Why Four Gospels? – Since You Asked q.7

The question sometimes arises about why there are four Gospel accounts of Jesus Christ. They each tell the same story, but some items are just a bit different. Why?

Any lawyer or detective would tell you that on the street and in court, you wouldn’t want to hear EXACTLY the same story from a group of people. Too close means too rehearsed. Whereas, you don’t have to rehearse the truth.

Each of us has a background and experiences that lend us different perspectives on things. My sister may know shoes better since she worked in a shoe store. She might focus on the white Nikes someone was wearing, whereas I may describe a person as wearing a black rock band t-shirt.

The same person was seen during the same occurrence, but different observations and descriptions. It doesn’t mean it’s wrong or contradictory, it’s all about the eye of the beholder. It’s what details stood out and to whom.

With the Gospels, you have four people seeing the same event. The exact same Jesus Christ, just different things that stood out to each person.

Also, you’ve got in the Gospels some backgrounds on people and their problems. For instance, the man blind from birth that Jesus gave sight to. The Gospel writer would have either known him or asked him some of his story. Same thing with the woman with the flow of blood for 12 years. There must have been some interviews being done after those miracles happened.

The Gospels are witness accounts. Even when they were first written down, anyone reading them could easily go and speak with some of the people being talked about.

The Bible opens itself to being scrutinized. It’s got all the details we would ever need to say if it’s true or not. However, for every naysayer, there comes to light more evidence that upholds the truth of the Bible.

There’s so much information about what Jesus Christ said and did, at the end of he Gospel of John, it says that John doubted there was enough room in the world that could contain all of the books that would need written. All of what was written down was so we could come to believe in Jesus Christ. It’s not an over abundance of details, but just enough.

Jesus never wrote a book like “Abundant Life Now” or “How to Love Better”. He never wrote a book at all during His time on earth. He was a teacher. He taught through His word and through His deeds. What was done and said was of great importance. Some people caught some details, but others heard and saw the same things, but from their particular vantage points.

Three of the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, are considered synoptic. That means they flow much the same and contain many of the same accounts. However, the Gospel of John, written by the “Beloved Apostle”, has a distinctly different feel to it.

The Gospel of Mark, which was actually written first, was a very short and pointed history of Jesus’ work. Matthew built upon that history even further, taking what Mark wrote and enlightening us on more of the details to each story.

Then Luke, being a highly schooled physician, was serious about going deeper into the story of Jesus Christ. The book of Acts tells of some of the travels of Luke. With such details in his Gospel as well as the book of acts itself (which was also written by Luke), there must have been many interviews with eye witnesses and even some of the Jewish and Roman leaders in that time.

The Gospel of Luke also contains the details behind the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ. If there was one person who would have doubted and wanted to know all he could about a virgin birth, it would have been a physician such as Luke. There would have been no stones left unturned in that account.

Finally, you have the Gospel of John, which differs from the other three Gospels. John focuses on more of the spiritual aspects of Jesus and His ministry. John also lends different details during his Gospel in order to make more sense and connect certain scriptures for the reader.

That’s why we have the four Gospels. Each one equally important, but each one showing their own unique perspectives of the same Jesus.

So can we trust those different accounts and perspectives? Absolutely! Think back to an earlier time in your life. Something happened, someone died, someone hurt you or helped you in such a way that you couldn’t forget it if you tried. I bet you can remember certain sights and smells, hairstyles, or even the weather that day. That time made such an impact on your life that you could easily write an account of it, even decades later.

Now imagine that someone saved your life, gave you sight, or fed thousands of people with just a few loaves of bread and fishes. You just can’t forget something that truly awesome. Combine that importance in your life with the spurring on of the Holy Spirit. You would have a book that would stand the test of time without a problem.

Which brings me to my final point. The Gospels are written “pen to paper” by human authors, but they are also the work of the Holy Spirit of God, who is the primary author. God wanted not only an account of what He did, but also a primer for us to live by; almost an owner’s manual of sorts for this life. So God used the tools at His disposal to create and disseminate this great book. The entire Bible: 66 separate books written over a period of around 1500 years in different continents and by 40 different human authors. 66 books, but together they are one story which flows perfectly because it was truly authored by the same God. Yes, you have four Gospels, but you have one story pointing the way to the great and mighty Jesus.

Jesus Christ lived a sinless life, but died and rose again to take our sins away. He did it out of his Greta love for us. And because of that, we are allowed into Heaven with Him for all of eternity. Peace, joy, and pure love like we’ve never known awaits us there.

All we need to do is accept that truth. We’re not given just one chance to learn things about our Jesus, we’re given four Gospels. The word gospel means good news, and there is nothing greater than the Good News of Jesus Christ.

God’s blessings to you!

DH

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