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The Gospels

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus...

Luke 1:1–3a

Watch Week Five: New Testament: The Gospel & Acts

There were four hundred years of silence after God spoke through the prophet Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament. Four hundred years! Can you imagine that period of waiting, doubting, hoping? But this week we don’t have to wait for the rest of the story. We get to keep reading and discover the good news as we begin the New Testament.

The very first book of the New Testament, Matthew, opens with a genealogy. As subjects go, reading through a catalog of names that go back some four thousand years hardly seems appealing. Who wants to trudge through a list of hard-to-pronounce names? The genealogies trace God’s hand in the lives of his people, they demonstrate how he uses ordinary people to be a part of his extraordinary story, and they ground the story in history. These were real people—real moms and dads and sons and nephews—many of them familiar to the original audience. Once we understand how the different parts of the New Testament play a role in God’s story of redemption, we can come to appreciate every part of the Scriptures.

matthew, mark, luke, & john

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John make up what are known as the Gospels. The word “gospel” means “good news,” and that’s exactly what we find in these books—the good news that God has initiated his kingdom through the coming of his son, Jesus. Each Gospel bears the name of its author. Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s Gospels tell Jesus’s story from the bottom up, focusing on Jesus’s humanity and slowly revealing he is the Son of God. The Gospel of John tells the story of Jesus from the top down, beginning with the Word of God coming down from heaven to become a man (John 1:1, 14).

one jesus, one story, four gospels

Each Gospel points to Jesus by narrating the most significant aspects of his life and ministry on Earth in its own way. Some Gospels recount the same events, but each is expertly crafted to reveal a particular aspect of the good news of Jesus.

Matthew’s gospel is written with a Jewish audience in mind. When we read it, we find it replete with references to Jewish customs. The particular truth this Gospel emphasizes about Jesus is summed up in Matthew 5:17: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but fulfill them.”

The Gospel of Mark is the “action-packed” Gospel. Mark moves his story along quickly in order to teach us that “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (10:45).

Luke’s Gospel is the only Gospel written by a non-Jewish man. It emphasizes that the good news of Jesus is for all—Jews and Gentiles. It is addressed to Theophilus, that he “may have certainty concerning the things [he has] been taught” (Luke 1:3-4). What Luke wants to show us through his gospel is that Jesus “came to seek and to save the lost” (19:10).

Lastly, we might think of John’s Gospel as the Gospel of love. Love is such an important part of John’s understanding of Jesus that he can’t help but use the word a total of fifty-seven times! It is here that we find the often-quoted verse that begins, “For God so loved the world . . .” (3:16). John tells us his purpose in writing: “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 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” (20:30–31).

Whether we’re studying Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, it will help us to remember that each book is ultimately about Jesus. He is the main character, and we can be sure we’ve understood the Gospels correctly only when they’ve led us to him.

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Daily Question

The Gospels tell us Jesus’s story, revealing not only what he did but also who he is. In what ways does your life reflect what Jesus has done and who he is?

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Comments (8)

Something that I really love to do is pray for people and to show people love. Hearing about what Jesus did for others in such a humble way gives me a guiding example of how to do things for others and how to love others.

I’ve read through the Gospels so many times and I find so many interesting things when I read them. To me the Bible is like Pinterest, you get to pin things you like and sometimes you try them. With the Bible you highlight the verses you like and then you apply them to your life, at least that’s what I think. My life reflects in God’s forgiveness like when someone wrongs me things like that. When I was a little younger, It was so hard for me to forgive people I just built up all this hate and it made me a very angry person. One day I went to Wednesday night youth and my leader came up to me and said can talk to you and I was like yeah sure what’s up, she said are okay and at that moment I just started crying and I let it all out. Now me and my leader have a bonded a lot since that day and I am so thankful for her!

Early on I learned who Jesus was and why he came, understood his walk on this earth. I grew up in the church, had several wonderful Pastors and Youth Leaders that guided me and helped me know Jesus. I also went to a Christian school. My parents, extended family -grandparents, Aunts, Uncle, many were Christians and talked with me, my siblings about Jesus, what it means to follow him, be a disciple.
Jesus was my friend early on and I loved getting to know him more through the bible. I knew how much Jesus loved me, I was a child of God. I didn’t often feel alone because I knew he was with me.
I learned to share my concerns and hurts with Jesus early on in my youth. I really understand the power of prayer.
I truly believe and know we are to let our request and concerns be known. I take everything to God in prayer through Jesus. I know he knows my every thought, concerns, joy but wants me to share with him.
I encourage others to talk with God. I often ask people what they need prayer for so I can also pray for them, with them. I know he will never leave me, nor forsake me. Jesus is my savior, redeemer and friend. I have be blessed!

I could not possibly share my entire testimony. It is too long. My life TODAY is a direct reflection of how Jesus saved me! How he spoke directly into my life, whispering into my ear to prove to me just how much I am loved, and how I am to share that love with as many as will let me! Everything I do today reflects who I am in Christ and bringing others to relationship with Him the best I can. Our God is immeasurably life changing and I believe it is my responsibility to share that with as many people as possible that don’t know that yet, or have never had the opportunity to know Him!

When I love others in a way that is unnatural to the world I reflect Jesus. I didn’t used to love others well but God over the years has worked on my heart and changed me and I now desire to love people like Jesus does.

When I slow done and listen really be still and know He is God then I try to be Gods hands and feet by loving Gid and loving others but like Jeannie I let pride get in the way

My life reflects the love of Christ and His resurrection power in many ways. Jesus came so that we may be saved. He came to give us life. He also came to be our healer and redeemer. Of course Christ is and came to do many other things during His time here on earth, but through His teachings and His ultimate sacrifice, these are a few of the ways that what Jesus has done is evident in my life.

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