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Author Date Audience Picture of Jesus
Matthew Tax collector turned follower of Christ; one of the Twelve 50s or 60s Jews Jesus is the Jewish Messiah predicted in the OT, the son of David who comes to establish the kingdom of heaven
Mark Close associate of the Apostle Peter; may be the young man in Mark 14:50-51 mid to late 50s Gentiles in Rome Jesus is the authoritative, suffering son of God who gives his life as a ransom for many
Luke Gentile physician and companion of the apostle Paul who interviewed eyewitness for his two-volume work (Lk 1:2) 58-60 a man named Theophilus Jesus is the Savior of the world who seeks and saves the lost in fulfillment of the OT promises to Israel
John The beloved disciple; not only one of the Twelve but in the inner circle of Jesus’ closest friends (with Peter and James) mid to late 80s or early 90s the church in Ephesus Jesus is the messiah who demands belief and the lamb of God who dies for the sins of the world and gives those who believe eternal life

For a short and accessible introduction to this, see T. Desmond Alexander’s Discovering Jesus: Why Four Gospels to Portray One Person?

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3 thoughts on “One Jesus: Four Pictures”

  1. Kenton says:

    Isn’t Mark considered to be the same as “John Mark” in Acts? The one whose mother was one of the Mary’s, who accompanied Paul and Barnabas? If he is the same as the young man in “Mark”, then wouldn’t his account be eyewitness, rather than gleaned from Peter?

    It’s odd that his legitimacy is still tied to Peter, rather than his own eyewitness testimony.

  2. Steve says:

    Has anyone else read David Allen Black, Why Four Gospels? As I. Howard Marshall suggests, I was greatly helped in assessing various theories of the origins of the Gospels. Black argues for the primacy of Matthew, and the origin of Mark’s Gospel as a scribal record of Peter lecturing in Rome as to the parallels in Matthew and Luke. Great read!

  3. Curt Day says:

    Quick reference tools such as the post here are very useful.

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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