This article rounds a corner from the traditions transmitted before the Gospels were written to the Gospels themselves, as we have them now. Do they enjoy eyewitness testimony at their foundation?
We cannot answer all the questions in this overview, but we can exegete the Lord’s Supper in its original context in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. This post also looks very briefly at 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 and 11:23-34. Then, what do various churches teach about the Lord’s Supper (or Communion or Eucharist)? I am here to learn (and offer my own opinions at various times).
Some scholars say they are irreconcilable, while others say reconciling them is not so difficult. I favor plausible harmonization. It’s all in the family. Bonus: see the American family “the Roosevelts” in a chart for parallels.
In this final chapter, we see the resurrection of Jesus, the guards’ false report about a stolen body, and the Great Commission.
In this chapter, Jesus is brought before Pilate. Judas hangs himself. Pilate questions Jesus. He is sentenced to die. Soldiers mock Jesus. He is crucified and dies. Holy people rise from their graves and visit Jerusalem. Jesus is buried. Jewish authorities place a guard at the tomb. Please see a table of events during Passion Week, at the end of this post.
The Jerusalem authorities plot to kill Jesus. He is anointed at Bethany. Judas agrees to betray Jesus. The disciples prepare the Passover for them and him. He institutes the Last Supper and the New Covenant. He foretells Peter’s denial. He prays in Gethsemane. He is betrayed and arrested. He stands before the high priest and council. Peter denies Jesus. See the Table on Passion Week at the end of this post.
In this chapter, Jesus continues his discourse about the Second Coming. He tells the Parable of the Ten Maidens, the Parable of the Talents, and the discourse on the Final Judgments (The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats).
This chapter contains the famous Olivet discourse (1) about the destruction of the temple which Jesus said would happen in this (his) generation, and it did in A.D. 70; (2) and then the discourse is about the close out or wrap up of the entire age. Jesus refers to the flood of Noah to illustrate unprepared people. Also, two men are in a field, and one taken, the other left. Two women grind grain at a millstone; one taken, the other left. He also tells the Parable of the Faithful and Unfaithful Servant.
In this chapter, Jesus says his disciples should not pursue titles. He pronounces seven woes on the teachers of the law and Pharisees. He then laments over Jerusalem. A table of events during Passion Week is again presented here, at the end.
Jesus tells the polemical Parable of the Wedding Feast. Next, he answers the question: Should we pay taxes to Caesar? The Sadducees ask him about the resurrection. He affirms the final resurrection, and it is explored here. An expert in the law asks him which commandment is greatest. He straightens out the Pharisees on the greatness of the Son of David, because David, inspired by the Spirit, called him Lord. A table of the events during Passion Week is presented at the end.
This chapter is very important (see table of events during Passion Week, at the end). The Messiah enters Jerusalem triumphantly; the crowds shout that he’s the son of David; Jesus cleanses the temple. He heals the lame and the blind; the children call him the son of David. In an action parable he curses a fig tree. The establishment fights back by questioning his authority. He tells two parables: Parable of the Two Sons and the Parable of the Tenants.
Jesus tells the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard. He foretells his death a third time. James’ and John’s mother requests that her two sons sit on the left and right of the Son of Man. Jesus tells them that this is his Father’s decision, and everyone in the kingdom must become servants.
Jesus again teaches on divorce. He places his hands on little children and blesses them. A rich man approaches him and asks about inheriting eternal life. He walks away, and Jesus says it is difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. He tells the twelve that they will sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. If a follower gives up all, then he will receive a hundredfold and inherit eternal life. His teaching on the end times is also looked at here.
The disciples ask who the greatest is. The passage about cutting off hand or gouging out eye (so to speak) is included. The Parable of the Lost Sheep is told. If your brother sins against you seven times, forgive him seventy times (or seventy times seventy). Church discipline is taught in restoring someone. Binding and loosing is repeated here. Finally the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant is told.
In this chapter, the Transfiguration happens; Jesus heals a boy having a demon; he foretells his death and resurrection; he pays the temple tax.
Pharisees and Sadducees demand a sign from heaven. Jesus warns of the leaven of the Sadducees and Pharisees. Peter confesses Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and Jesus says Peter is blessed and grants him the keys of the kingdom. He seems to have the power to bind and loose. Jesus foretells his death and resurrection and urges disciples to pick up their cross and follow him. Another discussion of the end times, too.
The teachers of the law and the Pharisees criticize the disciples for not washing before eating. Jesus sets them straight on the difference between tradition of the elders and the Word of God. It is what come out of the mouth, words—which are expressions of the heart—that defile a person. Jesus turns a Canaanite woman’s desperation into faith. Jesus then heals many. And he feeds four thousand men plus women and children.
In this chapter: Death of John the Baptist. Jesus feeds the five thousand with five loaves and two fish. Jesus and Peter walk on water. Jesus heals the sick in Gennesaret.
In this chapter: Parables of Sower (and its explanation), Weeds (Tares), Mustard Seed, and Leaven; parables are only for the crowds, to separate the discerning from the dull; Parables of Hidden Treasure, Pearl of Great Value, the Net, treasures old and new; finally, Jesus is rejected at Nazareth. A long discussion of the end times is also included here.
Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath. He heals a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. Jesus is God’s Chosen Servant. He warns against blasphemy of the Spirit. He says a tree is known by its fruit. He promises an evil generation the sign of his burial and resurrection. He explains how Satan counterattacks with seven more spirits. Finally, he declares that the ones who do his Father’s will are his mother and brothers.
In this chapter, John the Baptist sits in Herod’s prison and sends disciples to ask Jesus if he is the Coming One. Jesus pronounces woe on unrepentant cities. He calls all those who work and are heavily burdened to come to him, and he will give them rest.
Jesus sends out the twelve on a short-term mission trip, in preparation for life-long mission. Persecution will come because Jesus did not come to bring only peace, but he came to ply a (metaphorical) sword. In tense times, don’t fear the man who kills only the body but God who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna. Don’t deny him but acknowledge him in public. People who welcome one of Jesus’s emissaries will receive a reward.
What do those verses about being taken away and left behind really teach? The answer may shock many people who have been taught only one viewpoint. I also briefly look at Matthew’s version.
Jesus forgives the sins of a paralytic and then heals him as proof that he has authority to forgive sins. Jesus calls Matthew to be a disciple. John’s disciples ask questions about fasting. A girl is restored to life, and a woman touches the tassels of his garment, to receive her healing. Jesus heals two blind men and delivers a mute man who was demonized. Jesus says the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.
In this chapter, Jesus cleanses a leper; marvels at the faith of a centurion; heals Peter’s mother-in-law and then many others; tells two would-be disciples about the cost of discipleship (let the dead bury their dead); calms a storm; and delivers two Gadarene demoniacs.
In this chapter, Jesus teaches us not to judge / condemn another person—no judgmentalism. He encourages kingdom citizens to ask, seek and knock. He teaches the Golden Rule. He tells his listeners to travel the restrictive path and enter through the narrow gate. He says to be fruit inspectors, because false prophets are coming. He announces that some will claim him to be Lord and do charismatic gifts, but he will tell them to depart from him, for he never knew them. He talks about two houses, one built on a strong foundation, and another built on sand.
In this chapter, these topics are introduced: Giving to the needy without display; the Lord’s Model Prayer; fasting with the right attitude; laying up treasures in heaven; our light must shine. We cannot serve God and Mammon. We must not be anxious about the basics but seek God’s kingdom first.
The first chapter in the Sermon on the Mount; the Beatitudes; we are salt and light. Christ came to fulfill the law. Avoid anger; avoid lust; divorce should be rare and only for one exception. Don’t swear oaths. Don’t follow ‘eye for an eye,’ but live a surrendered life. Love your enemies. Through most of those passages, Jesus presents his six antitheses: “You have heard it said … but I say to you.”
In this chapter, Satan tempts Jesus, and the Lord passes the tests and tells him to go. Jesus leaves Nazareth behind and moves to Capernaum, where he begins his ministry. He calls his first disciples. In a summary passage, he is shown to speak to large crowds, heal all their diseases, and expel demons. His basic message is, “Repent! For the kingdom of heaven has come near!”
John the Baptist prepares the way and calls people to repentance and to show deeds in keeping with repentance. He calls the Pharisees and Sadducees offspring of vipers. Jesus is baptized by John, and the heavenly Father proclaims that Jesus is his beloved Son in whom he is well pleased and delighted.
In this chapter, the Magi or wise men visit the newborn king; Herod is alarmed and is told that the child was born in Bethlehem. The wise men find Jesus and offer him gifts. Then they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod. Joseph is warned in a dream to leave Bethlehem and go to Egypt. Herod kills the children in and around Bethlehem. After Herod died, Joseph is instructed in a dream to return to Israel. The family settles in Nazareth.
In this chapter, the genealogy of Jesus Christ and his birth are told.
That’s a puzzling verse, spoken when Jesus commissioned his twelve disciples to go out on a short-term mission trip and then come back. It seems as though the Second Coming will happen before they preach in all the towns of Israel. How do we solve this problem?
Matt. 16:28, Mark 9:1, and Luke 9:27 say that some standing there with Jesus would not experience death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom. How can that be true, when the Second Coming has not happened in the past two thousand years (and counting)? The answer will surprise you because it goes beyond the “standard” one.
At his “hearing” or “trial,” Jesus said that Caiaphas (the high priest) and the Sanhedrin (the highest council and court in Judaism) would see him coming in the clouds of heaven. How could they see his Second Coming, which has not happened in the past two thousand years (and counting)? Or does it refer to some other kind of coming?
Jesus seemed to be “rude” to a Gentile (pagan, non-Jew, or foreign) woman, someone outside his outreach to Israel. Here’s an exegesis (close reading) that explains his reasons, in a little more detail, in his own cultural context.
Matt. 11:12 has puzzled many Bible interpreters. What does it mean in its textual context?
These chapters are on Jesus’s discourse about the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple (AD 70) and then the Second Coming, which has not happened yet, 2000 years later (and counting). Looking at the chapters side by side clarifies what he really taught.
Let’s look at the key verses in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and 1 Corinthians. It is a review for my own introductory education. Call it “Divorce and Remarriage 101.”
This is quick reference guide to religious and political Jewish groups who appear in the Gospels and the Book of Acts.
This interpretation breaks open the meaning of this much-disputed passage. Be sure to view the photos at the end. History come alive!
Matt. 24:4-35 is about the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, while 24:36-25:46 is about the Second Coming or parousia, the close-out of the age, final judgment, and finally the New Messianic Age.
These verses are very sobering. What do they mean in your life and mine?
Matt. 5:28 has been misused over and over again. What does it mean in its textual and OT contexts?
Mark 2:1-12 says that the Son of Man–Jesus–forgave a paralytic’s sins. Does this mean that Jesus claimed authority that only God has, thus making himself equal to God? Did he use a Hebrew word for “forgiveness” which only God can offer?
Why did Jesus say that not even the Son knows the day or the hour of the Second Coming? Puzzling.
Those two verses say that “many” bodies of holy people who had “fallen asleep” (i.e. died) were raised from their tombs and entered Jerusalem and appeared to many. Is this fact or pious fiction?
Things are not so clear-cut as I had thought they were. Please be sure to check out my photos of the Arch of Titus at the end; they show rhe Romans stomped all over the Jerusalem temple.
It is the major technique of Jesus’s teaching, right up there with his direct teaching. So how do we define it?
Muslim polemicists frequently quote Matthew 10:34, which mentions a sword, drawing a parallel between Christianity and Islam: They reason: Jesus and Muhammad both endorse jihad, so why would Christians today complain about it in Islam? However, their reasoning is deadly misinformed. Real violence is in the Quran.
The Church fathers quoted here lived in the first to third centuries. They are unanimous that Matthew wrote the first Gospel, and it was authoritative for them–so it should be for us too.
Christ fulfilled or paid off your debt to the Law. It’s paid in full. He accomplishes this by fulfilling the holiness demand in the law and the fullest revelation of God’s character.
Does the Old Testament demand literal retaliation for a wrong? Should an eye or a tooth be gouged or knocked out—physically? What about the teaching of Jesus? Does he raise our vision to a higher calling? How do we forgive a tort or a physical injury? How do we get compensated for damages?
Here is a list of the principal works referenced or used at this site. More will be added as time goes on, so please check back.