Sorry I missed last week. Short week and I was out of town but here is the latest offering.
Let’s move out of the Old Testament into the new. Let’s look at the four Gospels as a whole. The four are Matthew, Mark< Luke and John. What are Gospels as opposed to the Epistles? The Gospels are accounts of the Ministry of Jesus. Even with that, they are almost as wide in their scope as any four books could be if you consider they are retelling the ministry and the death and resurrection of God Himself.
There are other books that claim to be Gospels like the Gospel of Thomas and others. However, the church felt that these were the be canonized. The cannon means that there are certain measurements that have to be met to be included in and a part of the Scriptures. The four Gospels met the data to qualify.
Later, as we go back through the books more in depth, we will get into the authorship, date and particular passages. For now, we will only take them up as a collection.
Of the four Gospels, Mark is perhaps the oldest and most original. Without getting into the details, Matthew and Like borrow from Mark but Mark doesn’t seem to us others. So if Matthew and Luke uses Mark but Mark doesn’t use them, then they know and probably read Mark.
John’s Gospel stands alone.
Matthew and Luke include the Birth narrative but the Mark and John do not. Even with that, Luke was probably wrote his narrative later depending not on first hand knowledge or eye witnessing. He seems to have collected stories of Jesus and wrote his Gospel.
Mark is the shortest of the books. It is because for him the most important thing was the Crucifixion and Resurrection.
John on the other hand wrote independently and uses the language of the Greeks or Romans. His is a book with soaring language and includes some influence of other worldly theology. His of the best written source that enables us to soar.
The Gospels were written after the writers realized that Christ would come again but His return was still some time away. They wanted to create a story that could be read by people all over the world and learn and become indeed Christians. For the first 20 to 50 or so years the church depended on oral traditions. It became evident that in order for the stories to be told consistently and over a wide spread area, they needed to be written.
I suggest that a good Gospel to read to get a foundation, Mark is your guy. His is focus on the ministry of Christ and gets you quickly to the days before the Cross but then he slows down the story to a crawl. Notice how often he uses the work “immediately” until the last few chapters. If helps us to realize that even the miracles, parables, etc were not as important as the events of the last week.
That is true but let’s remember that it is in the richness of the other parts in the other Gospels that makes the soul soar and the stories we love so. After all, who want to miss out on the Birth Narratives?
Peace and Peace. Reed.