And said Jesus, "Peace be unto you! As the Divine Father has sent me, I am sending the peace to you." - John 20:21
The Life and Times of the Lord Jesus Christ: A Harmony of the Gospels by Peter Smith is an important contribution in bringing the event of Christ's life together as a "fifth gospel". It presents the life of Christ in its correct chronological order with all the details intact whereas the synoptic gospels were not all chronologically recorded, only the gospel of John was.
The canonical gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John written between 65 and 100 AD., individually doesn't mention all of the events of the life of Christ. For example,
John's Gospel records only 49 events,
Mark's 70 events,
Matthew's 94 events, and
Luke's 118 events of Christ life.
Its scholarly recognized that first canonical gospel was that of Mark (c 65-70) which in turn was used as a source for the gospel of Matthew and Luke. Gospel of John presents quite a different picture, which probably explain why it has the least number of events recorded. There are 87 events which are recorded by only one gospel. Now as a fifth gospel model, Peter Smith has combined all the 179 events in the life of Christ into a single collective report without any repetitious coverage. Sometimes an event in Christ's life is reported by one, two, three and sometimes four gospels, however only one account is chosen in the book. The work selects the account that has the most to say and has the most weighty words.
There is no doubt that the Life of Christ was, still is and will remain mysterious as truly he was a mystic and those who come to love him will always thirst and long to know more of his life; as apostle John reminds us, "There are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books ...". Yet this book within the context of canonical gospels now refreshes the time and life of Christ in a very useful and important fashion. It was necessary to follow the footsteps of Jesus as it developed and recorded in the four gospels in the manner it happened with time. The accurate time frame is important as well as all the events in a single thread to have a better appreciation of Christ's mission.
It took Peter Smith more than 20 years for the search of a perfect gospel and the final work is about two and a half times the size of Luke's Gospel. The amount of research put in it is truly commendable contribution. About the book Peter Smith states, "You can get the whole story of Christ's life in one account ... it would be great (to) get the fullest account possible without having to resort to study the four gospel narratives, which give an incomplete picture of his life."
Anyone who is interested in getting a clearer image of the life of one of the most celebrated yet enigmatic figure of human history, Jesus Christ - certainly this book is a good recommendation.
# The Life and Times of the Lord Jesus Christ: A Harmony of the Gospels is available via Amazon and via Outskirtspress
About the Author: Peter E. J. Smith is an avid student of the life of Jesus Christ. He is an elder of a Broken Hill Church, enjoys teaching and preaching in his local church. For comment / request, he can be reached via email: petersmith (at) dodo.com.au