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Advent and John

John’s gospel is unique from the others.  Matthew, Mark and Luke are referred to as the synoptic gospels because they are similar to each other.  They contain many of the same stories with different details.  We have looked at their differences—Mark—written first basically to a Roman audience, Matthew—written to a Jewish audience, Luke—written for the Greek mind by a highly educated Greek believer. Lastly, we come to the gospel of John.  John focuses on Jesus as the Son of God.  He is writing to both Jews and Greeks.               John is my favorite gospel writer.  His gospel contains seven miracles (not necessarily in chronological order but miracles that demonstrate that Jesus was the Son of God) and half of his gospel’s content covers Jesus’ death and resurrection.  John highlights Maundy Thursday through Sunday and shares a few relevant stories after His resurrection.  I love John most because of the way he refers to himself and others in his writings—which include…

Advent and Luke

Matthew and Luke are the two gospels that contain the most information about the birth of Christ and all the information about His early childhood.  As you read the Gospels, you might think you are reading about two different births.  Only the names of the parents and child are the same.  Even the genealogies they each provide have different names and families.  You have to ask why?             The reason is found in the first four verses of Luke.  This is where you discover the biography of the author.  It is written by Luke—to find out more information about him, you need to turn to Acts (his other New Testament Book) where he introduces himself during the second missionary journey of Paul.  In Luke 1:1-4, Luke tells us that he wrote the account of the life of Christ for a man called Theophilus.  He wrote it as a research paper so that he could know there was fact behind the things he had been taught.  Luke took the time to write this gospel by the word of the eyewitnesse…

Advent and Matthew

Matthew is one of the twelve disciples who had one of those dramatic stories of following Jesus.  The fact that Jesus called a man like Matthew sent shock waves through the religious community.  It also opened the door for others like Matthew to have the opportunity to follow Jesus.                 Matthew would have seemed a lost cause to the religious Jews of his time.  He was worse than a pagan because he was born a Jew and chose to reject his rich heritage and join the hated Romans by collecting taxes for them, from his own people.  The dramatic conversion details are mentioned in three of the gospels and in his own words in Matthew 9:9-13 which highlights the importance of his conversion story.  When fisherman left their nets to follow Jesus, they could return to their professions.  When Matthew left his tax booth, there was no going back.  I wonder who took his open cash box that day.  Perhaps it was one of the disillusioned people he invited to his house for di…

Advent and the Gospels

The birth of Christ receives far less detail than the ministry and death of Christ in the Gospel narratives recording His life.  Yet every year people around the world focus on His birth.  Some of these people don’t have any idea who the Christ of Christmas really is.  The four Gospel writers each share a unique narrative about His birth.  They don’t contradict each other; they simply highlight different peculiarities around His birth.  For the next four weeks, we will explore each Gospel narrative as we prepare our hearts to celebrate the birth of Christ on Christmas Day.               Rather than start with Matthew, let’s begin with the Gospel of Mark.  Mark’s gospel doesn’t even mention His birth.  Mark’s gospel was the earliest written description of the incredible life of Christ.  He wrote his gospel around AD 62.  Before his written version, Christians’ shared the stories of Jesus orally from their first-hand encounters.  Mark’s gospel reveals Christ as the servan…