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.
What would you do if you had only twenty-four hours left to live? Spend it with your family, go skydiving, ask forgiveness of any you have offended, go to work? Jesus chose to eat Passover dinner with his twelve closest friends. The first few of his last hours consisted of eating the ritualistic Passover feast and giving his final instructions and farewell message.
According to John, the evening started with Jesus ritualistically washing the feet of his apostles, a task normally reserved for household slaves or servants. This act signified that the apostles were to be servants as they acted as the messengers of the Gospel.
Following this act of humility, Jesus prophesied several things, including: Judas would betray him, Peter would deny him three times, Jesus would go to be with the Father, and Jesus would send back the Holy Spirit.
John 14-17 comprise some of the most detailed and mysterious of all of Jesus’ teachings. Even though the apostles had gone through three years of intense training, these teachings stretched them to the maximum. Starting in John 14:9, Jesus talks about “being in,” “remaining in,” or “abiding in,” as per John 14:9, “I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” That terminology permeates much of the teaching. In fact, Jesus said in John 15:6, “He that abides in me, and I in him, will bear much fruit. Without me, he can do nothing.”
There are few times when Jesus expressly commands something, but he does so in this farewell talk. In John 15:12, Jesus commands the apostles to love one another, just as he has loved them. He follows that up by telling them that they are his friends if they do whatever he commands them to do.
In John 16, Jesus gives the apostles fair warning and encouraging words about what will happen to them after he is gone. He ends that section with a very encouraging statement: “I have overcome the world.” Note that he did not say he “would” overcome the world, but that he already had.
John 17 is a long prayer for his followers. John 17:3-4 are two of the most informative verses in the Bible. They provide a definition for eternal life, and they provide a good summation statement of Jesus’ work and purpose on earth.
Luke – Troy Powell
John Mark – Wilbur Penn
Paul – Brian Shoop
Matthew – James Hansen Prince
Peter – Francis Fuselier
John the Apostle – John Ferguson
Lazarus – Ricco Fajardo
Philip the Apostle – Jordan Dragonking
Joseph of Arimathea – Gerardo Davila
Mary Magdalene – Trisha Zarate
Thomas – Brandon Potter
Most Thankful Angel – Carleen Huber