Why are there Four Gospel Records?

Wouldn’t one gospel have been simpler? Or would having a dozen be more complete? The Holy Spirit chose four accounts for a specific purpose. They present a four-fold picture of our Lord’s earthly life and ministry for unveiling the fourfold prophetic portrait of the most wonderful life ever spent on earth.

A.    The four gospels are not a complete biography. John 21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

B.     The Four Gospels are Four inspired prophetic portraits written according to God’s distinct design.

·         Matthew presents Jesus as The Royal Ruler – King of Israel

·         Mark presents Jesus as the Suffering Servant of Jehovah God

·         Luke presents Jesus as the Magnificent Man – the Perfect “Son of Man

·         John presents Jesus as the Demonstrated DeityThe eternal God

C. The Four-Fold Prophetic Presentations of Christ from Zechariah:

1. Four “BEHOLD” Prophecies of Christ in Zechariah:

a. “BEHOLD… THY KING” - Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion ; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem : behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

b. “BEHOLD …MY SERVANT” - Zechariah 3:8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.

c. “BEHOLD… THE MAN” - Zechariah 6:12-13 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: 13 Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.

d. “BEHOLD…YOUR GOD” – Prophetic word of; Isaiah 40:9 O Zion , that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem , that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah , Behold your God!

2. Four Prophetic “BRANCH” Prophecies: (Branches always bear life and fruit.)

a. “A Righteous BRANCH… a KING” - Jeremiah 23:5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.

b. “My Servant THE BRANCH” - Zech 3:8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.

c. “The MAN whose name is THE BRANCH” - Zechariah 6:12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD:

d. THE BRANCH of the LORD - Isaiah 4:2 In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel .

3. The Four Gospel depict the “FOUR FACES” of Christ as God (See also Eze 10:14, Rev 4:7).

A. Ezekiel 1:10 As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.

Face of a Lion - King

Face of an Ox - Servant

Face of a Man - Branch

Face of a Eagle – God Himself

Seen in Matthew

Seen in Mark

Seen in Luke

Seen in John

B. The Cherubim are the closest creatures to the Throne of God in the Third heaven and most accurately portray or reflect the likeness of the Divine nature embodied in Jesus Christ.

Exo 26:31-32 (For the Temple ) make A VAIL of blue (Heavenly), and purple (Royal), and scarlet (Sin Bearer), and fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubims shall it be made: 32 And thou shalt hang it upon FOUR PILLARS of shittim wood overlaid with gold: their hooks shall be of gold, upon the four sockets of silver.

C. A “Veil” pictures “His flesh” body broken for us. (Matt 27:51, temple veil was torn at His death.)

                  Hebrews 10:19b-20 … enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through THE VEIL, THAT IS TO SAY, HIS FLESH;  

(Similarly, wood = Humanity;            gold = Divinity,           silver = Redemption.)

D. Although each writer presents the Lord Jesus in four differing ways, the specific focus of each is too obvious to overlook, or to be accidental. Notice these few illustrations:

1. THE GENEALOGIES of Jesus of Nazareth :

> MATTHEW: Establishes Jesus’ Royal Rights to the Throne of David.

Matthew 1:1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

a.       Matthew traces Jesus’ lineage back to David and then Abraham (David = the Royal Throne,

            Abraham = The Nation & Land)

b.      Notice the order of emphasize is David the King(v6), listed first in 1:1.

c.       His Royal Genealogy is recorded (1:2-7)

-          Only goes back to Abraham (Luke goes back to Adam – presenting Jesus “the MAN”)

-          Through the Royal Tribe of Judah, not Rueben (v2), and the kingly line of Solomon (v6)

-          Note women were included (v 3, 5, 6) to remind Israel of HER need for her Redeemer/King and the goal of His Kingdom.

d.      His Royal Genealogy traces to Joseph (Mary’s husband) as a “Son of David.”

-          Joseph is Jesus’ legal “father of record” through whom Christ can acquire the right of the             title “son of David.” Jesus is Jesus’ step-father.

Jesus’ Virgin birth is protected and proclaimed in Matt 1:16; He was “born of Mary,” but NOT “begat” of Joseph. “Begat” would mean “conceived of”; Jesus was “conceived…of the Holy Spirit” (Matt 1:20).

e.       Matthew places the Genealogy at the very beginning because of its importance in establishing Jesus’ Royal Right to the Throne. His purpose is to demonstrate that the covenants God made with David and Abraham are vested in Jesus Christ.

Ø      LUKE establishes Jesus’ Full Natural Human Lineage to Adam

a.       Traces Jesus’ genealogy back to Adam - the first man (Luke 3:38)

b.      Jesus’ human lineage traces through Nathan (3:31), not Solomon’s royal Davidic line (See Jer. 22:24, 30; Gen 3:15). Psa 132:11 still stands.

c.       This is “Mary’s genealogy” (Luke 2:23, See 1:30-35, Gen 3:15)

See Numbers 2:33; 27:1-11; 36:2-11 re “the daughters of Zelophehad.” The inheritance goes through the daughters IF no son is available… then the Son-in-law is adopted by the father of the bride.

d.      Luke places his genealogy after Jesus’ baptism at the beginning of His ministry (3:23). Luke is first to offer an account of Jesus’ human birth, growth to manhood, etc.

e.       Luke wants to show Jesus of Nazareth overflowing to all mankind – the larger ultimate purpose in Israel ’s Kingdom

Ø      Mark: Has No Genealogy - not an issue for a “servant”

Ø      John: Has No Genealogy – traces back to “from everlasting” (John 8:58). John 1:1 is the beginning without a beginning; “In the beginning was the Word…”  This goes back before the Genesis 1:1 creation of “the heaven and the earth.”

2. JESUS’ CONCEPTION (Matt 1:20 “…conceived of the Holy Ghost”)

> Matthew focuses upon the line including Joseph, having Jesus as “the son of David.”

> Mark omits an account.

> Luke focuses on Mary – and Jesus as “the Seed of the woman.”

> John omits an account but declares Jesus as “the Word made flesh.”


> Matthew focused on Herod, Jerusalem , the “King of the Jews.” the star, the Wise Men, their gifts, etc.

> Luke focuses on the Roman Caesar, “all the world,” “all the people,” and the Savior.

4. The Ministry Of John The Baptist

> Matt. 3:1-7 - Identifies John the Baptist simply as “the voice”

> Mark 1:4-8 - In contrast to Matt & Luke notice v8 omits the “fire” baptism – judgment is not in the hands of the “servant” as Jesus is seen in Mark.

> Luke 3:1-6 - John the Baptist is identified as preaching “remission of sins”- as a personal need. Note in v6 as quote from Isa 40 so as to include “all flesh.”

> John 1:15-34 - John the Baptist identifies the Messiah to Israel as Him who “was before me.”


> Matt 4 follows the Dispensational Order: Bread ~ Display ~ Kingdoms

> Mark omits the details except mentioning “wild beast” and “His Victory” (1:12-13).

> Luke follows the human order of temptation - 1John 2:16 “lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, pride of life” (see Gen 3:6 for Eves temptation)

> John has no temptation record for reason of James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

6. Opening of Christ’s Ministry

> Matt - focuses on the King and His credentials (4:17, 23). First sign (miracle) see Jesus healing a leper with a “touch,” which would have defiled another (8:1-4).

> Mark begins with a whirlwind of activity (see one act after another listed here in1:12, 21, 28, 31, 34, 39, 42, etc. All this work demonstrates Jesus as the “OX” – the “servant” of God. Jesus’ first recorded miracles are manifestations of His power (1:21-31).

> Luke uses the opportunity to remind his readers that the Gentiles (ALL believing humans) were to ultimately have a place in Israel ’s Kingdom too. Jesus is the real Elijah (Elias) And Elijah (Eliseus)… Luke 4:25-27 But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; 26 But unto none of them was Elias sent, save (except) unto Sarepta (“Zarephath”), a city of Sidon (a heathen non-Jewish village), unto a woman that was a widow. 27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.

> John records Jesus’ first miracle (Gk. simeon, a sign) at Cana , manifesting of His glorious power (2:11).

7. Style of the Gospel Writers

> Matthew was a government official, a tax collector (9:9) who was interested in official detailed things, including Jesus of Nazareth’s royal genealogy..

> Mark was servant to an apostle (2Tim 4:11) interested in action and performance (note “helping hands”) only recorded by Mark in 1:31, 41; 5:41; 9:27, 36; 10:16, 21). Mark 10:44 (KJV)  And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.

> Luke is the “beloved physician” ( Col 4:14) interested in human touches (1:35; 2:7, 18, etc)

> John, the Apostle nearest to Christ, knew Him best declaring God is glorified in the Son (13:32).

8. Their Closing Order

> Matt 28 – The Resurrection of Christ

> Mark 16 – The Ascension of Christ

> Luke 24 – The Coming Holy Spirit

> John 21 – The Second Coming of Christ to Earth

9. The Gospel Commissions – All Concerns The Promised King & Kingdom for Israel On Earth

> Matt 28 - The King with them reigning over the nations

> Mark 16 – The Servant working with them still

> Luke 24 – Their dependence upon the enduement with the Holy Spirit

> John 20 – Their God-given authority to forgive sins