In this chapter, because of the persecution of the Messianic Jews, they have to flee Jerusalem. Philip reaches out to Samaritans, and then to the Ethiopian Treasurer. Philip then gets snatched away by God and ends up at Azotus and preaches the gospel in that region.
Stephen’s speech begins the slow transition from dependence on the temple and towards a more global outreach. God does not dwell in temple buildings made with hands. Stephen is martyred.
4. Torah and Slavery: What Happened When Masters Punished Their Slaves?
Scriptures: Exod. 21:20-21, 26-27; Lev. 25:43, 46. There were two cultural (and unpleasant) facts in the ancient Near East, long before the Torah existed: (1) Masters hit their slaves to punish them, and (2) slaves had secondary status. How does the Torah intervene and regulate those two pre-existing facts? (I also include cases of a servant girl dying allegedly from a beating and a servant boy who was flogged for theft, in colonial Philadelphia.)
The Hebrew and Greek widows complain about distribution of resources. The apostles appoint seven servants to handle the issue. Certain members of a synagogue oppose Stephen and drag him before Caiaphas the high priest.
Ananias and Sapphira are instantly judged. God through the apostles worked many signs and wonders, and the people greatly honored the Messianic community. Some feared to join, but others did. Peter’s shadow was cast on them and miracles happened. The council arrested the apostles and put them in prison, but an angel released them. They went into the temple and preached but were rearrested. Gamaliel gave his speech urging caution about executing them. The apostles were flogged and released but never stopped preaching.
3. Torah and Slavery: Impoverished Father Sells His Daughter to Be a ‘Secondary Wife’
Scripture: Exod. 21:7-11. In a culture of arranged marriage and widespread poverty, fathers in the ancient Near East did this long before the Torah existed. Now the Torah has to intervene and tell the men what the daughter’s legal rights were. This post also looks at polygamy.
The council (Sanhedrin) arrest Peter and John and the healed man and threaten them. The two apostles say they must obey God instead of man. They return to the Christian community and report what happened. The whole community pray for boldness and share everything in common. The place where they met was shaken, and they are again filled with the Spirit.
The disabled beggar is healed at the gate called Beautiful. Peter, along with John, preaches the second recorded sermon, which is a great overview of OT Scriptures and themes proving Jesus is the Messiah.
2. Torah and Slavery: Israelite Indentured Servants
Scriptures: Exod. 21:2-6; Lev. 25:39-42; Deut. 15:12-18. The Torah balances out fairness with generosity, yet it is still obviously situated in the ancient world–its own cultural context. It is always best to evaluate these ancient texts on their own terms and in their own times. Let’s see what we can discover. For comparison, this post includes the case of an indentured servant in colonial Philadelphia.
The Holy Spirit arrives with great power at the festival of Pentecost. Peter preaches the first sermon after the birth of the church. He tells the Jewish pilgrims that they must repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins. Three thousand souls were added to the church. Then the earliest community shared everything in common, and more people were being saved.
Luke addresses Theophilus, to whom he dedicated his second volume. Jesus promises the Holy Spirit. He commissions disciples to go beyond Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. He ascends into heaven. Matthias is chosen to replace Judas.
1. Torah and Slavery: Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar
Scripture to be studied: Gen. 16:1-4. Hagar was a handmaid to Abraham’s wife, Sarah. Critics claim that Abraham could have sex with Hagar whenever he wanted because she was a slave. (This post also looks into polygamy. It also includes a case of a slave woman named Lucy and her three children in 1827-1828, South Carolina, America, just for a comparison.)
Book of Acts and Paul’s Epistles: Match Made in Heaven?
How closely and often do Acts and Paul’s epistles agree? Fifteen tables, plus two bonus tables, in this post, laying out the parallels.
False Prophets in Sinai Covenant and Imperfect Prophets in New Covenant: Life and Death Differences
Youtube critics daily, it seems, call for the blood of Christian prophets who are mistaken about some of their prophecies. The critics read Deuteronomy 13 and 18 and demand the death penalty for their ministries. But what did Paul say about them? Let’s do a side-by-side comparison of the OT and the NT.
The Historical Reliability of the Book of Acts
Is the book of Acts historically reliable, in comparison to its own Greco-Roman writing culture? Many tables are included, to answer the question.
Women Teachers: New Translation and Reinterpretation of 1 Timothy 2
What if 1 Timothy 2:12-15 is not about women teaching and dominating men at church? What if it is about a husband and wife at home? Or does the house church merge the domestic and public spheres? What would that mean for church policy and women teachers out in public?
15. The Historical Reliability of the Gospels: Conclusion
We come at last to the end of the series. This part, summarizing the previous fourteen articles, can serve as a guide for which article the reader may need in the future. The series has always been about having confidence in the four Gospels so the gospel of the kingdom can go forth.
14. Similarities among John’s Gospel and the Synoptic Gospels
The number of similarities, even between the Gospel of John on the one side and Matthew, Mark, and Luke on the other, is remarkable.
13. Are There Contradictions in the Gospels?
When you read the first three Gospels, you are likely to observe countless similarities. And that is the dominant picture: the places, the names, the crowds, the rural setting, busy Jerusalem. However, some skeptics see insurmountable problems.
Spiritual Sonograms: God Loves You and Your Baby
Whether you want your baby or not, God loves him or her, and he loves you. God can turn your Plan B into his Plan A, and make it better than your plans. Keep your baby, if you have an unplanned pregnancy.
‘Shady’ Interpretations of Constitutional Silence on Abortion
On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court ruled on Roe. V. Wade. How did Blackmun interpret the Constitution’s silence?
Jesus appears again, this time on the shore of the Lake of Galilee. He miraculously provides them with a catch of 153 large fish. He asks Peter three questions about his love and commitment. He predicts by what manner of death Peter would glorify God. He tells Peter not to get distracted by the beloved disciple’s future. The post-script says that the beloved disciple wrote the Gospel, and his testimony is true. Not even the world itself would have room for all the books containing all the things Jesus said and did.
What Do Romans 8:28-30 and 10:8-13 Teach about Predestination?
God initiates. We respond. We need both passages to clarify and balance out the other one. This is an old-school exegesis (pronounced EX-uh-gee-sus or ex-uh-GEE-sus), which means a close reading or analysis of a text.
12. Eyewitness Testimony in John’s Gospel
The author of this Gospel made sure he used eyewitness testimony; indeed he was an eyewitness!
Jesus is raised from the dead. Mary Magdalene visits the empty tomb. She reports back to Peter, who visits the tomb, but the beloved disciple gets there first. They depart and Mary returns. She sees two angels in the tomb; then Jesus appears to her outside it. She clutches him, and he tells her to stop because he will not leave permanently at that moment. He commissions her to tell the other disciples. He appears to them and shows them his hands (wrists) and side. He exhales and says for them to receive the Spirit. He appears to Thomas. John lays out the purpose of the book.
11. Eyewitness Testimony in Luke’s Gospel
Luke researched those who knew Jesus from the “beginning,” his key criterion.
The chief priests and temple officers shout for him to be crucified. They back Pilate into a corner, saying that they have no king but Caesar. He reluctantly orders his crucifixion. The soldiers divide his garments. He hands his mother over to the disciple whom he loved. Jesus dies when he gives up his spirit. His side is pierced. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus work together to bury him.
10. Eyewitness Testimony in Mark’s Gospel
The evidence suggests that Peter was indeed a portrait painter, but he used words alone. Jesus was his subject.
Athanasian Creed + Commentary
I really like this creed. I add a commentary, which I hope clarifies it. We the church today ignore it at our peril, particularly the American church.
The Nicene Creed + Commentary
Centuries ago, the church debated the issue of who Christ was. In today’s church, we like to innovate so much that we become arrogant and can sometimes stomp all over the ancient creeds. But we ignore this creed at our peril.
Jesus is arrested in a garden and brought before the emeritus high priest Annas. Then he is led to the serving high priest Caiaphas. Next, Pilate questions him, finds no basis for an accusation against him, and intends to release him because of a Jewish custom. The Jewish establishment and their allies shout for the insurrectionist Barabbas to be released, instead.
9. Authoritative Testimony in Matthew’s Gospel
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?
This is Jesus’s long and profound prayer of consecration before going to the cross. He prays for himself, his immediate disciples (the eleven) and the church. He even prays for people in the world. The church is called to live in unity.
8. Did Some Disciples Take Notes During Jesus’ Ministry?
This is a question that must be explored. At least twelve scholars say it probably happened. If so, this gives a huge boost to the reliability of the Gospels.
7. What Is the Q ‘Gospel’?
No need to be afraid of this document. If it existed, Matthew and Luke used it. If they weren’t afraid, why should you be?
Jesus tell his disciples that persecution is coming. He teaches on the ministry of the Spirit. The disciples’ sorrow will turn to joy. In the world they will have trouble, but they can take courage, because he has overcome the world.
In this chapter, Jesus says he is the true vine, the Father is the vinedresser, and the branches must dwell or live in the vine. The world hated him, and it will hate his disciples.
6. Reliable Gospel Transmissions
We continue the series, and this post is about how the stories and teachings and memories of the deeds of Jesus were transmitted before the first three Gospels were written down.
5. The Gospel Traditions
With this article (Part Five) we turn a corner away from archaeology and non-Christian written references to Gospel persons (the last three articles). Now we discuss the preservation of Jesus’ ministry — his words and activity — after his crucifixion (and resurrection) and up to the time when the Gospels were written.
Jesus is still in the middle of his farewell discourse. He says he is the way, the truth, and the life. He promises the Paraclete or Holy Spirit. He says the ruler of this world has no hold or claim on him.
Jesus washes his disciples’ feet. He predicts Judas’s betrayal. Jesus gives them a new commandment: to love one another. He also predicts Peter’s three denials. Verse 31 begins the Farewell Discourse(s) all the way to 17:26. The chronology between John and the Synoptics and Passover and the crucifixion is also discussed here. They can be harmonized.
4. Did Jesus Even Exist?
If you throw a rock in a pond, does it produce ripples? Did the life of Jesus produce no effects at all? Are the ripples delusions or real? Now let’s study the historical evidence. If you have a son or daughter or a co-worker or husband who challenges you, send him or her to this link.
3. Archaeology and John’s Gospel
Part 3 in the series that explains why the Gospels are reliable and lists some discoveries.
Mary anoints Jesus at Bethany. A plot is hatched to kill Lazarus. Jesus enters Jerusalem triumphantly. Some Greeks seek Jesus. The Son of Man must be lifted up. The unbelief of the people is stated. Jesus came to save the world, not judge it.
Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead and declares that he himself is the resurrection and the life. The chief priests and Pharisees plot to arrest and kill Jesus. It is the Passover season.
John 10:34-36 and Psalm 82: Who Were the ‘Gods’ and ‘Sons of Most High’?
Who were the “gods” and “sons of the Most High” in Psalm 82:6? Whom does Jesus say they were in John 10:34-36? Many commentators offer their opinion, and they are unanimous about who they were not. Now what about–who they were?
2. Archaeology and the Synoptic Gospels
The Synoptics are Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Archaeology affirms their reliability. This post lists some discoveries.
1. The Historical Reliability of the Gospels: Introduction to Series
So begins a fifteen-part series on the historical reliability of the four Gospels.
Jesus says he is the gate or door to the sheep pen. He says he is the Good Shepherd. He proclaims that he and the Father are one. The Father is in him and he in the Father. The religious establishment pick up stones to execute him prematurely. He replies to their mob mentality with Scripture. Ps. 82 is discussed in detail here in vv. 34-36. He withdraws.
Jesus heals a man born blind, on the Sabbath. The Pharisees and Jerusalem religious establishment investigate. The former blind man’s parents are called in. The former blind man gets the better of the establishment. They throw him out. Jesus teaches about true seeing and spiritual blindness.
Is ‘Decreeing’ Biblical for Christians?
The title could also be “Is God Bound to Obey Our Decrees and Declarations?” That’s what certain teachers seem to say. Let’s look into this subject.
Who Is Mankind and Womankind?
What does the Bible say? It has the best revelation on the sexes, clearer and superior than any modern worldview.
Jesus forgives a woman caught in adultery, saying to her accusers: Let the one without sin be the first to throw the stone at her. Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.” Knowing the truth will set you free. The Jerusalem establishment’s father is actually the devil. Jesus makes this startling pronouncement: “Before Abraham was, I am.”
Jesus told his brothers that he was not (currently) going to this feast of Tabernacles, yet he went a little while later. Then he taught in public in the temple. Jesus challenged the rulers to judge with a righteous judgment and stop being lawbreakers who were seeking to kill him for (allegedly) breaking the law. They sent officers to arrest Jesus. The people’s opinion about him were divided. The officers returned and said his teaching was unprecedented, so they could not arrest him! Nicodemus steps forward and defends Jesus.
Basics about the Lord’s Supper
It is also called the Lord’s Table, Communion, Messianic Passover, and the Eucharist. What does it mean? How should we celebrate it?
In this chapter, Jesus feeds the five thousand. He walks on water. Then he teaches that he is the bread of heaven. Finally, he reveals that his words are Spirit and life, which is the interpretive key to the symbols abounding in this chapter.
John 6 and Partaking of His Body and Blood
John 6 and Jesus’ teaching about his body and blood and bread and manna from heaven is very symbolic. How should we interpret it, as it relates to the Eucharist or the Lord’s Table or Communion?
Jesus heals an unnamed man at the pool of Bethesda, in Jerusalem, on the Sabbath. The Jerusalem establishment go on offense against him. Jesus proclaims the authority of the Son, but only as it is built on the Father’s support and commission. Then Jesus speaks of the best supporting witness and testimony.
Jesus returns from Judea in the south to Galilee in the north. First, however, he passes through Samaria and has a dialogue with a woman. He also heals a royal official’s son, by long distance.
Five Myths about Marijuana and Society
These myths show up in a variety of channels in the media and elsewhere, notably pro-marijuana websites, which are eager to draw in more customers to the unhealthy habit, so the weed advocates as an industry can make more money.
Jesus dialogues with Nicodemus and says, “You must be born again.” Nicodemus does not understand. Then John, the author of the Gospel, says the most famous verse of all. John the Baptist says Jesus must increase, but John must decrease. Jesus comes from above and is over all.
Five Myths about Marijuana and You
These myths appear in college papers and online. The users are eager to believe they don’t have a problem, so they have invented an entire mythology about this plant. Here are only five myths and the arguments to explode the myths.
Twelve Health Risks from Smoking Marijuana
Big Tobacco? Get ready for Big Marijuana! Please don’t smoke it. The health risks are too great.
In this chapter, Jesus turns the water into wine. He clears out an area of the temple during the Passover. He remained in Jerusalem and worked signs (miracles); many believe in him but he did not entrust himself to humankind, for he knew what was in people.
In this chapter, we learn that the Word was God. The Word became flesh. John the Baptist testifies about Jesus and who John himself is not. John proclaims that Jesus is the lamb of God and sees the Spirit coming down like a dove. Two disciples follow Jesus, Andrew and an unnamed one. Andrew calls his brother Simon, and Jesus nicknames him Cephas / Peter. Jesus calls Philip in Galilee, and Philip invites Nathanael.
In this chapter, Jesus is resurrected. The women visit the tomb and find it empty. The women are the first evangelists. Jesus dialogues with his uncle Cleopas, brother to Joseph, on the road to Emmaus. Then Jesus appears to the other disciples and shows them his hands and feet and eats in front of them. He commissions them but tells them to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father. Finally he ascends into heaven in front of them.
In this chapter, Jesus is brought before Pilate; then he is escorted to Herod, who was in town. The crowds shout that Jesus must be crucified. Pilate delivers him over to them. Jesus is crucified, and the one insurrectionist who was crucified with him asked Jesus would remember him after they die. Jesus dies, after he entrusts his spirit to his Father. Joseph of Arimathea buried him. The women who followed him from Galilee were there at the crucifixion and the burial. Please see the table of events during Passion week.
Right and Wrong Ways to Protest
These images lay out the right and wrong ways.
In this chapter, Judas betrays Jesus; the Last Supper and New Covenant are instituted; the disciples dispute over who is the greatest; Jesus predicts Peter’s betrayal, which happens. Jesus prays on Mount of Olives. The beginning of his trial takes place. He is hit and mocked. And the council sentences him to death. (See table of events during Passion Week, at the end).
The widow’s generous gift is announced; Jesus predicts wars and persecutions and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. He teaches the lesson of the fig tree and all the trees and says the destruction shall happen in his generation. He then says that the Son of Man is coming back (later). He warns his disciples to watch and not get intoxicated.
Jesus has already entered Jerusalem. The authority of Jesus is challenged; he tells the Parable of the Wicked Tenants; he renders his verdict on paying taxes to Caesar; he replies to the challenge by the Sadducees on the resurrection; he says the son of David is the Lord of David; Jesus rebukes the teachers of the law. See the table of events during Passion Week.
In this chapter: Jesus and Zacchaeus have a conversation; Jesus tells the Parable of the Ten Minas (or Parable of the Pounds); he makes his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, weeping over the city; he cleanses a part of the temple. See a table of events during the Passion Week, at the end.
Jesus tells the Parable of the Persistent Widow; the Parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector. Jesus says to allow the children to come to him. He dialogues with a rich young ruler. He foretells his death a third time. He heals a blind beggar.
Jesus teaches forgiveness, particularly when sins are inevitable. The disciples ask to have their faith increased. Jesus urges his disciples not to expect a loud thank you and thunderous applause for doing minimal work. He heals ten lepers. Jesus teaches on the Second Coming.
Jesus teaches the Parable of the Prudent (or Dishonest) Manager. Then he says the law and the prophets were until John the Baptist, and the Law is still in effect. And he then issues his brief teaching on divorce. Finally, he tells the story or the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.
Jesus teaches the Parable of the Lost Sheep, the Parable of the Lost Coin, and the Parable of the Prodigal Son.
Jesus heals a man on the Sabbath. He tells the Parable of the Wedding Feast. He tells the Parable of the Great Banquet. He reminds the huge crowds of the cost of discipleship. Salt without taste is worthless.
Jesus tells the Israelites to repent or perish like the ones whom Pilate slaughtered or like those workers on whom a tower fell. He tells the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree. He delivers a woman from a disabling spirit. He tells the short illustration of the mustard seed and leaven. He tells people to enter by the narrow door. Finally, he laments over Jerusalem.
Jesus says to beware of leaven of Pharisees. Don’t fear those who can kill only the body, but fear the one, who, after our death, has the authority throw us into Gehenna. Acknowledge Christ before men. He tells the Parable of the Rich Fool. He tells us not to be anxious about food and clothing or drink. We must be ready, for the Son of Man can come at any time. Jesus came to bring division, not peace. We must interpret the times. Settle with your accuser before you get to a magistrate (a reference to impending judgment).
Jesus teaches the Lord’s Model Prayer. He is accused of his power coming from Beelzebul. Return of unclean spirits; true blessedness is for those who hear the word of God and keep it. The sign of Jonah; the light is in you because Jesus’s message has entered. Woe pronounced on Pharisees and legal experts.
In Luke 9:51, Luke informed us that Jesus set his face like a flint toward Jerusalem, a major turning point. He winds his way there gradually. In this chapter, Jesus sends out the seventy-two. He pronounces woes on unrepentant towns. The seventy-two return. Jesus rejoices in his Father’s will. He tells the Parable of the Good Samaritan. He visits Martha and Mary.
Jesus sends out the twelve apostles. Herod is perplexed by him. Jesus feeds five thousand. Peter confesses Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus foretells his own death. We are called to take up our cross daily and follow him. The Mount of Transfiguration happens. He heals a boy with an unclean spirit. Jesus again foretells his own death. The disciples debate who the greatest is. Anyone not against them is for them. A Samaritan village rejects Jesus. It cost a lot to follow him. In v. 51, he sets his face like a flint toward Jerusalem, so this chapter has a major turning point. It now enters the Travel Narrative, but it is the slow route to get there.
This is a rich and full chapter. Women of Galilee support Jesus and travel with him. He tells the Parable of the Sower and then the purpose of parables. (I also offer an alternative free translation of the Parable of the Sower, based on some interesting grammar.) Do not hide a lamp under a container. Jesus’s mother and brothers are the ones who do the will of God. He calms a storm. He delivers a man with a legion of demons. He heals a woman with an issue of blood and heals Jairus’s daughter.
Jesus heals a centurion’s servant. Jesus raises a widow’s son from the dead. Messengers come from John the Baptist and ask about Jesus’s Messiahship. Jesus forgives a sinful woman.
In this chapter, Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath. He heals a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. After praying all night, he calls the twelve. He teaches the Sermon on the Plain or high place.
Jesus calls the first disciples, notably Peter. Jesus cleanses a leper. He forgives the sin of a paralytic and heals him, claiming God’s authority and prerogative to do so. The Pharisees and teachers of the law object to his ability to forgive sins. Jesus calls Levi. Questions about fasting: John’s disciples fast; Jesus’s disciples do not.
Jesus overcomes Satan. Jesus begins his ministry. The Spirit of the Lord is upon him. He is rejected at Nazareth. They try to throw him off a cliff, but he walks away. He goes to Capernaum and delivers a man with an unclean spirit. He heals Simon’s mother-in-law and many others. The people try to keep him from leaving, but he says he must preach the good news of the kingdom elsewhere.
John the Baptist prepares the way. Jesus is baptized. Then the genealogy is laid out. He is the son of David and culminates God’s salvation history / story.
In this chapter: the birth of Jesus; the shepherds see angels; Jesus is circumcised; he is presented at the temple; Simeon sings his brief song of praise; the family returns to Nazareth. The boy Jesus, during the feast of Passover, dialogues with religious scholars, and they marvel. His parents lost track of him and looked everywhere. He increased in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man. See the table of parallels between Gen. 11-21 and Luke 1:5-2:52. Luke’s birth narrative does not come from paganism, but from Scripture.
In this chapter: Dedication to Theophilus. Birth of John the Baptist foretold. Birth of Jesus foretold. Mary visits Elizabeth. Mary’s song: the Magnificat. The birth of John the Baptist. Zechariah prophesies.
In the empty tomb an angel tells three women to report the resurrection to the disciples. They leave, trembling and amazed, and in awe. Let’s look at the Longer Ending in the light of other Scriptures.
In continuity with Mark 14, Jesus is turned over to Pilate, who is amazed at his silence. Pilate delivers him to be crucified. Jesus is beaten and mocked. He is crucified. He dies, by giving up his spirit. A centurion says that Jesus truly was the Son of God. Joseph of Arimathea asks permission from Pilate to bury Jesus, and Pilate is amazed that the crucified one is dead already. Mary Magdalene and Mary (the mother of James and Joses [Joseph]) and Salome are following and observe from a distance. See the table of events during Passion Week at the end of this post.
The Passion Narrative begins. (See the table at the end for the events in Passion Week.) Jesus is anointed at Bethany. Judas betrays Jesus. Jesus institutes the Last Supper and New Covenant. He foretells Peter’s and the other apostles’ denial. Jesus prays in Gethsemane. He is arrested, a young man flees, and Jesus is brought before the Council. At the same time, Peter denies Jesus.
In verses 5-31, Jesus predicts the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, which will happen before his generation passes away (v. 30). He saw the near-future and accurately predicted it. In verses 32-37 he talks about the day or hour of his Second Coming, which has not yet happened for the past two thousand years (and counting).
Jesus tells the Parable of the Vineyard Owner and Wicked Tenants. He brilliantly replies to a challenge about paying taxes to Caesar. He answers the Sadducees’ question about the resurrection. He tells a teacher of the law what the Greatest Commandment is. He clarifies who the Son of David is. He says to beware of the teachers of the law who devour widows’ houses yet say long prayers. He observes a poor widow giving all she had.
Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey in an action parable. He tells a fig tree not to bear fruit ever again, in another action parable. He clears out an area of the temple in yet another action parable. The chief priests, the teachers of the law (scribes), and elders fight back and challenge him. Who authorized you to do this? See table of the events during Passion Week, at the end of this post.
What Will Heaven Be Like for You?
It’s going to be wonderful. A list of Scriptures and comments are included here. A bonus list of wonderful things, too.
Ten Biblical Truths about Your New Body
You want a brand-new body right now? Your wish will be done—but only at the right time! Let’s learn what the Bible says.
Jesus teaches on divorce and marriage. He blesses the children. He tells a rich young man to sell all he has and follow him. Jesus predicts his death and resurrection a third time. Right after Jesus makes this prediction, James and John request to sit next to Jesus in his glory, and the other ten become indignant. Jesus heals blind Bartimaeus.
Jesus goes up the Mount of Transfiguration. He heals a boy with severe demonic possession; he again predicts his death and suffering and resurrection, and the disciples don’t understand. Ironically, they argue over who is greatest. John tried to prevent a man who expelled demons, but Jesus replies that the man is doing good. Jesus teaches about removing hand, foot or eye, if it “causes” you to sin.
4. Do I Really Know Jesus? He Took the Form of a Servant
What does Paul mean that Jesus “emptied himself” by taking the form of a servant and was found in the likeness of men and appearance as a man (Phil. 2:6-8)? Did some attributes get trimmed off (e.g. omniscience, omnipresence, and invisibility) to become a semi-deity, a lesser god (of sorts), or did he keep all of them? Let’s explore this doctrine further.
Jesus feeds the four thousand. Pharisees demand a sign. He tells the disciples to beware of the leaven of Pharisees and Herod. The disciples are confused about his meaning. He heals a blind man at Bethsaida in an unusual way. Peter confesses Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus predicts his own death and resurrection and has to rebuke Peter. He tells the crowds about the cost of following him.
Jesus talks about washed and unwashed hands, clean and unclean foods and the command of God taking priority over the traditions of the elders. He goes up north to retreat, but he is spotted. He heals a Syro-Phoenician Greek woman—a Gentile and a woman!—who “defeats” his challenge to her, in his role as a reluctant teacher who is testing his “student” to answer correctly. Finally, in the Decapolis, east of the Lake of Galilee, he heals a deaf and mute man, in an unusual manner.
Jesus is unable to work many miracles in his hometown because of their unbelief. Jesus sends out the twelve. John the Baptizer is beheaded after a girl’s dance and a foolish promise. Jesus feeds the five thousand. He walks on water. He heals many sick people, when he walks by in the marketplaces, and they merely touch his garment. This post briefly discusses his divine attributes, his miracles, and his human nature.
Jesus delivers a man with a legion of demons. He raises up Jairus’s twelve-year-old daughter and heals a woman with an issue of blood.
This chapter has the parable of the sower; the purpose of parables; parable of light under a container; the parable of the growing seed; the parable of the mustard seed; the use of parables; and the calming of the storm.
Jesus heals a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. He teaches and heals the multitudes by the lakeside. He chooses the Twelve. His family intends to take custody of him. The teachers of the law claim that he expels demons by Satan’s mastery. He warns them not to blaspheme the Spirit. He tells the crowd that the one who does the will of God is his brother, sister, and mother.
Jesus forgives and heals a paralytic, and the teachers of the law criticize him for his forgiving sins. He calls Levi. Jesus says that his own mission is to reach the unhealthy. People question him about fasting. Pharisees criticize Jesus because his disciples were plucking grain on the Sabbath.
In this Gospel, in the very beginning of Jesus’s ministry: John the Baptist is introduced; Jesus is baptized by John. Satan tempts Jesus. Jesus begins his Galilean ministry. He calls four fishermen: Peter, Andrew, James, and John. He expels an unclean spirit from a man. He heals Peter’s mother-in-law and many others and expels many demons. He goes on a preaching tour. He cleanses a leper with a command.
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.
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.
“You Will Not Complete Towns of Israel until Son of Man Comes”
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?
“Some Shall Not Experience Death until They See Son of Man Coming”
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.
What Jesus Told High Priest and Sanhedrin Now Makes Sense
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. Yet, 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?
Are ‘Tongues’ the Sign of Baptism with Spirit in Acts?
What do five key passages in Acts say about prayer languages, commonly called ‘tongues,’ being the sign of the empowerment of the Spirit?
Jesus Turns a Gentile Mother’s Desperation into Faith
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.
“Everyone Is Pressed into” the Kingdom
Luke 16:16 has baffled many Bible interpreters. What does it mean in its own historical and textual context?
“The Kingdom of God Suffers Violence, and Violent People Plunder It.”
Matt. 11:12 has puzzled many Bible interpreters. What does it mean in its textual context?
What Does God Do from Heaven?
What do the Scriptures say? Fifteen major things, just a sample, of what he is doing right now.
Bible Basics about the Final Judgment
God’s judgment scares people, and in a sense they are right. Reverential awe and fear are appropriate. But there is a solution for them to escape a negative judgment. Eleven questions and answers.
What Happens between Your Death and Final Resurrection?
This is called the intermediate state. What happens to you during the in-between time, between your death and going to heaven and then your being reunited with your transformed, resurrected body?
One Decisive Difference Between Sinai Covenant and New Covenant
This difference is what Jesus established and the New Testament authors laid out in the Scriptures. It’s really very simple.
What Is Grace?
It is a widely used (and abused) biblical word. What does it really mean?
Bible Basics about Hell
These words and verses, both from the Old and New Testaments, reveal the doctrine of hell. It is not as straightforward as many preachers have told us.