Perhaps sometimes you’ve watched Sesame Street with a young child. (Or maybe you’ve watched it on your own…!) If so, you might recall the One of these things is not like the others song.
Did you get which thing was not like the others? I’m sure you had no difficulty. But you know, sometimes it’s harder to guess which thing is not like the others.
I was in Norway for a short trip once (far too short a trip!), and there I was told that there are four related Scandinavian languages: Norwegian, Swedish, Danish and Icelandic. But one of these things is not like the others. Can you guess which one? It’s Icelandic. People from Norway, Sweden and Denmark can understand each other, no matter which language they’re speaking. But they can’t understand folk from Iceland.
Why not? It’s a similar language—but it’s not like the others. People went to Iceland from Scandinavia a thousand years ago and settled there; the Icelandic language has developed in isolation from the others.
We’re in a ‘one of these things is not like the others’ place today. We all know there are four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But one of these things is not like the others. In the Sesame Street video, there were four items of headwear—one was a strange hat, while the others were quite odd sunglasses. And the languages of northern Europe are all ‘Scandinavian’; but three are very similar, while one is different.
It’s like that with the Gospels. All four are telling the Good News about Jesus. Three are similar: Matthew, Mark and Luke. They tell pretty much the same story; in fact, the evidence is that Matthew and Luke adapted Mark for their own purposes.
We call these three the ‘Synoptic Gospels’. That means they all see the events of Jesus together.
All four are Gospels; they each tell the story of Jesus. But John is not like the others. And for a few weeks, we are delving into John chapter 6. Can you see how John is different? Continue reading