Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Vibe of John’s Gospel

John’s Gospel has a very different vibe to the other three. It packs a heavy emotional vibe which is unsurprising – John is in the inner circle of the twelve Disciples. Originally a fisherman, he follows Jesus for three years, witnesses miraculous healings, gains insights into what Jesus calls ‘the Kingdom of Heaven’ and comes face to face with the wrath of the Jewish leaders.

During this time, he becomes good friends with Jesus and Jesus becomes the man who the people believe will help them kick out the Romans. Even after the brutal execution of his leader and friend, John’s faith in him never wobbles. His vibe is filled with images and metaphors: Jesus is the Good Shepherd, ‘the way, the truth and the life’, ‘the bread of life’ and ‘the light that shines in the darkness’ that the darkness can never put out.

John’s Jesus has a sustaining, nurturing, guiding, loving vibe. And because God so loved the world, John says, everyone who believes in Jesus will live forever. This is a triumphant book of hope written by someone who knows Jesus as both son of God and close personal friend. Vibes of beauty, peace and love.

General vibe of John: Jesus loves you.

Factvibe: John was the last Disciple to die, surviving into old age.

The best friends vibe of John and Jesus

The Vibe of Luke’s Gospel

Gentile vibes abound in Luke’s Gospel which is no surprise, Luke is the only non Jewish writer in the Bible. He’s a doctor and writes with the meticulous vibes of an academic. This means he is able to write in depth about the turbulent life, revolutionary teaching, untimely death and unexpected resurrection of Jesus.

It’s a different vibe to the books by Matthew and Mark. Luke doesn’t need to make the link back to the Jewish scriptures – this is a vibe for the whole world. And the vibe is this:  Jesus is the hero of the downtrodden and thanks to the grace of God, anyone can get healed or rescued, however unworthy they might feel. A warm cuddly blanket on a wet winter morning kind of vibe.

General vibe of Luke: Jesus is for everyone.

Factvibe: Luke also wrote the book of Acts and hung around with Paul until he’d fired off his very last letter.

Say Ahhh! Dr Luke will see you now

The Vibe of Mark’s Gospel

Almost everything that happens in Mark also happens in Matthew. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there was copying in the classroom but it would take a very liberal minded teacher to ignore the coincidence. In fact the vibe is as follows – Mark was the first writer to get the story of Jesus down on paper and Matthew’s Gospel is an embellished version of Mark’s.

Mark knew many of the people connected to Jesus so his vibe is helped by eyewitness accounts, and Mark is keen to portray Jesus as realistically as he can. From his baptism to his resurrection, Jesus is seen as a worker of miracles; a man who gets things done and who is, above all, the Son of God.

Mark’s Gospel has a pacy, no nonsense vibe that sets down the basic facts of Jesus and his teaching and leaves us to make up our own minds. An easy, factual, frill-free, journalistic vibe.

General vibe of Mark: Jesus, fast.

Factvibe: Mark was Peter’s assistant, which explains how he knows so many vibes about Jesus without having been one of the Disciples.

Terse, pithy and factual, the journalistic vibe of Mark’s Gospel

The Vibe of Matthew’s Gospel

Matthew has the most Jewish vibe of all the Gospels. Jesus was Jewish and Matthew is a Jew writing for a Jewish audience. His Gospel is a bridge between the vibes promised by the Old Testament and the ‘da-naa’ moment that has come with the birth of Jesus.

Matthew recounts the life of his leader and teacher and he goes down hard on the ruling Jewish cartel who condemned Jesus to death – they didn’t recognise Jesus as the Messiah and Matthew’s Gospel exists so that his readers don’t make the same mistake.

The Gospel is filled with quotes from the Old Testament – the vibe is clear – Matthew’s readers know this stuff, Jesus is the promised one, the one who will save the day; the one who all the prophets have written about. It just hasn’t sunk in yet. With his simple, patient, explanatory vibe, Matthew is holding the Jews’ hands as they follow him into the new type of Judaism we now know as Christianity.

General vibe of Matthew: Jesus was Jewish.

Factvibe: Matthew was the only one of the twelve Disciples who clearly had a white collar vibe – he was a tax collector.

Matthew’s Gospel – after lots of waiting, the ‘Da Naa!’ vibe arrives

The Vibe of Malachi

The vibe has become weary. It’s been a long time since God rescued his people and brought them home from Babylon. The Temple has been rebuilt but the good times promised by the prophets haven’t arrived, neither has the Messiah shown up to pass judgment. A general vibe of malaise has set in, people are only sacrificing the animals they are keen to get rid of, they are marrying foreigners, giving less money than they should to the Temple and behaving badly because hey, bad people can do what they like. Malachi reminds them that the Day of Judgment is still coming when the bad will perish and the good will prosper.

Malachi is trying to keep the vibe going in the face of apathy and indifference. It’s going to be a long wait before Jesus arrives to fulfil the promises made by the prophets but Malachi wants to make sure that everyone stays on guard. His is the last watch of the Old Testament, and after he puts down his quill the vibe is put on hold for over 400 years.

General vibe of Malachi: Jesus is coming, look busy.

Factvibe: No one knows the name of the Old Testament’s last prophet.  Malachi simply means ‘Messenger of Jehovah.’

The vibe of Malachi in a Tshirt