My theology professor posed this question to our class: “Why didn’t Jesus write a single, definitive Gospel, at least in his own words, before his crucifixion? Jesus was God; heck, wouldn’t God have thought of that?” Can you shed any light on this question?
The simple answer is that Jesus didn’t write a Gospel because he didn’t choose to do so. As it is not recorded why he chose not to do so, all we can do is speculate upon his reasons.
Throughout the Gospels we see Jesus forming his apostles and disciples to be witnesses to him:
“He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10:16).
“I [Jesus] have manifested thy [the Father’s] name to the men whom thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them to me, and they have kept thy word. Now they know that everything that thou hast given me is from thee; for I have given them the words which thou gavest me, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from thee; and they have believed that thou didst send me. I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world but for those whom thou hast given me, for they are thine; all mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them” (John 17:6-10).
While your professor’s question is a good question to ask of a Christian who believes in the Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura, the Catholic response is easy: Catholicism has an incarnational view of the world because Catholicism believes in the God who chose to become a man. That God-man Christ Jesus showed a marked preference for working through those he entrusted to carry forth his mission to the world. It is in keeping with such a view that Jesus would choose to allow others to write of him rather than leaving us his own written record.