All scriptural references are from The Message unless otherwise noted
"The Message" in hardcopy does not include verse numbers because it is a paraphrase version. This causes some of the information to overlap sometimes.
Jesus Christ is so important to mankind that a large portion of the New Testament is devoted to telling his story. Since various writers wrote from their individual points of view, there are some differences in details in each account. Some mention experiences that others don't, and at times the chronology of events is difficult to sort out. This made it difficult to piece together at times, so please e-mail us at CommonTruth@gmail.com if you find a better way to order any of the following events:
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Father (Matthew 16:16). God sent Jesus to earth in human form to provide a perfect human sacrifice for our salvation. Jesus Christ is so important to mankind that a large portion of the New Testament is devoted to telling his story. Since various writers wrote from their individual points of view, there are some differences in details in each account. Some mention experiences that others don't, and at times the chronology of events is difficult to sort out. This made it difficult to piece together at times, so please e-mail us at CommonTruth@gmail.com if you find a better way to order any of the following events.
Because of the vast amount of information, we have chosen to simplify the information for easier reading. However, if you seek a more detailed Christ chronology, please visit the following link:
Due to the amount of information from the four gospels, we divided the biography into three sections: This page is the first of the three sections.
Jesus Christ was born from an Israelite virgin named Mary. God caused her to become pregnant with Christ through the power of The Holy Spirit when she was engaged to an Israelite carpenter named Joseph (Matthew 1:18, 13:55). God sent his angel, Gabriel, to speak to Mary about this before it happened (Luke 1:26-27). This was the same angel that God sent previously to Mary's cousin's husband, Zechariah, to tell Zechariah he'd father a son - John the Baptist (Luke 1:5-25). Gabriel told Mary that she'd conceive a son, the Son of God Himself and would be the Messiah, and that she was to name him Jesus (Luke 1:28-33). Mary didn't understand how this was to happen, since she was a virgin, and Gabriel explained it to her (Luke 1:34-37). Mary accepted the circumstances and Gabriel departed (Luke 1:38). Mary and Joseph were both descendants of King David (Matthew 1:6, Luke 3:31) as required by prophecy ( Isaiah 9:7, Matthew 1:23, Luke 1:32). These two genealogy lists are not completely identical in places such as Matthew 1:3 and Luke 3:33, Matthew 1:6-12, Luke 3:27-31, and Luke 3:27-31, Matthew 1:13-16 and Luke 3:24-27. This is because in those days, the children were considered descendants of the father, even in the case of the wife's ancestry. This is shown in that the listing at Luke begins with the words
"And Jesus himself was beginning to be about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, son of Joseph..." (Luke 3:23) (Young's Literal Translation).
Thus, one listing is for Mary's Genealogy, the other listing is for Joseph's Genealogy. This placed Christ solidly in position to be a descendant of David, as required by the abovementioned prophecies. Since Joseph and Mary both descended from king David, this fulfills the prophetic requirement in two ways: First, it made Christ a blood descendant of David through Mary. The other fulfillment is that Christ would also be legally David's descendant through his stepfather, Joseph (because inheritances in that time went through the father's line).
Joseph and Mary
At first Joseph did not believe Mary when she explained the pregnancy to him. He thought she had cheated on him, so he planned to secretly break off the engagement (Matthew 1:19). At that time an engagement was a binding promise, tantamount to actual marriage, so Joseph would have had to divorce her from the engagement, which is why the Scripture says he planned to secretly divorce her. Therefore, God sent an angel to explain the situation to Joseph and Joseph believed (Matthew 1:20-23). Next, Joseph took Mary home to be his wife and refrained from consummating the marriage during her pregnancy (Matthew 1:24). The Bible doesn't say exactly when Mary told Joseph about her divine pregnancy. However, we do know she spent the first three months of her pregnancy staying at the home of Zechariah and her cousin, Elizabeth, (Luke 1:39-56) who was six months pregnant with John. This is indicated in that after the three months Elizabeth gave birth to John (Luke 1:57-60).
Not long after John's birth, Caesar Augustus issued a decree for all citizens to be registered. Each person was required to register in their home towns. Consequently, Joseph had to travel to his home town of Bethlehem to register. He brought Mary along, who at this point was heavily pregnant at that time (Luke 2:1-5). While staying in Bethlehem Mary went into labor. Because of so many people coming to register, there were no vacant rooms available at the inns, so she gave birth in a barn and laid the Christ child in a manger (Luke 2:6-7).
Angels Herald the Birth
When this happened, God's angel went out to the shepherds who were tending their flocks that night. God's glory beamed around the shepherds, and they became frightened. The angel calmed their fears and told them the good news of the Messiah's birth and where they could find him. Immediately after being told these things, a multitude of other angels appeared praising God. After this, the angels returned to heaven (Luke 2:8-14). The shepherds immediately traveled into Bethlehem that night, and found Joseph, Mary, and Jesus just as they were told (Luke 2:15-16). The shepherds told them about the spectacle of angels, and all who heard what the shepherds said were awestruck. After this, the shepherds returned to their flocks, praising God along the way (Luke 2:17-20).
Three Wise Men
After Christ was born in Bethlehem, some wise men living in an eastern land saw Christ's star in heaven. They knew it was a sign that a new King of the Jews had just been born, so they decided to look for this newborn in order to worship him. Scripture does not say the star led them directly to Jerusalem. However, since the current king, Herod, lived there in his palace, it was the natural choice for destination. They were hoping he'd help them find this newborn King of the Jews (Matthew 2:1-2). The news of Christ's birth disturbed Herod, as well as all the citizens of Jerusalem. Therefore, Herod gathered his own priests and scribes and asked them to figure out from the writings where this Newborn King of the Jews was to be born (Matthew 2:3-4). Searching the prophecies they found that he was to be born in Bethlehem in the region of Judea (Matthew 2:5-6) in reference to the prophecy at Micah 5:2-4. Bethlehem is roughly 9 kilometers/ 5 miles from Jerusalem. Next, Herod secretly summoned the wise men from the east and asked them about the timing of the star's appearance. Then he sent them out with specific instructions: Search for the child and report back so that he could go and pay his respects to the child (Matthew 2:7-8). Scripture does not tell how long the wise men were guests at Herod's palace. When the wise men departed, the star they had seen in the east led them directly to where Christ was (Matthew 2:9-10). This apparently had taken some time, because when they found them, Mary and Jesus were in a house, not in a barn with a manger. It was here that they gave the Christ child the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11). Note the passage doesn't tell the actual number of wise men, it only tells the different gifts that were given. The men rejoiced upon finding him, worshipped him, and gladly gave their gifts. After the men finished visiting they were given a divine warning from God to avoid Herod on their way home (Matthew 2:12).
Joseph and Mary Flee
After the wise men left Bethlehem, God's angel came to Joseph in a dream, instructing him to take Mary and Jesus and flee to Egypt, because Herod was seeking to kill Jesus. Joseph did just so, and the family stayed in Egypt until the death of Herod (Matthew 2:13-15), which was in fulfillment of the prophecy at Hosea 11:1:
When Israel was only a child, I loved him. I called out "My son!" - called him out of Egypt.
Meanwhile, as Jesus and his family lived in Egypt, Herod continued to wait for the men from the east to return. Once he realized he'd been duped he grew enraged and decreed that all the boys in the region, up to the age of two years old, were to be murdered. He calculated this age according to the time of when he received the wise men into his palace. The decree was carried out, (Matthew 2:17-18) in fulfillment of the prophecy at Jeremiah 31:15:
Thus saith Jehovah: A voice hath been heard in Ramah, the wail of very bitter weeping, -- Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children, because they are not. (Darby Translation)
Ramah was a city in the region, roughly 18 kilometers/11 miles north of Bethlehem, planting it right in the area of the Benjaminites. This is interesting, because according to Bible history, Rachel was the mother of Benjamin (Genesis 35:16-18), the forefather of the Benjaminites. Since Rachel was the mother of the Benjaminites, this is why the prophecy speaks of Rachel weeping for her children, causing a wailing sound in Ramah. After Herod died, God's angel returned to Joseph in a dream and told him to take Mary and Jesus back to the land of Israel, for it was safe now (Matthew 2:19-21). He was told by divine warning to avoid the district of Judea, therefore they settled within the region of Galilee in the city of Nazareth, which is also in fulfillment of prophecy (Matthew 2:22-23).
The Bible tells us when Jesus was eight days old Mary took him to be circumcised and officially named. This was in compliance with the customs and the Law covenant (Luke 2:21, compared with Leviticus 12:3). And when the time came for her post-partum purification, she presented an offering of two birds, as according to the Law covenant (Luke 2:22-24, compared with Leviticus 12:1-8). These passages also reveal their financial situation at the time.
Also, there was an elderly gentleman named Simeon in Jerusalem, and he was a righteous man. He had been told through Holy Spirit that he would not pass away until after he'd seen the Saviour. The power of the spirit led him to the temple in Jerusalem where Mary was performing her purification offerings. It was here that Simeon was able to hold Jesus in his arms and praised God for letting him see Jesus. Simeon blessed the child, Joseph and Mary (Luke 2:25-35). Then the elderly prophetess, Anna, came near and started speaking to all the people concerning the Christ child (Luke 2:36-38).
After Joseph and Mary carried out all the necessary rituals they returned to Nazareth (Luke 2:39). Jesus continued to grow and become a strong child filled with wisdom, and God's favour continued with him. As he grew, his parents customarily traveled to Jerusalem yearly for the Passover festival (Luke 2:40-41).
Young Jesus at the Temple
It was during such a yearly pilgrimage, when Jesus was twelve years old, that his parents lost track of him while returning home with the crowds. At first they didn't miss him because they thought he was with some relatives among the crowd. They traveled an entire day before searching for him from amongst the relatives. This is when they first realized he wasn't with the people (Luke 2:41-44). Immediately they returned to Jerusalem and made a thorough search for him. It took three days before they found him, sitting in the temple amongst the teachers, listening to them and questioning them. He was astounding those who listened to him - yet he was but a boy! Mary exclaimed something to the effect of "How could you do this to us! We've been looking all over for you!" Jesus replied "Did you not know I'd be in the house of my Father?!" After this, he returned with them to Nazareth (Luke 2:45-50).
Fast forward some years later: Christ's cousin, John the Baptist, came through the region of Judea preaching repentance and baptizing people. He chose a place in the Jordan River (Matthew 3:1-6) outside the region of Galilee (John 1:28) to perform the baptisms. This was in fulfillment of the prophecy at Isaiah 40:3 which states
"The voice of one who cries, Prepare you in the wilderness the way of Yahweh; make level in the desert a highway for our God." (New Jerusalem Bible)
(Mark 1:2-3). During this period, Jesus Christ came to be baptized also, essentially changing the meaning of baptism (Matthew 3:13-15). This is because John's baptisms were in symbol of repentence, whereas Christ's baptism was in symbol of forgiveness (Mark 1:4 compared with Acts 2:38). This was during the fifteenth year of Tiberias Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea and Herod was district ruler of Galilee, his brother Phillip was district ruler of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was district ruler of Abilene. The Chief priests were Annas and Caiaphas (Luke 3:1-2). Jesus was thirty years old when he was baptized (Luke 3:23). After emerging from the river, God sent His Holy Spirit to Jesus in the form of a dove and spoke from heaven saying
"This is my Son and I love him. I am very pleased with him." (New International Reader's Version)
(Matthew 3:16-17). John the baptist witnessed the dove shaped spirit enter and remain in Jesus (John 1:32).
Immediately after that, the spirit led Jesus into the wilderness in order to allow Satan to tempt him . During this time, Jesus fasted for forty days and nights. Satan then tried to tempt Jesus into conjuring up food for himself while he was in this famished state (Matthew 4:1-3). Instead, Christ quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 which says
"He put you through hard times. He made you go hungry. Then He fed you with manna, something neither you nor your parents knew about, so you would learn that men and women don't live by bread only; we live by every word that comes from God's mouth "
(Matthew 4:4). Next, Satan tried to tempt Jesus into testing God, even quoting the Scripture at Psalms 91:11-12. Christ's response? Another Scripture: Deuteronomy 6:16 (Matthew 4:5-7). Then Satan tries to tempt Jesus with a gift of power if Jesus would do an act of worship to him (Matthew 4:8-9). Jesus told Satan to go away and replied with yet more Scripture: Deuteronomy 10:20. Satan left him until he could find another convenient time (Luke 4:13), and angels came to minister to Jesus (Matthew 4:10-11). This is an interesting account, because it shows how quick Satan is to twist Scripture in order to mislead people.
The day after Christ returned from the wilderness, John the Baptist saw Jesus walking and said
"Look! There is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world! ..." (Amplified Bible)
and continued to speak more about Christ's purpose (John 1:29-34). This happened at a place called Bethany-Across-The-Jordan. The next day after that, John was with two of his own disciples when again he sees Jesus walking. Again he says
"Lo! The Lamb of God!" (Wycliffe New Testament)
After which the two disciples go follow Jesus. Jesus sees them and asks them what they are looking for. They replied they wanted to follow him, and he lets them. They associated together the whole day (John 1:35-39).
First two of the Twelve
The day after that, Jesus planned to travel to the region of Galilee. (The region of Galilee included such places as Cana, Capernaum, Nazareth, Bethsaida/ Bethesda, etc.) He invited a man named Phillip to be his follower. Phillip was from the city of Bethsaida, the same city Simon-Peter and his brother Andrew were from (John 1:43-44). Phillip found his friend, Nathanael, and told him he'd found the Messiah. Nathanael was skeptical about this, so Phillip urged him to come and see for himself (John 1:45-46). As they came towards Jesus, Jesus made mention about Nathanael's honesty. This surprised Nathanael, and asked Jesus how he knew such a thing since they hadn't met before. Jesus explained and Nathanael believed (John 1:47-51). Nathanael was also called Bartholomew (Matthew 10:3).
Wedding at Cana
The next day, Jesus, his mother Mary and his disciples attended a wedding feast in Cana (John 2:1-2). When the wine ran short, Mary told Jesus that perhaps he should do something about it. Although he wasn't under her authority, he did it anyway: He ordered men to fill six stone water jars to the brim with water. When that was done he told them to pour some out and take it to the director of the feast. When the director tasted it the water had become fine wine. The director didn't know it was originally water, and he praised the wine as being of very good quality (John 2:3-10). This was the first miracle Christ ever performed (John 2:11). After this, Jesus, his mother and his disciples traveled to Capernaum and stayed for several days (John 2:12).
Christ at the cliff
After this, Jesus returned to Nazareth. On a sabbath day he entered the synagogue and stood up to read the scroll of Isaiah, reading Isaiah 61:1-2 which states
"The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon me; because Jehovah hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the year of Jehovah's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn. " (American Standard Version)
(Luke 4:14-19), after which he rolled the scroll up, returned it to the attendant and sat down. All eyes were on him. Then he said to them
"This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears." (King James Version)
(Luke 4:20-21). At that, all started giving a favorable witness concerning him and they marvelled at the words he spoke. However, as he kept speaking they became angry because he was telling them that God had allowed certain miracles to happen to non-Israelites in the past. They snatched him out of the city and tried to throw him down a cliff, but he managed to escape (Luke 4:22-30).
Jesus Drives Merchants Out
The Passover was drawing near, so Jesus returned to Jerusalem to observe it. When he entered the city, he saw merchants in the temple selling livestock to the people. The idea of using his Father's temple for commercial gain enraged him so much that he made a rope whip and drove the livestock from the temple, knocked over all the money tables and commanded that the animals be taken for the temple was not to be a place of merchandise (John 2:13-17). This wasn't the only time he did this, as he does this again much later on, just before his arrest and murder as you will read later. Anyway, because of his actions the Jews demanded a sign from him to prove who he was. He informed them of a prophetic sign, but they didn't get the meaning of it (John 2:18-22). He stayed in Jerusalem to observe the passover, and performed some signs so that others put faith in his name. However, Jesus didn't trust them, as he knew them and didn't need for them to bear witness to him anyway (John 2:23-25).
While Jesus was in Jerusalem a Pharisee named Nicodemus approached Jesus with questions regarding Jesus being the Messiah. Jesus tried to explain, but Nicodemus couldn't grasp what Jesus was saying. Jesus explained to him what it would take for others to get into the kingdom of God, and he also explained the purpose for his earthly walk among us (John 3:1-21).
Christ's men baptizing
After these things, Jesus and his men traveled to the region of Judea/Judah. Here Jesus spent time with them as they performed baptisms (John 3:22). Jesus Christ didn't do any actual baptizing, but his disciples did, and the baptisms were attributed to Christ (John 4:2). At this time John the Baptist was also still performing baptisms not far away. Many continued going to John for baptism, for he had a great quantity of water where he was. This caused a dispute among some, and they told John about Jesus and his men performing baptisms (John 3:22-26). John pointed out the he'd never claimed himself to be the Christ, and he understood that Jesus was to increase his number while he himself would decrease his number (John 3:27-30). He explained that Jesus had a higher position than he, and that it was completely acceptable (John 3:31-36). The Pharisees soon became aware Jesus was baptizing more people than John and accruing more disciples. Jesus became aware of the Pharisees speaking about this (John 4:1). So Jesus and his disciples left Judea/Judah and returned to Galilee via Samaria (John 4:3-4).
They came to the Samaritan city of Sychar. Jesus was tired so he rested at the well that Jacob had given to his son Joseph of Old Testament fame. It was about the sixth hour (John 4:5-6). While he rested, a woman came to the well to draw water. Jesus's men went to buy food, so it was only Jesus and the Samaritan woman there at the well. He asked her to give him a drink. This surprised her because she recognized him as a Jew, and Jews didn't associate with Samaritans (John 4:7-9). He continued speaking to her, explaining about the life giving water of the Holy Spirit, the need to worship God in truth, and that he was the Christ. He also told her some things about herself that an ordinary stranger wouldn't know, so she believed he was a prophet. He told her he was the Christ (John 4:10-26). At this point his disciples returned and wondered about his speaking with her, but kept quiet. The woman left her water jar there and went off to tell the people in the city that she had met Christ. The citizens came out to see (John 4:27-30). Meanwhile, his disciples kept urging him to eat, but Jesus refused. He explained that he was more interested in spiritual pursuits rather than physical food at the moment (John 4:31-38). The samaritan citizens entreated him to stay with them, so he stayed for two days. Thus, many samaritans became believers (John 4:39-42). Jesus and his men continued on to Galilee (John 4:43).
About this time John the Baptist was arrested. When Jesus heard this, he withdrew into the region of Galilee (Matthew 4:12). John the Baptist was arrested by Herod because Herod took his own sister-in-law as wife from his brother Phillip. John spoke out against this and was arrested (Matthew 14:3-5)(CEV).
Preaching Work Commences
After being in the wilderness of Galilee, Jesus traveled through the Galiliean cities of Capernaum, Zebulun, and Naphtali, in fulfillment of the prophecy at Isaiah 9:1 (Matthew 4:13-16). From that time on Christ started his preaching work, saying
"Repent; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (King James Version)
(Matthew 4:17). As he went through Galilee, he called more of his chosen twelve. He walked along the shore of the Sea of Galilee and chose Simon-Peter and his brother Andrew as they were lowering their fishing nets into the sea. He said to them
"Come follow me... and I will make you fishers of men." (New International Version)
They immediately abandoned their nets and followed Jesus (Matthew 4:18-20). As they traveled, they came across two more brothers: James and John, sons of Zebedee, mending their fishing nets with their father in a boat. Jesus called them, and at once they followed, leaving Zebedee behind (Matthew 4:21-22). They continued through Galilee into Capernaum, preaching and teaching and healing. The news of these miracles spread quickly, and people began sending their sick, possessed, and injured ones to them, so that great crowds of people started following (Matthew 4:23-25).
Royal Servant's son
The Galileans believed in Jesus because of the signs they saw from him in Jerusalem at the Passover. He returned to the city of Cana. Here in Cana there was a certain royal servant who's son was very sick in Capernaum. When he heard Jesus had come into the territory he began asking him to heal his son, because his son was on the verge of death. The man's faith made the boy well again (John 4: 44-54).
Some time later Jesus returned to Jerusalem because there was another festival. At the sheepgate in Jerusalem there was a pool with five colonnades that was called "Bethesda", a.k.a. "Bethzatha" (CEV) . Among the colonnades were the lame, sick, weak, and crippled. There was one man who had been sick for thirty eight years. Jesus asked the man if he wanted to be cured. The man answered in the affirmative, but was unable to get himself into the pool. Jesus then told him to get up, pick up his mat and walk, and he did (John 5:1-8). This happened on a sabbath day, therefore some men nearby the healed man scolded the man for breaking the sabbath by carrying his mat (No work was supposed to be done on the Sabbath, Exodus 31:15 , and they had decided his carrying a mat was work). The man explained what happened, and when questioned as to who did this for him, the man didn't know who Jesus was. It was so crowded in the place that he couldn't find him (John 5:9-13). Later, Jesus found the man and spoke to him briefly. At this point the man realized who Jesus was and went to tell the others that it was he who healed him (John 5:14-15). The men were angry that Jesus would perform healing work on the sabbath and let Jesus know it. In reply Jesus pointed out that he was not expected to discontinue working, since he was on assignment from God (John 5:16-17). This caused them to want to kill him (John 5:18). Therefore, Jesus told them that he existed to do the will of God, that he himself did not have his own agenda, and that he has certain responsibilities towards the people as assigned to him from God, he explained what it takes to get everlasting life, and that all needed to put faith in him (John 5:19-47).
Feeds The Five Thousand
Next, Jesus went to the city of Tiberias on the southwestern shore of Galilee (John 6:1). He felt pity for the crowd, so he cured their illnesses. Evening was advancing, and his disciples pointed out that the people needed to go into the village to eat. To test them, Jesus asked them what they should do (John 6:5). Philip suggested that they go buy 200 denarii worth of bread to distribute to the crowd (Mark 6:37, John 6:7). A single denarius was worth a day's wages, therefore 200 denarii would equal, roughly, seven months worth of wages. Then Andrew pointed out a boy that had five barley loaves and two small fishes (John 6:8-9). Jesus took the two fishes and five loaves and said a prayer. Next he broke the food into pieces and instructed the disciples to distribute it to the crowd. Miraculously, the food became enough to satisfy the hunger of all the people. Not only that, but the surplus of food left over amounted to twelve baskets full. The amazing thing is that the number of people was about five thousand men, with women and children besides! (Matthew 14:14-21). The people were amazed and recognized it as a sign of his being the Christ . The people wanted to make him a king. Jesus realized this, so he withdrew into the mountain alone (John 6:14-15).
After that he returned from the mountain with the crowds following him. A leperous man approached Jesus and asked to be healed. Jesus healed the man, and instructed him to not tell anyone, but to instead go to his priest (Matthew 8:1-4). His going to the priest was in compliance of Jewish law (Leviticus 13:9-17). The man was so overjoyed that he proclaimed it everywhere anyway. Consequently, Jesus was not able to openly enter any city due to the crowds greeting him. Therefore, he stayed out in the lonely areas, though people continued coming from all directions (Mark 1:40-45, Luke 5:12-16).
A Sabbath In Capernaum
Later he entered into Capernaum and it became a Sabbath day again . Jesus entered the synagogue to teach. He amazed the people as he was teaching with authority, not as just one of the scribes (Luke 4:31). While there, a demon possessed man proceeded to scream at Jesus saying "What have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Did you come to kill us?! I know who you are, the Holy One of God!" At this Jesus rebuked the demon and expelled it from the man. The demon threw the man into a convulsion before leaving, though the man remained unharmed. This astounded the people, and the report of him spread throughout the land (Mark 1:21-28)(KJV, NIV). Immediately after this they left the synagogue and came to Simon Peter's home, where Peter's mother-in-law had a fever. Jesus raiser her by the hand and the fever left her (Matthew 8:14-15, Mark 1:29-31). That evening he went on to cure and exorcise people in fulfillment of the prophecy at Isaiah 53:4 (Matthew 8:16-17). The whole city was gathered at the door, bringing people to be healed (Mark 1:32-33). Jesus did not allow the demons he expelled to speak (Mark 1:34, Luke 4:41). Early the next morning while it was dark Jesus left for a place where he could be alone and pray, but Simon Peter and the other men found him, telling him that all were looking for him. He informed them that he planned to go to other places to preach (Mark1:35-38). The crowds tried to detain Jesus, but he explained that he needed to depart (Luke 4:42-44). Afterwards, he and his men continued through the region of Galilee preaching and expelling demons (Mark 1:39).
After some days Jesus came back into Capernaum, and was reported to be at a home. As a result, crowds of people gathered so densely at the house that many people needed to wait outside. At this time, some men brought a paralyzed man for healing, but couldn't get him past the crowd. Therefore, they climbed onto the roof, tore a hole through it and lowered the man through the roof on his cot into the house. Jesus was impressed by this display of faith and healed the man, amazing everyone. Of course, the scribes in attendance were not happy about this (Mark 2:1-12, Luke 5:17-26).
Sometime later, around the harvest time, Jesus and his men walked through grain fields on a sabbath day. Being hungry they plucked heads of grain, rolled them in their hands to husk them, and ate the grain (Matthew 12:1). The Pharisees decided the men were breaking the Sabbath by doing this. Breaking the Sabbath required performing work (Exodus 31:15). Therefore, it seems the Pharisees were accusing the men of doing some kind of work, perhaps harvesting, and made a big issue of it. In reponse, Jesus informed them that they were wrong in their attitude and why, and that he was the Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:2-8, Mark 2:23-28).
After this, Jesus took himself and his twelve men to ascend the mountain. The twelve were (Mark 3:13-19):
Simon-Peter and his brother Andrew,
James and John the sons of Zebedee, a.k.a. "Boanerges" which means "Sons of Thunder"
James the son of Alphaeus,
Simon the Cananaanite, and
Interestingly, the list of these very same men at Luke 6:14 is a little different:
Simon-Peter and his brother Andrew,
James and John,
James the son of Alpaeus,
Simon the zealous one,
Judas the son of James, and
Apparently, according to the differences in these lists, Judas Son of James also went by the name Thaddeus. As for the former tax collector, Matthew, he is named as "Matthew" at Matthew 9:9, but is also named "Levi son of Alphaeus" at Mark 2:14. And if he was the son of the same Alphaeus that the apostle James was the son of, that would make them brothers. As for Andrew, he used to be a disciple of John the Baptist, but then became a disciple of Jesus (John 1:35-40). When Andrew started following Jesus, he went and found his brother, Simon-Peter, and told him that he'd found the Messiah and then led him to Jesus. Jesus also referred to Peter by the name of "Cephas" (John 1:41-42).
The Calling of Matthew
The calling of Matthew has more detail, therefore we are giving this occurrence it's own subheading: Jesus was passing the tax office and noticed Matthew, a tax collector, sitting there. He called Matthew to be his follower, and immediately Matthew left the office and followed (Matthew 9:9). Now, this is significant, because in those days tax collectors were looked down on as dishonest, fraudulent, sinful people. Soon after this, as Jesus was reclining at the table in a house, many other tax collectors as well as sinners came to join him and the other disciples. So of course, the self righteous Pharisees saw this and started murmuring about Jesus associating with such social "vermin". Jesus heard all this, and proceeded to inform them that healthy people do not need doctors, only sick people do, and in comparison he was likewise there to help the sinners (Matthew 9:10-13). According to other Scriptures, the name of this tax collector Jesus called was Levi (Luke 5:27-32). This indicates that Matthew was known by two names, much like "Peter" was also known as "Simon" (Matthew 4:18) and "Cephas" (John 1:42). The Scripture in Mark states that Matthew/Levi was the son of Alphaeus. It also says that Jesus went to Levi's house to dine, the same home mentioned in Matthew 9:10 and the Pharisees began murmuring about it.
The Big Catch
The calling of Simon-Peter, as well as the sons of Zebedee, is also detailed. On an occasion when a throng was listening to Christ's teachings next to Lake Gennesaret (another name for the Sea of Galilee), Jesus noticed two boats docked lakeside. The owners were outside the boats washing their nets. Simon-Peter owned one of the boats, so Jesus boarded his boat and instructed Simon to pull away into the lake a little way. There, from the boat he continued to instruct the people (Luke 5:1-3). When he finished speaking he said to Simon "Pull out to the deep areas and let the nets down for a catch". Simon responded that they hadn't been able to catch anything all night long, but he lowered the nets anyway. Upon doing so, there became such an enormous catch of fish that the net began ripping and tearing. Other men in a nearby boat saw this, so they came to help them pull in the catch. The catch was so large that it filled both boats, so that both began to sink. (Luke 5:4-7). Upon witnessing this, Peter felt very unworthy of being in Christ's presence and said so; the the sons of Zebedee (James and John) followed suit. Jesus told them to stop being fearful, and to become fishers of men. Immediately the men abandoned their boats and followed Jesus (Luke 5:8-11).
On another sabbath day (Luke 6:6) Christ entered a synagogue and found a man with a crippled hand. Someone asked Jesus if it was lawful for him to heal the man on the sabbath, since healing is work. They were seeking to accuse him. (Matthew 12:9-10, Luke 6:7). Jesus replied
"What man among you, if he had a sheep that fell into a pit on the Sabbath, wouldn't take hold of it and lift it out? A man is worth far more than a sheep, so it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath." (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
(Matthew 12:11-12). No one would respond (Mark 3:1-4), which made Jesus feel indignant, so he healed the man's hand (Mark 3:5). The Pharisees were upset over this and started speaking to the party followers of Herod to devise ways to destroy Jesus. Jesus realized this, so he left and went to the sea. Many followed him, and he cured them of their ailments (Mark 3:7-8). These people came from as far away as Jerusalem, Tyre and Sidon (Matthew 12:13-21). Jerusalem is roughly 70 miles/100 kilometers from the Sea of Galilee, Tyre is roughly 40 miles/60 kilometers from the Sea, and Sidon is roughly 45 miles/68 Kilometers from the Sea of Galilee. Because of the vast multitude, Jesus performed his preaching in a boat so the throng wouldn't crush him (because they were falling onto him to gain healing) (Mark 3:9-10). Even the demon possessed people would bow before Jesus crying out "You are the Son of God!" (Mark 3:11).
Teaching in a House
He then went into a house, and once more a crowd gathered so much so that they couldn't even eat. Jesus' relatives heard about this and went to get him for they thought he'd lost his mind (Mark 3:19-21 compared with Matthew 12:42-46). At some point a man asked Jesus what was the proper way to pray. Jesus gave him the "Lord's Prayer " as an example:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
(King James Version)
(Luke 11:1-4, Matthew 6:9-13). He also, pointed out whatever you ask from the Father you will receive, keep seeking and you will find, and the Father knows to give good things to us (Luke 11:5-13).Then a demon possessed man, who was blind and mute, was brought to Jesus. Jesus cured him, which overjoyed the crowd, and they all began to reason as to whether he is the Messiah. (Matthew 12:22-23, Luke 11:14-22). The Pharisees were not happy with this, so they started saying that Jesus was Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons, and that's why he could expel he demons (Matthew 12:24). Jesus responded that a kingdom divided against itself will fall, so if he were the ruler of the demons doing the expelling, then the kingdom of evil would be ruined and wouldn't currently exist. He further explained that it's because he is of God's kingdom that he can expel demons (Matthew 12:25-30). He also pointed out that speaking against godly power is blasphemy against the holy spirit, the only unforgiveable sin (Matthew 12:31-32, Mark 3:28-30) (KJV, NIV, HCSB). Next, he pointed out that good trees produce good fruit, rotten trees produce rotten fruit (Matthew 12:33). He called the Pharisees "vipers", and reminded all present that what a man speaks comes from his heart, and that what we say will be accountable on judgement day (Matthew 12:34-37). In response, the scribes and Pharisees demanded a sign from Jesus that he was the Christ. Jesus replied by calling them wicked. He then revealed that the sign they get will be the sign of Jonah - just as Jonah was in the belly of the big fish for three days (Jonah 1:17), so too, the Son of Man would be in the grave for three days (Matthew 12:39-41, Luke 11:29-34). He continued speaking to the crowd, and his mother and brothers came looking to speak with him (Matthew 12:42-46). Someone informed him of his family's arrival, and Jesus responded that all who accepted him and did the will of the Father were his family (Matthew 12:47-50). Later this day, Jesus left the house and sat by the Sea. Throngs of people gathered so he boarded a boat, went offshore and spoke to the people from his boat (Matthew 13:1-2). He told the parable of the sower with the seeds landing on different kinds of soil. His chosen men didn't understand the parable and asked for clarification, which Jesus gave (Matthew 13:3-23). Jesus next gave people another parable, the one about the wheat and the weeds. Next he spoke the parables of the mustard seed, and of the leavened flour (Matthew 13:24-35) all in fulfillment of the prophecy at Psalms 78:2. He didn't explain the meanings of the parables to the people, but he did explain them to his disciples when they asked about them later (Matthew 13:36-52, Mark 4:34). After finishing explaining these things, when evening had fallen, he went across country back into his home territory and began teaching in the synagogue. After having spoken all this, but before leaving the area, a Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him. Jesus accepted. When Jesus arrived the Pharisee was surprised to see that Jesus didn't wash before dinner. When the Pharisee commented on it, Jesus used the opportunity to point out the Pharisees put too much emphasis on appearance instead of more important things (Luke 11:37-44). Upon hearing this, one of the dinner guests stated to Jesus that he had just insulted them. In response, Jesus pointed out the woes owed to the pharisees (Luke 11:45-52). After that he left the house, and the scribes and Pharisees started to press him with questions, trying to find something for which to accuse him (Luke 11:53-54).
Sermon on the mount
When Jesus saw the crowds gathering around him, he went up into the mountain. They found a level place (Luke 6:17) where Jesus started teaching the crowds. He taught The Sermon on the Mountain. This sermon included such teachings as: The Beatitudes, letting one's light shine before others, explaining his purpose, not letting wrath take over one's life, making peace with others before presenting a gift at the altar, to settle differences quickly, not allowing oneself to be stumbled, not divorcing one's mate, holding to all vows one makes, turning the other cheek, giving more than is asked of you, loving one's enemies, living without hypocrisy, not showing off, the Lord's Prayer, to constantly seek God's kingdom instead of glory or materialism, reminders that God will provide your daily needs, to be non-judgemental, keep seeking wisdom and understanding from God, the Golden Rule, the narrow road to life, watching for false prophets, recognize false prophets, and a parable of the man that built on the rock-mass (Matthew 5:1-7:29, Luke 6:17-49).
Army Officer's Slave
After Jesus completed this sermon he entered into Capernaum. Here an army officer sent men to tell Jesus the officer's beloved slave was on the verge of death. Although he was not an Israelite, the officer was a faithful and righteous man, so Jesus went to see him. On the way they met the officer himself coming along the road. The officer told Jesus that he didn't feel worthy to have Jesus at his home, so if Jesus could just say the words the officer would believe the man to be healed. Jesus was impressed by his display of faith, and so gave the word, and the man was indeed healed (Matthew 8:5-13, Luke 7:1-10). Jesus was next to the Sea of Galilee. When he saw all the crowds around him he dismissed them and boarded a boat to sail to the other side of the sea. At this time a scribe approached Jesus and stated that he desired to follow him wherever he was going. Jesus replied that he didn't have a home of his own. Another disciple approached and asked if he could follow him after he buried his father. Jesus declined (Matthew 8:18-22).
Soon after this Jesus went to the city of Nain. Here he saw a funeral procession for the only son of a widow. A huge crowd was following the procession. Jesus pitied the widow. He instructed her to stop weeping, and then he resurrected her son (Luke 7:11-15). Although fearful, the people began to glorify God, and the news of this spread throughout the region (Luke 7:16-17).
According to Luke, it is after this that John The Baptist sent people to inquire of Jesus (Luke 7:18-23). This is because John, who was still imprisoned, heard about all the amazing things Jesus was doing, so he wanted to know if Jesus was the expected Messiah. Jesus responded to the messengers that they were to report back all the things they were seeing and his ministry as a witness to who he was (Matthew 11:2-6). After the messengers left, Jesus asked the people: "What did you come out to see? A handsome man dressed in fancy clothes? No, those kinds are in the royal homes. What? A prophet? Yes! and more!" And then he spoke to them about his identity (Matthew 11:7-8, Luke 7:24-28). This parallels the prophecy at Isaiah 53:1-9. He also explained that he was more than a prophet, that John the Baptist was the prophesied "Elijah to come" spoken of in Malachi 4:5-6, and that both he and John were destined to be spoken of abusively (Matthew 11:9-19).
Next, Jesus began to reproach the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida in which he did most of his powerful works because they had not repented (Matthew 11:20-24). After reproaching them, he then began praising God (Matthew 11:25-29), telling the people that his "yoke is light", meaning God doesn't expect burdensome worship (Matthew 11:30)(KJV, NIV, HCSB).
Dining at Simon the Pharisee's home
At about this time a Pharisee named Simon asked Jesus to dine with him at his home. Jesus accepted the invitation. While at Simon's home, a woman with perfumed oil came in to Jesus and washed his feet with her tears and dried them off with her hair and greased his feet with the oil. The host grew indignant, telling Jesus that if he was truly a prophet he'd know what kind of woman was touching him, for she was a terrible sinner (Luke 7:36-39). In reply, Jesus taught them about forgiveness and pointed out that the woman was good enough to wash and perfume his feet, something that the host hadn't done (Luke 7:44-46). Jesus granted the woman forgiveness (Luke 7:47-50).
Women who spoke with Jesus
Shortly after this he went to the cities and villages with his twelve, preaching God's kingdom. Mary Magdalene, whom Jesus expelled seven demons from, and Johanna the wife of Chuza - Herod's man in charge- and Susanna and many other women spoke with these men as they came (Luke 8:1-3). After this, Jesus started to speak to the growing crowd in parables: The seeds upon different soils, etc., his mother and brothers showing up, etc (Luke 8:4-21).
Calms the windstorm
After dismissing the crowd Jesus and his men boarded a boat to set sail. As Jesus slept in the boat, a violent windstorm welled up, putting the men in danger. They awoke Jesus due to their fear of sinking, so Jesus rebuked the storm, causing the storm to suddenly abate. This display of power caused the disciples to be in utter awe and fear of him. (Matthew 8:23-27, Mark4:35-41, Luke 8:22-25).
When they arrived at the other side in the country of Gerasenes, they were confronted by two, unusually fierce, possessed men who lived among the tombs . (Luke 8:26-27). These men were so dangerous that nobody had the courage to go that way. The men screamed to Jesus "What have we to do with you Son of God! Did you come here to get us before our time?! If you expel us, send us into the nearby herd of swine!" Jesus asked the demon its name, and it replied "Legion", because it was actually many demons working together in these men. Jesus commanded them to "Go!". The demons immediately left the men and possessed the pigs, and the entire herd of pigs stampeded over a cliff and drowned in the sea. The swine herders fled into the nearby city and reported the entire incident to the inhabitants. This prompted the men of the city to urge Jesus to leave (Matthew 8:28-34).
Interestingly, other Gospel writers report only one demon possessed man present during this incident (Mark 5:1-16, Luke 8:26-36). How do we reconcile this discrepancy?
First of all, realize that each Gospel account comes from a different perpective: Matthew's version finishes with the pig farmers fleeing while others come out to talk with Jesus. Note that Matthew isn't interested in what happened to the possessed men after they were exorcised. When it comes to Luke and Mark, however, these two accounts show more interest in the one exorcised man who wanted to follow Jesus. In other words, Matthew's focus is the actual exorcism of the two men and Christ's power over the demons, while Luke and Mark focus on the one who became a Christian over the ordeal. Just as modern day news reporters decide which particular facts to focus on, these Gospel authors likewise chose which facts they wanted to focus on. This is why we need all four Gospel accounts: Even though each tells basically the same thing, it's the getting of all points of view that gives the full story.
It is also interesting that there are swine herders in the area, because the Jews regarded swine/pigs as vermin and it was against their law to eat pigs (Leviticus 11:7-8). However, this passage does not say the herders were Jews themselves: Non-Jews did live in some areas, and some of them were pig farmers.
Anyway, back to the Bible:
Jesus boarded the boat once again and then went into his own city (Matthew 9:1). As Jesus boarded the boat, one of the men who were cleansed of Legion entreated Jesus to let him follow. Jesus refused and instructed him to go home and report the matter. Obediently, the man went throughout the region of the Decapolis reporting all these things (Mark 5:18-20). When the inhabitants of the region saw this, they sought him out to insis that he leave their region.
Healing a Second Paralytic
As a result, Christ left their land. He boarded a boat and crossed over the Sea into his own city. While there, some people brought a paralyzed man to him, a man lying on a bed. Just as he did with the previous paralytic, Jesus forgave the man's sins, which the scribes considered to be blasphemy. When the scribes protested (much like they did the previous time), Jesus defended his words, and commanded the paralyzed man to walk. Immediately the man was able to get up, pick up his bed, and walk to his own home. The crowds who witnessed this were afraid, and began to glorify God for the miracle. Matthew 9:2-8
After this, John The Baptist's disciples came to ask Jesus why he and his disciples don't practice fasting though the Pharisees do. Jesus explained that since he was among them at the time then there was no need for anyone to fast. (Matthew 9:14-17).
Jairus, Bleeding woman
As he explained these things, a local ruler named Jairus approached him on behalf of his daughter, who was probably already dead by this point. He asked Jesus to just lay his hands on her so she could come back to life (Matthew 9:18-19). Jesus and his disciples rose up to follow the man to his home. A crowd of people were following. In the crowd was a woman who was afflicted with a non-stop flow of blood for twelve years. This would be quite distressing to her because according to the Mosaic Law Covenant the Jews lived under, bleeding women were considered unclean and untouchable for the entire time they were bleeding (Leviticus 15:19-27). This woman apparently didn't have a healthy self-esteem over this, and dared not approach Jesus directly, so instead, she simply touched his robe, knowing that would be enough to heal her, and it worked. Jesus immediately recognized healing power had gone out from him, he turned to her and told her to take courage because her faith had healed her (Matthew 9:20-22). Jesus arrived at the ruler's home, and there lay the girl, dead, on her bed. Jesus said that they should have no fear and have faith. He sent the crowd outside and brought only Simon-Peter, James and John into the house with him. Jesus took the hand of the girl and said "Talitha Cumi", which means "Maiden, get up". Immediately she rose and her parents were overcome with joy, and Jesus instructs them that she be given something to eat. (Matthew 9:23-26, Mark 5:21-43).
This ends Part 1 of the biography of Jesus Christ.
To go on to Part 2, please click here.