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In Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, He's God, Man, Messiah
The Four Gospels
Each one of the four Gospels were written for specific audiences, or groups of people:
- Matthew. The main audience for the book of Matthew was the Jewish nation, first and foremost.
- Mark. It was to a Roman audience that Mark penned the Gospel bearing his name. Mark is an action-oriented book for the action-oriented person.
- Luke. Luke wrote for a Greek audience.
- John. The book of John was neither for Jew nor Gentile, this book was written for the born again Christian.
"Gift of God"
Matthew, in the Hebrew language means "Gift of God." And as Matthew is the first book of the New Testament, and, therefore, the first book telling of the birth of the Christ child, the meaning of the name of Matthew is quite fitting; for, Jesus, the Christ was the perfect gift of God for all of mankind.
The book of Matthew stresses the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah is promised in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. There are 60+ events in the book of Matthew when the Old Testament was quoted as a fulfillment through Jesus.
We see, in the first recorded miracle of Jesus, in the book of Matthew how an Old Testament prophecy was fulfilled...
Matthew 8:1-3--"When He came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed Him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before Him and said, 'Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.' Jesus reach out His hand and touched the man. 'I am willing,' He said. 'Be clean!' Immediately he was cured of his leprosy."
According to the law of Moses, leprosy was considered to be unclean; anything unclean was symbolic of sin in the heart of man, as sin makes us unclean before God. Any unclean person was made to leave the immediate camp and to stay in tents on the outside of the camp boundaries; neither can we, who are born with such sin in our hearts step into the presence of God as unclean people. Jesus came to make the unclean clean again.
a book of action
The name Mark means "hammer," which is a tool of action and of accomplishment. As the author of the book that bears his name, Mark is a person of action who shows men how to be men of action.
The greatest action anyone could portray in his or her life is the life of a servant. And, Jesus was the greatest Servant of all.
Mark 10:42-45--"Jesus called them together and said, 'you know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many."
Jesus is the Light of the World
As Luke's name meant "to light or to illuminate," and as Luke was a physician, he was a man of detail. Unlike Matthew, who barely touched on the birth of Jesus, or Mark or John, who did not even list the earthly genealogy of Jesus, Luke made every effort to detail everything he could of the birth of Jesus. He described the appearance of Gabriel to Mary, and as the angel comforted Mary with the words, "Do not be afraid.", Luke portrayed a fright in Mary. And then, Luke portrayed Mary as having peace and comfort in the knowledge of the coming Messiah. And, as Jesus was born and lived and died as the Lamb of God, when He was born, it was Luke who showed the shepherds in the fields tending their flocks; what a beautiful parallel of Jesus as the Great Shepherd, even as a baby. And, after His resurrection, it was Luke who detailed as many as he could who Jesus appeared to.
The book of Luke stands to show the perfect humanity of Jesus.
The name John means "Grace," and the book bearing his name is full of God's grace. The book of John is full of Scriptural truth, making it so that the born again believer can become more deeply rooted and grounded in his or her relationship with God in Christ Jesus.
John shows Jesus in His glory and majesty as the Son of God, and as God Himself, as God who was the Word who came in human flesh for all of mankind.
- John 1:1--"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
- John 1:14--"The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."
- John 3:16--"'For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.'"
In the book of John, Jesus tells the people Himself, "I AM." (Exodus 3:14--"God said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM.'")
- "I AM the Bread of Life." (John 6:35, 48)
- "I AM the Light of the Word." (John 8:12; John 9:5)
- "I AM." (John 8:58)
- "I AM the Gate." (John 10:9)
- "I AM the Good Shepherd." (John 10:11)
- "I AM the Resurrection." (John 11:25)
- "I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life." (John 14:6)
- "I AM the True Vine." (John 15:1)
The book of Acts records the earliest records of the history of the Church. Acts follows the spread of Christianity into areas such as; Syria, Asia Minor, Greece and Rome. The book of Acts also serves as useful background once the reader finds him- or herself reading through the books written by Paul.