The Good News
THE ONE SMEARED WITH OIL
THE SON OF GOD
TIMELINE 1440 BC Exodus from Egypt 1040 BC David Born 1010 BC David becomes King (Northern and Southern kingdoms united) 970 BC David Dies 971 BC Solomon becomes King 950â€?400 BC Writing of the Torah 931 BC Solomon Dies (Northern and Southern kingdoms split) 586 BC Babylon destroys Jerusalem, destroys Temple (End of the Davidic Royal Line Beginning of the Exile) 538 BC Cyrus the Great of Persia invades Babylon, Ends of Exile 516 BC Temple Rebuilt 509 BC Founding of the Roman Republic 400 BC Torah is completed in present form 332 BC Alexander the Great invades Gaza, Jerusalem surrenders 167 BC Maccabean Revolt Beginning of the Maccabean Rule 63 Rome Invades Palestine (End of the Maccabean Rule) 44 BC Fall of the Roman Republic 37 BC Rome Appoints Herod the Great as King of Israel 27 BC Birth of the Roman Empire 6 BC Birth of John the Baptist 4 BC Birth of Jesus of Nazareth 27 AD John the Baptist killed by Herod Antipas 30 AD Death/Resurrection of Jesus ~70 AD This Book Written 70 AD Roman Destruction of the Temple, Jerusalem
PROLOGUE "See! I am dispatching my messenger ahead of you with a special mission who will prepare your road ahead. There is a voice, bellowing in the wilderness, "Prepare the way of the Lord! Make smooth a path in the desert!"
â€? the prophet Isaiah, 8th century BC
John the Baptizer, the Water-Dipper, appeared in the Jeshimon - the Desert of Devastation, out near the barren mountains by the Dead Sea. He spent most of his time preaching. Telling people that they needed to be dipped into water, and to turn their lives around - to re-start their relationship with God - for the relief from their guilt and mistakes. People were pouring out from the southern land of Judea to see him. In fact, the entire country, as well as all of the citizens of its capitol, Jerusalem, was going out to him. The people just kept coming. When they got there, they were plunged into the Jordan River by John as they admitted their wrong-doings and mistakes to him. Now John had put on camel hair with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts from the great swarms and bee-made honey he found from holes in the rocks and trees. "The one who is really powerful - even more than me - is coming." he told people. "I'm not even good enough to bend down and undo the strap of his sandal." "I dipped you in water, but he will plunge you into the Spirit - the very breath and being of God, something holy, sacred, and mysterious."
The king asked them, "What kind of man was it who came to meet you and told you this?" They replied, "He was a man with a garment of hair and with a leather belt around his waist." The king said, "That was Elijah the Tishbite."
-2 Kings 1:7-8
"Behold! I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse." -The Prophet Malachi 4:5-6
Not long after this, Jesus came from Nazareth, a city in the northernmost land of Galilee, and was plunged into the Jordan River by John. All of the sudden, just as Jesus was coming up from the water, John saw the skies violently tearing apart, splitting at the seams, and the Spirit - the breath and being of God - pouring down into Jesus like a dove. Then there was a voice that came from the realm of God. "You are my son, the one whom I love," it said. "I am delighted with you." Without waiting another second, the Spirit violently threw Jesus out into the barren, lonely steppes - the empty wasteland where the evil spirits were said to dwell.
I will proclaim the decree of the LORD. He said to me, You are my son. Today I have become your father.
-Psalm 2:7 Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight. I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations.
Jesus was in the barrens for forty days, being tested and tried by The Enemy. Jesus was also among dangerous, wild, and savage animals, but the Messengers of God waited on him the whole time, taking care of him, giving him food to eat and water to drink.
CHAPTER ONE "Rumors"
Shortly after John was handed over to the authorities and arrested, Jesus went north into his homeland of Galilee, preaching the Good News of God. "The time has finally come to completion," Jesus proclaimed. "The reign of God has arrived to us now! Here in our own time! It's time to change your minds, feel remorse for your past mistakes, turn your lives around and believe in God's good news for you!" One day, as Jesus was passing alongside of the Sea of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon and Andrew, casting small, round nets into the sea. They were fisherman, simple men without any education, trying to make enough to scrape by. "Follow me and I will transform you into fishermen who catch people!" Jesus said to them. Immediately after he said this, Simon and Andrew left their nets right where they were and followed after Jesus. Jesus went a little further down the coast and saw James and John, the sons of Zebedee, in a small fishing-boat, mending their nets, getting ready for their next trip out to sea. He invited them to join his party right there on the spot. James and John left their father Zebedee where he was - in the boat with his hired men - and they followed after Jesus.
The time has finally come to completion! The reign of God has arrived to us now! Here in our own time!
Now the five of them went into Nahum's Village, Capernaum, on Saturday, the Jewish day of rest. Without waiting or hesitation, Jesus entered the Synagogue, the Jewish gathering place of instruction and legal proceedings, and began to teach. The people listening to Jesus teach couldn't believe what they were hearing. They were terrified and overwhelmed by his teachings because he was telling them things they had never heard before. Jesus taught like he had been doing it his whole life. His teachings were even better and more insightful than the Scribes, the experts who had studied the ancient Torah for years. Suddenly, a man possesed by a filthy spirit appeared in the synagogue. "What is your business with us, Jesus? You Nazarene!" the vile spirit cried out. "Did you come to destroy us? I knew who you were from the minute you came in here! You're the sacred one of God!" "Shut up!" Jesus scolded, reprimanding him. "Put a muzzle on it and get out of him!" The evil spirit violently shook the man back and forth and shrieked with a loud howl. When it finally came out of the man everyone was in shock. They couldn't believe what they had just witnessed. The crowd was buzzing - people discussing and debating over what they just saw. â€œWhat is this?" they asked each other. "This has to be some sort of strange teaching with supernatural power! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him!â€? Immediately after this, rumors about Jesus spread everywhere into all of the surrounding regions of Galilee and his fame spread.
"You're the sacred one of God!"
Immediately after they left the synagogue the five of them went into the home of Simon and Andrew. When they got there, Simonâ€™s Motherin-Law was sick in bed with a fever. They told Jesus about her right away, and so he came, grabbed her firmly by the hand, and lifted her up out of bed. The fever left her, and she began to cook them supper. Later that night, after the sun went down and the Sabbath was over, the villagers brought evey person they could find who was sick or possessed by demons. Before they knew it, every single person from Capernaum was crowded around the front door of the house. That night, Jesus healed many people, curing all kinds of diseases and casting out a huge number of demons. Jesus, did not allow the demons to speak, though, because they understood who Jesus really was.
Very early the next morning, while it was still dark, Jesus woke up, left the house, and went off into the wilderness to be alone. When he was finally alone out in the empty wilderness, he began to pray. Meanwhile, Simon and the others looked all over for Jesus, trying to find him. Finally they found Jesus alone in the wilderness outside of the city. “Everyone is looking for you!”, they told him. “Let’s go nearby to the smaller market towns so I can preach there,” Jesus said. “After all, that's what I came for.” After this, Jesus went all throughout the northern land of Galilee, preaching in synagogues and casting out demons.
One day a man with an infectious skin disease came to Jesus. Despite the fact that a sick man with his disease was forbidden from approaching someone healthy, he fell on his knees and implored Jesus to heal him. “If you really want to, you can cleanse me!” the man said. “You can heal my disease and keep me from being an outcast because of my unclean skin!” Jesus was deeply moved and felt sorry for the man. He stretched out his hand and touched the man, even though this, too, was strictly forbidden by law. “I want you to be healed,” Jesus said, “so be clean!” Immediately the skin disease left the man and he was purified - fit to re-enter society, but Jesus suddenly became very stern and harsh with the man. “Don’t you dare tell anyone about this!” Jesus snorted angrily. “Instead, go all the way to Jerusalem. Show yourself to the priest in the temple there. Follow the rules on this one. Go through the entire eight day ceremony – do the washings, make the sacrifices, and do the shaving, just like the ancient laws of Moses command. Then you can prove to them that you are no longer contagious and really fit to re-enter society.” And with that, Jesus threw him out. But the man did not listen to Jesus. He went out and began to publicly describe much of what had happened - what Jesus had done. The news and rumors about Jesus spread so much, in fact, that Jesus became something of a celebrity. He couldn't even go into the city. Instead, Jesus had to stay in the wilderness, in the deserted places. Even so, people from all walks of life came to him.
"The person with an infectious disease must wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry out, 'Unclean! Unclean!' As long as he has the infection he remains unclean. He must live alone. He