God has given us four gospel accounts, each emphasizing different aspects of Jesus life and ministry.
Matthew opens his gospel with the genealogy of Jesus beginning with Abraham to prove His right to sit on the throne of David and then swiftly moves into a short version of the birth of Jesus Christ. He begins matter-of-factly with Mary betrothed to Joseph and being found with child. Joseph, a good man did not want to publicly humiliate her but was going to secretly “put her away” (divorce her). Then an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, tells him about Jesus being the Messiah, and then Joseph was okay about it. Matthew then describes what was going on after Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the days of Herod. He tells us of a troubled king who sent wise men to find Jesus so he could worship Him, too. (not really, he was just jealous). The wise men were warned in a dream not to report back to King Herod so then went back to their country another way. Then Joseph had another dream where the angel of the Lord told them to flee to Egypt because Herod was seeking out Jesus to destroy Him. It was a rough time because Herod decreed that all male children two years old and under were to be put to death. When Herod died, Joseph has another divine dream to go to Israel. Then another dream to take a detour for safety’s sake to Galilee instead to dwell in a city called Nazareth. Then by Matthew’s account, the next thing we know about Jesus is his baptism by John the Baptist.
Mark doesn’t tell us anything about the birth of Jesus. He begins with His baptism by John the Baptist and then moves into the account of Satan tempting Jesus.
John (not the baptizer) lets us know that the Word was in the beginning and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. John then tells of John the Baptist’s witness of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus and then goes on to tell of Jesus’ gathering His disciples. He doesn’t say anything about the birth of Jesus, either.
Oh but Luke. Obviously a detailed man. He traces Jesus’ lineage all the way back to Adam to show us that we all have the right to claim Jesus as our own. The beloved physician. He cares for people, wanting us to know about the humanity of Christ. Thank the Lord for Luke. Without his version we wouldn’t know the story of John the Baptizer who was filled with the Holy Spirit even from the womb. Luke describes John’s parents and the miracle of his birth, since his mother Elizabeth was beyond child-bearing years. He describes the prophecy of John’s ministry to prepare the way of the Lord, in a message from an angel of the Lord. This angel was named Gabriel. Gabriel then told Mary, who was Elizabeth’s relative that she would bring forth the Savior of the world. He also told her about Elizabeth bearing a son. Mary visits Elizabeth. John leaps in the womb when Mary arrives and the Holy Spirit enlightens them with the things of the Lord. John the Baptist is born and the Holy Spirit fills his father Zacharias who then prophesies. Luke gives a detailed version of the journey, Christ’s birth, shepherds and angels and witnesses to the Redeemer. Then in chapter 2 verse 40 Luke states “And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him” and the next thing you know in verse 41, Jesus is twelve years old.
I don’t think I realized until now just how grateful I am for the details in Luke’s version. The back stories leading up to Jesus birth. Of Elizabeth, Zacharias, and John and how I can appreciate the faithfulness of a young girl named Mary and man named Joseph, both of whom must have been scared but chose to believe. Each gospel gives us different insights into the life of Jesus. The more I read, the more I want to know. One day I will.