PRINCIPLE: "I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.' He said this because they were saying, 'He has an evil spirit.'"
John the Baptist comes to prepare the way for Christ. John is preaching a baptism of repentance. Jesus is baptized by John. Jesus called his first disciples Simon, Andrew, James and John. Jesus then teaches in a synagogue with authority. He heals many including Simonís mother in law. He also heals a man with leprosy.
Jesus then forgives the sins of a paralytic man much to the anger of the teachers of the law. He is then questioned about fasting. After being questioned about his behavior on the Sabbath, he declares himself to be Lord of the Sabbath.
Jesus then appoints the twelve apostles. He is then accused by the teachers of the law to be demon possessed by the devil. Jesus states that a house devided against itself cannot stand.
Spreading His Message: Healing, Parables, and Hometown Disbelief
PRINCIPLE: "But Jesus said to them, 'A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.' And he could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief."
Jesus now teaches the parable of the sower. The disciples ask Jesus to explain the parable to them, which Jesus does. He then goes on to teach about the parable of the growing seed and the parable of the mustard seed.
4 : 33 says: "With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.
Jesus is approached by a violent, demon possessed man. Jesus heals the man and tells him to "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." He is asked by a man named Jarius to heal his daughter, and on the way a woman with an issue of blood is healed. Jariusís daughter dies but Christ brings her again to life.
He then went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. While preaching in the synagogue the locals took offense at him. Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor." He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith. (Mark 4 : 1 - 6)
PRINCIPLE: "You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions."
Jesus had sent the 12 disciples off to do more of what He had been doing - preaching repentance, driving out demons, and anointing and healing sick people. While they were doing this practicum, King Herod joined the debate about who Jesus really was. Some thought Elijah. Others thought Jesus was a unique prophet. Herod went on record with those concluding that Jesus was John the Baptist, resurrected. This particularly unnerved him because, tricked by his wife and step-daughter, Herod had ordered John's beheading.
After hearing the disciples' reports of their recent experiences, Jesus led them away for some rest. Instead, the people saw where they went, followed, and Jesus stayed with the people out of compassion and taught. Toward evening, the disciples returned from resting, and asked Jesus to let the people go buy themselves some food. Jesus asked the disciples to feed the people. "Wow," they said, "that would take a lot of money!" Jesus asked how much bread they had. Dividing those five loaves of bread and 2 fish, Jesus fed a crowd of 5000.
After eating, Jesus sent the disciples across the Sea of Galilee while he dismissed the crowd and went off alone to pray. Later that night, the disciples screamed when they thought they saw a ghost walking by their boat. This is one of the examples of Jesus about to pass people by, as the LORD had passed by Moses to show His glory. The disciples wanted practical proof how Jesus had increased the food, and now here was more they didn't understand about Jesus. Until now, they probably thought that speaking to preach and heal were Jesus' ultimate skills to teach them.
While the disciples showed these symptoms of hardened hearts, many other people ran to bring their sick relatives and friends to Jesus to heal. The Pharisees were offended that Jesus' disciples were not following the hand washing tradition before eating. Jesus used the opportunity to explain what is and isn't unclean.
Jesus went near Tyre, trying to keep his location secret. But a Greek gentile woman, whose daughter had a demon, persisted asking Jesus with faith to heal the girl. He did, then continued traveling. When he opened a deaf man's ears to hear, the news spread explosively. After Jesus fed a crowd of 4000 with 7 loaves and a few fish, the Pharisees came - blindly oblivious - asking for a miraculous sign.
PRINCIPLE: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?"
Jesus heals a blind man at Bethsaida. Jesus then begins to teach the disciples that he must suffer many things, be killed and after three days be raised again.
He then takes Peter, James and John to the top of a mountain, and while there he is transfigured before them. While there he talks to both Elijah and Moses.
The disciples are stupefied by this event and ask him questions concerning what has transpired. He then heals a boy that the disciples could not. He tells them that it required prayer and teaches them again about his coming death and and how he will raise again from the dead. The disciples then get into an argument about who will be the greatest in the kingdom of God. He shows them that the first shall be last and the last shall be first.
He then tells them about the terrible dangers of teaching children to sin. Over and over he tells them of the importance of gaining the kingdom of heaven.
He talks about divorce and tells his questioners that in Godís sight a man and woman become one when they marry.
PRINCIPLE: "'What do you want me to do for you?' Jesus asked him."
Jesus and the disciples head toward Jerusalem. Jesus again states that the chief priests and teachers of the law will hand him over to the Gentiles who will put him to death. Then James and John ask to sit at his right hand and the other at his left, in glory. Christ reminds them that whoever wants to become great among his disciples must serve the others as a servant.
The triumphal entry into Jerusalem. As they entered Jerusalem, people spread their coats along the road. Many shouted "Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord". On reaching the temple, Jesus entered the temple and began driving out those who were buying and selling there, insisting "my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations." Jesus then tells the disciples of the effective power of prayer.
He then tells the parable of the tenants of a landowner who rented his land and vineyard to others to tend while he was away awhile. At harvest time, the owner sent a servant to collect his share of the fruit, but the tenants beat and killed each servant he sent. Finally for respect, the owner sent his own son, but the tenants killed him and claimed the land as their own. What will the owner of the vineyard do next? The chief priests and teachers of the law realized Jesus' parable was describing how they and their ancestors had treated those declaring the kingdom of God. They wanted to arrest him, but were afraid of the people. Jesus then teaches to give Caesar what is Caesarís and to give God what is Godís. He challenges the Sadducees' understanding of the scriptures about life after death.
When asked about which commandment is the greatest, he says: "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength, and your neighbor as yourself." Jesus asked the teachers of the law why scripture says the Messiah is the son of David when the king referred to the Messiah as his LORD. Jesus told the people to watch out for spiritual leader-teachers who dress for recognition of their high position, and pointed out a poor widow giving an offering at the temple. The amount she gave was small, but all she had in her poverty. This amount was more, Jesus said, than larger amounts others give out of their wealth.
PRINCIPLE: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away."
Jesus spoke of the destruction of buildings in Jerusalem on this day that we in the USA remember the 9-11-1 destruction of the World Trade buildings in New York City. Thinking of this destruction led certain disciples to ask Jesus how they would be warned before the destruction occured. First, Jesus warned them not to be deceived by false claims - and there would be many. Wars and rumors of wars are inevitable - don't be alarmed. Earthquakes and famines begin the birth pains. Be on guard - governing and religious groups will oppose you. Keep preaching and spreading the gospel no matter what opposition you get from strangers or from family. You'll be hated and betrayed, even killed. Stand firm. Watch Jerusalem, and when you see the abomination that causes desolation, flee immediately. Christ will NOT return during this distress, but some will claim he has. He will return in the clouds when the sun, moon, and stars go dark. Angels will gather the Lord's people worldwide. (How will they see in the dark? Check Psalms 112:4) Only the Father knows exactly when this will happen, so watch.
As we read in Matthew, Jesus spent the last few days of his life in Bethany and ate the Passover with his disciples on the first day of the feast. Jesus gave final information to prepare the disciples, Judas betrayed him, and Jesus was arrested at Gethsemane. Some disciples followed him, but for various reasons were terrified and fled. Jesus was taken before the chief priests and the Sanhedrin. The high priest asked if he was the Christ the Son of the Blessed One. When Jesus acknowledged that he was, the priest declared that answer was blasphemy.
PRINCIPLE: "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here."
The religious leaders take Jesus to Pilate for trial. Pilate talks to Jesus. Then, knowing it was time for a prisoner to be released, Pilate asks the Jews if they want the "King of the Jews" released or Barabbas a convicted murderer. The Jews scream for Pilate to crucify him. The scriptures say "Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified."
Jesus is crucified. The enemies of Jesus mocked Him while He hung of the cross. Finally, with a loud cry, Jesus died. Jesus was then buried in a tomb owned by Joseph of Arimathea. A large rock was placed in front of the tomb.
After the Sabbath, the women come to anoint his body for burial. The rock has already been rolled away. Inside is an angel who tells the women to look for Jesus elsewhere, since he has risen. Jesus then appears to many of the disciples in various places.
Christ then gives the disciples what many call the great commission and ascends into heaven "where he sits on the right hand of God."