"Christ Sending Out the Seventy" by James Tissot
The Gospel lectionary reading for today is from Mark 6:7-13. Naturally, with the Gospel readings for the weekdays taken from Matthew, and the Sunday readings taken from Mark, we see overlap. Such is the case today.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called the Synoptic Gospels which simply means that they should be "seen" together. I, along with the majority of scholars, hold to the theory that Mark's Gospel came first. It is the shortest and most basic, and most likely closest to the events as they happened in history. Matthew and Luke both use a majority of Mark in their Gospels and then they each add their own unique material which, for lack of better terminology, we call "M" and "L". However, both Matthew and Luke have some material in common that is not in Mark. Scholars refer to this source as "Q" after the German word for source. Thus, we have at least four sources behind the three synoptic Gospels. All of this suggests that Matthew and Luke, as we have them now, were probably not, in the end, put together by eyewitnesses to the events they recount. Luke admits as much at the beginning of his Gospel. However, this does not mean that the sources from which the Gospels are drawn do not go back to eyewitnesses. Some details, especially in Mark, suggest an eyewitness account.
In any case, it is now agreed by the majority of scholars that all of the Gospels were written in the first century, and thus are the historically closest accounts to the actual life of Jesus. The Gnostic Gospels we often hear about came much later. So if we want historical accuracy, we must turn to the four canonical Gospels, and of course, to some of the letters of Paul which were written even earlier than the Gospels.
For commentary on today's Gospel reading, click on the link below where I offer the audio version of a sermon I preached on this text a few years ago.....
Six Marks of a True Disciple