Posts Tagged ‘reflections’

Throughout the history of the written Bible, scholars have long noted the unique qualities each of the Gospels display in their presentation of Christ. Each of the 4 Gospels presents a different aspect of our Lord, all the while giving an accurate account of His life and teaching.

One such example is the phrase “Kingdom of Heaven”. The only place in the entire Bible that the term Kingdom of Heaven is used is in the book of Matthew, and it happens 32 times! What is the Apostle Matthew conveying to us in his usage of “Heaven”? The other Gospels, and the rest of the Bible uses the term “Kingdom of God”, even in parallel passages where the other Gospels use Kingdom of God, Matthew will use Kingdom of Heaven. One good example is in the Beatitudes….

Matt. 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Luke 6:20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be yepoor: for yours is the kingdom of God.

…. and there are many more.

Another interesting reflection of Christ portrayed differently in a parallel passage of the Gospel of Matt. then it is in Luke, is where Matthew speaks of confessing Christ before “my Father which is in heaven”, whereas Luke relates the same event but uses very different wording. Luke uses the words of confessing Christ before “the angels of God” giving a different reflection on the same teaching. The color that Matthew seems to be painting is one of a very personal nature. He speaks of “my Father in heaven”, giving the teaching a very intimate touch, whereas in Luke it is comes across as more of a “reporting the facts” tone in keeping with the theme of the Gospel of man.

Luke 12:6-10 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.

Matt. 10:29-33 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

Another wonderful example of Matthew’s personal tone is found again in parallel passages of Matthew, Mark and Luke where we see that once again Matthew refers to God as “my Father”, whereas in the other two Gospels it says Kingdom of God.

Matt.26:29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.

Mark 14:25 Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.

Luke 22:18 For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.

There are numerous examples such as these that the Bible Wheel greatly exemplifies, displaying the unique qualities of the Gospels by the way the books line up on the Spokes which are each governed by a specific Hebrew letter. http://www.biblewheel.com/default.asp

Another occurrence of differences in the parallel passages, that adds great depth to our understanding of Jesus through the eyes of the Gospel writers is in this account where Matthew mentions “my Father in heaven” and “kingdom of heaven” whereas the parallel passage in Mark does not. This once again displays the emphasized usage of Father, and Heaven found only in the Gospel of Matthew, giving us an intimate reflection of Christ through the eyes of Matthew.

Matt. 16:15-20 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 20.) Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

Mark 8:29-30 And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ. ————–> 30.) And he charged them that they should tell no man of him.

Another point to note in these two parallel passages between Matthew and Mark, is that Mark being well noted as the “Gospel that runs” continues to be true to his character displaying a very condensed version of this account of Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Christ.

Again we see a parallel passage in the Gospels in which Matthew speaks of “my Father in heaven” and the parallel passage uses another term. In this case it is Mark who uses the term “will of God” instead of Matthews “will of my Father which is in heaven”, once more showing us in subtle ways the reflection of intimate reverence that colors Matthew’s Gospel.

Matt. 12:50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

Mark 3:35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

The grand finale occurs in the Garden of Gethsemane, as we have seen in other parallel verses, Matthew shows an intimate reverence when recording the Words of Christ as He speaks to His Father. In this grand finale of events, which has parallel verses in all the Gospels, once again we see Matthew’s choice of words to be in keeping with the theme of personal reverence that has been displayed in many other parallel verses throughout the Gospels.

Matt. 26:36-44 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh weak. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

Mark 14:32-41 And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak. And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words. And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer him. And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

Luke 22:39-46 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

Reverence of the Father which the Gospel of Matthew displays by using the term “my Father” is wrapped up in the theme of “Righteousness” that is the hallmark of Matthew’s Gospel on Spoke 18, which is governed by the Hebrew letter “Tzaddi”, meaning righteousness http://www.biblewheel.com/Wheel/Spokes/Tzaddi_God.asp.

Righteousness colors the Gospel of Matthew in many ways, first being the dominant usage of the word righteousness above all the other Gospels, occurring 15 times compared to 5 times or less in the other Gospels. Then there is the inclusion of righteousness in at least 7 of the parallel passages, that is left out in the other Gospels.

Here is another passage in Matthew, colored once again by his personification of God, speaking in reverential terms by calling Him “my Father“.

Matt.24:35-36 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my (mou) Father only.

Mark 13:31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.

In looking at the account of the betrayal of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels, again only in Matthew is the term “my Father” used, but what really blew me away was when I noticed that in the account of the servant of the high priests whose ear was cut off, only in the Gospel of Luke (the physician) does it mention that Jesus touched his ear and “healed” it!

Matt. 26:51-56 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.

Mark 14:47-50 And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me? I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled. And they all forsook him, and fled.

Luke 22:50 And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him. Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves? When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.

The Gospel pallet truly paints a magnificent picture of our Lord!

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