NTS 003 An Introduction To The Gospels

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Why four gospels? Isn’t it redundant?

If we didn’t have all four, our understanding of Jesus would be incomplete.
We get four different perspectives and writing styles.

The bridge that ties the Old and New Testament together.

It was originally written to primarily Jewish readers.
He emphasized that what was happening was a continuation of the Old Testament.
Matthew quoted the Old Testament more than any other gospel.
Matthew assumed the reader knew the Old Testament.
Matthew focuses on Jesus’ teaching in the five discourses as the new covenant counterpart to the Mosaic law.

Presents Jesus as King.

Not only do the genealogies show promises fulfilled in the Old Testament, but they point back to Jesus being the Son of David.

Tells us what happened in a succinct manner.

Primarily a gentile audience that wouldn’t find interest in the historical things Matthew wrote about.
Fast moving
Mark’s favorite word is “euthys”: immediately or at once.
You can find it 10 times in chapter one alone.
Action packed
Hit the highlights
Mark or John Mark was the cousin of Barnabas we read about in Acts.
Was good friends with Peter - Likely recorded the stories he heard from Peter.
It is the shortest of the gospels.
It was written in a way that could be easily memorized to spread quickly.

Presents Jesus as the suffering servant.


Shows us that Jesus was for people like us.

Luke shows us Jesus was a real life person like us.

Presents Jesus as the Son of Man.

Emphasized Jesus’ humanity.
Only Gentile author of the New Testament.

Something completely different.

John selected stories from a brief period of Jesus’ life.
He does not start with His birth, but who Jesus was before His birth.
John presents deep theological truths.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke show how Jesus taught.
John includes NO parable.
John prefers symbolism to help us understand.
The bread of life (6:35)
The light (8:12)
The door (10:7)
The good shepherd (10:11)
The resurrection and the life (11:25)
The way, the truth and the life (14:6)
The true vine (15:1).
John records miracles, but calls them signs.

Presents Jesus as the divine, eternal, Son of God.

John wants you to know who Jesus was more than just as a human.
John is a great book to use for a redemptive Bible study.
John 20:30–31 ESV
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
While the other gospels refer to Jesus’ message as “The Kingdom of God”, John refers to it as Eternal life.

The Synoptic Gospels

Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
Synoptic means: To see together in a common view.
They have similar styles and content.
They document Christ’s life.
Continuing to answer: Why four gospels...
The importance of multiple witnesses was recorded long before the gospels.
Deuteronomy 19:15 ESV
15 “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established.
The synoptic gospels help us understand the whole story.
(Matt 14) Jesus feeds the 5000 then makes the disciples get in the boat and leave.
They end up struggling in the storm.
Jesus walks on water and saves them.
Why did Jesus MAKE them do this?
Matthew 14:22 ESV
22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds.
No reason is given in Matthew
(Mark 6 records Jesus sending them out by two to minister, cast out demons, and healing people.)
Mark 6:30 ESV
30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught.
Jesus is trying to get them away and rest.
Mark 6:31 ESV
31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.
The crowd wouldn’t leave.
So the disciples think they can advise Jesus.
Matthew 14:15–16 ESV
15 Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”
They feed the 5000 then Jesus sends them away in a boat.
Something they know well.
And causes them to fear for their lives.
Jesus recognizes a need to humble them.

The Synoptic Problem

Some argue that the synoptic gospels could not have been written separately.

They were written in different places and at different times.
They say they are too similar so the one of two things happened.
Either the authors compared notes
Or they used the same source.

This supposed “source” has been given the title “Q” from the German word quelle, which means “source.”

There is no evidence of the source.
There is an easy answer to the similarities of the gospels.
They were written from eye witness accounts or recorded eye witness accounts.
2 Peter 1:20–21 ESV
20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Earth Up and Heaven Down view of the gospels.

Called this by Darrell Brock
This will help yo remember the big idea and give you a lens to help understand what is happening.
The Synoptic gospels are earth up.
We are introduced to Jesus as He comes to earth.
We see him from an earthly perspective.
This perspective points us upward.
Jesus did things that show us who He was.
If you read without knowing anything you would begin to realize Jesus was not just a human.
Mark 2:1–12 ESV
1 And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
John is heaven down.
The opposite.
John 1:1 ESV
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Genesis 1:1 ESV
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
John 1:29 ESV
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

How should we read and study the gospels?

Ask these questions...
What does Jesus say about Himself?
What does Jesus say about The Father?
Who is Jesus talking to? His disciples? His enemies? A crowd?
How does Jesus react in different situations?
What does Jesus tell people to do?
Look for repeated words and themes.
Understand the cultural context.
Look for the impact of Jesus’ teaching in the cultural context.
Notice the difference and similarities in the details between the gospels.
Where should I start when reading the gospels?
Mark is the best place to start. You will get the essentials quickly.
John is the best place to start with an unsaved person.
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