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The Four Gospels

Overview

The Gospels are not like


modern biographies.
Theyre about the good
news of Jesus Ministry.

Four Canonical Gospels


Fragment of
the gospel
according to
St. Matthew

Fragment of the gospel


according to Mark
Fragment of
the gospel
according
to St. Luke

Fragment of the gospel


according to St John

Evangelists: St Matthew
St. Matthew's Gospel
The Apostle Matthew
(Levi)
For people who were
Jewish converts to
Christianity.
Jesus' Jewish background
and Jewish customs are
explained.
Many quotations from the
Jewish Scriptures to show
that Jesus was the
fulfilment of God's
promise to the Jews about
the Messiah.

Evangelists: St Mark
St. Mark's Gospel
Short Gospel
Concentrates on the
last week before Jesus
died.
Shows how Jesus
accepted suffering and
won final victory.
To encourage the
Church in Rome which
was suffering
persecution.
Message was to keep
faith in Jesus in spite of
troubles.

Evangelists: St Luke
St. Luke's Gospel
Gentile writer for a
Gentile church.
Includes many stories to
show that Jesus is the
saviour of the whole
world.
Shows how Jesus had
time for the outsider, for
people in society who
were normally on the
margins - women, the
poor, foreigners, the
sick and sinners.

Evangelists: St John
St. John's Gospel
The Apostle John
Many differences
between St. John's
Gospel and the other
three.
Only Gospel in which
Jesus openly claims to
be the Messiah.
I am the Light of the
World, I am the Bread of
Life are in this Gospel.
This Gospel has a very
spiritual feel.

Synoptic Gospels
Mark's gospel - 676 verses (16 chapters)
Early records
Memories of Peter
Stories from first disciples
Written in Rome about A.D. 65

Matthew's gospel - 1068 verses (28 chapters)


about 600 verses from Mark
about 218 from sources known to Matthew
about 250 verses from a source known to Luke
and Matthew
Written in Antioch (?) about A.D. 70-80?

Luke's gospel - 1149


verses (24 chapters)
about 350 verses from
Mark
about 600 verses from
sources known to Luke
about 250 verses from a
source known to
Luke and Matthew
Written in Syria (?)
about A.D. 70-80?

Reasons why the Gospels were


not written at once:
1.

Traditionally, the Semitic


people preferred the spoken,
living word to the written
word

2.

Early Christians did not feel


the need to record the facts
about Jesus life in written
form

Reasons why the Gospels were finally


written down:
1. Apostles and original witnesses
were
being
martyred
2. Thedying
Goodor
News
was
being
preached farther and farther away
from Jerusalem and from the Jewish
culture, and religion and Christian
communities became larger and
larger.
3. When they realized Christ would
not be coming back soon as they
had expected, they saw the need

Kingdom of God

The Synoptic Gospels


are about a mysterious
reality
The Kingdom of God
The Reign of Darkness is
on the way out
The miracles and the
parables unpack this
reality for the people
Many of the parables of
Jesus begin with:
The Kingdom of God
(Heaven) is like this

Why miracles?

For the ordinary people,


miracles show evil
(sickness, death) being
defeated
The back-up to the claim
the Jesus is the Messiah
Exorcisms (driving out
demons) was a dramatic
sign of defeat of the Evil
One
Very important ministry
in the early Church

Types of Miracle

Some miracles are


called nature
miracles
demonstrating
the Messiahs
power of natural
processes
Some miracles are
healing miracles
demonstrating
the Messiahs
power over
sickness, evil &
death

Parables

Parables explain the


unfolding reality of
Gods Kingdom using
simple comparison
stories
Parabolos = throw
alongside
Simple, everyday
stories were thrown
alongside
the mysterious reality
of the Kingdom of God
To help make sense of
this mystery

Parables continued

Some parables are


allegorical
An allegory is a coded
message that relates
through the code to
reality
E.g. Parable of the
Sower
Some parables are
eschatological
This means they talk
about the end times
E.g. The Parable of
the Last Judgement

Summary so far
The Synoptic
Gospels

St Marks G St Matthews G St Lukes G

Are mainly about the


Kingdom of
God/Heaven
A mysterious reality
unpacked through

miracles

parables