Mary Magdalene

John the Apostle





Three Gospels

The New Testament starts with the three Gospel books of Matthew, Mark and Luke. These three are known as the Synoptic Gospels. Gospel means “Good News”, and Synoptic refers to the fact that all three give an account of the same general events from the same point of view. The fourth book, John, is distinctly different from the three Synoptic Gospels, and includes much information not in the other three Gospels.

The four gospel books differ in what stories they include and how the stories are told. None of the four Gospels are meant to be a complete, detailed life of Jesus. Rather, as John wrote, “Jesus truly did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God; and that by believing you might have life through his name.” “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which, if they should all be written, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.”

Together, the four Gospels comprise the vast majority of the direct information we have about the life and teachings of Jesus.

Gospel of Mark

Virtually the entire book of Mark is found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Only 3% of Mark is exclusive material; 76% of Mark is found in both Matthew and Luke; 18% of Mark is found in Matthew; and, 3% in Luke. This episode does not repeat very much of the material presented in the Eyewitness Luke Series.

Unlike Matthew and Luke, Mark does not address the birth or genealogy of Jesus, and many of the events found in Mark are told in less detail than in the other Gospels. Unlike the author of Matthew, the author of Mark does not quote the Old Testament extensively.

Mark is by far the shortest of the Gospels; many scholars believe it was the first Gospel written and that much of the author’s material came directly from Peter. This episode presumes John Mark is the author of Mark.

This episode gives a summary of the life of Jesus, but it also alludes to something that is almost impossible for a typical reader of the Bible to see. As pointed out in the video, Mark and Luke did not accompany Jesus during his ministry, so their accounts read much more like a collection of stories placed in roughly chronological order. Matthew accompanied Jesus, but he was not trying to write a travelogue. Modern readers can easily get the impression that Jesus wandered around the countryside, delivering random sermons and performing miracles for people he happened to encounter.

Much more likely, Jesus had very specific plans about his travel schedule. Especially at the end of his ministry, it appears he traveled to specific places to get away from Herod Antipas and gain more private time with his apostles without having to provide for their safety. As his end approached, he traveled with clear purpose to Jerusalem, although he did not always go in a direct path.

Mark 7:31-35 is the story of a deaf man being healed, and Mark 8:22-26 is the story of a blind man being healed at Bethsaida. Mark is the only one who records these two miracles. It seems that both of these were done in private, and both required a significant effort from Jesus. The healing of the blind man is the only recorded healing done in two stages. Perhaps the apostles needed to learn that not every healing would be instantaneous.

Primary Scriptures:
Mark 6-10
Story Summary:
Passages selected from the Gospel of Mark
Kingdom of Judea (Israel)
Circa 30 AD