Reading: Mark 16: 15-18, Matthew 28: 18-20, Luke 24: 45-49, John 21:15-22
Today we are going to see how the four gospels end.
Each gospel writers like to emphasize certain part of Jesus’ story.
It may be because their calling is different with each other.
Because of their particular calling, they feel connected differently with the story of Jesus.
So, let us compare the ends of each gospel so that we can sense their different callings.
In the gospel of Mark, Jesus said this to his students:
(1) “Go into all the nations and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons. They will speak in new tongues. They will pick up snakes with their hands. When they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all. They will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” (Mark 16: 15-18)
Mark is called to preach the gospel to all creation.
We will experience miracles and signs as we preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
There are various reasons that Mark says like this.
When you read the gospel of Mark, you know that Mark loves miracles that Jesus performed. So, using a lot of “immediately” in his gospel, Mark tells many miracles that Jesus performed.
Then, at the end, Mark is also saying himself, “Don’t try to perform miracles or healings, but just preach the story of Jesus. Focus on going out and telling the story. As long as you tell the story of Jesus, you experience that manifestation of the Holy Spirit that you enjoy.”
Mark is a story teller. So, he needs to go and tell the gospel.
That was his call.
But, in Matthew, Jesus says to his students:
(2) “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 18-20)
Here Jesus asks his students to make disciples by teaching them "everything" that Jesus commanded them.
Matthew is called to make disciples.
He needs to go out and make disciples.
Because this is his calling, he writes carefully everything that Jesus has commanded.
That is why he wrote down the Sermon on the Mount on Matthew chapter 5 to 7.
That is why he wrote down carefully various parables that Jesus taught: for example, he put together various kingdom parables in chapter 13.
As for him, what Jesus said is important.
So, he wants to go out and teach every word Jesus said.
In this way, he wants to make new disciples.
He likes to ask believers to make disciples, just like Jesus was making his disciples.
So, if you want to teach people, you may need to study carefully the gospel of Matthew.
Matthew likes to explain the details how we should live.
But when come to the gospel of Luke, Luke says this:
Jesus opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.
He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24: 45-49)
Here Luke mentions about the power of the Holy Spirit.
Why? Because that is what he saw in the ministry of Paul.
So, Luke likes to connect Jesus’ movement with the movement of the Holy Spirit.
Because of his personal experience with the Holy Spirit, he wants to emphasize how the Holy Spirit would work and manifest in believers’ life.
After reading the gospel of Mark and Matthew, he likes to emphasize what is not emphasized. So, Luke likes to show how you can move with the Spirit of Jesus in order to share the gospel in your own society.
What is Luke’s calling?
Luke is called to present the gospel to the main Roman society in the power of the Holy Spirit.
In order to do that, Luke wrote this:
(4) In Luke 6:37-38, Jesus says: “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
By the power of the Holy Spirit, Luke is trying to introduce this kind of concept into his society.
At the end of the gospel of John, John writes this:
(6) Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Peter says, “Yes, Lord. You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?”
He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted. But when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” (John 21:15-23)
The gospel of John is written last.
So we assumed that John already read other gospels.
So, in his gospel, John likes to tell personal and intimate stories.
Because John likes you to fall in love with Jesus, most of his stories are intimate and dramatic. John likes to share dramatic stories so that people can feel who Jesus is.
In order to do so, John is very selective.
With only a few stories, John wants to show how Jesus thinks and feels.
John is doing this using various long conversations that Jesus had with people.
John slows it down and zooms into a few important conversations.
So, in his gospel, we read conversation between Jesus and Mary at the tomb, between Jesus and Nicodemus at night and between Jesus and Peter here.
From the start, John has been saying “love God and love people.”
John is called to share this message.
Then at this end, he likes to help people know what they should do if they love Jesus.
So, in the last conversation, John wants to show how Jesus loves Peter and how Peter can love Jesus.
In this intimate conversation, Jesus asks Peter to follow his calling by feeding his people.
In this way, John reminds you: if you love Jesus, you may need to feed his sheep.
If you want to follow Christ Jesus, you need to take care of his sheep.
If you love Jesus, take care of his sheep.
In a dramatic way, he explains this. That is his calling.
John also notes that Jesus didn’t like Peter to compare himself with others.
When you follow your calling in life, don’t compare yourself with anyone.
Don’t say “Why I do all the works?”
Each person has his or her own calling in life.
When you follow your own calling, you follow your own Jesus Christ.
Jesus is asking you to follow him.
So, each gospel writer shows their calling in life.
They cannot hide it.
These four gospels also help us think about our calling in life.
Based on your calling in life, you will have your own questions in faith based on your personality. You will also feel connected with certain part of the story of Jesus.
When you read bible, certain words will speak to you more than others.
God may be pointing that out to you.
God is helping you discover the desire that exists in the depth of your heart.
Find it and live accordingly.
In this way, God is calling you to do something that makes you joyful.
When you pray or read the bible, think about your calling in life.
What is God like?
What lesson is God teaching you?
Do you know it?
If you know, try to be faithful to your calling.
I am sure Jesus already told you about your calling in life, you may need to think about it in order to realize what it is.
Sometimes there is something that Jesus couldn’t give even though he wanted to.
If you follow your calling, Jesus can give those blessings to you.
When you follow your call, you meet Jesus in a deeper way.
May you experience that blessing.