A Jet Tour of the Gospels
As we begin our overview of the New Testament let’s first step back and see the big picture. Someone has written:
AN ARCHITECTS VIEW OF the Scriptures
The Bible is like a majestic palace constructed with precious oriental stone comprising 66 stately chambers, each an individual room, yet a part of the whole edifice: incomprehensible, majestic, glorious and sublime.
As we go into the vestibule, the book of Genesis, and find recorded the mighty works of God in creation this vestibule, has access to the law courts. Which, when passing thru come to the picture gallery of the historical books in which hung wall scenes, battles, portraits of men of valor. Battles and valiant heroes line the walls.
On to the philosophers chamber Job. Then into the music room (Psalms) where we linger to hear the grandest harmonies ever that fell on human ears. Pressing on into the business office of Proverbs where very center hangs the motto "Righteousness exalts a nation", sin reproaches any people. Then, the research department Ecclesiastes, into the conservatory of Song of Solomon where the fragrant aroma of the sweetest fruits and flowers and sweetest songs of birds greet us.
On to the observatory where we find prophets busy with strong telescopes looking for the appearing of the bright and morning star, the Son of Righteousness.
Walking across we enter the audience chamber of the King, the Gospels, where hang four lifelike portraits of the King himself in the perfections of His Beauty.
On to the workroom of the Holy Spirit - Acts, then into the correspondence room where we find Peter, James, John, Paul and Jude bending busy over their writing tables under the supervision of the Holy Spirit of truth.
Finally into the throne room where echo the grandest praise and honor to the King enthroned fills vast chambers with portraits of solemn scenes of doom on walls but all associated with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
From creation to culmination. THE NEW TESTAMENT begins and ends with Christ. It opens with His arrival, moves to His ministry of three years, His death, His glorious resurrection, His ministering for 40 days. (We know this because it says in Acts that he remained alive after His passion for 40 days). His ascension, and then ten days the apostles were left along, fearful, waiting for the promise that Christ gave; that promise does come in the day of Pentecost, which "pentecost" means 50 days - after 50 days Christ sent His Spirit as he promised. Just as He promised, the Spirit came and poured out His Spirit on the fiftieth day. After the day of Pentecost was fully come, the birth of the church. Acts 1-8 deals primarily with Peter. Then starting in Acts 9 Saul comes on the scene. Paul is the focal point as God moves his redemptive program out to the Gentile world in particular. Then after letters (Epistles) of comfort and instruction, Jesus closes the book of history as He takes back His wayward creation in the Revelation.
I. THE GOSPELS The Lord promised that David would never lack a son to sit on the throne, and the next one thousand years present an uninterrupted, generation-by-generation list of male descendants-the longest known. None of the gospels are chronological histories or biographies in our modern sense.
They are rather a representation of the four groups of people then and now in the world. The Jews who loved the Scriptures and the prophecies of God. They would only listen to one of their own. So Matthew speaks to the Jews and the deeply religious of our day.
Mark spoke to the Romans. These were the leaders and leadership and action impressed them. They knew nothing of Scriptures but everything of power. So to this group comes the action packed Gospel of the powerful ministry of Christ. Mark uses the word “and” 1,375 times to tie together the endless actions of Christ. Like our modern successful business man and woman, they want a God who can powerfully meet their deepest needs.
Luke was a Greek speaking to the Greeks. The Greeks loved culture, beauty and ideas. Happiness could be found in the pursuit of truth. Luke fills his book with insights, interviews, songs and details that fascinate the inquiring mind. So today the truth seekers find Jesus in Luke!
John wrote to everyone because everyone needs to meet God and only Jesus can reveal Him. In this book we meet an absolutely powerful God in human flesh who controls and rules the Universe He created. So the best known verse is the best of all offer that God loves all and offers all His Son as their only hope!
II. Let’s survey the New Testament Books by noting 27 verses. A key verse for each book!
A. MATTHEW “Christ our King” Matthew: King Jesus (2:2) Matthew 2:2 saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him." (NKJV) Worship Christ the King!
Outline: The Birth and Preparation of the King 1:1 - 4:11; The King Speaks and Serves 4:12 - 25:46; The King Suffers and Triumphs in Passion Week 26:1 - 28:20.
In a gospel written for Jews, Jesus is presented in His royalty, his Jewishness is very evident. Matthew opens with the declaration that Jesus is the "Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham." In fact, eight of the twelve references to Jesus as the son of David are in Matthew, who so clearly pictures Jesus as the ideal Israelite and the ideal King of Israel.
B. MARK “Christ our Servant”. Outline: Mark: Servant Jesus (10:45) Mark 10:45 "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (NKJV) Worship Christ the Servant!
Outline: The Birth and Preparation of Servant Jesus 1:1 - 13; Servant Jesus Speaks and Serves 1:14 - 13:37; Servant Jesus Suffers and Triumphs in Passion Week 14:1 - 16:20.
In a gospel written from Peter’s words to the fast paced
C. LUKE “Christ our Savior”. (19:10) Luke 19:10 "for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." (NKJV) Worship Christ the Savior!
Outline: The Birth and Preparation of Savior Jesus 1:1 - 4:13; Savior Jesus Speaks and Serves 4:14 - 21:38; Savior Jesus Suffers and Triumphs in Passion Week 22:1 - 24.
In a gospel for the Greeks, we find the perfect man comes to earth. Luke talks as a physician, and describes medically how much Christ was a man -- tired, and touched with the feelings of those about Him. Like Matthew, Luke proclaims the miraculous, virgin conception of Jesus (1:26-38). He alone writes of the glory of God that was manifested at the birth of Jesus (1:9). Luke reinforces Jesus' identity with humanity by using "son of man" twenty-five times, second only to Matthew.
D. JOHN “Christ our God ” (20:31) John 20:31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. (NKJV)
Outline: The Birth and Preparation of Divine Jesus 1:1 - 2:11; Divine Jesus Speaks and Serves 2:12 - 12:50; Divine Jesus Suffers and Triumphs in Passion Week 13:1 - 21.
In a gospel written to the whole world, John presents us with the Divine Jesus. He is the Son of God -- his Divinity -- the Divine nature of God is very clearly seen. We have already seen John's incredible introduction of Jesus as the Word, the Dwelling Presence and the Glory of God. He lists seven self-descriptions of Jesus as "I am" (6:35; 8:12; 9:5; 10-7, 9; 10:11, 14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1-2). John reveals Jesus as God's unique ("only begotten," KJV) Son, and refers to God as His Father more than any other book of the Bible. The Old Testament refers to God as Father only 12 times, John 120 times!
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