Matthew 5-7

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

Sermon on the Mount | United States Store

So we call this the Sermon on the Mount because of the landscape.  Jesus would speak to the 12 but because the sea was recessed, the mountains would act as a microphone (echo) and the crowds would hear His every word.

Matthew 5-The Beatitudes are the eight declarations of blessedness spoken by Jesus at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-12), each beginning with “Blessed are…” The Greek word translated “blessed” means “happy, or blissful” In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus uses the word to refer to more than superficial happiness that only He can give.

The first 4 blessings are reversals that will happen with the arrival of God’s reign.

The next 4 blessings speak to those who live according to the Law.

Free Beatitudes Printable

Wait!  I know what you are thinking: the Law is the Old Testament. Jesus fulfilled the Law. The Book of the Law consisted of 3 parts: ceremonial, moral, and civil law.   After the crucifixion, the ceremonial law is fulfilled.  However, the New Testament actually expands the moral and civil law for believers through Jesus’ teachings such as this.  He raises the bar even higher!  Read 17 (below again).  I get very concerned that people hear “Jesus fulfilled the Law” as a Willy Wonka ticket to “try your best” to live according to the scriptures but it’s ok if we don’t.


The Fulfillment of the Law

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.


Read Chapter 5 and in the comments talk about at least one verse that fell new on you or caught your eye (no pun intended for verse 38).  Feel free to write 10 comments.  IF none did, then pray the Lord to open your ears to hear and your eyes to see and try again.  When you read these you will notice the Sermon on the Mount is the great equalizer.  Example: murder or calling someone “Raca”-fool (we do this when we are self-righteous and may not have all the facts first when you call someone a fool-gasp!!).  Both are a sin.  Sin is Sin-it separates you from the Lord.  (Consequences may vary) But each sin is still a brick in the wall between you and God.

Before I go- just in case we have some first-time readers…and DON’T laugh at me…It is called the Bee AAA ta tudes.  I called it the Booo ti tudes. (Ummm phonetically it looks like Beautiful).

  • An eye for an eye was so that people would actually be treated fairly…not harsher than they deserved. (in contrast to some of the current laws in Humurabli’s code)
  • Prayer:  This is ‘how’ you should pray- not “what” you should pray.
  • Judgment and discernment are 2 different things  (arg, that’s a hard one)
  • The gate:  Think about all the times we talked about the gates of the Tabernacle (Temple) facing East (Judah) or recently the Sheep’s Gate.

Have a wonderful day:  Read slowly today!  Re-read maybe more than once.  Be changed.  Would love a comment or 2 today. 😉

Matthew 12:1-21, Mark 3, Luke 6

Matthew 12:1-21  We read again about the Pharisees watching intently for Jesus to break the Law of Moses (He never does.  He clarifies it).  Again,  we see Jesus point out the lack of priority in the Pharisees.  Jesus does not critique them for their desire to keep the Sabbath, he points out that the Sabbath is for the work of the Lord.

Jesus then speaks to the onlookers and quotes AGAIN from Isaiah 42.  The quote confirms that He is the servant of the Lord who will bring justice not only to Israel but also to the Gentiles. (I bet the Pharisees gasped when Jesus said “to the nations”)

18 “Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
    the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
    and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19 He will not quarrel or cry out;
    no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
21     In his name the nations will put their hope.”


Mark 3-

The crowd-  When they heard about all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon. The area is noted because it points out that the crowd is Jewish (Judea and Jerusalem), Intermarried (Idumean and the Transjordan), and Gentiles (Tyre and Sidon). 

The chosen 12- (just like the 12 tribes of Israel)-  All 4 Gospels list them.  By the way, do you know why He calls them the Sons of Thunder?  If not we will get there.  They crack me up!

How did the Twelve Apostles die? - Where did the Apostles die? | NeverThirsty


22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.”-

Fun Fact time:  Beelzebub is the Greek form of the name Baal-zebub, a pagan Philistine god we read about in 2 Kings 1.  This god is “The lord of the flies”.  After the time of the Philistines, the Jews changed the meaning to “lord of dung” and “the lord of filth”. As a result, Beelzebub was used by the Jews as a reference to Satan.  Now go back and reread verse 22.  Jesus responds with (I will paraphrase)- “That’s not even logical you idiots-is he fighting himself??”. Then, and don’t miss it…a PROFOUND Statement!

28 Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”

I fell upon this video and thought it explained it perfectly.   If you need clarity on the above scripture click here.


My mother is a “sort of” practicing catholic.  (Ash Wednesday and Chrismas Eve Midnight Mass)-  So years ago, my mentor used to strategically point me to the scriptures when I would “wrestle” over topics.  Soooo, not my finest moment when I was talking to my own mother over the controversial topic of “The Virgin Mary” having children after Jesus.  I calmly said, “let’s look at Mark 3:31”.  She told me that was an error in the book.  My response was not so godly 😵.


Luke 6 (I am jumping over the first 16 verses)- Is this a portion of the Sermon on the Mount? (Sermon on the Plain?).  I am not sure.  But look who Jesus is directly talking to (with others listening in):

20 Looking at his disciples, he said:

“Blessed are you who are poor,
    for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
    for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
    for you will laugh.
22 Blessed are you when people hate you,
    when they exclude you and insult you
    and reject your name as evil,
        because of the Son of Man.

It is important you don’t take this out of context and “generalize it”.

There is a NOW and WHAT WILL BE

  • Poor (because of the Son of Man)- in eternity the Kingdom will be yours
  • Hungry (because of the Son of Man)-in eternity you will be satisfied
  • Weeping (because of the Son of Man)-in eternity you will laugh

Dear 12 Disciples (and anyone who is listening in on this speech then or reading the Bible today),

if you follow me people will hate you, exclude you, and insult you because of the Son of Man (if you are doing your job)- you will be Blessed.

Sincerely, 

Jesus


Jesus gives them 4 direct examples that elaborate on what it means to follow Him: (get an ice-pack ready…this might beat you up a little)

  • Love for enemies- (do not seek revenge!)  Why???? 
    • Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
  • Do not judge others, rather work on your own sins first THEN you will be more Christ-like to minister to others.
    • 41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank (like a telephone pole Patricia!) in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Verse 45: Listen, I am not going to preach BUT in the South, we say “What’s in the well, comes up in the bucket”.  Jesus said: ” For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”   

Are you icing your wounds?

Listen, this is where the rubber meets the road.  Now that we are in the New Testament- what are you going to do with it???

46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 Press pause while I get some bandaids on this) As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

 

John 5

I know what you are thinking “Yes!  a light day, just one chapter”.  Think again twisted sister!  John 5 is the turning point in Jesus’ ministry.  This is the point where Judean rulers formally set themselves in opposition to Jesus- leading to the Crucifixion.


The Sheep Gate

We glazed over Nehemiah 3 (The Gates), why?  because it’s boring (let’s be real people).  But look at the map and see where the Sheep Gate is.  It is just beside the Temple where the sacrifices would be.  When you came to the Temple, you would put your sheep (or animal) there to be held and it would be washed and ready for sacrifice. Really take that in for a moment.  Anticipate the Triumphal Entry, Jesus entered the Temple through the Sheep Gate.  Oh, the symbolism!  The Lamb that will be sacrificed to take away the sins of the World!

Jerusalem rebuilt | VISUAL UNIT

Before you read or reread this story let me ask you…Where in the Bible does it say “God will help those who help themselves?”  Isn’t that the whole point of the Gospel?  God helps those because we can’t help ourselves -contrary to what the Pharisees say. While I am rambling…where does it say “You must get their first, I only take the best”.  I think I read somewhere “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” 

I say all that to show you 5:4.

Look at John 5:4.  If you have a verse 4…you are old and your BIble is even older! Other scriptures that have been removed are Acts 8:37, 1 John 5:7, and Mark 16:9-20.

The KJV was translated in AD 1611,  the New Testament translators of the KJV used a Greek manuscript called the Textus Receptus. Since that time, biblical manuscripts have been discovered that predate the Textus Receptus. The “missing verses” mentioned above are simply not found in some of the oldest and most reliable manuscripts. So, the newer translations remove these verses or placed them in footnotes or in brackets.

So this verse that was removed was “From time to time an angel of the Lord would come down and stir up the waters. The first one into the pool after each such disturbance would be cured of whatever disease they had.”

At that time there was an “urban legend” telling this story, kind of cruel if you ask me.  It was written as a note in the margin and during the writing of the Textus Receptus, it was added in.  We know that verse 4 does not line up with the character of the Lord.  So if you have a Bible that has that verse cross it out!



Starting at Verse 16-read it like a “court case”– It’s not the trial of the century that is coming up soon, but Jesus testifying about His authority will devise a plan by the Pharisees to persecute him.

18 For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

  1. Jesus describes His work as the continuing work of the Father.
  2. Jesus brings forth witnesses  (the Jewish Law requires a witness in Deut 17:6)
    1. John the Baptist-“You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. 34 Not that I accept human testimony, but I mention it that you may be saved.
    2. His works/signs-“I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me.
    3. God-And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent.
    4. Scriptures- You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
  3. Closing argument- the root of the issue- “I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts”

I heard once that the distance between Heaven or Hell is 18 inches.  You can have all the knowledge in your head, you can read through the Bible 100 times….but if it is not in your heart, 18 inches below your brain, you will stand condemned.

Mark 2

Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’?

I am often disturbed by how light we (including myself) take it when we hear someone has come to believe that Jesus died on a cross to take away their sins and give them eternal life in heaven.  “Oh, that’s nice, congrats.”  BUT the celebration we take when one of our kids makes a touchdown or scores a goal.

Just something to think about.

Forgiving his sins was the big miracle-not the external healing.  However, for the onlookers to understand that Jesus ‘could’ change the inside of a man, He followed by proving it with a superficial change.     HOWEVER, only one person can forgive sins…The Lord.  This is going to cause an issue and an uprising.  (we might say who cares about the uprising BUT remember, the Jews were allowed to ‘self govern’ as long as they didn’t cause problems for Rome.  Well…it’s starting)

Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

They never said anything!  But Jesus says: “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” 

I bet their jaws dropped!


Jesus eats at Matthew’s house.

I KNOW I say “this is my favorite” a lot.  BUT this time, I mean it.  Verse 13-17, by far, is my favorite scripture in the New Testament.  I won’t get into the 100 reasons why,  but just know that they are!!!  One of the 100 has to do “Christians” walking out of one of my Bible studies after they saw a picture of me loving on some close friends of mine that happen to be in a same-sex marriage.  I love them as much as Jesus loves them. Don’t assume someones’ doctrine…assume a mission field through LOVE.

Levi (renamed Matthew by Jesus “the gift of God”), as we know, is a tax collector.  Before he was a tax collector, he was the son of a priest.  We know he was taught the Scriptures well because when He wrote the Book of Matthew, he quotes the Old Testament. He gave up his family role of being a priest to be a criminal. $$$.  Tax collectors were the bottom feeders who pre-paid poor people’s taxes and charged them high-interest rates.   When Jesus said “Follow Me,”- this was atypical.  Usually, Jews studied for years and had to “ask” to follow a Rabbi.  Rabbi’s were picky-they wanted someone educated in the scriptures (not money laundering), and they had to have a current job so they could pay their own way.

17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Think about that (talking to myself) the next time you complain about some of the people, music, service, etc., in your church service.  I am often reminded of my second favorite story in the NT about the 99 sheep.  Once when I was complaining (in my head) about something at church I heard in my heart- Luke 15:

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’

Basically, I heard: “This is not for you, Szymanski…feel free to leave.” Ouch, He was right!


Jesus was not coming to “fix” the Covenant.  He was the Covenant. He wasn’t the patch or going to refresh the law.

21 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. 22 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”


The Sabbath- Two main things set the Jews apart from the rest.  Circumcision and the Sabbath.  The Sabbath had become so steeped in “rules” that the purpose of it had become polluted.  The Pharisees had created rules about the rules and added restrictions to those rules.  The purpose was gone.

27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

He backed that up with a story about David.  (2 Samuel 21)  At one point in David’s life, when he was on the run from Saul, he asked the priest Ahimelech for food. The priest gave David the bread of the Presence (from the Temple) since it was the only bread available. David was not a priest, so it was technically unlawful for him to eat the showbread. However, Jesus refers to this event, using it as proof that the Law was designed for man’s benefit and that Christ is Lord of the Sabbath.

John 2-4

Click here if you would like a printout of the Miracles of Jesus.

Jesus changes water into wine- We could talk about the details that prove this miracle: the pots were stone not red clay,  or that they were filled to the rim beforehand but instead let’s talk about Jesus’ role.  We know that Mary has known her whole life who her son is   -virgin conception, her visit with Elizabeth, the Sheppards, the Magi BUT she also knows Jesus knows who HE is.  When He was 12 and stayed at the temple he said “I am at my Father’s House”.    Maybe Mary feels this is the time…why??  ALL of her friends are there to witness that she didn’t lie and that she was really a virgin (maybe). But Jesus says:

“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

However, we now have a change in role here.  The word “woman” is a sign of respect-like “Ma’am”. I am sure Jesus has obeyed Mary up to this point (it’s in the Law).  But the role change here is now “What does The Father want” This is the moment he shows the world a miracle.

11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.


Pilgrimages to the Temple were the equivalent of our “Black Friday”.  People would come from all over to bring a sacrifice.  However, when they brought their animal or money the businessmen or priests would tell them “Sorry, I see a blemish on that animal, you need to buy one of ours” or they would need to make an offering with a special coin they would sell.  When Jesus turned the tables over the Jews asked for a sign of His authority.   He responded:

18 The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”

19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

We know that this is a play on words, BUT after Jesus’ resurrection, it all makes sense to them.


John 3File:Jesus and Nicodemus.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Chapter 3 Let’s back this up.  Back in Numbers 11, God told Moses to make a council to support his mission.

16 The Lord said to Moses: “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you.

2000 years later a group of men called the Sanhedrin was a council that took this role.  Think of them as the Supreme Court and the Senate to the Jews.  Unfortunately, they believed their salvation lay in “works” and “genealogy”.  Nicodemus is one of the top leaders of the Sanhedrin.  He must have been watching Jesus for some time and visited him at night.  This could be for 2 reasons:

  • Secrecy- questioning Jesus would be in direct conflict with the Pharisees (the Sanhedrin)
  • 1:1 time- The Jews studied scripture at night.  It may have been simply that after studying, Nicodemus wanted to question him without a crowd (Jesus was gaining popularity)
  • Maybe both

Jesus speaks to Nicodemus about the reality of being “born-again”.  Being born (once) into the genealogy of Abraham and David is not enough (referred to as being born through the water in a mother’s womb).  But one must also be born (again) by the Spirit.  Jesus continues with…this should NOT surprise you!  You have been studying the scriptures your whole life Nico!

I know many of you will read John 3:16 BUT that verse rests on John3:14-15.

14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

Jesus tells a story that will make sense to Nicodemus.  When the Israelites were in the wilderness for 40 years they sinned: They spoke against God and Moses.  What is the penalty for sin? death.   How can one be saved? Believing.  SO Jesus recalls this story of history for Nicodemus BEFORE correlating 3:16 to him SO THAT he would understand.

Numbers 21

The Bronze Snake

They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”  (The Sin)

Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. (The penalty of death)  Did God condemn them or save them?

The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived. (Faith through believing)

Why is a bronze serpent used to save the Israelites in Numbers 21:8-9? | GotQuestions.org

If you want to see the Numbers post and the picture on the ambulance click here.

SO NOW we can get to verse 16 as it was spoken to Nicodemus.  Without 14-15 it  would not have made sense because verse 16 has not happened yet (in Nico’s time) BUT he will be an eye witness when it does-and he reacts!  Jesus is setting up what he WILL see soon, BUT Nicidemous shouldn’t need to see it to understand “Faith”,  if he read Numbers 21!

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.


After this, we jump back in the timeline and discuss again how the people were following John the Baptist still rather than following Jesus.   Of all the awesome things John says (not the author of this book, Jesus’ cousin,  John) my favorite verse is:

30 He must become greater; I must become less.”

This scripture has punched me in the stomach more times than I can count.


Chapter4

Jesus was going from Judea to Galilee.  Well, for 700 years there has been animosity between the Jews and the Samaritans.  During the Assyrian captivity in 722 BC the poor Israelites were not taken into captivity. In the meantime, tons of gentiles from enemy nations moved in.  They intermarried.  Well, do you remember during the time of Ezra some people came and gave them a hard time…those were the Samaritans.   So they typically went from Jerusalem across the Jordan River, through Perea, back over the Jordan to Galilee.  (That might help put some depth to this read)

Look at verse 4: Now he had to go through Samaria.

The Road Less Traveled By: A SOAP Study on John 4 |

If I start typing on this story, this post would be double the size.  Ask questions in the comments.  Seriously.


I want to share something new to me:

48 “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”

I used to read that in my head and think Jesus was frustrated.  “Ugggg  why do I need to prove to you people….”  But I am researching a little more of the miracles healings and for me this year,  I am not hearing that “tone” (for me). I hear the opposite.    “I must do signs and wonders SO THAT when I share my words you believe me.”

Think about that as you serve people.  How are you serving the unbelievers SO THAT when you share words they believe you. 

Matthew 4, Luke 4-5, John 1:15-51

This may be familiar to you, but now that you know from the Old Testament who the Devil is, where he came from, what he wants,-I hope you read this brand new today.  There are 3 temptations:

  1.  The temptation to satisfy the flesh.  It specifically says Jesus was hungry. Where the Israelites failed, Jesus will conquer.  He is recalling when the Lord provided in the wilderness. Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy:

Deut 8: Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

I can almost see the Devil saying “Oh, you want to play the Scripture game…I know it well, I use it to sway humans ALL THE TME.”

2.  The temptation of pride/power (prove it!): He comes back with Psalm 91:11-12

“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus replies with scripture in Deut. 6:16

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

So here is the deal: The Devil knows the End Game!  The Messiah came to be the Lord of ALL.  So what if the Devil tempts Jesus with a shortcut—bypass the Crucifixion…take it now, the easy way!  (Oh my, that would undo EVERYTHING,  but how tempting is that!).

3.  Temptation of having it all (material)- The Devil says:- “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

I bet the Devil left cursing like a truck driver!  (I bet he did too when he left Georgia without the golden fiddle) LOL.

Temptations of Jesus


There are tons of good maps.  I will try to pick a different one each time, keep the one you like.  It is important to pay attention to Jesus’ travels.  Remember The Lord has a very specific timeline.  Every detail is planned out.  Jesus will give up His life on the Passover to fulfill the Passover.  But first, he has to teach.  So when you see a scripture like:

12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum,

One of the reasons (there are many)- was for safety.  It is not his time to be arrested! Galilee (I remember it from the G).

  • G- Galilee-the Gentile “area”
  • J-Judea- the Jewish “area”

Galilee was settled by the Greeks, taken over by the Romans became a melting pot of languages, radically different ideas of religion, architecture, government, philosophy, religion, and morality.

John the Baptist is imprisoned in Machaerus.  Jesus heads North and established his ministry headquarters in Capernaum. (In Galilee)

What do you do when there's nothing you can do? - ppt download

Now that you have all that ramblings-go back and look at verses 12-17 and see if that makes sense.  If you want to take it one step deeper click here for Land Distribution of the tribes.


Luke 4-5:  Oh this is a favorite!  Whenever I read this I picture Jesus dropping a Mic at the end! #dropmic

Picture the Scene:  Jesus, on the Sabbath (as it was his custom), goes into the synagogue (a place to study scripture).  It was customary that the ‘new’ teacher in town would speak.    Jesus walks up…takes the scroll of Isaiah 61 and reads..

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. DROP MIC!

Verse 21:“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

(I promise I will keep this short!..I will bullet my thoughts)

  • Verse 4:28  They were furious BECAUSE the stories were of Gentile Healings.
  • Verse 4:34 Even the Demons know of God’s destruction and that He is the HOLY ONE of God (notice it was more than one demon “us”
  • Verse 4:35 He can subdue them with a WORD!
  • 4:37 Uh Oh!  Things are getting stirred up.  It’s beginning.  Rome is going to start to get aggravated
  • 4:41 He silences the demons- It is not time yet to reveal himself
  • 4:42 In Galilee (Gentile area) and Judea (Jews), Jesus says why He is sent

43 But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” 44 And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.


Luke 5…

Bible Map: Genneseret

I’m sorry this is long and posted so late.  I will make this part short.  If this is your first time reading it and have questions let me know.  Map above.

These 3 men: Peter, John, and James will be with Jesus the longest and are His “inner circle”. All three men were present with Jesus during special events, being eyewitnesses of Jesus’ transfiguration, witnessing Jesus raise Jairus’s daughter from the dead, and accompany Him while He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. Thus, these three witnessed Jesus’ greatest moments of glory and His darkest trials. They were His closest friends.  I will tell you one fact good/sad about each to

  • Peter-
    • when his net was full Jesus told him he would be fishers of men.  He will!  Peter preaches at Pentecost and catches 3,000 men that day! (in Acts)
    • Peter is eventually put to death and did not feel worthy to die the same way Jesus did so he requests to be hung upside down.  If you go to Rome you will see this-The Petrine Cross for St. Peter.

  • John
    • When Jesus dies, John is the one to take care of Mary going forward (this is how we know for certain Joseph had passed away
    • John will be exiled to the island of Patmos to be given the vision to write down.  The vision is Revelation!
  • James-
    • This is NOT the author of the book of James. (Jesus’ brother wrote it)
    • James was the only apostle that has a record of martyrdom in NT.  (Acts 12)

if you are interested in more click here for a pdf on the 12 Ordinary Men (and some others)

 

Matthew 3, Mark 1, Luke 3

Matthew: We know that he is going to write straight out the OT fulfilling scriptures)  Let’s do this!

Acts 19:2-7 – Disciples of John the Baptist | Reading Acts

He is a “Voice”- so what is this crazy outfit?  So if this were today at my house it would be-

“Hey mom, there is a crazy looking guy outside, his hair has never been cut, he doesn’t smell like he has been drinking, and he is wearing camel hair and a big belt, quoting Isaiah”  My response would be “Oh my stars, get your camera…it must be Elijah!”  “How do you know mom?”  “I knew you weren’t paying attention at Sunday School!”

2 Kings 1:7-8

The king asked them, “What kind of man was it who came to meet you and told you this?”

They replied, “He had a garment of hair and had a leather belt around his waist.”

The king said, “That was Elijah the Tishbite.”

Isaiah40:3

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

Micah 4:5

“See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”


John the Baptist comes as the last prophet proclaiming a word of repentance.  They came TO him, he was in the wilderness.  They confessed and were baptized.  Baptisms were not new.  When the Hebrews came to the Temple to make a sacrifice for their sins they washed in the laver.  Also, throughout history, as people “converted” to Judaism they studied the scriptures, circumcised, and were symbolically washed away of their sins in water.  An outward expression of an inside change. The Pharisees and Sadducees relied on their genealogy for salvation.  They had their printout from Ancenstry.com and used that as their ticket. (so they thought)

John speaks about himself as being lower than the lowest servant.  The lowest servant was the one that would take the sandals off of a guest at a home upon their arrival.  John says he is not even close to being the lowest servant compared to his cousin Jesus.

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

Why would Jesus need to be baptized?  After all, He was sinless.  What could be have repented from?

15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness. Then John consented.

Jesus needed to be accepted by the people because He was taking the reigns of John’s ministry.  This is the moment in order to fulfill all righteousness they would follow Him.  When Jesus gets baptized, the Trinity is Present!

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

God Reveals Himself Through The Holy Trinity | Hearing From Jesus


Mark 1- When I read Mark 1 I started laughing because Mark is hyperspeed! (read the Mark Overview)  However, his audience is the Romans.  He doesn’t need to fulfill OT scriptures and he’s not a gentile talking to gentiles, so he doesn’t have to explain “why” things are happening..he just dives right in!

Map of Jesus starts his work

Since we will break many of these scriptures down,  I am just going to let you enjoy “Mark 1” at “Mach 1” speed.


Luke 3- He is going to begin by telling us what is happening internationally (Rome), nationally (Israel), and spiritually (Temple).

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.

  1. Tiberius Caesar (followed Caesar Agustus): Emperor in Rome  (from the dating we know it is about 28 AD)
  2. Pontius Pilot: The appointed Roman Governor placed in Judea (He is not Roman nor Jewish, he is Spanish.  He married the granddaughter of Caesar Agustus) (In charge of Southern Israel/Jerusalem)
  3. Herod Antipas, (governed the area of Galilee North)
  4. Annas and Caiaphas the high priests.
    • Annas used to be the high priest, but the priesthood by this time is so corrupt, the Romans placed Caiaphas in the position for political control.  Caiaphas was the son-law of Annas.
      • Annas was in the “Good Ole Boys Club, while Caiaphas was the puppet son-in-law.
      • This will be pertinent when Jesus goes on “trial”.   Who is the High Priest?

The reading mimics Matthew but one of my favorite verses is:

Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.

I could talk about that forever (shocking I know).  The followers ask “What does that mean, we need an example”!

John 15:5 says:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

In Luke John continues with examples of what it means to be bear fruit.  What fruit looks like BECAUSE we are believers not to BE believers.  Bloom where you are planted!  If you are an office worker-bear fruit there.  If you are a tattoo artist-bear fruit there.  If you are a stay-at-home mom-bear fruit there.  All the examples given were given within a current job.


John being put in prison was mentioned in the caffeine-filled book of Mark and again here in Luke.

19 But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of his marriage to Herodias, his brother’s wife, and all the other evil things he had done, 20 Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison.

So long story short:

What is that!!  Well, just look at a small part of it (for now).  Look at:

  • #6 Herod Antipas, then the heart, then #3 Herodias.
  • Now follow #3 line to the heart of #2.
  • Good so far?
  • John rebukes this infinitely my marrying Philip’s wife, so Herod Antipas #6, imprisons him for speaking against him.
  • (If you keep looking at it you will see the fate of John…or you can close your eyes and let it be a surprise in the scriptures.)

Luke’s genealogy:  What do you see?  How is this one different?  There are lots of cool answers!!  Tell me what stood out-there are no wrong answers.

Mark Overview

Mark is written for the Romans.  Jesus is portrayed in this book as the “Servant”.    This is a book of “Action”.  Here are some fun facts:

  • Mark is “John Mark”.  He most likely wrote down what Peter told him.
  • Mark was the one that fled when Jesus was arrested. (I think without his robe 😂)
  • The early Church in the book of Acts met in his Mother’s home (Acts 12)-super funny story too
  • Nearly half of this book will be devoted to the last Week of Jesus’ Life.
  • He writes “now” or “and” 1,331 times  (This is the book for me!!   FAST!!)

A great verse in Mark

45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

The Romans, like many of us today, need religion to be practical and applicable. This is a book that revolved around deed, not words.  With that said, Mark writes like he just drank a pot of coffee (you young ones don’t even know what that means….about 6-8 cups).  Look for his quick transition words:  ...then, immediately, and, now straight away… (he doesn’t take a breath).

The book of Mark is a book of omission (with good reason), you will NOT read about:

  • royal genealogy, no Magi visiting,
  • no boy at the temple,
  • actually,  no mention of Jesus as a boy at all
  • no Sermon on the Mount,
  • no quotes from Prophets, (they are there just not quoted)
  • no divine titles are given to Him,

SOOOO if it omits all that what will it include? Good question. It will completely portray Jesus as our example as a humble and perfect Servant.

Matthew 2; Luke 2:39-52

Let’s start by looking at Herod the Great.  This is the ruler that was given all 4 political districts to rule in Israel from Rome. Caesar told him he was in “charge” of the Jews.  Titled him: “king of the Jews”.   Click here if you would like to print this to take notes on.

Herod's Family Tree | Family tree, Christian history, Bible study

So Herod the great hears that one has been born called “King of the Jews”.  The word in verse 3 “disturbed” means “Stirred Up!”  (I bet he was).   When he asked where this infant was born they quoted Michah 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 of old,
    from ancient times.”

The Herod dynast came from the line of Esau, so when the Magi asked about the whereabouts of the King of the Jews, that they had seen the “star”- this was referring to the King that would come from Jacob NOT Esau: (ouch)

Numbers 24:17-   “A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel.”

I wonder if Herod said “Oh my stars”-probably not, but he did lie to the Magi and say “find him so I can worship him”.

I love a good nativity scene at Christmas  BUT please know that is not what it looked like.   The Magi were a large group of men who came from the Babylon/Syria area. They were educated men (gentiles) who had studied the scriptures, astronomy, science, and history.

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Adoration of the Magi (Perugino, Città della Pieve) - Wikipedia

They did however give Jesus gifts representing and fulfilling his role as Messiah.

  1. Gold: for royalty, Jesus as King.
  2. Incense: symbolic of Prayers of the High Priest rising up to Heaven. (Jesus is the High Priest)
  3. Myrrh: a burial oil, a foreshadow of His death. (Messiah)

The wise caravan knew ignoring Herod’s wishes put them in danger so they returned a different way.  In the meantime, The Lord leads Joseph to take Jesus to Egypt for safety.  Fulfilling another prophecy of the Old Testament: Hosea 11:1

“When Israel was a child, I loved him,
    and out of Egypt I called my son.

Remember who the book of Mattew was written for: The Jewish people: so Matthew is going to constantly refer to the fulfillment of the words of the prophets:  This time Jeremiah 31:15

15 This is what the Lord says:

“A voice is heard in Ramah,
    mourning and great weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children
    and refusing to be comforted,
    because they are no more.”

During the captivity,  Rachel (representing the LAND: Israel) weeps as the Hebrews were taken into captivity (ripped out of the arms of the Land), the same weeping now comes from the mothers of the children as they are murdered at the hands of Herod’s army.

So now what?  Where will Jesus live?  Egypt? Bethlehem? Jerusalem?  Well, after Herod the Great died, the Romans redivided the land and put Archelaus in charge of the Judea.(Look at the genealogy above)  Archelaus was evil and slaughtered 300 Jewish leaders, meanwhile, Antipas reigned over the Galilee area.

Herodian Kingdoms

So The Lord directed Joseph to safety by diverting him to Nazareth to live with Jesus.   Of course, fulfilling the scripture: Isaiah 11:1

11 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
    from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
    the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and of might,
    the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.

The word Branch is Hebrew is ‘Nazarene’.  However,  this will also make sense when the Jewish council will constantly call Jesus: “Jesus the Nazareth” because they didn’t think ANYTHING good could come from a town in the Galilee region. (Oh but it did!)


Luke 2:39-52- Don’t miss this!!  Jesus’ first words recorded in the Bible.

Mary and Joseph would take the Pilgrimage to the Temple, just as they were instructed in the Law to commemorate the Passover.  The Passover Festival commemorated the escape from Egypt, led by Moses in Exodus 12.  An innocent lamb was sacrificed, blood was shed, and all of those who believed that the lamb represented a “substitute” for their death was “passed over” when death came that night.  FAITH in the blood of an innocent lamb would take their place covered them (atoned) their life and they were Saved.  Jesus is the Passover Lamb.  Salvation in the Old Testament and the New Testament are EXACTLY the same.

49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

If this is new to you, please ask questions.  But stop and think about this:

  • Jesus said these words on the Passover.
  • Jesus will fulfill the Passover.  When? (We say on Good Friday)  On PASSOVER!
  • Put that in your pocket because as we read we will hear Jesus say when people are trying to kill him “It is not time yet”.  It ALL lines up.
    • Exodus 12
    • His first words
    • the Crucifixion

…it will ALL lines up on the same day.  The Passover Festival.  The day innocent blood is shed and Faith that it substitutes or covers our sin Saves us.

 

Matthew 1, Luke 2:1-38

The book opens with a genealogy.  When I bought my first Bible I remember thinking…who in the world would want to read these names? No one knows who they are.  If you read through the OT, look closely…I bet you know MANY of them.  Crazy good.

The Old Testament prophets predicted that the Messiah would be born of a woman (Gen. 3:15), of the seed of Abraham (Gen. 22:18), through the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10), and of the family of David (2 Sam. 7:12-13). Jesus qualified in every respect.

Matthew deliberately constructed his genealogy in three groups of 14 names.

  • 1st 14- The Patriarchs
  • 2nd 14-The Kings
  • 3rd 14- The Exiles

#14 on the list is King David- The Focal Point.

17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.

The genealogy tells us 3 things:

  1. Jesus is the Messiah
  2. Jesus is the Descendant of David
  3. Jesus is a descendant of Abraham.

Note that 4 women are included in the Geneology, This is not typical but highlights that Gentiles were included.

  • Tamar and Rehab-both Canaanites! (gentile)
  • Ruth -a Moabite (gentile)
  • Uriah’s wife (Uriah was a Hittite so legally she was a gentile)

Joseph was “engaged”.  He could have disgraced Mary but instead, he planned a quiet divorce “from their engagement”.  But God interceded in a dream.  Not only was Joseph instructed to marry her BUT was also told the name he was to give.  We learned yesterday that the “Name” was the family identity.  He was told NOT to name him a family name but to name him Jesus (Salvation).

 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

What prophet?

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.


Luke 2: 

Micha 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 of old,
    from ancient times.”

So the Lord moves on the mind of Caesar Agustus to decree a census ( tax purposes).  Well, actually to fulfill Micah.  Jesus needs to be born 90 miles away to fulfill scripture.  That’s a long walk when you are pregnant.  Bethlehem is the “House of Bread” in translation.

I am going to keep this a light post (I will go deeper in Matthew)

Then the reading ends with a Prophecy of Simeon.

29“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss your servant in peace.
30For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
32a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.”

At the Birth of Jesus, we already are talking about Revelation!  The Greek word in this text is apokalypsis.  (Apocalypse) and the definition is: a very serious event resulting in great destruction and change

I want to take a little time on the Circumcision:  VERY important background here.  Jesus was not born above the law, instead, He filled it perfectly!  So these paragraphs are very important.

  1. Circumcision is part of the Abrahamic Covenant.  In Genesis 12 God promises that through Moses ALL people on earth will be blessed.  In Genesis 15 God makes that promise a Covenant.  With every covenant there must be a death and blood must be shed. (why Jesus had to sacrifice himself).  So if you go to Genesis 17 the Jewish part of that Covenant was circumcision.  It represented being set apart from all others and their relationship with the Lord.
  2. Luke 2:23 talks of the consecration of the firstborn.  Why? WOW, this is awesome, go back way back to Exodus 11-13.  Remember when the Jews were delivered out of Egypt.  Do you remember how? Yes! The Plagues.  Each one to combat a false god.  The last plague was the death of the firstborn children, and God sent an angel of death to take them all but the Jewish children were spared called the Passover.  In remembrance of God’s deliverance and mercy,  the Jews consecrate their firstborn to the Lord acknowledging that it is all His!