“Ever wonder why there are four Gospels?” my friend, the chaplain at the jail kind of barreled out at me last week. Without really waiting for an answer he went on, as is his way. “Each of them is written from a different perspective. Each communicates something unique.”
This I knew, although I confess, it was only the last few years I really ever gave it much thought. I have since heard people talk about the different authors, and the different perspectives they bring to the account of Jesus. All very interesting, but frankly, I haven’t retained it much. (THIS was the huge benefit of studying Bible in High School – I was forced to study and retain it for the tests! Oh how I LOVE my High School!)
“This is how I explain it to people,” he said. “I relate it to television. If the Gospels were television, then Matthew would the History Channel.” (I think you could also say it would be a documentary—that’s been more helpful for me to distinguish it from some of the others… maybe it’s like a documentary on the History Channel!) “Mark would be ESPN. You know – you don’t get to see the whole game, but you do get the highlights. Luke would be a sweeping epic, like Gone with the Wind, full of drama and huge themes. And John…John would be the sci-fi channel.”
I love it. Suddenly the Gospels came alive for me. I guess before I had thought of them more like watching the news on different channels. Different reporters, different channels, all has a different angle, maybe, but still much the same. BUT – now it’s different. Not only can I now remember which gospel is which (in TV terms, anyway), but I’m reading John this month with a whole new set of eyes. I’m looking for the “sci-fi” element that I love.