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Why Four Gospels? Part 1

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Why Four Gospels?
Picture of Open Bible

Have you ever wondered why the Bible has four different accounts of Jesus life on Earth or Gospels? And why are they different? Some have asked, if the Bible is inspired, shouldn’t the accounts match? Others have even argued that the differences are contradictions that prove the Bible is not divine. Can that be right? Let’s investigate.

First, it is helpful to realize that each Gospel was a letter written to people of various religious backgrounds to help them know Jesus as God’s Son. Consider, would you write the same discussion of God’s Son to someone who knew the Old Testament as to a person who did not? No, those audiences need different starting points. Similarly, the ancient Greeks and Romans had dissimilar philosophies, so they needed different introductions to Jesus. So, who was each Gospel written to?

Matthew

The Gospel of Matthew was written to the nation of Israel, a people with a long religious history who were looking for a king, the promised Messiah. So, Matthew began with,

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: (Matthew 1:1)

This Gospel immediately connects Jesus to the great King David from whose family the people were looking for the Messiah. Then it connects Him to Abraham, the father of the Jewish people who God had called and first given the special promises. Matthew then listed the full genealogy, and told how the wise men came to see the baby king.  Thus, his initial audience could see from the start that Jesus had the credentials to be the Messiah. Then he went on to write the details of Jesus life which would resonate with a religious people.

Mark

The Gospel of Mark was written to a Roman audience. Think about the culture of ancient Rome. They valued strength, power, and action. So, Mark presents Jesus as God’s Servant on a mission to rescue humanity. People don’t really care about a servant’s family history, so Mark skips that and opens with the statement,

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. (Mark 1:1)

Who is Jesus? Mark states a fact, Jesus is God’s Son, then he will go on to prove it by showing divine power and action. Mark does not record the sermons that Matthew and Luke have, because Romans wanted to see power, not hear philosophical discussions. He does record some parables and conversations, so the Romans would be amazed to hear,

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)

Could you imagine the greatest power of all, humbling Himself to serve and save those who were under Him? That is heroic strength which resonated with the Romans and even with us today.

Reflections

Even without discussing the remaining two Gospels, Luke and John, you can begin to see why the accounts of Jesus time on Earth are different. And those variations are certainly not contradictions, as we’ll see next time. But for now ask yourself a few questions. Are you religious? Do you think keeping rules and rituals or being good will get you to Heaven? If so, you’ll appreciate what Jesus said in Matthew.

“Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

Can you be perfect? No. You can’t keep all the rules all the time or only think good thoughts. You will wear yourself out trying to be perfect. Hopefully, you’ve realized that, so you can take up Jesus offer to follow Him and find rest for your soul.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29-29)

Or maybe you are a person of action who likes power and authority. Do you think you can be strong enough to reach Heaven? No. The good news is you don’t need to rely on your own strength or ability.  Jesus said,

“He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:16)

Believe that Jesus is strong enough to save you and He will!

Do you have a favorite verse from Matthew or Mark? If so, share it in a comment below. Till next time, blessings!

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