Way before Jesus was conceived by the Virgin Mary, his birth was predicted and his mission was popularized through various prophets including the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 7:14), Micah (Micah 5:2), Hosea (Hosea 11:1) and the psalmist, David (Psalms 72: 10-11). From these came an organized belief of what to expect in the course of his ministry geared towards bringing salvation and spreading the good news of salvation onto the world. At the onset of the calling of the first disciples (Matthew 4: 18-22), the life of Christ has been monitored and recorded. This was done for believers to learn from the experiences, the need to foster accountability and become the life force of Christianity.
The four gospels’ main themes are called thus because they document the life of Jesus Christ from the birth, ministry, death and the resurrection of the saviour. From this stemmed the gospel – good news. These gospels are the books of St. Matthew, St. Mark, Luke, and John. Amongst them are the records of Jesus as the son of God in the human form alongside fulfilling the wordings of an ancient prophecy. Although these gospels share a plethora of similarities comprising prophetic accounts, sameness in characters, miracles and biblical teachings, they unarguably share different but intertwined prime themes. These themes are scattered around the different books and indicate the basis of their relevance in today’s Christendom.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW
The author of this account is the Apostle Matthew who was identified as one of the twelve disciples. From his reports in the book, one could identify the teachings of Jesus as he proved the reason for his ministry on earth. It consistently archives Christ narrating his mission to the people, which is as a saviour and not a reformist or a revolutionist of the world. Mt. 5:17 recounts, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them”. From this narrative, Matthew attempts to set the record straight as regards the messiah’s mission on earth.
The gospel according to St. Matthew explained Jesus’ mission on earth by detailing his teachings to serve as the symbolism of the things he stood for while on earth (Mt. 4: 12-25). The Matthean ideology was that Jesus possessed authority over the law and in the process of forwarding his mission; he denounced the Pharisee’s doctrines as it pertains to adultery, the kingdom of God, persecution, and faith. It was also in the gospel by Matthew that the mission of the twelve was documented (Mt. 10: 1-42). This kick-started one of the first missionary journeys in Christendom.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MARK
This is the shortest book of the gospels, yet it is the book, which documents more of Jesus Christ’s work than the other gospels. This gospel has its major concerns on the role of Jesus as the son of god alongside being a servant to the people. Hence, it can be opined that when the other gospels centred on the messiah’s sermon and his teachings, the gospel according to St. Mark, made a point of focus, on the actions of Jesus Christ.
Mark includes the miracles of Jesus Christ as he explains in detail, the process from which the miracles are performed. This has been divided into two parts; Miracles of healing and Nature miracles. Some of these are Calming of the storm (Mark 4: 35-41), walking on the sea (Mark 6: 45-52), feeding the five thousand (Mark 6: 30-44), healing a man with an evil spirit (Mark 1: 21-28), the Gerasene demoniac (Mark 5: 1-20) and the Syro-Phoenician’s daughter (Mark 7: 24-30).
The Gospel According To St. Luke
While Mark might be the shortest book of the gospels, Luke has proven to be the longest book of the synoptic gospels. Primarily, this book was inscribed to serve as a pillar of faith for the believers and to unmask the lies about Jesus Christ. It is a thorough narrative of the stages of Jesus’ life, systematically provided in a sequential fashion. This book was meant to serve as a map of the life of the saviour while he was on his mission. Therefore, it aimed to provide a framework through which individuals can learn about Jesus Christ’s life (Lk 1:1-4)
Luke gave a detailed story of the life and ministry of the Son of God by including every possible event that could reveal who Jesus truly was while in the course of his ministry. From this account, believers could navigate through the lies during that time which included the accusation of the circumstances of his messiahship by Pontius Pilate and the truth of his resurrection.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. JOHN
John can be said to inculcate the traits of a story directed at conversion. It was written for the sake of telling the believers the reason for Jesus Christ’s mission (John 3:16) and displaying the messiah as the key to everlasting life (John 20: 30-31). It showed Jesus as the bread of life, the light of the world and the saviour of humankind. He did this by starting from the “…beginning” (John 1:1)
St. John traces the beginning of Christ, through the phase of his crucifixion, to the joys of his resurrection. All these writings were so that believers would know the journey of the man they followed and why he did what he came to do. From this narration, he aimed to spread the word of Jesus’ mission, hence facilitating conversion.
From the four Gospel main themes, it’s clear that the synoptic gospels serve as an insignia of Jesus Christ’s missionary sojourn on earth and the impacts he left on his followers, which made them feel inclined to tell his story to the world. However, the styles of telling may differ, the message is unarguably non-contradictory across the gospels.