Bible Stories for the Young

The Four-Faced Lion

The Gospels


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The Four-Faced Lion : The Gospels

Do you remember how we said that the Bible is made up of many different books, written by many different people, over many different years, all telling the same, long story? And also how some of the books overlap in time. That means that sometimes different people who were living at the same time, wrote about the same part of the story.

It would be like if you and your friends all went to the zoo, then each wrote down a story about that trip to the zoo. Each of your stories might be a little bit different just because everyone sees and remembers things a little differently.

After Jesus died and went back up to Heaven, four different people wanted to write down things about Jesus’ time on the earth.

Their names were Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These books in the Bible are known as: “The Good News as Matthew Told It,” “The Good News as Mark Told It,” “The Good News as Luke Told It,” and “The Good News as John Told It.”

I’m sure you remember Matthew, who was a tax collector when he met Jesus. Matthew was a Jew. When Matthew wrote down the Good News of Jesus, he pointed out many things that would be important to those who were Jewish. Matthew wrote about the prophecies being fulfilled as the puzzle pieces fell into place. And Matthew included a history of all the dads from Abraham to David to Jesus. Mathew also talked about Jesus being King and about the coming of the Kingdom of God.

Next, there was Mark. This is the same Mark who had to learn to not give up. Even though Mark was not walking with Jesus during the time that Jesus was on the earth, Mark became good friends with many who had seen it all. Some people think that Peter was the person telling Mark many of the details that Mark wrote down. Mark wrote this version of the story for the non-Jewish people as well. And Mark likes to tell much of the actions of Jesus — like the miracles, the healings, and some parables.

And Luke was the scientist of the bunch. He probably was not a Jew and wrote in a way to include Gentiles. He took the time to give explanation of Jewish things, and he uses Greek words sometimes. Luke starts out saying he wants to write down a very orderly version of what happened. Like Mark, Luke also wasn’t there so we know he is collecting his information from others’ perspectives. His story will sometimes include things that tell how people felt or thought about something when it happened. Like, “Mary treasured these things in her heart,” he wrote. How did he know? Probably because Mary told him!

Then there was John. As you know, John was right there very close to Jesus from the time shortly after Jesus was baptized. As far as we can tell, it seems John wrote down the Good News of Jesus after the other three did. And John was the artist of the bunch.

But John doesn’t “paint his picture” of what happened by scientifically trying to lay out all the facts with perfect precision landscapes and portraits. Instead, John “paints the picture” by spreading out the color with carefully placed dots to create the ultimate impression. (In art that’s called pointillism.)

Let me show you. Here is a picture drawn with perfectly accurate lines and arcs.

And here is a picture drawn with pointillism.

Isn’t that beautiful?! That you can have the same picture drawn different ways.

And that’s the beauty of the four tellings of the Good News, the Gospels, the four-faced lion. Four men gave four tellings of the same story — each revealing a very different view of the same Man, Jesus. How Supernaturally marvelous!

Doesn’t that just capture your imagination? It’s meant to. God wants to draw you into His Life, His World, HIS Imagination!

Sometimes people read the Bible tooooo scientifically. They try to figure out every little detail of what every little detail means. But Jesus Himself said He wants us to come to HIM for Life.

And a scientific-only approach will cause you trouble if you aren’t careful. For instance, sometimes the four Gospel tellers told a little bit different facts. Why is that? Well, if you were going to be strictly “scientific,” and not “artistic” (seeing the greater explanation such as “pointillism,”) then it might trip you up a little bit.

But think about the beauty of it! Humans had hundreds of years to alter the four Gospels to make them match up perfectly. But humans didn’t do that! Because God didn’t and doesn’t need that. In fact that just helps show who is really looking for the person of Jesus versus who just wants to feel “right” about their religion. That’s the sheep versus the goats.

God is not interested in us finding Him with our puny little brains. God wants us to dig deeper than that — to find and grab hold of and See and Know the depth of His imagination!