Foundations (Year Two)“Encountering the New Testament” Session #2.Encountering the Synoptic Gospels
Written earlier: The NT Writings Letter of James (40’s/50’s)Letters of Paul: Written later:Galatians (48/49 CE) Letters of Peter (64-66)1 & 2 Thessalonians (51-52) Mark (68-70 )1 & 2 Corinthians (53-57) Matthew (70-80)Romans (56-57) Luke-Acts (70-80)Prison letters (61-62): Hebrews (50’s/60’s?) (Colossians, Ephesians, Philemon & Philippians) Letter of Jude (50’s ?)Pastoral letters (64-66): Writings of John: (1, 2 Timothy & Titus) Gospel, Letters & Revelation (90-96)
NT History (a timeline) 5/4 BCE Birth of Jesus, the Christ (cf. Daniel 9:24-27) 37 BCE – 4 CE Herod the Great 4 CE Division of Herod’s Kingdom (Archelaus, Antipas & Philip) (Augustus Caesar 31BCE – 14 CE – 1st official Roman Emperor) 6 CE Judea ruled by Roman Prefects 26 Start of the ministry of Jesus 30 Death/ resurrection of Jesus (alt. 30-33) (Tiberius Caesar 14 – 37) 33-34 Conversion of Saul of Tarsus 37-38 Saul returns to Jerusalem as a Christian (Gaius Caligula Caesar 37 - 41) 39-44 Rule of Herod Agrippa (by permission of Caligula) 43 Martyrdom of James, brother of John 47-49 Paul’s 1st missionary journey 49 Church Council at Jerusalem 50-52 Paul’s 2nd missionary journey
NT History (a timeline) (Claudius Caesar 41-54) 53-57/58 Paul’s 3rd missionary journey 58-59 Paul in custody under Felix 60/61-62/63 Paul under house arrest in Rome (released & then imprisoned again by 64/65) (Nero Caesar 54-68) July 18, 64 Great Fire of Rome, & subsequent persecution of Christians c.66/67 Martyrdom of Paul & Peter 66-73 Jewish War June 9, 68 Suicide of Nero (68-69 Year of the 4 Emperors: Galba, Otho, Vitellius & Vespasian) 70 Destruction of Jerusalem (& the Jewish temple) by Titus (69-70 Vespasian Caesar) (79-81 Titus Caesar) Writings & death of Apostle John (end of Apostolic Age) (81-96 Domitian Caesar – second major persecution of Christians)
Relationship between OT & NTPromise FulfillmentShadow (Type) Substance(Old) Covenant (New) CovenantLaw (Moses) Grace (Jesus)Sacrifice & offerings One sacrificePriesthood One priest/ all priestsKings (David) King (son of David)Nation NationsLand Earth
NT development of OT themes1. The Kingdom of God2. The People of God3. Messianic Hope4. Judgment & Salvation5. Victory (over God’s enemies)6. (New) Temple & (Fulfilled) Torah7. New Creation (“New heavens & New earth”)
God’s original promise!The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your fathers household & go to the land I will show you.I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." (Gen. 12:1-3)
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, "I am God Almighty...I will confirm my covenant between me and you and I will greatly increase your numbersThis is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram (exalted father) ; your name will be Abraham (father of many), for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.” (Gen. 17:1-7)
This is what Isaiah saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: In the last days the mountain of the LORDs temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.”The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples.They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD. (Isaiah 2:1-5)
The Mission of God God A People The Nations“New heavens & New earth”
A New Covenant“The time is coming,” declares the LORD, ”when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them," declares the LORD…”
“This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, Know the LORD, because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD.“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Jer.31:31-34)
A New Relationship Did you know that God was divorced & remarried?“I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery.” (Jeremiah 3:8-9)This is what the LORD says: "Where is your mothers certificate of divorce with which I sent her away?” (Isaiah 50:1)
"Rebuke your mother, rebuke her, for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband.Let her remove the adulterous look from her face and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts.”"In that day," declares the LORD, "you will call me my husband; you will no longer call me my master.I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion.I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD.” (Hosea 2:2, 16-20)
The last words of the Prophets"Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel.See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.“ (Malachi 4:4-6)
The timing of God“But when the right time came (when the time had fully come), God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.” (Galatians 4:4-5 NLT)
Jesus Christ & Augustus Caesar“Augustus” (majestic, venerable, most increased/ illustrious one)“Caesar” (emperor, ie. Kaiser, Tsar)“Pater patriae” (father of the country)“Princeps” (prince; prime minister; first man, of the senate)“Pontifex maximus” (high priest)“Tribune potestas” (most powerful ruler)“Divi filius” (son of God/ the gods)
The Gospel“The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” (Mark 1:1)godspell (old English for good news)euangelion (εὐαγγέλιον x75) = good news(always referring to a message, not a book)
Origin of the titleThe earliest extant use of εὐαγγέλιον "gospel" to denote a particular genre of writing dates to the 2nd century.Justin Martyr (c. 155 CE) in 1 Apology 66 writes: "...the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels".
“Good News”“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” (Is. 52:7)“Look, there on the mountains, the feet of one who brings good news, who proclaims peace!” (Nahum 1:15)
The message of JesusIn those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Matt. 3:1-2)From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Matt. 4:17)The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah… Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!" (Mark 1:1, 14-15)
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, “The Spirit of the Lord is on because the LORD has anointed me me because he has to preach good news to the poor. anointed me to preachHe has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, good news to the poor. to proclaim freedom for the captives He has sent me to proclaim and release from darkness for the prisoners, freedom for the prisoners to proclaim the year of the LORDs favor and recovery of sight and the day of vengeance of our God, for the blind, to comfort all who mourn, to release the oppressed, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to proclaim the year to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, of the Lords favor.” the oil of gladness Then…he began by saying to instead of mourning, and a garment of praise them, “Today this scripture instead of a spirit of despair. is fulfilled in your hearing”.They will be called oaks of righteousness, (Luke 4:18-21) a planting of the LORD, for the display of his splendor. (Is. 61:1-3)
Four Perspectives/ One GospelThe gospel according to…Matthew (man)The gospel according to…Mark (lion)The gospel according to…Luke (ox)The gospel according to…John (eagle)The Message: That God has broken into history, in the person of Jesus Christ, to bring salvation to all people, and to establish his kingdom (reign)
Four living creatures“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 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…This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown.” (Ezekiel 1:5-10, 28)
Four living creaturesIn the centre, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. 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 flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” (Revelation 4:6-8)
The Gospels: CautionsThere are not four gospels, only one.There are only four, not forty accounts.Be very careful harmonizing them.They are not biographies.Recognize their unity, …but don’t ignore their diversity.Read the gospels as good news story history theology
Themes of the gospels1. Matthew (Jesus = the Messiah of Israel & fulfillment of the Promise to Abraham)2. Mark (Jesus = the man of action)3. Luke (Jesus = the saviour of the world)4. John (Jesus = the son of God) Acts (Jesus = the giver of the Holy Spirit – his ongoing ministry through his people)
Synoptic problemSynoptic = “see together; see with same eye”Literary relationship between the gospelsSimilarities, differences, order, source, audienceDevelopment: events, testimonies & collected reportsDifferences in content wording orderMark = the middle factorMatthew only one to bear name of an apostle. Most popular for church fathers (first 400 years).“According to…” added several hundred years later.
Who copied from who? Mark – 90% of content, also in Matthew 53% of content, also in LukeOf Mark’s 661 verses, 500 also appear verbatim in Matthew & 350 verbatim in Luke. Another 250 verses in Matthew & Luke parallel each other (“Q”?) Anytime Matthew & Mark differ, Mark & Luke always agree Anytime Luke & Mark differ, Mark & Matthew always agree Anytime Matthew & Luke differ, they never agree against Mark Therefore Mark cut and edited Matthew & Luke – or Matthew & Luke edited and expanded Mark!
Synoptics – an alternative The Jerusalem Phase (30-42 CE. Acts 1-12)…under the leadership of PeterMatthew’s Gospel: Manifesto of Jerusalem Church. Earliest Christian document. Teaching manual. The Gentile Phase (42-62 CE. Acts 13-28)…under the leadership of PaulA new gospel required for a new Church, carefully compiled by Luke. Universal son of God, for all people. The Roman Phase (62-67 CE)…joint endorsement by Peter & PaulPeter preaches series of sermons, prior to his death, in Rome. Based on Matthew & Luke. Mark is his recorder. John’s Supplement (90-95 CE The Christ of Faith/ spiritual)
Synoptic Gospels - Sources Q = quelle Mark Matthew LukeM L
The gospels: What we can be sure of“Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” (Luke 1:1-4)
Mark’s JesusJudea: Preparation for his ministry 1:1-13Galilee & surroundings 1:14-9:50 Preaching, teaching & healing 1:14-8:26 Impending suffering 8:27-9:50Return from Galilee to Judea 10:1-52Judea & Jerusalem 11:1-13:37 Controversy 11:1-12:44 Discourse (signs of the times 13:1-37)Jerusalem (Last supper to resurrection) 14:1-16:8 [9-20]
Mark’s JesusPeter’s gospel (1 Pet. 5:13), from RomeVery earthy, poor grammar. Sermons?“Beginning of the gospel” (1:14-15)kai euthus (x11 in chap. 1 & x40 in book)Use of “historic present” (ie. “He says…”)Mid-point (8:27-30 “immediately” fades)Key text (14:45)The abrupt ending? (16:8)
Mark’s Jesus: The roar of the lionThe lion’s appearance (1-8) The bounding lion (kai euthus) The beast of conflict (first miracle, 1:21-28)The lion & his pride (1:14; 2:13; 3:13; 6:6; 8:27)What kind of creature is this? (8-10)Jerusalem: the lion’s lair or robber’s den (11-13)In for the kill (14-15)Risen from it’s prey (16)
Mark’s JesusMark presents… Jesus in his claims Jesus in his mighty works Jesus in his preaching Jesus in his suffering Jesus in his victory…& the response of ordinary people to Jesus.
Matthew’s Jesus: The teacher of IsraelGod with a human face (1-2) Who is the real king of the Jews?A new Moses (3-8, baptism, desert, people, law)A new teaching (discourses, ie. 5-7)Conflict with the teacher (8-23)The suffering & rejection of the teacher (26-27)The vindication of the teacher (28)
Luke’s JesusThe prologue (1:1-4)The birth & boyhood of Jesus (1:15-2:52)Preparation for the journey (John, Baptism, Genealogy & Temptation – 3:1-4:13)The journey Ministry in Galilee (4:14-9:50) Return to Jerusalem (9:51-19:27) Ministry in Jerusalem (19:28-21:38)The burden of Jesus (22-24)
Luke’s Jesus: The bearer of burdensThe powerful ox (1-4) The ox in the stall…& in the templeThe ox plods a long, slow journey (4-21)The ox & the herd (5:1; 6:12; 9:1; 10:1; 14:25)Those who are burdened (stories & encounters - 15) Strength to bear the burdens (ministry – 19:10)The ox: a sacrificial victim (22-23)The ox: more fields to plough (24 & beyond)
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