Father Alfred McBride, O.Praem., named one of the most influential religious educators of the 20th century by the Talbot School of Theology, explains that each Gospel has a unique emphasis. A truly faithful picture of Jesus must be gleaned from studying all four Gospels.
• Matthew, the tax collector, was a shrewd observer of human nature. His Gospel focuses on Jesus the Teacher. In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ teaches his disciples about the Kingdom of God. Matthew also describes how Christ founded Church life, beginning with his institution of Peter as the rock on which the Church would be built.
• Mark's Gospel is the shortest, but is perhaps the richest in detail. Mark was a talented storyteller who gives us the picture of a resolute Jesus, who is determined to let people know the Good News. Mark shows that a true relationship with Jesus is deeper than that between a student and a teacher. Our calling, as Christians, is to become disciples of Jesus, who is our master––a master who sets us free in love.
• Luke's Gospel reflects his friendly, humane, and trustworthy character. Without diminishing Christ's divinity, Luke shows us how to be intimate with the Son of God by helping us feel at home with the human Jesus.
• John, the "apostle whom Jesus loved," enthusiastically gives us Jesus radiant with the light of his Resurrection. In John's Gospel, Jesus provides his self-description as light, life, way, truth, shepherd, and living bread. John expresses Jesus' remarkable ability to touch, not just to those in Capernaum, Galilee, and Jerusalem, but all of us in our present circumstances.
Together, these four books give us a personal picture of Jesus as encountered by his friends. We do not have to fly to the heavens or roam the farthest reaches of the seas to find Jesus of Nazareth. According to “The Christ: A Faithful Picture from the Gospels,” he is as near to us as our own heartbeat.
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