The Old Testament fully answered the question that God asked after man had sinned, “Where art thou?” Under conscience, under promise, under law, under judge, king, priest, and prophet, man was at a distance from God; he was helpless and hopeless under the power of sin and self.
We open the New Testament to find that it is “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”
Here we remember that the Redeemer was to be of the seed of Abraham, of the house of David, and the two great covenants of the Old Testament were made by God with those two men.
The throne of Israel was forever secured to the family of David by the covenant God made with David; and the covenant with Abraham pledged blessing for all the families of the earth through his seed. The introduction to Matthew, therefore, gives the key to this book. In it we will find that Jesus Christ presented Himself as son of David; where His claim was made good, and was rejected by the Jews. Then His grace went out to the Gentiles that they might be blessed as children of Abraham by faith.
Jesus first public appearance as King was at the river Jordan where John was baptizing a little company of penitent ones. Immediately after His baptism, Jesus was “led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.” Matt. 4:1
It is only fitting that Matthew was called upon to write this gospel, portraying Jesus as the “King of Israel”, since he was a servant of the king under Roman rule, a lowly and despised tax collector.
Having won the victory over the devil, Jesus announced the law and constitution of His Kingdom. This proclamation in the fifth, sixth and, seventh chapters of Matthew is known as the ‘Sermon on the Mount’; the last presentation of the King to His nation took place during the Passover week when He went with His disciples to Jerusalem.
Mark emphasized the traits and deeds of our Lord that revealed Him as the perfect Servant of Jehovah for the needs of man.
The key verse is: “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
The method that Mark emphasizes in this gospel suggests one of the most gracious characteristics of the perfect servant which Mark delighted to dwell on. It is the touch of Jesus: “He took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her”. Mark 1:31
The main theme of Luke is the redemption brought by our Kinsman-Redeemer, incarnation of God.
If God was to be the redeemer of men, He must become a “partaker of flesh and blood”; He must become “near of kin” to have the right of redemption. See: Leviticus 25:25, “If your brother has become poor and has sold some of his property, if any of his kin comes to redeem it, he shall [be allowed to] redeem what his brother has sold”.
Luke emphasized in every way His perfection as the Son of man, the Savior of all who believe and receive Him.
Then Jesus prophesied that the grace which they would not accept should go out to the Gentiles.
Luke alone told of the sending forth of the seventy with a message that was not limited to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel”.
Christ condensed the message of the Third Gospel in one wonderful sentence: “for the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost”. Luke 19:10
The purpose of the fourth Gospel is declared in chapter twenty (20), verse thirty-one (31): “These (signs) are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through His name”. John 20:31
In the first chapter of John, Jesus was recognized as Messiah, Son of God, King of Israel; and to the woman at the well in the fourth chapter He revealed Himself as the long promised Messiah.
Within a few verses in the fifth chapter, He declared six times that He was sent of the Father; that all He did and said was as the Servant of God. While His humanity was not so emphasized as in Luke, there are statements and incidents that prove conclusively that He was very man: “Jesus, therefore, being wearied with His journey, sat thus on the well”. John 4:6
John alone told of Jesus weeping with Mary at the grave of Lazarus, and of His tender solicitude for His mother as He hung on the cross.
In the book of John Jesus centered the truths in Himself: “I am” was the dominant note. “I am” was the name by which God declared Himself when He was about to redeem His people from Egypt. This name was so sacred to the Jews, they would not pronounce it; yet Jesus publicly claimed this redemption name as His own.
The effect on the Jews showed how clearly they understood the magnitude of His claim. They did not believe that He was Jehovah, therefore, they “took up stones to cast at Him” for the sin of blasphemy. John 8:58, 59
Bibliography: From Genesis to Revelation: An Outline of The Bible’s Whole Contents – Mildred Berry