Why is it that we have
four gospels? The answer is: We do not have four
gospels. We have only one gospel. That gospel is given
in the person of Jesus Christ. In the four gospel
accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John we are given
four different pespectives on Jesus. Each of us see
Jesus in our own personal way depending on our
circumstances, needs and interaction. We present Jesus
to others depending on the way they feel the need of
Jesus. Mathew, Mark , Luke and John wrote the gospels
presenting their view of Jesus for a people who were
in particular need.
Early church fathers saw in
the pictures of great visions of Ezekiel and John the
pictures of Jesus in action. Every angel of God is a
picture of Jesus. This gives us a good method of
summarising the gospels.
Ezekiel saw the vision of the Holy Presence twice.
Ezekiel's first Vision by
the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians.
Ez 1:4-11 I looked, and I
saw a windstorm coming out of the north--an immense
cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by
brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like
glowing metal, and in the fire was what looked like
four living creatures. In appearance their form was
that of a man, but each of them had four faces and
four wings. Their legs were straight; their feet were
like those of a calf and gleamed like burnished
bronze. Under their wings on their four sides they had
the hands of a man. All four of them had faces and
wings, and their wings touched one another. Each one
went straight ahead; they did not turn as they moved.
Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the
face of a man, and on the right side each had the face
of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each
also had the face of an eagle. Such were their faces.
Ezkeil's Second Vision
sitting in his own house sitting with the elders of
Ez. 10: 14-15 Each of the
cherubim had four faces: One face was that of a
cherub, the second the face of a man, the third the
face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.
Then the cherubim rose upward. These were the living
creatures I had seen by the Kebar River.
Ezekiel’s Vision - Raphael
The same creatures were
seen in the vision of John
Vision of John
Rev. 4:7 The first living
creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox,
the third had a face like a man the fourth was like a
These were living creatures
and were also angelic beings - cherubim. Cherubim are
angels of mercy and therefore bearers of good news.
They also represent all creatures in the universe who
were redeemed. These are the four faces.
Old Testament Indications
First, our Lord Jesus is pictured in many prophecies,
like those of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Zechariah, as
coming as the King -- the King of Israel - Son of
David. Theie expectation of the mesiah was restricted
to this. The jews lost sight of the other aspects of
the mesiah and they missed Him
Second, the Old Testament pictures speak of Messiah as
the Servant, as the suffering One. The typology is
given by Joseph who was sold into slavery by his own
Third, we picture of Son of Man - born of a virgin, in
the town of Bethlehem , not very comely, but an
The Hebrews were so
confused by these two kinds of pictures that they
deduced that there must be two Messiahs. They called
one "Messiah Ben-Yusif," or Messiah the son of Joseph,
and the other "Messiah Ben-David,". They didn't see
that the same Mesiah had these varying aspects.
Finally Mesiah was himself God, the Everlasting One.
Micah says, "Out of Bethlehem shall come he who is to
be the ruler of Israel, whose going forth is from
everlasting." "For to us a child is born, to us a son
is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace"
So we see that Old
Testament picture of Mesiah could not be contained by
a simple picture. It is these completeness that is
attained by the four gospels.
Mesianic Prophecies: The Branch
Jer. 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."
Zech. 3:8 "Behold, I will bring forth My Servant
Zech. 6:12 "Behold the Man whose name is the
Isaiah 4:2 , "In that day
shall the Branch of the Lord be beautiful and
Gospel: The Four Rivers
that feeds the earth
Gen. 2:10 "And a river went
out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it
was parted, and became into four heads."
Gospel in the Temple
Ex. 26:31, 32, "And you
shall make a veil of blue, and purple, and scarlet,
and fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubim
shall it be made. And you shall hang it upon four
pillars of Shittim wood overlaid with gold: their
hooks shall be of gold, upon the four sockets of
The veil is the flesh of
Jesus: Heb 10:19-20
The veil is made with fine
twined linen of four colors: Blue (for heaven); Purple
(for Kingship); Scarlet (for Sacrifice) and linen (for
The Pillars are the four
Cherubims are the mercy
messengers- the messengers of Good News.
Four : Gospel for the World
Every number has a meaning
and significance in Hebrew culture and we can see this
employed all through the Bible. Thus four is the
number of the earth. Four is always connected with
earth. Three is number for God.
There are four points to
earth's compass - nor the, east, south, and west.
There are four seasons to
earth's year - spring, summer, autumn, and winter
There are four elements
connected with our world - earth, air, fire, and
There have been four great
world-Empires - the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, the
Grecian, and the Roman.
Scripture divides earth's
inhabitants into four classes - "kindred, and tongue,
and people, and nation" (Rev. 5:9 etc.).
Parable of the Sower,
our Lord divided the field into four kinds of soil,
and later He identified the field as: "the field is
Gospels can be associated
with each of these aspects. Though early fathers
ascribed the gospel to each of these symbols they were
not always unanimous in their identification as shown
Early fathers connected the
four evangelists with the four living creatures in
various combinations based on varying reasons.
St. Irenaeus of Lyons
(130 - 200 AD)
the order in which
the beasts appear in Ezekiel 1:10
(Man, Lion, Ox, Eagle) combined with the order
in which the canonical
gospels appeared in some pre-Vulgate Latin
versions (Matthew, John, Luke,
St. Augustine of
that the whole of each gospel needed to be
taken into account when making these
rather than just the beginning of each gospel.
The Lion with Matthew (emphasizing the Kingly
Human Nature of Christ)
The Ox with Luke (emphasizing the Priestly Human
Nature of Christ)
The Man with Mark (emphasizing both the Priestly
and the Kingly Aspects of
the One Human Nature of Christ) and The Eagle
with John (emphasizing the Divine Nature of
Gospel Of Matthew
The Lion of Judah, King of Kings
gospel of Matthew was written by a Jew, about a Jew,
to other Jews Jesus of Nazareth is to be found the
fulfillment of all Messianic prophecy
Within the first few verses
he would read of the genealogy of Christ along the
Royal Line showing that Jesus indeed was the
legitimate King of the Jews in the line of David and
In the second chapter the wise men (the Three
Kings)from the Orient comes in search asking : "Where
is He that is born King of the Jews?",
"The Sermon on the Mount"
lays down the the Laws of the Kingdom of God. Jesus
speaks with authority and acts with authority - an
authority greater than that of Moses "Moses said to
you thus, but I say to you"
Seven Kingdom Parables of
chapter 13 elaborate on the development of the Kingdom
of God on Earth. The key phrase of this book is "the
kingdom of heaven."
When he was crucified he
was annouced as the King of the Jews. In Matthew's
Gospel there is no account of the ascension of Christ
because the King continues to reign without
interruption on the earth.
There are more than forty
Old Testament passages quoted in Matthew in order to
show that Jesus fulfilled the prophecy concerning the
Christ was born of a virgin "that it might be
fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the
prophet" (Matt. 1:22; Isa. 7:14).
Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, "for thus it is
written by the prophet" (Matt. 2:5; Micah 5:2).
Slaughter of the innocent children by Herod was a
fulfillment of "what was spoken by Jeremiah the
prophet" (Matt. 2:17; Hos. 11:1).
John the Baptist the forrunner fulfilled:, "for this
is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah" (Matt.
3:3; Isa. 40:3).
Christ began His ministry in "Capernaum, which is by
the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, that
it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the
prophet" (Matt. 4:13–14; Isa. 9:1–2).
"Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without
a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be
fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: ‘I
will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things
which have been kept secret from the foundation of the
world.’" (Matt. 13:34–35; Psa. 78:2).
Betrayal and the price of thirty pieces of silver were
prophesied in Jeremiah (Matt. 27:9–10; Jer. 32:6–9).
The soldiers "divided His garments, casting lots, that
it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet:
‘They divided My garments among them, and for My
clothing they cast lots.’" (Matt. 27:35; Psa. 22:18).
The Gospel Of Mark
The Ox or Calf
The Sufferring Servant - Sacrificial Beast
The theme of the book is:
"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served,
but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many"
(Mark 10:45). They represent the Servant of Jehovah --
the suffering Servant whom Isaiah paints in his 53rd
chapter. In the Old Testament a Calf was one of the
prescribed sacrificial beasts for sin.
Mark was written for
Romans. The Roman Empire was built on slavery. In
contrast Mark presents the new Kingdom which is based
Mark 10:42 -44 Jesus called them together and said,
"You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the
Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials
exercise authority over them. Not so with you.
Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must
be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be
slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to
be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a
ransom for many."
Mk 9:35 Jesus states this principle. "If anyone wants
to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant
In the book of Mark Christ is presented as the ideal
servant. Unlike Matthew, Mark does not give us the
genealogy of Christ, for the genealogy of a servant is
not important. He do not give any introduction. Jesus
simply appears. He gets his witnesses from John the
Baptist and from Holy Spirit - two witnesses as
required by law. Then he swings into action.
The key word in this Gospel
is immediately or starightway which is repeated
endlessly. Mark reports only four parables and only
those related to servants. Jesus is never called
"Lord" in Mark before the resurrection.
The Gospel Of Luke
Son of Man = Perfect Man
Luke was written for the
Greeks. In general it is written for the mankind as a
whole. Greeks were known for their learning and for
their ideals of Manhood. Luke gives us the
picture of Christ as Man. Here he is seen in the
perfection of his manhood -- the glory, beauty,
strength, and dignity of his manhood. Luke therefore
gives the biological genealogy of Jesus tracing it
back all the way to Adam, the first man, (instead of
to Abraham only, as in Matthew) and to God. Thus Luke
establishes the principle that Man is Son of God.
Christ came to redeem the fallen Mankind to its
original Sonship. Thus to Luke Humanization is
Christianisation. Beginning with Jesus, Christian is
the man in the likeness of Jesus.
Matthew 10, Jesus sends the
disciples out, , "Don't go into any of the towns of
the Gentiles but go rather to the lost sheep of the
house of Israel." But in Luke 9, they were sent out to
preach the gospel and the restriction is not
As the perfect Man He is seen here so frequently in
prayer. Luke records seven prayers of Jesus Christ
which are not mentioned elsewhere. . Prayer is a
picture of man's proper relationship to God, his
father. That is why you see Christ in the act of
prayer many, many times throughout the Gospel of Luke.
Luke was a physician and
had tremendous sympathy. In Luke Jesus is shown as
somone who really cared. He wept over the city of
Jerusalem; he healed even the servant whose ear Peter
cut off in the midst of an arrest. No other Gospel
tells us about these two incidents. In Luke we also
have the detailed account of Christ's agony of
Gethsemane as he sweats blood .
The Gospel Of John
The Eagle = the Exalted God
John's gospel is totally
different from all the other three gospels. Here we
are carried back to a point before time began, and we
are shown Christ as the Word. We have only two persons
in this genealogy -- the Father and the Son. The whole
purpose of the gospel of John was to prove the Deity
of Jesus Christ.
There is no mention of
agony in the garden of Gethsemane. Instead we see that
temple soldiers were forced back to their knees when
they came to arrest him.Jn 18: 4-6 Jesus, knowing all
that was going to happen to him, went out and asked
them, "Who is it you want?" "Jesus of Nazareth," they
replied. "I am he," Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor
was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, "I am
he," they drew back and fell to the ground.
Four fold description of a Christian.
Since every Christian is
Christ like and every mission is carried by christian
messengers i.e angels the four creatures also
represent the faces of the Christian in the mission
1. Lion likeness:
The fact that, in Christ,
we are complete. And that completeness includes the
authority given to us by the risen Christ. We have
been given authority to proclaim the Gospel. Authority
in spiritual warfare, authority in prayer. This
authority extends to the heavenly realms as well as on
earth. Jesus. Has given to us the same authority as
Jesus. Why don't we see more of God's power? Because
we don't use more of God's authority . And we don't
use it for a number of reasons. The main reasons are
A/ Fear of failing
2. Ox or Calf the Servant.
We were made a new creation
in Christ to serve. We are saved to serve. The church,
except for a few pockets here and there, has basically
lost the art of serving. Dwight Moody once said The
measure of a person is not how many servants he has,
but how many people he serves.
Only those who are secure
can serve. Only the person who is being loved by the
Father is free to give that love. We cannot love our
neighbour if we cannot love ourselves.
3. The face of a Man: Being
authentically human. Tansparency
The true Christian is not
afraid to be who he is. The fear of being who we are,
the fear of letting people see the imperfections in
our life has kept many from being effective
evangelists. All of us have our flaws and blemishes,
all of us have our faults and failings. That is what
it is to be human. If God were to wait for perfect men
to take his message, He would never have found one. To
be an Ambassador doesn't mean you have to be perfect.
People are afraid to be themselves and real. They act
as though they are somebody else in front of others.
They almost always puts on a mask - a front. Pastors
and Preachers try to be super-spiritual,;holier even
than God. In so doing we cease to be real people and
become legalistic puppets.
4. The flying Eagle -
Willing to soar. Willing to
leave the known and venture into the unknown. Willing
to take the trips that He calls us to. Every one of us
has, what is called, a comfort zone That environment
in which we feel comfortable. We feel comfortable
because it is familiar. We feel comfortable because we
can control it, at least to a degree. We feel
comfortable because it is known.
Are you willing to venture
into the unknown with God?
As we get to the heights of
an eagle that we can get a hold on the big picture.
Sparrows and other low flying birds can only see a
small section. The eagle, as it ascends up...up...up
gets a much bigger picture.
The balance of any
Christian involves the balance of the lion, the ox,
the man and the eagle. Be an Ambassador using the
authority of Christ with an attitude of servanthood.
Be yourself knowing that “those who hope in the
Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on
wings like eagles" (Isaiah 40:31)
The Progression in Gospel
There is a striking order
in the way the four gospels close.
Matthew' end with the Resurrection of Christ
Mark end with the Ascension of Christ (16:19).
Luke end with the the Outpouring of the Holy
John closes with the great proclamation of the
Return of Christ (21:21-23)!