This week on Geek Devotions, Dallas examines the versions of Justice League, the original 2017 film and the 2021 Zack Snyder’s Justice League and uses it to discuss why we have four gospels, Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John.
This week, we decided to do something a bit different. This week we wanted to help explain something that those new to Christianity or perhaps just examining the Bible for the first time may not understand.
Why do we have four different accounts on the life of Jesus?
To help you to understand this, we’d like to point you to the 2017 version and the 2021 versions of the film, Justice League. These two films are very interesting and work well to illustrate the reasoning of the four gospels. You see while they two films have a variety of different elements and have DRASTICALLY different run times; they both focus around a central story. The difference arise in the the perspective of the director. Zack Snyder had a very specific point of view that he was coming from in telling this story. His view was different from the view that Joss Whedon had when Joss took over. The end result was two different, yet very similar stories.
Now this is not a perfect parallel but we hope this acts as a kind of stepping stone to understand what we are dealing with. The four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are all telling the story of Jesus but coming from very different vantage points. Each Gospel writer had a particular point of view and purpose to their Gospel. Matthew and John were the only two gospel writers who actually walked with Jesus. Both had very different relationships with Jesus and both wrote to entirely different groups of individuals for different reasons. Mark mostly wrote his gospel based on the account of his mentor, Peter the Disciple of Jesus. Luke was a complete third party individual. In the opening of his Gospel he plain explains that he was doing research for an individual who had inquired about who Jesus was. Luke was a scholar who interviewed others while living and doing life with the Apostles, specifically Paul. The end result of was a very thorough, scholarly style gospel.
Our illustration using the Justice League movies is flawed in that there are clear contradictions between the two films; though some have suggested that those contradictions are explained in the Zack Snyder cut. In the gospels on other hand, there is no contradiction. when properly lined up in chronological order, you see that “contradictions” are easily understood.
How do we go about ensuring that we understand the context and chronological sequence of these texts? We recommend a few tools.
Get a good study Bible. In the video version of this devotion, Dallas highlighted the Fire Bible (Global Study Edition.) This and other great study Bibles have sections at the beginning of each book that give you who wrote the gospel, when it was written, and to whom it was written. In the past we have done many episodes discussing how to pick out a good Bible to study from and how to better understand what you read. Check out this playlist on YouTube to see those.
A second great resource is a book called “The Harmony of the Gospels.” This book lays out the Synoptic Gospels together one one page so that you can see the entire life of Jesus in it’s entirety. We still strongly recommend that you read each Gospel individually so that you have the context of the message each is trying to present; but this is a great tool for studying the life of Jesus. You can purchase this book online or find digital versions of it on Blue Letter Bible and Olive Tree.
*note – The links above are not affiliate links. We do not gain any monetary value from any purchases made using those links.