Why understand the chronological order of the Gospels? The events of Jesus’s resurrection or what happened in the course of Jesus’s trials puzzle many. Some unbelievers have asserted contradictions, and some believers have agreed laying aside Jesus’s words for a more mystical approach to faith in Christ. However, the Scriptures harmonize easily. There is a true chronological harmony of the Gospels, and the reader can see these in the purposes of each Gospel. For such an example, select this link a chronology of the Gospels.
Why are there four gospels? All four Gospels of Matthew, John, Mark with Peter, and the witnesses testified of what they saw and heard via Luke (Luke 1:1–3, cf. 1 John 1:1–4). Matthew wrote emphasizing the five main teachings of Jesus Christ in Galilee along with His fulfilling of predictive scripture. Mark concisely presented the vast influence of Christ’s ministry and Jesus’s personal character. Luke wrote emphasizing the last year of Jesus’s life traveling throughout the Israel unto Jerusalem. John wrote testifying of Jesus’s defense as the Christ in Judea. Each gospel is one of a kind supplementing each other with specific events contained in each individual account.
How do the Gospels affirm the Christian faith? The harmony of the Gospels prove that the Gospels are facts. The Gospels supplement each other agreeing on much more than multiple points of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection. While some people assert allegations of contradictions in these records, there is not one gospel account that opposes the other. All of the Gospels are the records of primary witnesses and serve as authentic testimonies for honest examination. Thoroughly examining and finding agreeing accounts of two or three witnesses has been the standard of evidence for jurisprudence from ancient law until modern law (cf. “The Standard of Evidence”). This legal maxim appears in ancient histories, and the Law of Moses presents this wisdom as originating from God (Deut 17:6–7; 19:15–20). In John’s gospel, Jesus affirmed this standard evidence in proving that He was the predicted Messiah (John 5:33–47; 8:17), and this is why John wrote his gospel to testify of the truth (John 19:35; 20:30–31; 21:24; cf. 1 John 1:1–4, 5:6–13).
The Apostles testified in court in facing in possible charges of perjury, and yet their testimonies held strong and true. See, the word “perjury” literally means “false witness” according to its etymology of “par” meaning false and “jury” meaning witness. The Apostles did not bear false witness and they proved that Jesus is the predicted Messiah. Appearing before the Jewish court, the Apostles declared, “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20), and “we are His witnesses to these things” (Acts 5:32). Likewise, when some unbelieving Jews rose against the apostle Paul in Jerusalem, he took the testimony of the Gospel through trials from Caesarea to Rome (Acts 22:15; 23:11; 28:17–23). By this evidence, many believed the Gospel of Christ throughout the world.
All of the Gospels are chronologically accurate. The greatest difficulty involves comparing Matthew’s gospel to the gospels of Mark and Luke. While the Gospel of Matthew’s chronology is in order, Matthew’s gospel uniquely records his memoirs in overlapping portions from chapters 9–11. Matthew’s account does not appear as an exact order of events like Luke set to write an orderly account. Matthew’s record presents overlapping events in different periods of time for the end of Jesus’s first year of ministry through His second year. Otherwise, Matthew is in perfect agreement with Mark, Luke, and John. Matthew’s record overlaps in two places showing that Matthew wrote his gospel in segments. Starting from chapter 8 and verse 4, Matthew recorded specific events consisting of chapters 9–11 that overlap past events started in chapter 12. By comparing Matthew to Luke and Mark, Matthew presents events in chapter 9:1–17 that occurred before those events previously mentioned in Matthew 8:19–56. Matthew 12 also starts at a previous point before the occurrence of events in Matthew 9:18–38. This is the extent of any chronological difficulties. However, these are easily accepted when allowing Matthew to not need to present an exact chronology.
While some people are skeptical of the events of the Jesus’s life, trials, and resurrection, the Gospels stand true to examination. Each Gospel records eyewitness testimonies. The Gospels harmonize in unity and stand unique in supplementing each other. The honest student cannot disregard the value of each gospel. Reading one or two Gospels cannot stand for the reading of the others. There is harmony of the Gospels and a unity for all readers to admire the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
See for yourself: A Chronological Harmony of the Events of the Gospels.