Meaning: good news (evangelion in Greek), the news of redemption that the Hebrew prophets
Contents: the gospels are the accounts of Jesus’ life attributed to his disciples Mark, Matthew,
Luke and John. By the year 100, there were many literatures written about Jesus’ life and
death. Finally in the 2nd century, the four gospels were chosen to be the canon. These four
gospels contain elements which capture the crucial and basic believes and have a decent
account of Jesus’ ministry, his suffering, his death, his resurrection.
Sources: None of the gospel writers were in Jesus’ inner circle. They relied on oral tradition
generated by witnesses, common sources, whereas Jesus and his companions spoke Aramaic,
all of the gospels were written in Greek.
Mark’s gospel is the oldest, simplest among the four gospels. It composed thirty years after
Jesus died, possibly in Rome. It began with the baptism of Jesus and shows the mature of
Luke’s gospel recounted the life of Jesus before baptism and portents anticipating the birth of
John the Baptist and Jesus. Also provided more trials and crucifixion of Jesus.
Matthew’s gospel was similar to Luke’s but he focused on the truth that Jesus is the coming
messiah using narratives and claiming that Jesus is the descendent of King David.
Similarity of the three gospels: 1.Mary was a virgin; 2.supernatural occurrences showing the
divine aspect of Jesus; 3.all called ‘synoptic’ gospels. 4. Mark and Matthew have 661 verses
The last gospel is the gospel of John, composed about 70 years after the death of Jesus. He
was more interested in extrapolating in the mystical side of everything, using metaphor. He
used the title “Christ” in Jesus.
Difference between John and others: others were reticent about the relationship between Jesus
and God while John claimed that Jesus was the son of God in more ways than the Jewish
sense of the messiah.
Born as a Jew in 4 BCE and grew up in Nazareth in a big family of at least 7 children. After
Joseph, his father died early, he became a carpenter.
At the age of 30, he was baptized and then joined John, the Baptist, who gave him preaching
about morality, messiah’s coming and saving Jew from political subservient.
After John the Baptist, Jesus began preaching by himself. themes of Jesus’ teaching:
1)Kingdom is near. When it comes, it’ll be spectacular.
2)Jesus says a lot of people will be rejected
3) God is just, compassion, forgiveness, concern with our redemption and fatherly
4) Nature is from God
As he was really charismatic in preaching, he soon had large followers. He appealed to the
ordinary people using parables and metaphors.
At the age of 33, Jesus came into confrontation with the roman authorities. He was executed
by nailing on a cross. (Palestine was governed by the Romans but they were starting to get
nationalist and they wanted the Romans off their backs.)
By the time that Jesus came into the picture, people were really expected the messiah who
was not only going to be religious, morally righteous, leading people to god, but also a
descendant of the line of David and a political/military figure. He urged people that the
kingdom of heaven was coming in his lifetime and said that the ordinary, the poor, the women
would have access to heaven. The primary criterion to get in was morally-orientated, not so
much ritual-orientated. Jesus wasn’t saying anything new, but it was real urgent.
John the Baptist
He was a solitary desert prophet who walked around preaching super fiery speeches which
focused on morality, in the context that the Messiah was on his way. So he told them to get