It’s important to remember that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote their Gospels inspired by the Holy Spirit. That is the primary reason we can be certain that the Gospels are harmonious, consistent, and non-contradicting accounts. According to God’s design, each Gospel writer presented Jesus in a different way. This is for our benefit, that we might better understand Jesus’ fulfillment of prophecies, His great love for us, His humble submission to His Father’s will, and both His humanity and His divinity.
The Four Gospels
The Gospel of Matthew
Mattewpresents Jesus as the promised Messiah (Christ, Matt 1:1), the coming King (Matt 2:2). The Gospel of Matthew is very Jewish in its message, revealing Jesus as the Star that would come out of Jacob, the Scepter that would rise out of Israel (Num 24:17-19), and the One who would sit on David’s throne (Isa 9:7). The Gospel gives great revelation of the Kingdom to come (Matt 3:2, et.al, Matt 13). In Matthew, Jesus’ genealogy is recorded from Abraham to Joseph, making Jesus the legal heir to the throne of David.
The symbol of the Gospel of Mattew is the lion, the king of the jungle, representing the Lion, the King of the Jews. First miracle: a leper cleansed. The book ends with the resurrection.
The Gospel of Mark
Mark presents Jesus as the Suffering Servant, prophesied in Isaiah 53. Jesus humbled Himself and came to do the will of His Father and to reveal the amazing love and grace of God. This is clearly seen in Jesus’ own words, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) There is no genealogy recorded in the Gospel of Mark because a servant’s genealogy was insignificant and not worthy of being recorded.
The symbol of the Gospel of Mark is the ox, a beast of burden, representing the buden of sin Jesus took upon Himself. First miracle: a demon expelled. The book ends with the ascension of Jesus to Heaven.
The Gospel of Luke
Luke presents Jesus as the Son of Man, a messianic title from the prophecy of Daniel (Dan 7:13), and as the son of David (Luke 3:31). Luke focuses on Jesus’ humanity and beautifully details the announcement of His incarnation and His birth (Luke 1 and 2). Luke is the only Gospel that gives a glimpse into Jesus’ childhood years (Luke 2:40, Luke 2:42-43). The genealogy in Luke begins with Joseph, as the husband of Mary, and traces Jesus’ ancestry through Mary’s bloodline, from the line of David (making Jesus the biological heir to the throne of David), and all the way back to the first man, Adam.
The symbol of the Gospel of Luke is a man, representing Jesus’ incarnation in human form. First miracle: a demon expelled. The book ends with the promise of the Spirit and continues in Acts.
The Gospel of John
John presents Jesus as the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit. John’s record is beautiful in revealing Jesus’ divinity. The genealogy John records is short, but complete, in recording Jesus co-existant with God the Father from everlasting. John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John Gospel is glorious in revealing the riches of our salvation: “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” (John 17:21)
The symbol of the Gospel of John is an eagle, representing majesty that is above our earth. First miracle: water turned to wine. The book ends withthe promise of Jesus’ return, which is prophecied in John’s later writing of the Book of Revelation.
With all four Gospels, we get a clear and accurate understanding of who Jesus is, what Jesus has done, and what He continues to do. Eight times in the Gospels we read of the Lord Jesus Christ giving an admonition that we are to have ears that hear (Matthew 11:15, 13:9,43, Mark 4:9, 23, Mark 7:16, Luke 8:8, 14:35). We are told by the apostle Paul that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17). Read the Gospels and hear Jesus speak.
- Read Matthew and hear the Messiah telling of His coming Kingdom.
- Read Mark and hear the humble servant expressing His great love for those He came to serve.
- Read Luke and hear the man who lived a sinless life in perfect submission to His Father’s will.
- Read John and hear God speak of His great love for all the world and all the riches of glory that are given to His own.
All of this was prophesied, more than a half a century earlier, by the prophet Micah:
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little [Mark’s humble servant] among the thousands of Judah [Luke’s Son of Man from the Tribe of Judah], yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel [Matthew’s coming King]; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting [John’s Son of God]. (Micah 5:2)
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