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Sunday, 26 November 2017

Four Gospel records.

It was quite recently that I saw the question: "Why are there four Gospels?" My first response to that question is that there are not "four Gospels", but four accounts of the one Gospel - the Good News about Jesus, the Christ. However, the question is still a valid one: "Why are there four Gospel records?"

The simplest answer comes from the world of policing, where officers will endeavour to obtain as many witnesses as possible to any crime, or incident. Doing so ensures that they have as complete a picture as possible of what happened. Each witness will provide evidence that comes from a slightly different perspective than that of other witnesses.

Chronologically, Mark was the first to write the Gospel record, followed by Matthew, and then Luke. In these three records, known as the Synoptics, the emphasis is on the human nature of the Lord Jesus; in John, the last to be written, the emphasis is on His deity. However, we then discover that each was written for a different "audience"! Matthew wrote especially for Jews; Mark for Romans; Luke for Greeks; and John for disciples of Jesus. All four wrote for the whole world.

In Mark, the Lord Jesus is depicted as the Servant of God; in John as the Son of God (God the Son). In Matthew, He is portrayed as the Ruler of men; in Luke, as unique among men. Matthew and Mark provide the record of His official glories; Luke and John show His personal glories, as Son of Man and Son of God. The 19th century French philospher, historian, and writer, Ernest Rénan, described Matthew's account of the Gospel as "the most important boook ever written", and Luke's account as "the most beautiful book ever written." (although I would certainly not subscribe to many of Rénan's other views!)

Marks record may well be described as "the most concise book ever written"; while John's record surely deserves the description of "the most heavenly book ever written."!

I came across this, anonymous, poetic piece in one of my reference books:

"Matthew - Messiah, Israel's King, sets forth, by Israel slain;
but God decreed that Israel's loss should be the Gentiles' gain.
Mark tells us how, in patient love, this earth has once been trod
by one Who, in a Servant's form, wasyet the Son of God.
Luke, the  physician, writes of a more skilled Physician still, 
Who gave Himself, as Son of Man, to save us from all ill.
John, the beloved of Jesus, sees in Him the Father's Son,
the everlasting Word, made flesh, yet with the Father One."

Why are there four Gospel records? So that the fullest possible picture might be provided of the One Who came that you and I might have - if we choose to accept it - eternal life. Not "pie in the sky when you die", but the very life of the Creator of all that is, in you, here and now!

So the really important question is: "With all of that information, have you accepted His wonderful gift of salvation from sin, and a life so new that it is described as being "born again"? 

And, if not, why not?!

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