Matthew, Mark and Luke are the Synoptic Gospels because they are written very much alike, while John seems to stand back and view the same events in a different perspective.
The overall major theme found in these first Gospels is the teaching of the way in which humans are to live as instructed by God through Jesus Christ. He was not just here to give an example of how to act, but to teach those who would listen and believe the truth and the way to salvation. He taught that through faith one could have salvation and through deed one would be following God's instructions on life. Even in persecution and death Jesus remained faithful and forever the teacher, telling the disciples to go to the ends of the world and teach what He taught them. This discussion will enlighten the basic concepts, parables and points of view in relation to Jesus and His word.
According to Matthew, Jesus visited Bethany prior to being arrested in Gethsemane. It was during this time in Bethany that the disciples were told by Jesus that He would soon be leaving their presence, and that they needed to prepare to take God's word and spread it across the land (Koester 1995). Jesus knew at this time as well that the chief priests were preparing and planning for the most opportune time to arrest Jesus without causing a riot among His believers. While the time is a little off between the Gospels the important difference of this part of the story is the kiss from Judas. In Matthew it mentions that Judas greets Jesus with a kiss that is also the mark of his betrayal. The other Gospels mention the kiss, but have no mention of the initial greeting between Jesus and Judas. Some scholars speculate that Matthew retained more of his Jew background than the other disciples which will explain his mentioning and using Jew traditions as ways to tell the story. However others believe that the greeting before the kiss is just a function of literature that makes the event more believable to the followers of Jesus.
During the last supper Jesus tells the disciples one of them would deny him three times, and another would betray him. Even at this point Judas knew Jesus was talking about him. He had already received the 30 silver pieces and was just waiting for the right time to take the soldiers to Jesus. Jesus told Judas to "do what you have to do." The time came at within days at the garden of Gethsemane. This betrayal of disciple and Jesus reinforces the message that Judas was fulfilling the Scriptures by betraying Jesus. Matthew's insistence that Jesus continued to adhere to many traditional forms of Jewish piety, and that he advanced the true interpretation of the Law of Moses, suggest that the author himself and some, perhaps most, of his audience were Jewish.
After being arrested, Jesus is taken to see Pontus Pilate. Each of the books talks about the questioning at this time. The main difference is that fact that Matthew conveys that Pontus Pilate puts Jesus under oath of the "living God" and then asks Him if He is the Messiah. This line of questioning follows suit because at the time some Jewish and Christian groups thought Jesus was a human rabbinic teacher whom God had made into a great prophet (McGuckin 2004).
According to Ehrman, the community in which Mark lived would have been the first people to have heard the word of God through Mark. He or someone in the temple would have read it to