Session 4 The Life of Jesus Christ
OVERVIEW OF THE BIBLE
New Testament Life of Christ — Session #4
There are 66 books in the Bible — 27 in the New Testament and 39 in the Old Testament.
Look at the “summary” of the New Testament
This is how the New Testament is put together:
• 4 gospels (3 synoptic — talk about common things — Matthew, Mark, Luke —
John is “different” — written from a different point of view)
• 1 history book — Acts
• 21 letters — 13 are from Paul (titles are who they are written to); 8 others who they are from
• 1 book of prophecy — Revelation
The books are not “in order” — most think Galatians was written first. They do generally move from the longer books to the shorter books (with the exception of Revelation).
Look at the “comparison” of the 4 gospels:
• Matthew, Mark and Luke (the “synoptic gospels” — means “in common or “same point of view”) have common miracles and teachings but were written by different people for different reasons and from different viewpoints
• Matthew was a Jewish tax collector, and thinks “topical” rather than chronological
• Mark was a missionary, wrote to Gentiles, and arranges chronologically
• Luke was a physician, very logical and detail-oriented and chronological
• John was a fisherman, whose focus was topical.
How does John differ from the “synoptic” gospels?
John focuses on the DEITY of Christ
Synoptic gospels focus on the HUMANITY of Christ
John focuses on the Judean ministry of Jesus (south)
Synoptic gospels focus on the Galilean ministry of Jesus (north)
Matt. 1:1ff. and Luke 3:23ff.
Geneology and lineages of Jesus (the line of promise).
Matthew traces the lineage of JOSEPH, starting with Abraham (line of promise).
Luke traces the lineage of MARY, starting at Mary and working back to Adam.
As a Hebrew writing for Hebrews Matthew begins his genealogy with Abraham and descends to Jesus.
As a Gentile writing for Gentiles, Luke begins his genealogy with Jesus the Son of God and ascends to Adam, the father of all men.
Look mainly at Luke — chronological account; written for non-Jews; gives explanations
Luke 1:1-4 — Luke, a physician, researched these things — historically accurate;
Luke 1:26-33 — shows the line of DAVID and the tribe of JUDAH.
Verse 33 says that the reign of Jesus will never, ever end.
As Isaiah 7:14 (p. 669) said, “a VIRGIN shall conceive”.
Matt. 1:22-23 — EMMANUEL, GOD WITH US.
Micah 5:2 Bethlehem is predicted as the birthplace of the Messiah (over 700 years B.C.!!)
Luke 2:4 — Jesus was born in BETHLEHEM, the town of DAVID.
Promised Offspring of Abraham (Gen. 18:18; Matt. 1:1)
Promised Offspring of Isaac (Gen. 17:19; Matt. 1:2)
Promised Offspring of Jacob (Num. 24:17; Matt. 1:2)
Will descend from the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10; Matt. 1:2-3)
The Heir to the Throne of David (Isa 9:7; Matt. 1:1)
Born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14; Mt. 1:18)
Place of Birth (Micah 5:2; Mt. 2:1)
John 7:41-42 — “Others said, ‘He is the Christ.’ Still others asked, ‘How can the Christ come from Galilee? Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David’s family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?”
His birth divides history — B.C. and A.D. “in the year of our Lord”
Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.” And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
We meet Simeon, who had studied the Old Testament scriptures, and had been promised by God that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah.
Also, we see that Messiah is for both Jew and Gentile. (Isaiah said that Messiah would be “a light to the nations”.)
Even though it came through a Jewish line, the promise would benefit all mankind.
At the same time, it says (v. 34) that Jesus would cause some problems, so that (v. 35) the thoughts of people’s hearts would be exposed!
People will need to make a decision about Him; not remain neutral.
From the time Jesus is 8 days old until the time he’s 12 YEARS old, there is no account of Jesus’ life.
Mary and Joseph had to flee from Bethlehem to Egypt, then Nazareth because of the Wise Men story where Herod kills all the baby boys age 2 and under.
Luke 2:41-50 —
Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them.
Where did Passover come from?
They were celebrating PASSOVER at Jerusalem. A day’s walk outside of Jerusalem, they miss Jesus and return to find Jesus debating the rabbis in the temple. Here we see Jesus’ relationship with His HEAVENLY father, versus His earthly parents.
Then there’s another jump from age 12 to age 30.
Luke 3 —
John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin is the “greatest” prophet to date, who heralds the coming of the Messiah.
Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Story of Jesus’ baptism — “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” — Here we have one of the best “pictures” of the Trinity — Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Refer back to Genesis, “Let US make man in OUR image…”) The idea of “multiplicity” within a singular nature.
Life of Christ
predictions concerning Jesus.
(There are 333 prophecies that Jesus is going to fulfill during his life, death, resurrection, Ascension, etc.)
(30 are fulfilled just on the day He dies)
Someone has figured out the statistical probability of that happening — if you put an X on one quarter, and filled the state of Texas with stacks of 7 quarters each, the likelihood of a helicopter landing and finding that one quarter matches the odds of one man fulfilling all those prophecies as Jesus did.
Jesus’ baptism announces His public ministry.
Now He goes to choose His 12 disciples — (Luke 5) “I will make you fishers of men…”
Let’s look at some episodes from the life of Christ; turn to the Gospel of John
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
The account of Nicodemus (a Pharisee — one of the three groups of the Pharisees, the Herodians and the Sadducees, who each had their own fine-tuned interpretation of what’s most important in the law…).
Jesus says “you must be born again” — he also “goes after Nicodemus’ heart!” — even the very good men of Jesus’ day were not “good enough” — it’s a HEART issue.
Also, he refers to the “snake Moses lifted up in the wilderness” and shows what that event was pointing to — Him!
You “look up” at the one who has been provided to save you!
John 4:1-4 —
Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. And he had to pass through Samaria.
Jesus talks with a Samaritan woman
The story of Jesus’ encounter with the SAMARITAN “woman at the well” (review the Judean Jews hatred of the half-breed Samaritans.
vs. 4 — yet Jesus “had to go through Samaria” — not a geographical necessity; a people necessity
Reminder that God knows where we are!
Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
(Review Jeroboam’s setting up of the “northern” mountain places of idol worship.)
vs. 22 – Jesus says that the “line of promise” is a pure Jewish line.
He also says that WHERE you worship isn’t important — it’s an issue of the HEART!
God is a SPIRIT and He must be worshipped in spirit and in truth.
The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
The power of Jesus’ words to her: “I AM the One you’ve been looking for.”
(ask group) What does this teach us about Jesus?
He cares about individuals — he shows the value of one (that’s why He went TO (not just
THROUGH) Samaria. She needs to know the Savior of the world!
He cares about those the world would tend to cast aside (a prostitute)
He knows us inside and out.
He confronts us with Who He is and Who we are.
Many other examples: Zacchaeus, blind man named Bartimaeus, bleeding woman who touched His garment, — over and over Jesus approaches INDIVIDUALS and shows His interest in them.
But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”
This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
Jesus claims equality with God
Focus on verse 24 — when I look up in belief to Jesus (like the bronze serpent), I pass RIGHT THEN from death into life!
I don’t have to die before I can experience freedom!
I can know my eternal destiny; NOT because I’m a good person or anything else but through faith.
Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.
Jesus uses very severe language with the Pharisees, and claims to have seen Abraham — “Before Abraham was, I AM.” [Note the reference to Yahweh – I AM – as to Moses.]
To the Pharisees, this was blasphemy! That’s why they wanted to stone Him.
Other I AM sayings of Jesus:
• the way, the truth and the life
• the vine
• the bread of life
• the light of the world
• the resurrection and the life
• the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end
• the good shepherd
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
What a comfort to have the assurance that nothing can “snatch” us out of God’s hand once we’ve entered relationship with Him! (i.e. when we fear death, or the death of a loved one) We are “double clutched” by the hand of Jesus, and in turn by the hand of the Father.
• He walks on water
• He feeds 5,000
• He heals diseases
• He cures the blind and lame
• He raises people from the dead
A PARABLE example:
Mark 4:1-9 — Parable of the Sower — differing responses to the message
Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
After his three year ministry of teaching and miracles, Jesus’ life culminates in the cross.
Jesus’ PASSION week — follows his 3-year ministry. He goes to Jerusalem. Four fifths of the gospels’ material deals with non-passion events. One fifth of the gospels deal with PASSION week alone — it must be very important!
And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
Jesus gets the donkey to ride into Jerusalem — His triumphant entry to Jerusalem.
Then, he WEEPS over Jerusalem, because they don’t recognize Him as Messiah, and because He looks ahead and sees the destruction of Jerusalem, when one stone will not be left upon another. [This will happen in 72 A.D., when Titus comes in and wipes out the Temple. Today, all that’s left is the “wailing wall” or “Western wall” which was a sort of supporting wall or buttress for the temple (not part of the temple itself).]
It HURTS Jesus when people reject Him!
Of course, the first people who believe in Jesus are Jewish people. Jesus’ weeping was over the masses who won’t. Jesus is willing to die for those who had totally rejected Him!
He asks the disciples to prepare the “last supper.” [Maundy (or “command”) Thursday or Holy Thursday].
Jesus knows He’s going to die, so He goes to Gethsemene where He prays an agonizing prayer of struggle. We see the HUMANNESS of Jesus here. He perspires drops of blood over it, but yields His will to the Father.
Jesus gets criss-crossed between Pilate and Herod and Pilate again. Finally Pilate “washes his hands” of Jesus, bows to the will of the mob and has Jesus crucified.
Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.
And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.
Jesus’ words on the cross…..
Why would Jesus say “why have You forsaken me?” — God is holy, and cannot look upon iniquity and sin. For that second, God the Father turns His back on the SCAPEGOAT that bears the sin of the people [cross-reference back to Old Testament scapegoat].
When Jesus was sweating blood in Gethsemene, He wasn’t thinking about nails in His hands, He was thinking about the separation from God!
Is that love or what!
Later, in the epistles, we read: “He made Him who know no sin to be sin for us that we might be the righteousness of God in Him”
The foot-thick curtain, 40 feet high, separating the people from the “Holy of Holies” is torn from top to bottom.
Now we can go DIRECTLY to the throne of God! The death of Jesus has phenomenal impact — we have access to the Holy of Holies!
Jesus dies on Good Friday, and all the disciples are distraught. Then comes Easter morning!
He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.
He is not here! He is risen!
John 20:19-20 —
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
Jesus shows Himself to His disciples
vs. 24-29 —
Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Jesus shows Himself to “Doubting Thomas”
vs. 30-31 —
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
The purpose — that we may believe — and have life!
“One Solitary Life”
An anonymous poet expresses the significance of Jesus’ person and life:
He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman.
He grew up in still another village where he worked until he was thirty.
Then for three years he was an travelling preacher.
He never wrote a book. He never held an office.
He never had a family or owned a home. He didn’t go to college.
He never travelled more than 200 miles from the place he was born.
He did none of the things one usually associates with greatness.
He had no credentials but himself; he was only 33 when public opinion turned against him.
His friends ran away. He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial.
He was nailed to the cross between two thieves.
While he was dying his executioners gambled for his clothing, the only property he had on earth.
When he was dead he was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
Twenty centuries have come and gone and today he is the central figure of the human race, the leader of mankind’s progress.
All that armies that ever marched,
All the navies that ever sailed,
All the parliaments that ever sat,
All the kings that ever reigned,
Put together, have not affected the life of man on earth
As much as that One Solitary Life.