The Significance Of The Gospels Essay

3451 words - 14 pages

The gospels are fours accounts that depict the life, the teachings and the miracles of Jesus Christ. The common purpose and theme of these gospels is to spread the good news about Jesus. These 4 gospels are called Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The writers of these gospels are known as the evangelists. These gospels are a staple to the Catholic faith. Through reading the gospels, Catholics today can grow closer to God through Jesus and learn important lessons that Jesus taught during this period. One of the most important lessons Jesus taught is to love thy neighbor. These gospels were written from 50AD to 90AD and come about through three stages.
The first stage of the Gospels was the physical teachings of Jesus. Jesus was able to teach people important lessons to apply to their own lives. These lessons are important to the Catholic faith. Jesus was able to do this through the use of performing miracles, telling parables and preaching. Many were able to witness these acts and remember them, including his disciples. Some disciples, such as John, were able to record some documentation on the life of Jesus. The time period of this stage is approximately starts when Jesus is born (4BC) to when he dies (30AD). The reason these gospels were not recorded is because people felt no need as Jesus was still alive. In addition to this, when Jesus died, some follower expected his return to be immediate, hence there being no reason for his teachings to be recorded.
Following this time period, was the second stage of the gospels. This was known as the oral period. The Oral Period dated from 30AD-70AD. During this period, the teaching of Jesus was spread by word of mouth. This oral period started with the Apostles who spread the Good News after Jesus’ death. These teachings were passed down through generations. When these stories were passed down, some aspects may have changed which is why some accounts vary. Nevertheless, these accounts contain similar ideas and messages, which links them together. Many of the people who heard these stories were not able to read or write so were not able to record any accounts.
After the Oral Period came the third stage of the Gospels. This stage was called the period of the Evangelists. This stage went from 50AD-90AD. The third stage involved the recording and writing of the gospels. This stage also involved the collecting and editing of the gospels. There were many writings and to make it into the bible the gospels had to pass as cannon. This mean it had to pass a certain criterion so that the gospel proved to be reliable. The four pieces of criteria to pass cannon were called Apostolicity, Catholicity, Tradition and Orthodoxy. Apostolicity mean that that the piece of writing had to be written by either an Apostle or someone who was associated with an Apostle. Catholicity meant that the writing was relevant to the Catholic religion and had a message that could apply to all aspect of the faith. Tradition meant that the book had a known history and orthodoxy meant there was no error or heresy involved. These three stages show how thorough the gospel are because through the collaboration of many and multiple sources with similar stories, the gospels validity could be proven. The reason that the Evangelists took a long time to write the gospels was because they believed Jesus’ return would be imminent. as the gospels were written very thoroughly, the Evangelists were able to clearly show through their writing that Jesus was the Son of God and the savior from all sins. An example of this is through Jesus’ parables. One of his parables, the prodigal son, teaches us that if we turn to sin and away from God, we can still be forgiven and be welcomed back into the kingdom of God. Luke 15:23-24; Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.
The four gospels are called Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The synoptic Gospels are those of Matthew, Mark and Luke. This means that these gospels have multiple similarities and have parallels of the same story. The synoptic problem show the parallels of the gospels Matthew, Mark and Luke and how each of these gospels contains some of the same stories. This is a problem because some of these stories contain different messages and it raises the question of what is the lesson to be learnt from the story. Also, features of the story can vary from each gospel so there is debate in which story is true. In addition this this, some of these stories are ordered differently in each gospel which can make it difficult to conclude the sequence of events. Source Q is supposedly a source shared by Matthew and Luke when writing their gospels. It is unsure whether or not this document exists as there is no proof. It is believed that this document came from Mark. The reason for this speculation is that it is believed that Mark wrote the first gospel and many of the stories written by Mark are similar to Matthew and Luke’s. An example showing these gospels similarity is the verses of the Baptism of Jesus, which share the same idea and story across the synoptic Gospels.
It is believed that the first gospel written was the Gospel according to Mark around 70AD. The Gospel of Mark was written by an anonymous source. The gospel was named after John Mark, Peter the Apostles companion and interpreter. It is believed that he could be responsible for some source material in this Gospel, but historian do not believe he is the writer. The audience for this Gospel were the Christians who were facing persecution in Rome at the time and facing strife from the destruction of Jerusalem. This was under the rule of Emperor Nero, who shared different views to Christian belief. At this time of persecution, it was hoped that those who would read the gospel would grow faith in Jesus be have hope that better times would come. The main purpose of the Gospel of Mark was to give hope and light to Christian during dark times. An important lesson can be learn through reading of Jesus’ miracles. Through learning Jesus was there to help those who were suffering, persecuted Christians could believe that Jesus would do the same for them. This Gospels audience also including Greek-speaking Gentiles as this gospel was written in Greek. In this Gospel, Jesus is portrayed as a healer through his miracles and the powerful messages that provoked. These miracles are seen in scripture reading such as Mark 8:22-25 (Jesus heals a blind man) and Mark 5:21-43 (Jesus heals a women with 12-year haemorrhaging). The gospel of Mark is known as the Gospel of miracles for this abundance of miracle stories. Another theme in this Gospel is the importance of Jesus’ death and resurrection. This can be shown as it is predicted three times by Jesus himself that he will die. It is believed that the Gospel of Mark is source Q, which is a source by the writers of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
The Gospel of John is the only Gospel that is not part of the synoptic Gospels. John’s Gospel is considered different to those of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as different some stories of Jesus’ life are included. It is believed that this Gospel was written in 90AD and that it was written in Greece or Western Turkey. The writer of this Gospel is anonymous but is generally attributed to the Apostle John who was one of the original 12 disciples. This Gospel was written for non-Gentile Christians. During the time this was written, the Christians had been through the hardships of losing their temple in Jerusalem and were starting to stray from Christianity. This meant that they weren’t regularly attending Church or Synagogues. The writer of this Gospel hoped that through this Gospel, they would be able to restore Christians in their faith and tradition. The purpose of this Gospel was to show Jesus as a divine human being who could bring light and forgiveness into people’s lives. This belief was vital for Christians to hold during this time. He was able to achieve this through his use of ‘I am’ statements. These statements include ‘I am the bread of life’ (John 6:51), ‘I am the light of the world’ (John 8:12) and ‘I am the true vine’ (John 15:1). Through these statements, the Gospel writer was using proverbial and symbolic truth. These statements were able to depict Jesus as the son of God. Through him, Christians can be led to and grow closer to God. An importance theme present in this Gospel is the importance of being one with Jesus.
The Gospels contain many types of truth and these truths can be used as the foundations of all Catholic teaching. These truths are symbolic truth, proverbial truth, historic truth, scientific truth, moral truth and religious truth. Symbolic truth is told through the use of parable and symbols in the bible. To find these truths, Catholics have to read between the lines and comprehend the meaning of them. An example of this is the parable of the lost sheep found in Luke 15, “‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” The lost sheep is a symbol of a sinner who turns away from God. This symbol tells us the truth that God will rescue us from sin and forgive us for our wrongdoings. Another truth found in the bible proverbial truth. Proverbs are a method the bible uses to teach Catholics important lessons. There is a book of proverbs in the bible which contains Proverb 11:2 which says, “Pride comes first, disgrace comes after.” This proverb tells the truth that it is important to be humble. There is also historic truth and the bible shows that there is historic truth as these accounts line up with Hebrew history, which has been passed down generations. The bible also shows scientific truth the bible has scientific understanding from the time it was written, which was a time where science wasn’t developed. The bible is rich in moral truth which helps Catholics to understand the difference between right and wrong. An important moral truth the Gospels hold is that we shouldn’t surround ourselves with sinful people as this could influence us to live sinful lives. This moral truth is found in Mark 7:20-23, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting…, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a person.” The last truth found in the bible is Religious truth. The is the largest truth found in the Gospels and relate to Christians relationship with God and how we as people respond to God. Through all these truth, we are taught important lessons that are foundations to Catholic teaching.
The Gospels hold much authority and have been the source for all Catholic teaching the bible is significant for this reason. The truths found in the bible are all relevant teaching used in the Catholic church, but there are also many other teaching found in the bible relevant to today. The bible teaches us morality which is important to give us guidance in our lives which can be full of temptation. It uses parables to teach us important lessons such as God will save us from sin. This is seen in the parable of the lost sheep and we can learn from this the idea of forgiveness which is strongly important and unique to the New Testament and found in the Gospels. An important teaching the Gospels have taught us is the greatest commandment. This is the golden rule which is ‘love thy neighbour as you would love thyself’. This teaches us to give compassion and love to all those around us. It is important today that as Catholics, we give care for all those around us as we would want others to care for ourselves. Through the Jesus, God is trying to communicate that all beings are equal and we should all be treated equally with the same respect. in society, we have developed more to follow this golden rule. In past history, Catholics and people in society have not followed the golden rule as God could have hoped. Through slavery, segregation, racism and sexism, the golden rule was not upheld. But as we have evolved, the human race has become more intelligent and by passing down the golden rule through the new testament, our society is developing to “love thy neighbour as you would thyself’. Example of how we have begun to follow this rule is through the establishment of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and abolishing giving women the right to vote. Our society is still not perfect, but we are forever evolving and better understanding Jesus’ teachings in the bible. This is a wider implication from the teachings of the Golden rule. Jesus is significant to Catholics as through him, we can grow closer to God. This is also a teaching that we Catholics can learn through the gospels. Teaching from aspects of the Gospel such as the Golden rule and parables are significant to the world today as they influence these Catholic social teachings so that these lessons can be implemented into everyday life. I can personally relate to this, as I have gone through Catholic education since primary school. From the help of lessons in Religious education, I have learn about the use of parables, the golden rule and many more important lessons. Much like others who attend Catholic schools or church services, I can apply these lessons to my everyday life and treat others with kindness, love and respect. Through the use of education in the Gospels, Catholic communities have bonded together and been strengthened. I strongly believe that education is the key to understanding how we can responsibly live our lives. Furthermore, Catholic teachings teach us to life a life of prayer and love with can fill us with happiness and fulfilment. Gospels are the foundations of these teachings, which show how truly important to Gospels are to the Catholic faith.
The main purpose of the Gospels is to spread the Good news about Jesus Christ. The gospels were good news especially to the poor as it gave them glory and human dignity. The poor were not well acknowledged in the Old Testament and they felt a sense of unimportance and felt no hope. Jesus showed that all people should be treated equally and the they hold importance and meaning. He also said the they are welcome in the kingdom of God. In Luke 6:20 Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Through this we can see that another form us good new in the bible was the promise of being able to enter the kingdom of heaven. the Good News from the gospel is also important to Catholics today as we know that the we are able to seek forgiveness which is Good News because we are surrounded by many temptations that lead us to sin. This is an important implication of the teaching of the bible and the Good News as we are able to seek forgiveness which is needed quite regularly. No human being can be perfect and through the sacrament of reconciliation we can be cleansed of our sins. This is important for Catholics today as being forgiven of sin and participating in sacraments such as this, brings us closer to the Catholic community and unite us. The use of sacraments is also important as it unites Catholics all over the world. Through the importance of Catholic tradition, we are able to stay in touch with God which is important for our lives. As the Gospels were written during times of persecution for Christians, the Good News can brings us hope of salvation and glory, which was much need at the time. It is also still relevant today as it important to uphold these feelings of hope and happiness that the Good News bring.
The miracles in the Gospels were performed by Jesus to prove to us the he is the Messiah; the Son of God. These miracles showed that through the power of God, Jesus had the ability to free people from sin. A miracle can be classified as an event the does not happened in usual circumstance and is something that science and common knowledge cannot explain. Those living in Jesus’ times knew almost know about science and believed everything came from God. this belief helped people to understand the Jesus’ miracles were a sign of God. Jesus’ miracles helped doubters to grow faith in him and bring people closer to God as a result. The most important miracle the occurred in the Gospels was Jesus’ resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus is so important that all Gospels contains passages detailing the event. Because of the resurrection, people were able to understand the purpose of Jesus’ actions to the full extent. The action of Jesus rising from the dead also has meaning to Christians today. Jesus’ resurrection shows that our sins can be forgiven and there is hope for redemption- “According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you… “(1 Peter 1:3-4)
Before ascending into heaven, Jesus’ resurrection is his last act to truly prove that he is the son of God and this can inspire people to learn Jesus’ teachings through the Gospels in order to live in God’s image. Through Jesus’ resurrection, he was able to tell the disciples about the Holy Spirit and thus brought the Holy Spirit into our lives. Modern day miracles can also happen today that can’t be explained through science. An example of the is the miracles at Lourdes. Lourdes is a place for Catholic pilgrimage in Southwestern France. It is the location where, in 1858, a 14 year-old girl called Bernadette saw apparitions of a white-robed women thought to be the Virgin Mary. Mary told her to build a chapel and spring in the Grotto where she appeared. This spring where people visit every year has had miraculous effects. Approximately 7000 have been cured from bathing in the Sacred Spring at Lourdes and doctors could not explain how. This is believed to be a miracle from God, which show us his love and that he is still present watching over us today.
There have been many implications of the Gospel on Christians today. An important belief held by Catholic is that the Gospels hold teachings that lead us to grow closer to God. Examples of this are teaching of prayer. Jesus taught us how to pray through the Lord prayer which is used regularly in the world today. in Matthew 6:6 Jesus said, “When you pray, pray to your Father who is unseen. Then your Father will reward you.” This shows that through prayer we can grow closer to God. the Lords prayer is a prayer used in Masses, services and even our morning prayer during homeroom time. As we say this prayer together, we are strengthening our bonds with God and with those we are saying it with. Jesus also tells us to prayer in silence and we can do this through espacio at school. I personally believe that these moments of prayer ae exactly what I need in a busy day at school. We also always in a rush focusing an other aspects of our life in the school day, so these moments are a break from reality where we can be at peace with God. I also find that espacio is a good way to stay connected to fellow Sacred Heart sister schools all other the world. Another implication is through Jesus we are taught is important to help others-Matt 5:42 “Give to the one who asks you and do not turn away from who want to borrow from you.”. At Baradene we do this
A wider implication that some people might make a personal committemnt to support caritas

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