We call them - The Gospels - when we should say, "I am referring to The Gospel according to.......(Matthew or Mark or Luke or John).  Four great men, with four distinctive personalities, portraying the same awesome message - The Gospel or Good News.  Digging down into each account and making these observations about the kinds of reactions Jesus had toward people, places, and things also enlightened me on how Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John viewed Jesus. 

Matthew contained a great mix of emotional reactions of Jesus.  Jesus displayed closeness to His cousin, John the Baptist, by possibly using some alone-time on a boat to cope with John's passing.  Compassion, disbelief in the disciples reasoning skills, impatience, Holy or Righteous indignation, bluntness, and woe are others on the list of emotional reactions Jesus displayed in Matthew.  However, the most re-occurring reaction was compassion.  This seemed to resonate with Matthew in a big way.  Maybe Matthew was compassionate too and that common thread is what he ended up pushing in Jesus' reactions.  Maybe it was what Matthew desired to aspire to be more like and so he documented the numerous examples for reference later.  Whatever the reason, compassion seemed to be the theme.

Mark tended to see an aggravated Jesus.  Anger, distress, perplexity with His disciples reasoning power again, secretive/private, compassionate, frustrated, indignant, valued, defensive, adamant, perturbed, scared, overwhelmed, and sad, yielded to the Father, disappointed, no reaction/ no defense of Himself, and desperate are some of the pictures Mark gives us of how Jesus reacted within His ministry.  To me this displays a Jesus that overall is not happy with the execution of The Plan.  I receive an image of Jesus about to pull His hair out over frustration.  I am sure Jesus did experience these emotional reactions, but to take just this account alone and not consider the other three Gospel tellings might lead one to perceive displacement was in action here.  According to the Jews, The Plan, was for God to provide a Priest, Prophet, and King in a militarily expected Messiahship package to save them from all their troubles and rule and reign from Jerusalem.  This did not happen with Jesus' first visit.  Little did they pay attention to all the prophecies that mentioned that their Messiah would have to come a first time as a suffering servant to pay for all of humanity's mistakes so that all who would believe in His sacrifice may spend eternity with Him and together with each other - wherever that may be.  Maybe this accumulated disappointment, aggravation, and frustration we see in the many instances in Mark not only came from Jesus' personal encounters but from Mark's focus on what the Jews saw as The Plan for the Messiah.

Then in Luke I see a definite shift of gears.  Observe the words that I drilled down to and exposed you to in the earlier blog:  Holy confidence, calm-cool-collected, stern, amazed, sympathetic, empathetic, sarcastic, teachable moment, authoritative, focused, gentleness, fed up, sick and tired, wonder, rewarding, quick, sharp, upset, discerning, crafty, cunning, excited, and confirming.  Of all these listed, the first - Holy Confidence - re-occurs enough to take notice.  The whole listing of emotions draws a graph in my mind's eye with gentleness and self-control on the bottom vertical axis and time and events on the left horizontal axis.  So, with the more time and events that transpire in Jesus' life He seems to be more definitive in who He is and what He is all about.  He draws a line in the sand and says, "This is the standard, you cannot meet it, I will meet it for you."  Maybe because Luke was a doctor he might have loved certainty when he could get it.  Anytime you have a doctor who knows what a problem is and can treat it, both the doctor and the patient are happy people.  I see that quality coming out of Luke and into his writing of The Good News.  He saw Jesus as the "Man With The Plan" and knew how to win friends and influence people in order to get to the ultimate goal.

Four out of the eleven qualities I mention for Jesus' reaction(s) in the Book of John are concerning avoidance.  According to John's account, Jesus did what had to be done to fulfill prophecy while dodging attempts on His life as well as wrong directions for The Plan on His life.  Other emotional reactions you see Jesus portraying are sensitivity, initiative, empathy, concern for His men, trusting in His Father, and non-verbal reactions.  So, John did record that Jesus did engage His audience, but He also fled when He saw fit.  It is interesting that John lifts this out of Jesus' experience more often than not.  Why?  I do not know for sure.  However, maybe it was because John had to do some avoiding in his own "neck of the woods" in order to continue spreading The Good News of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

It is interesting what we bring to the table with our own life experiences.  It is no mistake these four men with these four personalities and these four lives wrote their accounts of The Good News of Jesus Christ or The Gospel.  God's word remains true. It is just amazing how He used and continues to use "Cracked Pots" to show forth His glory.  In addition, these four scribes - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John - and many more in the rest of The Bible show us that Jesus experienced all these emotional reactions without making a single mistake.  "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin." - Hebrews 4:15  It is so good to see God's only Son portray those emotions and not sin and it is so good to "hear" the life-challenged authors tell it.