Matthew's Gospel was said to be written for the Jews. Matthew's gospel portrays Jesus as the Messiah, the promised one of Israel. He is the "lion of Judah." This is evidenced by the fact that his gospel makes frequent references to Old Testament passages which are seen to correspond to Jesus' ministry. One often sees the phrase, "that the scripture might be fulfilled" in describing elements of Jesus ministry. For instance, when Jesus entered Jerusalem the week before his arrest and crucifixion, Matthew states:
This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
“Say to Daughter Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Mark's gospel was written for the Romans, and is accordingly the briefest of the Gospels. It is designed to describe the entire ministry and message of Jesus in almost newspaper-like form.
Luke's Gospel is to show Jesus as the healer, and contains more illustrations of miracles than most of the other gospels. One often reads that Jesus was "moved with compassion" before he healed. Luke himself was a physician, therefore he portrays Jesus as the "Great Physician." Perhaps the most famous story here is of the raising of Jarius' daughter, who had been pronounced dead:
And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.
John portrays Jesus as the Son of God who came to save the world. It does not contain the same emphasis on the stories of miracles by Jesus as much as it stresses in elaborate detail the message of Jesus. This is illustrated by Jesus comment that
Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many