Short Writing Assignment #2
Each of the four gospels contained in the New Testament portrays a different and unique portrait of Jesus. Mark's gospel represents Jesus as the suffering servant, while Matthew shows Jesus as the new Moses. Luke stresses Jesus' inclusion of the outcasts and then John's non-synoptic gospel shows Jesus as God's presence and as an otherworldly figure.
Mark portrays Jesus as a powerful yet unrecognized and suffering Messiah. Stories throughout the gospel show Jesus to have control over storms, water and demons. He is able to heal lepers, cripples and people with withered limps. He also has undaunted authority over everything including sin and Sabbath laws. Yet the theme of the messianic secret is major within this gospel. Jesus often tells people "to tell no one" of the miracles he performs. This theme is part of the climax of Mark's gospel when Peter proclaims that Jesus is Christ and Jesus responds by giving him strict orders to tell no one. He therefore is the unrecognized Messiah. Mark wrote his gospel to a suffering and fearful faith community. He wrote to inspire faith in them. That is why Mark emphasizes Jesus' suffering to his readers so that they can relate and see that there is no glory without suffering. He therefore shows that in order to have true dominance one must first encounter suffering, just as Jesus had.
Matthew writes his gospel from a Jewish standpoint. He is careful to connect Jesus as the legitimate heir to the royal house of David in order to establish Jesus' Hebrew roots. Matthew often refers to Hebrew scripture to show Jesus as the fulfillment of the scriptures. He says that Jesus is God present with us. Jesus is portrayed as the new lawgiver in this gospel. He is a teacher who concentrates on the overall being of a person, meaning their actions as well as their thoughts. Matthew stresses that it is just as bad to think impurely as it is to act impure. Jesus has...