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The Life of Christ

 Leadership Empowerment School of Ministry

 

Empowering Those who Empower Others with a Knowledge of God and His Ways

 

Chapter One

Christ in the Old Testament

 

As you begin this study on the life of Jesus of Nazareth, you will have the opportunity to be drawn closer and deeper in love with the Living Lord of Glory.  In this overview of Jesus' life and ministry, we will focus on selected events in His life: from His humble birth in Bethlehem, to His atoning death on Golgotha, to His magnificent resurrection and ascension to the Father's side.

 

The Old Testament Witness to the Future Messiah

The entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is centered around One Person -- Jesus Christ.  The Old Testament is full of prophecies concerning the coming of a future King.  All aspects concerning His life, from His Incarnation to His Resurrection, were prophesied in detail by men who lived 400 to 1,500 years before His Birth. 

 

1. The Messiah's Birthplace

A. Old Testament Prophecy (Micah 5:2)

"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from old, from ancient times"

 

B. New Testament Fulfillment (Matthew 2:1)

"After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod. . ."

 

This prophecy states that the Messiah would be born in the town of Bethlehem Ephrathah.  This was given to the prophet Micah seven centuries before it came to pass.  At the time of this prophecy, it would have been very unlikely for a king to have been born in such a small, insignificant town as Bethlehem.  Most kings were born in palaces, in the capital of their homeland.

 

 

2. The Messiah Would be of the Line of Jesse and David

A. Old Testament Prophecy (Isaiah 11:1, 2)

"And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD"

 

B. New Testament Fulfillment (Matthew 1:1)

"The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham"

 

3. A Messenger will come before the Messiah

A. Old Testament Prophecy (Isaiah 40:3)

"A voice of one calling: 'In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.'"

 

B. New Testament Fulfillment (Matthew 3:1, 2) -- see also John 1:22-23

"In those days, John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.'"

 

4. The Messiah would Remain Silent Before His Accusers

A. Old Testament Prophecy (Isaiah 53:7)

"He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth."

 

B. New Testament Fulfillment (Matthew 27:12-14)

"When He was accused by the chief priests and the elders, He gave no answer.  Then Pilate asked Him, 'Don't You hear the testimony they are bringing against You?'  But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge -- to the great amazement of the governor."

 

5. The Messiah would be Wounded and Whipped

A. Old Testament Prophecy (Isaiah 53:5)

"But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed."

 

B. New Testament Fulfillment (Matthew 27:26)

"Then he released Barabbas to them.  But he had Jesus flogged, and handed Him over to be crucified."

 

6. The Messiah would have His Hands and Feet Pierced

A. Old Testament Prophecy (Psalm 22:16)

"Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet."

 

B. New Testament Fulfillment (Luke 23:33)

"When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified Him, along with the criminals -- one on His right, the other on His left."

 

7. The Messiah would be Crucified with Thieves

A. Old Testament Prophecy (Isaiah 53:12)

"Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors.  For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."

 

B. New Testament Fulfillment (Matthew 27:38)

"Two robbers were crucified with Him, one on His right and one on His left."

 

Chapter Two

Birth and Childhood of Christ

 

1. The Fullness of Time Had Come

 

"But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,  To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons"    --  Gal 4:4-5  (KJV)

 

What made this the fullness of time?  God saw that the time was exactly right to carry out His plan to save the world.  The people of Israel were eagerly waiting for their Messiah -- though they misunderstood the purpose of His coming.  The Romans had established peace over a large area around Judah, which enabled the Gospel to spread more easily.  Also, the Greek language was commonly spoken, which allowed the Jews to communicate with people of different races.

 

2. The Birth of the Forerunner Promised -- Luke 1:5-25

A. During "the time of Herod, king of Judea," who reigned from 37 BC to 4 BC.

 

B. The angel Gabriel appeared

1. Read Luke 1:13-15

 

2. Gabriel added that this child was to be subject to the Nazirite vow of not drinking wine (Num 6:1-4), and that he would be "filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth."

 

3. Malachi had prophesied concerning the coming of Elijah to proclaim the Messiah four hundred years earlier  (Mal 4:5-6).

 

4. Zechariah doubted, and was made dumb until after John's birth.

 

3. Announcement of Jesus' Birth to Mary -- Lk 1:26-38

A. Nazareth was a small town of no more than 2,000 people

 

B. Mary was a young teenager betrothed Joseph.  The betrothal lasted for one year, until the actual wedding day.

 

C. Gabriel told Mary she would give birth to the Messiah

1. Jesus comes from the Hebrew 'Yeshua,' meaning 'Yahweh saves.'

 

2. "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.  So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God." (Lk 1:35).

 

3. The virgin birth is so important because it reveals that Jesus is in fact the Son of God.

 

D. Mary's response:  "I am the Lord's servant.  May it be done to me as you have said." (Lk 1:38)

 

4. The Birth of the Savior -- Lk 2:1-20; Matt 1:18-25

 

Assignment:  Passage for study

Choose one of the following passages to study.  Follow the three steps, and write down the main point and an application to your life:

1. Matthew 2:1-12

 

2. Luke 2:1-20

 

 

Main Point

 

 

 

 

 

Application

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A. Joseph had to return to his home town of Bethlehem in order to register.  This was probably for the purpose of taxing or military information for the Roman Empire.

 

B. Visit of the shepherds (Lk 2:8-20)

 

5. The Presentation in the Temple -- Lk 2:21-40

A. Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day (v 21) -- see Gen 17:12; Lev 12:3

Paul said that Jesus was "born under the law, to redeem those under the law." (Gal 4:4-5).

 

B. Jesus was presented to God at the temple

1. For the purification of the mother -- see Lev 12:1-8

Joseph and Mary could not afford a lamb, so they offered 2 doves or pigeons

 

2. As the first-born son, He also had to be "redeemed" -- see Ex 13:11-16

 

C. Prophecy of Simeon (v 25-35)

1. Saw beyond most concerning the mission of the Messiah -- saw him as "a light for revelation to the Gentiles."

 

2. Prophesied that suffering would come to Mary

 

D. Testimony of Ana (v 36-38)

 

6. The Visit of the Magi -- Matt 2:1-12

A. Magi were pagan astrologers from the East

Bowed before Jesus even though many Jews refused to do so

 

B. Do not know how many, or where they were from exactly

 

C. Came up to two years after the birth of Jesus (v 16)

Also, they found Mary and Jesus in a house, not the stable

 

D. Gifts of the Magi

1. Gold -- appropriate gift for a king

 

2. Frankincense -- pagans offered incense to their gods, and Jews also offered to God

 

3. Myrrh -- very expensive; used to anoint bodies for burial.  Jesus was "born to die."

 

E. King Herod sought to destroy the King of the Jews

1. Herod a ruthless and power-hungry ruler -- he had murdered his own wife, 3 sons, and mother-in-law.

 

2. Massacred Bethlehem's male babies

 

3. God protected Jesus by giving dreams to the Magi and to Joseph

 

7. Flight to Egypt & Return to Nazareth - Matt 2:13-23

A. Fulfillment of Scripture -- Hosea 11:1

Hosea was referring to the Jews being led out of Egypt to the Promised Land.  However, Matthew gives new meaning to this Word, and applies it to an even more significant event.  Note how prophecy can sometimes have a double meaning.

 

B. Returned from Egypt to Nazareth in Galilee

1. They would have returned to Bethlehem, but King Herod's son Archelaus was ruling in Judea.  Archelaus was unstable, and a murderer like his father.  Therefore God directed Joseph to go to Nazareth, where he and Mary had lived before Jesus was born.

 

2. Nazareth was the town which housed the Roman army for the northern regions of Galilee.  Therefore most Jews would not have any associations with that city.  In fact those who lived in Nazareth were thought of as compromisers who helped the enemy.  Therefore to call one "a Nazarene" was an insult.  Because Joseph and his family settled in Nazareth, Jesus was later despised by many in Israel.  This was Nathaniel's reaction when he heard Jesus was from Nazareth (John 1:46): "Can anything good come from there?"

 

8. The Child Teacher in the Temple -- Lk 2:41-52

A. Mary and Joseph were not aware that Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem.

 

B. Jesus was in the temple, amazing the chief rabbis of the day with His wisdom

 

C. Jesus calls God His Father -- had some idea at least at this time about His identity and mission

 

D. Jesus obediently returned home with his parents

 

E. "Jesus grew in wisdom and stature" (v 52).

The Son of God, who had perfect wisdom, put Himself in a position where He needed to grow in wisdom.  Jesus was fully human, and fully identifies with us.

 

Discussion Groups:

- How did Mary respond to the angel differently from Zechariah?  Why was the Lord pleased with Mary's response, but not Zechariah's?

- What can we learn about God from how He chose the circumstances of Jesus' birth?

 

 

Chapter Three

His Public Ministry -- The First Year

 

1. John the Baptist - Mt 3:1-12; Mk 1:1-8; Lk 3:1-18; Jn 1:19-36, 3:22-36

A. Through John, God broke 400 years of silence when He did not speak to Israel through a prophet

 

B. It was prophesied that Elijah would come before the day of the Lord (Mal 4:5)

1. Matthew describes John's clothing, which would remind readers of Elijah (Mat 3:4, 2 Ki 1:8)

 

2. The angel had prophesied to Zechariah that John would go forth in "the spirit and power of Elijah" in words similar to those used by Malachi (Lk 1:17)

 

C. Each Gospel refers to Isaiah 40:3 in reference to John ("A voice of one crying in the wilderness").

 

D. Priests and Levites question John

1. Are you Elijah?

John denied that he was.  His ministry was like Elijah's, and he was appointed to set the stage for the Messiah's appearing, and yes, he did fulfill the prophecy of Malachi, but John told the Jews that he was not Elijah returned to earth in the flesh.

 

2. Are you the prophet?

The prophet spoken of in Deuteronomy chapter 18 would be fulfilled only in the Messiah, not the one who came to prepare the way for Him.

 

E. John's testimony about Jesus

1. "The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (Jn 1:29-34)

 

2. "He must become greater;  I must become less" (Jn 3:22-36)

 

2. The Baptism of Jesus -- Mt 3:13-17; Mk 1:9-11; Lk 3:21-22

A. John did not understand why Jesus would be baptized (Mt 3:14)

1. "To fulfill all righteousness" -- in obedience to the Father

 

2. Baptism is usually about repentance, but Jesus did not need to repent.  For Jesus, it served as a dedication to His ministry and mission.

 

3. An example to be followed by all disciples (Mt 28:19-20)

B. All three members of Trinity present together at the baptism

 

C. The Holy Spirit came upon Him

 

3. Temptation in the Wilderness

-- Mt 4:1-11; Mk 1:12-13; Lk 4:1-13

A. Led by the Spirit -- this encounter with the devil was ordained by God

 

B. Jesus overcame by quoting Scripture (Deut 8:3, 6:16, 6:13)

The devil also used Scripture in his attempt to trap Jesus (mis-used Ps 91:11-12)

 

Class Discussion:  What can we learn about how we are tempted and how to overcome it from these passages?

 

4. The Calling of the First Five Disciples -- Jn 1:35-51

A. Two disciples of John the Baptist were the first to follow Jesus -- Andrew and ?? (maybe John?)

 

B. After spending time with Jesus, Andrew brought his brother Simon (whom Jesus called Peter)

 

C. Jesus called Philip, who in turn brought Nathanael

 

5. The First Miracle in Cana -- Jn 2:1-11

A. Weddings often lasted a full week, with the entire town invited.  Running out of supplies would have been a big embarrassment and even an offense

 

B. Jesus demonstrates concern for daily-life problems

 

C. Possible symbolic significance

1. Represents the emptiness of Jewish ritual (as seen in the ceremonial washing) to cleanse the human heart, and that Christ brings newness of life through the wine of a renewed relationship with God.  This new wine replaces the empty religion and fills the human heart.

 

2. Represents the new birth -- the transformation of the water into wine symbolizes the transformation of a sinner by the power of the Spirit of God.

 

6. New Birth: A Conversation at Night -- Jn 3:1-21

A. Pharisees:

1. deep respect for the Scriptures

 

2. placed legalistic obedience to the finer points of the law and to man-made traditions above the spirit of the Scriptures

 

3. believed they were right with God because of their legalistic and external righteousness

 

B. Jesus offers freedom and newness from the legalistic, dead form of religion.  He tells Nicodemus that he simply needs to believe (to trust).

 

C. Nicodemus came at night, and Jesus discusses the battle of light v darkness (v 19-21)

 

7. Jesus' Rejection in His Home-town -- Lk 4:14-30; Mt 13:53-58; Mk 6:1-6

A. Jesus announces His mission by using Isaiah 61:1-2

 

B. When He said this scripture is fulfilled today, Jesus was clearly claiming to be the Messiah.

Shocked and eventually enraged the people -- the Messiah a peasant carpenter that we know?

 

C. Jesus condemns their unbelief by pointing out that even Elijah and Elisha helped Gentiles but were rejected by most of Israel.

 

D. Jesus could not perform many miracles in Nazareth due to their lack of faith

 

Chapter Four

His Public Ministry –  The Year of Popularity

 

1. Healings in Capernaum

-- Mt 8:1-17,9:1-8; Mk 1:21-2:12; Lk 4:31-5:26

A. Jesus went to a synagogue in Capernaum, where the people were amazed at His teaching, and he cast out a demon.

 

B. Jesus heals many and casts out demons when people gather at the house in the evening

 

C. Jesus knew His mission, and after prayer said 'no' to continued ministry in Capernaum in order to go to other villages.

 

D. Healing the man with leprosy

1. Normally if someone touched a leper, he would be made 'unclean,' and was in danger of getting the disease.  But the opposite happened with Jesus... The leper did not make Jesus unclean and sick, but Jesus made the leper clean and whole.

 

2. Because of this man's testimony, Jesus no longer entered towns openly due to the crowds.  Instead He preferred to remain in 'lonely places' (Mk 1:45).

 

E. Back in Capernaum, Jesus heals and forgives a paralytic (Mt 9:1-8; Mk 2:1-12; Lk 5:17-26)

1. Luke says that on this day, "the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick."

 

2. The healing proved that He also had authority to forgive sins.

 

F. Healing of the Centurion (Mt 8:5-13, Lk 7:1-10)

1. Centurion was a Roman commander of 100 soldiers

 

2. Most soldiers were hated by the Jews, but this one was respected -- he had built a synagogue for them

 

3. Great faith:  understood authority;  Jesus did not even have to come in order to heal

 

4. Boundary-breaking ministry:  Jesus demonstrates a willingness to go to the house of a Gentile

 

2. The Sermon on the Mount -- Mt 5:1-7:29

In this teaching, it is clear that Jesus did not lower the standard of the law, but He in fact raised it.  The law was clearly already impossible to keep in perfection, and yet Jesus is calling His disciples to something even more difficult.  However, Jesus does what the law could not do.  The law demonstrated our failure and sinfulness.  Jesus, instead of lowering this standard, raises people to it.  This sermon also points out the difference between Jesus' message and that of the religious leaders.  The Pharisees dealt in the external, but Jesus always focuses on the internal.

 

 

 

Assignment:  Passage for study

Choose one of the following passages to study.  Follow the three steps, and write down the main point and an application to your life:

1. Matthew 5:38-48

 

2. Matthew 6:19-34

 

 

Main Point

 

 

 

 

 

Application

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A. The 'Beatitudes' -- 5:3-12

1. poor in spirit -- understanding our need, and our dependence on God -- like a beggar.  This is the starting point for following Jesus

 

2. those who mourn

a. being broken over sin (ours and others') -- see Ps 51

b. sharing in the grief of others

c. Jesus has a special care for people who have lost something or someone.  He is present for them.

 

3. the meek -- gentleness; not using my power to promote or defend or please myself;   such people will one day rule.

 

4. those who hunger and thirst for righteousness -- speaks of great longings of the heart.  Hunger and thirst lead us to do whatever it takes; not satisfied with what we are.

 

5. the merciful -- extending mercy to others because we have received mercy (Eph 4:32, Col 3:14)

 

6. pure in heart -- those who desire holiness; whose hearts are focused on Jesus and the Kingdom

 

7. peacemakers -- live at peace and help others to do so;  ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:18)

8. those who are persecuted

a. Jesus taught that this will happen

b. have an eternal perspective -- Rom 8:18 and 2 Cor 4:17

c. rejoice!!

 

B. Salt and light -- 5:13-16

 

C. Fulfilling the Law -- 5:17-6:18

 

Class Discussion:  How did Christ fulfill the law?  And, how must our righteousness surpass that of the Pharisees?

 

1. Murder in your heart -- "He who is angry with his brother"

 

2. Adultery in your heart -- lust

 

3. Divorce -- not allowed except for marital unfaithfulness

 

4. Oaths -- be plain of speech; "Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.'"

 

5. 'Eye for eye' -- Do not resist an evil person

a. 'Turn the other cheek' -- you know the healer

b. 'If someone wants to... take your tunic, let him have your cloak' -- you know the provider

c. 'If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles' -- God is your strength

 

6. Love your enemies -- 'that you may be sons of your Father in heaven'

 

7. 'In secret' -- motives

a. give in secret

b. pray in secret

c. fast in secret

 

D. Treasures in Heaven -- 6:19-34

1. Do not be preoccupied with earthly gain

 

2. Do not worry -- worry comes from lack of trust (1 Pet 5:7)

 

Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. -- Mt 6:33

 

E. Do not judge -- 7:1-6  (see Rom 2:1-4, 14:4)

 

F. Ask, Seek, Knock -- 7:7-11

This is one of several passages where Jesus encourages us to be persistent in prayer.  These exhortations -- Ask, seek, knock -- indicate an ongoing action:  keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking.  This is part of faith.  You will (eventually) receive.

 

G. The 'Golden Rule' -- 7:12

 

Do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

 

H. The narrow gait -- 7:13-14

 

I. By their fruit -- 7:15-27

1. We are to watch out for false prophets.  They look and sound good, but they will destroy.  Jesus tells us we can know them by their fruit.

 

2. Many will even prophesy in Jesus' Name, drive out demons, and perform miracles.  They think they are saved, but are not.

 

3. The conclusion -- be wise and obey the words of Jesus

 

Prayer Time

Meditate on the truths Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount.  Ask the Lord to reveal to you how you are falling short of His standard in your own life.  Repent, and seek Him about how you can change.

3. Confrontation with Pharisees & Unpardonable Sin

-- Mt 12:22-37; Mk 3:20-30; Lk 11:14-26

 

A. People began to wonder if Jesus was the Messiah (Mt 12:23)

 

B. The Pharisees accused Jesus of driving out demons by demonic power of his own

1. Why would Satan drive out Satan?

 

2. By whom do 'your people' drive them out? -- If the greater power of Jesus was done by demons, than who was the lesser power of the Jewish exorcists from?

 

C. Binding the 'strong man'; one more powerful overcoming him

Jesus is the stronger one who came to take from the devil

 

D. "He who is not with me is against me."

One needs to make a choice in life: either side with the Savior, or not.  Those who side with Him will demonstrate the work of the Kingdom, but whoever does not side with Jesus will, in effect, be doing the work of the evil one.

 

E. The sin that will not be forgiven

The sin against the Spirit of God is an evil act done while one is aware of the truth.  The unpardonable sin is a deliberate refusal to recognize the anointing of God's Spirit upon the Messiah.  To do so, one must choose to call good evil, and to close his eyes to the evidence which the Spirit bears witness to.  It reflects a condition of the heart -- one of hardness to the extent which even God's conviction is not able to change.

 

The men who had committed this sin (or were coming close to doing so) called Jesus the devil and equated the Holy Spirit to Satan.  It is not God's ability to forgive which keeps such a soul from ever seeing Heaven's gates, but rather the continued attitude of unrepentance on behalf of the individual who neither seeks nor desires God's mercy.

 

4. Two Stories of Faith  -- Mat 9:18-26; Mk 5:21-43; Lk 8:40-56

A. Request of Jairus to heal his daughter

 

B. The woman with the flow of blood

She was considered unclean, and anyone she touched would also be unclean (Lev 15:26-27).  A miracle occurred without Jesus even doing anything, but somehow He knew that power had gone out from Him.  The woman was trembling in fear to be found out, but Jesus was gentle with her.  He told her, "your faith has healed you."

 

C. After this interruption, they hear that Jairus' daughter has died.  Jesus tells him to "just believe."

 

D. After putting the mourners outside, Jesus raises the girl back to life

 

Chapter Five

Public Ministry -- The Year of Opposition

 

1. The Feeding of the Multitudes

-- Mt 14:13-21; Mk 6:30-44; Lk 9:10-17; Jn 6:1-15

The story of the multiplication of the loaves and fish is the only miracle of Jesus, other than the Resurrection, which is recorded in all four gospels.  The crowds who came to see Jesus grew to 5,000 men.  Including women and children, there were probably between 15,000 and 20,000 people.  He was concerned for their well-being, and He asked Philip, who was from nearby Bethsaida, where they could get food for the people.  Of course, there was no human way to feed such a crowd, but Jesus tested the faith of His disciples.  Philip said that it would take 200 days' wages to feed them all.  However, Jesus already knew what He was going to do. 

 

Barley loaves and the small fish which were common to the Sea of Galilee were the staple diet of the poor.  Jesus took what little He had to work with, and giving thanks to God, distributed the bread and fish.  The crowd ate as much as they wanted.  The disciples gathered the leftovers, and filled twelve baskets with what remained.

 

A. Jesus put His disciples in an impossible situation on purpose to test them (Jn 6:5-6).  How do you respond in 'impossible situations?'

 

B. Jesus wanted to meet the physical needs of these people

 

C. Jesus took the little that the boy had, and did something wonderful with it.  When we offer Him the little we have, He can use it in mighty ways.

 

2. The Bread of Life Teaching -- Jn 6:25-69

 

"I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you." -- Jn 6:53

 

A. Jn 1:14 says "The Word became flesh."  To eat His flesh is to live on His Word, to always trust Him fully.  It is to depend on Jesus and His Word for our spiritual well-being.  This takes the form of a personal, intimate relationship with the Lord.

 

B. As with the Lord's supper, there is a connection with this passage and the sacrifice Jesus will make.  He is looking to the cross, and the spilling of His blood to institute a New Covenant.  We must receive His sacrifice for us in order to have life.

 

C. Many of His followers found these words too difficult, and so left Jesus.  The twelve, though they surely did not fully understand them, recognized that they were indeed 'words of eternal life.'

 

3. The Messiah and His Glory Revealed

-- Mt 15:21-17:13; Mk 7:24-9:13; Lk 9:10-36

A. Jesus performed other miracles in Galilee

These included the healing of the Canaanite woman's daughter who was demonized, and the healings of the multitudes of various sicknesses along the mountainside nearby the Sea of Galilee.  This was followed by the feeding of 4,000 men, plus women and children.  Afterwards, Jesus and His disciples traveled to the region of Caesarea Philippi.

 

B. "Who do people say that I am?"   (Mat 16:13)

People obviously thought very highly of Jesus, but failed to see who He really is.

 

C. "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Jesus commends Peter, telling him that he had received a revelation from God.

 

D. "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it."

Is this rock Peter, Jesus Himself, or Peter's confession of who Jesus is?

 

E. The keys of the kingdom

This, along with the 'binding' and 'loosing' probably refers to the authority to decide what the Lord's will is.  To 'bind' is to prohibit; to 'loose' is to allow.  This authority was given to all the disciples (and to the Church in general) in Matt 18:18.

 

F. The transfiguration

Before the eyes of Peter, James, and John, Jesus was transfigured, and His face shone like the sun, with His clothes becoming as white as light.  The Son of God, who for more than thirty years walked the earth clothed in humanity and humility, now reveals to three a glimpse of His glory. 

 

Immediately there appeared before the three disciples Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration.  Their presence was significant.  In Moses, the Law was represented, which testified to God's righteous and holy demands, which Jesus met in all of its entirety during His earthly life.  Elijah was the most revered of Israel's great prophets, and he stood as a representative of  the voices of all of the nation's prophets who looked forward with anticipation to the future Messiah.  Thus, the Law and the prophets joined together to give witness to the glory of Christ.

 

Chapter Six

His Public Ministry -- The Final Months

 

1. The Raising of Lazarus -- Jn 11:1-44

 

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies." -- John 11:25

 

The resurrection of Lazarus demonstrates that there is always hope with Jesus.  He has power to help in every situation.

 

2. Be Prepared for the Second Coming -- Lk 17:20-37

 

Assignment:  Passage for study

Choose one of the following passages to study.  Follow the three steps, and write down the main point and an application to your life:

1. Matthew 24:4-44

 

2. Luke 17:20-37

 

 

Main Point

 

 

 

 

 

Application

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A. "The Kingdom of God is within you (or among you)"

Although hidden from them because of their hardness of heart, God's Kingdom was present in the very midst or among the Pharisees because God's Anointed One was presently among them. 

 

B. "You will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man."

Jesus is most likely referring to His glorious appearing at the end of the age.  This may well be intended to refer to the time when the disciples, facing persecution and martyrdom, would earnestly long for Jesus to return.

 

C. Warning against false messiahs -- when Jesus returns, it will be obvious

 

D. Judgment to come suddenly and as a surprise -- as with the flood and the destruction of Sodom

 

E. "I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left."

What Jesus says here is cause to stop and ponder, with all seriousness.  The return of Christ will result in the dividing of life's most intimate relationships.  A man and his wife, in bed together, will be separated in that moment.  One will receive eternal life; the other will be condemned to eternal punishment.  Two people, working side by side, will be eternally separated in the day of judgment.

 

3. Jesus and Little Children:  Mt 18:1-6, 19:13-15;      Mk 9:33-37, 10:13-16; Lk 18:15-17

 

Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. -- Mat 18:4

 

A. Who is the greatest?

Disciples of Jesus need to be humble and simple of heart.  They must not be concerned with their position, or being someone great.  They simply receive from the Father's hand with a grateful heart whatever He wishes to give.

 

B. "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these."

 

Class Discussion:  In what ways are we to be like little children?

             

4. The Rich Young Man

-- Mat 19:16-30; Mk 10:17-31; Lk 18:18-30

His first words indicate that this man had a sincere heart  Jesus then states the commandments -- numbers four through nine.  "Teacher, all these I have kept since I was a boy."  Mark records, "Jesus looked at him and loved him."  The Pharisees often drew sharp rebukes from Jesus, but this young ruler's sincere quest for eternal life drew a display of compassion from the heart of God.  His question (as Matthew alone records), "What do I still lack?," reveals the fact that he was not so arrogant as to believe he was justified before God.

 

Jesus now prepared to touch the man's deepest affection and possession: his wealth.  In a call for commitment and true discipleship, Jesus says to the young man, "Go, sell everything you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven.  Then come, follow Me."  Jesus brought this man to a point of decision: Follow Jesus and love God, or follow his own desires and continue to love his riches.

 

With Jesus' request came a response which must have grieved the Lord's heart.  Mark records, "At this the man's face fell.  He went away sad, because he had great wealth."  Sadly, the young ruler overestimated his earthly wealth, for he valued it higher than eternity's treasures.

 

5. The Anointing at Bethany

-- Mt 26:6-13; Mk 14:1-9; Jn 12:1-11 (Lk 7:36-50)

There were probably two anointings: one earlier (as Luke records), and one near the end of Jesus' ministry (as John, Matthew and Mark record).

 

Mary, the one who earlier sat at the Master's feet, now displays her deep love for Jesus.  She took "about a pint of pure nard" and poured it on Jesus.  The nard was a very expensive perfume derived from a plant native to India.  Since Jesus and the others were reclining, it would have been easy for Mary to pour the nard over much of His body, including His feet.  The rich smell of the expensive oil quickly filled the house. Realizing the worth of the nard, the disciples were upset.

 

However, Mary's act deeply touched the heart of God.  Speaking prophetically, Jesus says that Mary's act of love will be told throughout the world in her memory. 

 

Discussion Groups:

- Jesus forced the rich young man to make a decision by demanding a commitment.   How does He do the same today?

- Mary 'wasted' this valuable treasure on Jesus.  Can we show Him our love in such a way? How?

 

 

Assignment:  Passage for study

Choose one of the following passages to study.  Follow the three steps, and write down the main point and an application to your life:

1. John 15:1-17

 

2. John 16:1-16

 

 

Main Point

 

 

 

 

 

Application

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Chapter Seven

Footsteps to the Cross -- The Final Week

 

1. The Triumphal Entry

-- Mat 21:1-11; Mk 11:1-11; Lk 19:28-44

A. Jesus sent two disciples ahead to get a colt (donkey)

1. Showed that this was a mission of peace

An ancient ruler would enter a city on a donkey if his was a visit of peace; upon a horse, if he came to make war.

 

2. Fulfilled the messianic prophecy of Zech 9:9

 

B. People were beginning to believe that this may be the Christ

The shouts of, "Hosanna!  Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!  Blessed is the coming kingdom  of our father David" showed that the people recognized Jesus as Messiah.  Hosanna!  meant 'Save now!' and was both a shout of praise and a cry for deliverance.

 

C. Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Lk 19:41-44)

Jesus foresaw that, as a result of rejecting Him, severe judgment would come to this city.  About 40 years later, in A.D. 70, following a Jewish rebellion, the Roman general Titus attacked the city.  The destruction was very great.  The Temple was completely destroyed.  Many died as thousands were hung on Roman crosses, and many more were killed by the sword.  Had it only received its king in peace, Israel would have been spared such awful judgment.

 

2. The Last Supper

-- Mat 26:26-30; Mk 14:22-26; Lk 22:14-23

A. Once again, the disciples are instructed to eat Jesus' flesh and drink his blood

 

B. Jesus proclaims the beginning of a New Covenant... a covenant in His blood

The book of Hebrews teaches us that this covenant is a better one.  In this covenant, Jesus Himself takes on our sin.  Our part is to believe and follow Jesus.

 

C. We are told to do this in remembrance of Him

 

3. Jesus' Farewell Discourse -- Jn 13:31-16:33

A. "Do not let your hearts be troubled..."

1. Jesus had just told His disciples:

a. He was going away, and they could not come

b. One of the Twelve would betray Him to His enemies

c. They would all fall away this very night (Mt 26:31; Mk 14:27... see Zech 13:7)

d. Peter would deny even knowing Jesus

 

2. Jesus exhorts the disciples to trust God -- and trust Him.

 

3. They are going to have a wonderful place in heaven

 

4. Jesus will come back again to take them to be with Him

 

B. "I am the way and the truth and the life..."

 

C. "Show us the Father"

Jesus was disappointed that His disciples still did not realize that God was standing in the midst of them at that very moment, and had been for the past three years!

 

D. "Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.  He will do even greater things ..."

1. We will do these greater works because He is "going to the Father."  His going to the Father leads to the sending of the Holy Spirit, who empowers us.

 

2. What are the 'greater works?'

 

3. Jesus also promises here that He will do whatever we ask in His Name.

 

Class Discussion:

What does it mean to ask for things in the Name of Jesus?

 

E. "...and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever -- the Spirit of truth."

1. First Jesus tells us, "If you love me, you will obey what I command."

No one can love Christ and obey Him without the Spirit.  Just as salvation is impossible without the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, so too is continual obedience (sanctification) impossible without Him.

 

2. The Greek word translated 'Counselor' is parakletetos. 

This word means:  'to call along aside,' or 'helper.'  It describes the Holy Spirit's abiding presence to guide, comfort and encourage believers.

 

3. Jesus encourages the disciples by assuring them He will not leave them as orphans

 

4. The Spirit will remind them of all Jesus had taught

 

5. Jesus also leaves with the disciples the gift of His peace.

 

F. "I am the true vine..."

1. The Father prunes every branch that does bear fruit.  Pruning refers to the continual (sometimes uncomfortable) work of making us like Jesus (see Heb 12:5-11).

 

2. True discipleship is an intimate abiding in Jesus.  It is a relationship.

 

3. Discipleship is also a dependence upon Jesus for everything, as a branch depends on the vine.

 

4. We are chosen by God, and appointed to go and bear fruit -- fruit that will last.  Then the Father will give whatever we ask in Jesus' Name (15:16).

 

G. "If the world hates you..."

1. The world could not accept Christ and His message; it will likewise reject the disciples who follow in His footsteps.

 

2. Jesus tell us this "so that you will not go astray."

 

H. "You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy."

While the world rejoices over Jesus' death, the disciples will mourn.  But Jesus promises them that their grief will only be temporary.  Soon they will rejoice!

 

I. "I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world."

 

4. The Trial of the Messiah

A. The religious leaders invented false charges to bring against Jesus, and they found Him "guilty" and deserving of death.  Under the Roman system, the Jews themselves could not perform capital punishment, so they took Him to Pilate.

 

B. It was through a series of five trials --  two at the hands of the Jews and three at the hands of the Gentile authorities --  that the Messiah was rejected, ridiculed and finally condemned to face the most cruel and despised type of death in the Roman world: being nailed naked upon a cross. 

1. Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest:  Annas was deposed as high priest by the Romans in A.D. 15, but was still held in high regard among the Jews.  He asked Jesus about His teachings and His followers, to which Jesus answered, "I have spoken openly to the world...  I said nothing in secret.  Why question me?" (John 18:20, 21).  Jesus did not teach in secret meeting places, nor was there any hidden agenda to His mission.  At Jesus' honest reply, one of the officials struck Him in the face.  Seeing that he was not going to get the answers he had hoped for, Annas sent Jesus to Caiaphas. 

 

2. Caiaphas:  The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin gathered on this night, bringing false witness after false witness, yet no charge could be made against Jesus.  Through it all, Jesus remained silent.  Finally, Caiaphas came to the end of his patience.  Arising from his seat of authority, the high priest said to Jesus, "I charge You under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God" (Matthew 26:63).  Now Jesus said clearly, "Yes, it is as you say…" (v. 64).  Charging Jesus with blasphemy, the high priest turned to the priests and elders for their opinion, as he was unable to render a legal decision on his own.  "He is worthy of death," they answered.  They spit on Jesus and struck Him with their fists.  Bound and blindfolded, they punched Jesus, and asked, "Prophesy to us, Christ.  Who hit you?" (v. 68).

 

3. Pilate: Pilate wanted nothing to do with this matter, but the Jews would not be denied. After questioning Jesus, he could see He was innocent.  When he learned that Jesus was a Galilean, Pilate sent Him to Herod Antipas, who was governor of Galilee and Perea (the one responsible for the murder of John the Baptist).  Herod's main headquarters were in Tiberius, along the Sea of Galilee, but he, like Pilate, was in Jerusalem at the time.

 

4. Herod:   Herod had heard much about Jesus and looked forward to actually meeting Him.  His interests were not genuine, however. He did not care to meet the Savior of the world, for he was blind to his own sin and need for reconciliation with God.  Instead, he was hoping that Jesus might perform a miracle for him.  The chief priests and teachers of the Law were there, ever ready with accusations.  Jesus remained silent.  Herod, or his men, placed an elegant robe on Jesus, and sent Him back to Pilate, as he had nothing with which to charge Him.

 

5. Pilate again:  Pilate called together the chief priests and the Jewish rulers.  This time, the common people were there as well.  He told them all, "I have examined Him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against Him" (Luke 23:14).  The Jews, however, wanted Him dead.  Pilate told them, "it is your custom for me to release one prisoner at the time of Passover.  Do you want me to release 'the king of the Jews'?" (John 18:39).  Their response must have shocked Pilate.  They clamored for the release of Barabbas, who was a rebel and murderer. 

 

Pilate had Jesus flogged.  Roman flogging sometimes resulted in death, given its brutality and the amount of blood lost.  The Roman soldiers mocked Him, placed a crown of thorns on His head, and repeatedly struck Him in the face, saying to Him with each cruel blow, "Hail, king of the Jews."  The constant beatings leave little wonder as to how Isaiah's prophecy was fulfilled -- "His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and His form marred beyond human likeness."  Beaten beyond recognition, stood the Lord of Glory.

 

The chief priests and their officials yelled, "Crucify! Crucify!"  Frustrated, Pilate returned to Jesus, who remained silent.  Washing his hands of the matter (or so he thought), Pilate announced, "I am innocent of this man's blood."  The people answered with words which carried the wrath of God, "Let His blood be on us and on our children" (Matthew 27:25).  Pilate turned Jesus over to be crucified.

 

5. The Cross: Mat 27:32-56; Mk 15:21-41; Lk 23:26-49; Jn 19:16-37

A. Golgotha -- the Aramaic name for the hill where Jesus died.  It was called Calvary in Latin.

 

B. "Why have you forsaken me?"

As Jesus bore our sin burden, He suffered the wrath of God being poured out on Him. That is why the sacrifice He made was so great.  The physical toll on the human body from death by crucifixion was absolutely devastating, but it was the awesome feeling of despair that Jesus had in that moment which is beyond human comprehension. It has been said that it wasn't the nails which held Jesus to the cross that day, but it was His love for us.  Theologians call the event of the cross the "Great Exchange," in which Jesus took our sinfulness in order that we might receive His righteousness. The Apostle Paul wrote, "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Cor 5:21).

 

C. "It is finished" -- Jn 19:30

With these words Jesus expressed the completeness of His sacrificial death.

 

D. The veil was torn from top to bottom

This signified that now every believer has direct access to God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Hence, the write of Hebrews could say, "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).

 

Chapter Eight

The Resurrection and Ascension of Christ

 

1. The Tomb is Sealed

The men who turned Jesus over to the Romans to be killed  were concerned about His statements that He would rise from the dead.  They were so concerned that they approached Pilate and asked that a Roman guard be placed at the entrance of the tomb.

 

In the Roman army, watching a prisoner was a duty, which if failed to perform, would result in the beating and burning alive of the soldier who failed.  (Recall in Acts 16 how the prison guard assigned to watch over Paul and Silas was about to take his own life when he thought the prisoners had escaped).  So under penalty of death, a Roman guard, which most probably consisted of 16 well-armed soldiers, was positioned outside of the tomb.  The guard was very well trained and disciplined.  They took turns in their watch, rotating every two hours.  The chief priests and elders must have rested comfortably knowing that the disciples would not attempt anything against the Roman guard.  Little did these foolish men realize that God had other plans!  In spite of all the precautions, the tomb was still found to be empty on that Sunday morning.  The Jewish leaders, in an attempt to cover up the fact that the Body was missing, payed off the Roman guard and make up a false story to keep them from being executed.

 

2. The Grave Could Not Hold Him

A. He is risen!

On Friday, the forces of evil may have celebrated the death of Christ, but they could not foresee the events of Sunday.  On Friday, God had shown the greatest act of selflessness and love throughout all eternity.  On Sunday, He demonstrated His greatest display of hope and power.

 

B. The Resurrection -- the Christian's hope (see 1 Cor 15:12-20)

The resurrection is the hope of the Church and the focal point of Christianity.  The resurrection of the body to everlasting life is the greatest expectation of every believer. 

 

Resurrection Events

Luke 23:55 – 24:1

Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome go to the tomb

Luke 24:2-9

They find the stone rolled away

John 20:1-2

Mary Magdalene goes to tell the disciples

Matthew 28:1-2

Mary, the mother of James, draws near & sees angel

John 20:3-10

Peter and John reach the tomb and look inside

John 20:11-18

Mary Magdalene returns weeping, sees 2 angels and then sees Jesus

John 20:17-18

Jesus sends her to tell the disciples

Luke 24:1-4

Mary (mother of James) returns with the women

Luke 24:5l Mk 16:5

The women see the two angels

Matthew 28:6-8

The women hear the angels' message

Matthew 28:9-10

Jesus appears to the women

 

Post-Resurrection Appearances of Christ

Jn 20:14-18;  Mk 16:9

To Mary Magdalene

Matt 28:8-10

To the women returning from the tomb

Lk 24:34;  1 Cor 15:5

To Peter later in that same day

Luke 24:13-31

To the disciples going to Emmaus in the evening of the same day

Lk 24:36-45;  Jn 20:19-24

To the apostles, except for Thomas

John 20:24-29

To the apostles one week later (Thomas present)

Jn 21:1-23

In Galilee to seven disciples by the Lake of Tiberius

1 Cor 15:6

In Galilee on a mountain to the apostles & 500 others

1 Cor 15:7

To James (the brother of Jesus)

Acts 1:3-12

At the Mt of Olives (Olivet), when He ascended

Acts 9:3-6;  1 Cor 15:8

To Paul near Damascus

Rev 1:10-19

To John on Patmos

 

3. The Great Commission

 

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." -- Mt 28:19-20

 

A. Make disciples

The mission of the disciples was to make other disciples by teaching them all that Jesus had taught them.

 

B. All nations

The Good News was not to be limited to the Nation of Israel.  The Book of Acts records the widening reach of the early Church, as the gospel was first preached in Jerusalem, then throughout Judea, and into Samaria, and finally into Asia Minor and western Europe, including Rome.  Continuing along in accordance with the command of its Lord, the Church today presses on in its efforts to bring the gospel to every area of the world.

 

C. Baptize

Baptism would serve to identify new believers with Christ, and would announce to the world their allegiance to the risen Savior.

 

D. "I am with you"

Jesus left the responsibility to build His Church not to His mightiest angels, but to common men.  But, He was not leaving them nor us alone!

 

4. The Return to His Throne

A. The Ascension -- From the Mount of Olives, Jesus ascended to the Father.

He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight.  They were looking intently up into the sky as He was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.  'Men of Galilee,' they said, 'why do you stand here looking into the sky?  This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven'" (Acts 1:9-11). 

 

B. Waiting for power

Earlier, Jesus had told His disciples not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there until they had received "the promised gift of the Father."  The Comforter, the "Gift of the Father," would be the Holy Spirit.  His presence and His power would enable the disciples to fulfill the Church's mission once the risen Lord left earth and ceased to dwell with them in bodily form any longer.

C. He will Come Again!!

The angels told those disciples that "this same" Jesus would return "in like manner." These words, along with Jesus' promise to return "on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory" (Mat 24:30), have caused the Church to wait expectantly for the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

 

"Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the people of the earth will mourn because of Him.  So shall it be!  Amen" -- Rev 1:7

 

 

"He who testifies to these things says, `Surely I am coming soon.' Amen, Come, Lord Jesus!  The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen" -- Rev 22:20-21

 

 

 

Action Steps:  Write down three to five specific things you will do in your life as a result of this course on the Life of Christ:

 

1

 

 

2

 

 

3

 

 

4

 

 

5