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The four writers of the gospels bearing their names are four diverse and fascinating men chosen by God to author them. MATTHEW was one of the twelve disciples, a tax collector. He left all to follow Jesus and gave the Lord a great feast, Luke 5:28-29. With his change of heart, he likely had a change of name from Levi to Matthew “the gift of the Lord.” The irony is that one with an unpatriotic occupation and despised by the Jews was the one to pen a gospel to the Jews about their king. Matthew’s writings reflect his background as he “collected” material for his gospel and was quite detailed and highly organized. He used numbers frequently and referred to money more than the other gospel writers. Tax collectors wrote in a form of shorthand so that they could have recorded person’s words as they spoke. The lengthy discourses found in Matthew’s gospel may be actual transcripts. MARK or John Mark, likely the young man of Mark 14:51-52, wrote the second gospel. He had both Jewish and Roman names so his father may have been a Roman. Many believe he wrote to a Roman audience. He is remembered for both his failure and his faithfulness. He first served with Paul and Barnabas his cousin, Colossians 4:10, until he unexpectedly returned home, losing Paul’s confidence in him. Eventually, he assisted Peter, I Peter 5:13, and with Peter’s permission, he recorded the first-hand recollections of Peter. Finally, he became the trusted fellow worker of Paul, Colossians 4:10-11, Philemon 24, who specifically requested for him to come, II Timothy 4:11. Mark’s background of service is reflected in this gospel as he portrays Jesus as the servant of God, Mark 10:45, and gives an action-packed narrative of the Lord’s ministry. LUKE, the author of the third gospel, was a Jew, an associate of Paul, probably writing his two-volume work, “Luke” and “Acts” for a defense for Paul who was under house arrest, Acts 28:30. Luke was an absolutely accurate historian. Luke was also a physician, who wrote about people in all their human traits and emotions. He noted the births of John and Jesus, and the one boyhood experience of Jesus. He noted human touches about the Lord, such as the Spirit acting upon Him and His agonizing in prayer. JOHN, the last of the gospel writers, was one of the twelve disciples, who modestly referred to himself as the “disciple whom Jesus loved.” John was a fisherman with his father Zebedee’s fish business, Mark 1:20. When Jesus called John to follow Him, he and his brother James were mending nets, Matthew 4:21. This fact seems to be reflected in his writings of encouraging and repairing relationships. His distinctively unique gospel is the only one designated as an evangelistic gospel, John 20:30-31. And yet it delves into the riches of deeper spiritual truths of the Lord, such as His deity and His great love. These four men wrote these powerful, life-changing portraits of Christ.
The gospels that bear the names Matthew and John were written by the apostles Matthew and John, respectively. We are not sure whether they wrote them personally or dictated them to a scribe. As for the gospels according to Luke and Mark, these were written by the close disciples of Paul and Peter, respectively, named Luke and Mark.
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