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Page 1:The Life of Christ Following the Harmony of the Gospels

An ongoing series on the life of Christ, following the Harmony of the Gospels found in the Thompson Chain Bible.  We are beginning at Jesus' baptism (paragraph 47) and will continue until His ascension. The gospel harmonies attempt to place each event of the life of Christ in order and give the relevant scripture as recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Index   Page, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

47: The Baptism of Jesus: Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22, John 1:33

Luke 3:21 ¶ Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, 22  And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

John, the forerunner of the Lord,  came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight."  The Rabbin of that day were well schooled in Messianic scripture such as Psalms 2:6-7 and readily understood that the phrase "The kingdom of heaven is at hand" was an announcement of the Messiah.  All of Judea and surrounding areas went to see John and hear him preach a message of individual and national repentance as a condition of entering the kingdom of heaven. 

The people were convicted by John's fiery preaching. They confessed and repented of sin and John baptised them in water by immersion for the remission of sins, stated that another was coming Who would baptise them with the Holy Ghost and with fire.

Jesus also came forward for baptism and John stated, "I have need to be baptised of thee  and comest thou to me?"   Jesus told John that it was necessary to fulfil  all righteousness. As Jesus came out of the water, the heavens were opened to Him and to John (John 1:33). The heavens were opened " was a   Jewish idiom  for revelation.  A voice was heard from heaven giving approval of Jesus' sinless life , "Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."    The  Holy Ghost descended upon Him in the form of a dove and remained on Him,  anointing Him for future ministry.

Obviously Jesus had no need to be baptised. He did so to give us an example and to set a pattern for entrance into the kingdom.  When we are baptised in Christian baptism we are following this pattern: Confession, Repentance,and Baptism, with the promise of the  baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire.

Back to 47: The Baptism of Jesus
Forward to 48a: The Testimony of John the Baptist

48: The Temptation of Jesus: Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-13

Matthew 4:3  And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4  But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Immediately after hearing  the voice from heaven that confirmed His Sonship, Mark tells us that Jesus was driven into the wilderness to be tempted.   The devil came to tempt Him when He was in a weakened condition, because He had fasted for forty days.  Following Matthew's account, the first temptation appealed to the fleshly appetite: "You're hungry, turn these stones into bread, that is if you are indeed the Son of God?"

Jesus didn't argue, He rebuked satan with the Word; we have the same recourse.

In the second temptation, satan transported Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple which overhung the Kidron valley 450 feet below. Once again an assault was made in an effort to make Jesus deny His Sonship, satan even tried his hand at quoting scripture (Psalms 91:11-12), however misapplied. "Cast yourself down, if you're the Son of God, the angels will catch you."

Once again, Jesus went to the Word!

Failing to get Jesus to deny His Sonship, satan changed tactics. He took Jesus to a very high mountain and offered Him all the kingdoms of the world. all he had to do was fall down and worship satan.  He could have all the fame, power and glory and bypass the suffering of the cross.

Deuteronomy 6:4 ¶ Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
5  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
Exodus 20:3  Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Satan departed and the angels of God came and ministered to Jesus.

So, have you ever been tempted? Obviously, yes. How did you overcome? By the Word!!!! We can rest assured that as long as we are striving to serve the living God, satan will make repeated attacks in an effort to get us to fail.  We are not ignorant of Satan's devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).  After we've been stung a few times, we know his routine.

We have a Saviour who gave us an example. Serve the one true living God, rely upon His word, and fulfil the role that he has given us. He is at the throne, pulling for you!

Hebrews 2:18  For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
Hebrews 7:25  Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Back to 48. The The Temptation of Jesus
Forward to 49: Five Disciples Enrolled

48a: The Testimony of John the Baptist:John 1:19-33

29 ¶ The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

While Jesus was being tempted by satan, John the Baptist was being examined by a deputation from the Sanhedrin court in Jerusalem." Whenever anyone appeared on the scene who could possibly be the Messiah, the religious leaders would first observe and later challenge, to see if they fulfilled the role of Messiah." Later they would do the same thing to Jesus.

Are you the Christ? No, I am not the Christ. Are you the resurrected Elijah? No, I am not Elijah. Are you that prophet (Deuteronomy 18:18) that Moses talked about? No, I am not that prophet.  Well then, just who are you? " He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

The prophet Isaiah had foretold that a forerunner would come on the scene announcing the arrival of our God.

Isaiah 40:3 ¶ The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

In Isaiah's time, the property owners would extend their fields across the highways, thus blocking traffic. It was the job of a forerunner to go to each one and demand that they move all obstructions so that the king would have easy passage.

Okay, John, if you are not the Messiah, then why do you baptise?  The religious establishment also baptised converts and considered themselves pure and holy. They were quite happy in their religious routine and rituals. John had offended them because he demanded water baptism preceded by sincere repentance. Being a child of Abraham wasn't enough to guarantee entrance into the kingdom, repentance and proof of good works was absolutely necessary.

John told them that he baptised with the baptism of repentance, but that there was one standing among them, who would baptise with a higher baptism, the baptism of the Holy Ghost.

Back to 48a: The Testimony of John the Baptist
Forward to 50: The First Miracle

49: Five Disciples Enrolled: John 1:35-49

John 1:35  Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;
36  And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!
37 ¶ And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

John the Baptist was standing with two of his disciples, Andrew and probably John, when once again he saw Jesus waling nearby. He repeated the utterance of the previous day, "Behold the Lamb of God! Nothing feeble about his utterance. The Lamb is among you. The Holy Ghost baptizer has arrived. The eternal Deity, Immanuel, God with us, Messiah, Prophet, Priest and Redeemer is right over there.

John knew that his ministry as forerunner was coming to an end. He had done his job and done it well. The whole nation had been awakened from their slumber, national repentance was taking place. The highway was being made smooth for the King. John could just as well have been reciting Isaiah 40:9.

  Isaiah 40:9 ¶ O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift [it] up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! 

Andrew and John made a decision that they would hold to for the rest of their life. They began to follow Jesus.  Jesus turned and asked, "What are you looking for?"  They answered, Where do you live?" Jesus' simply reply was the same that He gives to inquirers today (Matthew 11;28; John 7:37;  Revelation 22:17), "Come and see."  The spent the day with Jesus and were filled with zeal to spread the word.

Little of Andrew is recorded is scripture. Tradition says that he was crucified for his Lord in Scotland. He may be numbered as a lesser apostle in this world, but who knows what reward is awaiting him in the next (Matthew 19:30). He became the first missionary. He found his brother Simon and brought him to Jesus, exclaiming, "We have found the Messiah."  Jesus changed Simon's name to Peter, denoting the rock he would become after he was converted and filled with the Spirit (Luke 22.32).

The next day, Jesus found Phillip, a neighbor of Andrew and Peter.  Phillip had been baptised of John (this was a requirement for apostleship, Acts 1:22) and had no doubt heard the Baptist's speaking  of Jesus. In any case He didn't hesitate, he followed Jesus. Phillip became the second missionary.  He went and found his friend Nathanael. "Nathanael, we've found the One of whom Moses and the prophets talked about, Jesus of Nazareth the son of Joseph." Nathanael was happy to hear of a Messiah, but Nazareth was a different matter.  Every country and every culture has had and still has their social pecking orders  and Nazareth ranked at the very bottom.

Nathanael soon changed his mind when Jesus revealed the very thoughts and intents of his heart (Luke 6:8; John 2:24-25).  Jesus told him that he had been meditating under a fig tree (Most scholars feel that he had been meditating about Jacob's ladder). Jesus said, "Hereafter, you'll see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the son of man."  Nathanael  confessed Jesus as the Son of God and never turned back.

Conclusion and Application:

Jesus the Lamb of god  is among us. He is Lord, God, Messiah and the Holy Ghost baptizer. He cares little for our social standing , religious position or our prejudice.  He is still seeking to find and save the lost.  His reply to any honest seeking is still, "Come and see!"

Back to 49: Five Disciples Enrolled
Forward to 51,52: The First Passover and the Cleansing of the Temple

50: The First Miracle: Changing Water Into Wine: John 2:1-11

John 2:11 - This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

Immediately after choosing His first five disciples, Jesus returned to Galilee, where He and His disciples were invited to a wedding at Cana.  An embarrassing situation developed for the hosts of the wedding; they had run out of wine. Jewish weddings in that day ran for 6 or 7 days, and to have no wine was a major disgrace. The mother of Jesus was there and she appealed to Jesus to do something. Jesus tried to put her off by saying, "Mine hour is not yet come," but His mother would have none of it. She told the servants to do what ever Jesus commanded. Seeing six stone water pots nearby, Jesus ordered that they be filled to the brim with water. They then drew from the pots and took the liquid to the ruler of the feast. He marveled that the best wine had been saved till last. By this miracle, Jesus manifested His glory and His disciples believed on Him.

Conclusion and Application:

Jesus is the master of the impossible situation. He cares and is willing to act in every aspect of your life. Much like the Syro- Phoenician woman who desired the crumbs from the Master's table (Matthew 15:25) and the persistent widow  who appealed to the unjust judge (Luke 18:3), Mary's faith overcame Jesus' reluctance to act.  Note also that Jesus made use of the resources at hand and the efforts of the servants in filling the pots. We can play a large part in seeing our impossible situation altered by doing the obvious and exercising faith to cover the impossible.

We will soon be the honored guests at another wedding feast called the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7-9). We are already drinking the New Wine of the Holy Ghost here (Acts 2:13-18), but just as the best wine was saved till last at Cana, who knows what awaits us there (1 Corinthians 2:9; 1 John 3:2)?

Next Week: The First Passover and the Cleansing of the Temple

Back to 50: Five Disciples Enrolled 50
Forward to 53: The Discourse on the New Birth

51,52: The First Passover and the Cleansing of the Temple -  John 2:12-25

 John 2:13  And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,
14  And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:
15  And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables;
16  And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.
17  And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up

After his first miracle at Cana, Jesus with His family and disciples went to Capernaum.  It is felt that Jesus, acting as head of household was moving the family residence to this new location.  After a few days the group left to attend the first Passover of Jesus' ministry at Jerusalem. Jesus was enraged and indignant at what He saw at the temple.

The Bazaar of the Sons of Annas the High Priest  was in full operation, selling Oxen, Sheep and Doves.   Spotless animals were necessary for sacrifice. If one were to bring their own animal, it would have to be inspected by  the temple officials. Seldom would one's animal meet their approval.  Of course you could purchase an approved animal at a hefty price. Likewise the half-shekel temple tax had to be paid in Jewish currency only.  The money changers gladly provided their service at 12% for anyone who didn't have the proper coinage. If they refused to pay, their property was attached.

Jesus, in righteous fury, braided some cords together and drove the animals out of the temple. He then overturned the tables of the money changers and commanded that they take their wares out of the temple.

John 2:16  And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.

No doubt, the priests were sensing approval from the crowd and didn't oppose Jesus openly. They had heard the testimony of John the Baptist that the Messiah was in their midst, and had probably heard reports of the miracle at Cana. They could not resist the glory of Jesus which this time was manifested in anger, rather than in a miracle. They were made cowards by their guilt. Christ's new disciples remembered the scripture of Ps. 69:9 "The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up."

The Jewish leaders opposed Jesus in a sly way. They asked for a sign or miracle to show that He was Messiah and had authority to do the things He had just done. Jesus simply said, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it us." The Jews didn't understand that He was speaking of the temple of His body , that He as God would  raise it up again. His disciples remembered this saying after His resurrection.  Jesus performed other miracles at this time and many believed on His name.

Conclusion and Application:

The Lord is not pleased by the misuse of His house, the offices He has instituted in His church or by the oppression of His people by those who are in authority (Ezekiel 34:2-10). Since He now dwells in believers rather than residing in ornate temples (Acts 7:48; 17:24), how much more is He displeased when we fail to honor our bodies as His temple (2 Corinthians 6:16 ) and misuse the gifts and callings He has given us?  I believe that our Lord is just as displeased at those who merchandise the gospel in our day, as He was with the money changers in the temple.  Both will have much to answer for at the day of judgement.

Back to 51,52: The First passover and the Cleansing of the Temple
Forward to 54: The Early Judean Ministry

53: The Discourse on the New Birth -  John 3:1-21

 1 ¶ There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
2  The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
3  Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin court. He obviously had observed many of the miracles that Jesus had performed.  He came to Jesus by night to learn more. His opened the conversation by stating that Jesus was a teacher sent from God. I believe that Jesus, knowing what was in the hearts of men, answered what was really on the mind of Nicodemus. How do I enter the kingdom of God? How can I be assured of eternal life?

5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Nicodemus could not comprehend how a man could be born the second time. Jesus then explained that to be "born again" was to be "born of the water and the Spirit" and that this was a requirement for entering the kingdom of God. Jesus further explained that he was speaking of heavenly things as opposed to the things of the flesh. What exactly does it mean to be born of the water and the Spirit? Does the water refer to human birth or to water baptism? For our thoughts on this see:

Jesus continued in verse 11 to tell Nicodemus that he had come down from heaven, and was in fact still in heaven, and was only telling him what he had seen and heard. He then used the figure of the Brazen Serpent that had been raised in the wilderness as a type of His impending death on the cross. This indicated that entrance into the kingdom would be by faith in His broken body which was to be raised above the earth.

14  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Conclusion and Application:

Being born again is not an option , it is an absolute. Jesus said it, we must obey it. We must be born anew, from above.  We are born again by the word (I Peter 1:23). "Whosoever  believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God..." (I John 5:1).  Born again people are known by their love for each other and for others ( John 13:35; I John 4:7). The born again person lives above sin (I John 3:9; 5:18) and overcomes the world (I John  5:4).

Back to 53: The Discourse on the New Birth
Forward to 55: The Women at the Well

54: The Early Judean Ministry - John 3:22-36
Additional testimony of John the Baptist concerning Jesus

John 3:34  For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.
35  The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.

After the cleansing of the temple at the first passover of  Jesus' ministry and His discourse on the new birth to Nicodemus, Jesus remained in Judea and began to baptize converts. Some of John the Baptist's  disciples got into a dispute with the Pharisees about purifying (baptism) and the Pharisees were quick to point out that Jesus was now baptizing and the people were flocking to Him. If they were trying to evoke jealousy on the part of John the Baptist,  they failed.

To paraphrase his reaction: I am simply a forerunner. I am  a friend of the bridegroom and I rejoice that He is claiming His bride.  He must increase and I must decrease. I am of this earth and speak earthly things to you. He has come from heaven and is above all. He is telling you what He has seen and heard, but not many are receiving His testimony.  The person who accepts His testimony has affirmed that God is true because Jesus is speaking the words that God has given Him. God has given the Spirit without measure unto Him. He who believes on Him  has everlasting life, but he that does not believe has the wrath of God remaining on himself.

Conclusion and Application:

Just as John the Baptist was mindful of his appointed role, we must be mindful of ours. We must be diligent to fulfil our given task (1 Corinthians 12:28 ) without overstepping our bounds and to be subject to those who have authority over us (Hebrews 13:17). We must remember that we reason on an earthly level. Our ways are not His ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). The Father has placed all things into the hand of His Son who  is preeminent in all things with all the fullness of the Deity dwelling in Him bodily (Colossians 1:18-19; 2:9).  If we will receive His words, we are assured of eternal life.

John 3:36  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Back to 54: The Early Judean Ministry
Forward to 56: The Revival in Samaria

55: The Women at the Well - John 4:1-26
For a more in depth look, see the
Waters of Life
After hearing that the Pharisees knew He was baptising more converts than John,   Jesus , in an effort to avoid  confrontation,  left Judea and went north to Galilee. Samaria was in between the two provinces.  Because of racial and religious bigotry between the Jews and Samaritans, most Jews and especially the religious ones, took a bypass route around Samaria. Jesus would have none of this. Vs. 4 simply states, "And he must needs go through Samaria."

Jesus who knew the hearts of men (Matthew 9:4) was on a mission to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). He knew that a sinful lonely women would be coming to draw water alone from Jacob's well at Sychar. He knew about her five marriages and that she was now living in adultery. He also knew that deep in her heart, she was concerned about how to worship God and was aware that Messiah was coming. Jesus was more concerned about her future than her past (Isaiah 1:18).

In His Deity He was and is all knowing and everywhere present. In His humanity He was tired and thirsty. He asked for a drink of water. I'm sure you know the discourse that followed. She marveled that a Jew would ask a Samaritan women for water. Jesus simply replied that she should be asking Him for water.

John 4:10  Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

Of course He was talking of the Living Water of the Holy Spirit that has been so  graciously given to us.

14  But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

Jesus told her to call her husband and she stated that she had none. When Jesus told her of her past life and present living arrangement, she knew she was talking to someone out of the ordinary. Perhaps he was a prophet?  She then probed Jesus as to where one must worship God;  at the temple in Samaria or the temple in Jerusalem. Jesus told her of a new day coming when worship would be conducted in the temple of the individual heart. God is Spirit and must be worshiped in spirit and also in truth. She then stated that Messiah was coming and that He would set it all straight. Jesus simply said, "I that speak unto thee am he" (vs. 26).

Conclusion and Application:

Do you identify with this women? I do! Do you feel far from Him? He is looking for you. Are you weighed down with past sins and mistakes? Tell Him, He knows all about it  and is eager for us to look to Him for the living water which will spring forth from our innermost being and give us eternal life.

However, we can't come to Him in any fashion that seems good to us. We must come to Him in truth. He is truth (John 14:6) and he has told all that we need to know in His word (I Peter 1:22). 

Back to 55: The Women at the Well

56: The Revival in Samaria- John 4:28-42

John 4:34  Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
35  Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

In the short time that Jesus talked to the Samaritan women at the well, a dramatic change took place in her life. She started in unbelief and ended up as one of the first evangelist. She first resisted Jesus on the grounds of racial separation. When Jesus offered living water, she responded, probably in a mocking manner, "Art thou greater than our father Jacob?"  When Jesus looked past her facade and begin to reveal her innermost secrets, her response was much the same as people today. Rather than face the issue of her soul's salvation, she was evasive and presented a theological question to Jesus as to the proper place to worship.  Another typical reaction was to procrastinate and wait for the sweet bye and bye when the Messiah would appear. When Jesus said, "I that speak to thee am He", she knew that this was her day of salvation.

All the time that Jesus was talking to the Samaritan women, His disciples had been in the city buying food. As they returned, the women dropped her waterpot and ran into the city proclaiming, "Come and see a man which told me all things that I ever did: Is not this the Christ?"

The disciples had no spiritual discernment in the situation. Their main concern was that it was lunch time. "Master eat." "I have meat to eat that you know not of." Jesus went on to explain that His meat was to do the will of His Father.

Nearby were fields of newly planted grain which would be ready for harvest in about four months. As the men of the city were approaching with the Samaritan women, Jesus told the disciples  to lift up their  eyes, here comes your harvest. As the hungry hearts were approaching, Jesus compared them to a grain field that was white with harvest. The people forgot their racial prejudice and invited Jesus, a Jewish rabbi, to stay in their city. Jesus spent two days preaching and teaching these people and many believed on Him.   These new converts told the women: 42  And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

Conclusion and Application.

Jesus cared nothing for the petty things of religion and politics which separate people. He only cared about doing the will of His Father. When we make contact with the Saviour, we will forget about things that were once important to us and proclaim the good news of the gospel to all who will receive it.

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