The rise of secular thought in recent centuries has raised much debate on the historicity and accuracy of the canonical gospels in the Bible’s New Testament. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke for instance contain notable similarities in general content, words used, and chronology, but the authors of such Biblical literature present and contain varying themes and emphases respectively.
In any event, the Gospel tradition gives an idea of the authors’ intentions in writing the gospel as well as a visualization of the early years of one of the largest religious sects in the world today. The gospel of Mark is the second of the canonical gospels portrays Jesus as a man of action, with integrations of heroism, referring to Jesus as the Christ or the Son of Man (Achtemeier, Green & Thompson, 2001). Mark’s gospel contains similarities with both the Gospels of Matthew and Luke in overall content; however certain verses remain distinct to Mark only.
Particularly, verse 51-52 of the 14th chapter, Mark exclusively entails a mysterious young individual who unyieldingly followed Jesus during the night of His arrest, however, when the temple guards moved to arrest the young man; all they caught was the linen cloth the person was wearing (Marshall, 2001). The mysterious young individual found in Mark 14:51-52 appears to be an angelic entity ensuring Christ’s fulfilment of the prophecy.
Primarily, the mysterious young man appeared the night of Christ’s arrest; around a time when the prophecy’s fulfilment was at hand, and Jesus previously prayed for the possibility of not going through his suffering and death. As such it is plausible to think that God sent this young man/ angelic entity as an answer to Christ’s prayer. Ben Witherington (2001, 26), on the other hand, argues that the young man wearing nothing but linen cloth was the author of the gospel himself.
And that the presence of such an individual is Mark’s own way of expressing that despite his discipleship, he also left Jesus at a time of crisis, like the rest of His followers. The Gospel of Luke meanwhile appears to emphasize on the role of women in the gospel tradition. In chapter 1-41-42, Luke shares the experiences of pregnancy when “Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb (Marshall, 2001)!
” Luke also gives significant chapters focusing on Mary, the Mother of Jesus, prior to Jesus’ birth, as well as Elizabeth, the Mother of John the Baptist who miraculously gave birth to a child at an old age (Marshall, 2001). Furthermore, the Gospel of Luke is also the only gospel that entails the existence of a female prophet who goes by the name of Anna, written as the daughter of Phan’u-el (Marshall, 2001). From the initial chapters of Luke’s Gospel, it is quite blatant that the author appears to depart from the patriarchal traditions of the early centuries.
As previously mentioned, Luke particularly focuses on women; the Gospel of Luke appears to give importance to the oppression of minority groups such as women. In light of the two accounts of the birth of Jesus, Matthew and Luke seem to tell two different stories of people born. Both the details of the two gospels present totally different series of events from the prediction to the actual birth itself, Matthew for instance imparts visitation from the Magi hailing from the eastern regions (Brown, 1988), while Luke’s account tells of the shepherds who paid homage to the newly-born Messiah (Marshall, 2001).
In terms of Christ’s boyhood, Matthew presented Jesus as a threat to Herod the Great’s Kingship as the latter was prompted to send forth his soldiers to kill all new born babies up to the age of two to ensure maintenance of his power (Marshall, 2001). Luke meanwhile, gives accounts of Jesus’ boyhood as the evangelist entails a story of the holy family’s trip to the temple and how the young Jesus was lost within the confines of the sacred place (Marshall, 2001).
Jesus public ministry on the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke all entail an instance where Jesus is rebuked in his hometown of Nazareth, however, Matthew and Mark mentions Jesus’ family and emphasizes a prophet’s rejection in his own place of origin, Matthew 15:54-58 and Mark 6:1-6 both entrench the family of Jesus mentioning the names of His brothers and imparting the notion that he has sisters at the rebuttal of the Jewish authorities present at the time (Marshall, 2001).
Luke meanwhile also gives accounts of Christ’s preaching in Nazareth, however, it is notable in Luke that Christ had an ethical implication when he read the Book of the prophet Isaiah in chapter 4:16-20. Jesus seemed to focus on his Messianic mission and the ethics of His earthly existence on the verses focus on Christ’s compassion toward the burdened people: the blind, the poor, and the oppressed (Marshall, 2001). The Sermon on the Mount is one of the most notable and relevant teachings of in Christian faith.
Although both accounts summarize the diverse sayings of Christ, the intent of both Sermons differ; the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew connotes that the Sermon is directed toward the disciples (Marshall, 2001), Luke’s Sermon on the Mount on the other hand seems to be directed to people in general as the sermon comprised of different lessons in life including the Golden Rule (Marshall, 2001).
Achtemeier, P. J. , Green, J. B. & Thompson, M. M. (2001). Introducing the New Testament: Its Literature and Theology. Michigan: William B. Eerdman’s Publishing Company. Brown, R. E. (1988). An Adult Christ at Christmas: Essays on the Three Biblical Christmas Stories. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press. Marshall, W. (2008, September 24). University of Toronto: Department for the Study of Religion. The Three Synoptics. . Retrieved, September 27, 2008, from http://www. utoronto. ca/religion/synopsis/meta-syn. htm Witherington, B. (2001). The Gospel of Mark: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdman’s Publishing. .