Survey of the New Testament

John 12:31
31* “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.

Jesus came to defeat Satan, which He did, and at the same time establish God’s Kingdom, or reign on earth over His people, which the New Testament reveals was fulfilled in the coming of the church (Dan. 2:44;
Acts 2).

Therefore, Matthew presents Jesus as King over the Kingdom of Heaven. This was a very important concept for the first century Jewish readers to realize.

After thousand of years as servants to various kingdoms (Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Grecian, Roman), all of God’s citizens would now serve the Lord of Lord’s and King of Kings Jesus Christ.

Matthew begins by giving the Genealogy of Jesus, and then tells us the story of the life of Christ. Like the rest of the Bible, chronological order is not the most important factor in telling the story. While Matthew follows a general chronological order, most of the story of the life of Christ is grouped by subject.

Here is one of my favorite passages in Matthew:

Matt. 16: 13-16
13* ¶ Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”
15 He *said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16* Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

And that brings us to the second gospel account :

M A R K

The Gospel of Mark was written by John Mark who accompanied Paul and Barnabas on the first missionary tour (Acts 13:13). For some reason unknown to us Mark wanted to return home from this missionary trip which caused a dispute between Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:36-40). We also know that Mark was closely associated with the apostle Peter (1 Pet. 5:13). Many scholars believe that John Mark was taught about Christ by Peter.

While Matthew wrote for the Jews, Mark appears to have been written for Gentile readers and perhaps specifically for the Gentiles of the Roman empire. The emphasis in Mark is on the Miraculous power of Jesus the Christ. While Matthew gives us many details of what Jesus said, Mark gives us details of what Jesus did. Since Roman civilization gloried in the idea of government and power the gospel of Mark tells of the Miracles of Jesus demonstrating His superhuman power. Mark was likely written around 60 A.D..

Remember, each of the Gospels was intended ultimately for all mankind but each of them was specifically targeted to a specific segment of the first century world, each gospel emphasizing some aspect of Jesus’ life and teaching which would impress that particular segment of society with the Truth that Jesus was the Christ the Son of God.

In Mark chapter nine we have a good example of the way that Mark empathized the power of Jesus:

Mark 9:1
9:1 ¶ And Jesus was saying to them, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”
And that brings us to:

L U K E

Luke was written by the only non-Jewish writer of the New Testament (Col. 4:10-17; note v. 11 b). He was a medical doctor (Col. 4:14) who was with Paul during his imprisonment at Rome (Philemon 24).

It is the only gospel account addressed originally to one individual. The opening verses of Luke are quite interesting.

Luke 1:1-4
1:1* ¶ Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us,
2* just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word,
3 it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus;
4* so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.

These verses tell us the reason for the writing of the entire New Testament. That we may know “the exact truth” about Jesus Christ.

Although addressed to Theophilus the book is obviously intended for public consumption, in fact, this was a common literary device of the time. First Century Greek society emphasized culture, the arts and philosophy, wisdom and education. To address this audience the gospel of Luke presents the most complete and orderly account of the life of Christ. Luke has been acknowledged throughout the centuries as a literary classic, it has been called “the most beautiful book ever written.” Luke depicts Jesus as the ideal Son of Man who bore our sins. Luke should be studied with the book of Acts, also written by Luke. Luke was likely written around 60 A.D..

And that brings us to John:

J O H N

The book of John is unique among the Gospels. The special emphasis in John is upon the Deity of Jesus, and appears to have been written as a gospel aimed at a universal audience. John was probably written several years after the other gospels had already been in circulation (perhaps 90 A.D.) and therefore it was not necessary to repeat what had been recorded and circulated with regard to the Genealogy of Jesus or the selection of the Apostles. John supplements the other gospels by providing details and additional material which would give further evidence about Jesus the Christ. John tells us why he wrote the book in John chapter twenty:

John 20:30-31
30* Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;
31* but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

John calls himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved…who wrote these things…” (John 21:20, 24). He had been a disciple of John the Baptist (Jn. 1:35-40, he and his brother James and their father were partners in a fishing business with Peter and Andrew (Mark 1:19-20; Luke 5:10). He and his brother were called ”Sons of Thunder” by Jesus (Mark 3:17) and he was a member of that “inner circle” of the apostles during Jesus’ ministry.

And that brings us to the book of ACTS:

A C T S

The book of ACTS was written by Luke, the writer of the Gospel of Luke. Acts takes up where Luke leaves off, look at the first two verses in Acts:

Acts 1: 1-2
1:1* ¶ The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach,
2* until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen.

The book of Acts is essential to understanding the rest of the New Testament. It tells of the establishment of the church which Jesus promised in: Matthew 16:18
18* “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
19* “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”

This is the same “kingdom” which Jesus spoke of in Mark 9:1:

Mark 9:1
9:1 ¶ And Jesus was saying to them, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”

In this place Jesus has reference to the “kingdom” which he spoke of in Matthew 16:19. The terms “kingdom” and “church” are synonymous. When Jesus said that he would build “My church” and then he said to Peter that he would give him the “keys to the Kingdom” he was speaking of one in the same. Peter was given the “keys to the Church” in the sense that he gave the first recorded gospel sermon which established the church in Acts chapter two. To the disciples Jesus said:

Acts 1:8
8* but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

We find the fulfillment of all three of these passages (Matt. 16:18-19; Mk. 9:1; Acts 1:8) in Acts 2:1-4.
Here the “church-kingdom” comes with power:

Acts 2:1-4
2:1* ¶ When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
2* And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
3* And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.
4* And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

Here is the fulfillment of the long awaited Messianic Kingdom promised in the Old Testament.

So we know, from a careful study of the New Testament that the book of Acts tells us of the establishment of the church and the spread of the gospel from Jerusalem to Antioch and on to the uttermost parts of the world.

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