The three Synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, give us three independent accounts of the Person, life and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are called synoptic because they are so similar to each other. Why does God’s Holy Spirit give us three similar accounts? There are many reasons, but not least is to demonstrate that the story of the life of Christ is not simply one man’s fantasy story about an imaginary miracle worker, but being separately documented by three independent writers the reality of His Person and work is demonstrated.
The fourth account of the life of Christ is the Gospel written by John. It is a more theological treatment of His Person and teaching, explaining the meaning of His death and resurrection by Jesus’ close friend and acquaintance, the apostle John. John continues the story after His resurrection with the glorious scenes in the book of Revelation. In his three epistles he gives us the ethos of Christianity – love – as he learned it directly from the lips of Jesus Christ.
The fifth testimony to Christ is by the apostle Paul, who bore testimony to the risen, exalted and glorified Christ by his remarkable conversion on the road to Damascus, recorded by Luke in the Acts of the Apostles, both historically and from the lips of Paul himself. Paul’s remarkable conversion from persecutor of Christians to the foremost apostle of Christ confounded his critics, and his faithful and zealous life of Christian service testifies to the reality of the risen Lord. If anyone would know if Christ’s dead body had been stolen, it would be Paul. Instead he preached boldly the resurrection of Christ and the doctrines which flow naturally from so important a fact.
The sixth account is by the prophet Isaiah whose prophecy, written hundreds of years before Jesus was born, describes most vividly and theologically the meaning of Christ’s atoning death – to such an extent that it has been called the fifth Gospel. The account in Isaiah 52:14-53:12 is a graphic account of Christ’s death with a theological explanation of its atoning purpose and achievement.
The seventh testimony is the whole Old Testament record, which foretells and explains the Person, life and work of Christ, showing that the Saviour Whom God would send into this world is both divine and human – the Son of God and the Son of man.
‘Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift’ 2Cor 9:15.
‘For the wages due to sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’ Rom 6:23.