Beginning with angels announcing the conceptions of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ, and concluding with the resurrected Jesus being carried up into heaven, the Gospel according to Luke offers an account of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Luke presents the story of Jesus as the fulfillment of God’s promises. Jesus is Christ, the Lord, the redeemer sent by God to the people of Israel, the one who declares God’s salvation to all people. Jesus proclaims God’s reign, heals the sick, raises the dead, casts out oppressive spirits, restores people to full participation in society, and teaches his followers through vivid parables.
The Gospel of Mark focuses attention on the last week of Jesus’ life and his death in Jerusalem. Frequent appearances of the adverb immediately in this Gospel express the urgency of Jesus’ journey to the cross. This journey begins at the inauguration of Jesus’ ministry, commencing right away with his baptism and testing in the wilderness. As Jesus repeatedly announces his coming suffering, death, and resurrection, the Gospel of Mark draws its readers into the unfolding drama of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
The Gospel of Matthew tells the story of Jesus the Messiah whose signal genealogy and miraculous birth are the sign and promise that “God is with us” (1:23). Jesus the Messiah proclaims God’s continuing righteous reign in his words of blessing and deeds of healing. Jesus calls his followers to experience God’s mercy anew, constitutes them as a new community of faith, and then, as crucified and resurrected Messiah, claims all power and authority as he commissions these disciples for mission with the promise that he will be with them until the end of the age (28:18-20).
The Gospel of John begins by announcing that God’s Word, which brought all things into being, became flesh in Jesus of Nazareth. During his ministry, Jesus reveals the power of God by performing seven miraculous signs, including turning water into wine, healing the sick, and raising the dead. In his preaching he identifies himself as the bread of life, the light of the world, and the good shepherd. Through his crucifixion, Jesus lays down his life, giving God’s love to the world. By rising from the dead he shows that those who believe in him have everlasting life.