It has been mentioned several times among our local assembly here at Landis Baptist Church that the four gospels present four different pictures representing the Lord Jesus Christ: Matthew represents him as King, Mark as a servant, Luke as the Son of man, and John as God. This is indeed a true statement. To get a complete picture of anything it must be viewed from all sides, (4 total: front, back, left, and right) but where is the evidence supporting this claim? This is to address such support, but is not meant to be exhaustive in nature considering much of the bible shows support of this fact. Below are a few supporting remarks, and we will compare in detail two accounts, which all the gospels share:
1. Jesus rebuked for allegedly breaking the sabbath
2. The feeding of the 5,000 – the only common miracle to all four gospels.
Consider the following:
• The beginning of each gospel
◦ Matthew traces the lineage of the Lord Jesus Christ through the royal line to Abraham, therefore establishing his purpose in writing about the King of the Jews.
◦ Mark contains no genealogy, which supports his theme portraying Jesus as a servant because it makes no significant difference where a servant comes from, only that he does his work.
◦ Luke records Jesus’ lineage all the way back to Adam, showing Jesus is man.
◦ John places Jesus there at the beginning of everything as we know it in John 1:1, showing that Jesus is indeed God, and came to dwell among us (v. 14).
• The end of the gospels as concerning Jesus’ ascension
◦ Matthew records no ascension because as King His place is on earth.
◦ Mark indicates that once ascended He would continue His work (servant) with His disciples.
◦ Luke tells of His being carried up into heaven, implying His human need for assistance from the Father.
◦ John has no ascension because considering Jesus is one with the Father (John 10:30), the Lord Jesus Christ has been on earth and in heaven the whole time (John 3:13).
• Now consider the allegation accounts of Jesus breaking the sabbath: The answers Jesus gives are what prove to be important.
◦ In Matthew 12:1-7, Jesus answers with “Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungered…or have ye not read in the law, how that on the Sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.” This is an appropriate response for the King of the Jews.
◦ In Mark, there is no mention of “one greater than the temple” because a suggestion of a kingly position is out of place with Mark’s gospel.
◦ In Luke the reference to the priests and the law are left out because as the Son of man, the audience to whom the gospel is addressed is beyond those under the law of Moses.
◦ In John there is a different circumstance addressed where Jesus is confronted for supposedly breaking the Sabbath when He healed a man and stated, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” (John 5:17), again addressing that He is equal with God working on the sabbath.
• Lastly, we’ll look at the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000. For this, the scriptures are shown below.
Matthew 14: 13-21:
When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities. And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. He said, Bring them hither to me. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.
Mark 6: 30-44
And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. And they departed into a desert place by ship privately. And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him. And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things. And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed: Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat. He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat? He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? Go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties. And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. And they did all eat, and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes.
Luke 9: 10-17
And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida . And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God , and healed them that had need of healing. And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said unto him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country road about, and lodge, and get victuals: for we are here in a desert place. But he said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they said, we have No more but five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy meat for all this people. For they were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by fifties in a company. And they did so, and made them all sit down. Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude. And they did eat, and were all filled: and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets.
After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias . And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. And the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.
◦ No mention of desert place in John because to God the whole world was a desert.
◦ No mention of evening being nigh in John because upon the Light of the world night cannot fall and to the Light of the world men are ever in darkness.
◦ No “speaking in privacy” mentioned in John because God is never alone.
◦ All give different details: Mark shows that the sheep need the work of a shepherd to gather them. Matthew tells of the King’s compassion in healing the sickness among his subjects. Luke tells of both the healing and preaching of the perfect man. John says the multitude followed because of miracles.
◦ John shows the deity of Christ by giving his knowledge of what Philip would say.
◦ No upward gaze into heaven by Christ in John because He is in heaven (John 3:13)
◦ Matthew adds details of women and children being among the men because as King, Jesus is responsible for all His subjects.
We hope these details will suffice in showing how the four gospels give four different, yet complementary, views of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
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