Why are there four different Gospels
Lesson #1 (Introduction and Matthew)
In this series we are going to look at how the four different Gospels present the Lord Jesus Christ differently. Each gospel gives a different presentation of the Lord Jesus Christ. As we will see in this study Matthew will present the Lord Jesus Christ as King, Mark will present him as a Servant, Luke will present him as the Son of Man and John will present him as the Son of God.
Many times people will ask why are there four gospels and why is each one different from the other. Many times we will find one event recorded in a particular gospel and not recorded at all in the other gospels. Sometimes we find the same event recorded in two gospels or maybe even in all four but each one tells it differently or gives different details about the particular event. The most common answer for these differences is because there are four different authors. They will say that if four different people witness the same event they will all tell the story a little bit differently. While this is true amongst mankind it does not work for explaining the differences in the Gospels. Remember that all scripture is given by inspiration of God (2 Timothy 3:16), therefore it is the Holy Spirit who inspired the authors of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. If there are differences in the gospels then they are there because the Holy Spirit inspired them and they are not at all contradictory but complementary when studied out, and as we will see in this study they will show a fourfold presentation of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Before we look at the book of Matthew and how it presents the Lord Jesus Christ as King let us look at some evidence in the scriptures for this fourfold presentation of the Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament there are several prophesies concerning the branch. Each of the prophesies is connected with Jesus Christ or God himself and each one point to the fourfold presentation of Jesus Christ.
1) Jeremiah 23:5
- Here we see the Branch connected with a King, this is how Matthew presents Jesus.
2) Zechariah 3:8
- Here we see the Branch connected with a Servant, this is how Mark presents Jesus.
3) Zechariah 6:12
- Here we see the Branch connected with a Man, this is how Luke presents Jesus.
4) Isaiah 4:2
- Here we see the Branch connected with the Lord, this is how John presents Jesus.
In dealing with the Branch we see a King which matches Jesus in Matthew, a Servant which matches Jesus in Mark, a Man which matches Jesus in Luke, and The Lord which matches Jesus in John.
In Exodus 26:31,32 we see that in the Old Testament Tabernacle there was a veil that separated the Holy place from the most Holy Place. Note that this veil has 4 colors in it (Purple, Scarlet, Blue, fine linen which is white) and that it hangs on four pillars. One might ask how this points to the fourfold presentation of Jesus Christ. In Hebrews 10:19, 20 we see that the flesh of Jesus Christ is referred to as a veil. The veil in the Old Testament Tabernacle was a type of the Flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why when he was crucified and raised again the veil in the temple was rent in twain (Matthew 27:51). This shows that there is no need for a priesthood now because through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ we have direct access to God. So the veil had four colors and four pillars which match the 4 different presentations of Jesus in the gospels when he came in the flesh.
In Revelation 4:6-8 we see the living creatures around the throne. Note that each one of the beast was said to be something different. The first was a like a lion, the second beast was like a calf, the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. In these four beasts we can see this fourfold presentation of the Lord Jesus Christ. The lion represents a king which matches Matthew, the calf represents as a beast of burden or a servant which matches Mark, the man represents man which matches Luke, and the flying eagle represent something that is not limited to the earth which matches the fact that John presents Jesus as the Son of God.
From these things we see that this fourfold presentation is not just a coincidence limited to the gospels but can be found all throughout the Bible.
The Book of Matthew :
Matthew presents the Lord Jesus Christ as King. This is why Matthew is considered to be primarily a Jewish book. It is presenting the Jesus Christ as the king of the Jews. This is why it is also placed first in the New Testament because when the Jews eventually accept the New Testament the first book they will read is Matthew which shows them that Jesus Christ is really there king. Now we will list some of the ways that you can see how Jesus is presented as King in the book of Matthew. We have chosen many examples but there are obviously many more besides the ones in the list here.
1) The author of the book is Matthew and he was the only one of the disciples as far as we know that held an official office. Remember that he was a tax collector (Matthew 9:9). Who better to right about the king than a man that had been a public official.
2) Note the genealogy in Matthew chapter one. It traces Jesus back to David and was the King of Israel. The genealogy only goes back as far as Abraham who is the father of the Nation of Israel, remember that this is a book dealing primarily with Jews about as Jewish Kingdom. Now it is important to note here that the book of Mark has no genealogy because no one would be concerned with the genealogy of a servant. The genealogy in Luke traces Jesus back to Adam because Luke represents Jesus as man. Then in John we see no genealogy because God has no beginning or ending and John represents Jesus as Son of God.
3) In Matthew 2:1-12 we see the visit of the wise men after the birth of Jesus Christ. Matthew is the only gospel to record this and note what the wise men say in verse 2 “Where is he that is born King of the Jews”. The wise men come looking for a king and it is only recorded in Matthew, this is not Matthew’s memory being better that Mark’s or Luke’s or John’s this is the guidance of the Holy Spirit of God inspiring his book the way he wants it.
4) In Matthew chapters 5-7 we see the Sermon on the Mount. You will find some of it in the other gospels but not three chapters worth. This is because the Sermon on the Mount deals with the kingdom of Heaven which is when Jesus Christ will reign on the earth on the throne of David. If Israel had not of rejected Jesus Christ as their king this could have happened shortly after his death, burial, and resurrection. The Sermon on the Mount deals with the constitution of this kingdom that is why you cannot put it doctrinally on the church in the church age. Since it deals with the kingdom then it is perfectly placed in the book of Matthew which presents Jesus as king.
5) Jesus used the phrase “I say unto you” 14 times in the book of Matthew which denotes authority, just as a king would have.
6) You were to bow before a king and Jesus received worship more in this gospel (Matthew 2:2,8,11 ; 8:2 ; 9:18 ; 14:33 ; 15:25 ; 20:20 ; 28;9, 17)
7) We have said that this is a Jewish book note that Jesus said in Matthew 15:24 “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of Israel”. Matthew is the only gospel to record this.
8) When you compare Matthew 15:21-28 with Mark 7:24-30 you see the same event but with some difference. Note that the woman referring to Jesus Christ as the son of David is in Matthew but not in Luke. This makes since because Matthew presents him as king.
These are just a few of the ways in which Matthew presents Jesus Christ as King.