A quick glance at the opening verses of each of the four gospels demonstrates how differently the writers approached the subject of the birth of Christ.
- Mark, the shortest of the four gospels, jumps straight to the ministry of John the Baptist as he prepares the way for ministry of Jesus. The other three writers have something to say, though their starting point is different.
- For Luke, like Mark, the starting point is John the Baptist. However, Luke starts with the remarkable story of his birth to Zechariah and Elizabeth; it’s a story which sets the scene for the even more remarkable birth of Jesus.
- Matthew starts with a genealogy. It’s one of those bits we are tempted to skip, though if we do, we miss the links Matthew establishes between the birth of Jesus and the Old Testament, not least to Abraham and David.
- John goes further back than Matthew. In terms that echo the opening lines of Genesis, he tells us that ‘In the beginning was the Word.’ It can be hard to imagine the beginning: what was it like before the beginning began? But that’s where we’ll plan to go in tomorrow’s post.