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Page 6: 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.

Back to 103: Parable of the Wheat and Tares
Down to 105: Parable of the Leaven

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

104: Parable of the Mustard Seed - Mt. 13:31-32; Mk. 4:30-32; Lu. 13:18-19

Mark 4:30 And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?
31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth:
32 But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.

Jesus likened the kingdom of God to a mustard seed. It is the very smallest of seeds, and yet it grows to a height of ten to twelve feet with large branches. The birds of the air find comfort in it's shade.

Conclusion and Application:

Just as a seed has a genetic blueprint, God has a plan and design for his kingdom. He doesn't get in a hurry. He announced the coming of the Redeemer and established His seed line in the garden of Eden. Many years passed as He dealt with Israel, His chosen people, and tried to prepare them to accept Him as their Messiah when He appeared in the flesh. While the tiny seed of the kingdom of God was taking root, the foundation of the church was being established.

After our Lord's death and resurrection the kingdom began to grow rapidly. He inspired twelve apostles who waited for the promise of the Spirit with one hundred twenty others. Three thousand souls were added when they responded to the apostles preaching at Pentecost. Soon after five thousand more. Within a few short years the gospel had been preached to all of the known world (Acts 17:6). Perhaps He has delayed His second coming to allow a few more to find repentance (II Peter 3:9).

Although we sometimes feel very inadequate in the great scope of things, we will never know what impact we've had on God's kingdom program until we get on the other side (Matthew 25:34-36). Tender words of encouragement and thoughtful acts of kindness that we have long forgotten are at work in the kingdom, helping it to grow to the full potential that God has ordained (John 15:16).

Back to 104: Parable of the Mustard Seed
Down to 106: Parable of the Hidden Treasure

105: Parable of the Leaven - Mt. 13:33

Matthew 13:33 Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

The average Jewish woman of that day would use three measures of meal for a week's baking. Many have tried to attach a significance to the number of measures of meal, whether different dispensations of God's dealings with His people or representing the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Such interpretations are not justified. We need not attach a special significance to every detail of our Lord's parables. They were meant to make a point, not for endless speculation.
The women would knead in the leaven and it would affect all of the loaves she was baking (Galatians 5:9). God's kingdom has life in and of itself. It will affect anything that it comes in contact with. Our job is to knead the leaven into the meal. God will do the rest (Matthew 28;19-20; Mark 16:15-20).

Back to 105: Parable of the Leaven
Down to 107: Parable of the Goodly Pearl

106: Parable of the Hidden Treasure - Mt. 13:44

Matthew 13:44 ¶ Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

Palestine is situated between Egypt and Syria. For centuries the people were under the yoke of first one army and then another. So how does one secure the family treasure under such conditions? Simple, you bury it. Unfortunately some probably forgot where they had buried their treasure or died without passing on the knowledge to their descendants. Thus, in the time of Christ, ancient treasure was often being unearthed.

The man in the parable is taking no chances with his new found wealth. He sells all that he owns and takes title to the field.

Thus it is with our great salvation, the greatest treasure that we will ever possess. We will do all that is necessary, even to the extent of forsaking family and friends (Matthew 10:37-38) to ensure that we never lose it.

Back to 106: Parable of the Hidden Treasure
Down to 108: Parable of the Draw-Net

107: Parable of the Goodly Pearl - Mt. 13:45-46

Matthew 13:45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

Pearls were great luxuries in bible times. Here a merchant who deals in pearls continually, spots one of immense value that stands out among all others. Like the man above who found the great treasure in a field, this man does all in his power to obtain ownership of this great pearl.

We have found the Pearl of Great Price: His name is Jesus!

Back to 107: Parable of the Goodly Pearl
Down to 109: The Gadarene Voyage

108: Parable of the Draw-Net - Mt. 13:47-51

Matthew 13:47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:
48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.
49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,
50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Once again, as stated in the Parable of the Wheat and Tares above (Par. 104) the wicked and the just will live side by side until the end of the age when our Lord returns. The angels will separate the wicked from the just and cast them into eternal punishment.

Some preach that the church is going to increase in power and influence and dominate the world to usher in our Lord's return. I wonder if those who preach this have given much weight to our Lord's words in the Parable of the Wheat and Tares and the Parable of the Draw-net?

Back to 108: Parable of the Draw-Net
Down to 110: The Tempest Stilled

109: The Gadarene Voyage - Mt. 8:18-23; Mk. 4:35-36; Lu. 8:22

Matthew 8:18 ¶ Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side.
19 And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
21 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.

Once again, a large crowd had assembled around Jesus as He taught and expounded the word of God. Jesus felt a need to leave these people and go to the other side of the lake. Perhaps he sensed that they were caught up in emotion and needed time to digest His words. On another occasion, he left the multitude and went to a mountain by Himself, because He knew that the people were ready to forcefully proclaim Him as king (John 6:15). Perhaps this was a similar situation.

A certain scribe, perhaps with the very best of intentions, proclaimed his willingness to follow Jesus anywhere that he went. This man was probably used to a rather comfortable way of living and it appears that Jesus knew that he would not be able to adapt to the Spartan lifestyle of He and His disciples. Contrary to what the money preachers proclaim, the foxes had holes and the birds had nests, but Jesus didn't have a place to lay His head. This passage tells us that there is a cost to be considered when we decide to follow Him (See Luke 14:26,27,33).We must be willing to endure the same hardships that He endured to promote the kingdom of God.

Another man, expresses his willingness to go with Jesus, but he ask for a delay. His father has died and needs to be buried. Jesus answered, "Let the dead bury the dead." Luke places these events at a later time and adds this statement, "But go and preach the kingdom of God." Jesus had evidently placed a call on this man's life, whom some scholars feel could have been Thomas, and He was expecting an unhesitating instant response.

Conclusion and Application:

These sayings of the Lord seem hard to reconcile with a tender and compassionate Jesus. In the first instance, Jesus had not called the scribe to specific service. He knew that the man was overcome by emotion and would not be able to stand the hardships that would soon be encountered. Likewise, little of lasting value is accomplished by emotional fervor. Emotionalism will bring people into the front door of the church, but it will not keep them from leaving through the back. Our emotions must be balanced by faith and commitment to the kingdom of God regardless of circumstances.

As stated above, Luke places this incident at another time and place. However, if it took place just prior to this boat trip, we must consider that if Jesus had delayed His trip to allow a disciple whom he had called to service to bury his father, we do not know what the effect may have been. No doubt Jesus knew that a demon possessed man would be waiting at a specific time. After the man was delivered, he was instructed by Jesus to go and tell the good news in all of the surrounding area. If Jesus had delayed His trip across the lake, the outcome may have been completely different. Many souls may not have heard the testimony of Jesus that this man gave to all who would hear.

Back to 109: The Gadarene Voyage
Down to 111: The Gadarene Demoniacs Healed

110: The Tempest Stilled: : Mt. 8:23-27; Mk. 4:37-41; Luke 8:23-25

Luke 8:23 But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.
24 And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.
25 And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.

Jesus and His disciples sailed to the other side of the lake followed by a group of other boats. Suddenly a great storm arises and Jesus seems unconcerned. He is asleep on a pillow in the back of the boat. “Master, don’t you care, if we die in this storm?” Jesus stood up and rebuked the storm and all became instantly quiet. He then rebuked the disciples for their lack of faith. Their only response was, “What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him."

Conclusion and Application:

The disciples left a big revival meeting and suddenly an unexpected storm developed. So what’s new, that’s life and is to be expected. What matters is how we deal with it!

These men had seen water turned into wine, paralytics healed, a withered hand restored, fevers rebuked, and they lose their faith because of a storm. Jesus is sleeping so perhaps He’s not aware or concerned. People haven’t changed much in two thousand years, have we?"

What manner of man is this? Simply God in the flesh. Jesus did not cease to be God when He condescended to the manger of Bethlehem. He was fully God and fully man in one visible being. This incident illustrates that point very well. As a man Jesus was probably exhausted after a full day of preaching and teaching, so He laid down and went to sleep. As God, He never tired or grew weary (Isaiah 40:28) and He never sleeps. He was fully aware of the storm and the peril that all were facing. The Creator of heaven and earth arose and rebuked the wind and the wave and they obeyed Him.

Most of us will never be caught in a storm on a lake, but we have other storms raging all around us. We know that the One who rebuked the natural elements is well aware of everything that would try to destroy our faith. One thing we know is that He is touched by the feeling of our infirmities (Romans 8:26, Hebrews 4:15). We can cast all of our cares on the One who cares for us (I Peter 5:7). He reigns in heaven and there is no situation that I cannot take to Him and not receive a response. Just as the disciples cried out in their time of trouble , we can come boldly to His throne to find help in the time of need (Hebrews 4:16, 13:6).

Back to 110: The Tempest Stilled
Down to 112: Levi's Feast

111: The Gadarene Demoniacs Healed: Mt. 8:28-34; Mk. 5:1-20; Lu. 8:26-39

Matthew 8:28 ¶ And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.
29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?
30 And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. 31 So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.
32 And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.
33 And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils.

After crossing the Sea of Galilee, the group landed at town of Gadara which was one of ten original towns that made up the area of Decapolis. Decapolis was a region which was settled by Greek soldiers, who left the Greek army after the death of Alexander the Great in 356 B.C. Thus the region was a mixture of Jews, Greeks and Romans. The region was in constant religious conflict, between the monotheistic Jews and the Greeks who condoned and promoted homosexuality and idol worship. After the area was subdued by the Romans, the conflicts increased. Jesus did not shy away from this area, because of it’s sinfulness, He fulfilled prophesy by visiting it (Isaiah 9:2; Matthew 4:16; Romans 5:20).

Upon landing, Jesus was met by two men possessed of many devils. These men had been driven out of their town and left to dwell naked among the tombs. Many attempts to restrain them failed. They simply broke the chains and terrorized the area so that no man could pass by that way.

All of this changed when they saw Jesus. The devils recognized Him as the Son of God and cried out that they not be sent to pit that is reserved for their final doom (Revelation 20:3), before the appointed time. Jesus commanded the devils to come out of the man and honored their request that they be allowed to enter into a nearby herd of two thousand swine. The swine wouldn’t tolerant the presence of the devils and stampeded into the sea.

Those who saw the incident ran into the city and notified the owners of the swine. They came and found at least one of the men clothed and sitting at the feet of Jesus. Their commercial interest being affected, they asked Jesus to leave and He complied.

The delivered man begged to go with Jesus, but Jesus instructed him to return to his friends and tell the good news of his deliverance.

Luke 8:38 Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying,
39 Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.

Conclusion and Application:

The devil cannot remain silent in the presence of Jesus or those who are filled with His Spirit (Mark 1:25; Luke 4:34-36; Acts 16:17).

We have the same conflicts today that were present in the region of Decapolis. Paganism and gross immorality abound in our land. We don’t shy away. We, like this man, go and tell the great things God has done for us The best defense of the gospel is our personal testimony (John 9:25). Once I was blind, now I see!

Back to 111: The Gadarene Demoniacs Healed
Down to 113: The Afflicted Women Healed

112: Levi's Feast: Mt. 9:9-13; Mk. 2:14-17; Lu.5:29-32

Mk.2:15 And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him.
16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?
17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

We covered the call of former publican (tax collector) Levi (Matthew) in par. 71. It appears that some time had passed after since his call and Matthew hosted a dinner with Jesus and His disciples. Many other publicans and sinners who were following Jesus in his travels were also present. The phrase publicans and sinners is a catch-all that describes all of the undesirables of the day, i.e. tax collectors, thieves, prostitutes, and anyone else who did not meet the standards of the ruling religious class.

These were Matthew's friends and he did not disassociate from them because of his conversion. He invited them to his house to allow them to have fellowship with the Master. Needless to say, the ever present Scribes and Pharisees were watching and used to occasion to criticize Jesus for His choice of dinner partners. Jesus simply stated that the people who were well didn't need a doctor, but rather the people who are sick.

Conclusion and Application:

Jesus never compromised Himself by eating with sinners and neither will we. We can share with old friends the things that Jesus has done for us, where He brought us from and where we are going. We must not forget where we were when Jesus found us and where we would be if we ever let go of Him. We are all sinners who have been washed in His blood and sanctified by His Spirit (I Corinthians 6:11). People can see that we are not what we once were. Many of them are waiting for a friendly word from us and would really like to know what accounted for our change.

Back to 112: Levi's Feast
Down to 114: Jairus' Daughter Raised

113: The Afflicted Women Healed: Mt. 9:20-22; Mk. 5:22-24,35-43; Lu. 8:43-48

Luke 8:40 ¶ And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him.
41 And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus' feet, and besought him that he would come into his house:
42 For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him.

According to the Luke account, when Jesus returned from His visit across the lake in Decapolis, an enthusiastic crowd was waiting to receive Him. Suddenly a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, appeared and pleaded with the Master to come and touch his twelve year old daughter who was at the point of death. Jesus did not hesitate, He immediately started towards the house of Jairus.

Matthew 9:20 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:
21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.
22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

Nobody noticed a frail sickly women , stooping behind Jesus and reaching for the hem of His robe. She had suffered from a female disorder for twelve years, which meant that she was considered unclean and would not be allowed to touch anyone or enter the temple. She had spent all that she had on the doctor's and instead of getting better, she grew worse. She was desperate and saw only one hope, she had to touch the Master. Some say that her faith was imperfect, but it was faith none the less. Moreover, it was faith coupled with action. She humbled herself and reached for the hem of Jesus’ robe.

“Who touched Me,” Jesus exclaimed. “What do you mean Lord? In this mob a lot of people are touching you.” “I felt the virtue go out of me, somebody touch Me and received their healing.”

The trembling women, knelt before Jesus and confessed that it was she who had touched Him and that she had indeed received His healing virtue. Jesus sent her away in peace, stating that her faith had made her whole.

Conclusion and Application:

Do you ever feel like this women. Sin and sickness have ravished your body. There seems to be no way of escape. You feel unclean and uncomfortable among the religious crowd. Yet there is a cry in your heart, “If I can but touch Jesus, things will be different.”

Yes, things will be different as soon as you press through the crowd and touch Him. He knows the things that you feel (Hebrews 2:17-18, 4:15). His virtue is still flowing. He is listening for the faintest cry from any of His lost lambs (Luke 15:4-7). He will meet your every need and send you away in peace.

Back to 112: Levi's Feast
Down to 114: Jairus' Daughter Raised

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