Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Last night “W” and I compared all four gospel accounts from the time in the upper room until Gethsemane. This was a very interesting exercise I probably would not have done had “W” not raised some questions about it. A number of his observations were very astute.
Keep in mind that two of the gospels, Matthew and John, were written by one of Christ’s twelve inner disciples. Mark based his gospel largely upon Peter’s recount of the events, and Luke, the physician, apparently relied upon numerous sources. It is interesting to discern why some accounts are left out of one or more of the gospels, and why there are a number of things that happened or are said, which only one gospel contains. As with any incident provided in Scripture, one needs to read the accounts in all the gospels to get a complete picture of the events and background.
Some general observations first: Matthew and Mark’s accounts agree almost verbatim. John’s account includes exclusively many details the other gospels leave out, yet he is the only one who doesn’t include the first communion. Luke’s account is the only one that includes the argument between the disciples over which one was the greatest, as well as Jesus sending the disciples out a second time, but now with a money purse, a bag, and a sword (common at that time for personal defense and other reasons).
All four gospels speak of Judas being called out by Jesus for his forthcoming betrayal, although the accounts differ. In Matthew and Mark, we are told this grieved the disciples, and that Judas was identified by dipping his hand into the bowl at the same time as Jesus. Only John’s account says that Jesus dipped a morsel of bread and gave it to Judas. However, both Luke and John say that discussions ensued about Jesus’ statement that one of the twelve would betray Jesus. And while the first three gospels indicate Jesus vaguely referred to His death and resurrection, John includes a much more explicit prediction of this by Christ, albeit none of them comes out and says it in a language other than that Jesus is going away, but will appear again.
Since Luke’s account was not written by one influenced by a single disciple, it is interesting that he is the only one who recounts the fact that the disciples once again argued over who was the greatest. Obviously, Matthew, Peter, and John would have been embarrassed to include this detail.
John, however, includes details all the other accounts do not. But keep in mind, it was John who sat next to Christ (13:23) reclining on His breast. When Jesus told the disciples one of them would betray Him, Peter apparently got John to specifically ask of whom He was speaking. Jesus answered that it was “the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.” Verses 27 and 28 say, “And after the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus, therefore, said to him, ‘What you do, do quickly.’ Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him.” So, apparently, only John, or perhaps only John and Peter, heard Jesus answer, for he replied only to John. “W” and I considered that Peter was such a hothead if he had heard what Jesus had said Judas may have had an encounter with Peter’s sword, as had Malchus, the high priest’s slave. But John no doubt knew, for it was he that asked the question.
All of the accounts except John’s skip the incident of the washing of the disciples’ feet in the upper room. And al but John skip the intensive teachings and warnings of Christ that John provides between the time that Judas leaves the upper room and the time at the garden of Gethsemane, with the exception of Jesus’ prediction of Peter’s betrayal.
These teachings go from John 14 through John 16 and end with Jesus' priestly prayer, all before Gethsemane, although John 14:31 indicates they left the upper room. These are all amazing teachings and promises!