The Gospels

These books tell us that the promises of the prophets* have now come true. God did send a saviour*, the Messiah*. He is Jesus. The promise of a ‘new covenant*’ is now here. This new ‘testament*’ began when Jesus died and rose again.

MATTHEW

THE NEW TESTAMENT | THE GOSPELS

THE BOOK OF MATTHEW

Where does the book begin?

The book begins with the story of how Jesus was born.

 

Where does the book end?

The book ends after Jesus had died and became alive again.

PEOPLE TO KNOW
  • Jesus
  • Mary
  • Peter
  • John the Baptist
  • Matthew
PLACES TO GO
  • Jesus was born.
         
    Matthew 1:18-25
  • Jesus was tempted by the Devil*.
         
    Matthew 4:1-11
  • Jesus healed may people.
         
    Matthew 8:1-4; 18-17; 28-34; Matthew 9:1-8
  • Jesus died on the cross*.
         
    Matthew 27:45-54
  • Jesus was alive again.
         
    Matthew 28:1-10
THE STORY OF MATTHEW

There are many ways to start a book. Matthew started his book with a list. On that list are the names of the family of Jesus. Matthew wanted you to know that Jesus could name his family all the way back to Abraham and David. Jesus was a son of Abraham, so he could be part of God’s promise to Abraham. Jesus was a son of David, so he could be part of the promise God made to David too. This was important to Matthew. Because Matthew wrote his book to tell us that Jesus was God’s promised Saviour*. He was the one who would keep the promise God made to Abraham. He was the king that God promised to David. Matthew wrote his book to help people see that Jesus was the Messiah*. He was the one that the people of God had been waiting for for so long.

After he made his list, Matthew told about how Jesus was born. Jesus came to earth just like the prophets* said he would. Then Matthew told three stories. He told the story of John the Baptist.[1] He told the story of how John baptised*[2] Jesus. Then he told the story of how Satan* tempted Jesus.[3] Matthew told these stories to show people who Jesus was. Matthew said that Jesus was the Son of God. He was the one that the prophets* had talked about.

Matthew told about what Jesus said and did in the rest of the book. Jesus healed people who could not walk. He made blind people see. He set people free from evil* spirits. But before he did these things, he spoke to a large group of people. He sat on the mount and spoke about the kingdom* of heaven*.

Matthew did not tell us all that Jesus did. He did not tell us all that Jesus said. But each story tells us things about Jesus. Jesus did many wonderful acts. He spoke with authority. The prophets* said that the Messiah* would do these kinds of things. Matthew was telling us these stories to show us something. Jesus was the one that the prophets* talked about. He was the one that God promised to send. He was the Messiah*.

Matthew then told how Jesus sent his friends all through the land of Israel. He told his friends to tell people about the kingdom*. [4]  Matthew said that Jesus was like the servant of the Lord* that Isaiah talked about. He was the one who would give all of the people hope*.[5]

But many people did not believe what Jesus said. Many of the priests did not believe him. The teachers in the city did not believe him. They were not happy that so many people followed him. They soon became angry and they made plans to kill him.

But Jesus kept teaching. Jesus told many stories about the kingdom*. He said that this kingdom* was what the prophets* had talked about. These stories are ‘parables*’. In these parables*, he said that this kingdom* would be great. Jesus would rule over all people on the earth. But this kingdom* would begin in a small way. It would grow like a seed. These stories tell us that Jesus is the King. His kingdom* began when he came. But the people who follow him must wait with patience for the end of the age. That is when the kingdom* will be everything Jesus and the prophets* promised.

The last parts of Matthew say what Jesus did and said before he died. That was when Jesus talked about the church* for the first time. He promised to form his ‘church*’. He said nothing could stop him from doing that.  This church* was not a building like the temple*. This church* was made of people. But he would not begin to gather these people until he would suffer many things…[and] be killed and on the third day be raised to life’.[6]

When Jesus came into Jerusalem, the crowds welcomed him as their Messiah*. But this did not last for long. Jesus gave his final messages to the crowds and to his followers* on the Mount of Olives. After that, the leaders turned the people against Jesus. Soon, Jesus gave up his life when he let the Jews put him on a cross*. But Matthew ended on a note of hope*. He told us that Jesus rose from the dead.  After that, Jesus met with the men and women that followed him.  And he sent them out to tell people about the kingdom*. He told them to go into all of the world and tell people the good news. And he promised to be with them to the very end of the age.[7]

[1] Matthew 3:1-12
[2] Matthew 3:13-17
[3] Matthew 4:1-11
[4] Matthew 10
[5] Matthew 12:21
[6] Matthew 16:2
[7] Matthew 28:19

MARK

THE NEW TESTAMENT | THE GOSPELS

THE BOOK OF MARK

Where does the book begin?

The book of Mark begins when Jesus met John the Baptist.

 

Where does the book end?

The book ends after God raised Jesus from death.

PEOPLE TO KNOW
  • Jesus
  • John
  • James
  • Simon
  • The Pharisees
PLACES TO GO
  • Jesus told stories.
         
    Mark 4:1-25
  • Jesus calmed a storm.
         
    Mark 4:34-43
  • Jesus raised a girl from death.
         
    Mark 5:21-43
  • Jesus walked on water.
         
    Mark 6:45-52
  • Jesus was arrested.
         
    Mark 14:43-72
THE STORY OF MARK

The book of Mark is the shortest of the four gospels*. Each of the gospels* tells the same story. They tell about the things Jesus said and did. But each tells it in a different way. Mark told many stories from the other gospels*. But he left out many of the things that the other gospels* say. He did not say much about Jesus’ birth. He did not talk about his family or his early life. He began with the story of John the Baptist, who told people that the Messiah* was coming. He told many of the things that Jesus said about ‘the last days’.[1]  He included many things that Jesus said about the hope* of Israel*.

Mark talked about Jesus in many different ways in his book. He spoke of Jesus as God’s most loved son.[2] He saw him as the Son of Man.[3] He saw him as David’s promised son[4] – the Messiah. And he saw him as the suffering servant,[5] just as Isaiah described him.

Mark tells many of the same stories that the other gospels tell. There are stories that are found in both Luke and Matthew. But there is one story that Jesus told that is only found in Mark. Jesus said,

‘Here is what God’s kingdom* is like. A farmer scatters seed on the ground. Night and day the seed comes up and grows. It happens whether the farmer sleeps or gets up. He does not know how it happens. All by itself the soil produces grain. First the stem comes up. Then the head appears. Then, the full grain appears in the head. Before long the grain becomes fully grown. So the farmer cuts it down, because the harvest is ready.’ [6]

Mark talked most about the last week in the life of Jesus.  He told the stories of how Jesus died and rose from the dead. Those days began with some words that Peter said. ‘You are the Christ.’ [7]

After that, Jesus told his friends what was going to happen to him. He would be killed. But he would not stay in the grave. He would become alive again.

He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be refused. And he must be killed and after three days rise again.’ [8]

Mark wrote his book to tell people who Jesus was. Jesus was the son that God promised to Abraham. Jesus was the king that God promised to David. Jesus was the Messiah* that the prophets* said would come.

Matthew wrote his book to help the Jews* know about Jesus. Mark wrote his book for everyone. He wanted all people from all parts of the world to believe in Jesus.

Mark told the story in a way that reminded people of the promises of the prophets.  Jesus was the one who came to deliver his people. But these people did not want him.  Mark wanted to help people remember what Isaiah said.

Men looked down on him. They did not accept him. He knew all about suffering. He was like someone people turn their faces away from. We looked down on him. We did not have any respect for him.’ [9]

In the last part of his book, Mark showed how the priests wanted Jesus to be killed. So the soldiers put Jesus on a cross*. They put nails in his hands and feet. His death was an awful death. When Jesus was dying, his friends were very afraid. Even Peter, a close disciple* of Jesus, said that he did not know him.

But, a few days later, an angel* told Jesus’ friends that he was alive again. Later that day, Jesus himself came to see his friends. They saw that he was alive. And he told them to take God’s message to all people. The book of Acts tells the story of how they did.

[1] Mark 1:2-8
[2] Mark 1:1; 9:7
[3] Mark 2:10,28; 14:62
[4] Mark 1:1; 10:47
[5] Mark 8:31; 10:45
[6] Mark 4:26-29
[7] Mark 8:29
[8] Mark 8:31
[9] Isaiah 53:3

LUKE

THE NEW TESTAMENT | THE GOSPELS

THE BOOK OF LUKE

 Where does the book begin?

Luke begins with the stories about how John the Baptist was born.

 

Where does the book end?

Luke ends when Jesus left his disciples to go up into heaven*.

PEOPLE TO KNOW
  • Jesus
  • John 
  • Elizabeth 
  • Mary
  • Peter
PLACES TO GO
  • Jesus met John the Baptist.
         
    Luke 7:18-35
  • Jesus told the story of the farmer.
         
    Luke 8:1-15
  • Jesus fed 5000 people.
         
    Luke 9:10-17
  • Jesus told the story of the lost things.
         
    Luke 15
  • Jesus was raised from death.
         
    Luke 24
THE STORY OF LUKE

Luke was a disciple* of Jesus. But he was not one of Jesus’ apostles*. Luke was a friend of Paul. He was also a friend of many of the men and women who followed Jesus. He was probably not a Jew*. He listened when they told stories about Jesus. He wrote many of their stories in this book.

He wrote his book to tell a friend about Jesus. He put many of the things that Jesus said into his book. He wrote about some of the things that Jesus did. He went step-by-step through Jesus’ life. He wanted his friend to know the truth about Jesus. He wanted him to follow Jesus too.

The book of Luke is a Gospel*. You will find many stories about Jesus here. Luke put many of the parables that Jesus told in his book. He put more of those parables* in his book than Matthew or Mark did.

Luke was a doctor. He travelled with Paul on many of Paul’s trips. Luke also wrote the book of Acts. He told about many of his trips with Paul in that book.

The key words in Luke are ‘son of man’. He put those words in his book almost 80 times.

Luke began with the story of John the Baptist. John was very important to Jesus. So Luke talked about John the Baptist many times in his book. John was the prophet* that came just before Jesus. He told people that God was going to send a saviour* to rescue them. He told them to remember God and turn away from the bad things that they did.

Then Luke told the story of the birth of Jesus. This was a very important story to Luke. He put many details of this story in his book.

Luke included a list of names in his book just like Matthew did. But this list follows the family of Mary. She was from the family of King David too. Luke included this list so that we know two things. First, Jesus had no human father. He was ‘the son of God’.[1] Second, Jesus was a son from the family of David.

Then he moved to stories about John. God sent John to prepare the way for Jesus. One day, John baptised Jesus in the river. After that, Jesus began to speak in public. That is what Luke talked about in the next part of his book.

Jesus did not stay in one place in those days. He went from place to place and spoke with many different people. He spoke to some people that no one else cared about.

As Jesus travelled, he told stories. He healed the sick. He helped people that no one else would help. Luke included many of Jesus’ stories in this book. You can read more of these stories in Luke than in any of the other gospels*.

Jesus met many people. Some of them believed what he said. One soldier asked him to make his sick servant well again. He knew that Jesus could do this. He said,

Just say the word, and my servant will be healed’.[2]

Luke wanted people to see that Jesus was the son of God. He was the son that God promised to David.  Only God’s promised saviour* could do what Jesus was doing.

After this, Jesus started his trip to Jerusalem.[3]  He did not go there right away. But he was making ready for that trip. He told his friends why he needed to go there.

The Son of Man is going to be turned over into the hands of men’, [4] and he ‘must suffer many things and be killed and…raised to life’. [5].

Luke included many stories about what Jesus did along the way. He said what Jesus said to his friends. One of the things that Jesus talked about was the kingdom* of God.[6] He told people to be prepared. Being a member of God’s kingdom* could be dangerous sometimes.[7] Members of the kingdom* should not try to get things for themselves. They should depend on God to help them. Sometimes, God used other people to help those who serve him.[8]

Many people were following Jesus. He told his disciples* to be true and honest before God. Trust* in God, not wealth. The kingdom* was not for the proud but the humble. The kingdom* was not for the rich but for the poor.

The last part of Luke’s book tells about the last days that Jesus was on earth. He went into Jerusalem. Many people were happy to see him. But only a few people knew who Jesus really was. He was the king who comes in the name of the Lord*’.[9] But most people did not understand that.[10] That made Jesus weep. He was sad that the people did not know who he really was. He was also sad because God would judge* them because they did not follow him.

Jesus went to the temple* and told the people many things. But the more Jesus said, the more they hated him.

A few days before Jesus died, he ate a special meal with his friends. He told them that he was going to be arrested and killed. He also said that he was starting a new covenant* for everyone who would follow him. When he shed his blood, the covenant would begin.[11] He would die so that people would know that what the prophets* said was true.[12]

One night, one of his friends decided to turn away from him. Soldiers arrested Jesus. Some people told lies about him. So the soldiers beat Jesus with a whip. Then they put him on a cross. In a few hours, Jesus died.

But that was not the end of Luke’s story. In some ways, it was only the beginning. After three days, Jesus came back to life again. He went back to see his friends. He told them not to be afraid. He would always be with them. And he had a job for them to do. They were to go everywhere and tell people the good news.

[1] Luke 3:38; see 1:35
[2] Luke 7:1-10
[3] Luke 9:51
[4] Luke 9:44
[5] Luke 9:22
[6] Luke 10:9
[7] Luke 10:3
[8] Luke 10:4-16
[9] Luke 19:38
[10] Luke 19:42
[11] Luke 22:20
[12] Luke 22:37

JOHN

THE NEW TESTAMENT | THE GOSPELS

THE BOOK OF JOHN

Where does the book begin?

John begins when Jesus met John the Baptist.

  

Where does the book end?

Jesus talked to his friends after God raised him from the dead.

PEOPLE TO KNOW
  • John the Baptist
  • Nicodemus
  • Lazarus
  • Peter
  • Thomas
PLACES TO GO
  • Jesus talked to a Samaritan woman.
         
    John 4
  • Jesus talked about the ‘bread of life’.
         
    John 6
  • Jesus raised Lazarus from death.
         
    John 11
  • Jesus washed his friend’s feet.
         
    John 13
  • Jesus prayed for his friends.
         
    John 17
THE STORY OF JOHN

T

The last of the books called ‘gospels*’ is John. John was one of the men that Jesus chose and a close friend of Jesus. He wrote the words and stories about Jesus, just as Matthew and Mark did. But John wrote the way that he did for a special reason. He wrote so that people would ‘believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God’.[1]  He wanted them to have the life that Jesus wanted them to have. John wanted people to ‘believe’ so that they could have eternal* life.[2]

John said many things about Jesus. John told the things that Jesus did and the words that he said. But John also told us who Jesus was. He called Jesus the ‘Word’. He said that Jesus was with God before he created* the world. In fact, Jesus made all things. Nothing was created* that Jesus did not create*. Jesus was God coming to us in a body. He showed people God’s grace* and truth by living among them. When people saw Jesus, they got to see God’s glory*.

John’s book begins with another man named John. He was John the Baptist. When he saw Jesus, he said, Look!  There is the lamb* from God. He will take away the sin* of the world.’[3]  John the Baptist was saying that Jesus would be like one of the lambs that people gave as a sacrifice*. Somehow, Jesus would be like that kind of lamb.[4]

John wanted people to remember what the prophets* said.  The prophets* said that people would not welcome the Messiah*. That is what happened to Jesus. John said that the leaders in Israel* did not welcome Jesus. He came to his own people, the Jews. But many of them turned away from him.

But many people were happy to listen to Jesus. He found men who wanted to follow him. Some of those men were followers of John the Baptist. They did what John the Baptist hoped they would do. They turned to follow Jesus.

Jesus did many miracles* among the people. He did these things to help people know that he was the Son of God.  He healed a man who could not walk. He fed 5000 people with only a few fish and some bread. He walked on the sea. But the leaders in Israel* still did not believe in him. Other people, like many people in Samaria, did believe.

John also told us many things that Jesus said to the people at the temple*. Jesus said that his message came from God. He told them that he came because God sent him. Jesus did many other things to help the people see who he was. He healed a blind man. When his friend Lazarus died, Jesus made him live again. These are the kind of things that Isaiah talked about many years before. He said that God’s promised saviour* would do things like this. But the people still did not understand.

John told about the last week of Jesus’ life in the last part of his book. Jesus said many important things in that last week. He told his friends to be humble and he gave them a new command.

I give you a new command. Love one another. You must love one another, just as I have loved you. If you love one another, everyone will know you are my disciples*.’ [5]

He told them about the Holy Spirit*. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit* would help them when he left. Jesus prayed for his friends and for everyone who would believe in the future.[6]

John wrote his book to help people see that Jesus was the Son of God. He came to rescue his chosen people. He came to begin his new kingdom*. That was why he went to the cross*. That is why God made Jesus alive again after he died.

[1] John 20:31
[2] John 3:16
[3] John 1:29
[4] John 1:29
[5] John 13:34-35
[6] John 17