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Posts Tagged ‘Gospels’

John 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

This verse is speaking of Jesus, but light and life are possessed by all three persons of the Godhead (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), and light and life are also possessed by those who respond to the gospel message.

Life (2 aspects)

  • Physical Life – Jesus was present at creation, with the Father.  The name of God in Genesis 1:1 is “Elohim”.  It is plural early proof of a triune God.
  • Spiritual and Eternal life – Jesus promises these to those who believe on Him in faith.  John 3:16 is one of the most well-known reminders of this promise.  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life

Light

Here are just a few of the references to Jesus and light:

  • Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”  John 8:12
  • Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.  John 12:35
  • I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.  John 12:46 (Jesus speaking)
  • This is the message which we have heard from [Jesus] and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.  1 John 1:5

The Bible, of course, has many references to God or the Word of God as a light for the believer:

  • [God’s]  word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.  Psalm 119:105
  • The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?  Psalm 27:1
  • For You will light my lamp; The LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.  Psalm 18:28
  • The sun shall no longer be your light by day, Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; But the LORD will be to you an everlasting light, And your God your glory.  Isaiah 60:19
  • For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light. . . 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.  Ephesians 5:8
  • There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.  Revelation 22:5

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The gospel of John represents one piece in a four-part testimony of the life of Jesus.  This is important because the Bible requires that there be two witnesses to establish a fact.  The use of four gospels each based on testimony of eye witnesses makes the totality of the gospels very credible.  The fact that each of the gospels is not identical to the others adds to the overall credibility.

If one were to interview four eye-witnesses to any event in history, each of them would emphasize different facts and provide a different presentation of the information depending on their audience.  That is exactly what we find in the gospels – four unique but internally consistent testimonies of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, a real man who lived a real life in Israel.

Looking at all four gospels, we see that each is addressed to a different audience, for example, the Gospel of Mark is written with a gentile (primarily Roman) audience in mind.  Little detail of Jewish history or culture is included.

The Gospel of Matthew is written to the Jewish reader.  Matthew starts off with a very detailed genealogy of Jesus and emphasizes  Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah.

The Gospel of Luke was written to a gentile audience.  In as much as Luke was a physician and educated in Greek, he writes a more detailed, carefully researched gospel focused on Jesus as the Son of Man a Savior sent to save the lost sinner.

The Gospel of John was written with a strong emphasis on the deity of Jesus Christ.  John wrote to encouraged believers and to call unbelievers to faith in Jesus Christ

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The Bible is divided into 2 testaments or sections:

  • Old Testament
  • New Testament

The Old Testament, written mostly in Hebrew, comprises approximately 2/3 of the Bible, and the New Testament, written mostly in Greek, comprises the remaining  1/3.  The Old Testament covers a period of approximately 4,000 years, and the New Testament covers a period of approximately 100 years.

The breakdown of the books of the Old Testament has been provided in prior posts in this Bible Basics series (parts 1-6).  The New Testament was introduced in our last post.

The first section or division of the New Testament is the gospels.  Each of the gospels has a different writer and a different target audience.  Each of the gospels also portrays or emphasizes a different aspect of Jesus.

  • Gospel of Matthew
  1. Written by Matthew also known as Levi
  2. Written to the Jewish religious person
  3. Emphasizes Jesus as the Messiah prophesied of in the Old Testament
  • Gospel of Mark
  1. Written by John Mark
  2. Written to the Roman person (pragmatic)
  3. Emphasizes Jesus as the servant-redeemer
  • Gospel of Luke
  1. Written by Luke, a physician who had traveled with Paul
  2. Written to the Greek mind
  3. Emphasizes the man-nature of Christ (the Perfect man)
  • Gospel of John
  1. Written by John who stood at the cross of Jesus and wrote the Epistles of John and the book of Revelation
  2. Written to a more universal audience
  3. Emphasizes Jesus as the Son of Man

After the Gospels which all basically cover the same time period from at or around the birth of Christ until His trial, crucifixion and resurrection from the dead, is the book of Acts which covers the early history of the Church.

  • Book of Acts
  1. Written by Luke (also wrote the Gospel of Luke)
  2. History of the Early Church from Pentacost to Paul’s final trip to Rome
  3. Documents how the Holy Spirit moved through those who had been saved and how the Word of God spread through those who would believe.

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