Discovering Jesus Through the Gospels
“And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20b, CSB).
Your day is filled with appointments to make, to-do lists to check off, errands to run, and meals to prepare. Before you know it, busyness is your rhythm, stress the undercurrent of your life. Instead of occupying your hours with music and podcasts, turning up the volume to drown out your noisy neighbors, what if you soaked in the truth of Matthew 28:20 – that Jesus is with you always?
To accept the promise that Jesus is with you is to believe that He is guiding you through each day, each moment, each pleasant surprise and bitter disappoint. When you look to The Gospels, the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, you discover the character of Jesus – someone who is deeply invested in the lives of real, messy, complicated people. Whether you’re getting to know Jesus for the first time, or have walked with Him for years, you’ll find renewal and strength in The Gospels. You’ll find the person of Jesus, ready to walk alongside you through every season of your life.
Matthew, the first book in the Gospels, was written by the apostle of the same name. While this book takes a strongly Jewish perspective, you’ll discover throughout its pages the life story of Jesus, following Him from birth to resurrection. He is the Messiah who fulfills the promises of the Old Testament. Matthew’s emphasis on Jesus as the Messiah reminds us through eye-witness accounts that Jesus lived as a human here on earth, caring for and serving those around Him. The same empathetic and compassionate Jesus present in this book is the Jesus who wants to be there for you. As Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (NIV).
Mark, written by John Mark, varies from Matthew in that it focuses more on Jesus as the Son of God. Reading through this Gospel and relating to Jesus as both human and divine will inspire worship, awe, and a renewed faith in Him. As Jesus announces in Mark 1:15, “The time has come…the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Throughout the pages of this book, you’ll encounter the good news over and over again. You’ll discover Jesus as someone who experienced emotion, hunger, and trials. You’ll also find Jesus’ explanation of His divinity, including His rejection, suffering, death, and resurrection (see 8:31.) Mark paints a glorious picture of Jesus as both man and God, One who knows us deeply and cares about each and every one of us.
Luke, the longest book in the New Testament, was written by a doctor named Luke, a friend and coworker of the Apostle Paul. (He is also mentioned in Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 24.) This Gospel is designed to strengthen the faith of believers by recalling the events of Jesus’ life in extreme detail. You’ll discover a Jesus who fulfills the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (4:18-19). You’ll also learn more about the Holy Spirit in this Gospel, which is a reassuring reminder that if you believe in God and have invited Him into your heart, you have the Holy Spirit dwelling within you and guiding you throughout the moments of your life. Not only is Jesus with you, but the entirety of the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit- are guiding, directing, and supporting you in every season.
John, the last book of the Gospels, was written by “the disciple Jesus loved” (see 13:23, 19:26, and 21:20). This Gospel varies from Matthew, Mark, and Luke in that is primary purpose is evangelistic, seeking to reach unbelievers with the Good News of Jesus. If you are investigating Christianity for the first time, are a new believer, or want to get back to basics, this is the Gospel for you. John 3:16-17 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (NIV). This Gospel will give you an in-depth picture of the life of Jesus and lay out His eternal sacrifice on the cross for your sins.
No matter what book of the Gospels you read, you’ll encounter Jesus as your guide, your ally, and your salvation. Allow the reminder that Jesus is with you to speak to you through the ups and downs of your life of faith. John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (NIV). He is with you in every season and will be there in the unknown seasons to come. As you discover Him more deeply by reading the books of the Gospels, you might just discover more about yourself.