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Page 4: 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
Back to 87: Cities Rebuked
Down to 90: The Tour of Galilee
88: The Discourteous Pharisee and the Anointing
89: The Parable of the Two Debtors- Lu. 7:36-50
37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
A Pharisee named Simon, hearing of the miracles of Jesus, invited Him to his house for supper. Here in his great splendor and in the company of others of his religious and social set, he would be able to size up this itinerate Rabbi. A few pointed questions would no doubt expose Him as a fraud.
Simon, failed to extend to Jesus the common courtesies of the day. It would have been normal for Simon to bestow a greeting kiss on his guests. It was the assigned job of a lowly slave to wash the feet of the entering guest. Obviously, the slave had been instructed by Simon to not extend this courtesy to Jesus.
Supper was a leisurely affair. The guest would recline on couches, resting on an one elbow with their feet sticking out behind them. There would be a general give and take as the topics of the day were discussed. A perfect setting to undo this upstart preacher.
It was the custom that anyone who was interested, could stand by in the banquet room and listen to his social superiors, dispense their great wisdom.
Suddenly a woman of the streets appeared behind Jesus and started to kiss His feet. Her flowing tears fell on His dusty feet. As she saw this, she took her unbound hair, which was a sign of her trade, and began to wipe them dry.
She was an outcast to Simon and those of his ilk. Simon, in his arrogance wouldn't even try to help her. She knew she had found the One who could. She then anointed the feet of Jesus with costly ointment from an alabaster box.
Simon was enraged. If this man was a prophet, he would surely know that this woman was a prostitute. He did know and it didn't matter. This woman's day had arrived. She would be forever free of the vice and sin that had destroyed her life. She was starting a new life at the feet of the Master.
Luke 7:40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.
41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
Jesus turned to Simon and referred to a creditor who had forgiven the debts of two men who were unable to pay. One owed fifty pence and the other owed five hundred. Which one would show the most gratitude and love towards the creditor? Simon had no other answer than, "The one who was forgiven the most."
Looking at the woman, Jesus reminded Simon that her sins were many. However she had performed all of the courtesies which Simon in his arrogance refused to do. She had anointed Jesus, kissing and washing his feet while the smug sanctimonious Simon did nothing. Jesus said, "Her sins which are many are forgive, for she loved much." I believe the implication to Simon was that although his sins were not as notorious, they were not forgiven.
He turned to the woman and said, "Thy sins are forgiven." Tradition says that this women was Mary of Magdala, later know as Mary Magdalene, from whom Jesus had cast out seven demons. She is not to be confused with Mary of Bethany who also anointed the feet of Jesus just prior to His death.
Whoever she was, she was changed and forever free. She had met the Master and I'm sure she followed Him until the end.
Luke 7:50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.
Back to 88: The Anointing and the The Parable of the Two Debtors
Down to 91: The Dumb Demoniac Healed
90: The Tour in Galilee - Luke 8:1-3
Luke 1:1 And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,
2 And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,
3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.
Jesus began this second tour on a greater scale. The twelve had left home and business behind. They are now in the school of the Master. They proceeded on an organized tour of Galilee, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God.
Women whom Jesus had healed and delivered from evil spirits and infirmities financed the ministry from their own substance.
Conclusion and Application:
They not only preached the kingdom of God, they demonstrated it. The Creator was walking among His people. Evil spirits could not stand before Him, sickness and disease had to flee at His touch and the sound of His voice. When we preach the word of the Kingdom under the anointing of the Holy Ghost, God will confirm it by the demonstration of His Spirit (Mark 16:20).
Back to 90: The Tour in Galilee
Down to 92: Growing Opposition
91: The Dumb Demoniac Healed - Mt. 12:22; Luke 11:14
Matthew 12:22 Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.
A man was brought to Jesus who was possessed of the devil. He could neither speak or see. I believe it is safe to assume the blindness and deafness resulted from His possession. Jesus cast out the devil and healed the man, which led to a confrontation with the ever present scribes and Pharisees.
Conclusion and Application:
We cannot say that all blindness, deafness and infirmity is caused by sin or evil spirits, but in some cases it may be. Remember the man at the pool was told to quit sinning lest some worst thing come upon him. In John 9:2-3, Jesus told his disciples that a man's blindness was not the result of his or his parent's sin. He was born blind so that the works of God could be manifested in him. Obviously, before jumping to conclusions concerning any individual case, the gift of discernment of spirits (1 Corinthians 12:10 ) should be exercised.
Back to 91: The Dumb Demoniac Healed
Down to 93: Discourse on the Unpardonable Sin
92: Growing Opposition - Mt. 12:24-25; Mk. 3:22-27; Lu. 11:14-15
Matthew 12:23 And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. 25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:
The people were beginning to recognize Jesus as the son of David, the Messiah. This infuriated the Pharisees who were constantly on the trail of Jesus, listening to every word and checking every deed. They came up with the absurd accusation that Jesus was casting out devils by the power of satan himself.
At this time the kingdom of darkness was in total unity in their opposition to the Son of God. It would be absolute folly to allow Jesus to bind and cast out one of their own and thus weaken their ranks. His house would be divided and his kingdom would fall.
The Pharisees themselves performed exorcisms, using some strange rituals that were said to be passed down from Solomon. Of course they claimed God's help in doing so. Jesus told them that it was ridiculous to claim God's help for themselves and to made Him the agent of the devil. If He by a simple word, could cast out devils with the finger of God (Luke 11:20) as opposed to the strange rituals that the Pharisees employed, they could reach no other conclusion than that the kingdom of God was among them. In doing so, they would have to admit that He was the Messiah. This, they were not prepared to do. In their denial, they were close to committing the unpardonable sin.
Back to 92: Growing Opposition
Down to 94: Discourse on Sign Seekers
93: Discourse on the Unpardonable Sin - Mt. 12:25-37; Mk. 3:28-30
Matthew 12:30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
The crowd that had earlier been saying, "This must be Messiah," had probably quieted down due to the presence of the antagonistic Pharisees. Jesus told all present that it was time to take a stand (Joshus 24:15). Either they were with Him or against Him.
It appears from the context that the unpardonable sin was in attributing the works of the Spirit of God to satan. Some claim that this passage only applies to those at that time who were rejecting Jesus as Messiah. Thus there would be no unpardonable sin for this present generation.
I believe it is fair to say that those who had once been enlightened and rejected Christ would certainly stand in greater jeopardy of commiting this sin (Hebrews 10:29) than those who, like Paul, opposed the Lord in ignorance and unbelief (Acts 26:11).
Whatever the unpardonable sin is, it is a good bet that if your spirit is sensitive enough to the things of God to wonder if you have committed it, you haven't.
Back to 93: Discourse on the Unpardonable Sin
Down to 95: Discourse on Spiritual Relations
94: Discourse on Sign Seekers - Mt. 12:38-45; Lu. 11:16,24-32
Luke 11:16 And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven.
Matthew 12:39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
40: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Other unbelieving Pharisees asked to see a sign from heaven. Jesus responded that an evil and adulterous generation looked for signs. The only sign that would be given would that of the prophet Jonah who had spent three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, Jesus would spend three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
At the judgment, the men of Nineveh, who had repented at the preaching of Jonah , would condemn this generation who balked at the preaching of One far greater than Jonah. The Queen of Sheba who traveled a great distance to learn from Solomon would also join in their condemnation, because they were listening to One far greater than Solomon.
Matthew 12:43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.
44. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.
45. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
With the delivered deaf and dumb demoniac still nearby, Jesus stated that once a house was swept and cleaned, it had to have a keeper. When a devil returns to a man from which he has been expelled and doesn't find a keeper, he goes and gets seven others more wicked than himself and they return to the man and take up residence, making him much worse than before.
This applied to the delivered man and also to the nation of Israel. They had expelled the devils of idolatry only to replace them with a religious system that relied on self righteousness. They had replaced the laws of God with the commandments of men. Their hearts could not be penetrated, even by the One whom they professed to revere. Their hearts were hard and their ears were closed.
Conclusion and Application:
How does our present day Christian generation compare to the sign seeking religious establishment to whom Jesus was talking. I believe we have many similarities. Many are forsaking or simply ignoring the basic gospel of Jesus' death burial and resurrection for a self centered gospel centered on feeling, emotion and earthly gain.
The Jews of Jesus' day had built an elaborate religious system and couldn't recognize God in their midst. I trust that we don't do the same.
Back to 94: Discourse on Sign Seekers
Down to 96: Woes Pronounced Upon the Pharisees
95: Discourse on Spiritual Relations: Mt. 12;46-50; Mk. 3:31-36; Lu. 8:19-21
Mark 3:31 There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.
The brothers of Jesus did not believe on Him at this point (John 7:5), and His friends thought He was beside Himself (Mark 3:21). The prophet was receiving no honor from those closest to Him (John 4:44). The family had been forced to move from Nazareth when Jesus was rejected in the synagogue there.They probably feared they would have to move again. They came to talk to Jesus, but couldn't get near Him because of the crowds around Him. Jesus was told by those nearby that His family was here and wanted to speak to Him. He simply replied that his family consisted of those who would do the will of the Father in heaven.
Mark 3:35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.
Conclusion and Application:
Friends and family are dear to us, but our first obligation is to the Lord. Others may think we are imbalanced and they are right. We have counted the cost (Luke 14:28) and considered the final reward (Hebrews 11:26). We desire to forsake all and follow the Master (Matthew 19:29; Luke 14:26).
"Earthy ties are at best temporal, spiritual ties are eternal." - J.W. Shepard
Back to 95: Discourse on Spiritual Relations
Down to 97: Parable of the Rich Fool
96: Woes Pronounced Upon the Pharisees - Lu. 11:37-42
Luke 11.37 And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat.
38. And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner.
The battle with the Pharisees continued and would not end until they killed Him.As He was denouncing them for their sign seeking unbelief, His family interfered. He has to remind them that His true family are those who do God's will. While He is still speaking a Pharisee, hoping to gain an advantage invites His to dinner. Here he could observe this upstart more closely and find an opportunity to put him in His place once and for all.
He didn't have to wait long. Jesus simply ignored the ceremonial hand washing that preceded the meal. This hand washing had two parts: Upon entering the house, they would ritualistically dip the right hand in water. Later as they sat down to eat, water was provided to wash both hands. The Pharisee was incensed and Jesus' righteousness indignation was stirred. Not a very pleasant dinner.
Jesus denounced their ritualism. It was foolish to wash the outside of a cup or platter and leave the inside full of decay.
It would be better to give alms freely from a pure heart than to tithe the very leaves of a mint plant, while ignoring the weightier matters of the law, such as mercy and justice.
Jesus denounced their pride. They loved to sit in the special elevated seats in the synagogue, the loud greetings in the marketplace and their public loud and lengthy prayers. Anything to be seen of men. They were as an unmarked grave. When someone passed over it, it would collapse, causing the person to fall it and have inadvertent contact with the dead. This person would then be ceremonially unclean for seven days. Best to avoid these people.
Pretty strong stuff. A lawyer who was present objected. "Jesus, you're picking on us too." Jesus continued and denounced them for laying heavy burdens on people that they were not willing to help with. They built tombs for the prophets, whom their fathers had killed, while hoping to find a way to kill the greatest Prophet of all. They wouldn't enter the kingdom of God or let anyone else enter.
Luke 12:1 .... Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
2 For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.
3 Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.
After leaving the Pharisees house a big crowd followed. Jesus spoke in their presence to His disciples. "Beware the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy." From the context of Luke 12:1-12 we can deduct that much hypocrisy comes from fear of men. Better to fear God who sees our secret sins. That which we do in secret will be shouted from the housetops. We fear those without and fail to be a proper witness for the Lord. We fear those within and fail to challenge doctrines and practices that violate God's word. Trying to please everybody results in hypocrisy.
Conclusion and Application:
Hypocrite! Strong words from the One who tries the reins, searches the heart and knows our thoughts and intents (Hebrews 4:12).
The meaning of hypocrite is simply, "an actor playing a role." One does not become a hypocrite from occasionally missing the mark or being inconsistent. If we do, then we've all guilty. Jesus is denouncing a pattern of life that gives prominence to the externals while ignoring the internals.
Many of our churches have rightly fled legalism and so-called standards that placed the commandments of men in the place of the commandments of God. I fear that in our search for liberty, we have often forsaken balance and given way to license.
Jesus compared hypocrisy to leaven. I'm reminded of the early pioneers traveling westward. They carried the yeast for their baking with them and used it in such a way that it perpetuated itself. Supposedly some of that original leaven still exist today. The same with sin and hypocrisy.
Back to 96: Woes Pronounced Upon the Pharisees
Down to 98: Encouraging Words for the Disciples
97: Parable of the Rich Fool - Lu. 12:16-20
A man appealed to Jesus to intervene in a property dispute with his brother. Jesus cut him short and told him to beware of covetousness. A man's life and worth is not measured by his possessions. We don't hear this preached much anymore.
See our article God Wants You Rich
Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
Jesus then gave The Parable of the Rich Fool
Luke 12:19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
A certain rich man had such a bumper crop that his barns couldn't contain it. He says to Himself, This is what I'LL do. I'LL tear down MY barns and build greater, and there I'LL store all MY fruit and MY goods. I'll say to MY soul, "You've got enough laid up to last for years. Take it easy, eat drink and be merry ."
But God said, "You fool, you are going to die tonight, and who will these things belong to then"?
Luke 12:21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
Conclusion and Application:
I counted twelve personal pronouns (I ,My Thine) in this short passage. This man was a bit self-centered to say the least.
Jesus did not condemn riches and success. He did condemn greed, covetousness and selfishness. He warned against the deceitfulness of riches (Mark 4:19). Paul likened riches to a snare (I Timothy 6:9-10). John said it's all going to burn anyhow (I John 2:17).
Our treasures in heaven must outweigh our treasures on earth. Markets fail, economies fall, things rust and corrode, and thieves lie in wait to break into your house (Matthew 6:19). Corporate thieves are trying to devour your pension funds. Social Security is forecast to fail, sooner or later. War and natural catastrophe can wipe out a lifetime of accumulation instantly. We don't know when we'll be called home, but we won't be taking anything with us. We will stand as naked and unadorned before our Maker as the day we were born (Job 1:21).
We have an inheritance waiting for us as heirs of God (Romans 8:17). The eye hasn't seen it and the mind can't comprehend it (I Corinthians 2:9). Most of all, we will be with Him and be like Him (I John 3:2). When we consider this, the riches of this world fall into their proper perspective.
Back to 97: Parable of the Rich Fool
Down to 99: Parable of the Wedding Feast
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