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by Bobby Bruno
4/06/2014 / Christian Apologetics
We must remember that when Jesus visited the earth to bring salvation from our sins. He came at a time of unrest for the Jews, because Rome had taken over their lands and ruled with an iron fist. Israel was looking for a warrior king who would put down the Romans and bring peace and prosperity back to their land. Who they got was someone who was looking out for more than just their present comforts; He was looking out for their eternal lives. Even though the Romans allowed the Jewish nation to go on with their religion, this fact did not satisfy many who saw Rome as an invasion to Israel's way of life by the Romans bringing their false idols and gods with them.
The Holy Spirit guided four men to write the truth of why Jesus Christ came to this earth in the form of letters to the different people groups that existed on the earth at that time. Each audience needed to hear these truths in a way that they would understand, so each Gospel was written with a different audience in mind Jews, Gentiles, Romans, and the rest of the known world.
The Gospel of Matthew was written by the tax collector whom Jesus told to follow Him, and was written sometime around the A.D.60s. Matthew wrote his account to prove to his Jewish readers that Jesus was, in fact, the Son of God. He wanted to show them that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah spoken about by the Old Testament Prophets. Through his gospel, he wanted to convince them that God's kingdom was manifested in and through Jesus alone and that Jesus' kingdom was to be brought about in the future, not during the Roman occupation.
The key verse in Matthew's gospel is the Sermon on the Mount (5:1-7:29). Here, Jesus tells those listening what is expected of those who are the children of God. These verses were important to the Jews because they had been listening to the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees, who liked to twist the word of God into their own meanings and expected everyone to follow their, sometimes, bad examples. The Gospel of Matthew is the only gospel to contain the entire Sermon on the Mount and is the only one to contain the lineage of Jesus from the bloodline of Joseph through Abraham, to show Jesus as the Messiah King of the Jews.
The Gospel of Mark was written by a disciple fully named John Mark, through his association with the Apostle Peter, and was written somewhere between A.D. 55-65. Mark wrote his gospel to strengthen the faith of the Roman believers during the cruelty of the Emperor Nero against them, due to the fact that the Emperor Nero was putting Christians to death for their faith in Christ. For this reason, Mark presented Jesus as the suffering servant. Mark wanted to show the believers that suffering for Jesus was something to be endured as a cost of discipleship for knowing and following Jesus. Through the account of Jesus' life as a suffering servant, Mark wanted to inspire the Roman believers to suffer boldly, for their future heavenly life was assured.
The Key Verses in the Gospel of Mark are verse 8:31, where Jesus predicts His death; and The Greatest Commandment 12:29-31, where Jesus tells believers that we must love God with all we have, and that we must love others as God loves us. Mark's gospel in the only one to focus more on what Jesus did than what He said to emphasis Jesus as a servant sent from God.
The Gospel of Luke was written by Dr. Luke, who was a friend of the Apostle Paul who travelled with Paul on his many journeys. This gospel was written between A.D. 60-63, based on many sources and eyewitness accounts. The Gospel of Luke was written in response to a man the book names as Theophilus who wanted a full and accurate account of all that Jesus said and did before He was taken up into heaven; therefore Luke presented Jesus as the Divine-Human Savior. Theophilus was a new believer who wanted to know all that was known about Jesus whom he had never seen but had heard enough about to become one of His followers. Dr. Luke wanted to make sure that he showed that Jesus was fully divine and fully human by including in his narrative Jesus' life from pre-birth to His ascension. Luke's gospel account was also written for the many Gentile believers who had heard of Jesus, but also had not had the chance to see Him in the flesh.
Luke showed all of these things through the use of the many parables Jesus told to the masses that followed Him. The key verses Luke uses are 19:10, where Jesus proclaims that salvation has come through Him; The Prodigal Son (15:11-32); and The Good Samaritan (10:30-37). Luke's gospel is the only gospel written to an individual believer and is also the only gospel to contain the lineage of Jesus through His mother, Mary, back to Adam to show that Jesus was for all peoples, Jew and Gentile alike.
The Gospel of John was different from all the rest, writing his gospel account many years after the other three which was around A.D 80-95. John himself states in the first chapter of his letter that "these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (20:31/NIV). John is writing to unbelievers who have yet to believe, and to believers who needed to be strengthened in their faith. John wanted to convince every person in every land, and in every time, that Jesus was in fact the Son of God and is the only One through which salvation and eternal life can come.
The key verses in the Book of John show from the outset that Jesus is God, and that God, through Jesus, loves us deeply no matter what we have done or said in our lives. These important verses are: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning" (1:1-2/NIV). "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" (3:16/NIV). John's gospel is the only gospel to proclaim that Jesus as not a created being, but was with God before the earth was created.
Life in the spirit study bible (NIV). (1992, 2003). Grand Rapids, MI: Life Publishers/Zondervan.
McGhee, Q., Teague, W. (2005, 2006). Synoptic gospels: the life and teachings of Christ. Springfield, MO: Berean School of the Bible, a division of Global University.
Riggs. R. (1968). The life of christ. Springfield, MI: Gospel Publishing House
Bobby Bruno was saved 15 years ago in a way that left him no doubt that Jesus wanted him to reach others with His great and abounding love. He started writing at the age of 12 and hasn't stopped since. He achieved Associates Degree in Biblical Studies from Ohio Christian University in early 2014.
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