Definition of ‘Gospel’ by my Meriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary 10th Edition: the message concerning Christ, the kingdom of God, and salvation; 1 of the first 4 N.T. books telling of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The first 4 accounts at the beginning of the N.T. are each about the saving work of God in Jesus. They are Gospels. These Gospels are not biographies because Jesus’ full life isn’t included. They are written to communicate knowledge of Jesus as a person and to encourage commitment to Him, with Him as Lord. They bring knowledge of His: genealogy; teachings, parables, miracles, healings, and promises; travels; troubles and debates with Sadducees, Pharisees, Jewish leaders, and unbelievers.
In the Gospels, many things so similar and yet many things so different. Each author has written their picture of Jesus. But, all 4 Gospels (Not books) – the 4 Gospels share with us the knowledge of Jesus Christ, each in their own way.
(SIDEBAR:) Synoptic Gospels refers to a centuries long debate as to which of the first 3 Gospels were written first and who copied from whom. It has nothing to do with the content or the message!
The Gospel of Matthew: The author of this Gospel is the apostle Matthew (name means ‘gift of the Lord’). He is also known as Levi and was the son of Alphaeus. A tax collector by trade, he was disliked by the Jews because of the collectors corrupt practices and connection to the Romans.
Matthew is the first book of the N.T. It begins with the genealogy of Jesus, from Abram to Joseph, Mary’s husband, giving the legal decent to King David. After Jesus’ birth and His baptism by John the Baptist, His preparation for and His ministry is told. The Gospel of Matthew was a strong influence in the Christian worship and teachings for converts in the early years. It contains both the Greatest Commission (28:16-20) and the Greatest Commandment (22:37-40).
Matthew’s purpose was to prove that Jesus is the Messiah that was promised in the O.T. That He is the King that God gave the power and authority to redeem and judge mankind.
That the trip Jesus took to the cross was for us!
The Gospel of Mark: John Mark (also known as Mark) is the author of this 2nd Gospel. His mother, Mary, was an influential woman in Jerusalem. She had a large home with servants and it was a meeting place for believers. Mark did not follow Jesus during Jesus’ lifetime. He was a close associate of Peter, an apostle of Jesus. His writings were from the teachings and preaching’s of Peter and his time with Jesus. Mark, also accompanied Paul on some of Paul’s mission journeys.
This Gospel is addressed to the Roman church and to the Gentiles. It is to identify Jesus as the Son of God with the authority and power God gave Him. To define Jesus’ humanity along with His deity. It begins with John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus and baptizing Him. The selection of the disciples, parables, teachings, healings, and continues into Jesus’ final days. (NOTE: 14:51-52 – the young man that ran from the scene at Jesus’ arrest is believed to possibly be John Mark.) The Greatest Commission (16:14-19) and the Greatest Commandment (12:28-31) are included in this Gospel.
A point to be made: 19:45.
The Gospel of Luke: Luke, the physician, was author of the Gospel of Luke. He was a Gentile by faith. Being raised and educated in the Greek culture, his command of the Greek language was strong. Luke was a humble, compassionate man. He was a dedicated historian, so the gathering of accounts, documents, and information from first-hand observers was natural for him. Also, Luke was a fellow laborer and companion with Paul, staying with him during his prison time. Luke was the only non-Jewish writer of the N.T. He had a little quirk – he didn’t sign his work.
The Gospel starts with the birth of John the Baptist, going into the birth of Jesus Christ. His baptism by John the Baptist. In Luke, Jesus genealogy is from Joseph to Adam. This being Mary’s lineage, it shows the blood line of Jesus. Continuing with the teachings, healings, parables and miracles of Jesus’ ministry. Luke endeavored in this Gospel, to clarify the deity of Jesus and His ministry. He wanted to strengthen the faith of believers and squelch the misunderstandings about Jesus and His mission. The Greatest Commission is set out in 24:47.
A point to be made: 19:10
The Gospel of John: The apostle, John (the disciple Jesus loved) is author of this Gospel. He was a fisherman with his father, Zebedee. His mother was Salome (sister of Mary – Jesus’ mother). He has a brother named James, who was also an apostle. Their family was prosperous and lived in Capernaum. John, along with Peter and James became intimate disciples with Jesus – they were the inner circle. After Jesus’ death, John became prominent in leadership among the disciples and the early church. John’s writings reveal Jesus as a person, His spiritual side.
John introduces Jesus in this Gospel as The Word. Pointing out that Jesus was with God before the beginning of time. In his writings, John describes the unique relationship between Jesus and God, His Heavenly Father. He, also, sets out Jesus’ testimony in the “I Am”s. The statement about the Great Commission is found at 20:21
John’s purpose was to show that Jesus was the Christ, God’s Son, and by believing that, one could have life in His name.(l20:31).
An important message to all of us 3:16.