This topic is something that was just mentioned in the recent post “No need to fear death” but I want to expand a little more on it. The image is just an illustration to help you see what will be discussed.
The Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are books that were written to specific nations about Jesus. Matthew was written to the Jews, Mark to the Romans, Luke to the Greeks and John to the Church and rest of the world (gentiles). The first time I heard that I was so fascinated and it made perfect sense in my heart.
In the book of Matthew, Jesus quoted a lot of references to Old Testament scriptures. It was fitting because the Jewish nation studied the Torah or Pentateuch. Matthew was a direct disciple of Jesus. So if Matthew was going to minister and share about Jesus they needed to hear scriptures they were familiar with so they could receive the good news about their Messiah Jesus. Unfortunately, when the bible is studied today and people or even teachers/preachers have no knowledge of this information they teach that we are still under the Law of Moses and need to follow those commandments that were given only to the people of Israel. There were 613 ordinances and laws that Israel needed to complete to be righteous. No one could ever accomplish them but this was the point. They needed a savior and that is why they were looking toward the Messiah or the Christ…THE ONE who could save them and be free. He was the only one that did fulfill every single ordinance and law.
In the book of Mark, the writings were directed to the Romans. Mark was Barnabas’ cousin and a close companion of Peter. He also was not a disciple of Jesus but he did become Paul’s close friend. If we have studied the Romans, their culture and their characteristics we learn that they were conquerors, they wanted power, they defeated their foes. In this Gospel we read that Jesus defeated the enemy, he had divine power, he cast out demons, he was a man that was able to perform miracles. Mark also presented Him as a King. So hearing this about Jesus would be appealing to the Romans.
In the book of Luke, the writings were directed to the Greeks. He was not a direct disciple of Jesus either. He was Paul’s disciple. He was a physician so his writings were very thorough as most physicians need to be when they care for their patients. The Greeks were big in to gaining knowledge, wisdom and wanted to achieve perfection. Luke presented Jesus as the perfect man full of wisdom. So when the Greeks heard about this perfect man they were intrigued.
In the book of John, the writings were directed to the church and gentiles. John had a revelation of the love that Jesus has for us all. He called himself “the one whom Jesus loved”. So he writes showing the personal relationship that Jesus has with God the Father, Jesus describing who He is, and what God wants us to know about who we are in Christ. John also presents Jesus as the Son of God.
So finally, if we view the cross in the image it is right in the middle between the two books. This is where Jesus did His work on the cross and now the authors were sharing that testimony. That is why it is considered a “transitional period” between the Old and New Testament. The Old Testament was the old covenant that God made with the Israelites. The New Testament is the “new” covenant that God made with all humanity. The New Testament really begins at the book of Acts. It is where the church began and when the Holy Spirit, the presence of God, descended upon believers and is open to any believer who wants to receive today. Anytime you switch from one way of doing things and then switch to another there is a transition that occurs. It is similar to “getting everyone on the same page” so to speak. The 4 Gospels is exactly that “transition” in the bible. They catch everyone up to what is new.
We hope you were blessed and keep checking back for more!