I spent three wonderful years preparing for ministry at Columbia Theological Seminary. One of the first parts of the Bible that we focused on in seminary was The Gospels. We began by diving into the “Synoptic Gospels” (Mark, Matthew, and Luke … in that order). A little later in our training, we spent time in John.
We learned how Mark can serve as an outline for Matthew and Luke, and how these other two writers added some wonderful details to Mark’s bare bones skeleton of the life of Jesus. We then discovered for ourselves how John, writing maybe a generation later, presupposes a knowledge of the basic story told by the other three, as he completes the portrait of our Lord and Savior’s life and work.
One interesting similarity in these four accounts of the life of Jesus, is that each one the writers devotes at least one quarter of their whole gospel to the events surrounding the last week in the earthly life of Jesus:
Matthew starts this crucial week in chapter 21 (Matthew 21:1-28:20)
Mark picks up the story in chapter 11 (Mark 11:1-16:20)
Luke gets to the Sunday before Easter in chapter 19 (Luke 19:29-24:53)
and John marks the occasion with a reference in chapter 12 (John 12:12-21:25)
Over the week to come, we will be following the Holy Week action in Matthew’s account.
For today, we might want to think if the activities in any one week in our lives would merit a quarter of our biography. We also might want to pick up our Bible and read how one of the gospel writers noted what was so significant about the life/death/and resurrection of Jesus.
Wonderful God, as I stand on the brink of Holy Week, open my mind and soul to appreciate the depth of Your love as it was displayed in my Lord and Savior Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.