Whoo hoo! Just finished moving the last of the posts on the Gospel accounts. And now…a follow-up post (or two…or more).
In this post, I want to address this question: Why can’t the authors of the Gospel accounts agree?
Why, for instance, does St. Matthew place the sermon Jesus gives on the Beatitudes on a mountain while St. Luke puts it on a plain? Surely it was one or the other, right?
Remember that the early Church kept all four Gospel accounts in order to preserve the unique features of each one. Why the differences? Because one person didn’t write all four accounts and because the audiences impacted how the evangelists presented the Gospel. Since Matthew is working with an audience of Jewish Christians and, because of this, is focused on Christ as the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises, he puts Jesus on a mountain for the sermon. What does that echo? Moses. Jesus is the New Moses proclaiming a New Law for the New Covenant people. Luke isn’t working with a Jewish Christian audience and he’s concerned with showing the mercy, compassion, and humanity of Jesus. So Jesus is on a plain rather than on a mountain. Same sermon, different points with the setting. Aren’t both authors telling the same story? Yes. Just slightly differently, but it’s the same sermon.
So, why can’t they agree? Because they’re in different situations and are addressing audiences from different backgrounds. Every teacher knows that you can’t teach to a third grader what is difficult for a twelfth grader to understand. The Gospel accounts differ because the evangelists were pastors who knew how to relate to the people in order to spread the message of Jesus Christ.
One of my favorite topics we covered in the theology classes I took this past year was the Gospel message and how it is presented in each of the four gospel accounts. And I got to thinking…you guys might find this interesting, too.
This is part of the material that I told you I’d be moving over from my other blog, but I’m going to tweak it and spice it up a little so that it’s not just a glob of information. I’ll add some pictures, a little music…and, of course, the complimentary dry humor and sarcasm
So you guys can be looking forward to that. In the meantime, however…
I’d really like some recommendations!
It’s really hard to write a blog when you’re not sure what your topics for posts should be, so if you guys could see fit to comment/email and tell me what you want to hear about, I’d really appreciate it.