There is a certain beauty, enchantment and eloquence in the four gospels . To some the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are clear indicators of the inaccuracy of scripture. However to those who take the time to understand the harmony of the gospels; they gain a deeper and richer experience about who God is. The Bible alone doesn’t mean much. But when viewed with eyes of faith ( trusting in it’s author and the accuracy of the text) new perspectives and thoughts arrange themselves around the wonder of who God really is. To some the different perspectives each of them have around events appear as conflicts, but consider this:
A man has a wife and two children (a older boy and much younger girl). If you had to ask the wife to describe the husband, she would do so in one manner perhaps highlighting his role and a few of his mannerisms. The older boy may also then describe his father, but in the context of a father son relationship. The much younger daughter may struggle to express herself, but may nonetheless simplistically describe her father. While all these perspectives may appear contradictory there are by no means untrue. That is, they are the real world experiences of honest people, honestly describing this man, their father or as a husband.
And so it is with the four gospels, they are the perspectives of four different men, with four different walks, depicting events differently and more so each capturing a unique quality of Jesus Christ that relates to them. Like the father described above – relationally to his wife and two kids.
While studying out the betrayal of Jesus Christ I noticed some simple commonalties in the accounts of the four gospels, but I also saw some differences that were truly beautiful. Beautiful because they revealed different aspects of who Jesus Christ is and was.
Jesus Christ in the Four Gospels:
Jesus Christ in the four gospels is uniquely portrayed by His identities. In Matthew, Jesus Christ is the Messiah. Matthew the author is Jewish and a tax collector. The majority of the messages in this book are in regards to the Kingdom of Heaven (not to be confused with the Kingdom of God) and more so to Jewish people at the time. In Mark, Jesus Christ is a Servant. He is seen continuously reaching out to people, giving of Himself and His time. The key verse highlighted in this book is Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”. In Luke, Jesus Christ is the Son of Man. The words “son of man” are continuously repeated and speak to Jesus as Messiah but also a man. So each author of the gospel has their unique view of Christ through the individual books. As we gaze into the four individual accounts of Christ’s betrayal in the garden leading up to His arrest, it is these very identities that are highlighted, starting in Matthew.
Matthew 26:47-57: Jesus The Messiah
In Matthew we read in verse 53, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?”. This is Jesus directly stating that God is His Father. That would be blasphemous to Israel at the time (or at least to the Pharisees). But this speaks again to the fact that He was emphasising His descent, His lineage, and who He was; the Messiah.
In verse 54, “But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?”. Here we see Jesus stating the these events are the fulfilment of God’s Word – again, He being the now rejected Messiah.
In verse 56, “But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.”. This time Jesus was revealing that these events were the fulfilment of the Prophets. Again associating Himself with that of the Messiah to Israel. Isn’t it just beautiful to the see emphasis of the author and how they manifest throughout each book?
Mark 14:34-53: Jesus The Servant
Now from a different perspective, we see the humanity of Jesus, or more so the servant to the Master (the Father). In verse 34-36 we read, “And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”. Here is Jesus about to be arrested and face the pain, torture, trial, agony and shame of a trial and crucifixion. And it deeply saddens him, to such extent the bible quotes it as “unto death”. He then proceeds to pray to His Father to ask Him to remove the pending trial, but in so doing ends by asking only that God’s will would be done.
This is a true servant, one who surrenders his own will, for that of the Masters. An immediate question here, is what kind of servants are we? Are we faithful servants surrendering our will or captains of our own ship?
Luke 22:47-54: Jesus The Man
In verse 48, we see this question as the only account amidst all the other gospels, “But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?”. Notice that Jesus immediately identifies Himself as the “Son of Man”. It’s interesting to consider, that amidst the entire multitude that came to arrest Christ, Judas had the relationship to come and kiss Jesus Christ on the cheek. So yes while he had the intimate relationship -he abused it. Today that thoughts transcends itself and asks the question to us. Are we perhaps abusing our intimate relationship with God with a specific area of sin in our lives? Are we living closely with Him and His people, yet betraying that relationship with a “kiss”. Where are we in our walk with Christ TODAY?
John 18:1-12: Jesus our God
Lastly in John 18, we see Jesus Christ’s authority, and power as God.
“4 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? 5 They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. 6 As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. 7 Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. 8 Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way:” (verse 4-8)
I truly love this portion! On no other account do you see Jesus so mighty and so powerful. Note in verse 4, Jesus “went forth”. He went to them of his own accord first. In verse 5, Jesus says “I am he”. I AM is traditionally known to Israel and through the Old Testament as God the Father. In verse 6, as soon as Jesus identified Himself, they “went backward, and fell to the ground”. Here is this large group of armed men, with swords and spears, looking to arrest Jesus. Surely they would be in charge, they would be in command and without fear. Yet here is Jesus, and they step backward, as He steps forward, and they fall to the ground. This power and command of Jesus is further emphasised in verse 8. This is no sheep to the slaughter, this is a sheep laying down his life by His own will to the Glory of the Father.
To summarise, the four gospels are not conflicts of interest, but merely truthful, honest perspectives through the eyes of different men. So why do that? Simply to grant us a fuller picture of God, that is of the man Christ Jesus.
I pray you were blessed.