The four Gospels are neither histories of the life of Christ nor biographies. They are rather portraits of the person and work of the world's Savior. As portraits they present four different poses of one unique personality.
Matthew presents Him as King - Mark as Servant - Luke as Man - John as God. Ezekiel's vision. In this four dimensional view the Gospels focus on Christ's threefold ministry of Prophet, Priest and King.
Prophet He did not speak for God as other prophets. God spoke through Him as Son. The O.T. prophet was a voice for God. But Christ being God, was the voice of God Himself.
Priest Christ became both Sacrifice and Sacrificer. He died on the Cross to save sinners, and through His resurrection lives eternally to make intercession for them.
King He was rejected at His first advent, but at His second advent He will reign upon David's throne and of His kingdom there will be no end. Only in Matthew does Christ speak of
- the holy city Matthew 4:5.
- city of the great King Matthew 5:35.
Christ's words in the four Gospels.
- In Matthew there are 644 verses of Christ's words.
- In Mark 285
- In Luke 586
- In John 419.
One other point of interest:
- Matthew was written to the Jew
- Mark to the Roman
- Luke to the Greek
- John to the Church
One of the purposes of Matthew's Gospel seems to be to act as a bridge between the Old and New Testaments. He writes to show that the promised Messiah of the O.T. is the Jesus Christ of the N.T.
The Gospel of Matthew, accordingly, presents Christ's royal genealogy. His ancestry is traced back to King David.
Chapter 1. The early recognition that He was indeed the King of the Jews by the wise men is in keeping with Matthew's presentation.
Chapter 2. A king must be strong in character. His strength is shown in defeating Satan.
A king must have a kingdom - uniquely the "kingdom of heaven" is mentioned 30 times. The word "kingdom" is used more than 50 times. The term "kingdom of heaven" is used exclusively in Matthew.
A kingdom must have laws.
Chapters 5-7. The Sermon on the Mount stating the moral principles or laws is given more extensively in Matthew than in the other Gospels.
A king must have the power to implement His laws.
Chapters 8-10. Matthew continues to present the sayings of Christ and shows by the miracles performed, (power over disease - demons - death - the elements) that He had the power and had the credentials attributed to the Messiah of the O.T.
Matthew 11:28 "Come unto Me" etc.
By the time we reach
Chapter 12 the passive rejection of the Lord by the Jews is complete.
Chapter 13, in parabolic form, the Lord gives a description of events during the period between His two advents. The new form the kingdom will take.
Chapter 14, the opposition stiffens. John the Baptist is beheaded. The Lord openly, vehemently, denounces the unbelief and hypocrisy of the Jews.
Matthew 15:7-8. "Honor Me with your mouth. Heart far from Me." As the opposition increases the Lord announces His death.
At this point new evidence comes from God in heaven as to who Jesus really was.
Matthew 16:16. "Thou art the Christ" etc.
Then as every hope receded of establishing the kingdom at this time, Peter, James and John were given a revelation of who Jesus really was, and at the same time were given a preview of the future glorious kingdom.
Matthew 17:1-8. Transfiguration.
As Jesus presses towards Jerusalem He again predicts His death and resurrection.
Chapter 21 He publicly offers Himself as King. He was gladly received by the common people but utterly rejected by the religious leaders. "Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is He who cometh in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest."
Chapter 22 our Lord denounces the Herodians, the Sadducees, the scribes and Pharisees.
In the following chapter Jesus completely abandons the nation. He pronounced seven woes on the hypocritical Pharisees. He wept over Jerusalem - declaring that their house was abandoned by God. This led our Lord, in
Chapters 24 and 25, to take His disciples aside and in what is known as the Olivet discourse show them the events which would take place between the two advents, with special reference to the great tribulation, just preceding His second coming to the earth.
Chapters 26-27 describe the arrest, trial and death of the King. Matthew reminds us that His accusation was, "This is Jesus, the king of the Jews."
The King died "When He had cried with a loud voice, yielded up His spirit." The death of the King.
Chapter 28. The resurrection of the King, verse 2: "An angel descended - earthquake - He rolled the stone away - sat on it."
Finally the commission of the King: "Make disciples of all nations." "Baptize them who believe." "Teach them the whole truth."
The power of the King: "All authority is given unto Me in heaven and on earth."
The ever-abiding presence of the King: "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age. Amen."