The Gospel of Matthew: The Four Gospels as Social Media
I’m in the long process of writing a large 27 video series project about all 66 books of the Bible. The 27 videos will highlight at least one New Testament and one (or more) Old Testament Books. The videos could be classified as a “Intro to the Bible” series.
During the writing of these videos, I looked specifically at the Four Gospels and tried to simplify an intro for each gospel. And so was born, what I call “The Four Gospels as Social Media”. I wanted to compare the Four Gospels and how they relate to our understanding of Social Media because many people understand social media platforms, like Facebook or Twitter, better than the gospels.
Please understand, this is just a soft analogy and it’s not a literal or exact comparison.
The Gospel of Matthew
Written by Levi, who was also called Matthew, for a Jewish audience. The phrases and terminology used by Matthew in his gospel would have been easily understood by Jews who knew their religious history. Matthew proved that Jesus was from King David’s lineage and was the Messiah the nation of Israel was seeking. If one did not know anything about Judaism, one could still learn about Jesus and his kingship over Israel and the world. However, the better one knew about Judaism, the better one could (can) understand about The Gospel of Matthew.
The Gospel of Matthew is like Google+ as a social media example. Google+ is more difficult to understand and not many people use it, but once you learn it, most people enjoy it. Similar to Matthew’s Gospel. Not many people truly understand the phrases and layout found in Matthew. However, the better you understand Judaism, the more alive Matthew’s Gospel becomes. From a theological point of view, The Gospel of Matthew is more technical, but becomes extremely rich when you understand why Levi wrote the way he did. That is why I say the Gospel of Matthew is the Google+ of The Four Gospels as Social Media.
The Four Gospels as Social Media: A Short Recap
Mark: Written by John Mark, who went by his middle name. This is the first Gospel written. It’s also the shortest of the four Gospels. Mark probably wrote his Gospel at the request of the Apostle Peter while they were in Rome. This is important to know because of who Peter was and what Rome was like around 64 A.D. Peter was the impatient disciple. He wanted to do things immediately. Rome was the military center of the world in the first century. And everyone knows that military societies are about efficiency, speed and quickness.
Mark’s Gospel is not only the shortest of the four Gospels, but straight to the point. Jesus is Christ. Mark uses the word “immediately” 34 times in 16 chapters. The first century reader would understand his point: Accept Christ immediately and share his Gospel quickly, “time is a wasting”.
For this reason, I call the Gospel of Mark the Twitter of The Four Gospels as Social Media. When you send a message on Twitter (called a tweet), you only have 140 characters, not words, characters, to speak your mind. Do it now. Do it quickly.
Luke: Written by the Grecian physician Luke, he was also the Apostle Paul’s companion on many missionary journeys. Luke also wrote The Book of Acts, which provides a thorough history of the beginning of the church. The Gospel of Luke was written for a Grecian named Theophilus. It was intended for a Greek audience and Grecians loved to talk, read and “go deeper” into conversation.
They liked to paint a picture with their words, both verbally and on scrolls. It would be normal for a Grecian to spend all day researching, investigating, talking, sharing about their philosophy. After all, Greece was the intellectual center of the first century (and many others). So it is fitting that the only non-Jewish person to write in the New Testament was Grecian and that he wrote his gospel to a Gentile (non-Jewish) audience. Luke is, by far, the longest gospel of the four gospels. Luke’s gospel is like Youtube.
Youtube has staggeringly massive amounts of content.
For example, Youtube has over 1 billion users, has trillions of views each year, over 100 hours of content is loaded per minute. So by the time you finish reading this article, hundreds of hours of video are posted on Youtube. Hundreds of hours…in just a few minutes.
That’s a massive amount of information. The Gospel of Luke has a massive amount of information about Jesus being the “Son of Man”, aka the Savior of the world.
That is why I call The Gospel of Luke the Youtube of The Four Gospels as Social Media.
John: Written by the disciple whom Jesus loved, the Apostle John. John was the only disciple to die a natural death. He died in the late 90’s A.D., possibly in 100 A.D., of old age, on the island of Patmos, which was his “prison”. When he wrote the Gospel of John, he was the last remaining disciple of Jesus Christ. And he wrote it about 30 years AFTER the last gospel was written.
So there was a gap of almost 30 years from Matthew, Mark & Luke’s Gospel’s to John’s Gospel. A lot can happen in 30 years…and a lot did happen. Most notably: Israel was completely destroyed and disbanded by the descendants of Ishmael who were soldiers in the Roman Empire. Israel, as a nation, was wiped off the face of the earth in 70 A.D. However, after World War II in 1948, which was 1, 878 years later, Israel was re-established as an independent nation.
Matthew’s Gospel was written for a Jewish audience. Mark’s Gospel was written for a Roman audience. Luke’s Gospel was written for a Greek audience. John’s Gospel, however, was different.
John, being the loving 90 something year-old man that he was, wrote his gospel, to the entire world. His book was penned for everyone on the face of the earth. Jew. Italian. Greek. Viking. Celtic. Thai. Chinese. African. Russian. Atheist. Satanist. Animist. Everyone. Everywhere. The Gospel of John is, hands down, the easiest and most beautifully written gospel.
He wrote, like I stated above, like your 90 year old grandfather would write to his children, grandchildren and great-great-great-great-grandhildren (I could keep going, but you get the point).
His book was like Facebook.
It was meant for the world. Everyone. Everywhere. Facebook is the most popular and easiest to use social media platform of them all. That is why I call The Gospel of John the Facebook of The Four Gospels of Social Media.
(Note: Please understand that I fully believe all the Gospels are meant for everyone, everywhere. This is just a simple analogy to help people learn the purpose of each Gospel in relation to four social media platforms.)