Portraits of Jesus in the Gospels
Each of the writers of the gospels of the New Testament narrates of the story of one man, Jesus Christ but each writer uses different literary elements to express themselves in a very personal way. The four gospels each portray Jesus Christ in a unique way particularly pertaining to his life, death and resurrection. The portraits serve to providing a central undemanding of Jesus as the four accounts posses great depth, breath as well as the height as compared to a single narrative.
Gospels were written in a backwards manner with earlier parts of the gospel added in bits as the church continue to reflect on the mysteries that surrounded the earthly years of Jesus Christ. The four evangelists Mathew, Luke, john and mark give four different portraits of Jesus Christ and this is attributed to the styling and compilation of the material they used to write the gospels. These portraits are intriguing as well as perplexing as it uses wording to describe same person in a diverse ways. The gospel writers faced challenges in writing the gospels as they had to consider their target audience prompting them to use woes from Jesus life that were most relevant to them especially considering the fact that hailed from different backgrounds, ethnic origins as well as diverse cultures. Gospel according to Mark In gospel Mark portrays the accounts of the life of Jesus in clearly ensuring that everything in it is not identified by name.
The gospel was written in Rome for both the gentiles and the church and it acts as the story teller that presents the personality of Jesus Christ through his miracles and actions. The gospel of Mark lays an emphasis on the human suffering that Jesus Christ underwent in his passion as well as in his death. Mark focuses on the death of Jesus and mark aimed at encouraging Christians of the time who faced persecutions at the time to appreciate the suffering that was essential part of any Christia life just as Jesus did. Mark paints Jesus as crucified son of a man who was misunderstood, rejected, abandoned and killed. The gospel also gives a picture of Jesus undergoing immense suffering for example when soldier want to arrest him while in the garden he draws himself down and begs to be spared from the impending suffering. Mark, therefore pictures Jesus to be a person who needs human support and this is evident when he describes himself as being sorrowful to his point of death (Mark 14:35) and even when his death arrives he is still sorrowful when he says “My God, my God, why have you deserted me?” (Mk 15:34).
In addition, to that mark also pictures Jesus to be a prophetic teacher as well as a lawgiver just as Moses was a miracle worker or even the way Elijah was a kingdom builder in the Old Testament. He presents Jesus as an opposite of the expected messiah as he is presented as a king who is crowned with thorns, beaten, mocked and throned in cross humiliation (Garland, 45). He is presented as a suffering servant for God and this portrays him as genuine disciple ready to lose his life for all and the ability to the gospel to portray Jesus as human being is evident when he is moved by pity when approached by leper and when he is angered by the questioning by the Pharisees. Generally, the gospel of Mark portrays the human nature of Jesus Christ someone who has earthly characteristics and approachable. The gospel is the shortest of all gospels but offers the most intimate portrait of Jesus.
Gospel according to Mathew The purpose according to Mathew was written in Syria aimed for the Jews which formed largest part of his congregation. Most of the Mathews gospel lays a focus on integrating Jewish traditions and Christianity as well as the way gentiles and the Jews related to the church. Mathew portrays Jesus as master, compassionate healer and a teacher who is guidinng us in every step of Christian discipleship. Considering that Mathew was a Jew, he explores scriptures for any messianic signs that paint Jesus the new Moses, as the son of David, a messiah easily recognized by the Jews. Mathew presents Jesus as lawgiver and as the fulfillment of prophecies in the Old Testament.
Mathew also uses Jesus quotations painting him as a teacher though exploration of Jesus teachings. In general, Mathew presents Jesus as the messiah but not as a king who rules over but as a humble messiah who experiences suffering and gives kingdom to those that summits freely to the will of God. Gospel according to Luke Luke was a gentile who wrote the gospel to help in explaining the Jewish traditions thus basically addresses the gentile audience. The gospel lays an emphasis on Jesus as a compassionate savior who has mercy especially for eh port, women, sinners and the afflicted in the society. Luke presents Jesus as friend to those who are suffering, the outcast and the sinners thus stressing on the universal nature of elevation.
Jesus is portrayed as person who accepts people that are not expected to receive God’s favor. The Jesus of Luke is a person who is very merciful, sympathetic and human. Gospel according to John In this gospel John paints Jesus as a divine son of God and lays an emphasis on relationship that exists between each person has with the lord who is considered as the lord’s self-revelation. The gospel is written for the johannine community that originated from sects of Palestine and Judaism. The writer identifies Jesus as God who is in total charge of all situations he finds himself in and is summarized in the following verse “I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own.
I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again (John 10:17b-18a)