The Gospels: A brief background

The Gospels

Matthew: was probably writing for fellow Jews.

Looks at the relationship of Jesus to the Jewish faith, against the background of the Old Testament

Date is probably AD 65 -85. The author is not named, but it is attributed to Matthew the apostle and tax-collector

The author drew on Mark’s gospel as a source, with input from others ‘gospels’.

Jesus portrayed very much as a teacher.

Collects sayings of Jesus

Teaching for inner life of church and Jesus’ evangelistic mission

Mark: emphasizes action rather than teaching. Things Jesus did and where he went

Jesus as crucified Saviour

rather than military messiah

Shortest of Gospels

AD 50-65. Attributed to ‘John Mark’, who we hear about in Acts 12:12, Colossians 4, 1 Peter 5:13

Aimed at Gentiles

Roughly in order it happened

Luke: fullest life-story of Jesus

First of two parts (2nd is Acts)

Jesus as Saviour of all men

Jesus as healer, witness to poor and needy

Carefully researched. Uses Mark. AD60 -80

Author is probably not Jewish, is probably a doctor. Possibly Luke, travelling companion of Paul (Acts 16:10, 20:5, 27:1) and knew Mark (Colossians 4:10, 14, Philemon 24)

John: theological gospel

Jesus as one sent by God the father into world to be it’s saviour. Aim is to bring reader to faith. Seems to assume readers already know facts of Jesus’ life.

About AD 90. Possibly John, son of Zebedee, brother of James.

Events in the life of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels

Matthew Mark Luke John
Birth 1:18-25 2:1-7

Visit of the Wise Men

Flight into Egypt 2:13-21
Teaching in the Temple 2:41-51

Jesus’ baptism

3:13-17 1:9-11 3:21-22
Changing water into wine 2:1-11
Temptation in the Wilderness 4:1-11 1:12-13 4:1-13
Jesus’ ministry
Start of the Galilean ministry 4:12-17 1:14-15 4:14-15
Summoning the first disciples 4:18-22 1:16-20 5:1-11 1:35-51
Sermon on the Mount 5:1-7:29 6:20-49
Naming the Apostles 10:1-42 3:13-19; 6:7-19 9:1-6
Feeding 5,000 14:13-21 6:32-44 9:10-17 6:1-14
Walking in Water 14:22-33 6:45-52 6:16-21
Peter declares Jesus to be the Christ 16:16 8:29 9:20
Transfiguration of Jesus 17:1-13 9:2-8 9:28-36

Raising of Lazarus

Final Days
Entry into Jerusalem 21:1-11 11:1-10 19:28-44 12:12-19

Cleansing of the Temple

21:12-13 11:15-17 19:45-46 2:13-17
Judas betrays Jesus 26:14-16 14:10-11 22:3-6

Preparations for Passover

26:17-19 14:12-16 22:7-13
Last Supper 26:20-29 14:17-25 22:14-18 13:1-30
Arrest 26:47-56 14:43-52 22:47-53 18:2-12
Trial 26:57-27:26 14:53-15:15 22:54-23:25 18:13-19:16

Crucifixion and death

27:33-54 15:22-39 23:33-47 19:17-37
Burial 27:57-61 15:42-47 23:50-56 19:38-42


28:1-10 16:1-8 24: 1-11 20:1-18
Appearances to disciples 28:16-20 16:12-18 24:13-49 20:19-21:23


-16:19:00 24:50-51

About iggandfriends

Taking time out to ponder life and everything else. This is the space where I press the pause button on my busy life to reconnect with God, to re-energize, and focus on my creativity. Time out to blow bubbles, walk on the beach, write some stuff, do some needlework, and generally enjoy life once again. You can view my main blog at I also have another blog at www,, and a arty/crafty one at I hope you enjoy visiting :)
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