This paper will compare and contrast some of the texts in the gospels of Mark and Matthew. Though the passages chosen in these gospels focused on one circumstance in the Jesus life with his followers and his people, still there are differences in the manner of saying it and there are some disparities in the sequence, actions, and traits of people and Jesus followers.
Mark 4:35-41 and Matthew 8:18, 23-27 discussed Jesus with his followers who were in the boat to go to the other corner of the lake when strong winds appeared and the big waves covered the boat, while Jesus was just sleeping. His followers were scared so they awakened Jesus and he ordered the waves and the winds to be quiet, and then it was completely peaceful. From here, we can observe that the faith of Jesus servants was not yet complete, as they still do not trust Jesus and do not believe that if they are with him, they will be saved, until they saw that the winds and the waves followed Jesus command; this circumstance made them stood in awe.
However, there are differences that can be noticed in this circumstance. First difference in their story is the appearance of strong winds and waves in the gospel of Mark, while in Matthew, it was described as a great storm. Secondly, the behavior of the followers is different. In Mark, we will notice that Jesus’ followers called him as having no concern even if they were already sinking, while in Matthew, Jesus disciples called him to save them. Based on this, we can see that the disciples showed separate behaviors and therefore we can conclude that in Matthew, Jesus followers were more respectful of him and called him to save them, but in Mark, the disciples judged him at once as he did not care even if they were drowning. Finally, the most obvious difference is: in Mark, Jesus commanded first the waves and the winds to be quiet prior to asking his servants why they are afraid and still have no faith; and in Matthew, Jesus asked his servants first before instructing the waves and winds to be still.
Mark 12: 28-34 and Matthew 22:34-40 talked about Jesus arguing with Sadducees and then a teacher of law came and asked him which of the commandments is the most important. Jesus mentioned that the first order is to love God with all your heart, soul and strength and the second commandment is to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Also, we can see some differences in these passages citing the same circumstances mentioned. Firstly, in Mark, there was just one teacher of the law who heard Jesus contending with the Sadducees, while in Matthew, there were the Pharisees who sent a law teacher to ask Jesus to test him. Here, according to Mark’s gospel, the teacher came out of excitement because he saw that Jesus gave good answers. In Matthew, the Pharisees wanted to test him perhaps to know just how far he could answer. Besides, it was not mentioned in Matthew, which was mentioned in Mark, that the teacher who came to ask Jesus said that Jesus answers to his question were very clever. However, it was mentioned in Matthew that the commandments that Jesus mentioned were the ones the law of the prophets relied on, but this was not stated in Mark. Furthermore, it was not mentioned in Matthew that when the teacher had heard of Jesus answer to his questions, he confirmed it and that Jesus told the teacher that he was close to the Kingdom of God.
The discussions in Mark 15:33-37 and Matthew 27:45-54 focused on Jesus being nailed to the cross and in a loud voice he said “My God, My God, why have you rejected me?” This made people think that he is calling out on Elijah’s name; and Jesus died in this occurrence, and was risen again from the dead. Even with the same happening, there were distinctions in these gospels.
First, when Jesus cried out in a loud voice about him being rejected by God, someone ran, took a sponge, loaded it with vinegar, fastened it to a stick and laid it to the Jesus’ lips: it was just a one person who said he wanted to see if Elijah will come to save him. This was what was written in Mark, but in Matthew, there were many who said that they wanted to see if Elijah will come and rescue him. Even with this dissimilarity, we can see how they treated Jesus. He is the Son of God, yet they treated him in a wicked and disrespectful way. They even rejected that Jesus is the Lord, because they thought that Elijah will come and save him and God the Father will even raise him from the dead. Moreover, they also misunderstood what Jesus said, as it was not Elijah whom he is calling but the God, his Father.
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What is more, in Mark, it only mentioned that the curtain in the temple was cut to two pieces from the upper to its base, and then it was just the army officer who saw the incident and said that Jesus was really the son of God. However, in Matthew, it was stated when the curtain was cut, there was an earthquake, rocks broke apart and Jesus was raised from the dead; and after that, many of God’s people were also raised from death and they came to the Holy City, where they appeared to a lot of people. Moreover, it was not just the army who saw it but also the soldiers guarding Jesus, and they said the same thing that Jesus is the son of God. Considering this, we can still say that the people, even those who did not believe that Jesus is God’s Son and is the appointed one, because of the miracles that happened and also because of the fact that Jesus was raised from the dead, started to believe. However, it really took for these people a long time to believe that, and we cannot deny also the fact that even Jesus disciples doubted him and did not put their faith in him completely, even when Jesus was already with them.
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The differences in these gospels can be attributed to the fact that: a) the gospels have different authors (Mark and Matthew) though focusing on the same event; b) perhaps, the authors relied on their own separate interpretation and talked with different people and audience instead of working together and coming up with a common interpretation; and c) perhaps, these authors came from different periods and those who discovered their writings may have various interpretation and speculation of the event.