 for Christians of a Gentile (non-Jewish) background and is said to have been a disciple (student) of Peter who was an apostle of Christ.
Matthew wrote in Antioch (Syria) between A.D. 70 and A.D. 90 for Christians of a Jewish background and is said to be an apostle of Jesus.
Luke wrote in Greece between A.D 70- A.D 90 for Christians of a Greek background and he was a disciple (student) of Paul and John. His main source is thought to be Mary, the mother of Jesus because this gospel includes stories about Christ’s origins and early life.
John wrote in Ephesus (Asia Minor) after A.D. 90 for Christians of all backgrounds and is also said to have been an apostle of Jesus.
The Gospels passed through three stages in their development: • Life Stage- What the disciples saw and heard • Preaching Stage- What the Apostles preached • Written Stage- What the evangelists recorded
The Synoptic Gospels • “Syn” = together and “optic” = see (They see together) • Synoptic indicates that the three Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke ‘saw together’ meaning that they are so similar that they can be placed side by side.
“You can travel from the North end of Israel to the south end in 6 hours and in a small country, 1 carpenter named Jesus and His twelve fishermen began Christianity. 200 hundred years later, 1/3 of the world was Christian!”
Portraits of Jesus A look at the visions of Jesus in each gospel!
MARK • Mark’s portrait of Jesus is influenced by the fact that he wrote mainly for Christians in Rome. • At this time, these Christians were suffering persecution under the Roman emperor, Nero. • Therefore, Mark stresses the suffering of Jesus.
Matthew • Matthew’s portrait of Jesus was influenced by the fact that he wrote mainly for the Jews. • They were deeply interested in how Jesus’ teaching went hand in hand with Moses’ teaching • Therefore, Matthew stresses how Jesus brought the teaching of Moses to fulfillment.
Luke • Luke’s portrait of Jesus was influenced by the fact that he wrote for Gentiles, especially the poor and outcasts of society. • Therefore, Luke stresses Jesus’ concern for the “second class” citizens of society.
John • John’s portrait of Jesus was influenced by the fact that he wrote for Christians of all backgrounds. • Therefore, John stresses how Jesus came to make the lives of all people richer and fuller. • “I have come,” says Jesus, “...that you might have life—life in all its fullness” (John 10:10).