Summary: This series takes a look at the life and ministry of Christ through the eyes of the gospel writers. The introductory sermon outlines some important facts about the gospels.
TITLE: WHY STUDY THE MINISTRY OF JESUS CHRIST?
SERIES: THE INCOMPARABLE MINISTRY OF JESUS THE MESSIAH
TEXT: JOHN 21:24-25
THEME: INTRODUCTION TO THE FOUR GOSPELS
24 This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.
25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.
INTRODUCTION: FACTS ABOUT THE GOSPELS
Quote: The Bible is a universe of revelation facts which have no meaning for us until we are born from above; when we are born again we see in it what we never saw before. We are lifted into the realm where Jesus lives and we begin to see what he sees. (Oswald Chambers (1874-1917). Edythe Draper, Draper’s Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992). Entry 709.)
1. The word “gospel” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “godspell,” meaning “a story about God,” or “a good story.”
2. The Gr. work translated “gospel” is euangellion, meaning “good news,” and is the origin of our English word “evangelism.”
3. Jesus’ public ministry lasted over 3 years, but most of the gospel accounts focus upon the last week of His life.
4. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the Synoptic Gospels – “to see together” or “to share a common point of view.”
a. The Synoptic Gospels contain numerous parables; John records none.
b. John records only 2 common events with the Synoptic Gospels prior to the Passion Week.
1) Jesus walking on water.
2) Feeding 5,000.
Mt, Mk, and Lk - Jesus is the God-MAN
John - Jesus is the GOD-man
Mt, Mk, and Lk - Generally a historical perspective
John - Generally a theological perspective
Mt, Mk, and Lk - Focuses on Jesus’ ministry in Galilee
John - Focuses on Jesus’ ministry in Judea
Mt, Mk, and Lk - Emphasizes public teaching of Jesus
John - Emphasizes private teaching of Jesus
Mt, Mk, and Lk - Matthew is 42% unique (42% of its contents not found in other gospels), Mark is 7% unique, and Luke is 59% unique
John - John is 92% unique
5. The Synoptic Problem
Illustration: The Infallible Bible-Barometer
In September, 1938, a man who lived on Long Island was able one day to satisfy a lifelong ambition by purchasing for himself a very fine barometer. When the instrument arrived at his home, he was extremely disappointed to find that the indicating needle appeared to be stuck, pointing to the sector marked "Hurricane."
After shaking the barometer very vigorously several times, its new owner sat down and wrote a scorching letter to the store from which he had purchased the instrument, and on the following morning, on his way to his office in New York, he mailed the letter. That evening he returned to Long Island, to find not only the barometer missing, but his house also. The barometer’s needle had been right. There was a hurricane!
What the Bible points out is always true. People may think there is something wrong with what the Bible says, and they may write scorching letters to the faithful preachers of God’s Word. Still, the indications and predictions of the Bible will come to pass. Many of those who are angered by the truth will one day discover their grievous error. The storm of God’s final Judgment will strike, and all that they have will be swept into eternal destruction! --Duane V. Maxey
The Synoptic Problem - An examination of Matthew, Mark, and Luke reveals both striking similarities and significant differences as each records the events of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. The question of how to explain those similarities and differences is known as the “Synoptic Problem.”
a. The modern solution has been to assume that some form of literary dependence exists between the synoptic gospels. The most commonly accepted theory to explain such an alleged literary dependence is known as the “Two-Source” theory, resulting in the “Q” Hypothesis.
1) The “Q” Hypothesis – Because the Synoptic Gospels are so similar in content, some scholars hypothesize the “Q” document as their source.
2) “Q” comes from the German word quelle meaning “source.”
3) Some see Mark as the first gospel written, and the source of Matthew and Luke.
4) They imagine the non-existent “Q” document as the source of the material in Matthew and Luke that does not appear in Mark.
b. The weight of evidence, however, does not support the proposed “Two-Source” theory.
1) The nearly unanimous testimony of the church until the nineteenth century is that Matthew was the first gospel written.
2) Why would Matthew depend upon Mark (who was not an eyewitness) for the account of his own conversion?