Investigative reporter and famous author Lee Strobel in his book “The Case for Christ” points out that when witness’ stories are one and the same they are suspect. In fact it leads one to think about collusion and or conspiracy.
Only since the 17th century have we had an English translation of the Bible that includes the four gospels side by side. Many of us Christians will point out the harmony of the gospels while critics accuse us of conspiracy and contradiction. Because the gospels are grouped together it gives our critics easy opportunities to point out what they feel are direct contradictions in the story of Jesus. One might point out that in the Gospel of Mark 2:25-28, Jesus refers to Abiathar the high priest when in 1 Samuel 21:1-6 the Old Testament clearly tells us that Ahimelech is the high priest. Is Jesus miss-quoted? That is a whole other article.
The four gospels were written separately in different areas of the world and at different times. As Lee Strobel points out it is this reason that gives the Gospels validity. The idea of collusion has no basis to stand on. When the Gospels were written the authors had no idea in time their books would be collected together. God did.
The Gospel of Matthew was written for the Jews. Scholars still debate if the original was first written in Hebrew or Greek. His Gospel is rooted in Hebrew tradition beginning with the lineage of Jesus. The order of events is situated of importance to a Jewish audience. The accounts focus on accuracy in relationship to prophecy within the Old Testament rather than focus on chronological order.
The Gospel of Mark was intended for the Romans. The Roman culture was one of action. They admired individuals who exhibited strong character and determined action. We see Mark using words like “immediately” and points out unequivocal results. Appealing to the Roman culture.
The Gospel of Luke was written for the Greeks. Intellectual minded with a desire for the facts. Greek culture was looking for perfection. With that Luke presents Jesus as the ideal man of that perfection. Also revealing to the Greeks that perfection is one who is not selfish but selfless. Showing Jesus’ love for the poor.
The Gospel of John tends to be written for a general audience. Which makes sense. We often use John’s Gospel in witnessing today nearly 2000 years later. Verse 3:16 are well known. John’s focus is on the fact that Jesus is the Son of God. Reporting on His miracles and deity while Matthew presents Him as the Messiah. Mark presents Jesus as a man of action and Luke describes Jesus as the perfect man. One we should all strive to be.