Finding Christ in ALL the Gospels

KGD-14    XAS-32


Finding Christ in ALL the Gospels

Finding Christ in ALL the Gospels

These two facts, that we have in the four Gospels a complete personality, but not a complete biography, indicate the spirit and intent in which we should approach them.  What is important is that through these narratives we should come to see and know Him whom they reveal. The twenty-nine formative years are passed over in a silence which is broken but once, and that in but twelve brief verses of Luke’s Gospel.  It may be well to respect the divine reticencies.


But the four Gospels, though designedly incomplete as a story, are divinely perfect as a revelation.  We may not through them know everything that He did, but we may know the Doer.  In four great characters, each of which completes the other three, we have Jesus Christ Himself.


The Evangelists never describe Christ -they set Him forth.


They tell us almost nothing of what they thought about Him, they let Him speak and act for Himself.


This is the essential respect in which these narratives differ from mere biography or portraiture.  “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” The student in whom dwells an ungrieved Spirit finds here the living Christ.


For the Gospels are woven of Old Testament quotation, allusion, and type.  The very first verse of the New Testament drives the thoughtful reader back to the Old; and the risen Christ sent His disciples to the ancient oracles for an explanation of His sufferings and glory (Lk. 24. 27, 44, 45).  One of His last ministries was the opening of their understandings to understand the Old Testament. The Gospels present Christ in His three offices of Prophet, Priest, and King.


Special emphasis rests upon that to which all four Gospels bear a united testimony.  That united testimony is sevenfold:

  • In all alike is revealed the one unique Personality.  The one Jesus is King in Matthew, Servant in Mark, Man in Luke, and God in John.  But not. only so:
  • for Matthew’s King is also Servant, Man, and God;
  • and Mark’s Servant is also King, and Man, and God,
  • Luke’s Man is also King, and Servant, and God;
  • and John Is eternal Son is also King, and Servant, and Man.

The pen is a different pen; the incidents in which He is seen are different incidents; but He is always the same Christ.

  1. All the Evangelists record the ministry of John the Baptist.
  2. All record the feeding of the five thousand.
  3. All record Christ’s offer of Himself as King, according to Micah.
  4. All record the betrayal by Judas; the denial by Peter; the trial, crucifixion and literal resurrection of Christ.  And this record is so made as to testify that the death of Christ was the supreme business which brought Him into the world that all which precedes that death is but preparation for it; and that from it flow all the blessings which God ever has or ever will bestow upon man.

6.   All record the resurrection ministry of Christ; a ministry which reveals Him as unchanged by the tremendous event of His passion, but a ministry keyed to new note of universality, and of power.

  1. All point forward to His second coming.


Why Four Gospels?


It is very important to realize that the Synoptic Gospels were written to the three great national powers of that day.  The laws were the great religious power; the Romans were the great military, governmental power; the Greeks were the great cultural power. It is in interesting to realize that the Gospel offer was made in the book of Acts in the same order in which the first three Gospels are now arranged: First to the Jews, then to the Romans and then to the Greeks.


  • I.             Reflection: To give four different photographs of the Lord Jesus.  Just as a photographer takes different poses of a person, the Holy Spirit takes four different snapshot pictures of Christ, as King, Servant, Man and God.
  • II.          Perfection: To emphasize His life and work by repeating it four times.  The Holy Spirit uses repetition to drive home great cardinal facts about the earthly life of the Lord Jesus.
  • III.       Attraction: To show that there is far more than enough in the Lord Jesus to attract all different types and races of men.  Matthew shows that there is far more than enough in Christ to attract the Jews; Mark shows that there is far more than enough in Him to attract the Romans; Luke shows that there is far more than enough in Him to attract the Greeks; John summarizes by showing that there is far more than enough in Christ to attract people in all the world.
  • IV.         Completion: To show how He fulfilled Old  Testament prophecy which had pictured Christ as King, Servant, Man and God.
  • In this connection it is interesting to remember that our Old Testament Prophecies of Christ as “the Branch” correspond to the four Gospels:
    • Jeremiah 23:5 “Behold, [the] days are coming,” says the LORD, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. (NKJV)
    • Zechariah 3:8:”For,behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch.” This corresponds to Mark.
    • Zechariah 6:12  “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch.” This corresponds to Luke,
    • Jeremiah 23:6 “And this is His name whereby He (the Branch) shall be called: Jehovah our righteousness.” This corresponds to John.
    • It is also interesting to remember that four Old Testament prophecies of Christ which use the word “behold” correspond to the four Gospels:
      • Zechariah 9:9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He [is] just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey. (NKJV)  This corresponds to Matthew.
      • Isaiah 42:1 “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One [in whom] My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. (NKJV). This corresponds to Mark.
      • Zechariah 6:12:”Behold the man, whose name is the Branch.” This corresponds to Luke.
      • Isaiah 40:9:”Say unto the cities of Judah, Behold, your God! This corresponds to John.
      • Date And Place of Writing
        • Matthew: between 50 and 60 AD, from Judea, possibly from Jerusalem.
        • Mark: between 66 and 70 AD from Rome.
        • Luke: between 60 and 70 AD, probably from Caesarea.
        • John: between 90 and 100 AD from Ephesus. (You will notice that John was written between 20 and 30 years after the three Synoptics.
        • It must be remembered that there are differences of opinion among orthodox scholars about the relative dates of the three Synoptics.  Some assign a very early date to Mark, making it the first of all four Gospels to be written.  However, if we accept the above dates as correct, it is rather easy to remember that the four Gospels were written in approximately the same chronological order in which they are now arranged in our English Bibles: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.


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. The Gospels record what Jesus did.  The Gospel of John records what Jesus said.


The Gospels record Christ’s ministry to 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!


Let’s survey the Gospels by noting a key verse for each book!


MATTHEW  “Christ our King”


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.


MARK  “Christ our Servant”


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 Roman Empire, Jesus is constantly in action! Mark, perhaps the first gospel account written, opens with: The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”  God Himself ratifies the declaration in 1:11: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”


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.


One reflection of the Perfect Man Christ our Savior was is found in Luke’s record of nine occasions when Jesus prayed:

(1)       at His baptism (Luke 3:21); A PRAYER FOR CONSECRATION

(2)       after a day of miracles (Luke 5:15-16); A PRAYER FOR STRENGTH

(3)       before choosing His disciples (Luke 6:12); A PRAYER FOR GUIDANCE

(4)       before the first prediction of His death (Luke 9:18); A PRAYER FOR ENCOURAGEMENT

(5)       on the Mount of Transfiguration (Luke 9:29); A PRAYER FOR WORSHIP

(6)       before teaching the disciples to pray (Luke 11:1); A PRAYER FOR WISDOM

(7)       when the seventy returned with their report (Luke 10:21); A PRAYER FOR INSIGHT

(8)       in the garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46); A PRAYER FOR VICTORY

(9)       on the cross (Luke 23:34, 46). A PRAYER FOR OBEDIENCE


  • I.             Jesus prayerfully sought God’s Protection while facing the great crises of His life was found during prayer:
  • His baptism (Lk. 3:21-22)
  • Choosing the twelve (Lk. 6:12-13)
  • Preparing for the cross (Lk. 9:18, 21-22)
  • His transfiguration (Lk. 9:28-36)
  • Jesus prayerfully sought God’s Preparation for the great events – challenges – of His  ministry
    • Feeding the 4,000 (Matt. 15:36)
    • Feeding of the 5,000 (Jn. 6:11)
    • Walking on the water (Matt. 14:23-33)
    • Healing the insane boy (Mk. 9:14-29)
    • Jesus prayerfully sought God’s help in Maintaining a proper focus in success was strengthened by  prayer:
      • After feeding 5,000 (Matt. 14:23)
      • After raising Lazarus (John 11:41)
      • Jesus prayerfully sought God’s Direction for facing the stresses of life was found in prayer:
        • Multitudes (Lk. 5:15-16)
        • Sick folks (Mk. 1:35 [wilderness, v. 33 – whole city at door, so….]
        • Ministry needs (Lk. 4:42)
        • Urgent situations (Jn. 6:15) [human efforts and ambitions vs. God within]
      • Jesus prayerfully sought God’s comfort. His Emotions were sheltered by resorting to prayer:
        • Uncaring friends (Matt. 26:36-46)
        • Discouragement at misguided disciples (Jn. 6:15) (their v. 39 lack faith
        • Unbecoming attitudes and words of friends (Jn. – confident in God)
        • The pain of His calling — the cross (Jn. 12:28)
      • Jesus prayerfully sought God’s  will in  the consummation of His life. It was met in prayer:
        • His last breath on the cross (Lk. 23:46)
      • Jesus prayerfully sought God’s goals. His earthly prayer life may be seen as:
        • Harmony with God’s plan was His passion (Jn. 17:4)
        • Thankfulness was a part of all His life (Lk. 10:21)
        • Perfection was His for He never confessed sin (I Pet. 2:22; Jn. 8:29)
        • God’s glory, not His personal needs, was primary (Jn.
        • Confidence: He always had a confidence in God’s hearing and answering (Jn. 11:42)
        • Submission: Every part of His life demonstrated submission (Lk. 22:
        • Intercession was always on His heart:
          • For His disciples’ growth (Lk. 23:31)
          • For His enemies needing saving grace (Lk. 23:34)
        • In all truly selfless (Jn. 17:11)


Is prayer a priority?  Talking to God.

Is the word a priority?  Doing God’s will.


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!



The perfection of  Christ our God is seen in the seven “I AM’S” in  John’s record of Christ’s life and ministry.


  • 1.   BREAD OF LIFE (6:35) – He sustains us, apart from Him is only unsatisfied hunger.
  • 2.   LIGHT OF WORLD (8:l2) – He illumines us, apart from Him is only impenetrable darkness.
  • 3.   DOOR OF SHEEP (l0:7,9) – He admits us to life, apart from Him is only hopeless exclusion.
  • 4.   GOOD SHEPHERD (l0:ll) – He cares for us, apart from Him is only aimless wandering.
  • 5.   RESURRECTION AND LIFE (ll:25) – He provides us life, apart from Him is only endless dying.
  • 6.   WAY, TRUTH & LIFE (l4:6) – He guides us, apart from Him is only endless lostness.
  • 7.   TRUE VINE (l5:l) – He makes us productive, apart from Him is only continual withering.


There is a final portrait of the divine perfection of Jesus. This is reflected in the seven “Signs”  John records from Christ’s life.  John built his whole Gospel as bridge with seven successive sign posts that  transport you to the ultimate sign of chapter 20 – The resurrection of Christ. John notes the ministry of Christ in light of its impact on the hearts of those who saw these signs.  What were the signs Christ performed to bring those who saw His ministry to belief?


Sign #1 = WATER TO WINE [John 2:1-11] He Is The Lord Of Creation

Sign #2  = HEALING NOBLEMAN’S SON FROM AFAR [John 4:46-54  He is the all powerful LORD of all sickness and disease, as well as Lord of time and space.

Sign #3  = FEEDS 5000 [6:1-14] Note v. 14 The Prophet.  HE IS THE BREAD FROM HEAVEN


Sign #5 = HEALS MAN BORN BLIND [John 9:1-7].  HE IS LORD OF SIGHT v. 16, also Note v. 32

Sign #6   = RAISES LAZARUS  [John 11:1-44].  HE IS LORD OF LIFE

Sign #7  = The Resurrection [John 20]. He is Alive Forevermore!


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!


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