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What are the portraits of Jesus in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John? How do they differ? 

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Matthew is written to persuade a Jewish audience that Jesus is the promised Messiah. For that reason, Matthew emphasizes Jesus's connection to Judaism and presents him as God's chosen, in the line of Abraham and Moses, but greater than either of these earlier figures who entered into covenant with God. Matthew reveals Jesus as a great sage, teacher, and healer, and as God's anointed one, but not as co-equal with God.

Mark, which is accepted as the earliest gospel written, is the shortest of the four and does not include any birth stories. It starts with the adult Jesus's ministries. It has more records of miracles and emphasizes, from Isaiah, Jesus's role as the suffering servant.

Luke is often seen as the social justice gospel that portrays Jesus as a person concerned with alleviating the sufferings of people in this life. Unlike Matthew, who spiritualizes the beatitudes, Luke's Jesus puts them in earthly terms. For instance, he says, "blessed are the poor," not the "poor in...

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