The gospel of matthew and luke
The Gospel of Matthew is the first book in the New Testament that gives some accounts of Jesus. It is believed that the Gospel of Mark was written before the Gospel of Matthew, and according to Scholz (pg.74), Matthew updated the encounters of Jesus that were first written in the Gospel of Mark. Matthew’s motive in writing the Gospel was mainly in response to the writings of Mark in his Gospel. It is believed that the Gospel of Mark was written in 70 CE and was later followed by Matthew who wrote his Gospel with the intention of expanding the writings in the Gospel of Mark. Although it is believed that Matthew was updating the events of the Gospel of Mark, his story begins with the comparison of the existence of Jesus with the lives of the Israelite leaders; David and Abraham. Matthew believed that Jesus was sent to fulfill the covenant that was made between God and Abraham: “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you: I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2). And with David, God made the same covenant: “I will rise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his kingdom firm” (2 Sam 7:12). All these are shown in the first verse of the Gospel of Matthew, where Matthew emphasizes that Jesus was a descendant of Abraham and David.
Matthew also tried to link the stories surrounding Jesus with the history of the Israelites by introducing the five women, Ruth, Bathsheba, Tamar, Rahab and Mary the Mother of Jesus. The common story with these five women was that all bore children in unusual circumstances. In his Gospel, Matthew gave a narrative of the resurrection of Jesus and he also tries to implicate the disciples as men with little faith. It is through the resurrection that Jesus commanded his disciples to go to all the nations and preach the Gospel to everyone. Therefore, through this commission by Jesus, Matthew interpreted it as the mission that was being spread to all nations other than being limited to the Israelites only. Matthew tells the story of Jesus with the intention of depicting Him as the modern Moses who was sent by God to fulfill the promises He made to the Israelites.
The Gospel of Luke is also an update of the Gospel of Mark where Luke gives more details on the encounters of Jesus and he mostly tackles on the issues of the innocence of Jesus and on women stories. (Scholz, pg. 101). The stories in the Gospel of Matthew and Luke are similar since both apostles wrote them in response to the writings in the Gospel of Mark. In his writings, Matthew seems to be only interested in the stories of Jesus while Luke’s interest was expanded into the Acts of Apostles where he is more interested in the early Church (Scholz, pg 101). Luke’s writings were comprised of the rise of Christianity and how it spread from the Jews to the Gentiles. Luke also tries to link the events that occurred during the time of Jesus with the early church. An example can be given in the story of John the Baptist and Jesus during his baptism (Luke 1:5; 2:1; 3:1-2). (Scholz pg 102). Luke told his stories on the infancy of Jesus where he concentrated on Jerusalem and the Temple. He used different historical settings whereby he was most precise on the time of occurrence of each activity.
Luke starts his story with the birth of Jesus just like Matthew. But there is a significant difference in both the stories since Luke combines both the birth of Jesus and the appearance of John the Baptist. According to Scholz (pg. 111), Luke finds the two stories inseparable and that is why he wrote them at the same time. Luke linked Jesus and the start of His ministry with the appearance of John the Baptist since he believed that his baptism was one of the events that initiated his mission on earth. Luke also tries to give all the preaching encounters and activities that Jesus undertook while on His mission.
It is very clear that in both Gospels, Matthew and Luke told infancy narratives that implicated that they believed that Jesus was meant to be a part of the salvation of the Israelites. Both Gospels also reveal that it was God who planned all the events that led to the birth of Jesus. Matthew gave his narrative in the point of view of Joseph while Luke gave his story according to the point of view of Mary and thus both stories try to exemplify on both perspectives. While Mathew tells about the birth of Jesus only, Luke took a step forward and told the birth of both Jesus and John the Baptist. It is also in the Gospel of Luke, that he gave the temptations of Jesus which he also believed was one of the events that led to the start of the ministry of Jesus. The two Gospels differ in the geography of Jesus whereby Matthew wrote that Jesus was born in Bethlehem then he later moved into Egypt and later settled in Nazareth, but according to Luke, Jesus was born in Nazareth then he move to Bethlehem and then he went back to Nazareth.
In conclusion, both Gospels tell the story of Jesus from his birth to his activities here on earth and even to his resurrection. Both apostles have also tried to explain the beginning of the early Church but Matthew is the only apostle that uses the word ‘church’ in his writings. It is very clear that all apostles were trying to update the stories written by Mark and adding more revelations of the life of Jesus.
Harris, J.R. (2009). The Origin of the Doctrine of the Trinity: A Popular Exposition. Charleston: BiblioBazaar, LLC Publishers
Scolz, D.J. (2009). Jesus in the Gospels and Acts: Introducing the New Testament. New York: Saint Mary’s Press Publishers