How does each gospel characterize Jesus differently?Give the portraits of Jesus according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

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clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The writers of each gospel, though telling the story of the same man, Jesus Christ, each  present him in a very different and very personal way.  Literary elements which affect the characterization of Jesus include what events, stories, parables, and miracles they choose to tell and what is left out, the different names they use for Jesus, as well as the order in which each gospel is presented.

As such, the Gospel of Matthew portrays Jesus' kingship, or Jesus as King.  This is evidenced by referring to him as the Son of David as well as the major thematic focus of the gospel on the kingdom of heaven.

The Gospel of Mark focuses on the humanity of Jesus, who is portrayed in this book both as the "Son of God" and the "Son of Man."  More than 40% of the Gospel of Mark focuses on the suffering and sacrifice of Christ's final week on earth.

The Gospel of Luke portrays Jesus as a teacher.  Luke provides the greatest variety of teachings, parables, and events from the three year ministry of Jesus.  Additionally, Luke provides the most evidence of Jesus' interest in Gentiles (non-Jews) and the poor.

The Gospel of John, written by the disciple whom "Jesus loved," portrays Jesus' "sonship" or, connection to God the Father.  John refers to Jesus as the "Son of God," the "Lamb of God," the "Messiah," and the "Savior of the world."  John outlines seven miracles of Jesus which end in his resurrection, all of which are proof that he is the Son of God.  Finally, John includes several sermons of Jesus not found in the other gospels which help explain the purpose of his life.