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Page 9: 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 135: The Confession of Peter
Down to 137: The Healing of the Demoniac Son

135a Admonition to share in His Cross Mt. 16:21-28; Mk. 8:34-38,9:1; Lu. 9:23-27

The Harmony that we are following in the Thompson Chain Bible does not cover this topic, which I feel is very important as it sets the stage for our Lord’s tranfiguration which was to occur shortly.

Luke 9:21 And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing;
22 Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.
23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?
26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.
27 But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.

After Peter confessed his belief that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, the Son of God, Jesus told them to keep it quiet. He first would have to suffer and be put to death. However, He promised to rise again the third day.

So it’s decision time for the immediate circle. They must also be willing to die with Jesus. If they hold on to this present life, with all of it’s comforts, they will lose out on life eternal. What is the profit if they gain the whole world, but lose their eternal inheritance. If they are ashamed of Him here in His humiliation, He will be ashamed of them when He comes in the glory of His Father. Every man will be rewarded according to his works.

Some who were standing there would not see death until they saw the kingdom of God come with great power. Peter, James and John were soon to see the transfiguration, but all of the twelve except Judas were present on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Ghost descended with enabling power (Acts 1:8, 2:4), in the upper room.

There were troublesome times ahead, but after Pentecost, those who were filled, never looked back (Luke 22:32). They took the gospel to the ends of the known world, many giving their lives in the process.

These sobering words of our Lord should speak volumes to any who feel that God is obligated to give the believer a life of ease and prosperity. There was a cross in the future of these believers and there is a cross for all of us to share, if we expect to reign with our Lord in His glory.

136: The Transfiguration Mt. 17:1-13; Mk. 9:2-13; Lu 9:28-36

Mark 9:2 And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.
3 And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.
4 And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus.

Six (Matthew and Mark) to eight (Luke) days had passed since the Lord gave His sobering discourse on His coming suffering. His closest disciples were perplexed and discouraged. They had followed Jesus as Messiah and confessed Him as the Son of God, only to find that they were no longer welcome on Judea and Galilee. The masses had departed in great number. Instead of a conquering Messiah, here was a Messiah who talked of His own humiliating death.

To add to their confusion, Jesus also talked of rising again after three days. The Rabbin taught that when Messiah came, all of Israel who had died would be raised again and the kingdom restored to it’s former glory. They said nothing of the Messiah Himself dying and then being resurrected.

Jesus took Peter, James and John up into a mountain to pray. Perhaps it was Mt. Hermon (J.W. Shepard). From here they could see Galilee to the north and Jerusalem to the south, both places where they were not welcome.

Jesus knelt to pray and the three fell into heavy sleep. They were yet to share His burden for a lost and dying world. As Jesus prayed, the Deity within Him (John 10;30, 14:10-11, 20) began to shine through the veil of flesh that He had assumed (John 1:1,14 Phillippians 2:6-11; Hebrews 2:14) and even through his clothing.

The three disciples awoke to see the glory of Jesus and Moses and Elijah talking with His of His coming death. As Moses and Elijah left, Peter spoke up impetiously and said that they should build three tabernacles, one each for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. They could worship God there in these booths similar to those used at the feast of tabernacles and forget about the troubled world that lay beneath them.

While Peter was still speaking, God gave an answer of rebuke. He apppeared in a cloud just as He had at Sinai. As the cloud covered them they heard the same voice that they had heard at Jesus’ baptism and that they would hear again at His cruxificition, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.”

They fell on their faces, very afraid. As the cloud of glory disappeared , they looked up and saw Jesus by Himself. He touched them and told them to get up and not be afraid.

As they came down from the mountain the three asked Jesus why the scribes said the Elijah had to come as a forerunner of the Messiah (Malachi 4:5). This was a traditional teaching that had them greatly confused. Elijah was to come first and restore all things. Jesus answered that he had already come in the person of John the Baptist as a forerunner of Messiah and the establishment of the kingdom of God. They didn’t recognise him and they killed him.

Conclusion and Application:

What is our conception of Jesus? Is he simply a good man or is He the Mighty God veiled in flesh. I believe that this episode points out the latter.

It pleased the Father that all the fulness of the Deity should dwell in Him bodily (Colossians 1;19, 2:9). John the Revelator saw a similar vision of Jesus, the Alpha and Omega, the first and the Last (Isaiah 44:6), the beginning and the ending (Revelation 1:17). He saw him once more sitting alone on the throne of heaven (Revelation 4:2), with all of the glory of God emanating forth from Him, just as he had seen many years before on the mountain of transfiguration.

We will see Him and Him alone when He comes in power and glory, and takes us to gather at His throne. I look forward to that day when we worship Him and cry out and worship Him as the Lord God Almighty (Revelation 4:8).

137: The Healing of the Demoniac Son Mt. 17:14-21; Mk. 9:14-29; Lu. 9:37-42

Matthew 17:14 ¶ And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,
15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.

Jesus returned with Peter James and John, from the mountain of transfiguration to find His other disciples surrounded by a crowd and by scribes who were questioning them. Jesus inquired as to just what was going on. A man stepped forward and stated that he had brought his demon possessed son to the disciples for deliverance and they had failed.

Jesus questioned the man as to just what was wrong with his son. The boy was possessed. the devil would cause him to foam and cast him into the fire. He had been this way since his childhood. Jesus told the man that if he could but believe, his son would be delivered.

Mark 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

Jesus honored this man’s imperfect faith and granted his request. The boy was healed and delivered.

Later the disciples asked Jesus why they had been unsuccessful. Very simple, it was because of their unbelief. Jesus then used the metaphor of faith the size of a grain of mustard seed being able to move mountains. However thare was also another reason, this kind of spirit only came out by prayer and fasting.

Matthew 17:19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

Conclusion and Application:

These disciples had been given prior authority to heal the sick and cast out demons mark 6:7-13 see http://www.about-him.com/life/life_07.html#117, and they had been successful. Is it possible that they had let their success go to their head? When they came up against a demon who was higher in the heirarchy of hell, they were powerless.

We too have been given authority over evil spirits and commissioned to heal the sick (Mark 16:15-18). Sometimes we succeed and more often we fail. Are trying to live on yesterday’s blessing and success? If so, we are doomed to failure. Are we willing to pray more and to include fasting with our prayer? That’s a question that we all need to ask ourselves, as we measure our waistbands.

Back to 137: The Healing of the Demoniac Son
Down to 139: The Tribute Money

138: His Suffering Foretold Mt. 17:22-23; Mk. 9:30-32; Lu. 9:43=45

Luke 9:43 ¶ And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. But while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, he said unto his disciples,
44 Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men.
45 But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying.

Jesus had been talking of His impending death for some time now. His disciples were slow to grasp what He was talking about. After the healing and deliverance of this demonic son, they were all too eager to return to their thoughts of a Messiah reigning in grandeur. They prefered to not think of cruxifiction.

Jesus perceived their thoughts, and said, “ Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men.” They didn’t understand His meaning and were afraid to ask.

Conclusion and Application:

“Let these sayings sing into your ears.” Most commentators believe that ‘these sayings” refer to the teachings that Jesus had been giving concerning His coming death and resurrection. However, the most immediate sayings was when Jesus told them that faith the size of a grain of mustard seed could move mountains.

Hard times were coming. Just as Jesus had been beaten and put to death, they would face the same things. Faith would make the difference. After the disciples were empowered by the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, We see a marked contrast between failure of the disciples to heal the demoniac son and the success of Peter and John when they met the lame man at the gate. A great mountain of difficulty lay before them in the form of a man who had been lame since birth. Their faith mounted up and they looked at the man and commanded him to rise up in the name of Jesus.

When later questioned by the council about the healing of the lame man. Peter boldly proclaimed,

“ And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.”

We all have mountains confronting us as we labor to preach the gospel, but faith in His name makes the difference between success and failure.

Back to 138: His Suffering Foretold
Down to 140: The Lesson in Humility

139: The Tribute Money - Mt. 17:24-27

Matthew 17:24 ¶ And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?
25 He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?
26 Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.
27 Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

Jesus and His band had just returned to Capernaum . The masses had deserted Him and Calvary was getting closer. Perhaps He wanted to visit family and friends one last time before setting His face like a flint towards Jerusalem (Isaiah 50:7, Luke 9:51) where he would fulfill our redemption. He had recently instructed His disciples as to the cost involved in following Him. He told them of His approaching death. They saw Him transfigured with the glory of God.

While all of these thoughts were stirring in Peter’s mind with their resulting conflicts, he was approached by those who collected taxes. They could have been agents of the Roman government, but most scholars feel that they were collectors of the temple tax.

“Peter, does your Master pay taxes?” Peter, possibly fearing a trap that would lead to the arrest and death of Jesus, quickly answered , “Yes.”

When Peter returned inside the house where they were staying (possibly his own), Jesus posed ta question , “Do the kings of the earth tax their own children or do they tax strangers?” Naturally the answer was strangers.

If this taxation was from Rome, Jesus was exempt because He was king over all the earth. If this taxation was for the temple which was the house of His Father, He was exempt because He was the Son of the living God, a fact which Peter had recently affirmed.

Jesus’ time had not come and He was not willing to offend. He forgot about His perogatives and submitted to the rule of those in authority. “Peter, go down and cast a line into the sea.. The first fish that you catch will have a coin sufficient for the both of us.”

Conclusion and Application

Our rights are not as important as our commission to advance the kingdom of God. We are told to submit ourselves to every ordinance of man ( I Peter 2:13). We are to pray for those who bear the rule and authority over us (Titus 3:1).

Jesus once again affirmed His Deity as the Son of God. He was exempt from any claim of man, but He submitted that He might fulfill a higher purpose. May we do likewise.

Jesus is our pattern. Although He was God, He laid aside all of His perogatives as God and walked among us in the form of a Servant (Philippians 2:5-10). All for the purpose that He might redeem us and bring us into fellowship with Himself. May our every word, thought, action, reaction, impulse and desire conform to His pattern.

Back to 139: The Tribute Money
Down to 141: The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

140: Lesson in Humility and Forgiveness - Mt. 18:1-22; Mk. 9:33-50; Lu. 9:46-50

Luke 9:46 Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest.
47 And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him,
48 And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.
49 And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us.
50 And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.

While in the area of Capenaum, an argument broke out among the twelve as to who would be the greatest in the kingdom of God. Peter, James and John had been privileged to be with the Lord on the Mount of Transfiguration. It appears that Jesus was staying at Peter’s house. When the question of paying taxes arose, Jesus had provided the necessary money for both He and Peter by means of a miracle.

Perhaps Peter was exploiting his closeness to the Lord. It appears that seeds of jealousy were growing among them all. They still not grasp the fact that the kingdom was spiritual rather than political. They did their best to hide all of their arguments from Jesus, however in this they failed. Jesus knew all about it without hearing a word.

Later, Jesus asked them what they had been arguing about earlier. They were unwilling to answer. Taking a child into His arms, Jesus sat the twelve down for a lesson in humility and servanthood.

Matthew 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

“Except you make a change and become as this little child, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” A little child has complete trust and faith in it’s parents To enter God’s kingdom, we must lose all sense of self and submit totally to our Lord’s will. If we will do this we will receive a reward at the throne of God, where it matters. We should not be swayed by the recognition that we receive in this world. We want our reward to be there, not here.

The context of the narrative likens the new believer to a little child. If we offend them and cause them to stumble, there are dire consequences to be paid. The text of Matthew 18:1-7 should be read carefully and not glossed over. The context is that Jesus came as the Good Shepherd, seeking the lost. He left the ninety nine upright folk, and went out seeking for lost lambs. When He found the lost sheep He rejoiced, more than for the ninety nine who are safe in the shelter.

If in the process of seeking status and station in the kingdom, we offend the weak believer and cause them to fall, we are going against the purpose of the One who died for us all. It is not His will that any should perish. Using the analogy of plucking out our eyes if they offend us, Jesus is saying that we must go to extraordinary lengths not to offend our brother.

Matthew 18:7 ¶ Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. 12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?
13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.
14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

Disputes will arise between brethren, but Jesus gave us the procedure (vs.15-22) for settling disputes and gaining out brother, rather than destroying him. If we have a grievance, we go first to our brother. If it is not settled we take witnesses to hear the argument. As a last resort we take it to the church.

Conclusion and Application:

The kingdom operates on a principal that is completely foreign to our nature. If you want to be exalted humble yourself and be a servant of all. God will exalt you when He sees fit (Micah 6:8; James 4:10).

Mark 9:35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.

The Pharisees valued the praise on men higher than the praise of God (John 12:43). Sadly, this is very prevalent in the church today. They did their good works to be seen of men. ( Matthew 6:2,5,16), and the praise of men will be their only reward. How sad!

Jesus gave His life to save mankind. May we ever be of the same mind.

Back to 140: Lesson in Humility and Forgiveness
Down to 142: The Seventy Sent Forth

141: The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant - Mt. 18:23-35

Matthew 18:21 ¶ Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

Peter was touched by the Lord’s discourse on humility and forgiveness. After the discussion had ended, he came to Jesus privately and asked how many times he was obligated to forgive his brother.

Was seven times sufficient? Some of the rabbis used Amos 1:3 as the grounds to limit forgiveness to three times. Peter no doubt felt that he was being very generous to extend forgiveness to seven times.

Jesus used a bit of hyperbole, i.e. exaggeration to make a point, answered that one should extend forgiveness seven times seventy, or unconditionally without limit. Jesus then proceeded to give The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant.

A certain king was auditing the books of his kingdom. He found that one servant owed him the vast amount of ten thousand talents. This would have been equivalent to the income of a province in that day.

Because he couldn’t pay the amount, the king ordered him and his family to be sold into slavery. The man fell weeping before the king and asked for mercy. The king was moved with compassion and totally forgave the debt .

The man left the king’s presence and soon found a fellow servant who owed him one hundred pence. The servant asked for mercy until he was able to repay the debt. Mercy was not extended. He was cast into prison until he was able to pay the debt.

This angered the other servants who reported the incident to the king. The king was angry and ordered the offending servant to be brought before him. The man was upbraided for not showing the same compassion to others that had been extended to him. He was ordered to be given to the tormenters until he was able to repay the vast sum that he had owed.

Matthew18: 33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormenters, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Conclusion and Application:

The ratio of ten thousand talents to one hundred pence is one to one million two hundred and fifty thousand. Our heavenly Father has foregiven us of sins equal to the ten thousand talents. Why are we unwilling to forgive others for their minor trespasses against us. We cannot be forgiven by God if we will not forgive our brother (Matthew 6:15).

I believe there is a parallel here to the attitude that some have towards sinners. They forget that they were at one time in the same muck and mire as those that they look down on (Isaiah 65:5).

James 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

Back to 140: Lesson in Humility and Forgiveness
Down to 142: The Seventy Sent Forth

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