Synoptic Gospels




Copyrighted © 2014 John Monyjok Maluth


Shakespir Edition


Discipleship Press

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Unit 1: The Gospel According to Matthew

Unit 2: The Gospel According to Mark

Unit 3: The Gospel According to Luke


The term Synoptic Gospels refers to the first three Gospels namely; Matthew Mark and Luke. Synoptic as a term comes from two different Latin words meaning seeing together because sync means together and optic is seeing.

These three Gospels recorded the life of Jesus Christ in a very similar way that means many accounts about Jesus and his teachings are similar in these Gospels.

However, despite the similarity in the three Gospels, there are also serious differences on the same events and this is what the Biblical Scholars called the Synoptic Problem a study section in Synoptic Gospels.

The message

The message of the Synoptic Gospels is Jesus Christ because the Gospels tell us about who Jesus Christ is including what he said and did. They are the history of Jesus Christ in different versions or different perspectives.

Matthew tells us more about who Jesus was based on his viewpoint; Mark and Luke did the same thing because they also narrate the same events and stories about the life and teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.

According to Matthew, Jesus Christ was the long expected Messiah the Hebrew word meaning the anointed one of the LORD also translated from that Hebrew word to Christ the Greek word with the same meaning.

Because of Matthew’s view of who Jesus is, he used many of the Old Testament passages of scripture to tell his Jewish hearers and readers that Jesus is indeed the Messiah of whom they have been waiting for.

Jesus is truly the King of the Jews according to Matthew and Matthew’s account tells us that Jesus was from the line of King David as Messiah was also known to come from the descendants of King David.

According Mark, Jesus Christ was the Servant Son of God. Mark was writing to the gentiles in Rome while Matthew was writing to the Jews in Judea. Mark presents Jesus Christ as the suffering Son of God who chose to serve instead of being served.

Mark began his Gospel account with no delay. He began very rapidly saying that “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Mark 1:1).

Mark assumed that his hearers or readers have heard of Jesus and he has no time to tell who Jesus was or how he was born and other information like what Luke and Matthew did.

His focus is the deeds and preaching of Jesus. Mark does not tell who Jesus is based on his parents or background but who Jesus is in power and in action – words and deeds.

Luke on the other hand tells us that Jesus is the Savior of the world.

Luke tells us how Jesus was born in more details and it also gives us the account or the genealogy of Jesus Christ from the line of Mary while Matthew give us the genealogy from the line of Joseph and all these accounts point to King David of Israel.

In Matthew’s account, Jesus was the expected Messiah the King of the Jews. In Mark’s account, Jesus is the suffering servant and the Son of God; and in Luke, Jesus is the Savior of the whole world.

We can conclude that the three Gospels were written by three different people with different viewpoints of who Jesus was.

All these points from these different people are all true because Jesus Christ was and is indeed the King of the universe and he is indeed the servant of God and men in many ways. Jesus is also the Savior of the world according to Luke.

We Christians believe that these accounts given by the three Gospels and by John are true historical accounts that Jesus Christ was indeed a real person who lived on earth 2000 years ago.

However, despite all these evidences, there are thousands of people living on earth today who cannot afford believing in the reality of Jesus Christ. Many videos and documentaries have been prepared by unbelievers to disqualify the Biblical accounts of a man called Jesus.

The fact that Christ’s account was written by different authors from different viewpoints is the sure sign that he existed. Paul in 1 Corinthian 15 tells us more about Jesus that he died and rose again to life and Paul himself was an eyewitness of the glorious Lord, Jesus Christ.

There are four different Gospel accounts in the New Testament and we believe that these accounts are true about Jesus of Nazareth.

But what is the Gospel? The Gospel is the good news for sinners because God loves the world of sinners if they can only repent and get saved (John 3:16; Romans 10:8-9).

When we preach the Good News we are preaching the Gospel of Christ to the lost world and whoever listens and believes in Christ will surely have eternal life in his name (John 20:31; 1John 5:13).

Anyone who believes in Christ Jesus is already a child of God (John 1:12-14). Jesus was God who became a human and he lived on earth among men (John 1:14). He is the only mediator between God and mankind (1Timothy 2:5-6). Believe in him and you will be saved from the power of sin and death – eternal death in the lake of fire.

Unit 1: The Gospel According To Matthew

Historical background

The historical background of any biblical book includes the author, date, place and the audience or recipients of the book or letter. It also includes the purpose and setting of the book.

The purpose of the Gospel according to Matthew is to “Prove that Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal King” and its author was Matthew also known as Levi who was the tax collector (Matthew 9:9). Matthew the Gospel was directed to the Jewish readers. It was written around 60-65 AD.

p<>{color:#000;}. Birth and preparation of Jesus the King (Matthew 1:1 – 4:11)

Meaning – The people of Israel were waiting for the Messiah, their king. Matthew begins his book by showing how Jesus Christ was a descendant of David. But Matthew goes on to show that God did not send Jesus to be an earthly king, but a heavenly king.

His Kingdom would be much greater than David’s because it would never end. Even at Jesus’ birth, many recognized him as king. Herod, the ruler, as well as Satan, was afraid of Jesus’ kingship and tried to stop him, but others worshipped him and brought royal gifts. We must be willing to recognize Jesus for who he really is and worship him as king of our lives.

p<>{color:#000;}. Message and ministry of Jesus the king (Matthew 4:12 – 25:46)

Meaning – Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount, directions for living in his kingdom. He also told many parables about the difference between his kingdom and the kingdoms of earth.

Forgiveness, peace, and putting others first are some of the characteristics that make one great in the future kingdom of God. And to be great in God’s kingdom, we must live by God’s standards right now. Jesus came to show us how to live as faithful subjects in his kingdom.

p<>{color:#000;}. Death and resurrection of Jesus the King (Matthew 26:1 – 28:20)

Meaning – Jesus was formally presented to the nation of Israel, but rejected. How strange for the king to be accused, arrested, and crucified. But Jesus demonstrated his power even over death through his resurrection, and gained access for us into his kingdom. With all this evidence that Jesus is God’s Son, we, too, should accept him as our Lord.


Jesus Christ, the King – Jesus is revealed as the King of kings. His miraculous birth, his life and teaching, his miracles, and his triumph over death show his true identity. The important thing about this theme is that Jesus cannot be equated with any person or power.

He is the supreme ruler of time and eternity, heaven and earth, humans and angels. We should give him his rightful place as king of our lives.

The Messiah – Jesus was the Messiah, the One for whom the Jews had waited to deliver them from Roman oppression. Yet, tragically, they didn’t recognize him when he came because his kingship was not what they expected.

The true purpose of God’s anointed deliver was to die for all people to free them from sin’s oppression.

The important thing about this theme is that because Jesus was sent by God, we can trust him with our lives. It is worth everything we have to acknowledge him and give ourselves to him, because he came to be our Messiah, our Savior.

Kingdom of God – Jesus came to earth to begin his kingdom. His full kingdom will be realized at his return and will be made up of anyone who faithfully followed him.

The importance of this theme is that the way to enter God’s kingdom is by faith – believing in Christ to save us from sin and change our lives. We must do the work of his kingdom now to be prepared for his return.

Teachings – Jesus taught the people through sermons, illustrations and parables. Through his teachings, he showed the true ingredients of faith and how to guard against fruitless and hypocritical life.

The importance of this theme is that Jesus’ teachings show us how to prepare for life in eternal kingdom by living properly right now. He lived what he taught, and we too must practice what we teach.

Unit 2: The Gospel According To Mark

Historical background

The purpose of this Gospel is to present the person, work and teachings of Jesus. The author of this Gospel is John Mark who was not one of the disciples but worked with Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:13).

The book was written to the Christians in Rome. The place of writing is also believed to be in Rome and not in Jerusalem. The date of writing this book was between 55 and 65 AD.

p<>{color:#000;}. Preparation of Jesus, the Servant (Mark 1:1-13)

Meaning – Jesus did not arrive unannounced or unexpected. The Old Testament prophets had clearly depicted the coming of the great One, sent by God himself, who would offer salvation and eternal peace to Israel and the entire world.

Then came John the Baptist, who announced that the long-awaited Messiah had finally come and would soon be among the people. In God’s work in the world today, Jesus does not come unannounced or unexpected. Yet many still reject him. We have the witness of the Bible, but some choose to ignore it, just as many ignored John the Baptist in his day.

p<>{color:#000;}. Message and ministry of Jesus the Servant (Mark 1:14 – 13:37)

Meaning – Jesus had all the power of Almighty God – he raised the dead, gave sight to the blind, restore deformed bodies, and quieted stormy seas. But with all this power, Jesus came to mankind as a servant. We can use his life as a pattern for how to live today. As Jesus served God and others, so should we.

p<>{color:#000;}. Death and resurrection of Jesus, the Servant (Mark 14:1 – 16:16-20)

Meaning – Jesus came as a servant, so many did not recognize him or acknowledge him as the Messiah. We, too, must be careful we don’t reject God or his will because he doesn’t quite fit our image of what God should be.


Jesus Christ – Jesus Christ alone is the Son of God. In Mark, Jesus demonstrates his divinity by overcoming disease, demons, and death. Although he had the power to be king of the earth, Jesus chose to obey the Father and die for us.

The importance of this theme is that when Jesus rose from the dead, he proved that he was God, that he could forgive sin, and that he has the power to change our lives. By trusting in him for forgiveness, we can begin a new life with him as our guide.

Servant – as the Messiah, Jesus fulfilled the prophesies of the Old Testament by coming to earth. He did not come as a conquering king; he came as a servant. He helped mankind by telling them about God and healing them. Even more, by giving his life as a sacrifice for sin, he did the ultimate act of service. Because of Jesus’ example, we should be willing to serve God and others. Real greatness in Christ’s kingdom is shown by service and sacrifice. Ambition or love of power or position should not be our motive; instead, we should do God’s work because we love him.

Miracles – Mark record more of Jesus’ miracles than sermons. Jesus is clearly a man of power and action, not just words. Jesus did miracles to convince the people who he was and to teach the disciples his true identity as God.

The importance of this theme is that the more convinced we become that Jesus is God, the more we will see his power and his love. His mighty works show us he is able to save anyone regardless of his or her past. His miracles of forgiveness bring healing, wholeness, and changed lives to those who trust him.

Spreading the Gospel – Jesus directed his public ministry to the Jews first. When the Jewish leaders opposed him, Jesus also went to the non-Jewish world, healing and preaching. Roman soldiers, Syrians and other gentiles heard the Good News. Many believed and followed him.

Jesus’ final message to his disciples challenged them to go into all the world and preach the gospel of salvation. The importance of this theme in Mark is that Jesus crossed national, racial, and economic barriers to spread his Good News.

Jesus’ message faith and forgiveness is for the whole world – not just our church, neighborhood, or nation. We must reach out beyond our own people and needs to fulfill the world-wide vision of Jesus Christ that people everywhere might hear this great message and be saved from sin and death.

Unit 3: The Gospel According To Luke

Historical background

The purpose of this book is to present an orderly account of the life of Christ and to present Christ as the perfect human and Savior.

The author of this book was Doctor Luke who was the Greek and Gentile Christian. The book was directed to Theophilus an unknown person whose name means ‘one who loves God’ and the same Luke wrote the book of Acts. The book was written about 60 AD and the place of writing is Rome or possibly Caesarea.

p<>{color:#000;}. Birth and preparation of Jesus the Savior (Luke 1:1 – 4:13)

Meaning – From an infant who could do nothing on his own, Jesus grew to become completely able to fulfill his mission on earth. He was fully human, developing in all ways like us.

Yet he remained fully God. He took no shortcuts and was not isolated from the pressures and temptations of life. There are no shortcuts for us either as we prepare for a life of service to God.

p<>{color:#000;}. Message and Ministry of Jesus the Savior (Luke 4:14 – 21:38)

Meaning – Jesus taught great crowds of people, especially through parables, which are stories with great truths. But only those with ears to hear will understand.

We should pray that God’s Spirit would help us understand the implications of these truths for our lives so we can become more and more like Jesus.

p<>{color:#000;}. Death and Resurrection of Jesus, the Savior (Luke 22:1 – 24:53)

Meaning – The Savior of the world was arrested and executed. But death could not destroy him, and Jesus came back to life and ascended to heaven. In Luke’s careful, historical account, we receive the facts about Jesus’ resurrection.

We must not only believe that these facts are true, but we must also trust Christ as our Savior. It is shortsighted to neglect the facts, but how sad it is to accept the facts and neglect the forgiveness that Jesus offers to each of us.


Jesus Christ, the Savior – Luke describes how God’s Son entered human history. Jesus lived as the perfect example of a human. After a perfect ministry, he provided a perfect sacrifice for our sin so we could be saved.

The important thing about this theme is that Jesus is our perfect leader and Savior. He offers forgiveness to all who will accept him as Lord of their lives and believe that what he says is true.

History – Luke was a medical Doctor and Historian. He put great emphasis on dates and details, connecting Jesus to events and people in history. The importance of this theme in Luke is that, Luke gives details so we can believe in the reliability of the history of Jesus’ life. Even more important, we can believe with certainty that Jesus is God.

People – Jesus was deeply interested in people and relationships. He showed warm concern for his followers and friends – men, women, and children.

The importance of this theme is that Jesus’ love for people is good news for everyone. His message is for all people in every nation. Each one of us has an opportunity to respond to him in faith.

Compassion – As a perfect human, Jesus showed tender sympathy to the poor, the despised, the hurt, and the sinful. No one was rejected or ignored by him.

And the importance of this theme in Luke is that Jesus is more than an ideal person or teacher – he cares for you. Only this kind of deep love can satisfy your need.

Holy Spirit – The Holy Spirit was present at Jesus’ birth, baptism, ministry, and resurrection. As a perfect example for us, Jesus lived in dependence on the Holy Spirit.

The importance of this theme is that, The Holy Spirit was sent by God as confirmation of Jesus’ authority. The Holy Spirit is given to enable people to live for Christ. By faith we can have the Holy Spirit’s presence and power to witness and to serve.


We have come to the end of our Biblical Study Course known as the Synoptic Gospels. I hope you have understood the message of this course – Jesus Christ. The history in the three Gospels is all about Jesus Christ. There is only one Gospel recorded differently by four different men – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

According to Matthew, Jesus is the Messiah the King of the Jews. To Mark, Jesus is the suffering Servant, and still to Doctor Luke, Jesus is the Savior of the world.

According to John, Jesus is more than a king, more than a servant and more than a savior because He is the Great I AM, the God of heaven and earth. Read the Gospels and learn more about who Jesus really is to you.


Blanchard, J. (2004). Luke Comes Alive!. UAS: Evangelical Press.

Cole, A. R. (1999). Mark. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Inter-Varsity Press.

France, R.T (1985). Matthew. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Inter-Varsity Press.

Life Application Study Bible. (1997). New International Version. Illinois, USA: Tyndale House Publishers

Morris, L. (2000). Luke. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Inter-Varsity Press.

Synoptic Gospels

  • ISBN: 9781310099441
  • Author: Discipleship Press
  • Published: 2016-01-29 19:50:09
  • Words: 3311
Synoptic Gospels Synoptic Gospels