THE NEW TESTAMENT
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The Gospel According to
MAT THE W FOR CENTURIES, JEWS had anxiously waited for the Messiah, basing their dreams and expectations on a multitude of Old Testament promises. To Abraham, the father of the nation of Israel, God promised that through him “all the families of the earth [would] be blessed” (Gen. 12:3). To David, Israel’s most beloved ruler, God likewise promised an enduring kingdom (2 Sam. 7:16). Through the prophets, God renewed this promise by providing details about the One who would fulfill it (for example, Is. 7:14; 9:6, 7; Dan. 2:44; 7:13, 14). Over the years, various figures came and went. Some claimed to be the Messiah; some were regarded as likely candidates. But none proved convincing or fulfilled the expectations either of scholars who carefully studied the Scriptures, or of everyday people who developed their own ideas about what the Chosen One would accomplish. Then along came Jesus. He claimed to be God’s Son. He performed extraordinary miracles that seemed to indicate divine power. This rabbi, or teacher, spoke with unprecedented authority and attracted followers from unexpected walks of life. Yet He was largely rejected by the nation’s spiritual leaders. He died a criminal’s death. How could He be the fulfillment of God’s promises? Was He really Israel’s Messiah? Matthew’s Gospel answers with a resounding yes! Matthew’s account is filled with Old Testament prophecies that point to Jesus as God’s Chosen One (Matt. 1:23; 2:6, 15, 18, 23, to mention just a few). The disciple wanted his fellow Jews to study the Scriptures and see that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham, and the Son of God. However, while this book speaks to Old Testament prophecies, it is more than merely a Jewish Gospel. It is a global Gospel. In Jesus, all peoples of the world may find hope regardless of their ethnic or religious background. All are eligible for God’s blessing. All can participate in His salvation. Every human being is welcome to the unparalleled joy of God’s ways, love, and values through His Son, Jesus the Messiah. As a tax collector, Matthew was a member of a group detested by other Jews. Tax collectors were perceived not only as cheats but as mercenaries serving the Romans. Condemned by religious leaders as unrighteous and ostracized by the general public as frauds and traitors, they found friends only among prostitutes, criminals, and other outcasts. Yet Jesus selected Matthew to follow Him (9:9). Scripture gives no indication why Jesus chose Matthew, but it does record the Lord’s comment, “Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice’ [Hos. 6:6]. For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Matt. 9:13). Apparently the call of Matthew was an act of mercy—a decision that outraged smug religionists like the Pharisees. Jesus never condoned nor glorified sinful choices, but He reached out to people who knew that they were sick and lost. The Book of Matthew shows that Jesus can save anyone—that is, anyone who admits he needs saving. Early church tradition identifies Matthew as the author of this book. But the Gospel itself does not name its writer, and it is curious that a man who followed Jesus as closely as Matthew did would rely so heavily on the work of Mark, who was not among the Twelve. (The Gospel of Matthew repeats 601 of the 678 verses in the Gospel of Mark, which is believed to have been the first Gospel written.) One possibility is that Matthew collected Jesus’ teachings, especially the five discourses that form the structure of the account, but left it to someone else to combine these sayings with much of Mark’s Gospel in order to produce what we know as the Gospel of Matthew. However the book came to be written, it was probably completed well before the end of the first century a.d.
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FOURTH PROOFS Matthew INTRODUCTION
Key Events in Matthew • Wise men search for the King of the Jews and find Jesus (Matt. 2:1–12). • King Herod orders the execution of all baby boys in and around Bethlehem in an attempt to kill the infant Jesus (Matt. 2:13–18).
• Jesus is tested by Satan in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1–11). • Jesus delivers the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5–7). • Jesus calls Matthew to follow Him (Matt. 9:9). • Jesus feeds the five thousand (Matt. 14:13–21). • Peter confesses that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (Matt. 16:13–28). • Peter, James, and John witness the transfiguration of Jesus and the appearance of Moses and Elijah (Matt. 17:1–9).
• Crowds cheer as Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey (Matt. 21:1–11). • Pontius Pilate washes his hands, saying he is innocent of Jesus’ blood since the multitude is determined to kill Him (Matt. 27:24).
• Jesus is crucified between two thieves (Matt. 27:35–54). • Jesus rises from the dead (Matt. 28:1–10). • Jesus commands His followers to make disciples of the nations (Matt. 28:16–20).
THE LAND OF THE GOSPELS
Jordan R i ver
Area of Detail
EGYPT denotes modern day denotes New Testament
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MAT THEW The Genealogy of Jesus Christ
he book of the genealogy of Jesus T Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: 2 Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. 3 Judah begot Perez and Zerah by T amar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hez ron begot Ram. 4Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. 5Salmon begot Boaz by Ra hab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, 6and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife a of Uriah. 7Sol omon begot Rehoboam, Rehoboam begot Abijah, and Abijah begot Asa.a 8Asa begot Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begot Joram, and Joram begot Uzziah. 9Uzziah begot Jotham, Jotham begot Ahaz, and Ahaz be got Hezekiah. 10Hezekiah begot Manasseh, Manasseh begot Amon,a and Amon begot Josiah. 11Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon. 12 And after they were brought to Bab ylon, Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and Sheal tiel begot Zerubbabel. 13Zerubbabel begot Abiud, Abiud begot Eliakim, and Eliakim begot Azor. 14 Azor begot Zadok, Zadok be got Achim, and Achim begot Eliud. 15Eliud begot Eleazar, Eleazar begot Matthan, and Matthan begot Jacob. 16And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ. 17So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from
MATTHEW Matt. 1:1 Name means: “Gift of the Lord.” Also known as: Levi. Home: Capernaum, the headquarters of Jesus’ ministry; later, Damascus. Family: Son of Alphaeus. Occupation: Tax collector; later, a writer and pastor in Damascus. Special interests: Collecting Jesus’ sermons and stories. He preserved them in a book regarded by some as a new Torah because it shows Jesus fulfilling Old Testament prophecy and reshaping Mosaic law. Best known as: The author of the Book of Matthew. Think About It: What obstacles do you suppose Matthew faced by switching occupations from disreputable tax collector to more honorable work? How might he have managed these?
David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captiv ity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.
Christ Born of Mary
18 Now the birth of J esus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 T hen Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” a which is translated, “God with us.”
1:6 a Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Greek. 1:7 a NU‑Text reads Asaph. 1:10 a NU‑Text reads Amos. 1:23 a Isaiah 7:14. Words in oblique type in the New Testament are quoted from the Old Testament.
Jesus’ Family Tree Matt. 1:1–16 Genealogies may seem irrelevant, but they serve multiple important purposes. Matthew opens his book with Jesus’ family tree to demonstrate at least three crucial facts: 1. Jesus was God’s Son yet a flesh-and- blood human being. This is a difficult concept but central reality (see “Jesus’ Family Line” at Luke 3:23–38). We worship a God who actually knows what it’s like to live as a human being (see Heb. 2:17-18; 4:14-16). 2. Jesus was Israel’s long-awaited Messiah. Note how prominently David and Abraham appear. 3. Jesus is Savior of every tribe and every nation. His genealogy reaches beyond the Jews to include other ethnic groups (see “The Women in Jesus’ Genealogy” at Matt. 1:3–6). Jesus came to “make disciples of all the nations” (28:19). More: See “The Purpose of Genealogies” at Gen. 5:1 and “Genealogies: Records of God’s Grace” at 1 Chr. 1:29.
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FOURTH PROOFS Matthew 1:24
God-W ith-U s Matt. 1:23 Jesus is Immanuel, “God-With-Us” (Is. 7:14). Rather than demand that we attempt the impossible task of reaching Him, God came to us as a human being and took up residence in our world (John 1:14). He showed us how to live. He brought a salvation that invites us not to escape the world but to engage our surroundings. Because God is with us, we can undertake the tasks He has for us right where we live and work. Since He is with us, we have the power to face the world (see “You Shall Receive Power” at Acts 1:8). And rather than taking us out of the turmoil of life in this world, Jesus walks with us through it.
24 T hen Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord com manded him and took to him his wife, 25and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son.a And he called His name Jesus.
Wise Men from the East
ow after Jesus was born in Bethlehem N of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” 3 W hen Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, 1:25 a NU‑Text reads a Son.
The Women in Jesus’ Genealogy Matt. 1:3– 6 Matthew’s genealogy highlights four women in Jesus’ background in addition to His mother Mary. Each was touched by scandal, and all were remembered in part as sinners and foreigners. Their inclusion shows that Jesus is the Messiah for women as well as men, and for people disparaged by others for their bloodlines or past behavior. He is the Messiah for all people, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or past mistakes.
Tamar (Matt. 1:3; Gen. 38:1–30) • Widowed by Er, Judah’s firstborn son. • Married Onan, Judah’s second son, who refused to consummate their marriage. His death left her childless and with no means of support. • Sent home to her own village by her father- in-law Judah, who shirked his responsibility to provide another husband. • Prostituted herself to trick Judah into fathering an heir to provide for her. The child continued the family line that led to Jesus. Judah acknowledged that Tamar was “more righteous than I” (Gen. 38:26).
Rahab (Matt. 1:5; Josh. 2:1–24; 6:22–25) • A Canaanite prostitute in Jericho. • Sheltered two Hebrew spies in exchange for protection from Israelites surrounding the city. • Married a Hebrew and gave birth to Boaz, David’s great-grandfather. • Praised for her trust (Heb. 11:31) and for putting faith into action (James 2:25).
Ruth (Matt. 1:5; the Book of Ruth) • A woman from Moab, a nation born through Lot’s incest with his daughters (Gen. 19:30– 38); Moab was a bitter enemy of Israel. • Left alone and childless when her Hebrew husband died.
• Migrated to Israel with her mother-in-law Naomi. • Married Boaz (Rahab’s son) and gave birth to Obed, making her David’s great- grandmother. Ruth and Boaz’s marriage joined hostile nations—Israel and Moab— to accomplish God’s will.
Uriah’s Wife (Matt. 1:6; 2 Sam. 11:1—12:25) • Unnamed by Matthew but named in the Old Testament: Bathsheba, wife of Uriah the Hittite. • Attracted King David’s interest while she was taking a bath on her roof. • Summoned by King David, who committed adultery with her. • Endured David’s murder of her husband and the death of the child she conceived by David as a result of their adultery. • Married David and gave birth to a second child, David’s successor Solomon. If Bathsheba was a Hittite like Uriah, then Solomon was half-Jew, half-Gentile. However, she was more likely a Hebrew who had married a Hittite sojourner. More: See Tamar’s profile at Gen. 38:6; Rahab’s profile at Josh. 2:3; and Ruth’s profile at Ruth 1:4. To learn more about Bathsheba, see “Admit Early, Don’t Cover Up” at 2 Sam. 11:4, 5.
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FOURTH PROOFS 1127
7 T hen Herod, when he had secretly he inquired of them where the Christ was called the wise men, determined from to be born. 5So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of them what time the star appeared. 8 And Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, 6 ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of and when you have found Him, bring back Judah, word to me, that I may come and worship Are not the least among the rulers Him also.” of Judah; 9 W hen they heard the king, they de For out of you shall come a parted; and behold, the star which they had Ruler seen in the East went before them, till it Who will shepherd My people a Israel.’ ” 2:6 a Micah 5:2
A Month-L ong Journey with Jesus Matt. 1:18—2:23 The most important thing Apply the Word Study Bible can do is help people know Jesus Christ. Nothing matters more than our relationship with Him. These 31 readings, listed in the order of their occurrence in the New Testament, are a good way to begin getting acquainted with our Savior.
Day 1 Matt. 1:18—2:23 Jesus is born, then becomes a refugee as an evil king seeks to kill Him. Finally, His family returns home.
Jesus confronts very real temptations.
Jesus faces rejection based on His family, their work, and the small size of His hometown.
Jesus speaks out against deceit, pride, and hypocrisy.
Jesus judges mankind according to mercy and compassion rather than outward displays of spirituality.
Jesus begins to explain the kingdom of God, using stories and images from the workplace.
Luke describes events connected with Jesus’ birth and tells of an incident during a boyhood trip to Jerusalem.
Jesus goes public with His purpose and immediately encounters opposition.
Jesus teaches basic truths about attitudes, charity, evaluating others, and making wise decisions.
Jesus talks with His followers about who He is.
Jesus is betrayed, judged, executed, buried, resurrected, and reconnected with His followers.
John, one of Jesus’ followers, describes how God became a man through Christ, who is full of grace and truth.
Jesus explains His relationship with His Father and its implications for us.
Jesus teaches that He is the Bread of Life and shares how people can find Him.
Jesus announces that He is the Light of the World.
Jesus asserts that He is the Good Shepherd who seeks His Father’s lost sheep.
continued on next page
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FOURTH PROOFS Matthew 2:10
The Gifts of the Magi Matt. 2:11 Scripture does not say what happened to the gifts that the wise men presented to Jesus. Their “gold, frankincense, and myrrh” were an expression of the Magi’s worship of the newborn King. Some have supposed that the costly gifts may have enabled Jesus’ family’s flight to Egypt (Matt. 2:13–15). The angel’s warning to Joseph was sudden and unexpected. There was no time to save money for the journey, if saving was even an option. Jesus’ family was indisputably poor (see “A Lowly Sacrifice for the Highest” at Luke 2:22–24), and the gifts they received from the wise men probably represented more wealth than Joseph and Mary would see in a lifetime. God promises to care for His children’s needs (Matt. 6:19– 34), and in this case, the offerings of strangers may have paid for a new life in a foreign land.
came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 W hen they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His m other, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 T hen, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country anoth er way.
The Flight into Egypt
13Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.” 14 W hen he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, 15and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the proph et, saying,“Out of Egypt I called My Son.” a
2:15 a Hosea 11:1
continued from previous page Day 17
Jesus describes His relationship with some of His friends and their profound love and care for each other.
Jesus explains that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Jesus loves Peter, even though he had denied Him and was jealous of another disciple.
Peter explains Jesus to a massive crowd in Jerusalem and welcomes 3,000 people into the faith.
Paul explains how Jesus sets people free from sin and makes them acceptable to God.
1 Cor. 15:1–28
Paul teaches about Jesus’ resurrection and the destruction of our enemy, death.
Paul describes Jesus’ work for us from three vantage points: before creation, in the present, and in eternity.
Paul explains the choices Jesus made in order to become a man, as well as the choices we should make in following Him.
Paul states that Jesus is Lord of all—yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
1 Thess. 4:13— 5:11
1 Pet. 1:1–12
The author of Hebrews describes Jesus’ complete and wonderful work on our behalf.
The author of Hebrews asserts that Jesus has experienced every kind of test or trial we will ever face.
Jesus takes away sin, once and for all. Forgiveness is ours in Him.
Peter explains that our salvation in Jesus is a reality that even the angels and Old Testament prophets did not understand.
Rev. 5:1–14; 22:1–21
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Paul testifies that Jesus will return and bring history to its culmination.
Jesus will rule heaven and earth and will welcome believers to eternal life with Him in heaven.
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FOURTH PROOFS 1129
to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Arise, take 16 T hen Herod, when he saw that he was the young Child and His mother, and go deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly to the land of Israel, for those who sought angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the young Child’s life are dead.” 21 T hen he the male children who were in Bethlehem arose, took the young Child and His moth and in all its districts, from two years old er, and came into the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. 17 T hen was reigning over Judea instead of his fa was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah ther Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned the prophet, saying: aside into the region of Galilee. 23And he 18 “A voice was heard in Ramah, came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, Lamentation, weeping, and great that it might be fulfilled which was spoken mourning, by the prophets, “He shall be called a Naz Rachel weeping for her children, arene.” Refusing to be comforted, a Because they are no more.” John the Baptist Prepares the Way
Massacre of the Innocents
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, when Herod was dead, behold, 2and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream heaven is at hand!” 3For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:
The Home in Nazareth 19Now
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’ ” a
Jesus the Refugee Matt. 2:13–15
Sea of Galilee
2:18 a Jeremiah 31:15 3 :3 a Isaiah 40:3
The nativity story in Matthew shows Jesus as a refugee fleeing certain death in His homeland. The family found political sanctuary in Egypt, avoiding the infanticide ordered by King Herod, the ruthless ruler of Palestine. The text does not divulge where exactly the family stayed. They may have found refuge among the one million Jews estimated to have lived in Alexandria at the time. We do know that Jesus, perhaps close to two years old at the start of the journey (Matt. 2:16), spent at least some of His formative years in Africa. When the family migrated back to Palestine (2:22, 23), they settled not in a privileged neighborhood but in Nazareth, a small town in rural Galilee. Jesus identifies with the displaced peoples of the world. He is a worldwide Savior who understands the trauma of being forced to emigrate due to natural disasters, famine, or political unrest. More: Africans played a significant role in biblical history. See “Africans in the Bible” at Jer. 38:7.
Grieving the Loss of a Child Matt. 2:16–18 In Matthew 2:18, Matthew quotes the prophet Jeremiah’s description of Rachel as wailing over the exiled tribes (Jer. 31:15). Rachel had lots of experience with tears. Her father tricked her fiancé into marrying her sister. After she did finally get married, she remained childless for years (Gen. 29:1— 30:24). And just as Rachel could not be comforted, the weeping in Bethlehem could not have been quickly silenced. The murdered babies of Bethlehem and the scattered exiles of Israel shared a common bond: in both cases, innocent people suffered as a result of the proud, ungodly acts of the powerful. The tragic account in Matthew 2 shows a wickedly jealous king slaughtering a village’s baby boys in order to protect his throne. The scene reminds us that adult sins still take the lives of countless children. Like Rachel, mothers all over the world weep for their children—many in developing nations and abusive homes. Jesus offers comfort to all who grieve the loss of a child. The deaths of the infant boys of Bethlehem must have been a pain He carried throughout His life and onto the cross. Significantly, Jesus went out of His way to affirm and bless children, and warn adults of the perils of misleading them (Matt. 18:6, 7; 19:13–15). “Let the little children come to Me,” Jesus said, “for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (19:14).
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FOURTH PROOFS Matthew 3:4
4 Now John himself was clothed in cam
el’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 T hen Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him 6and were baptized by him in the Jor dan, confessing their sins. 7But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 T here fore bear fruits worthy of repentance, 9and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.a 12His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
John Baptizes Jesus
13 T hen Jesus came from Galilee to John the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And
at John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” 15But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. 16 W hen He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and Hea saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17And suddenly a voice came from heaven, say ing, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Satan Tempts Jesus
hen J esus was led up by the Spirit into T the wilderness to be tempted by the dev
il. 2And when He had fasted forty days and
forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is writ ten, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” a 5 T hen the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:
‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, 3:11 a M‑Text omits and fire. 3:16 a Or he 4:4 a Deuteronomy 8:3
Real Temptation Matt. 4:3 The account of Jesus’ temptation in Matthew 4:1–11 demonstrates that Jesus understands exactly what we endure, because He faced the same enticements to sin that we encounter in our lives. And because He was able to resist, He can help us do the same (Heb. 2:18). He completely understands our feelings, and He can train us in practical steps toward doing right despite the appeal of doing wrong. More: Temptation is not sin, but giving in is. See “Persistent Prayer” at Luke 11:5–13. Few Bible teachings have more practical implications than the truth that people are fallen and continually battle urges to do wrong. See “Escaping Temptation” at 1 Cor. 10:12, 13.
The Purpose of Strength Matt. 3:11
Money Temptations Matt. 4:8–10
If we think that strength is nothing more than the power to dominate, we will always be intimidated by those who seem to have more than us—more expertise, experience, energy, intelligence. But John the Baptist had a different understanding of strength. It was a gift from God to be used for His purposes. John’s humility gave him remarkable energy (Matt. 3:5) to welcome and to serve others—in this case, the Son of God.
As we struggle to follow God in a materialistic culture, we are wise to recognize that a longing for money and all that it symbolizes— prestige, power, luxury, authority—can be a powerful tool in Satan’s hands. The devil employed this tool in his attempt to draw Christ away from His mission. When we feel tempted by wealth, whether we have it or yearn for it, Christ’s response in verse 10 equips us. He fought off wealth’s temptation by recalling that only God is worthy of worship. Serving money will make us a slave. Period.
More: Like John, Paul challenged God’s people to cultivate humility, an incredibly powerful choice. See “Humility: The Scandalous Virtue” at Phil. 2:3.
More: See “Wealthy People in the New Testament” at Matt. 27:57.
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FOURTH PROOFS 1131 Matthew 4:16 been put in prison, He departed to Gali ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a lee. 13And leaving Nazareth, He came and stone.’ ” a dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in 14 7Jesus said to him, “It is written again, the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, that ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” a it might be fulfilled which was spoken by 8Again, the devil took Him up on an ex Isaiah the prophet, saying: ceedingly high mountain, and showed Him 15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of all the kingdoms of the world and their glo Naphtali, ry. 9And he said to Him, “All these things By the way of the sea, beyond the I will give You if You will fall down and Jordan, worship me.” Galilee of the Gentiles: 10 T hen J esus said to him, “Away with 16 The people who sat in darkness have you,a Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall seen a great light, worship the Lord your God, and Him only And upon those who sat in the region you shall serve.’ ” b and shadow of death 11 T hen the devil left Him, and behold, Light has dawned.” a angels came and ministered to Him.
Jesus Begins His Galilean Ministry 12Now
when Jesus heard that John had
4:6 a Psalm 91:11, 12 4:7 a Deuteronomy 6:16 4:10 a M‑Text reads Get behind Me. b Deuteronomy 6:13 4:16 a Isaiah 9:1, 2
The King Declares His Kingdom Matt. 4:17 Jesus began His public ministry with a simple but urgent call for repentance. It was a familiar message—identical, in fact, to sermons given by John the Baptist, Jesus’ forerunner (Matt. 3:2). Both men urged their listeners to change their minds and hearts for the sake of what they called “the kingdom.” But what did that mean?
Who Is the King?
When Is the Kingdom?
Most importantly, the kingdom exists because Jesus is King. He is the Messiah, the Savior promised in the Old Testament (1:22, 23; 2:6; Is. 7:14; Mic. 5:2). He is not only King of Israel but Lord over every nation (see “Jesus’ Family Tree” at Matt. 1:1–16 and “A Savior for the Whole World” at Matt. 8:10). At the start of His life, the wise men asked Herod where they could find the King of the Jews (2:2). As Jesus neared His death, the Roman governor Pontius Pilate asked Him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” When Jesus affirmed that He was (27:11, 12), Pilate seized upon His response as reason to crucify Him (27:37).
No less puzzling is the question of when the kingdom has or will come. As John the Baptist and Jesus began their ministries, they declared that the kingdom was “at hand” (Matt. 3:2; 4:17). A few years later, when Jesus’ followers asked whether He was ready to restore Israel’s kingdom, He said that the timing of His reign was something that only His Father could know (Acts 1:6, 7). Sometimes the kingdom seemed to be a present reality (Matt. 12:28; 13:18–23; 21:43). At other times, it seemed to be a future hope (16:28; 20:20–23; 26:29). Theologians still debate if and in what form the kingdom has already been established, whether it is coming presently or in the future, or if it is coming at all. There is no simple way to understand this essential doctrine. Jesus’ followers have puzzled over His statements about the kingdom since the moment He made them. But many agree that Christ’s kingdom began with His birth, continues to advance as His people live out the gospel message throughout the world, and will not be ultimately realized until He returns.
Where Is the Kingdom? Foretold by Scripture and announced by John the Baptist, Jesus arrived to establish His rule. But His agenda disappointed many of His contemporaries. They looked back in awe on the brief decades of Israel’s prosperous, peaceful monarchy under David and his son Solomon. They read Old Testament prophecies as predictions that the Messiah would reestablish that political kingdom, with some seeing the Messiah’s arrival as an opportunity to overthrow Rome’s iron rule and set up a free Jewish state. But Jesus told Pilate that His kingdom was not of this world and that no army fought on His behalf (John 18:36). He told the Pharisees that the kingdom was not outwardly observable but was “within” (Luke 17:21).
What Is the Kingdom? Although we cannot define Christ’s kingdom with precision, we can say that it has to do with Christ’s reign—and with all the people, places, and things over which He rules. This is why Jesus initiated His ministry with a call to repentance; the repentance of our sins continued on next page
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FOURTH PROOFS Matthew 4:17
that time Jesus began to preach The Beatitudes and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of A nd seeing the multitudes, He went up heaven is at hand.” on a mountain, and when He was seat ed His disciples came to Him. 2 T hen He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: Four Fishermen Called as Disciples 18And J esus, walking by the Sea of Gal 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, ilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. and Andrew his brother, casting a net into 4 Blessed are those who mourn, 19 the sea; for they were fishermen. T hen He For they shall be comforted. said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make 5 Blessed are the meek, 20 For they shall inherit the earth. you fishers of men.” T hey immediately 6 Blessed are those who hunger and left their nets and followed Him. 21Going on from there, He saw two oth thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. er brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and 7 Blessed are the merciful, John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee For they shall obtain mercy. their father, mending their nets. He called them, 22and immediately they left the boat 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. and their father, and followed Him. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. Jesus Heals a Great Multitude 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted 23 And J esus went about all Galilee, for righteousness’ sake, teaching in their synagogues, preaching For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all 11Blessed are you when they revile and per kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease of evil against among the people. 24 T hen His fame went secute you, and say all kinds 12 throughout all Syria; and they brought to you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be Him all sick people who were afflicted with exceedingly glad, for great is your reward various diseases and torments, and those in heaven, for so they persecuted the proph who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and ets who were before you. paralytics; and He healed them. 25Great multitudes followed Him—f rom Galilee, Believers Are Salt and Light 13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan. the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be sea
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involves a decided change of mind or purpose. In terms of the kingdom, it involves: 1. A change of allegiance. If Christ is the King, He deserves our honor, loyalty, and obedience. We put ourselves under His authority and power. Whatever He says, we do. That is the essence of our request in the Lord’s Prayer for His kingdom to come and His will to be done “on earth as it is in heaven” (6:10). The citizens of Christ’s kingdom submit to the King’s will. 2. A change of expectations. The kingdom can be difficult to perceive when the world seems to grow more distant from God by the day, which makes it tempting to live as if this present life is all that matters. But the Christian hope counts on the fact that there is far more to life than what we presently see. Jesus made extraordinary promises about a future kingdom for all who follow Him as King. The kingdom may not yet be fulfilled completely, but it has been established, is spreading, and will last forever (6:13). 3. A change of values. Modern culture prizes individual achievement, success, independence, and high social status. But kingdom ideals reflect what matters to the King. Jesus described many of His
values in Matthew 5:3–10, a section of the Sermon on the Mount known as the Beatitudes (or as some call them, the “beautiful attitudes”). Kingdom people adopt the King’s values and make choices in line with those values. 4. A change of priorities. Kingdom living changes how we spend time and money. Jesus made an inescapable connection between His kingdom and our attitude toward material things (6:24–34). Without disparaging the worth of human labor or the things we need to live in this world, He challenges us to incorporate kingdom values into our pursuit of success. To “seek first the kingdom” (6:33) reshapes our goals, processes, and results. 5. A change of mission. Whether we are naturally driven to accomplish great tasks or live from day to day without purpose or direction, Jesus alters our outlook. He gives us a purpose and a mission, commanding us to live as His subjects and promote kingdom values in every part of life. He also wants us to extend His message to the far reaches of earth, giving everyone everywhere the opportunity to bow to Him as their Savior and King (28:18–20).
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FOURTH PROOFS 1133 soned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. 14“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a bas ket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Christ Fulfills the Law
I say to you, that unless your righ teousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
Murder Begins in the Heart
21“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder,a and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a causea shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 T herefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother,
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 W hoever there fore breaks one of the least of these com mandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall 5:21 a Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17 be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 5:22 a NU‑Text omits without a cause.
The Way Up Is Down Matt. 5:3 Of all the virtues Christ commended in the Beatitudes, it is significant that the first is humility, being “poor in spirit,” a quality that underlies all the others: • You cannot mourn (Matt. 5:4) without appreciating how insufficient you are to handle life by your own strength. • You cannot be meek (5:5) unless you have experienced and admitted a need for gentleness. • You cannot hunger and thirst for righteousness (5:6) if you consider yourself already good. Unlike a Pharisee who boasted of his righteousness, the humble tax collector of one of Jesus’ parables prayed, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” and went away justified (Luke 18:13).
• You cannot be merciful (Matt. 5:7) without recognizing your own need for mercy. • You cannot be pure in heart (5:8) if your heart is filled with pride. • You cannot be a peacemaker (5:9) if you believe that you are always right. • You cannot stand up for Christ in the face of persecution (5:10–12) without putting Him before yourself. More: Humility is a mindset completely foreign to our world. See “Humility: The Scandalous Virtue” at Phil. 2:3.
Salt and Light Matt. 5:13–16 Following Jesus goes far beyond private spirituality. It also involves a believer’s public life, particularly through work and participation in the community. Jesus used two everyday metaphors to describe how we should impact our world. He called His followers “salt” and “light.” In Jesus’ day, salt was used not only to season food but also to preserve it from decay. This implies that Christians help protect society from moral and spiritual decay, especially through work that affects laws and public opinion. By standing up for Jesus’ values, we help to prevent the spread of evil. Jesus also called us “the light of the world.” Light is used both to illuminate and communicate. Jesus wants us to shine not to bring attention to ourselves but to act as a beacon, pointing people toward Him. By living in a way
that reflects Jesus’ values, Christians fulfill this role, attracting people to the gospel through their actions, which become luminous with Christ’s love. More: It was William Tyndale, in his early English translation of the Bible, who gave us the expression “the salt of the earth” (Matt. 5:13). Spreading Christ’s message requires more than broadcasting the facts. See “Faith Impacts the World” at Mark 16:15, 16.
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FOURTH PROOFS Matthew 5:25
and then come and offer your gift. 25Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.
31“Furthermore it has been said, ‘Who ever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality a causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.
Adultery in the Heart
Jesus Forbids Oaths
27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old,a ‘You shall not commit adul tery.’ b 28But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already com mitted adultery with her in his heart. 29If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profit able for you that one of your members per ish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
Marriage Is Sacred and Binding
33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your
5:27 a NU‑Text and M‑Text omit to those of old. b Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18 5:32 a Or fornication
The Sermon on the Mount Matt. 5:1, 2 As Jesus began His public ministry in Galilee, He cried out, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17). His message quickly spread, drawing huge crowds from Galilee, from nearby Syria and the Decapolis, and from as far away as Jerusalem, Judea, and places east of the Jordan River (4:24, 25). People came to hear about an earthly kingdom. Jesus instead introduced them to a heavenly lifestyle—new attitudes and actions. With perhaps thousands gathered on a hillside or “mountain”—the exact location is unknown—Jesus spelled out the implications of repentance. He required far more than an outward show. He urged His listeners to make such a complete change of heart and action that they would “be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (5:48). At first glance the Sermon on the Mount appears to be a lengthy speech detailing the kingdom lifestyle, holding it up like a multifaceted jewel to examine from many angles. But Jesus may have delivered the contents of Matthew 5–7 on multiple occasions. Parts of the sermon can be found throughout the Gospels, and like many good teachers, Jesus probably drove home His message by repeating it at other times and places. The Sermon on the Mount contains the core of Jesus’ moral and ethical teaching: • Blessings (5:3–12). The Beatitudes show true happiness comes through doing life from God’s perspective. • Influence (5:13–16). Jesus wants His followers to be salt and light, to influence the world’s moral and spiritual climate. • Morality (5:17–48). Jesus’ listeners intellectually recognized the Law and the traditions added by generations of rabbis, but Jesus revealed a morality based in the spirit of the Law. • Spiritual disciplines (6:1–18). Real faith is more than an outward show of religion. It reshapes our inner character. • Treasures (6:19–34). Jesus does not denounce earthly possessions, but He explained the nature of true treasures. • Right and wrong (7:1–6). Rather than be quick to point out the moral flaws of others, we should work to remedy our own. • Asking and receiving (7:7–12). We can take all our requests to God, relying on Him to answer us as a loving Father. Moreover, God expects us to extend to others the same kind of love. • Obedience (7:13–29). Jesus wraps up His message with a challenge to obey. Living a lifestyle worthy of the kingdom results in life and joy; disobedience to His way brings death and disaster. When Jesus finished describing this kingdom lifestyle, the people were “astonished” at His teaching (7:28; literally “overwhelmed” or “stunned”). His voice had the ring of authority (7:29). How does His ring of authority change what you do and what you say?
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FOURTH PROOFS 1135
‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
one wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41And whoever compels you to go one mile, go Go the Second Mile with him two. 42Give to him who asks you, 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An and from him who wants to borrow from a eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ you do not turn away. 39But I tell you not to resist an evil per son. But whoever slaps you on your right 5:38 a Exodus 21:24; Leviticus 24:20; cheek, turn the other to him also. 40If any Deuteronomy 19:21
Possible location of the Sermon on the Mount
Sea of Galilee
The Sea of the Sermon The location where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount remains unknown, but the hills near Capernaum are a traditionally accepted site. As Jesus taught He probably looked past His listeners down toward the Sea of Galilee, a setting closely connected with His ministry. Much of His teaching and more than half of His recorded miracles occurred on or around this body of water. Situated some sixty miles north of Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee is actually a freshwater lake fed by the Jordan River. Its surface is about seven hundred feet below sea level. The Sea of Galilee supported a thriving fishing industry. Peter, Andrew, and James and John the sons of Zebedee were among Jesus’ followers who made their living as fishermen. To learn more, see “The World of the Fishermen” at Luke 5:1–11.
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FOURTH PROOFS Matthew 5:43
you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet your brethrena only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax col b 48 bless those who curse you, do good to those lectors do so? Therefore you shall be per who hate you, and pray for those who spite fect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. fully use you and persecute you,a 45that you a Compare Leviticus 19:18 5:44 a NU‑Text may be sons of your Father in heaven; for 5:43 omits three clauses from this verse, leaving, He makes His sun rise on the evil and on “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray the good, and sends rain on the just and on for those who persecute you.” 5:47 a M‑Text the unjust. 46For if you love those who love reads friends. b NU‑Text reads Gentiles.
Love Your Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor a and hate your en emy.’ 44But I say to you, love your enemies,
You Have Heard That It Was Said Matt. 5:17– 48 Some say Jesus was nothing more than a good teacher who wanted people to love each other. But Jesus was and is the Son of God. Jesus did command us to love our neighbor (Matt. 22:39); He also taught how to do that, through a wide range of complex personal and moral issues. In this section of the Sermon on the Mount, some of Jesus’ statements sound extreme (for example, Matt. 5:22, 30, 37, 39–42), and several are easy to misinterpret. Understanding this passage begins by realizing that Jesus’ references to “the Law” and “the Prophets” (5:17) were references to the Old Testament’s moral teaching. Those Scriptures were to govern the moral conduct and character of His Jewish listeners. Unfortunately, the people had not heard the true words of the Law and the prophets. They had instead learned a heavily doctored version of the Old Testament’s teachings. Their rabbis often stressed the letter of the Law rather than its spirit. At times they favored their own traditions over God’s actual teaching (12:9–12; 15:1–9). Sometimes they twisted the Law to fit their own agendas (19:3–8). No wonder Jesus labeled these teachers as hypocrites and warned people not to follow their example (23:1–36).
This background helps to explain a phrase that Jesus repeats in His sermon: “You have heard that it was said . . . but I say to you” (5:21, 22, 27, 28, 33, 34, 38, 39, 43, 44). Jesus spoke with integrity and authority about murder (5:21–26), adultery (5:27–32), vows and oaths (5:33– 37), vengeance (5:38– 42), and love and hate (5:43–47). He began His remarks with an appeal to fulfill the Law (5:17–20) and concluded with a challenge to act as the Father would act (5:48). We should not blunt the challenges these words present. We should, instead, be careful to interpret them as Jesus intended: as a correction of mistaken understandings of Old Testament law and as a true expression of His kingdom values. More: Old Testament law was part of the covenant that set Israel apart as God’s people. It governed their worship, their relationship to God, and their social interactions. See “Staying Focused” at Deut. 5:1 and “The Law” at Rom. 2:12.
An Eye for an Eye Matt. 5:38– 42 At times Jesus’ demands can seem unrealistic: Should God’s people not use force in self-defense? Should they not contest a lawsuit? Should they comply with all demands that help people? Should they give and loan without reserve? In this section of the Sermon on the Mount, it is important to remember that the Lord was addressing issues of justice with allusions to Old Testament laws dealing with public vengeance. The Law limited damages in criminal cases to no more than the loss suffered, “an eye for an eye” (Ex. 21:24, 25). However, some of Jesus’ hearers had appealed to the same texts to justify personal vengeance. Basically, they tried to take the law into their own hands.
Jesus challenged the morality of their approach. He recognized that some circum stances call for resistance and self- defense. The Law sanctioned self- protection when a person was left with no other choice (Ex. 22:2). He Himself protested when He was slapped (John 18:22, 23). But Jesus warned against needless force, particularly for the sake of revenge. Failing to defend ourselves might lead to injury or death. But vengeance inflicts harm after any immediate danger is past. A slap on continued on next page
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FOURTH PROOFS 1137
Do Good to Please God
you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9In this man ner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
“ Take heed that you do not do your char itable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 T herefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your 6:4 a NU‑Text omits openly. 6:6 a NU‑Text left hand know what your right hand is do omits openly. 4 ing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.a Anonymous Givers
The Model Prayer 5 “And
when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.a 7And when
Meeting God’s Expectations Matt. 5:43– 48 Jesus does not expect us to meet His high moral standards unaided. When we belong to Him, we are made into new creatures. The Holy Spirit lives in us and changes us to become more like our Lord. See “New Creatures with New Character” at Galatians 5:22, 23.
Matt. 6:1– 4
Fundraisers know that people are often motivated to donate large sums of money because of the prestige they receive in return. But Jesus denounced that motivation for giving. He much preferred the poor widow who gave the small amount she could give to the wealthy people who gave the large amounts they would give (Mark 12:41–44). These wealthy men and women may have appeared pious, but Jesus knew that behind the scenes they often neglected “the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith” (Matt. 23:23). Here, Jesus suggests that a good way to ensure that we are giving from the right motives is to give anonymously. When the source of our gifts is known only to ourselves and God, Jesus promises that “your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly” (6:4).
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the cheek is little more than an insult, leaving no reason for a violent response. Vengeance belongs to God alone (Deut. 32:35; compare Rom. 12:19–21), who often uses governing authorities to carry out His judgment (13:4). In the case of lawsuits (Matt. 5:40), the Law allowed demanding a shirt (tunic) in pledge for a loan but prohibited taking a coat (cloak) overnight, because it was needed for warmth (Ex. 22:26, 27). But in Jesus’ day it was common to press for people to inflict heavy damages in court, in effect “suing the pants off each other.” Christ’s point was that if lawsuits have to go to extremes, it ought to be extremes of charity. Paul made a similar argument in 1 Corinthians 6:1–8. In the command to go a second mile (Matt. 5:41), the word compels means “to requisition or press into service.” Ancient Persian law permitted postal carriers to compel private citizens to help carry their loads. The Romans sometimes inflicted similar demands on bystanders. For example, Roman soldiers compelled Simon of Cyrene to carry Jesus’ cross (27:32). Jesus was likely referring
to the need to obey those in public positions of authority (see “Governmental Authority” at Rom. 13:1–7) rather than a need to obey anyone who issues a command. When it comes to the issue of lending, Jesus was likely making a point not merely about personal charity but also about collective, societal issues of debt, loans, and repayment. Old Testament law prohibited charging interest on loans to the poor (Ex. 22:25), required that a person’s family be given the opportunity to buy back lands lost due to poverty and persons sold into slavery, and mandated sabbatical and Jubilee years to allow for a regular redistribution of wealth and freedom from servitude (see “The Sabbath Year” at Lev. 25:2–8 and “The Year of Jubilee” at Lev. 25:8–17). These laws were public methods of making room for mercy and justice on behalf of the society’s disadvantaged members. Jesus challenged His followers to respond to injustice in ways that actually stopped it. He urged grace in place of vengeance, integrity in place of self-interest. It is through acts of sacrifice that we are able to become more like Him.
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FOURTH PROOFS Matthew 6:10 10
Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.a 14 “For if you forgive men their tres passes, your heavenly Father will also for give you. 15But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
stroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust de stroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The Lamp of the Body
22 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is dark ness, how great is that darkness!
You Cannot Serve God and Riches
24“No one can serve two masters; for ei ther he will hate the one and love the other, 16 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be or else he will be loyal to the one and de like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. spise the other. You cannot serve God and For they disfigure their faces that they may mammon. appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17But Do Not Worry 25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear about your life, what you will eat or what to men to be fasting, but to your Father who you will drink; nor about your body, what is in the secret place; and your Father who you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26Look sees in secret will reward you openly.a at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your Lay Up Treasures in Heaven 19 “Do not lay up for yourselves trea heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of 27 sures on earth, where moth and rust de more value than they? W hich of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they Stop Worry grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29and yet I Matt. 6:19–34 say to you that even Solomon in all his glo ry was not arrayed like one of these. 30Now Of all the scriptures on the topics of money if God so clothes the grass of the field, and work, Jesus’ words from the Sermon on which today is, and tomorrow is thrown the Mount are often misused to imply Jesus into the oven, will He not much more clothe is against money or that He considered you, O you of little faith? 31“Therefore do not worry, saying, everyday work a distraction from spiritual matters. ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we A careful reading of the text shows drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your that Jesus condemned not work but worry heavenly Father knows that you need all (Matt. 6:25, 27, 28, 31, 34). He did not tell us these things. 33But seek first the kingdom to quit our daily labors (6:32). God provides of God and His righteousness, and all these for us in many ways—including through our things shall be added to you. 34 T herefore do everyday jobs. not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow God makes us responsible for looking will worry about its own things. Sufficient after our physical and material needs. But for the day is its own trouble. Jesus urged us not to let worry about these things overtake our minds and corrupt our Do Not Judge values. Instead of worrying over what might “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2For happen, we should work toward everything with what judgment you judge, you will falling into place. This happens as we “seek be judged; and with the measure you use, it first the kingdom of God and His righteouswill be measured back to you. 3And why do ness” (6:33). you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own More: God gives work as a gift. See “People at eye? 4Or how can you say to your broth Work” at Ps. 8:6. Despite what many people er, ‘Let me remove the speck from your think, work is not a curse. See “Work Itself Is a eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Gift from God” at Gen. 3:17–19. Bringing Christ 5Hypocrite! First remove the plank from into our everyday work has a far-reaching imyour own eye, and then you will see c learly pact on how we do our jobs. See “Your Work6:13 a NU‑Text omits For Yours through Amen. style” at Titus 2:9–11.
Fasting to Be Seen Only by God
6:18 a NU‑Text and M‑Text omit openly.
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FOURTH PROOFS 1139
to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. 6 “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.
cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 T herefore by their fruits you will know them.
Keep Asking, Seeking, Knocking
21“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who prac tice lawlessness!’
and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heav en give good things to those who ask Him! 12 T herefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
The Narrow Way
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14Becausea narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
You Will Know Them by Their Fruits
I Never Knew You
Build on the Rock
24“Therefore whoever hears these say ings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 “But everyone who hears these say ings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” 28And so it was, when Jesus had end ed these sayings, that the people were as tonished at His teaching, 29for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree Jesus Cleanses a Leper W hen He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Judge Not Him. 2And behold, a leper came and wor Matt. 7:1–5 shiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are will ing, You can make me clean.” 3 T hen J People tend to read their own meaning into esus put out His hand and Jesus’ command to “judge not.” They may touched him, saying, “I am willing; be assume it means tolerating anything and cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was everything. Or never calling out untruth. Or cleansed. considering one belief or behavior as valid 7:14 a NU‑Text and M‑Text read How . . . ! as the next. Those each misapply the Lord’s teaching. Jesus was not commanding acceptance of all Jesus’ Authority behavior. He was commanding grace toward Matt. 7:29 others. We should not blame, condemn, or put down others while excusing or exalting Scribes were members of an educated class ourselves. We need to quit picking at the failin Israel who studied Scripture and tradition ings of others and start attending to our own and who served as copyists, editors, and failings. teachers (see “Scribes” at Luke 20:39). But The very next verses command evaluatwhile they held positions of authority, Jesus ing others. But we are to approach others as was the ultimate Person of authority. His exJesus did—with empathy (Matt. 7:12). pertise, credibility, and power were features of who He was, not what He learned. The More: Scripture gives clear guidelines for rescribes had the privilege of learning about storing those who have become entangled in Jesus and any authority they had was based sin. Read Matt. 18:15–17; 1 Cor. 6:1–8; and in Jesus. Gal. 6:1–5.
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FOURTH PROOFS Matthew 8:4
Effective Leaders Matt. 8:5–13 Like Jesus, the centurion was “a man under authority.” The encounter between the two offers essential lessons on authority and leadership: • Effective leaders admit when they need help. The centurion faced a problem beyond his own power. He recruited Jesus to intervene. • Effective leaders respond with heart. The centurion felt compassion for his suffering servant and perceived that Jesus possessed power beyond any physician’s skill. • Effective leaders show humility. A Roman officer could have ordered Jesus to act or offered Him money. He instead came in faith, humbly asking for help. • Effective leaders recognize the nature of authority. The centurion understood submission. When he issued a command, his soldiers obeyed. He saw that Jesus had the same authority over illness. • Effective leaders notice when someone is worthy of trust. The centurion’s faith was impressive because it was invested in the right person. Leadership based on blind faith is foolhardy, but discernment is a mark of a true leader.
4 And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
Jesus Heals a Centurion’s Servant
5Now when J esus had entered Caper naum, a centurion came to Him, pleading 6 with Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tor mented.” 7And J esus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 T he centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 W hen J esus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assured ly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! 11And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 T hen Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.
A Savior for the Whole World Matt. 8:10 Matthew’s Gospel offers insights into Jesus’ Jewish roots and His fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies of a Messiah for Israel. But it also presents Jesus as a worldwide Savior. Note Jesus’ interracial connections: Iran). Whatever the case, it was a group of forJesus’ Roots Jesus’ genealogy includes at least two and pos- eigners who first came looking for the Messiah. sibly three Gentiles: • David’s great-great-grandmother Rahab was a Canaanite (Matt. 1:5; Josh 2:1–24; 6:22–25). • David’s great-grandmother Ruth was a Moabite (Matt. 1:5; the Book of Ruth). • David’s lover (and later wife) Bathsheba, widow of Uriah (Matt. 1:6; 2 Sam. 11:1— 12:25), may have been a Hittite like Uriah, although she was more likely a Hebrew married to a Hittite sojourner.
The Flight to Egypt
Egypt provided a refuge for the baby Jesus from an outraged Herod the Great (Matt. 2:13, 14). Centuries before, this Gentile nation saved Jacob’s family from starvation and became the land where a family grew into a nation (Gen. 41:46—46:7).
Jesus’ Childhood in Galilee
Jesus grew up in Nazareth, a small town of Galilee in the northern part of Palestine (Matt. 2:22, 23). The region’s multicultural Wise Men from the East population earned it the name “Galilee of The first worshipers of Jesus to appear in the the Gentiles” (4:15). Jesus began His ministry Book of Matthew were not Jews but Gentiles in Galilee, and many of His early followers from the East (Matt. 2:1–12). The wise men may were non-Jews from Syria and the Decapolis, a have been astrologers from Persia (modern-day Gentile region of Palestine (4:23–25). continued on next page
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FOURTH PROOFS 1141
Peter’s Mother-in-Law Healed
14 Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever. 15So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served them.a
Wind and Wave Obey Jesus
23Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. 25 T hen His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save Many Healed in the Evening us! We are perishing!” 26 But He said to them, “Why are you 16 W hen evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He And He cast out the spirits with a word, and arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, healed all who were sick, 17 that it might be and there was a great calm. 27So the men fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” prophet, saying:
“He Himself took our infirmities And bore our sicknesses.” a
The Cost of Discipleship
Two Demon-Possessed Men Healed
28 W hen He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes,a there met Him two demon-possessed men, com ing out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way. 29And sud denly they cried out, saying, “What have we to do with You, J esus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” 30Now a good way off from them there was a herd of many swine feeding. 31So the demons begged Him, saying, “If You cast
18And when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave a command to depart to the other side. 19 T hen a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will fol low You wherever You go.” 20And J esus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” 21 T hen another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 8:15 a NU‑Text and M‑Text read Him. 22But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and 8:17 a Isaiah 53:4 8 :28 a NU‑Text reads let the dead bury their own dead.” Gadarenes.
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Living on the Fringes Matthew shows Jesus breaking His culture’s hardened habits of discrimination by building bonds with Samaritans, Gentiles, and others who lived on the fringes of Jewish society: Person or Group
A leper, physically diseased and religiously unclean (Matt. 8:2–4)
Touched him when others would not; healed him
A Roman centurion (Matt. 8:5–10)
Healed his servant and praised his faith
Two demon-possessed men from a Gentile region (Matt. 8:28–34)
Delivered them when the town rejected them
Matthew the tax collector and his disreputable friends (Matt. 9:9–13)
Called Matthew as a disciple and dined with his friends
A hemorrhaging woman (Matt. 9:20–22)
Healed her and praised her faith
The Gentile cities of Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom (Matt. 11:20–24)
Said they will be better off than Jewish cities in the judgment because of Jewish unbelief
Nineveh and the queen of the South (Matt. 12:39–42)
Praised their repentance and said they would judge the Jews of His day
The people of Gennesaret, a Gentile region (Matt. 14:34–36)
Healed their sick
A Canaanite woman from the region of Tyre and Sidon (Matt. 15:21–28)
Healed her daughter and praised her faith
More: The roots of hostility between Jews and Gentiles stretched deep into Israel’s history. See “No Racial Divisions” at Matt. 15:24.
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FOURTH PROOFS Matthew 8:32
us out, permit us to go away a into the herd of swine.” 32 And He said to them, “Go.” So when they had come out, they went into the herd of swine. And suddenly the whole herd of swine ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and perished in the water.
33 T hen those who kept them fled; and they went away into the city and told every thing, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region.
Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralytic
Angels and Demons Matt. 8:29
The Gospels show Jesus’ frequent encounters with demons, such as those that possessed the Gergesene men, affirming the reality of potent spiritual forces that exist beyond the visible universe. Scripture teaches that angels are members of an order of heavenly messengers (Heb. 2:7; 2 Pet. 2:11; see also “Angels” at Rev. 7:1). Unlike God, angels are not all- powerful or all- knowing (Ps. 103:20; 2 Thess. 1:7). God often sends them to announce good news, such as the birth of Jesus (Luke 1:30, 31). Or they may carry warnings of danger, such as Sodom’s looming destruction (Gen. 18:1—19:29). Angels were involved during the events surrounding Jesus’ birth, resurrection, and ascension. They . . .
Matthew the Tax Collector
• Urged Joseph to wed Mary (Matt. 1:20). • Warned Joseph to flee to Egypt with Mary and infant Jesus (2:13). • Instructed Joseph to bring his family back to Palestine (2:19). • Foretold to Zacharias the birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:11–38). • Announced to shepherds the birth of Christ (2:8–15). • Strengthened Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (22:43). • Rolled back the stone from Jesus’ tomb (Matt. 28:2). • Announced Jesus’ resurrection to women at the empty tomb (Luke 24:4–7, 23; John 20:12). • Promised Jesus’ return after His ascension (Acts 1:9–11). The frequency of angelic involvement in human events seems to have lessened since Pentecost, possibly because of the Holy Spirit’s expanded role in the lives of Christians. Demons are angels who rebelled against God and were cast out of heaven. They seek to undermine God’s righteous purposes in the world (1 Pet. 3:19, 20; 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6; see also “Demons” at Luke 11:14). Scripture gives them a variety of names: “unclean spirits” (Mark 6:7), “wicked or evil spirits” (Luke 7:21; Acts 19:12, 13), “spirit of divination” (Acts 16:16), “deceiving spirits” (1 Tim. 4:1), and “spirit of error” (1 John 4:6).
o He got into a boat, crossed over, and S came to His own city. 2 T hen behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” 3 And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, “This Man blas phemes!” 4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your 5 hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forg iven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’? 6But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” 7And he arose and departed to his house. 8Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveleda and glorified God, who had giv en such power to men. 9As J esus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him. 10Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. 11And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples,
8:31 a NU‑Text reads send us. 9:8 a NU‑Text reads were afraid.
The Power of Forgiveness Matt. 9:4– 8 The crowd that watched Jesus heal a paralytic responded enthusiastically to His dramatic display of power. But they overlooked His more significant ability to forgive sins, an aspect of His authority that deeply troubled the scribes. Jesus urges us to forgive those who wrong or hurt us (Matt. 6:14, 15; 18:21–35), and in moments of pain and anger we discover the difficulty of authentically extending forgiveness. It can feel almost impossible to lay down our hurt and reach out to pardon an offender. But that powerful act releases our own hearts from bitterness and frees a wrongdoer from paralyzing guilt. It can even change the course of a person’s life (James 5:19, 20). We can forgive others only in Jesus’ power.
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FOURTH PROOFS 1143 “Why does your Teacher eat with tax col lectors and sinners?” 12 W hen Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mer cy and not sacrifice.’ a For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repen tance.” b
Jesus Is Questioned About Fasting 14 T hen
the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Phari sees fast often,a but Your disciples do not fast?” 15And J esus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be tak en away from them, and then they will fast. 16No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on
Tax Collectors Matt. 9:10 Tax collectors in ancient times were agents who collected government levies. Some translations incorrectly call them publicans, who were usually wealthy non-Jewish men who contracted with the occupying Romans to take responsibility for a district’s taxes. They were often backed by military force. Tax collectors were hired by publicans to actually collect monies. They were Jews and usually not wealthy. Tax collectors gathered several different taxes. Depending on the type of rule in a given Jewish province, Rome levied a land tax, a poll tax, even a tax for the operation of the temple (Matt. 17:24–27). Taxes from provinces such as Galilee, which was not under an imperial governor, remained in the province rather than going to the imperial treasury at Rome. Perhaps it was these inequities that prompted the Pharisees in the imperial province of Judea to ask Jesus, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” (22:17). Tax collectors often demanded more than the government required and pocketed the excess—a practice that John the Baptist specifically condemned (Luke 3:12, 13). Tax collectors were also hated because fellow citizens saw them as mercenaries working for their Roman oppressors. They were altogether despised by their fellow Jews and were often lumped together with other “sinners” (Matt. 9:10, 11; Mark 2:15). More: The Jews of Jesus’ day were probably paying no less than 30 or 40 percent of their income on taxes and religious dues. See “Taxes” at Mark 12:14. Zacchaeus was called the chief tax collector of Jericho, meaning he may have been a publican. Nevertheless, he responded to Jesus’ call. See “Startling Change” at Luke 19:1–10.
an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. 17Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are r uined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
A Girl Restored to Life and a Woman Healed
18 W hile He spoke these things to them, behold, a ruler came and worshiped Him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live.” 19So Jesus arose and followed him, and so did His disciples. 20And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His gar ment. 21For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” 22But J esus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour. 23 W hen Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd wailing, 24 He said to them, “Make room, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping.” And they ridiculed Him. 25But
9:13 a Hosea 6:6 b NU‑Text omits to repentance. 9:14 a NU‑Text brackets often as disputed.
The Bleeding Woman Matt. 9:20–22 The woman in Matthew 9:20–22 had been excluded from worship and was an outcast of society for a dozen years. Jews considered women ritually unclean during menstruation, and a woman who experienced bleeding other than during her menstrual cycle was considered unclean until the bleeding stopped. Anyone who touched a menstruating woman was unclean until evening (Lev. 15:19–27). By approaching Jesus, the woman broke a rule that held her accountable as an unclean person to stay away from others. In her desperation, she reached out and touched Jesus. The Lord perceived that power had gone out from Him and sought her out. As she explained her disease the crowd probably backed away, not wanting to contaminate themselves. But Jesus did not withdraw. He addressed her with the affectionate term “daughter” and sent her away in peace, healed at last. When we meet outcasts in the world today, do we back away, or do we embrace them as fellow members of Christ’s family? How can we respond to their needs with Christlike love?
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FOURTH PROOFS Matthew 9:26
when the crowd was put outside, He went saying, “It was never seen like this in Is in and took her by the hand, and the girl rael!” 34 But the Pharisees said, “He casts out arose. 26And the report of this went out into demons by the ruler of the demons.” all that land.
Two Blind Men Healed
The Compassion of Jesus
blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” 28 And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” 29 T hen He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.” 30And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, saying, “See that no one knows it.” 31But when they had de parted, they spread the news about Him in all that country.
The Twelve Apostles
27 W hen Jesus departed from there, two
A Mute Man Speaks
35 T hen Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.a 36But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compas sion for them, because they were weary a and scattered, like sheep having no shep herd. 37 T hen He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 T herefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His har vest.”
nd when He had called His twelve A disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds
32As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a man, mute and demon-possessed. 33And when the demon was cast out, the 9:35 a NU‑Text omits among the people. mute spoke. And the multitudes marveled, 9:36 a NU‑Text and M‑Text read harassed.
Jesus’ Urban Ministry Matt. 9:35 Some people imagine Jesus spending His entire life in tiny towns and on long walks in the wilderness. After all, He did begin His life in a manger surrounded by livestock and shepherds. And He seemed to endlessly wander the countryside telling parables with rural themes such as the sower and the seed, the wheat and the weeds, and the lilies of the field. But this image of Jesus—and His world—is simply incorrect. The Palestine of Jesus’ day experienced rapid urban development. A population of up to three million people lived in preindustrial cities and towns around Jerusalem, the hub of the region. Jerusalem itself had a population that modern scholars conservatively estimate at between fifty- five thousand and ninety thousand. (Josephus, a first- century Jewish historian, placed the number at three million; the Talmud claims an incredible twelve million). Jesus focused His ministry on Palestine’s cities (Matt. 9:35; 11:1; Luke 4:43; 13:22), and He made at least three visits to Jerusalem. His travels brought Him into contact with a wide variety of people. He attracted large numbers of women, soldiers, religious leaders, the rich, merchants, tax collectors, Gentiles, prostitutes, beggars, and the poor. Jesus’ strategy became a pattern for His followers to imitate. Jesus sent His disciples to preach in cities (Matt. 10:5, 11–14; Luke
Sea of Galilee Capernaum
J o r d an R i v e r
Scythopolis Jericho Tiberias Nazareth Sychar Ephraim Bethany Tyre Cana Bethel Bethlehem Ptolemais Samaria Jerusalem Caesarea Beersheba Joppa
10:1, 8– 16). The early church later spread throughout the Roman empire by establishing Christian communities in no fewer than forty cities by the close of the first century (see “Churches Unlock Communities” at Acts 11:22). Jesus cares about urban communities, and His strategy should prompt all of His followers to ask how we are bringing His message to an increasingly urban, multicultural, and pluralistic world. His ministry should be a model for our engagement with the world. More: Even in ancient times, Canaan was experiencing urbanization. See “Following God in the City” at Deut. 6:10. For more on the explosive start of the early church, see “The Ephesus Approach: How the Gospel Transformed a Community” at Acts 19:8–41.
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FOURTH PROOFS 1145 of disease. 2Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3Philip and Bartholomew; Thom as and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was a Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Cananite,a and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.
Sending Out the Twelve
5 T hese twelve Jesus sent out and com manded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. 6But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead,a cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 9Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, 10nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food. 11“Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out. 12And when you go into a household, greet it. 13If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. 15Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!
Beelzebub,a how much more will they call those of his household! 26 T herefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.
Jesus Teaches the Fear of God
27 “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. 28And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to de stroy both soul and body in hell. 29Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Confess Christ Before Men
32 “Therefore whoever con fesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
Christ Brings Division
34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’ ; 36and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own house hold.’ a 37He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not Persecutions Are Coming 16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the worthy of Me. 39He who finds his life will midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as ser lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake pents and harmless as doves. 17But beware will find it. of men, for they will deliver you up to coun cils and scourge you in their synagogues. A Cup of Cold Water 40 “He who receives you receives Me, 18 You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and he who receives Me receives Him who and to the Gentiles. 19But when they deliver sent Me. 41He who receives a prophet in the you up, do not worry about how or what name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s you should speak. For it will be given to you reward. And he who receives a righteous in that hour what you should speak; 20for it man in the name of a righteous man shall is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your receive a righteous man’s reward. 42And whoever gives one of these little ones only Father who speaks in you. 21“Now brother will deliver up brother a cup of cold water in the name of a disci to death, and a father his child; and chil ple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no dren will rise up against parents and cause means lose his reward.” them to be put to death. 22And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who John the Baptist Sends Messengers to Jesus endures to the end will be saved. 23 W hen Now it came to pass, when Jesus fin they persecute you in this city, flee to an ished commanding His twelve disci other. For assuredly, I say to you, you will ples, that He departed from there to teach not have gone through the cities of Israel and to preach in their cities. before the Son of Man comes. 24 “A disciple is not above his teach 10:3 a NU‑Text omits Lebbaeus, whose surname 10:4 a NU‑Text reads Cananaean. er, nor a servant above his master. 25It is was. 10:8 a NU‑Text reads raise the dead, cleanse enough for a disciple that he be like his the lepers; M‑Text omits raise the dead. teacher, and a servant like his master. If 10:25 a NU‑Text and M‑Text read Beelzebul. they have called the master of the house 10:36 a Micah 7:6
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FOURTH PROOFS Matthew 11:2
when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two ofa his disciples 3and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” 4Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: 5 The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” 7As they departed, J esus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft gar ments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. 9But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. 10For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’ a 11“Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. 13For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are
Evidence of God Matt. 11:2– 6 When John the Baptist wanted reassurance that Jesus was all that He claimed to be, Jesus replied with a list of things He had done that revealed God’s presence, power, and love. The most forceful evidence was His work among the poor and broken. People all around us watch to see whether Jesus is still alive among His people. Like John, they ask whether those of us who claim to follow Christ truly have insight into who God is—or whether they should look somewhere else. They especially pay attention to our approach to the world’s suffering people, whether nearby or far away. Onlookers want to know if we care about our neighbors’ material needs as well as their spiritual needs. They want to see unmistakable evidence of Christ working within us to spread His love in every way possible. More: Scripture has much to say about our responsibilities to the poor and needy. See “I Have Not Coveted” at Acts 20:33–38; and “Christ Became Poor” at 2 Cor. 8:8, 9. Mother Teresa’s and Francis of Assisi’s work for the poor has made them some of the most venerated Christians in history.
willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come. 15He who has ears to hear, let him hear! 16 “But to what shall I liken this genera tion? It is like children sitting in the mar ketplaces and calling to their companions, 17and saying: ‘We played the flute for you, And you did not dance; We mourned to you, And you did not lament.’ 18For John came neither eating nor drink ing, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 T he Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.” a
Woe to the Impenitent Cities
20 T hen He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: 21“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. 23And you, Caper naum, who are exalted to heaven, will bea brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.”
Jesus Gives True Rest
25At that time J esus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have re vealed them to babes. 26Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. 27All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Fa ther except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. 28Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath
t that time J esus went through the A grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!”
11:2 a NU‑Text reads by for two of. 11:10 a Malachi 3:1 1 1:19 a NU‑Text reads works. 11:23 a NU‑Text reads will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be.
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FOURTH PROOFS 1147 3But
He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: 4how he entered the house of God and ate the show bread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? 5Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? 6 Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. 7But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ a you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8For the Son of Man is Lord evena of the Sabbath.”
Healing on the Sabbath
9Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. 10And be hold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—that they might accuse Him. 11 T hen He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? 12Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sab bath.” 13 T hen He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other. 14 T hen the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him.
Behold, My Servant
15But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great multitudes a fol lowed Him, and He healed them all. 16 Yet He warned them not to make Him known, 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spo ken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: 18 “Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, And He will declare justice to the Gentiles. 19 He will not quarrel nor cry out, Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.
Political Intrigue Matt. 12:14 The Pharisees feared Jesus as much as they hated Him. They were concerned that His popularity might draw additional Roman troops to the area and end what little independence the nation had. So they plotted to destroy Him. The mastermind of their plans was Caiaphas the high priest, a Sadducee who was equally opposed to Jesus. Learn more in “The Religious Power Broker” at Matthew 26:3–5.
Matthew 12:37 A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory; 21 And in His name Gentiles will trust.” a 20
A House Divided Cannot Stand
22 T hen one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind anda mute man both spoke and saw. 23And all the mul titudes were amazed and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” 24 Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub,a the ruler of the de mons.” 25But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. 28But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. 30He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.
The Unpardonable Sin
31“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 32Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.
A Tree Known by Its Fruit
33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abun dance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35A good man out of the good treasure of his hearta brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
12:7 a Hosea 6:6 12:8 a NU‑Text and M‑Text omit even. 12:15 a NU‑Text brackets multitudes as disputed. 12:21 a Isaiah 42:1–4 12:22 a NU‑Text omits blind and. 12:24 a NU‑ Text and M‑Text read Beelzebul. 12:35 a NU‑ Text and M‑Text omit of his heart.
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FOURTH PROOFS Matthew 12:38
The Scribes and Pharisees Ask for a Sign 38 T hen
some of the scribes and Phari sees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” 39But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 T he men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this gener ation and condemn it, because they repent ed at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. 42 T he queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.
are My brothers?” 49And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 50For whoever does the will of My Father in heav en is My brother and sister and mother.”
The Parable of the Sower
n the same day Jesus went out of the O house and sat by the sea. 2And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. 3 T hen He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. 5Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. 6But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. 7And An Unclean Spirit Returns some fell among thorns, and the thorns 43 “When an unclean spirit goes out of sprang up and choked them. 8But others fell a man, he goes through dry places, seek on good ground and yielded a crop: some a ing rest, and finds none. 44 T hen he says, hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9He ‘I will return to my house from which I who has ears to hear, let him hear!” came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 T hen he The Purpose of Parables 10And the disciples came and said to goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter Him, “Why do You speak to them in par and dwell there; and the last state of that ables?” 11He answered and said to them, “Be man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.” cause it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but Jesus’ Mother and Brothers Send for Him to them it has not been given. 12For who 46 W hile He was still talking to the mul ever has, to him more will be given, and he titudes, behold, His mother and brothers will have abundance; but whoever does not stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. have, even what he has will be taken away 47 T hen one said to Him, “Look, Your moth from him. 13 T herefore I speak to them in er and Your brothers are standing outside, parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they seeking to speak with You.” 48But He answered and said to the one understand. 14 And in them the prophecy of who told Him, “Who is My mother and who Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:
The Unpardonable Sin Matt. 12:31, 32 Many people wonder and worry if it is possible to commit a sin so heinous that God cannot or will not forgive it. Scripture says that this is not possible—and that it is. The blood that Jesus Christ shed on the cross paid for all of the world’s sin (John 1:29; Rom. 5:12–21; 8:3), and there is no wrongdoing that God has not overcome through Christ. So no one ever has to be afraid of going beyond the reach of God’s grace or restorative power. No matter what our sins may be, God will forgive them if we come to Him in repentance (Acts 2:38; 1 John 1:9). However, it is possible to put ourselves beyond the reach of God’s grace by persisting in rebellion and resisting His call to repentance. That was the sin of the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders (compare Acts 7:51, 52). When Jesus healed a demon-possessed man through
the power of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 12:28), His enemies claimed that He was an agent of Satan (12:24, where Satan is called Beelzebub). The accusation confirmed that these leaders had rejected Jesus. It also slandered the Holy Spirit and revealed that their moral nature had become so perverted that they were beyond any hope of repentance and faith— and therefore beyond forgiveness. There is no “unpardonable sin” (12:31) for those who cry out like the tax collector in Jesus’ parable, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” (Luke 18:13). But there is no help for those who count on their own self-righteousness, reject Christ, and slander His Holy Spirit.
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FOURTH PROOFS 1149 Matthew 13:23 ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not sower: 19 W hen anyone hears the word of understand, the kingdom, and does not understand it, And seeing you will see and not then the wicked one comes and snatches perceive; away what was sown in his heart. This is 15 For the hearts of this people have he who received seed by the wayside. 20But grown dull. he who received the seed on stony places, Their ears are hard of hearing, this is he who hears the word and imme And their eyes they have closed, diately receives it with joy; 21yet he has Lest they should see with their eyes no root in himself, but endures only for a and hear with their ears, while. For when tribulation or persecution Lest they should understand with their arises because of the word, immediately hearts and turn, he stumbles. 22Now he who received seed So that I shoulda heal them.’ b among the thorns is he who hears the word, 16 But blessed are your eyes for they see, and the cares of this world and the deceit the word, and he and your ears for they hear; 17for assuredly, fulness of riches choke 23 I say to you that many prophets and righ becomes unfruitful. But he who received teous men desired to see what you see, and seed on the good ground is he who hears did not see it, and to hear what you hear, the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundred and did not hear it. fold, some sixty, some thirty.”
The Parable of the Sower Explained 18 “Therefore
hear the parable of the
13:15 a NU‑Text and M‑Text read would. b Isaiah 6:9, 10
Workplace Analogies Matt. 13:1 Jesus captivated listeners by putting spiritual truths into everyday terms they could understand. He probably spent most of His life working in His family’s carpentry business. Although we know little about His youth from adolescence until the start of His public ministry around age thirty, the Bible tells us that His father was a carpenter (Matt. 13:55) and that Jesus also practiced the trade (Mark 6:3). Carpenters worked not only with wood but also with metal and stone to produce household furnishings and farm implements. Jesus may have continued His occupation even after He began to travel and teach. Rabbis of the day provided for themselves by spending anywhere from one- third to one- half of their time working, usually with their hands. Many of Jesus’ opponents were also religious teachers, and while they attacked Jesus on several fronts, they never accused Him of laziness. He was known to them as a carpenter. That reputation passed on to the early church. One writer described Jesus as “working as a carpenter when among men, making ploughs and yokes, by which He taught the symbols of righteousness and an active life.” Jesus’ hands-on background stands out in His parables (brief scenes or stories that illustrated moral principles and explained the realities of His kingdom). Matthew 13 collects eight of His workplace analogies that explain His kingdom: 1. The parable of the sower (13:1–23) evaluates the openness of people who hear about the kingdom. 2. The parable of the wheat and the tares (weeds) (13:24–30) warns that people who pretend to be part of the kingdom cannot fool God. 3. The parable of the mustard seed (13:31, 32) promises that the kingdom will become a force to be reckoned with. 4. The parable of the leaven (13:33) describes
how the kingdom quietly yet effectively expands to accomplish powerful results. 5. The parable of the hidden treasure (13:44) says that the kingdom is the most important thing anyone can possess. 6. The parable of the pearl of great price (13:45, 46) also declares that the kingdom is worth sacrificing everything to possess. 7. The parable of the dragnet (13:47–50) warns that those who accept the kingdom will be separated from those who reject it. 8. The parable of the householder (13:51, 52) calls those who understand the kingdom to share their insight with others. Jesus’ stories connected spiritual truth with agriculture (sowing, harvesting, growing), the food industry (baking, fishing), real estate (land purchasing, home ownership), and retail (the sale of pearls). His images and language brought His message to life for ordinary people. He also demonstrated that God takes an interest in the workplace and desires us to serve Him wherever we live and work. More: The prophets Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Zechariah also told parables. See “The Parables of Jeremiah” at Jer. 18:1–10; “The Parables of Ezekiel” at Ezek. 15:1–8; and “The Parables of Zechariah” at Zech. 5:1–4. Like Jesus, the apostle Paul supported himself by means of a secular occupation. See “Paul’s Tentmaking” at Acts 18:1–3.
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FOURTH PROOFS Matthew 13:24
Treasures Old and New Matt. 13:52 Christian truth is inexhaustible. No matter how long we have followed Jesus or how much theology we master, we can never reach the end of what God reveals in Christ and in the Bible—a fact that Jesus addressed in His parable of the householder. Understanding this parable starts with the question Jesus asked His followers: “Have you understood all these things?” (Matt. 13:51). “These things” refers to the series of kingdom parables that He had just told (13:1–50). The disciples answered yes. They assumed that they had absorbed everything Jesus had to say. But these men could not possibly have grasped all of the practical applications of these stories, much less the implications of an idea as complex as the kingdom of God. Scholars still debate the full meaning of what Jesus said (see “The King Declares His Kingdom” at Matt. 4:17). Jesus was aware that the disciples thought they had more insight than they actually possessed, and His parable of the householder poked at their perspective. A householder— the head or master of a home— typically brings out family treasures to entertain or impress a visitor. He might unveil a family heirloom or a recent purchase. Jesus said His disciples were like householders. They would tell people about “old treasures”—the basic tenets of the gospel—and they would tell people about “new treasures”—applications of His teaching to new situations. His disciples would be like scribes “instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven” (13:52). Scribes were highly educated students of Scripture who worked as copyists, editors, and teachers. They occupied a prestigious position, as only ordained teachers were allowed to transmit and create religious tradition. And just as Jewish scribes taught truths that had been known for centuries as well as fresh insights that applied God’s Word to new situations, the disciples were storing up Jesus’ teaching and would one day repeat and apply His words for the benefit of others. They would pass down “things new and old” (13:52). The New Testament contains the written record of the disciples’ lifetime of discoveries. Like those early followers, we still uncover treasures both old and new, looking back to fundamental truths that never change and discerning ways to apply biblical principles to new issues. More: Becoming a scribe required constant study, often beginning at age 14 and continuing to the age of 40.
The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares
24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29But he said, ‘No, lest while you gath er up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’ ”
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
31Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, 32which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is great er than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”
The Parable of the Leaven
33 Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three mea suresa of meal till it was all leavened.”
Prophecy and the Parables
34 All these things J esus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a para ble He did not speak to them, 35that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the proph et, saying:
“I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.” a
The Parable of the Tares Explained
36 T hen Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” 37He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 T he field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 T he enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 T herefore as the tares are gath ered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 T he Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend,
13:33 a Greek sata, approximately two pecks in all 13:35 a Psalm 78:2
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and those who practice lawlessness, 42and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 T hen the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
brother Philip’s wife. 4 Because John had said to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” 5And although he wanted to put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. 6But when Herod’s birthday was cele brated, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod. 7 T herefore The Parable of the Hidden Treasure 44“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like he promised with an oath to give her what treasure hidden in a field, which a man ever she might ask. 8 So she, having been prompted by her found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. mother, said, “Give me John the Baptist’s head here on a platter.” 9And the king was sorry; nevertheless, The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like because of the oaths and because of those he commanded it to be a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46who, who sat with him, 10 when he had found one pearl of great price, given to her. So he11sent and had John went and sold all that he had and bought it. beheaded in prison. And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. 12 T hen his The Parable of the Dragnet 47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is disciples came and took away the body and buried it, and went and told Jesus. like a dragnet that was cast into the sea 48 and gathered some of every kind, which, Feeding the Five Thousand when it was full, they drew to shore; and 13 W hen J esus heard it, He departed they sat down and gathered the good into from there by boat to a deserted place by 49 vessels, but threw the bad away. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels Himself. But when the multitudes heard followed Him on foot from the cit will come forth, separate the wicked from it, they 14 among the just, 50 and cast them into the ies. And when Jesus went out He saw a furnace of fire. There will be wailing and great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their gnashing of teeth.” 15 51Jesus said to them,a “Have you under sick. W hen it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, “This is a deserted stood all these things?” place, and the hour is already late. Send the They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” b 52 T hen He said to them, “Therefore 13:51 a NU‑Text omits Jesus said to them. every scribe instructed concerninga the b NU‑Text omits Lord. 13:52 a Or for kingdom of heaven is like a householder 13:55 a NU‑Text reads Joseph. who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”
Jesus Rejected at Nazareth
53Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, that He departed from there. 54 W hen He had come to His own country, He taught them in their syn agogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? 55Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, a Simon, and Judas? 56And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” 57So they were offended at Him. But J esus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” 58Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
John the Baptist Beheaded
t that time Herod the tetrarch heard A the report about J esus 2and said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.” 3For Herod had laid hold of John and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his
Hateful Herodias Matt. 14:3
Herodias enjoyed her privilege and position as the wife of Palestine’s appointed ruler. But she had no control over the outspoken John the Baptist, who had publicly condemned Herodias’s marriage to Herod Antipas. A granddaughter of Herod the Great, Herodias had first married her father’s brother, Herod Philip I. Then she left Philip to marry his half brother Herod Antipas, who divorced his wife to marry Herodias. When John denounced their immoral behavior, Herodias was determined to silence the troublesome prophet. She persuaded Herod to have John arrested and imprisoned, but she could not bring about an execution until Herod’s promise to give Herodias’s daughter Salome “whatever she might ask” (Matt. 14:7). Not many people remember Herodias’s name, but her evil cunning and violent revenge are far from forgotten two thousand years after she walked the earth. Whether or not your name is remembered, your actions will teach—perhaps for generations. What are you teaching?
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FOURTH PROOFS Matthew 14:16
ultitudes away, that they may go into the m villages and buy themselves food.” 16But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” 17And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” 18 He said, “Bring them here to Me.” 19 T hen He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. 20So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. 21Now those who had eaten were about five thou sand men, besides women and children.
Public Faith Matt. 14:13, 14 Knowing that God seeks a relationship with every individual on earth, many Christians enthusiastically pursue the private side of spirituality, building habits of prayer, private Bible reading, self-examination and confession, personal holiness, acts of charity, and more. But what about the public side of faith? For example: • How do we live out our faith in public arenas such as work, school, and politics? • How strategic and energetic is our collective witness as God’s people to a watching world? • How do we influence our society as a whole—its ideologies, needs, and values? These far- reaching questions have no quick answers. But the public side of Jesus’ ministry shows that we cannot ignore them. Many in His day withdrew from society to perfect a private spirituality (such as the Essenes; see “Political Parties of Jesus’ Day” at Matt. 16:1). But Jesus actively engaged His culture. He participated in its rituals. He focused on its cities (see “Jesus’ Urban Ministry” at Matt. 9:35). He interacted with its leaders. He welcomed its crowds. He particularly reached out to its poor, both the financially poor and the “poor in spirit” (5:3). Jesus rules not only our private lives but also our public lives. As His followers we are more than private individuals. We have been made part of a “royal priesthood” and a “holy nation.” We were once “not a people,” but now we are “the people of God” (1 Pet. 2:9, 10). We must visibly act on our faith as a united community in order to powerfully impact our world. More: Jesus used two metaphors to describe a believer’s public life, particularly in terms of work and participation in the community. See “Salt and Light” at Matt. 5:13–16.
Jesus Walks on the Sea
22Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23And when He had sent the multi tudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea,a tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. 25Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walk ing on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” 28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to J esus. 30But when he saw that the wind was boisterous,a he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” 31And immediately J esus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 T hen those who were in the boat came anda worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”
Many Touch Him and Are Made Well
34 W hen they had crossed over, they came to the land ofa Gennesaret. 35And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, 36 and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.
Defilement Comes from Within
hen the scribes and Pharisees who T were from Jerusalem came to J esus, saying, 2“Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” 3He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? 4For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; a and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ b 5But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”— 6 then he need not honor his father or mother.’ a
14:24 a NU‑Text reads many furlongs away from the land. 14:30 a NU‑Text brackets that and boisterous as disputed. 14:33 a NU‑Text omits came and. 14:34 a NU‑Text reads came to land at. 15:4 a Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16 b Exodus 21:17 15:6 a NU‑Text omits or mother.
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Thus you have made the commandmentb of without understanding? 17Do you not yet God of no effect by your tradition. 7Hypo understand that whatever enters the mouth crites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, goes into the stomach and is eliminated? 18But those things which proceed out of the saying: mouth come from the heart, and they defile 8 ‘These people draw near to Me with a man. 19For out of the heart proceed evil their mouth, thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, a And honor Me with their lips, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 T hese But their heart is far from Me. are the things which defile a man, but to 9 And in vain they worship Me, eat with unwashed hands does not defile Teaching as doctrines the a man.” a commandments of men.’ ” 10 W hen He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and under stand: 11Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” 12 T hen His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this say ing?” 13But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.” 15 T hen Peter answered and said to Him, “Explain this parable to us.” 16 So Jesus said, “Are you also still
A Gentile Shows Her Faith
21 T hen Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon- possessed.” 23But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.” 24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
5:6 b NU‑Text reads word. 15:8 a NU‑Text 1 omits draw near to Me with their mouth, And. 15:9 a Isaiah 29:13
Evaluating Tradition Matt. 15:1–3 Jesus rebuked the scribes and Pharisees for allowing their traditions to supersede God’s clear commands. He specifically called out the stringent rabbinical rules regarding ritual washings for preparing and serving food. Today we do not follow the rigid pronounce- • Why does this tradition exist? Why is it ments of a priestly class. Yet there are countless maintained? Are there solid reasons to traditions and expectations—many unspoken— continue it—or to end it? that govern our behavior, and sometimes cause • Who benefits and who suffers from us to squabble. As Christians, we are called at maintaining this tradition? Who might be times to uphold tradition and at other times to helped or hurt by a change? create new patterns of life. There are no simple formulas to guide our decisions, but we can More: Tradition can preserve values and beliefs start by reflecting on questions like these: for future generations. See “Remembering God’s Action” at Ex. 12:26, 27. • What values and principles does a particular tradition seek to embody? How do those align with what Christ wants?
No Racial Division Matt. 15:24 The roots of social division stretched far back into Israel’s history, when a remnant of Jews had come home from captivity in Babylon to rebuild Jerusalem around 458 b.c. Ezra, their leader, commanded them to purify themselves from all pagan influences, particularly marriages to foreign-born wives (Ezra 10:2–4). Later, after centuries of Greek and Roman domination, Jews had developed a hatred for Gentiles so strong that it led them to avoid any and all contact with foreigners if at all possible. According to Tacitus, a Roman historian, “they regard the rest of mankind with all the hatred of enemies” (Histories, 5.5). continued on next page
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FOURTH PROOFS Matthew 15:25
25 T hen
she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” 26But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” 27And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” 28 T hen J esus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
Jesus Heals Great Multitudes
they all ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets full of the fragments that were left. 38Now those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children. 39And He sent away the multi tude, got into the boat, and came to the re gion of Magdala.a
The Pharisees and Sadducees Seek a Sign
hen the Pharisees and Sadducees T came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. 2He answered and said to them, “When it is eve ning you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; 3and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites!a You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you can not discern the signs of the times. 4 A wick ed and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the propheta Jonah.” And He left them and departed.
29 Jesus departed from there, skirt ed the Sea of Galilee, and went up on the mountain and sat down there. 30 T hen great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at J esus’ feet, and He healed them. 31So the multi tude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel. The Leaven of the Pharisees and
Feeding the Four Thousand
32Now Jesus called His disciples to Him-
self and said, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now contin ued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” 33 T hen His disciples said to Him, “Where could we get enough bread in the wilderness to fill such a great multitude?” 34 Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven, and a few little fish.” 35 So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. 36And He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitude. 37So
5Now when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. 6 T hen Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Phar isees and the Sadducees.” 7And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have taken no bread.” 8But J esus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread?a 9Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets
15:39 a NU‑Text reads Magadan. 16:3 a NU‑ Text omits Hypocrites. 16:4 a NU‑Text omits the prophet. 16:8 a NU‑Text reads you have no bread.
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The Jews who lived in Jesus’ day divided the world into two types of people—themselves and everyone else. Jews regarded Gentiles as morally unclean and spiritually lost. Jews were God’s people, and they saw all others as outside His family. Peter expressed this attitude when the Lord sent him to meet the Roman centurion Cornelius: “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation,” Peter said (Acts 10:28). Matthew’s Gospel shows the tension and the divisions between Jew and Gentile. Jesus was the long-awaited Christ of the Jews (Matt 15:24), the fulfillment of Old Testament messianic prophecies (for example, Matt. 1:23; 2:6, 14, 18, 23). But Jesus also broke down the wall of hatred and separation between Jews and Gentiles. By dealing with both groups alike,
Jesus shattered the established systems of His day and shocked His fellow Jews. Racism and ethnic hatred have no place in God’s plan. They originate in sinful human hearts, and Jesus repudiated the evil of bigotry wherever He found it. There is no doubt God will continue to tear down ethnic and racial walls in the modern world. And as His followers, it is our job to lead the way in showing equal acceptance and love for all peoples of the world. More: While Matthew’s Gospel highlights the Jewish roots of Jesus, it also reveals Him as the Messiah for the whole world. See “A Savior for the Whole World” at Matt. 8:10. Samaritans were treated with scorn by their Jewish cousins because they were half-Jew, half-Gentile. See “The Road Less Traveled” at John 4:4–42.
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Political Parties of Jesus’ Day Matt. 16:1 Jesus seemed acutely aware of His society’s power brokers. He showed remarkable skill at political gamesmanship. But He functioned in a system completely unlike our own. While we cannot do more than speculate on Jesus’ political leanings, we can still grapple with the political dynamics of Palestine during the first half of the first century. Jesus ministered in a tumultuous environment where at least five major political parties flourished among the Jews.
The Herodians: Defenders of the Status Quo • Took their name from Herod the Great (37– 4 b.c.) and his supporters (Acts 12:1, 2). • Encouraged the spread of Greco-Roman culture and policies in Palestine. • Favored political autonomy. Fearing military intervention from Rome, they stridently resisted challengers to the status quo, including the Zealots, John the Baptist, Jesus, and the early Christians. • Joined forces with other parties to eliminate Jesus (Matt. 22:16; Mark 3:6; 12:13).
The Pharisees: Religious Legalists • Name means “To Separate.” • Held views similar to the Essenes but chose not to flee the larger society. Many chose to study the Law on their own, having lost respect for a corrupt priesthood. • Many served on the Jewish Council (see “The Council” at Acts 6:12–15). • Considered the doctors of the Law; scribes were considered laymen. • Collected and preserved voluminous products of oral tradition and Old Testament commentary. • Legalistic and fanatically devoted to rabbinic tradition. Some refused to eat with non-Pharisees for fear of contamination from food not ritually cleansed. • Favored political autonomy. • Differed with the Sadducees over the doctrine of resurrection. • Understood the coming kingdom as a literal fulfillment of God’s promise to David of a King to reign over Israel forever. • Developed an elaborate theology of angels and their intervention in human affairs.
The Sadducees: The Urban Elite • Included many of the aristocrats, priests, merchants, and urban elite in Jerusalem and other cities of Judea. • Many served on the Jewish Council. Most high priests in the days of Jesus and the early church were Sadducees. • Denied the existence of angels, a resurrection or life after death, as well as the doctrines of everlasting punishment and a literal kingdom. • Denied that God controls history, insisting on free will and the responsibility of
humans to make wise choices according to the Law. • Held only to the Law of Moses (the first five books of the Old Testament) as authoritative.
The Zealots: Firebrands of Revolution • Fervent nationalists who awaited an opportunity to revolt against Rome. • Resisted paying taxes to Rome or to the temple. • Their tax revolt led by Judas the Galilean against Rome (6 b.c.) secured Galilee’s reputation as a seedbed of revolutionaries. • Blamed by some for the collapse of Judea to Rome in the war of a.d. 66–70. • Sided with the Pharisees in supporting the Law. • Opposed the Herodians and Sadducees, who tried to maintain the political status quo. • Intolerant of the Essenes and Christians for their tendencies toward nonviolence. • The Zealots Judas Iscariot and Simon the Canaanite were recruited by Jesus.
The Essenes: Detached Purists • A sect of ascetics that thrived from the middle of the second century b.c. until the Jewish-Roman war of a.d. 66–70. • Unlike the Pharisees, they separated from society, withdrawing into monastic communities like Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. • Known today mostly through secondary sources. • Lived in groups that held property in common. • Believed in the immortality of the soul, angels, and an elaborate system of end- times prophecies. Some awaited as many as three different Messiahs. • Known for celibacy, pacifism, opposition to slavery, caring for their sick and elderly, trading only within their own sect, simple meals and dress, and rejection of all ostentatious display. • Carefully guarded the Sabbath and paid more attention than the Pharisees to ceremonial purity. • May have influenced some early Christian practices and rituals. More: In addition to the regional politics of Palestine, Jesus and His followers lived under Rome’s potent influence.
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FOURTH PROOFS Matthew 16:10
The Gates of Hell Matt. 16:18 The citizens of ancient cities built walls to protect themselves from invaders. Along the walls they built massive gates that could be opened to allow traffic into the city and closed to deny entry to bandits or attacking armies. City gates became thoroughfares of com merce and social debate. Bazaars and forums congregated around a city’s gates. Goods changed hands and decision- makers gathered to hear news and deliberate. In some cities, these gates continue to serve as a hub for public life today. During ancient times, gates eventually became a metaphor for the economic and political life of a city. The powerful and influential did their business “in the gates.” The husband of the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31, for example, is “known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land” (Prov. 31:23). Boaz went to the gates to buy a marriage license to marry Ruth (Ruth 4:1–12; compare Deut. 25:7). War plans were drawn up and military treaties were signed in the gates (Judg. 5:8, 11). Kings sat in the gates to address their people (2 Sam. 19:8). Even conspirators hatched their plots and were exposed in the gates (Esth. 2:19–23). When Jesus mentioned the gates of Hades, His words would have had potent political associations for His listeners, like we might have with the terms city hall, the Capitol, or the White House. The gates of Hades were not a mere spiritual abstraction but real evil forces working through human systems that included government, specifically the Roman government, which was quickly becoming more and more corrupt and anti-Christian. Jesus alluded to a spiritual warfare of cosmic proportions. His followers battle forces that both attack individual Christians and infiltrate institutions to enlist them in a campaign against Christ. Satan’s guises take many forms (see “Angels and Demons” at Matt. 8:29). Jesus promised that the gates of Hades will not succeed in the end. He offers hope to all of His followers who cope with challenging situations and battle for good against entities backed by spiritual forces of evil. In the midst of the fight, Jesus has declared, “I will build My church” (16:18). More: During this conversation, Jesus and His disciples stood in the shadow of a city named in honor of Rome’s emperor.
you took up? 10Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? 11How is it you do not under stand that I did not speak to you concern ing bread?—but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 T hen they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ
13 W hen Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” 14So they said, “Some say John the Bap tist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19And I will give you the keys of the king dom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and what ever you loose on earth will be looseda in heaven.” 20 T hen He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.
Jesus Predicts His Death and Resurrection
21From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. 22 T hen Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” 23But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
Take Up the Cross and Follow Him
24 T hen J esus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. 28Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here
16:19 a Or will have been bound . . . will have been loosed
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who shall not taste death till they see the pleased. Hear Him!” 6And when the disci Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” ples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. 7But Jesus came and Jesus Transfigured on the Mount touched them and said, “Arise, and do not Now after six days Jesus took Peter, be afraid.” 8 W hen they had lifted up their James, and John his brother, led them eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. 9 Now as they came down from the up on a high mountain by themselves; 2and He was transfigured before them. His face mountain, J esus commanded them, saying, shone like the sun, and His clothes became “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of as white as the light. 3And behold, Moses Man is risen from the dead.” 10And His disciples asked Him, saying, and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. 4 T hen Peter answered and said to “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if must come first?” 11 You wish, let usa make here three taberna Jesus answered and said to them, cles: one for You, one for Moses, and one “Indeed, Elijah is coming firsta and will for Elijah.” restore all things. 12But I say to you that 5 W hile he was still speaking, behold, a Elijah has come already, and they did not bright cloud overshadowed them; and sud know him but did to him whatever they denly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well about to suffer at their hands.” 13 T hen the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist.
Grow On Up Matt. 16:22, 23
Peter liked to take charge and set his own agenda. But he found himself in over his head: • When Jesus walked on water, Peter tried to confirm Jesus’ identity by demanding an invitation to join Him on the water. After a few steps, Peter was overwhelmed by the wind and the waves and sank in fear (Matt. 14:22–32). • Peter exaggerated his commitment to Christ, claiming that “even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” (26:35). Only a few hours later he denied having any connection to Jesus (26:69–75). • Peter tried to singlehandedly defend Jesus against Roman soldiers who came to arrest Him, even though he had failed to “watch and pray” with Christ (26:36– 46; John 18:1–11). • Peter refused to let Jesus wash his feet at the Last Supper, then begged Him to wash his hands, feet, and head as well (13:5–11). Peter’s leadership impulses were eventually brought under control, and he became a significant figure in the early church. Despite the false starts that resulted from Peter’s impetuous nature, Peter grew up. Jesus enlisted this loyal follower to “feed My sheep” (21:17). Like Peter, our leadership skills may be raw. We might be ready to jump at the first idea that enters our mind. We can instead let Jesus harness our energies and talents for His glory. He has a plan for our growth, and it may require slowing down before speeding up. More: Peter was not the only follower of Christ who seemed like an unlikely candidate to become a leader. See “Unlikely Leaders” at Matt. 26:35–74.
A Boy Is Healed
14 And when they had come to the mul titude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, 15“Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptica and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16 So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.” 17 T hen J esus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour. 19 T hen the disciples came to J esus pri vately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief;a for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impos sible for you. 21However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” a
Jesus Again Predicts His Death and Resurrection
22Now while they were stayinga in Gal ilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, 23and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up.” And they were exceedingly sorrowful.
Peter and His Master Pay Their Taxes
24 W hen they had come to Capernaum,a those who received the temple tax came to
17:4 a NU‑Text reads I will. 17:11 a NU‑Text omits first. 17:15 a Literally moonstruck 17:20 a NU‑Text reads little faith. 17:21 a NU‑ Text omits this verse. 17:22 a NU‑Text reads gathering together. 17:24 a NU‑Text reads Capharnaum (here and elsewhere).
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The Names of Jesus Matt. 17:5 During the Transfiguration God the Father called Jesus “My beloved Son.” Elsewhere, Scripture calls Jesus by names and titles that highlight other aspects of His nature, character, and mission. Name or Title
Adam (1 Cor. 15:45)
The first Adam’s sin brought death to humankind. Jesus, “the last Adam,” brought life to humankind.
The Alpha and the Omega (Rev. 21:6)
Jesus is eternal, “The Beginning and the End.” Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, and omega is the last.
Apostle (Heb. 3:1)
Apostle means “messenger.” Jesus came to bring the good news of salvation to humanity.
The Bread of Life (John 6:35, 48)
Jesus is the spiritual food God gives to those who ask.
The chief cornerstone (Eph. 2:20)
Jesus is the church’s foundation.
The Chief Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:4)
Jesus cares for His flock, the church.
The Christ (Matt. 1:1, 17; 16:16; Luke 2:11; John 1:41)
From the Greek word Christos, “Messiah” or “Anointed One.” Jesus fulfills the Old Testament promise of a Messiah for God’s people.
The Consolation of Israel (Luke 2:25)
Jesus came to comfort the nation of Israel (Is. 40:1, 2).
The firstborn from the dead (Col. 1:18)
Jesus overcame death to give life to those who believe in Him.
The firstborn over all creation (Col. 1:15)
As God’s Son, Jesus rules over everything that exists.
The Good Shepherd (John 10:11, 14; compare Heb. 13:20)
Describes Jesus’ relationship to His people.
The head of the body, the church (Eph. 1:22, 23; 4:15, 16; Col. 1:18)
Jesus is His people’s leader and their source of life.
High Priest (Heb. 3:1)
Like an Old Testament high priest, Jesus offers an acceptable sacrifice for sin.
The Holy One of God (Mark 1:24; John 6:69)
Jesus is the sinless Messiah promised by God.
I AM (John 8:58)
A name related to the verb “to be,” which God used to reveal Himself to Moses (Ex. 3:14).
The image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15)
Jesus expresses God in bodily form.
Immanuel (Matt. 1:23)
“God-With-Us” (Is. 7:14).
Jesus (Matt. 1:21; Luke 1:30; Acts 9:5)
The name that God instructed Joseph and Mary to call their Son.
King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16)
The formal title that indicates Jesus’ supremacy as the one to whom “every knee should bow” (Phil. 2:9–11).
King of the Jews (Matt. 2:2; 27:11, 12; John 19:19)
As the Messiah, Jesus is Israel’s King and the fulfillment of God’s promises to David (2 Sam. 7:12–16).
The Lamb of God (John 1:29, 35)
Jesus became the atoning sacrifice for sin.
The Light of the World (John 9:5)
Jesus brings truth and hope to light in the midst of spiritual darkness.
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FOURTH PROOFS 1159 Peter and said, “Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?” 25He said, “Yes.” And when he had come into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?” 26Peter said to Him, “From strangers.” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. 27Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money;a take that and give it to them for Me and you.”
Who Is the Greatest?
t that time the disciples came to A Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 T hen J esus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, 3and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 T herefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 W hoever re ceives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
Jesus Warns of Offenses
6 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 Woe to the world be cause of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! 8 “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. 9And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
10 “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. 11For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.a 12 “What do you think? If a man has
17:27 a Greek stater, the exact amount to pay the temple tax (didrachma) for two 1 8:11 a NU‑ Text omits this verse.
continued from previous page Name or Title
Lord (Luke 2:11; 1 Cor. 2:8; Phil. 2:11)
A title indicating ultimate sovereignty.
Mediator between God and men (1 Tim. 2:5)
Jesus reestablishes the relationship between God and humanity.
The only begotten of the Father (John 1:14)
Jesus is God’s only Son.
The Prophet (Mark 6:15; John 7:40; Acts 3:22)
Jesus is the leader that God promised to “raise up” like Moses (Deut. 18:15, 18, 19).
Rabbi (John 1:38; 3:2)
Friends and enemies alike recognized Jesus as Teacher.
Savior (Luke 1:47; 2:11)
Jesus came to save people from their sins.
Seed (of Abraham; Gal. 3:16)
God made promises to Abraham and his “Seed,” identified by Paul as Christ (Gen. 13:15; 17:8).
The Son of Abraham (Matt. 1:1)
Jesus descended from Abraham and fulfills God’s promises to Abraham (Gen. 22:18).
The Son of David (Matt. 1:1)
Jesus descended from David and fulfills God’s promises to David (2 Sam. 7:12–16).
The Son of God (John 1:34; 9:35–37)
Jesus is one of three Persons of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).
The Son of Man (Matt. 18:11; John 1:51)
Though fully God, Jesus took on a human body (compare Phil. 2:5–8).
The Word (John 1:1; Rev. 19:13)
Jesus is fully God and the full expression of God.
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FOURTH PROOFS Matthew 18:13
a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-n ine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? 13And if he should find it, as suredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 14Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
Dealing with a Sinning Brother
15“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses ev ery word may be established.’ a 17And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. 18 “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19 “Again I say a to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Fa ther in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
21 T hen Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. 23 T herefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. 26 T he servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 27 T hen the master of that ser vant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. 28 “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ 29So his fellow ser vant fell down at his feeta and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ b 30And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. 31So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. 32 T hen his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You
wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. 35“So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” a
Marriage and Divorce
ow it came to pass, when Jesus had N finished these sayings, that He de parted from Galilee and came to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. 2 And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them there. 3 T he Pharisees also came to Him, test ing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” 4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made a them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ b 5and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall be come one flesh’ ?a 6So then, they are no lon ger two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” 7 T hey said to Him, “Why then did Mo ses command to give a certificate of di vorce, and to put her away?” 8He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9And I say to you, whoever di vorces his wife, except for sexual immorali ty,a and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.” 10His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”
Jesus Teaches on Celibacy
11But He said to them, “All cannot ac cept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: 12For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eu nuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.”
Jesus Blesses Little Children
13 T hen little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them.
18:16 a Deuteronomy 19:15 18:19 a NU‑Text and M‑Text read Again, assuredly, I say. 18:29 a NU‑Text omits at his feet. b NU‑ Text and M‑Text omit all. 18:35 a NU‑Text omits his trespasses. 19:4 a NU‑Text reads created. b Genesis 1:27; 5:2 19:5 a Genesis 2:24 19:9 a Or fornication
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Jesus said, “Let the little children 19‘Honor your father and your mother,’ a come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as your such is the kingdom of heaven.” 15And He self.’ ” b 20 T he young man said to Him, “All these laid His hands on them and departed from there. things I have kept from my youth.a What do I still lack?” 21Jesus said to him, “If you want to be Jesus Counsels the Rich Young Ruler 16 Now behold, one came and said to perfect, go, sell what you have and give Him, “Good a Teacher, what good thing to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” shall I do that I may have eternal life?” 22But when the young man heard that 17So He said to him, “Why do you call a Me good? No one is good but One, that is, saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had God.b But if you want to enter into life, keep great possessions. the commandments.” 18He said to Him, “Which ones?” With God All Things Are Possible Jesus said, “ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You 23 T hen J esus said to His disciples, “As shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not sured ly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for Jesus Valued Children a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 W hen His disciples heard it, they Matt. 19:14 were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” The warm welcome that Jesus extended to lit26But J esus looked at them and said to tle children spoke loudly about their worth. them, “With men this is impossible, but The disciples who rebuked the mothers for with God all things are possible.” bringing their babies to Jesus (Matt. 19:13) 27 T hen Peter answered and said to Him, may have reflected the dominant Greco- “See, we have left all and followed You. Roman view of childhood as an insignificant Therefore what shall we have?” stage of life. Children were necessary for a 28 So J esus said to them, “Assuredly I family’s survival but were not valued for say to you, that in the regeneration, when their own sake. the Son of Man sits on the throne of His Unwanted infants in pagan cultures were glory, you who have followed Me will also routinely abandoned on roadsides and at sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve garbage dumps. Gender and economics oftribes of Israel. 29And everyone who has ten determined an infant’s fate: girls were left houses or brothers or sisters or father left more often than boys because girls or mother or wifea or children or lands, for represented a financial burden while boys My name’s sake, shall receive a hundred would eventually contribute to a family’s infold, and inherit eternal life. 30But many come. Most abandoned infants died. A few who are first will be last, and the last first. were found by others and raised to become slaves, gladiators, or prostitutes. Children The Parable of the Workers were considered so unimportant that proin the Vineyard fessional beggars sometimes mutilated these “For the kingdom of heaven is like a abandoned children and used their misery landowner who went out early in the to garner sympathy from passersby. morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. Among the Jews, however, children had 2Now when he had agreed with the laborers traditionally been considered a blessing from for a denarius a day, he sent them into his God. The Law instructed both fathers and vineyard. 3And he went out about the third mothers to nurture and care for children, but hour and saw others standing idle in the Jewish fathers had ultimate authority over marketplace, 4and said to them, ‘You also all aspects of their children’s lives. They were go into the vineyard, and whatever is right obligated to teach their children God’s comI will give you.’ So they went. 5Again he mands and raise them as active members of went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, God’s chosen people (Deut. 6:6–8). Children and did likewise. 6And about the eleventh in return were to honor their parents (5:16). hour he went out and found others standing In Jewish culture, mothers usually took idle,a and said to them, ‘Why have you been care of infants, who typically nursed until standing here idle all day?’ 7 T hey said to the age of two or three. Wealthy Greeks and him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to Romans employed wet nurses, and as the 19:16 a NU‑Text omits Good. 19:17 a NU‑ children grew, their care was turned over Text reads Why do you ask Me about what is to slaves. Poor women worked with babies good? b NU‑Text reads There is One who is slung on their backs, and children were good. 19:19 a Exodus 20:12–16; Deuteronomy taught to help in their parents’ work as soon 5:16–20 b Leviticus 19:18 19:20 a NU‑Text omits from my youth. 19:29 a NU‑Text omits as they were able.
or wife. 20:6 a NU‑Text omits idle.
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FOURTH PROOFS Matthew 20:8
them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.’ a 8 “So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and give them their wages, begin ning with the last to the first.’ 9And when those came who were hired about the elev enth hour, they each received a denarius. 10But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. 11And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.’ 13But he answered one of them and said, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. 15Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.” a
Jesus a Third Time Predicts His Death and Resurrection
17Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them, 18 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, 19and deliver Him to the Gentiles to
mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.”
Greatness Is Serving
20 T hen the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. 21 And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.” 22But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” a They said to Him, “We are able.” 23So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with;a but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.” 24 And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. 25But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great
20:7 a NU‑Text omits the last clause of this verse. 20:16 a NU‑Text omits the last sentence of this verse. 20:22 a NU‑Text omits and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with. 20:23 a NU‑Text omits and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with.
Wages and Grace Matt. 20:1–16
Leaders Serve Matt. 20:25–28
Anyone who feels underpaid and undervalued can appreciate the reaction of the workers in the parable about wages. Jesus described an employer who hired some workers for a full day, others for two-thirds of a day, others for half a day, and others for even less. Yet he paid them all the same amount. Those who had worked long and hard in the heat of the day felt abused. The first thing to notice as we struggle to understand this parable is that none of the workers had a job before the landowner hired them (Matt. 20:3, 6, 7). They found work because of the employer’s goodwill and initiative, not because of anything they brought to the situation. Moreover, the landowner promised the first group fair wages for a day’s work, which he delivered (20:2; see also “Seventy Times Seven” at Matt. 18:21– 35), and he offered the rest of the workers an undetermined amount (“whatever is right,” 20:4, 7). As it turned out, he paid everyone for a full day. In the kingdom of God, we receive grace because of the nature of the Giver, not because of our own worthiness.
When Jesus’ disciples quarreled over who among them was greatest, He called their attention to His new style of assessing importance. He told them that attaining greatness required becoming a slave. Leading would mean taking the role of a servant. Jesus’ own example shows us what servant-leadership looks like: • We are called by God to serve and lead. • We intimately know the people we serve and lead. • We care deeply about those we serve and lead. • We willingly sacrifice our own convenience to meet the needs of people we serve and lead. Nehemiah embraced the kind of servant- leadership that Jesus praised. Learn more in “Leadership Principles from Nehemiah: Leaders Resist Underhanded Politics” at Nehemiah 6:5– 9. Discover the powerful image Jesus used when He compared true leadership to slavery in “Who You Serve” at Romans 6:16.
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FOURTH PROOFS 1163 exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Two Blind Men Receive Their Sight 29Now
as they went out of Jericho, a great multitude followed Him. 30And be hold, two blind men sitting by the road, when they heard that J esus was passing by, cried out, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!” 31 T hen the multitude warned them that they should be quiet; but they cried out all the more, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!” 32 So J esus stood still and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 33 T hey said to Him, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened.” 34So Jesus had compas sion and touched their eyes. And imme diately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.
The Triumphal Entry
ow when they drew near Jerusa N lem, and came to Bethphage,a at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disci ples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find
a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. 3And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” 4 Alla this was done that it might be ful filled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: 5
“Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ” a 6 So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. 7 T hey brought the don key and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Hima on them. 8And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 T hen the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ a Hosanna in the highest!” 10And when He had come into Jerusa lem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?” 21:1 a M‑Text reads Bethsphage. 21:4 a NU‑ Text omits All. 21:5 a Zechariah 9:9 21:7 a NU‑Text reads and He sat. 21:9 a Psalm 118:26
A Humble Parade Matt. 21:1–11 Sheep Gate
. o f
Possible route of Jesus’ entry into temple area
Ro d f a
Jerusalem was overflowing with an influx of religious pilgrims. The city’s preparations for the Passover created the perfect moment for Jesus to enter Jerusalem to the loud cheers of people who were familiar with His ministry. Two prophets had foretold His arrival in Jerusalem (Is. 62:11; Zech. 9:9). But as Jesus entered the city, He demonstrated not pride but humility. The Messiah did not plan a parade of chariots, trumpets, and orchestrated ceremony. He did not ride into town on a prancing war horse. Rather than walking arm-in-arm with powerful officials and other prominent citizens, He was accompanied by a small band of fishermen, rural Galileans, even a former tax collector. He arrived on a donkey, a common beast of burden. At the end of the parade route, Jesus did not seek a welcome from city leaders. He marched to the temple, where He overthrew tables of businesses that manipulated the poor and made the house of worship into a place of profit (Matt. 21:12, 13). He focused on the blind, the lame, and children (21:14–16). And when He completed the day’s tasks, He
mB ethp hag e
spent the night in a humble house in nearby Bethany (21:17). As Jesus prepared to die, He focused His final activities on people in need of His love, forgiveness, and hope—people without privilege and power (Luke 4:18). More: Jesus surrounded Himself with people who had low social standing and little influence. See “Ordinary People at the Cross” at Matt. 27:32.
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FOURTH PROOFS Matthew 21:11
the multitudes said, “This is J esus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”
Jesus Cleanses the Temple
12 T hen Jesus went into the temple of Goda and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ a but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ” b 14 T hen the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. 15But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant 16and said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise’ ?” a
marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither away so soon?” 21So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. 22And what ever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
Jesus’ Authority Questioned
23Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the peo ple confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You do ing these things? And who gave You this authority?” 24 But Jesus answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what au thority I do these things: 25 T he baptism of John—where was it from? From heaven or from men?” And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will 17 T hen He left them and went out of the say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe city to Bethany, and He lodged there. him?’ 26But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the multitude, for all count John as a proph The Fig Tree Withered et.” 27So they answered Jesus and said, “We 18Now in the morning, as He returned do not know.” 19 to the city, He was hungry. And seeing a And He said to them, “Neither will I tell fig tree by the road, He came to it and found you by what authority I do these things. nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” Immedi The Parable of the Two Sons 28 “But what do you think? A man had ately the fig tree withered away. two sons, and he came to the first and said, The Lesson of the Withered Fig Tree ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ 29He 20And when the disciples saw it, they answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but after ward he regretted it and went. 30 T hen he came to the second and said likewise. And A Challenge to Authority he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did Matt. 21:23–27 not go. 31 W hich of the two did the will of his father?” They said to Him, “The first.” When Israel’s top leaders attacked Jesus with Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to threatening questions, He answered with you that tax collectors and harlots enter questions of His own. His interaction with the the kingdom of God before you. 32For John chief priests and elders reveals two important came to you in the way of righteousness, considerations: and you did not believe him; but tax col lectors and harlots believed him; and when 1. The motives of the challengers. The you saw it, you did not afterward relent and scribes and Pharisees were not looking believe him. to understand the reach or source of Jesus’ authority. They wanted solely to The Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers protect their own interests and power. 33 “Hear another parable: There was a Their behavior prompts us to examine certain landowner who planted a vineyard how often we question or resist people and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in authority simply because we are in it and built a tower. And he leased it to afraid or jealous of them. vinedressers and went into a far country. 2. The confidence of Jesus. The Lord’s 34 Now when vintage-t ime drew near, he attackers were unable to force the sent his servants to the vinedressers, that reaction they wanted from Him because they might receive its fruit. 35And the vine Jesus knew with absolute certainty who dressers took his servants, beat one, killed He was and whose authority He wielded one, and stoned another. 36Again he sent (Matt. 28:18). His response encourages other servants, more than the first, and us to remember that no one can 21:12 a NU‑Text omits of God. 21:13 a Isaiah intimidate us without our permission.
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FOURTH PROOFS 1165 they did likewise to them. 37 T hen last of all he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38But when the vinedress ers saw the son, they said among them selves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ 39So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?” 41 T hey said to Him, “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.” 42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, And it is marvelous in our eyes’ ?a 43 “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. 44 And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.” 45Now when the chief priests and Phar isees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them. 46But when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitudes, because they took Him for a prophet.
The Parable of the Wedding Feast
vants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. 7But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 8 T hen he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 T herefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, in vite to the wedding.’ 10 So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11“But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. 12So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 T hen the king said to the ser vants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, anda cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14“For many are called, but few are cho sen.”
The Pharisees: Is It Lawful to Pay Taxes to Caesar?
15 T hen the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. 16And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. 17 Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it law ful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” 18But J esus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypo crites? 19Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius. 20And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” 21 T hey said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 W hen
nd Jesus answered and spoke to A them again by parables and said: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, 3 and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. 4 Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my din ner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wed ding.” ’ 5But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to 21:42 a Psalm 118:22, 23 2 2:13 a NU‑Text omits his business. 6And the rest seized his ser take him away, and.
Harlots Enter the Kingdom Matt. 21:31, 32 Jesus’ startling statement about harlots entering the kingdom of God was not an endorsement of their profession but a condemnation of the self-righteousness and unbelief of Israel’s religious leaders. Faith was the key to the kingdom, and prostitutes showed more faith in Jesus than those who claimed to be religious. Despite laws against adultery and bans on the ritual sexual activities that took place in many pagan temples, prostitutes were common in Hebrew society (see “Prostitutes in the Ancient World” at Judg. 16:1). In Jesus’ day they endured the scorn of the religious elite, especially the Pharisees, who avoided contact with anyone they regarded as sinful.
By contrast, Jesus was known as a friend of sinners who welcomed people who knew they needed forgiveness (Matt. 11:19; Luke 7:36–50). His words show that people do not have to become good before they meet God. He responds to faith no matter how troubled our past. Then He guides us as we establish a new life.
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FOURTH PROOFS Matthew 22:23
they had heard these words, they marveled, wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her.” and left Him and went their way. 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scrip The Sadducees: What About tures nor the power of God. 30For in the res the Resurrection? 23 T he same day the Sadducees, who say urrection they neither marry nor are given but are like angels of Goda in there is no resurrection, came to Him and in marriage, 31 asked Him, 24saying: “Teacher, Moses said heaven. But concerning the resurrection that if a man dies, having no children, his of the dead, have you not read32what was brother shall marry his wife and raise up spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the offspring for his brother. 25Now there were God of Abraham,a the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’ ? God is not the God of with us seven brothers. The first died after the dead, but of the living.” 33And when he had married, and having no offspring, the multitudes heard this, they were aston left his wife to his brother. 26Likewise the ished at His teaching. second also, and the third, even to the sev enth. 27Last of all the woman died also. 22:30 a NU‑Text omits of God. 22:32 a Exodus 28 T herefore, in the resurrection, whose 3:6, 15
Trick Questions Matt. 22:23–33 The Sadducees tried to trap Jesus in front of a crowd with a question on serial marriage relationships. They attempted to corner Him regarding His teaching on the resurrection, a belief they rejected. Jesus exposed their thinly veiled plot and at the same time affirmed the resurrection. He used the very Scriptures they loved to quote (Matt. 22:32 is from Ex. 3:6) and refused to let them twist things to their advantage. He cut to the heart of the matter. There is nothing wrong with being discreet or stating things subtly and diplomatically. Sometimes we need to plant seeds in another person’s thinking and allow time for an idea to take root. But here Jesus challenged selfish
manipulation and trickery. The world should know His followers as people who speak the truth. More: Speaking the truth in love is one of the main qualities of Christlike character. Read Eph. 4:15. Think About It: What is the difference between manipulation and stating things subtly or diplomatically?
What Kind of Love? Matt. 22:34– 40 The Greek language employed by New Testament authors had four different words for love: 1. Ero¯s was used in the context of male- female relationships and included physical desire, craving, and longing. This word for love does not appear in the New Testament. 2. Stergos denoted affection and was often applied to the mutual love between family members. This word is also not used in the New Testament. 3. Philos reflected the concern and care of friends for each other—what we call brotherly love. Peter and Jesus discussed this kind of love when the Lord sent Peter to care for His followers (John 21:15–17). 4. Agape¯ described a supreme love involving a conscious and deliberate choice to do good for another. It is powered by the choice of the one who shows love, not the worthiness of the one who receives it. Agape¯ is best seen in God’s love
for the world (3:16). It is also the love that God calls His followers to display (1 Cor. 13:1–13). When Jesus spoke the greatest of the commandments, He called us to agape¯-love. He commanded an ongoing, conscious choice to graciously serve God and others while expecting nothing in return. As His followers, we learn this kind of love from Him (1 John 3:11– 24). His constant care for us empowers us to sustain love as an act of the will rather than as a fleeting expression of emotion. We show love even when we feel weary or rejected. Love is intentional, expresses itself, and includes compassion and grace. More: The Bible invites us to discover love’s true nature through its portrayal of love from many angles. See “Love Is as Strong as Death” at Song 8:6.
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The Scribes: Which Is the First Commandment of All?
34 But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 T hen one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great com mandment in the law?” 37Jesus said to him, “ ‘ You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ a 38 T his is the first and great commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ a 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Jesus: How Can David Call His Descendant Lord?
41 W hile the Pharisees were gathered to gether, Jesus asked them, 42saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” They said to Him, “The Son of David.” 43He said to them, “How then does Da vid in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying: 44 ‘The
Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool” ’ ? a 45If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” 46And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did any one dare question Him anymore.
Woe to the Scribes and Pharisees
hen J esus spoke to the multitudes T and to His disciples, 2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 T herefore whatever they tell you to observe,a that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. 4 For they bind heavy bur dens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and en large the borders of their garments. 6 T hey love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, 7greetings in the mar ketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ 8But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ,a and you are all brethren. 9Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Fa ther, He who is in heaven. 10And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. 11But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. 13 “But woe to you, scribes and Phari sees, hypocrites! For you shut up the king dom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 Woe to you,
scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will re ceive greater condemnation.a 15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. 16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is noth ing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’ 17Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifiesa the gold? 18And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.’ 19Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? 20 T herefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it. 21He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwellsa in it. 22And he who swears by heav en, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it. 23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! 25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.a 26Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful out wardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. 29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’ 31“Therefore you are w itnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who 32 murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. 33Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? 34 T herefore, indeed, 22:37 a Deuteronomy 6:5 2 2:39 a Leviticus 19:18 22:44 a Psalm 110:1 23:3 a NU‑Text omits to observe. 23:8 a NU‑Text omits the Christ. 23:14 a NU‑Text omits this verse. 23:17 a NU‑Text reads sanctified. 23:21 a M‑ Text reads dwelt. 23:25 a M‑Text reads unrighteousness.
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FOURTH PROOFS Matthew 23:35
I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your syn agogues and persecute from city to city, 35that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered be tween the temple and the altar. 36Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
Jesus Laments over Jerusalem
chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38See! Your house is left to you des olate; 39for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ” a
Jesus Predicts the Destruction of the Temple
hen Jesus went out and departed T from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. 2And J esus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her 23:39 a Psalm 118:26
Tithing Matt. 23:23, 24 The word tithe means “a tenth part.” In the Old Testament, God commanded the Israelites to give tithes—a tenth of their produce or income—for three reasons: 1. to support the Levites, who were responsible for the tabernacle and worship (see “Sharing the Wealth” at Num. 18:20–24); 2. to support feasts and sacrifices (see “Celebrating Abundance” at Deut. 14:22– 26); and 3. to set aside resources to assist the poor, orphans, widows, and foreigners (see “The Third-Year Tithe and Government Aid” at Deut. 14:28, 29). In the New Testament, neither Christ nor the apostles give explicit instructions about tithing. Jesus clearly endorsed the practice, however, as He did all the dictates of the Law (Matt. 5:17– 20; 23:23). He denounced the Pharisees for hypocritically ignoring the “weightier matters” of the Law, such as justice, mercy, and faith, but those important issues did not negate other matters such as tithing. As Christians evaluate the practice of tithing today, several principles emerge: 1. Our giving should spring from a love of Christ rather than a sense of obligation. Abraham gave the first tithe
(Gen. 14:17–20) as an expression of gratitude when God rescued him in battle. Scripture always puts worship at the heart of tithing. 2. Everything we have ultimately comes from and belongs to God, not only what we give away but also what we keep. God claims 100 percent of our income, not 10 percent. 3. Ten percent is a good starting point for giving. 4. The New Testament is clear that vocational Christian workers have a right to financial support from those to whom they minister (1 Cor. 9:13, 14; Gal. 6:6). 5. Many churches and other ministries assist the needy, and it seems legitimate to encourage members of a Christian community to donate money to those priorities. 6. No matter how much we give or to whom, Jesus indicates that our first priority should be to ensure that justice is carried out around us. We are to show mercy to our neighbors. Rather than just talk about our faith, we are to put it into action.
Whitewashed Tombs Matt. 23:27, 28 Jesus drew on a grim image as He denounced the self-righteous Pharisees. At the end of a Jewish funeral procession—a slow march that onlookers were obliged to join—the body was placed in a tomb on a rock shelf. Once the flesh had decomposed, bones were collected and removed, allowing the shelf to be reused.
Since Jews were made ritually unclean by touching graves (Num. 19:16), the rocks used to seal tombs were whitewashed as a warning to stay away. The glaze gave the outside of a tomb a clean appearance, even though inside corpses were decomposing.
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Matthew 24:29 4 And
Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5For 3Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6And the disciples came to Him privately, saying, you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. “Tell us, when will these things be? And See that you are not troubled; for alla these what will be the sign of Your coming, and things must come to pass, but the end is not of the end of the age?” yet. 7For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences,a and earthquakes JERUSALEM in various places. 8All these are the begin Matt. 23:37 ning of sorrows. 9 “Then they will deliver you up to trib ulation and kill you, and you will be hated ■ Palestine’s leading city throughout much of by all nations for My name’s sake. 10And the biblical era. then many will be offended, will betray one ■ Well-situated for defense on two triangular another, and will hate one another. 11 T hen ridges that converged to the south, bormany false prophets will rise up and de dered by the Kidron Valley on the east and ceive many. 12And because lawlessness will the Valley of Hinnom on the west. abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13But he who endures to the end shall be ■ Appears in the Bible as early as Abraham saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom (Gen. 14:18), and the site had likely been will be preached in all the world as a wit inhabited for centuries before then. ness to all the nations, and then the end will ■ Captured by David and made Israel’s come. capital. The Great Tribulation ■ Site of Solomon’s temple during the monarchy 15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomi and Herod’s temple during the first century. nation of desolation,’ a spoken of by Daniel ■ Population in Jesus’ day was probably the prophet, standing in the holy place” 60,000 to 70,000, though estimates range (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to all the way from 40,000 to 12 million. the mountains. 17Let him who is on the ■ Besieged and destroyed by Rome in a.d. 70. housetop not go down to take anything ■ Relatively small but densely populated with out of his house. 18And let him who is in numerous suburbs. the field not go back to get his clothes. 19But woe to those who are pregnant and Long before and after Christ, Jerusalem to those who are nursing babies in those has been esteemed as far more than an ordidays! 20And pray that your flight may not nary city. And as the center of Israel’s governbe in winter or on the Sabbath. 21For then ment, culture, and religion, it bore the brunt there will be great tribulation, such as has of Jesus’ anguished cry over the Jews’ rejection not been since the beginning of the world of Him (Matt. 23:37, 38). until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22And Even though Jesus visited Jerusalem sevunless those days were shortened, no flesh eral times, most of its population never rewould be saved; but for the elect’s sake sponded to the Son of God. Nor did the city those days will be shortened. welcome His followers when they brought the 23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, message of His resurrection. The place known here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe as the holy city (4:5) rejected the Holy One of it. 24For false christs and false prophets will Israel, the Son of God. rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25See, I have told you beforehand. Sea of 26 “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, JERUSALEM Galilee Nazareth He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, Center of Jewish He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. worship— 27For as the lightning comes from the east the Holy City. Samaria and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28For wher SA MA ever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together. err
Jordan R iver
The Signs of the Times and the End of the Age
The Coming of the Son of Man
Dead Sea N
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the
24:6 a NU‑Text omits all. 24:7 a NU‑Text omits pestilences. 24:15 a Daniel 11:31; 12:11
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FOURTH PROOFS Matthew 24:30
heavens will be shaken. 30 T hen the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man c oming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
The Parable of the Fig Tree
32 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33So you also, when you see all these things, know that ita is near— at the doors! 34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 35Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
No One Knows the Day or Hour
36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven,a but My Father only. 37But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour a your Lord is coming. 43But know this, that if the mas ter of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 T herefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
groom. 2Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 T hose who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. 6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming;a go out to meet him!’ 7 T hen all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. 11“Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 “Watch therefore, for you know nei ther the day nor the h our a in which the Son of Man is coming.
The Parable of the Talents
The Faithful Servant and the Evil Servant
14 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each ac cording to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 T hen he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18But he who had re ceived one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. 19After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled ac counts with them. 20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, say ing, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents be sides them.’ 21His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 22He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you deliv ered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ 23His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have
The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins
24:33 a Or He 24:36 a NU‑Text adds nor the Son. 24:42 a NU‑Text reads day. 24:48 a NU‑
45 “Who then is a faithful and wise ser vant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? 46Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. 47As suredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. 48But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is de laying his coming,’ a 49and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, 51and will cut him in two and ap point him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
“ Then the kingdom of heaven shall Text omits his coming. 25:6 a NU‑Text omits be likened to ten virgins who took is coming. 25:13 a NU‑Text omits the rest of their lamps and went out to meet the bride this verse.
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FOURTH PROOFS 1171 not scattered seed. 25And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ 26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27So you ought to have deposited my mon ey with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with in terest. 28So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. 29‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30And cast the unprofit able servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
The Son of Man Will Judge the Nations
31“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy a angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33And He will set the sheep
Quality, Not Quantity Matt. 25:14–30 Jesus’ parable of talents offers a vital lesson on success. God measures our achievements not by how much we have but by what we do with what He gives us. We are managers entrusted with resources and responsibilities. He evaluates whether we use those gifts to obey and honor Him. Finding success as our culture measures it, in terms of wealth, prestige, power, or fame, doesn’t matter in the long run. What counts is faithfully serving the Lord (Matt. 25:21, 23). We must avoid the fate of the third servant, wasting our lives by failing to carry out our Master’s business. More: A talent was an immense amount of money. Jesus told a different version of this parable in Luke 19:15–27.
on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 T hen the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Fa ther, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hun gry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 W hen did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in pris on, and come to You?’ 40And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ 41“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ 44 “Then they also will answer Him, a saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hun gry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 T hen He will answer them, saying, ‘As suredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righ teous into eternal life.”
The Plot to Kill Jesus
ow it came to pass, when Jesus had N finished all these sayings, that He said to His disciples, 2“You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.” 3 T hen the chief priests, the scribes,a and the elders of the people assembled at the 25:31 a NU‑Text omits holy. 25:44 a NU‑Text and M‑Text omit Him. 26:3 a NU‑Text omits the scribes.
The Religious Power Broker Matt. 26:3–5 As high priest, Caiaphas was the most influential member of the Sanhedrin, the ruling council and supreme court of the Jews (see “The Council” at Acts 6:12–15). The position afforded him vast authority but little job security. High priests served at Rome’s pleasure, and between 37 b.c. and a.d. 67, the empire appointed no fewer than twenty-eight men to the position. The fact that Caiaphas kept his job for eighteen years points to his uncommon political savvy. Some have suggested it is evidence of a corrupt alliance with Rome. Yet even if Caiaphas was in league with would mobilize Roman troops and crush the Rome, his goal was to protect Israel’s inter- nation. When Jesus drew vast crowds and perespecially His ests. He feared that the slightest civil disorder formed astounding miracles— continued on next page
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FOURTH PROOFS Matthew 26:4
palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, 4 and plotted to take Jesus by trickery and kill Him. 5But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.”
The Anointing at Bethany
6And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, 7a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table. 8But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, say ing, “Why this waste? 9For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.” 10But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, “Why do you trouble the wom an? For she has done a good work for Me. 11For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. 12For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. 13Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”
Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus 14 T hen
with the twelve. 21Now as they were eating, He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.” 22 And they were exceedingly sorrow ful, and each of them began to say to Him, “Lord, is it I?” 23 He answered and said, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me. 24 T he Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” 25 T hen Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?” He said to him, “You have said it.”
Jesus Institutes the Lord’s Supper
26And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blesseda and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 27 T hen He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28For this is My blood of the new a covenant, which is shed for many
26:26 a M‑Text reads gave thanks for.
one of the twelve, called Judas 26:28 a NU‑Text omits new. Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15and said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Waste or Worship? Him to you?” And they counted out to him Matt. 26:6–13 thirty pieces of silver. 16So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him. The woman who anointed Jesus was Mary, Jesus Celebrates Passover with His Lazarus’s sister (see “Funeral Preparations” at Disciples John 12:1–8). As she poured oil on His head, 17Now on the first day of the Feast of what the disciples saw as waste, the Lord saw the Unleavened Bread the disciples came to as worship. The tension between the two still Jesus, saying to Him, “Where do You want exists. Christians argue over whether it is us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?” right to spend millions on new church facili18 And He said, “Go into the city to a ties when so many poor and homeless sleep certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teach in the streets. See also “Sparing No Expense” er says, “My time is at hand; I will keep at 1 Kings 5:5. the Passover at your house with My disci ples.” ’ ” More: Spikenard was a fragrant, costly oil im19 So the disciples did as Jesus had di ported from Asia. See “The Fragrance of Love” rected them; and they prepared the Pass at Song 1:12–14. Mary’s act was the first step in over. preparing Jesus’ body for the grave. 20 W hen evening had come, He sat down
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raising of Lazarus from the dead—Caiaphas decided that He would have to be done away with (John 11:45–50). This led to a well-conceived plot in which Jesus was arrested, brought to an illegal trial, and confronted with false evidence (Matt. 26:3, 4, 57–68). By playing Pilate (the Roman governor) and Herod (the Jewish king) against each other, and by encouraging a mob mentality from the people (Luke 22:66— 23:25), Caiaphas successfully orchestrated Jesus’ conviction and execution. Caiaphas was stunned when the movement that he thought he had killed came roaring
back to life. The apostles began preaching the gospel in Jerusalem and all over the Roman empire with great success. Like Jesus, they performed miracles that drew the people’s attention and prompted a response to the saving message about Christ (Acts 3:1—4:13). Think About It: There are always more players than you in any encounter. When are you tempted to be a power broker, just to win? When can political actions be a way to truly work for good?
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FOURTH PROOFS 1173 for the remission of sins. 29But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” 30And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
The Prayer in the Garden
36 T hen Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the dis ciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” 37And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 38 T hen Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly 31 T hen Jesus said to them, “All of you sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and will be made to stumble because of Me this watch with Me.” 39He went a little farther and fell on His night, for it is written: face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, ‘I will strike the Shepherd, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; And the sheep of the flock will be nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” scattered.’ a 40 T hen He came to the disciples and 32But after I have been raised, I will go be found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one fore you to Galilee.” 33 Peter answered and said to Him, hour? 41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into “Even if all are made to stumble because temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” of You, I will never be made to stumble.” 42 Again, a second time, He went away 34 Jesus said to him, “Assured ly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unlessa I crows, you will deny Me three times.” 35Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to drink it, Your will be done.” 43And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes die with You, I will not deny You!” were heavy. And so said all the disciples. 44 So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same Judas’s Betrayal words. 45 Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and Matt. 26:14–16 resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands The New Testament never mentions Judas of sinners. 46Rise, let us be going. See, My Iscariot without a reminder that he was betrayer is at hand.” the man who betrayed Jesus (for example, Matt. 10:4; Mark 3:19; John 12:4). To this day Betrayal and Arrest in Gethsemane the name Judas is a symbol of betrayal. 47And while He was still speaking, be The Gospels suggest that Judas was mohold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great tivated to betray Jesus by his greed. But the multitude with swords and clubs, came amount that the priests paid him to hand from the chief priests and elders of the over Jesus—thirty pieces of silver—was relpeople. 48Now His betrayer had given them a atively small. Besides, he had access to the disciples’ money box and apparently was sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the known for helping himself to its contents One; seize Him.” 49Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and (12:6). kissed Him. Some have suggested that Judas believed 50But J esus said to him, “Friend, why that his betrayal would force Jesus to assert have you come?” His true power and overthrow the Romans. Then they came and laid hands on J esus Others say that Judas became convinced and took Him. 51And suddenly, one of those that Jesus was a false Messiah and that the who were with J esus stretched out his hand true Messiah was yet to come. Or perhaps and drew his sword, struck the servant of he was upset by Jesus’ seemingly casual atthe high priest, and cut off his ear. titude toward the Law and didn’t like how 52But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword He associated with sinners or apparently viin its place, for all who take the sword will olated the Sabbath. No one can say exactly perisha by the sword. 53Or do you think that why Judas turned against Jesus. He remains I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will a shadowy figure, unknown by his companprovide Me with more than twelve legions ions, unfaithful to his Lord, unmourned in of angels? 54How then could the Scriptures his death. be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?” 55In that hour Jesus said to the multi More: After Judas took his own life, his death tudes, “Have you come out, as against a was ironically memorialized with the purchase robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? of a plot of ground for a cemetery. The New I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, Testament mentions several other Judases. One and you did not seize Me. 56But all this was was a brother of Jesus and probably the author of the Book of Jude (Matt. 13:55; see also the 26:31 a Zechariah 13:7 26:42 a NU‑Text reads if this may not pass away unless. introduction to Jude).
26:52 a M‑Text reads die.
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FOURTH PROOFS Matthew 26:57
done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.
Jesus Faces the Sanhedrin
57And those who had laid hold of Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were as sembled. 58But Peter followed Him at a dis tance to the high priest’s courtyard. And he went in and sat with the servants to see the end. 59 Now the chief priests, the elders, a and all the council sought false testimony
Unlikely Leaders Matt. 26:35–74 Jesus was close to the end of His earthly ministry. His life was about to suffer an agonizing finish at the hands of His enemies. Those He had trained to succeed Him would assume leadership of His new movement, a transition that would prove near catastrophic. During those final days and hours, His followers began to fall apart: • Bravado caused them to overstate their commitment (Matt. 26:35). When the moment of decision came, they deserted their Lord (26:56). • When Jesus asked them to keep watch with Him during His final hours of freedom, they twice fell asleep (26:40, 43). • As Jesus endured mockery and beatings, Peter, who had led the others in vowing their loyalty (26:35), denied even knowing his Master (26:69–75). The disciples hardly seem to have had what was needed to continue the work that Jesus began. But even after an experience of excruciating suffering and glorious resurrection, Jesus returned to these same followers and announced that they were still His chosen leaders to continue His work. He even affirmed His commitment to stick with them to the end (28:19, 20). Jesus’ treatment of the disciples shows that failure is not an unforgivable act. In fact, it seems to be necessary to create character. It is not meant to eliminate but to transform the weak and wavering. Christ does not look for perfect people but for faithful followers who will experience His forgiveness, and move on to learn and grow. More: The Twelve were all men, but women also played an important role in Jesus’ life and ministry. See “The Women Who Followed Jesus” at Luke 8:1–3. God has always valued devotion over perfection. See “The Hall of Faith” at Heb. 11:1– 40.
against Jesus to put Him to death, 60 but found none. Even though many false wit nesses came forward, they found none.a But at last two false witnessesb came for ward 61and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’ ” 62 And the high priest arose and said to Him, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?” 63But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!” 64 Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 T hen the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy! 66 W hat do you think?” They answered and said, “He is deserv ing of death.” 67 T hen they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands, 68 saying, “Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?”
Peter Denies Jesus, and Weeps Bitterly
69Now Peter sat outside in the court yard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with J esus of Gal ilee.” 70But he denied it before them all, say ing, “I do not know what you are saying.” 71And when he had gone out to the gate way, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 72But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!” 73And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.” 74 T hen he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. 75And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly.
Jesus Handed Over to Pontius Pilate
hen morning came, all the chief W priests and elders of the people plot ted against Jesus to put Him to death. 2And when they had bound Him, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pontiusa Pilate the governor. 26:59 a NU‑Text omits the elders. 26:60 a NU‑ Text puts a comma after but found none, does not capitalize Even, and omits they found none. b NU‑Text omits false witnesses. 27:2 a NU‑Text omits Pontius.
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FOURTH PROOFS 1175
Judas Hangs Himself
3 T hen Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!” 5 T hen he threw down the pieces of sil ver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself. 6 But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood.” 7And they consulted together and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. 8 T herefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 T hen was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, 10 and gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord di rected me.” a
But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!” 24 W hen Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am inno cent of the blood of this just Person.a You see to it.” 25And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.” 26 T hen he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he deliv ered Him to be crucified.
The Soldiers Mock Jesus
27 T hen the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gath ered the whole garrison around Him. 28And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. 29 W hen they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 T hen they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. 31And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His Jesus Faces Pilate own clothes on Him, and led Him away to 11Now J esus stood before the governor. be crucified. And the governor asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” The King on a Cross Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.” 32Now as they came out, they found a 12 And while He was being accused by the man of Cyrene, Simon by name. Him they chief priests and elders, He answered noth compelled to bear His cross. 33And when ing. 13 T hen Pilate said to Him, “Do You not they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull, 34they gave hear how many things they testify against Him sour a wine mingled with gall to drink. 14 You?” But He answered him not one word, But when He had tasted it, He would not so that the governor marveled g reatly. drink. 35 T hen they crucified Him, and divided Taking the Place of Barabbas His garments, casting lots,a that it might be 15Now at the feast the governor was fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: accustomed to releasing to the multitude “They divided My garments among one prisoner whom they wished. 16And them, at that time they had a notorious prisoner And for My clothing they cast lots.” b called Barabbas.a 17 T herefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, 36Sitting down, they kept watch over Him “Whom do you want me to release to you? there. 37And they put up over His head the Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” accusation written against Him: 18For he knew that they had handed Him THIS IS JESUS THE KING over because of envy. OF THE JEWS. 19 W hile he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have 38 T hen two robbers were crucified with nothing to do with that just Man, for I have Him, one on the right and another on the suffered many things today in a dream be left. 39And those who passed by blasphemed cause of Him.” 20But the chief priests and elders per Him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, suaded the multitudes that they should ask “You who destroy the temple and build it for Barabbas and destroy J esus. 21 T he gov in three days, save Yourself! If You are the ernor answered and said to them, “Which Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41Likewise the chief priests also, mock of the two do you want me to release to ing with the scribes and elders,a said, 42“He you?” saved others; Himself He cannot save. If They said, “Barabbas!” 22Pilate said to them, “What then shall I 27:10 a Jeremiah 32:6–9 27:16 a NU‑Text reads do with Jesus who is called Christ?” Jesus Barabbas. 27:24 a NU‑Text omits just. They all said to him, “Let Him be cru 27:34 a NU‑Text omits sour. 27:35 a NU‑Text cified!” and M‑Text omit the rest of this verse. b Psalm 23 T hen the governor said, “Why, what 22:18 27:41 a M‑Text reads with the scribes, evil has He done?” the Pharisees, and the elders.
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FOURTH PROOFS Matthew 27:43
He is the King of Israel,a let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.b 43He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” 44 Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.
Jesus Dies on the Cross
cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” a 47Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!” 48Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink.
45Now from the sixth hour until the 27:42 a NU‑Text reads He is the King of ninth hour there was darkness over all Israel! b NU‑Text and M‑Text read we will the land. 46And about the ninth hour Jesus believe in Him. 27:46 a Psalm 22:1
Ordinary People at the Cross Matt. 27:32 Unlike many who rise to prominence, Jesus never lost touch with normal people. He did not insulate Himself from difficulties by cushioning His life or associating only with the powerful, wealthy, and privileged. His birth, life, and death involved very ordinary people. Jesus surrounded Himself with people who had little social standing or influence. The events surrounding His birth involved a minor priest and his barren wife, a small-town girl and a poor carpenter, shepherds, an elderly woman, and three foreigners. His closest adult friends were fishermen, and He was known for hanging out with tax collectors and
prostitutes. During His final days and hours an ordinary visitor to Jerusalem—a resident of northern Africa—was compelled to carry His cross. Others showed curiosity about Him, demonstrated understanding and loyalty, or acted with compassion. These humble people were uniquely able to perceive His message about true values and needs.
Ordinary People Who Saw Jesus to the Cross Simon the leper, once an untouchable outcast
Hosted Jesus as his houseguest (Matt. 26:6).
An unnamed woman (probably Mary of Bethany; see “Mary’s Devotion” at John 11:2; compare 12:1–8)
Anointed Jesus’ head with expensive ointment (Matt. 26:7).
An unnamed homeowner in Jerusalem
Opened his home to Jesus and the Twelve for their last meal together (Matt. 26:18).
The disciples, Jesus’ chosen successors from rural Galilee
Proclaimed their faith (Matt. 26:35) and joined Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane during the final hours before His arrest (26:40, 43, 56).
An unnamed servant girl
Asked Peter about his association with Jesus (Matt. 26:69).
Another girl in the crowd
Also asked Peter about his relationship with Jesus (Matt. 26:71).
Unnamed crowd members
Also inquired if Peter knew Jesus (Matt. 26:71).
Betrayed Christ; later broke down with guilt and committed suicide (Matt. 27:3–5).
Barabbas, a convicted criminal
Was freed instead of Jesus because of a mob’s demands (Matt. 27:16, 26).
Simon of Cyrene, a man in the crowd
Was conscripted to carry Jesus’ cross (Matt. 27:32).
Two dying thieves
Were executed with Jesus (Matt. 27:38, 44).
An unnamed crowd member
Offered Jesus a drink as He was in His death throes (Matt. 27:48).
An unnamed Roman centurion
Observed that Jesus must be the Son of God (Matt. 27:54).
Some loyal women from Galilee
Looked on from afar (Matt. 27:55, 56).
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FOURTH PROOFS 1177
Wealthy People in the New Testament Matt. 27:57 Unlike Joseph of Arimathea, most of Jesus’ followers were not wealthy. But we can learn about the dangers and disciplines of money from other wealthy people noted in the New Testament. Having money is in itself not safe or dangerous, bad or good. But how we handle it can be. Then and now, God calls His followers to use whatever we have at our disposal to show compassion, mercy, and justice to all. Person(s)
How They Handled Their Wealth
Lessons to Learn
Zacchaeus the tax collector (Luke 19:1–10)
• Before faith, cheated citizens and abused the poor. • After faith, repented and made restitution.
• Ill-gotten gain must be repaid. • God saves and changes us—all the way down to our finances.
Joseph of Arimathea (Matt. 27:57–61; Mark 15:42– 46; Luke 23:50–53)
• Prepaid his own funeral. • Donated his tomb for Jesus’ burial.
• Forsaking earthly treasures for the lasting kingdom of God will be rewarded.
Female supporters of Christ (Luke 8:1–3*; 23:55—24:10; Mark 15:40; 16:1)
• Supported Jesus’ work. • Assisted in Jesus’ burial (probably donated expensive perfume).
• Generosity should characterize those who follow Jesus.
Roman centurion who believed (Matt. 8:5–13; Luke 7:1–5)
• Showed kindness toward the Jews. • Paid for the construction of a synagogue. • Showed compassion for his ailing servant.
• Authentic love for others shows in the things we do and the projects we support.
Rich young ruler (Matt. 19:16– 30; Mark 10:17–31; Luke 18:18–30)
• Unwilling to part with his wealth when tested by Jesus.
• Those who cling to wealth find it difficult or impossible to enter God’s kingdom. • Righteousness cannot be earned and must be received as a gift. • “Many who are first will be last, and the last first” (Matt. 19:30).
Philemon (Philem. 1)
• Owned slaves and other property. • Was urged to forgive a runaway slave and accept him as a brother in Christ.
• People are more valuable than property.
Joseph, called Barnabas (Acts 4:36, 37)
• Sold land and gave the proceeds to other followers of Jesus.
• Partnership in the gospel means putting your money at the disposal of fellow believers in need.
Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1)
• Sold land and tried to deceive the church about the proceeds to gain a good reputation.
• God is not fooled by gracious appearances but sees the heart and acts accordingly.
Rich Christians disapproved of by James (James 2:1–7)
• Exploited the tendency of people to cater to the wealthy. • Dragged other Christians into court and slandered Jesus.
• God favors those who are rich in faith; they will inherit the kingdom.
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FOURTH PROOFS Matthew 27:49
49 T he
rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.” 50And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51 T hen, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding J esus, saw the earthquake and the things that had hap pened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!” 55And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar, 56among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses,a and the mother of Zebe dee’s sons.
Jesus Buried in Joseph’s Tomb
Pilate Sets a Guard
62 On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pi late, 63 saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 T herefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by nighta and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.” 65Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.
He Is Risen
ow after the Sabbath, as the first N day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 2And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord de scended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door,a and sat on it. 3His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. 5But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6He is
57Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of J esus. 58 T his man went to Pi late and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. 59 W hen Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed. 61And 27:56 a NU‑Text reads Joseph. 27:64 a NU‑Text Mary Magdalene was there, and the other omits by night. 28:2 a NU‑Text omits from Mary, sitting opposite the tomb. the door.
continued from previous page Lydia (Acts 16:14*, 40)
• Hosted the first European church in her home.
• We should use our homes and resources to accomplish God’s purposes.
Cornelius the centurion (Acts 10:1*)
• Generous to the poor. • Sought out Peter concerning the faith.
• Fear of God should prompt us to admit our need for a Savior.
The Ethiopian treasurer (Acts 8:26–40)
• Traveled to Jerusalem to nurture his belief in God. • Invited Philip to explain more about the faith.
• Stewardship of money and study of Scripture go hand in hand—as do business trips and opportunities for worship.
Simon the sorcerer (Acts 8:9–25)
• Craved spiritual power and thought it could be bottled and sold.
• God’s gifts cannot be bought.
*See individual profiles at texts indicated.
More: Wealth is a major topic in the New Testament. Jesus warned about its dangers. Read Matt. 6:24; Mark 10:17–31; and Luke 12:13–21. Likewise, Paul challenged believers to use their resources in a Christlike way. See “Christians and Money” at 1 Tim. 6:6–19.
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FOURTH PROOFS 1179 not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is ris en from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” 8 So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.
The Women Worship the Risen Lord
worshiped Him. 10 T hen J esus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”
The Soldiers Are Bribed
11Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and re ported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. 12 W hen they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,
9And as they went to tell His disciples,a behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” 28:9 a NU‑Text omits the first clause of this So they came and held Him by the feet and verse.
Surprised by God Matt. 28:6 The women who went to the tomb on the first Easter Sunday were exceedingly frightened by what they found—or rather, by what they did not find. The tomb was empty! God understands how it feels when He sends startling spiritual events. He helps us overcome our fears and sort out whatever comes our way. He sent an angel to comfort and enlighten Mary and Mary Magdalene about the truth of Christ’s resurrection. He sent an angel to Joseph when he was troubled by Mary’s inexplicable pregnancy (Matt. 1:18–25). Many other people in Scripture were no less troubled by the occurrence of spiritual events and realities. The help they received from God included messages from angels. But He also sent other people, dramatic and even
miraculous demonstrations of His power, stirring promises, and the enormous comfort of His Word. God appreciates the impact of spiritual light suddenly shining in a dark world. He helps us overcome the shock not only of what He has spoken but also the fact that He has spoken. Will we respond to His message? No matter how uncomfortable we may feel about new adventures in faith, we dare not avoid them. God opens up these uneasy places in our lives to draw us to Him.
To Every Nation Matt. 28:19 Jesus sent His followers to make disciples of all the nations (ethne¯, “peoples”; Matt. 28:19). That mandate may seem obvious to us who know that two thousand years of Christian outreach have been based on this and similar passages. Christianity has spread from its Middle Eastern roots to become a global religion followed by roughly one-third of the world’s population. Modern technology would seem to make expanding that outreach even further a relatively simple task. In many ways, however, we still resemble Jesus’ original disciples. They wanted a local hero, a Messiah just for Israel, one who would keep their customs and confirm their prejudices. They were no doubt stunned by the scope and implications of the cross-cultural vision that Jesus presented. He was more than the King of the Jews. He was the global Christ, the Savior of the entire world. Jesus had tried to open their eyes to this fact since the start of His ministry. Matthew recorded again and again His work among Gentiles (for example, Matt. 8:10; 15:24). He even cited Isaiah 42:1– 4, highlighting that Jesus would “declare justice to the Gentiles
[nations] . . . and in His name Gentiles will trust” (Matt. 12:14–21). Yet now the disciples had a hard time believing their Lord’s words. Could He really be interested in all the nations? They certainly were not. It is easy to nod in agreement with the idea that Jesus cares for the whole world. But it is not as easy to blend real people from varying backgrounds. Even so, what a good adventure it becomes when we intentionally obey God in building friendships. Culture, after all, is the key. Jesus told His Galilean followers to make disciples, and they did—Jewish disciples. They experienced profound culture shock when the Holy Spirit brought new groups into the burgeoning church, including Hellenist disciples (Acts 6:1– 7), Samaritan disciples (8:4– 25), and continued on next page
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FOURTH PROOFS Matthew 28:13
13 saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at
night and stole Him away while we slept.’ 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.” 15So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is com monly reported among the Jews until this day.
The Great Commission
saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. 18And J esus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19Go thereforea and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all things that I have command ed you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.a
16 T hen the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus 28:19 a M‑Text omits therefore. 28:20 a NU‑ had appointed for them. 17 W hen they Text omits Amen.
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eventually Gentile disciples from a variety of backgrounds (10:1—11:18; 15:1–21). As the gospel spread to people of different cultures, there was always the danger of ethnic and racial factions going their separate ways. Paul urged Christians to pursue unity in the body of Christ and charity among the peoples of the world (see “One People” at Rom. 11:13–24). The bulk of new disciples today are non- Caucasian and non-Western. Not surprisingly, they bring widely different cultural perspectives into the church. One of the greatest challenges we will face as we move together into the future is to delight in these differences.
It’s the same difficulty that the original disciples faced at the inauguration of the Christian movement: not merely to acknowledge but to act on, and enjoy, the fact that Jesus truly is Lord of all the nations. More: God’s plan to make disciples of people throughout the world was part of His overall, long-term objective of making His name great among the nations. See “Great Among the Nations” at Mal. 1:11. The spread of the gospel to the rest of the world began just a few days after Jesus spoke the words recorded in Matt. 28:19.
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The Gospel According to
ALTHOUGH THE BOOK OF MARK appears second among the four Gospels, it is an ideal starting point for getting to know Jesus. Mark portrays Jesus’ life in simple, straightforward, rapidly-paced vignettes. In fact, action is the most obvious feature of the book. Jesus reveals Himself here more by what He does than by what He says. While the Gospels of Matthew and Luke contain many of the scenes reported in this book, Mark reports far fewer of Christ’s spoken teachings. The book gets at the fundamental facts about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The Gospel of Mark opens with a view of the crowds streaming into the wilderness to be baptized by John the Baptist (Mark 1:4, 5). John predicts the coming of the Messiah (1:6–8). Then Jesus appears, and John baptizes Him (1:9–11). In another wilderness setting, Jesus endures a lonely vigil as Satan tests Him, wild beasts haunt Him, and angels attend Him (1:12, 13). Time passes, and arid wilderness gives way to seaside Galilee, where Jesus launches His ministry with an appeal for repentance (1:14, 15). The book continues with Mark heaping up scenes of Christ on the move, traveling and doing His good work. The overall message is not hard to find: Jesus is the Son of God (1:1, 11; 9:7; 14:61, 62; 15:39), who came not “to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (10:45). Christ’s sacrificial death is a prominent feature of the book. Nearly 40 percent of its contents describe the last week of Jesus’ life, offering details of His arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection. This Gospel’s vivid style and attention to detail lend a sense of authenticity and immediacy that could come only from an author who was an eyewitness to the events recorded. But Mark himself was probably not a participant in the story. And the book never names its author. However, in about a.d. 125, Papias, bishop of Hierapolis in Asia Minor, stated that Mark created this Gospel by writing down Peter’s recollections of Jesus’ life. Subsequent tradition agrees with Papias in ascribing the book to Mark. It is possible, then, that the book contains Peter’s memories of his years of following Jesus as one of the Twelve. As Mark ministered to Christians in Rome, he may have targeted Gentile Christians who knew little about Old Testament Judaism but who needed grounding in the facts about Jesus, perhaps not only in general but as a source of preparation and comfort leading up to their persecution and even martyrdom by Nero, emperor of Rome (a.d. 54–68). Mark (sometimes referred to as John Mark; see his profile at Acts 15:37) was a native of Jerusalem, and the church often met for prayer at his mother’s house (Acts 12:12). Thanks to his cousin Barnabas (Col. 4:10), he was mentored in the faith (Acts 15:37–39) and became a valued associate of Paul (2 Tim. 4:11) and Peter (1 Pet. 5:13). Mark probably traveled with Peter to Rome, where tradition holds that he composed his Gospel in the early 60s a.d.
Key Events in Mark • John the Baptist preaches a message of repentance (Mark 1:1–15). • Jesus calls Simon Peter and other fishermen to follow Him (Mark 1:16–20). • Jesus tells the parable of the sower (Mark 4:1–20). • Jesus heals a bleeding woman and raises a girl from the dead (Mark 5:21–43). • Jesus miraculously feeds a crowd of four thousand (Mark 8:1–10). • Jesus evicts money changers from the temple (Mark 11:15–19). • Jesus affirms a widow who contributes the little she has to the temple treasury (Mark 12:41–44).
• Peter vows allegiance to Jesus yet denies Him (Mark 14:27–31, 66–72). • Jesus is condemned to death and crucified (Mark 15:1–26). • Jesus rises from death (Mark 16:1–8).
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MAR K father Zebedee in the boat with the hired he beginning of the gospel of J esus servants, and went after Him. T Christ, the Son of God. 2As it is written Jesus Casts Out an Unclean Spirit in the Prophets:a 21 T hen they went into Capernaum, and “Behold, I send My messenger before immediately on the Sabbath He entered the Your face, Who will prepare Your way before a 1:2 NU‑Text reads Isaiah the prophet. b Malachi 3:1 1 You.” b :3 a Isaiah 40:3 1:10 a NU‑ 3 “The voice of one crying in the Text reads out of. 1:14 a NU‑Text omits of the kingdom. wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; a Make His paths straight.’ ”
John the Baptist Prepares the Way
4 John came baptizing in the wilderness
and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5 T hen all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. 6Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7And he preached, saying, “There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. 8I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
John Baptizes Jesus
9It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10And immediately, coming up froma the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. 11 T hen a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Satan Tempts Jesus
12Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. 13And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the an gels ministered to Him.
Jesus Begins His Galilean Ministry
14 Now after John was put in prison, J esus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdoma of God, 15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
Four Fishermen Called as Disciples
16And as He walked by the Sea of Gal ilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his broth er casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 17 T hen Jesus said to them, “Fol low Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18 T hey immediately left their nets and followed Him. 19 W hen He had gone a little farther from there, He saw James the son of Zebe dee, and John his brother, who also were in the boat mending their nets. 20And imme diately He called them, and they left their
A Voice in the Wilderness Mark 1:4
All four Gospels present John the Baptist as a preacher in the wilderness (Matt. 3:1; Mark 1:4; Luke 3:2; John 1:23), an oddity even in his own day. He lived in barren places, subsisting on honey and locusts. He pursued extreme humility, announcing that Jesus would grow more prominent while his own fame diminished (3:30). He considered himself unworthy even to loosen Jesus’ sandal strap (1:27). John the Baptist fearlessly preached repentance to anyone within shouting distance, and crowds flocked to him from Jerusalem and across Judea. He attracted common people, respectable socialites, religious leaders, tax collectors and other notorious sinners, and even Gentiles such as the Roman soldiers. What was his winning message? “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Luke 3:7). John the Baptist eventually offended the wrong person—Herodias, wife of King Herod (see “Hateful Herodias” at Matt. 14:3)—when he spoke against the royal couple’s incestuous, adulterous union. Outraged, Herodias had her husband arrest the prophet and pressed for his execution. The king refused, afraid to kill a man he knew to be holy and just, but Herodias eventually had her way (Mark 6:14–29). John’s influence continued after his death. Several of his disciples became followers of Jesus (for example, Andrew; John 1:35– 40). Nearly thirty years later, Paul encountered a group of John’s disciples in Ephesus (Acts 19:1– 7). Jesus declared this final Old Testament prophet (considered Old Testament because he preceded Christ) to be the greatest of men (Matt. 11:11–14). By fulfilling his unique God-given purpose, he paved the way for Jesus. More: Billy Sunday is a modern example of a man who fearlessly preached the gospel. Known for his colorful sermons and fiery personality, this former Major League baseball player was not unlike the eccentric John the Baptist.
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Jesus the Galilean Mark 1:14 In New Testament times, there were two Galilees, upper and lower. Jesus grew up in the densely populated lower Galilee and carried out most of His ministry in its communities. As many as eleven of His twelve disciples also came from this region. (Judas Iscariot was the one obvious exception.) Home to a culture that bridged the Hebraic and Graeco-Roman worlds, Galilee existed on the fringes of traditional Jewish life. As a result, Galileans were scorned by their Judean neighbors, who used the term Galilean as a synonym for fool, heathen, sinner, or worse. Most significantly for Jesus, these neighbors were convinced that no prophet could come from Galilee (John 7:52). Yet from there a Prophet did arise. It was in Galilee that Jesus first outlined His message (Luke 4:14– 19) and demonstrated its power. He performed at least thirty-three miracles in the region, and it was there that He told nineteen of His thirty-two recorded parables. As Jesus traveled around the district, He demonstrated that His message was for everyone, including people excluded from acceptable society. His message did not start at the top and move down. It spread from the bottom up. However, there is little evidence that Jesus’ message took hold in Galilee after He left. The people largely rejected their Prophet and King, and His dire predictions about Capernaum, Chorazin, and other Galilean cities came true (Matt. 11:20–24). More: The Sea of Galilee was no place to be caught in a storm. Sudden outbursts of violent weather occur there to this day. Think About It: What will you learn from Jesus about influence? About leadership?
synagogue and taught. 22 And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. 23Now there was a man in their syna gogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, J esus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are— the Holy One of God!” 25But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” 26And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him. 27 T hen they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority a He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” 28And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee.
Peter’s Mother-in-Law Healed
29Now as soon as they had come out of the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick with a fever, and they told Him about her at once. 31So He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and immediately the fever left her. And she served them.
Many Healed After Sabbath Sunset
32 At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed. 33And the whole city was gathered together at the door. 34 T hen He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him.
Preaching in Galilee
35Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and
1:27 a NU‑Text reads What is this? A new doctrine with authority.
The Synagogue Mark 1:21 By the time of Christ, synagogues had become common throughout Palestine. These local Jewish congregations met to read and study Scripture and to pray, emphasizing instruction in Mosaic law. Synagogues (from the Greek sunago¯ge¯, meaning “a leading or bringing together”) first formed during the Babylonian captivity (see “A Gift of the Exile” at Ezek. 14:1). Lacking a temple but longing for community and communion with God, Jewish captives met in local groups for worship and Torah reading. Some captives eventually returned to their homeland, where Zerubbabel rebuilt the temple
and Ezra promoted prayer and study of the Law (Neh. 8), but a vast majority of the people remained in Persia. Others migrated elsewhere, notably to Alexandria, Egypt. In their homeland and beyond, the Jews continued to meet in synagogues. Some synagogues began to function as courts that could sentence offenders and carry out scourging as punishment (Matt. 10:17; continued on next page
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FOURTH PROOFS Mark 1:36
departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. 36And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. 37 W hen they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” 38But He said to them, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.”
39And He was preaching in their syna gogues throughout all Galilee, and casting out demons.
Jesus Cleanses a Leper
40Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.”
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23:34). Some also became schools where children learned to read. Synagogues everywhere became centers of Jewish community life. As these local gatherings grew, they developed an established lineup of customary officials. • Elders were devout and respected men who regulated synagogue policies. By custom the elders were seated at the front of the synagogue (compare 23:6). • A ruler of the synagogue, appointed by the elders, planned services and oversaw the facility. A local congregation might have more than one ruler. Jairus, who asked Jesus to heal his daughter, was a ruler (Mark 5:21–43). • The minister cared for the sacred scrolls, tended the lamps, and cleaned the building. If elders found an offender guilty, the minister administered the prescribed lashes. During the week he taught children to read. • The delegate was a person chosen to read Scripture, lead in prayer, and comment on the Scripture of the day. Jesus was given this responsibility in the Nazareth synagogue (Luke 4:16–20). • The interpreter translated the Hebrew Scriptures into Aramaic, which was spoken by most of the Jews in Palestine during Jesus’ lifetime. • Almoners were laypeople who received money or other necessities for the poor.
condition met in a great many towns throughout the Roman world. Paul found synagogues at Damascus (Acts 9:2), Salamis (13:5), Antioch in Pisidia (13:14), Iconium (14:1), Thessalonica (17:1), Berea (17:10), Athens (17:16–17), and Ephesus (19:1, 8). Whenever he entered a city to preach Christ, he spoke first in the synagogue before reaching out to the larger community. Synagogue worship profoundly influenced Christian worship. The Jewish service began with the people reciting the Shema. Shema is the first Hebrew word in the passage, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” (Deut. 6:4–9). As the congregation stood facing Jerusalem with hands extended, the speaker of the day led them in prayer. At the close of the prayer, the people said “Amen.” As the speaker stood and read from the Law, the interpreter translated the reading into Aramaic. Then a passage from the Prophets was read and translated. The speaker usually sat down during the commentary or sermon. If a priest was present, he pronounced a benediction and the people said “Amen.” Because the earliest Christians were Jews, they often followed this synagogue pattern in their own gatherings. Think About It: What wise practices from synagogues might God want you to incorporate into your church? Into your other community functions?
A synagogue could not be formed without at least ten Jewish men in the community, a
Jewish Homemaking Mark 1:29–31 Mark reports that after Jesus healed Simon’s mother-in-law, she served the people who were present in her home. Her efforts likely involved far more than cooking a meal. Work began at sunrise in first- century Jewish homes. After a simple breakfast of curds and bread, the women walked to the nearest well or stream to fill jars with fresh water for the day’s needs. Some of the water was used to make the daily bread. The women hand-ground wheat or barley on the family millstone, then added
water and a small piece of dough from the previous day to provide yeast. Kneaded and left to rise, the dough was shaped into large, flat disks and baked in a household oven fueled by grasses and brush gathered by women and their children. Other chores included spinning wool, weaving, making clothing and linens, mending, continued on next page
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FOURTH PROOFS 1185 41 T hen
Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” 42 As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed. 43And He strictly warned him and sent him away at once, 44and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” 45However, he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every direction.
Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralytic
nd again He entered Capernaum af A ter some days, and it was heard that He was in the house. 2Immediately a many gathered together, so that there was no lon ger room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them. 3 T hen they came to Him, bringing a par alytic who was carried by four men. 4 And when they could not come near Him be cause of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. 5 W hen Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” 6 And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? 9 W hich is easier, to say to the p aralytic, ‘Your sins are forg iven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’? 10But
that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, 11“I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” 12Im mediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
Matthew the Tax Collector
13 T hen He went out again by the sea; and all the multitude came to Him, and He taught them. 14 As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him. 15Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with J esus and His disciples; for there were many, and they fol lowed Him. 16And when the scribes anda Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His dis ciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 W hen Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” a
Jesus Is Questioned About Fasting
18 T he disciples of John and of the Phari sees were fasting. Then they came and said to Him, “Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?” 19And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. 20But the days will come when
:2 a NU‑Text omits Immediately. 2:16 a NU‑ 2 Text reads of the. 2:17 a NU‑Text omits to repentance.
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washing, producing pottery and other utensils for cooking, and preparing food. These tasks were essential to the family’s everyday life, and each household relied on its own labor. Women acquired the skills for maintaining their home from their mothers and in turn passed them down to their children. Jewish culture highly valued the work of caring for children and providing for daily needs such as food and clothing. But a woman’s work was not confined to material needs. Formal schooling was rare, so a mother tutored her children in craft skills and literacy. She provided essential leadership at home, shaping her children’s cultural and religious values. She taught them to follow Israel’s customs and faith. Women were also responsible for preparing the home for the Sabbath. They filled the
lamps with olive oil, prepared Sabbath food and special treats, and collected an extra day’s water. As part of the evening ceremony, husbands recited Proverbs 31:10–31, an acknowledgement of their wives’ vital and varied work. More: Women were the primary caregivers for infants and children. See “Jesus Valued Children” at Matt. 19:14. The responsibilities of some first- century women extended beyond the home. Lydia was a successful businesswoman in the purple trade (see “The Trade in Purple” at Acts 16:14), and Priscilla manufactured tents with her husband. Other women worked as wool workers, midwives, hairdressers, nurses, vendors, entertainers, political leaders, and construction workers. See “Women and Work in the Ancient World” at 1 Cor. 7:32–35.
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FOURTH PROOFS Mark 2:21
the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days. 21No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; or else the new piece pulls away from the old, and the tear is made worse. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.”
Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath
the priests, and also gave some to those who were with him?” 27And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 28 T herefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”
Healing on the Sabbath
nd He entered the synagogue again, A and a man was there who had a with ered hand. 2So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. 3And He said to the man who had the withered hand, “Step forward.” 4 T hen He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent. 5And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.a 6 T hen the Pharisees
23Now it happened that He went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; and as they went His disciples began to pluck the heads of grain. 24 And the Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” 25But He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry, he and those with him: 26how he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the show bread, which is not lawful to eat except for 3:5 a NU‑Text omits as whole as the other.
Significant Everyday People Mark 2:3–17 Each of the four Gospel writers introduces readers to people who were significant to Jesus but were considered inconsequential by their society. The paralytic let down from the roof, for example, blended into the background until Jesus touched him. Most of the people who mattered to Jesus were not wealthy or famous. Nor were they social, business, political, or spiritual leaders. They were everyday people with problems and needs a lot like ours. Note just a few of the people we meet in the beginning chapters of each Gospel:
• Four women touched by scandal (Matt. 1:3, 5, 6) • A young couple dealing with a complicated engagement (1:18–21) • Three foreigners deceived by a ruthless king (2:1–12) • Countless baby boys who are murdered by Herod (2:16–18) • A wilderness man who serves as Jesus’ forerunner (3:1–17)
• A puzzling religious pioneer (John 1:19–35) • Two fishermen (1:35–42) • The fishermen’s friend (1:43, 44) • A skeptical critic (1:45–51) • A seeker afraid to step into the light (3:1–21) • A woman touched by scandal (4:1–42) • A nobleman’s ailing son (4:46–54)
Mark • Four fishermen (Mark 1:16–20) • A man oppressed by a demon (1:23–27) • A feverish mother-in-law (1:29–31) • Crowds of the sick and oppressed (1:32–34) • An outcast leper (1:40–42) • A paralytic (2:1–12) • A despised tax collector (2:13–17)
Luke • A barren elderly couple (Luke 1:5–25) • An expectant young couple (1:26–38) • A baby born amid confusion (1:57–80) • Startled shepherds (2:8–20) • An aged, saintly man (2:25–35) • An elderly widow with a gift of prophecy (2:36–38)
Scripture introduces our Savior by showing Him among crowds of common people—and with good reason. The people who are most ready for God’s help are not insulated from trouble by their possessions, status, or health. They recognize their own needs, and their brokenness makes them turn to God. In Him they find forgiveness and hope that overcomes human limitations. The world tells us that we gain significance by lifting ourselves above others. But God wants to break that terrible bondage to self- importance. Like Jesus, we can reach out to everyday people wherever they struggle. More: Toyohiko Kagawa, a social activist who was promoted to the high-paying job of Chief of Social Welfare for the Japanese government, made the decision to live humbly. “To work with poor,” Kagawa said, “I must be poor.”
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FOURTH PROOFS 1187
went out and immediately plotted with the enter a strong man’s house and plunder his Herodians against Him, how they might goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house. destroy Him.
A Great Multitude Follows Jesus 7But
J esus withdrew with His disciples to the sea. And a great multitude from Gal ilee followed Him, and from Judea 8 and Jerusalem and Idumea and beyond the Jordan; and those from Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they heard how many things He was doing, came to Him. 9So He told His disciples that a small boat should be kept ready for Him because of the multitude, lest they should crush Him. 10For He healed many, so that as many as had afflictions pressed about Him to touch Him. 11And the u nclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, fell down before Him and cried out, saying, “You are the Son of God.” 12But He sternly warned them that they should not make Him known.
The Unpardonable Sin
28 “Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; 29but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation”—30because they said, “He has an unclean spirit.”
Jesus’ Mother and Brothers Send for Him
31 T hen His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him. 32And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothersa are outside seeking You.” 33But He answered them, sayi ng, “Who is My mother, or My brothers?” 34 And He looked around in a circle at those who sat The Twelve Apostles about Him, and said, “Here are My mother 13And He went up on the mountain and and My brothers! 35For whoever does the called to Him those He Himself wanted. will of God is My brother and My sister and And they came to Him. 14 T hen He appoint mother.” ed twelve,a that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, The Parable of the Sower 15and to have power to heal sicknesses anda A nd again He began to teach by the sea. to cast out demons: 16Simon,a to whom He And a great multitude was gathered to 17 gave the name Peter; James the son of Him, so that He got into a boat and sat in Zebedee and John the brother of James, to it on the sea; and the whole multitude was whom He gave the name Boanerges, that on the land facing the sea. 2 T hen He taught is, “Sons of Thunder”; 18Andrew, Philip, them many things by parables, and said to Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James them in His teaching: 3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Cananite; 19and Judas Iscariot, who also sow. 4 And it happened, as he sowed, that betrayed Him. And they went into a house. some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air a came and devoured it. 5Some A House Divided Cannot Stand fell on stony ground, where it did not have 20 T hen the multitude came together much earth; and immediately it sprang again, so that they could not so much as up because it had no depth of earth. 6But eat bread. 21But when His own people heard when the sun was up it was scorched, and about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, because it had no root it withered away. 7And some seed fell among thorns; and the for they said, “He is out of His mind.” 22 And the scribes who came down from thorns grew up and choked it, and it yield Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebub,” and, ed no crop. 8But other seed fell on good “By the ruler of the demons He casts out ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, demons.” 23 So He called them to Himself and some sixty, and some a hundred.” 9And He said to them, a “He who has said to them in parables: “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24If a kingdom is divided ears to hear, let him hear!” against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25And if a house is divided against itself, The Purpose of Parables 10But when He was alone, those around that house cannot stand. 26And if Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he Him with the twelve asked Him about the cannot stand, but has an end. 27No one can parable. 11And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are out No Tolerance for Intolerance side, all things come in parables, 12so that
The Pharisees were as intolerant as the religious legalists of the modern world, and Jesus refused to put up with them. See “Jesus Confronts the Legalists” at Luke 6:1–11.
3:14 a NU‑Text adds whom He also named apostles. 3:15 a NU‑Text omits to heal sicknesses and. 3:16 a NU‑Text reads and He appointed the twelve: Simon . . . . 3:32 a NU‑ Text and M‑Text add and Your sisters. 4:4 a NU‑Text and M‑Text omit of the air. 4:9 a NU‑Text and M‑Text omit to them.
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FOURTH PROOFS Mark 4:13 1188 ‘Seeing they may see and not perceive, themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecu And hearing they may hear and not tion arises for the word’s sake, immediate understand; ly they stumble. 18Now these are the ones Lest they should turn, sown among thorns; they are the ones who And their sins be forgiven them.’ ” a
hear the word, 19and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires The Parable of the Sower Explained for other things entering in choke the word, 13 And He said to them, “Do you not and it becomes unfruitful. 20But these are understand this parable? How then will you the ones sown on good ground, those who 14 understand all the parables? T he sower hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: sows the word. 15And these are the ones some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a by the wayside where the word is sown. hundred.” When they hear, Satan comes immedi ately and takes away the word that was Light Under a Basket sown in their hearts. 16 T hese likewise are 21 Also He said to them, “Is a lamp the ones sown on stony ground who, when brought to be put under a basket or under a they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17and they have no root in 4:12 a Isaiah 6:9, 10
Parables Mark 4:2 Jesus often used parables— short, fictitious stories used to illustrate moral or religious principles—to communicate spiritual truths. Sometimes His parables were extended tales with developed plots and characters. At other times they were little more than figures of speech. But they were always powerful. Jesus was a master teller of parables but he wasn’t the parable’s inventor. Parables are also featured in the Old Testament. The prophet Nathan, for example, told a parable to King David about a rich man who stole a small ewe lamb that belonged to a poor man (2 Sam. 12:1–4). The wise woman of Tekoa told of a widow whose two sons fought until one was killed (2 Sam. 14:5–7). Solomon told a parable about a sluggard (Prov. 24:30–34). Several Old Testament prophets filled their teachings with parables, including Jeremiah (see “The Parables of Jeremiah” at Jer. 18:1– 10), Ezekiel (see “The Parables of Ezekiel” at Ezek. 15:1– 8), and Zechariah (see “The Parables of Zechariah” at Zech. 5:1–4). Parables draw in listeners with vivid, imaginative pictures. This doesn’t mean, however, that they are easy to understand. Jesus’ closest friends were sometimes baffled by His parables (Matt. 13:24– 30, 36– 43). Furthermore, while Jesus sometimes spoke in parables to reveal truth to His followers, at other times He was aiming to conceal His meaning from His detractors (13:10–17; Mark 4:10–12; Luke 8:9, 10). His method fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 6:9, 10, enlightening seekers of truth but blinding the disobedient.
to Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom. After all, parables were more than mere folk tales. They expressed Christ’s view of God, humanity, salvation, and the new age that began with His ministry. The three parables recorded in Luke 15:3– 32 are good parables with which to begin an approach through historical context. Each parable deals with lost things: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the two lost sons. The context shows Jesus telling these stories while eating with tax collectors and sinners (15:1, 2). The religious elite censured this behavior because in their view He was transgressing the Law. In response, Jesus used a story about a lost sheep to declare that God rejoices more over the repentance of one sinner (like those gathered at the table with Him) than over “ninety- nine just persons who need no repentance” (15:7; like the religious elite who congratulated themselves on their supposed superiority). Likewise, in the parable of the lost sons, the younger son (15:11–24) is a symbol for the tax collectors and sinners, while the older son (15:25–32) stands for the scribes and Pharisees. Parables are one of the Bible’s most engaging forms of teaching. When we struggle to understand and apply God’s truth, parables can help us see how eternal truths relate to everyday life.
More: Jesus probably spent most of His life working in His family’s carpentry business, a setting that equipped Him to present truth in terms that normal people could understand. See “Workplace Analogies” at Matt. 13:1.
Most of Jesus’ parables have one central point. To find that core meaning, it helps to understand what a parable meant in the context of the time in which it was told and how it relates
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FOURTH PROOFS 1189 bed? Is it not to be set on a lampstand? 22For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light. 23If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” 24 T hen He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. 25For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”
The Parable of the Growing Seed
26 And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, 27and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. 28For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. 29But when the grain
Sharing Our Faith Mark 4:3–20 Jesus commands us to be His witnesses (Acts 1:6–8), but we should not mistake that mandate as an assignment to convert others. Conversion is the Holy Spirit’s job (John 16:8– 11). Our success at sharing our faith is therefore not measured by the rate of response. If that were the standard, Jesus Himself would often have been considered a failure. Many who heard Him—and even some who followed Him—turned out to be uninterested in His offer of salvation (6:60–66). Jesus points out that people vary in their openness to accepting the truth. As witnesses we cannot change the soil in which we work. Our task is to offer good seed and work hard to nurture whatever faith sprouts up (1 Cor. 3:7–9). One of our most effective ways of doing that is by continually applying our faith in day-to-day life (Phil. 2:12, 13; James 2:14–26), putting it out there for others to see and consider (Mark 4:21–23). Even when others are not ready for a spiritual conversation, we can be sure they are evaluating our actions. How others react to our message is between them and God, but that does not excuse us from caring about others and their responses. Scripture challenges us to love others as we have been loved—and to keep caring whatever the outcome. Our love means little if we save it for people who respond quickly and positively. Even if people are hostile to our message, we can leave it up to God to use us anywhere and anytime to reach out to anybody He chooses. More: Scripture also urges us to work alongside the Spirit in influencing others. See “Whose Job Is Evangelism?” at John 16:8.
ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
30 T hen He said, “To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it? 31It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; 32but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade.”
Jesus’ Use of Parables
33 And with many such parables He spoke the word to them as they were able to hear it. 34But without a parable He did not speak to them. And when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples.
Wind and Wave Obey Jesus
35On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” 36Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. 37And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 39 T hen He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” a 41And they feared exceedingly, and
4:40 a NU‑Text reads Have you still no faith?
Faith Unfolding Mark 4:33, 34 Instantaneous spiritual maturity is a nice idea, but it’s not very realistic. And we shouldn’t beat ourselves up for being slow to understand how to properly live as a Christian, or for feeling intimidated by others who seem further along in their walk. Jesus’ patience with His disciples offers perspective. He called them to follow Him one day at a time (Luke 9:23). He also promised that the Spirit would lead them into truth (John 16:12–16). Like the first disciples, we cannot see the end at the beginning. Faith never arrives fully grown. It begins as a little seed to be planted and nurtured (Mark 4:26–32). More: Jesus told a parable to illustrate the way in which His followers would slowly grasp spiritual truth. See “Treasures Old and New” at Matt. 13:52.
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FOURTH PROOFS Mark 5:1
said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”
A Demon-Possessed Man Healed
hen they came to the other side of the T sea, to the country of the Gadarenes.a 2 And when He had come out of the boat,
Priority People Mark 5:21–43 It is often easier to look away from the world’s hurts than worry about how to make a difference, where we should start, or who most needs our help. Jesus showed us how to manage the world’s overwhelming issues. After sailing across the Sea of Galilee, He was swarmed by people vying for His attention. He encountered two critical needs: the terminally ill twelve-year-old daughter of a well-respected synagogue ruler (Mark 5:22–24) and an obscure woman suffering from chronic bleeding (5:25–28). The ruler, who possessed obvious wealth and an abundance of connections, reached Jesus first. But as Jesus made His way across town, a woman—unnamed, unannounced, and completely undervalued by the crowd— grabbed His clothes. Reaching out and touching a rabbi was the desperate act of a woman who knew she could be forever ostracized, perpetually ill, and perhaps even die without a miracle. The little girl had been living for twelve years (5:42), and the woman had been dying for twelve years (5:25). What would Jesus do? Complicating the situation was the fact that the woman’s touch rendered Jesus ritually unclean (Lev. 15:25–27). He was technically prohibited from helping the little girl until the next day. But neither the woman nor Jesus gave a thought to religious rules. The woman was amazed at her immediate healing, and Jesus was aware that His power had been accessed (Mark 5:29, 30). He was able, without seeing, to distinguish the jostling of a crowd from a person who reached out in faith. Jesus called the woman “daughter” (5:34). The term put her on an equal footing with the ruler’s daughter— and simultaneously showed Jesus’ sympathy for Jairus as a parent in pain. His tender words may be why Jairus continued to faithfully trust Jesus even as help for his own crisis was delayed (5:35, 36). No individual Christian can meet all the needs of the world. But that is not what God asks us to do. Jesus calls us to respond to the individuals He puts in our way. Some may be young, some may be old, some rich, some poor, some loved, some unloved. But they are all God’s children, and God will show you how and when to love each one.
immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him,a not even with chains, 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shack les broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. 5And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones. 6 W hen he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. 7And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not tor ment me.” 8For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!” 9 T hen He asked him, “What is your name?” And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” 10Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country. 11Now a large herd of swine was feed ing there near the mountains. 12So all the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.” 13And at once J esusa gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea. 14So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened. 15 T hen they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon- possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. 16And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine. 17 T hen they began to plead with Him to de part from their region. 18 And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. 19However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” 20And he departed and began to pro claim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.
A Girl Restored to Life and a Woman Healed
21Now when J esus had crossed over again by boat to the other side, a great multitude gathered to Him; and He was by the sea. 22And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet 23and begged Him earnestly, saying, “My little
5:1 a NU‑Text reads Gerasenes. 5:3 a NU‑Text adds anymore. 5:13 a NU‑Text reads And He gave.
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FOURTH PROOFS 1191 daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.” 24So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him. 25Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no bet ter, but rather grew worse. 27 W hen she heard about J esus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. 28For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” 29Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. 30And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?” 31But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’ ” 32 And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. 33But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has
Taking Risks Mark 5:22, 23 By turning to Jesus for help to save his daughter’s life, Jairus risked his job as synagogue ruler. He was well-known in his community, and people watched his actions intently. But this father approached Jesus with abandon. Jesus was a controversial rabbi. Some Jews followed Him, but many others took great offense at His teaching (Mark 3:6). As Jairus fell at Jesus’ feet, he must have known that some in his synagogue would condemn him. When Jesus arrived at Jairus’s home, He took the ruler’s daughter by the hand. It is important to note that coming into contact with her dead body made Jesus ritually unclean. Moreover, it was inappropriate for a Jewish man, particularly a rabbi, to touch a female. But Jesus was concerned with the spirit of the Law, not the letter. And this little girl’s father had humbly asked for His help. Jairus risked a prestigious career to help his beloved daughter. In response, Jesus risked His reputation as a teacher to bring the girl back to life. Personal crises can move us to break with tradition to seek help. In those moments we become extremely vulnerable and exposed to public ridicule. But often Jesus will send someone to help us in our emergency. If so many miracles happen when we take good risks, why not take them more often?
made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” 35 W hile He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the syn agogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.” 37And He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James. 38 T hen He came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw a tu mult and those who wept and wailed loudly. 39 W hen He came in, He said to them, “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping.” 40And they ridiculed Him. But when He had put them all outside, He took the fa ther and the mother of the child, and those who were with Him, and entered where the child was lying. 41 T hen He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amaze ment. 43But He commanded them strictly that no one should know it, and said that something should be given her to eat.
Jesus Rejected at Nazareth
hen He went out from there and came T to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. 2And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! 3Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him. 4 But J esus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own coun try, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” 5Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6And He marveled because of their unbe lief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.
Sending Out the Twelve
7And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits. 8He commanded them to take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts—9but to wear sandals, and not to put on two tunics. 10Also He said to them, “In whatever place you enter a house, stay there till you depart from that place. 11And whoever a will not receive you nor hear you, when you
6:11 a NU‑Text reads whatever place.
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FOURTH PROOFS Mark 6:12
depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them.b As suredly, I say to you, it will be more tolera ble for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!” 12 So they went out and preached that people should repent. 13And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them.
John the Baptist Beheaded
14 Now King Herod heard of Him, for His name had become well known. And he said, “John the Baptist is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.” 15Others said, “It is Elijah.” And others said, “It is the Prophet, or a like one of the prophets.” 16But when Herod heard, he said, “This is John, whom I beheaded; he has been raised from the dead!” 17For Herod himself had sent and laid hold of John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife; for he had married her. 18Because John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 T herefore Herodias held it against him and wanted to kill him, but she could not; 20for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he pro tected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly. 21 T hen an opportune day came when Herod on his birthday gave a feast for his nobles, the high officers, and the chief men of Galilee. 22And when Herodias’ daughter herself came in and danced, and pleased Herod and those who sat with him, the king said to the girl, “Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you.” 23He also swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom.” 24So she went out and said to her moth er, “What shall I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist!” 25Immediately she came in with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26And the king was exceedingly sorry; yet, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he did not want to refuse her. 27Immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded his head to be brought. And he went and beheaded him in prison, 28brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 W hen his disciples heard of it, they came and took away his corpse and laid it in a tomb.
Feeding the Five Thousand
30 T hen the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. 31And He
said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. 32So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves. 33But the multitudesa saw them depart ing, and many knew Him and ran there on foot from all the cities. They arrived before them and came together to Him. 34 And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great mul titude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things. 35 W hen the day was now far spent, His disciples came to Him and said, “This is a deserted place, and al ready the hour is late. 36 Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread;a for they have nothing to eat.” 37But He answered and said to them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to Him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?” 38 But He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they found out they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 T hen He commanded them to make them all sit down in groups on the green 6:11 b NU‑Text omits the rest of this verse. 6:15 a NU‑Text and M‑Text omit or. 6:33 a NU‑ Text and M‑Text read they. 6:36 a NU‑Text reads something to eat and omits the rest of this verse.
Rest for a While Mark 6:31 When the Twelve returned from their tour with Jesus (Mark 6:7, 12, 30), their Master pulled them aside. He modeled a habit that many of us could stand to practice more— the habit of rest. Given the pressure we often feel to do our best, or even to outwork and outperform our coworkers, rest may seem like the last thing to pursue. But God wants us to embrace His standards, not those of our culture. He values work (see “God: The Original Worker” at John 5:17 and “People at Work” at Ps. 8:6). And He also upholds our need for downtime. Rest is something God Himself does (Gen. 2:2). He also commanded the Israelites to rest regularly each week (Ex. 20:8–11). We need to look hard at how much time we actually need to spend at work, because there are too many other important things we might be missing out on. Work matters but so do family, chores, church, rest, and more. We may need to take Jesus’ advice: “Come aside . . . and rest a while” (Mark 6:31).
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FOURTH PROOFS 1193 grass. 40So they sat down in ranks, in hun dreds and in fifties. 41And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fish He divided among them all. 42So they all ate and were filled. 43And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish. 44 Now those who had eaten the loaves were abouta five thousand men.
Jesus Walks on the Sea
45Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away. 46And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray. 47Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land. 48 T hen He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by. 49And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; 50for they all saw Him and were trou bled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” 51 T hen He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled. 52For they had not understood about the loaves, be cause their heart was hardened.
Many Touch Him and Are Made Well 53 W hen
they had crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret and an chored there. 54 And when they came out of the boat, immediately the people recog nized Him, 55ran through that whole sur rounding region, and began to carry about on beds those who were sick to wherever they heard He was. 56 W herever He entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged Him that they might just touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched Him were made well.
Defilement Comes from Within
hen the Pharisees and some of the T scribes came together to Him, having come from Jerusalem. 2Now whena they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault. 3For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders. 4 W hen they come from the marketplace, they do not eat un less they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches. 5 T hen the Pharisees and scribes asked
Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk ac cording to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?” 6He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:
‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 7 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ a 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of mena —the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.” 9He said to them, “All too well you re ject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. 10For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’;a and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ b 11But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Cor ban”—’ (that is, a gift to God), 12then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, 13making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” 6:44 a NU‑Text and M‑Text omit about. 7:2 a NU‑Text omits when and they found fault. 7:7 a Isaiah 29:13 7:8 a NU‑Text omits the rest of this verse. 7:10 a Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16 b Exodus 21:17
Honor Your Parents Mark 7:9–13 The Law decreed stiff punishment for those who dishonored their parents (see “Respecting Parents” at Lev. 20:9 and “Juvenile Delinquents” at Deut. 21:18–21). Giving equal honor to both father and mother was required by the Law (Ex. 20:12). Hebrew Wisdom Literature said that only a fool would disobey his mother or mock his father (Prov. 30:17). Nevertheless, the scribes and the Pharisees found a way to ignore these commands (Mark 7:11, 12). Their traditions had become more important to them than keeping the Law, even though at other times they attacked Jesus for not fulfilling other parts of the Law. No wonder Jesus called them hypocrites (7:6). More: If your home of origin delivered abuse or manipulation, God will show you unique ways to honor those parents. If your home offered healthy nurture, enjoy finding a variety of ways to thank and honor your parents. See “Respect Your Parents” at Prov. 15:20. Think About It: What have you found wise about honoring and obeying your parents, even as adults?
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FOURTH PROOFS Mark 7:14
14 W hen
He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand: 15 T here is noth ing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. 16If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!” a 17 W hen He had entered a house away from the crowd, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable. 18 So He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever en ters a man from outside cannot defile him, 19because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?” a 20And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. 21For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit,
lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
A Gentile Shows Her Faith
24 From there He arose and went to the region of Tyre and Sidon.a And He entered a house and wanted no one to know it, but He could not be hidden. 25For a wom an whose young daughter had an unclean spirit heard about Him, and she came and fell at His feet. 26 T he woman was a Greek, a Syro-Phoenician by birth, and she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27But J esus said to her, “Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to
7:16 a NU‑Text omits this verse. 7:19 a NU‑Text ends quotation with eliminated, setting off the final clause as Mark’s comment that Jesus has declared all foods clean. 7:24 a NU‑Text omits and Sidon.
Jesus and Ethnicity Mark 7:24–30 Jesus’ encounter with the Syro-Phoenician woman (compare Matt. 15:21–28) raises difficult questions about racial and ethnic attitudes. His treatment of the woman seems to contradict His image as the Savior of the whole world. Note the facts of their conversation: The Gentile Woman . . .
Jesus . . .
• Sought Jesus out (Mark 7:25).
• Tried to hide from her (Mark 7:24).
• Begged for mercy for her demon-possessed daughter (Mark 7:25, 26; Matt. 15:22).
• Ignored her cries (Matt. 15:23). • Seemed to agree with His disciples that she should be sent away (Matt. 15:23, 24).
• Called Him “Lord” (Mark 7:28; Matt. 15:25) and “Son of David” (Matt. 15:22). • Worshiped Him (Mark 7:25; Matt. 15:25).
• Said He only came for the Jews (Matt. 15:24).
• Did not object to being called a “dog” (Mark 7:28; Matt. 15:27).
• Implied that she was a “dog” (a term Jews frequently applied to Gentiles; Mark 7:27; Matt. 15:26).
• Asked only for the “crumbs” left over from Jesus’ work with the Jews (Mark 7:28; Matt. 15:27).
• Implied that because she was not a Jew, she was not a child of God and could not be helped (Matt. 15:24, 26).
In the end, Jesus praised the woman’s persistent faith and healed her daughter (Mark 7:29; Matt. 15:28). But His response is still difficult to understand. The woman approached Him with immense sincerity and respect, yet Jesus at least appeared to rebuff her harshly. This cannot be how God wants us to treat people from other ethnic groups. Jesus’ words may have been intended less for the woman than for His disciples. Maybe it was to them— not the woman— that He said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (15:24). They wanted Him to heal her daughter and send her away, and He may have ironically voiced their own nationalist, exclusivist attitudes, treating the
woman as His disciples would. In doing so, He also demonstrated that despite continual rejection, Gentiles deeply hungered for God’s grace and power. Jesus’ affirmation of the woman’s faith and His healing of her daughter repudiated the notion that He cared only about Israel. If Jesus were to lead us to places and people that we discount or even despise, what would He say to us? How would He shock us into seeing our own prejudices? How would we need to change to reflect His love for all the peoples of the world? More: Jesus denounced racism and ethnic hatred wherever He found it. See “No Racial Division” at Matt. 15:24.
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FOURTH PROOFS 1195 take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” 28And she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children’s crumbs.” 29 T hen He said to her, “For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter.” 30And when she had come to her house, she found the demon gone out, and her daughter lying on the bed.
Jesus Heals a Deaf-Mute
31 Again, departing from the region of Tyre and Sidon, He came through the midst of the region of Decapolis to the Sea of Galilee. 32 T hen they brought to Him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech, and they begged Him to put His hand on him. 33And He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers in his ears, and He spat and touched his tongue. 34 T hen, looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly. 36 T hen He commanded them that they should tell no one; but the more He commanded them, the more widely they proclaimed it. 37And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”
Feeding the Four Thousand
I n those days, the multitude being very great and having nothing to eat, J esus called His disciples to Him and said to them, 2 “I have compassion on the multi tude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. 3And if I send them away hungry to their own houses, they will faint on the way; for some of them have come from afar.” 4 T hen His disciples answered Him, “How can one satisfy these people with bread here in the wilderness?” 5He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven.” 6 So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And He took the seven loaves and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and they set them before the multi tude. 7 T hey also had a few small fish; and having blessed them, He said to set them also before them. 8 So they ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets of leftover fragments. 9Now those who had eaten were about four thousand. And He sent them away, 10immediately got into the boat with His disciples, and came to the re gion of Dalmanutha.
The Pharisees Seek a Sign 11 T hen
the Pharisees came out and be
gan to dispute with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, testing Him. 12But He sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Assured ly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.”
Beware of the Leaven of the Pharisees and Herod
13 And He left them, and getting into the boat again, departed to the other side. 14 Now the disciplesa had forgotten to take bread, and they did not have more than one loaf with them in the boat. 15 T hen He charged them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leav en of Herod.” 16And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have no bread.” 17But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart stilla hardened? 18Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not re member? 19 W hen I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?” They said to Him, “Twelve.” 20 “Also, when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of fragments did you take up?” And they said, “Seven.” 21So He said to them, “How is it you do not understand?”
A Blind Man Healed at Bethsaida
22 T hen He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. 23So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything. 24 And he looked up and said, “I see men like trees, walking.” 25 T hen He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly. 26 T hen He sent him away to his house, saying, “Neither go into the town, nor tell anyone in the town.” a
Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ
27Now Jesus and His disciples went out to the towns of Caesarea Philippi; and on the road He asked His disciples, saying to them, “Who do men say that I am?” 28 So they answered, “John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” 29He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said to Him, “You are the Christ.”
8:14 a NU‑Text and M‑Text read they. 8:17 a NU‑Text omits still. 8:26 a NU‑Text reads “Do not even go into the town.”
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FOURTH PROOFS 1196
The Miracles of Jesus Mark 8:11, 12 “No sign shall be given to this generation,” Jesus declared. He wanted to avoid giving in to the Pharisees’ demand for a miracle—but He had already performed plenty of miracles and would perform many more, as the following table shows. Miracle
Healed a leper
Healed a centurion’s servant
Healed Peter’s mother-in-law
Healed the sick in the evening
Calmed the storm
Cast out demons and sent them into a herd of pigs
Healed a paralytic
Raised Jairus’s daughter from the dead
9:18, 19, 23–26
Healed a woman’s chronic bleeding
Healed two blind men
Healed a demon-possessed, mute man
Healed a man with a withered hand
Healed a demon-possessed, blind, and mute man
Fed more than 5,000 people
Walked on the Sea of Galilee
Enabled Peter to walk on the Sea of Galilee
Healed the Syro-Phoenician woman’s daughter
Fed more than 4,000 people
Healed an epileptic boy
Sent Peter to find a coin in a fish’s mouth
Healed two blind men near Jericho
Caused a fig tree to wither
11:12–14, 20, 21
Cast out an unclean spirit
Healed a deaf mute
Healed the blind man at Bethsaida
continued on next page
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continued from previous page Miracle
Healed blind Bartimaeus
Escaped from a hostile crowd
Caused a great catch of fish
Raised a widow’s son from the dead
Healed an infirm, bent woman
Healed a man with dropsy
Healed ten lepers
Healed Malchus’s ear
Turned water into wine
Healed a nobleman’s son
Healed an infirm man at Bethsaida
Healed a man born blind
Raised Lazarus from the dead Rose from the dead
Caused a second great catch of fish
More: By definition, miracles are usually uncommon. See “Miracles Do Not Happen Every Day” at Ex. 14:21. See also “Miracles and Creation” at Is. 38:1–9 for a sample of many well-known miracles.
30 T hen He strictly warned them that they should tell no one about Him.
Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the Jesus Predicts His Death and Resurrection glory of His Father with the holy angels.” 31And He began to teach them that the A nd He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests who will not taste death till they see the and scribes, and be killed, and after three kingdom of God present with power.” days rise again. 32He spoke this word open ly. Then Peter took Him aside and began Jesus Transfigured on the Mount 2Now after six days J to rebuke Him. 33But when He had turned esus took Peter, around and looked at His disciples, He re James, and John, and led them up on a buked Peter, saying, “Get behind Me, Sa high mountain apart by themselves; and tan! For you are not mindful of the things He was transfigured before them. 3His of God, but the things of men.” clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth Take Up the Cross and Follow Him can whiten them. 4 And Elijah appeared to 34 W hen He had called the people to them with Moses, and they were talking Himself, with His disciples also, He said with Jesus. 5 T hen Peter answered and said to them, “Whoever desires to come after to J esus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; Me, let him deny himself, and take up his and let us make three tabernacles: one for cross, and follow Me. 35For whoever desires You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”— to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses 6because he did not know what to say, for his life for My sake and the gospel’s will they were greatly afraid. 7And a cloud came and overshadowed save it. 36For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own them; and a voice came out of the cloud, soul? 37Or what will a man give in exchange saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear for his soul? 38For whoever is ashamed of Him!” 8 Suddenly, when they had looked
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FOURTH PROOFS Mark 9:9
around, they saw no one anymore, but only Jesus with themselves. 9 Now as they came down from the mountain, He commanded them that they should tell no one the things they had seen, till the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 So they kept this word to themselves, questioning what the rising from the dead meant. 11 And they asked Him, saying, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” 12 T hen He answered and told them, “In deed, Elijah is coming first and restores all things. And how is it written concerning the Son of Man, that He must suffer many things and be treated with contempt? 13But I say to you that Elijah has also come, and they did to him whatever they wished, as it is written of him.”
A Boy Is Healed 14 And
when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them. 15Immediate ly, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greet ed Him. 16And He asked the scribes, “What are you discussing with them?” 17 T hen one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. 18And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rig id. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.” 19He answered him and said, “O faith less generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.” 20 T hen they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediate ly the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth. 21So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe,a all things are possible to him who believes.”
Works in Progress Mark 9:1–13 Jesus must have looked at the actions of Peter, James, and John during the Transfiguration and wondered about their fitness for leadership. But rather than replacing these followers, He continued to help them grow. He showed that over time immature people can be developed into servant-leaders. See “Unlikely Leaders” at Matt. 26:35– 74 and “Discipleship Is a Process” at Luke 9:1–62.
24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I be lieve; help my unbelief !” 25 W hen J esus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” 26 T hen the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.” 27But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fast ing.” a
Jesus Again Predicts His Death and Resurrection
30 T hen they departed from there and passed through Galilee, and He did not want anyone to know it. 31For He taught His disciples and said to them, “The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day.” 32But they did not understand this saying, and were afraid to ask Him.
Who Is the Greatest?
33 T hen He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, “What was it you disputed among your selves on the road?” 34But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest. 35And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” 36 T hen He took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when He had taken him in His arms, He said to them, 37 “Who ever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever re ceives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.”
Jesus Forbids Sectarianism
38 Now John answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.” 39But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. 40For he who is not against us is on our a side. 41For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.
9:23 a NU‑Text reads “ ‘If You can!’ All things . . . .” 9:29 a NU‑Text omits and fasting. 9:40 a M‑Text reads against you is on your side.
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FOURTH PROOFS 1199
Jesus Warns of Offenses
42 “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea. 43If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched—44where
‘Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.’ a 45And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched—46 where ‘Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.’ a 47And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire—48where ‘Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.’ a
Tasteless Salt Is Worthless
49 “For everyone will be seasoned with fire,a and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt. 50Salt is good, but if the salt los es its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.”
Marriage and Divorce
hen He arose from there and came to T the region of Judea by the other side of the Jordan. And multitudes gathered to Him again, and as He was accustomed, He taught them again. 2 T he Pharisees came and asked Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” testing Him. 3 And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?” 4 T hey said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.” 5And Jesus answered and said to them, “Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. 6But from the be ginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ a 7 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh’; a so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 T herefore what God has joined together, let not man sep arate.” 10In the house His disciples also asked Him again about the same matter. 11So He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. 12And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
Jesus Blesses Little Children
13 T hen they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. 14 But when J esus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the lit tle children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 15Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” 16And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.
Jesus Counsels the Rich Young Ruler
17Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” 18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ” a 20And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” 21 T hen J esus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” 22But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great posses sions.
With God All Things Are Possible
23 T hen Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have r iches to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were astonished at His words. But J esus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in richesa to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, “Who then can be saved?” 27But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.” 28 T hen Peter began to say to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You.” 29 So Jesus answered and said, “As suredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or
9:44 a NU‑Text omits this verse. 9:46 a NU‑ Text omits the last clause of verse 45 and all of verse 46. 9 :48 a Isaiah 66:24 9 :49 a NU‑Text omits the rest of this verse. 10:6 a Genesis a 1:27; 5:2 10:8 Genesis 2:24 10:19 a Exodus 20:12–16; Deuteronomy 5:16–20 10:24 a NU‑ Text omits for those who trust in riches.
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FOURTH PROOFS Mark 10:30
father or mother or wifea or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, 30who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eter nal life. 31But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Jesus a Third Time Predicts His Death and Resurrection
32Now they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and J esus was going before them; and they were amazed. And as they followed they were afraid. Then He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them the things that would happen to Him: 33 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the The Man Who Almost Had It All chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him Mark 10:17–27 to the Gentiles; 34and they will mock Him, He was young, well- mannered, well- and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.” educated, and well- off. He was sincere, honest, above reproach. He may even have Greatness Is Serving had an engaging personality and a charm35 T hen James and John, the sons of ing smile. This guy had everything—except Zebedee, came to Him, saying, “Teacher, eternal life. we want You to do for us whatever we ask.” He could have had that as well, but he 36 And He said to them, “What do you would have had to get rid of his money to want Me to do for you?” follow Jesus. Jesus said elsewhere that no one 37 T hey said to Him, “Grant us that we can serve both God and money (Matt. 6:24), may sit, one on Your right hand and the and this man was living proof of that prinother on Your left, in Your glory.” 38But J ciple. In approaching Jesus, the rich young esus said to them, “You do not ruler came to a fork in the road. He had to know what you ask. Are you able to drink choose whether he would serve money or the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” serve the Lord. Apparently he chose money. 39 T hey said to Him, “We are able.” Jesus never criticized people simply for So Jesus said to them, “You will indeed being rich. Scripture does not condemn drink the cup that I drink, and with the those who possess or accumulate money. But baptism I am baptized with you will be Jesus warned people about what He called baptized; 40but to sit on My right hand and “the deceitfulness of riches” (Mark 4:19). He on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for understood the attractive yet ultimately fatal those for whom it is prepared.” act of substituting money for God. 41And when the ten heard it, they be Jesus apparently perceived that tendengan to be greatly displeased with James cy in the rich young ruler. Because the man and John. 42But Jesus called them to Himplaced far too much value on his wealth, self and said to them, “You know that those Jesus told him to give it away and free himwho are considered rulers over the Gentiles self from the slavery of his riches. As far as lord it over them, and their great ones ex we know, Jesus did not give that same adercise authority over them. 43 Yet it shall vice to other rich people He encountered. not be so among you; but whoever desires But it was a requirement for this particular to become great among you shall be your person. 10:29 a NU‑Text omits or wife. There are many people today who have or who are working to attain sizable assets. Others live paycheck to paycheck and find No Better Than Gentiles themselves sick with envy over their friends’ Mark 10:32–37 or relatives’ possessions, or they have fallen into crushing debt as a result of living beOn Jesus’ final trip to Jerusalem, a power yond their means. Sooner or later all of these struggle emerged among Jesus’ disciples. people must decide whether stuff or God will Hearing their Master speak of a coming kingrule. They will ask the same question the rich dom, James and John were the first to try to young ruler asked Jesus: “What shall I do that stake out positions of power. Jesus rebuked I may inherit eternal life?” (10:17). them by comparing them to despised Gentile Only God can give eternal life (10:27). He leaders (Matt. 10:42). People like Pilate and gives life freely and graciously to those who Augustus and their array of governors, tax follow Him (10:29, 30). But the choice to collectors, soldiers, and centurions lived only follow is especially hard for people who like for themselves. Jesus accused His disciples of stuff; they have a competing offer, and it is acting the same way by maneuvering for pohighly appealing. sition and power. The comparison must have cut them to the core. Their attitudes made More: Scripture encourages an alternathem no different than people who did not tive to greed. See “Christians and Money” at know God. 1 Tim. 6:6–19.
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servant. 44 And whoever of you desires to at all things, as the hour was already late, be first shall be slave of all. 45For even the He went out to Bethany with the twelve. Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for The Fig Tree Withered many.” 12 Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. 13And seeing from afar a fig tree having Jesus Heals Blind Bartimaeus 46Now they came to Jericho. As He went leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would out of Jericho with His disciples and a great find something on it. When He came to it, multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of He found nothing but leaves, for it was not Timaeus, sat by the road begging. 47And the season for figs. 14In response J esus said when he heard that it was J esus of Naza to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever reth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, again.” And His disciples heard it. Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 T hen many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, Jesus Cleanses the Temple have mercy on me!” 15 So they came to Jerusalem. Then 49So Jesus stood still and commanded Jesus went into the temple and began to him to be called. drive out those who bought and sold in Then they called the blind man, saying the temple, and overturned the tables of to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is call the money changers and the seats of those ing you.” who sold doves. 16And He would not allow 50And throwing aside his garment, he anyone to carry wares through the temple. rose and came to Jesus. 17 T hen He taught, saying to them, “Is it not 51So Jesus answered and said to him, written, ‘My house shall be called a house “What do you want Me to do for you?” of prayer for all nations’ ? a But you have The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ” b that I may receive my sight.” 18 And the scribes and chief priests 52 T hen J esus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And imme 11:1 a M‑Text reads Bethsphage. 11:4 a NU‑ diately he received his sight and followed Text and M‑Text read a. 11:9 a Psalm 118:26 11:10 a NU‑Text omits in the name of the Lord. Jesus on the road. a b 11:17 Isaiah 56:7
The Triumphal Entry
ow when they drew near Jerusalem, N to Bethphage a and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disci ples; 2and He said to them, “Go into the vil lage opposite you; and as soon as you have entered it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has sat. Loose it and bring it. 3And if anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it,’ and im mediately he will send it here.” 4So they went their way, and found thea colt tied by the door outside on the street, and they loosed it. 5But some of those who stood there said to them, “What are you do ing, loosing the colt?” 6And they spoke to them just as J esus had commanded. So they let them go. 7 T hen they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes on it, and He sat on it. 8And many spread their clothes on the road, and others cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 T hen those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ a 10 Blessed is the kingdom of our father David That comes in the name of the Lord! a Hosanna in the highest!” 11And
J esus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around
The Fig Tree and the Mountain Mark 11:12–26 Jesus destroyed an innocent fig tree and then promised mountain-moving power to people of faith. The context of this startling event and statement is crucial. Jesus and His disciples had just entered Jerusalem, where He would soon be tried and executed. When He happened upon the fig tree, He used it as a caution for what ultimately awaits people who oppose the kingdom of God—people such as His religious opponents. Rather than bearing fruit, the nation had misused its privileges as God’s people (Mark 11:12–18). Cursing the fig tree was not a random act of anger but a message for Jesus’ disciples. Coming events would turn against Jesus and confuse and frighten His followers. Perhaps the memory of that powerful visual would help them not to forget that they were part of a lasting, purposeful, and victorious kingdom. As for using prayer to hoist mountains into the sea, Jesus was referring to the power of faith for people who do not misuse their privileges as people of God but promote His kingdom in this world (11:22). He did not promise us an ability to use power to our personal advantage. He instead showed the significance and power of trusting God.
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FOURTH PROOFS Mark 11:19
at him they threw stones,a wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully treated. 5And again he sent another, and him they killed; and many others, beating some and killing some. 6 T herefore still having one son, his beloved, he also sent him to them last, saying, ‘They will re The Lesson of the Withered Fig Tree 20Now in the morning, as they passed spect my son.’ 7But those vinedressers said by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, roots. 21And Peter, remembering, said to let us 8kill him, and the inheritance will be Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You ours.’ So they took him and killed him and cast him out of the vineyard. cursed has withered away.” 9 “Therefore what will the owner of the 22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23For assuredly, I say vineyard do? He will come and destroy the and give the vineyard to oth to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be vinedressers, 10 removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does ers. Have you not even read this Scrip not doubt in his heart, but believes that ture: those things he says will be done, he will ‘The stone which the builders rejected have whatever he says. 24 T herefore I say Has become the chief cornerstone. to you, whatever things you ask when you 11 This was the Lord’s doing, pray, believe that you receive them, and And it is marvelous in our eyes’ ?” a you will have them. 12 And they sought to lay hands on Him, but feared the multitude, for they knew He had Forgiveness and Prayer 25 “And whenever you stand praying, if spoken the parable against them. So they left Him and went away. you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. 26But if you The Pharisees: Is It Lawful to Pay Taxes do not forgive, neither will your Father in to Caesar? 13 T hen they sent to Him some of the heaven forgive your trespasses.” a Pharisees and the Herodians, to catch Him in His words. 14 W hen they had come, they Jesus’ Authority Questioned 27 T hen they came again to Jerusalem. said to Him, “Teacher, we know that You And as He was walking in the temple, the are true, and care about no one; for You do chief priests, the scribes, and the elders not regard the person of men, but teach the came to Him. 28And they said to Him, “By way of God in truth.15Is it lawful to pay taxes what authority are You doing these things? to Caesar, or not? Shall we pay, or shall And who gave You this authority to do we not pay?” But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said these things?” Bring Me 29But J esus answered and said to them, to them, “Why do you test Me? 16 “I also will ask you one question; then an a denarius that I may see it.” So they swer Me, and I will tell you by what au brought it. And He said to them, “Whose image thority I do these things: 30 T he baptism of John—was it from heaven or from men? and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Answer Me.” 17And Jesus answered and said to them, 31And they reasoned among themselves, “Render to Caesar the things that are Cae saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will sar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ And they marveled at Him. 32But if we say, ‘From men’ ”— t hey feared the people, for all counted John to have been a prophet indeed. 33So they answered The Sadducees: What About the Resurrection? and said to Jesus, “We do not know.” 18 T hen some Sadducees, who say there And Jesus answered and said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I is no resurrection, came to Him; and they asked Him, saying: 19 “Teacher, Moses do these things.” wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies, and leaves his wife behind, and leaves no The Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers T hen He began to speak to them in children, his brother should take his wife raise up offspring for his brother. parables: “A man planted a vineyard and 20Now there were seven brothers. The first and set a hedge around it, dug a place for a wife; and dying, he left no offspring. the wine vat and built a tower. And he took 21And the second took her, and he died; nor leased it to vinedressers and went into a far any offspring. And the third country. 2Now at vintage-time he sent a ser did he leave 22 vant to the vinedressers, that he might re likewise. So the seven had her and left no ceive some of the fruit of the vineyard from offspring. Last of all the woman died also. the vinedressers. 3And they took him and 11:26 a NU‑Text omits this verse. 12:4 a NU‑ beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Text omits and at him they threw stones. 4 Again he sent them another servant, and 12:11 a Psalm 118:22, 23
heard it and sought how they might destroy Him; for they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His teaching. 19 W hen evening had come, He went out of the city.
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23 T herefore, in the resurrection, when they
concerning the dead, that they rise, have rise, whose wife will she be? For all seven you not read in the book of Moses, in the had her as wife.” burning bush passage, how God spoke to 24 Jesus answered and said to them, “Are him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the you not therefore mistaken, because you do God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’ ?a 27He not know the Scriptures nor the power of is not the God of the dead, but the God of the God? 25For when they rise from the dead, living. You are therefore greatly mistaken.” they neither marry nor are given in mar riage, but are like angels in heaven. 26But 12:26 a Exodus 3:6, 15
Taxes Mark 12:14 The practice of taxation as it unfolded in Scripture may have originated with the custom of giving presents in exchange for protection from harm (Gen. 32:13–21; 33:10; 43:11). In Egypt, Joseph warned that seven years of famine would follow seven years of abundance. Pharaoh consequently put Joseph in charge of raising revenue. He collected a 20 percent tax to store up food and buy land for Pharaoh, a requirement that continued not only in the time of plenty but also during the famine (47:20–26). During the Exodus, Moses asked for voluntary contributions to construct the tabernacle (Ex. 25:2; 35:5, 21). The Law also prescribed that every male over the age of twenty was to give half a shekel for tabernacle expenses (30:11–16). When Israel begged Samuel for a king, he warned that heavy taxes would result— 10 percent of nearly everything the people produced, as well as confiscation of land and servants. “You will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves,” he warned (1 Sam. 8:14–18). His words came true almost right away. Under David and Solomon, several taxes of money, time, and work were established: a 10 percent tax on the produce of land and livestock (8:15, 17); compulsory military service for one month each year (1 Chr. 27:1); import duties (1 Kin. 10:15); and tribute paid by subject peoples (2 Sam. 8:6; 2 Kin. 3:4). The taxes became so oppressive under Solomon that after his death they contributed to the split of the kingdom (1 Kin. 12:4). When the Persians later took control, they established a new system. Instead of paying tribute, each province of the empire was required to collect its own taxes. Persian rulers called satraps collected taxes for their own provinces, from which they paid a fixed amount into the royal treasury. Revenues were derived from tributes, customs payments, and tolls (Ezra 4:13). Priests and religious servants were exempt (7:24). A tax was also collected for maintaining the governor’s household. Again, taxes grew so crushing that many people were forced to mortgage their fields and vineyards, and some even sold their own children into slavery (Neh. 5:1–5).
During the period between the Old and New Testaments, the Jews were first under Egyptian Ptolemaic rule (301– 198 b.c.) and later under Syrian Seleucid rule (198–63 b.c.). Under the Ptolemies, taxing privileges were farmed out to the highest bidders. People came to Alexandria from the various provinces to bid for the privilege of collecting taxes from their own people. Contractors taxed up to double the amount required by law in order to turn a substantial profit. These tax collectors were even given military assistance to enforce their demands. The same type of system probably continued under the Syrians. A poll tax, a salt tax, and a crown tax were enforced during this era. The Syrians claimed as much as one-third of the people’s grain, one-half of their fruit, and a portion of the tithes that the Jews paid to support their temple. When the Romans captured Jerusalem in 63 b.c., they temporarily imposed a tax of ten thousand talents on the Jews. Julius Caesar later reformed the system by reducing taxes and levying no tax during Sabbath years. The Herods instituted a poll tax and a tax on fishing rights. Customs were collected on trade routes by men such as Levi (the apostle Matthew; Matt. 9:9; Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27). Capernaum may have also been a place for the gathering of port duties and fishing tolls. Some items sold for 1,000 percent above their original price because of heavy taxation. There may have been a sales tax on slaves, oil, clothes, hides, and furs. Over and above these taxes, people also paid religious dues, generally between 10 and 20 percent of their income before government taxes were deducted. As a result, even the poorest of the Jews of the New Testament era probably spent between 30 and 40 percent of their income on taxes and religious dues. Think About It: What principles of taxation would God want your community to integrate? Why? How?
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FOURTH PROOFS Mark 12:28
The Scribes: Which Is the First Commandment of All?
28 T hen one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, per ceivinga that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first command ment of all?” 29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ a This is the first commandment.b 31And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ a There is no other command ment greater than these.” 32So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. 33And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul,a and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 Now when J esus saw that he an swered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” But after that no one dared question Him.
Jesus: How Can David Call His Descendant Lord?
35 T hen Jesus answered and said, while He taught in the temple, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of Da vid? 36For David himself said by the Holy Spirit: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand,
Moral Value of Offerings Mark 12:41–44 The poor widow in Mark 12:41–44 was so destitute that she was in danger of dying. When she deposited her last two mites in the temple treasury, Jesus announced that she had given more money than anyone else. Jesus was indicating that giving and sacrifice are relative. To the wealthy people who strolled up to the coffers with sacks of gold coins, the widow’s contribution couldn’t have been more measly. But two mites was everything to this woman. It was “all that she had, her whole livelihood.” As a poor widow, she had no means of support and was likely unemployable. Giving all to God meant that she had nothing left for herself. The widow’s gift was so important because God placed moral rather than economic value on her tiny offering. By giving herself entirely over to God and trusting Him to meet her needs, she showed the true condition of her heart.
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” ’ a 37 T herefore David himself calls Him ‘Lord’ ; how is He then his Son?” And the common people heard Him gladly.
Beware of the Scribes
38 T hen He said to them in His teaching, “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, 39the best seats in the syna gogues, and the best places at feasts, 40who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”
The Widow’s Two Mites
41Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42 T hen one poor widow came and threw in two mites, a which make a quadrans. 43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Ass uredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her pov erty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”
Jesus Predicts the Destruction of the Temple
hen as He went out of the temple, one T of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what build ings are here!” 2 And J esus answered and said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
The Signs of the Times and the End of the Age
3Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him privately, 4“Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?” 5And J esus, answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 6For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many. 7But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must hap pen, but the end is not yet. 8For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various p laces, and there will be famines
12:28 a NU‑Text reads seeing. 12:30 a Deuteronomy 6:4, 5 b NU‑Text omits this sentence. 12:31 a Leviticus 19:18 12:33 a NU‑Text omits with all the soul. 12:36 a Psalm 110:1 12:42 a Greek lepta, very small copper coins worth a fraction of a penny
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FOURTH PROOFS 1205 and troubles.a These are the beginnings of sorrows. 9 “But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be broughta before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. 10And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 11But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditatea what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 13And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
Preparing for Doomsday Mark 13:1–37 Jesus’ words in Mark 13 (and Matt. 24:1–51 and Luke 21:5–36) no doubt lingered in His followers’ minds. When the disciples commented on the temple’s significance and permanence (Mark 13:1), Jesus responded by remarking how temporary such structures really are (13:2). Once the group was in a quiet setting (13:3), He then detailed the end of history as we know it. Jesus told how it was, or, rather, how it was going to be. He didn’t shy away from this difficult topic. He honestly and openly spoke of the turmoil His followers would endure (13:4–37): • Deception, wars, earthquakes, and famines would be the beginning of their sorrows (13:5–8). • His followers would experience testing as His witnesses before councils, governors, and kings (13:9–11). • Family members would turn against each other (13:12, 13). • Distress and deception would reign for as long as God permitted (13:14–25). • Jesus would eventually return for His followers (13:15–31). • Because His followers would not know precisely when He would return, they should patiently serve God (13:32–37).
The Great Tribulation
14 “So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ a spoken of by Daniel the prophet, b standing where it ought not” (let the reader understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15Let him who is on the housetop not go down into the house, nor enter to take any thing out of his house. 16And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 17But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 18And pray that your flight may not be in winter. 19For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be. 20And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days. 21“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, He is there!’ do not believe it. 22For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 23But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.
The Coming of the Son of Man
24 “But in those days, after that tribu lation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; 25the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 T hen they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven.
The Parable of the Fig Tree
28 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 29So you also, when you see these things happening, know that ita is near—at the doors! 30Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 31Heav en and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
No One Knows the Day or Hour
Jesus contrasted the illusory strength and beauty of Israel’s center of worship with the faithful loyalty and service of His followers (13:2, 9, 13, 33–37). Human structures inevitably crumble and fall, but God’s righteous works last forever. His followers should therefore stand firm, serving God faithfully, not falling victim to the seductions of the world.
32 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. 34 It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper
More: Paul echoed these points when he addressed the issue of troubled times in his second letter to the Thessalonians (2 Thess. 2:1–17).
13:8 a NU‑Text omits and troubles. 13:9 a NU‑ Text and M‑Text read will stand. 13:11 a NU‑ Text omits or premeditate. 13:14 a Daniel 11:31; 12:11 b NU‑Text omits spoken of by Daniel the prophet. 13:29 a Or He
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FOURTH PROOFS Mark 13:35
A Kingdom Perspective Mark 13:33 Jesus wants His followers to interpret turbulent times not just in the flow of human history but even more from His kingdom perspective. As His followers, we are citizens of eternity. Our confidence must therefore be rooted in something far more substantial than our positions and achievements in the here and now. God prepares each of us for moments of deep kingdom significance as we serve the people He sends our way. We naturally rely on achievements— reaching goals, acquiring possessions, climbing professional ladders— for our identity and self-worth. All is well until we lose these things. And we are often devastated to reach the top of the ladder only to realize that all the while we have been climbing toward the wrong goal. Our culture encourages us to develop a personal sense of self- importance that is self-serving and often self-destructive. God wants to build our self-image on a far more enduring foundation. He invites us to discover our calling, which will involve serving Him in the unique places and tasks He assigns to us. Our self-worth rests on the fact that we are His children, created by Him to carry out good works as kingdom servants (Eph. 2:10). According to Scripture, our calling is . . . • irrevocable (Rom. 11:29), • a means of sharing in Christ’s glory (2 Thess. 2:14), • a function of how God has designed us (Eph. 2:10), • an assurance that God will give us everything we need to serve Him (1 Cor. 1:7–9), • our true identity (1 Pet. 2:5, 9). • a source of strength in suffering (2:19–21), • rooted in peace, no matter what our circumstances (1 Cor. 7:15–24), and • focused on eternal achievements rather than earthly ones (Phil. 3:13—4:1). God calls us above all else to the development of our character, service to others, and loyalty to Him. These can be accomplished no matter where we live or work, whatever our occupational status or social position. As long as we pursue these things, we can enjoy true satisfaction and significance. More: Psalm 71 inspires and directs anyone contemplating how to have a meaningful, satisfying life in their later years. See also “The Art of Growing Old” at Ps. 92:14.
to watch. 35 Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morn ing—36lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. 37And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”
The Plot to Kill Jesus
fter two days it was the Passover and A the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take Him by trickery and put Him to death. 2But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar of the people.”
The Anointing at Bethany
3And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. 4 But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? 5For it might have been sold for more than three hundred de narii and given to the poor.” And they crit icized her sharply. 6 But J esus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. 7For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. 8She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. 9Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”
Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus
10 T hen Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Him to them. 11And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. So he sought how he might conveniently be tray Him.
Jesus Celebrates the Passover with His Disciples
12Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they killed the Passover lamb, His disciples said to Him, “Where do You want us to go and prepare, that You may eat the Passover?” 13And He sent out two of His disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him. 14 W herever he goes in, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?” ’ 15 T hen he will show you a large upper room, furnished and prepared; there make ready for us.” 16 So His disciples went out, and came into the city, and found it just as He had
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FOURTH PROOFS 1207
said to them; and they prepared the Pass over. 17In the evening He came with the twelve. 18Now as they sat and ate, Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you who eats with Me will betray Me.” 19And they began to be sorrowful, and to say to Him one by one, “Is it I?” And an other said, “Is it I?” a 20He answered and said to them, “It is one of the twelve, who dips with Me in the dish. 21 T he Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born.”
ing, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temp tation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words. 40And when He re turned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him. 41 T hen He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”
Jesus Institutes the Lord’s Supper
Betrayal and Arrest in Gethsemane
43And immediately, while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44 Now His betrayer had given them a signal, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him and lead Him away safely.” 45As soon as he had come, immediately he went up to Him and said to Him, “Rabbi, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. 46 T hen they laid their hands on Him and took Him. 47And one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial 48 T hen Jesus answered and said to 27 T hen Jesus said to them, “All of you them, “Have you come out, as against a rob will be made to stumble because of Me this ber, with swords and clubs to take Me? 49I night,a for it is written: was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me. But the Scrip ‘I will strike the Shepherd, tures must be fulfilled.” And the sheep will be scattered.’ b 50 T hen they all forsook Him and fled. 28 “But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.” 29Peter said to Him, “Even if all are A Young Man Flees Naked 51Now a certain young man followed made to stumble, yet I will not be.” 30 Jesus said to him, “Assured ly, I say Him, having a linen cloth thrown around And the young men laid to you that today, even this night, before his naked body. 52 the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me hold of him, and he left the linen cloth and fled from them naked. three times.” 31But he spoke more vehemently, “If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” Jesus Faces the Sanhedrin 53And they led Jesus away to the high And they all said likewise. priest; and with him were assembled all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes. The Prayer in the Garden 54 But Peter followed Him at a distance, 32 T hen they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His right into the courtyard of the high priest. disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33And He And he sat with the servants and warmed at the fire. took Peter, James, and John with Him, and himself 55Now the chief priests and all the coun He began to be troubled and deeply dis esus to put tressed. 34 T hen He said to them, “My soul is cil sought testimony against J 56 exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay Him to death, but found none. For many bore false witness against Him, but their here and watch.” 35He went a little farther, and fell on the testimonies did not agree. 57 T hen some rose up and bore false wit ground, and prayed that if it were possible, 58 the hour might pass from Him. 36And He ness against Him, saying, “We heard Him said, “Abba, Father, all things are possi say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with ble for You. Take this cup away from Me; 14:19 a NU‑Text omits this sentence. nevertheless, not what I will, but what You 14:22 a NU‑Text omits eat. 14:24 a NU‑Text will.” omits new. 14:27 a NU‑Text omits because of 37 T hen He came and found them sleep Me this night. b Zechariah 13:7 22 And
as they were eating, J esus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them and said, “Take, eat;a this is My body.” 23 T hen He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new a cov enant, which is shed for many. 25Assuredly, I say to you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” 26And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
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FOURTH PROOFS Mark 14:59
hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.’ ” 59But not even then did their testimony agree. 60And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, saying, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men tes tify against You?” 61But He kept silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked Him, say ing to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” 62 Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of
Marks of Faith Mark 14:53–64 Israel’s religious and political leaders wanted to rid themselves of Jesus, so they tried every means possible to convict Him of a crime. They paid an informant from among Jesus’ own followers, but he returned their money and declared the Lord innocent (Mark 14:43– 46; Matt. 27:3– 5). They orchestrated an armed mob to intimidate Jesus, but He kept His cool and restrained His followers (26:51– 54). The leaders even presented witnesses to testify against Him, but the witnesses perjured themselves and contradicted each other (Mark 14:55, 56). People tried to convict Jesus of a crime for which they lacked a shred of evidence. They failed because Jesus lived His life in plain sight. For every false accusation lodged against Him, there were countless examples of His love and moral perfection. What signs of authentic faith do people see when they scrutinize our lives? Is it enough evidence to prove that our trust in God is real? The Bible suggests several outward marks of authentic faith: • We display the Beatitudes that Jesus described in His Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:3–16). • We think with a transformed mind, we express genuine love, and we respect authority (Rom. 12:1, 2; 13:1–7). • We overflow with love actions (1 Cor. 13). • We display the Spirit’s fruit (Gal. 5:22–26). • We imitate Christ’s humility and look out for others’ interests (Phil. 2:1–4). • We pray without ceasing, and in everything we give thanks (1 Thess. 5:16–18). • We carry out works of faith and compassion (James 2:14–17), we control our tongues (3:1–11), and we speak wisdom (3:13). • We hold to the truth about Jesus (2 John 4; 3 John 3, 4) and defend it (Jude 3). As others study our lives for evidence that we are followers of Christ, how many of these marks do they see?
the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” 63 T hen the high priest tore his clothes and said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? 64 You have heard the blasphe my! What do you think?” And they all condemned Him to be de serving of death. 65 T hen some began to spit on Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him, and to say to Him, “Prophesy!” And the officers struck Him with the palms of their hands.a
Peter Denies Jesus, and Weeps
66Now as Peter was below in the court yard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came. 67And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with Jesus of Naza reth.” 68But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are say ing.” And he went out on the porch, and a rooster crowed. 69And the servant girl saw him again, and began to say to those who stood by, “This is one of them.” 70But he denied it again. And a little later those who stood by said to Peter again, “Surely you are one of them; for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it.” a 71 T hen he began to curse and swear, “I do not know this Man of whom you speak!” 72 A second time the rooster crowed. Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And when he thought about it, he wept.
Jesus Faces Pilate
I mmediately, in the morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council; and they bound Jesus, led Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate. 2 T hen Pilate asked Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” He answered and said to him, “It is as you say.” 3And the chief priests accused Him of many things, but He answered nothing. 4 T hen Pilate asked Him again, saying, “Do You answer nothing? See how many things they testify against You!” a 5But Jesus still answered nothing, so that Pilate marveled.
Taking the Place of Barabbas
6Now at the feast he was accustomed to releasing one prisoner to them, whomever they requested. 7And there was one named Barabbas, who was chained with his fel low rebels; they had committed murder in the rebellion. 8 T hen the multitude, crying aloud,a began to ask him to do just as he
14:65 a NU‑Text reads received Him with slaps. 14:70 a NU‑Text omits and your speech shows it. 15:4 a NU‑Text reads of which they accuse You. 15:8 a NU‑Text reads going up.
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FOURTH PROOFS 1209 had always done for them. 9But Pilate an swered them, saying, “Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 10For he knew that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy. 11But the chief priests stirred up the crowd, so that he should rather release Barabbas to them. 12Pilate answered and said to them again, “What then do you want me to do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?” 13 So they cried out again, “Crucify Him!” 14 T hen Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, “Crucify Him!” 15 So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified.
So Many Marys Mark 15:40 The New Testament shows the popularity of the name Mary in first-century Palestine. Some examples: • Mary of Nazareth, the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:26—2:52). • Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus (10:38–42; John 11). She anointed Jesus with perfume before His death (12:3). • Mary of Magdala, a financial supporter of Jesus (Luke 8:2, 3) who had seven demons cast out of her by the Lord. She watched Jesus’ crucifixion and was the first witness of His resurrection (Mark 15:40; 16:9). • Mary the mother of James and Joses. She too was present at Jesus’ crucifixion and was probably the same woman described as the “other” Mary (Matt. 27:61; 28:1) and as Mary the wife of Clopas (John 19:25). • Mary the mother of Mark, making her a relative of Barnabas (Acts 12:12; Col. 4:10). • Mary of Rome, known simply as a woman who worked hard alongside Paul and his companions (Rom. 16:6).
The Soldiers Mock Jesus
16 T hen the soldiers led Him away into the hall called Praetorium, and they called together the whole garrison. 17And they clothed Him with purple; and they twisted a crown of thorns, put it on His head, 18and began to salute Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 T hen they struck Him on the head with a reed and spat on Him; and bowing the knee, they worshiped Him. 20And when they had mocked Him, they took the purple off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him.
The King on a Cross
Mary was a popular name among the Jews because it was the Greek form of the Hebrew name Miriam, which was the name of one of Israel’s most famous and beloved biblical figures. • Miriam was the sister of Moses (Num. 26:59) and one of the nation’s first prophets (Ex. 15:20). • She, Moses, and their brother Aaron formed the leadership team that God appointed to lead Israel out of Egypt and through the wilderness toward the Promised Land (Mic. 6:4). • Miriam displayed courage early in life when she saved her baby brother from death (Ex. 2:4–7). • Later, after Israel escaped across the Red Sea from the Egyptian army, Miriam led the women in a song of celebration and praise (15:20, 21). • However, on one occasion Miriam unwisely spoke against Moses. As a consequence she experienced God’s judgment by contracting leprosy. For seven days she was shut out of the camp, the time required before a person healed of leprosy could rejoin the community (Num. 12:1–15). • While she was on “forced sick leave,” the people remained in one place until she returned to her work of leading the people (12:15).
21 T hen they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexan der and Rufus, as he was coming out of the country and passing by, to bear His cross. 22And they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull. 23 T hen they gave Him wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it. 24 And when they crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take. 25Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him. 26And the inscription of His accusation was written above:
THE KING OF THE JEWS. 27 With
Him they also crucified two rob bers, one on His right and the other on His left. 28So the Scripture was fulfilleda which says, “And He was numbered with the transgressors.” b 29And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 save Yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31Likewise the chief priests also, mock ing among themselves with the scribes, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot 15:28 a Isaiah 53:12
More: See Miriam’s profile at Num. 12:1.
omits this verse.
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FOURTH PROOFS Mark 15:32
save. 32Let the Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” a Even those who were crucified with Him reviled Him.
in two from top to bottom. 39So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last,a he said, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!” 40 T here were also women looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Mag Jesus Dies on the Cross 33Now when the sixth hour had come, dalene, Mary the mother of James the Less there was darkness over the whole land un and of Joses, and Salome, 41who also fol til the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour lowed Him and ministered to Him when He Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, was in Galilee, and many other women who “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is came up with Him to Jerusalem. translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” a Jesus Buried in Joseph’s Tomb 35 Some of those who stood by, when 42Now when evening had come, because they heard that, said, “Look, He is calling it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day 36 for Elijah!” T hen someone ran and filled before the Sabbath, 43Joseph of Arimathea, a sponge full of sour wine, put it on a reed, a prominent council member, who was him and offered it to Him to drink, saying, “Let self waiting for the kingdom of God, com Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to ing and taking courage, went in to Pilate take Him down.” 37And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, 15:32 a M‑Text reads believe Him. and breathed His last. 15:34 a Psalm 22:1 15:39 a NU‑Text reads that 38 T hen the veil of the temple was torn He thus breathed His last.
Evidence for the Resurrection Mark 16:1–8 Dead people do not ordinarily rise again. At the tomb. Early Sunday Death is inevitable, and no human can avoid it. But Jesus broke that cycle. He conquered morning, Jesus appeared to death by Mary rising Magdalene, from the grave, and Mary theverified His resurrection byofappearing to many of His mother James, and Salome followers. As Christians we can have life after (Matt. 28:1–10; Mark 16:1–11; death because Jesus broke death’s bondage Luke (1 Cor. 15:12– 24,24:1–12; 35–58). John 20:1–18).
Jesus’ Appearances Jerusalem. Jesus appeared to After theSunday Resurrection Peter on (Luke 24:34; At the tomb. Early Sunday morning, 1 Cor. 15:5). Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene,
Mary the mother of James, and Salome (Matt. 28:1– 10;Emmaus. Mark 16:1– 11; Luke Road to About midday 24:1–Sunday, 12; JohnJesus 20:1–appeared 18). to two Jerusalem. Jesus appeared to Peter on travelers (Luke 24:13–32). Sunday (Luke 24:34; 1 Cor. 15:5). Road to Emmaus. About midday Sunday, Jesus The appeared toRoom. two travelers Upper Jesus (Luke 24:13– 32). appeared to ten disciples on The Upper Room. Jesus appeared to ten Sunday evening (Mark 16:14; disciples on Sunday evening (Mark Luke 16:14; Luke24:36–43; 24:36–43;John John 20:19–25) 20:19–25) and again onelater week laterThomas and again one week when was present (John 20:26– 9; 1 Cor. 15:5). when Thomas was2present Galilee.(John Jesus appeared 20:26–29;to1the Cor.eleven 15:5). disciples in Galilee (Matt. 28:16–20; Mark 16:15–18). Later, He was seen by 500 followers, probably also in Galilee (1 Cor. 15:6). Sea of Galilee. Early one morning, Jesus appeared to seven of His disciples while they were fishing and caused them to find a great catch of fish (John 21:1–23).
EE LIL Capernaum GA Tiberias Sea of Galilee M t. Ta b o r
SAMARIA Samaria M t. o f Emmaus O l i v e s
Jerusalem Bethany JUDEA 0
Dead Sea N
Location unknown. Jesustoappeared to Galilee. Jesus appeared the eleven James the apostle (1 Cor. 15:7). disciples in Galilee (Matt. 28:16–20; Mount of Olives. Forty days after the Mark 16:15–18).Jesus Later,met Hewith was the seen by Resurrection, eleven 500disciples, followers, probably alsoHis in brothers, Galilee leading women, and 15:6). others, whom He told to take His (1 Cor.
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Sea of Galilee. Early o morning, Jesus appea seven of His disciples were fishing and caus to find a great catch o (John 21:1–23).
Location unknown. J appeared to James th (1 Cor. 15:7).
Jorda n R iver
ter ra n
message throughout the world. He then ascended into heaven (Luke 24:46–53; Acts 1:3–14). Road to Damascus. Jesus confronted Saul of Tarsus in the middle of the day, an event that led to Saul’s conversion (Acts 9:1–9; 1 Cor. 15:8).
Mount of Olives. Fort after the Resurrection met with the eleven d leading women, His b and others, whom He take His message thro the world. He then as into heaven (Luke 24: Acts 1:3–14).
Road to Damascus. J confronted Saul of Ta middle of the day, an that led to Saul’s conv (Acts 9:1–9; 1 Cor. 15:
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FOURTH PROOFS 1211 and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Pilate marveled that He was already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him if He had been dead for some time. 45So when he found out from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph. 46 T hen he bought fine linen, took Him down, and wrapped Him in the linen. And he laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock, and rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. 47And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses observed where He was laid.
does not believe will be condemned. 17And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18they a will take up serpents; and if they drink any thing deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Christ Ascends to God’s Right Hand
19So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20And He Is Risen they went out and preached everywhere, Now when the Sabbath was past, the Lord working with them and confirm Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of ing the word through the accompanying James, and Salome bought spices, that they signs. Amen.a might come and anoint Him. 2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, 16:8 a NU‑Text and M‑Text omit quickly. they came to the tomb when the sun had 16:18 a NU‑Text reads and in their hands they risen. 3And they said among themselves, will. 16:20 a Verses 9–20 are bracketed in NU‑ “Who will roll away the stone from the door Text as not original. They are lacking in Codex of the tomb for us?” 4But when they looked Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, although all other manuscripts of Mark contain up, they saw that the stone had been rolled nearly them. away—for it was very large. 5And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; Faith Impacts the World and they were alarmed. Mark 16:15, 16 6 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who When Jesus sent His followers into “all the was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. world,” He clearly had global impact in See the place where they laid Him. 7But go, mind. But spreading Christ’s message intell His disciples—and Peter—that He is go volves more than broadcasting a statement ing before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.” or set of facts. 8 So they went out quickly a and fled Faith impacts the world when Christ’s folfrom the tomb, for they trembled and were lowers live out the gospel, proclaiming it in amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, their loving actions as well as their thoughtfor they were afraid. ful words. That makes our relationships of the first importance. Mary Magdalene Sees the Risen Lord It means that how we carry out our per9Now when He rose early on the first sonal responsibilities and administer our day of the week, He appeared first to Mary resources deeply matters. Christ’s influence Magdalene, out of whom He had cast sev should be recognizable in our daily lives. en demons. 10She went and told those who Christians also change the world when had been with Him, as they mourned and they band together in business and nonprofit wept. 11And when they heard that He was organizations, churches, mission groups, and alive and had been seen by her, they did Christian media. As we partner with others not believe. through these organizations, we should not follow our own agenda but Christ’s agenda, Jesus Appears to Two Disciples working to meet the needs of the world with 12 After that, He appeared in another love, compassion, grace, mercy, patience, form to two of them as they walked and forgiveness, humility, wisdom, and hope. went into the country. 13And they went and Christ’s followers also exercise influence told it to the rest, but they did not believe through advocacy. We attempt to influence them either. the institutions and people that control society through acts as simple as voting or as The Great Commission 14 Later He appeared to the eleven as complex as running for office or working to enact legislation. As nations give Christians they sat at the table; and He rebuked their the right to actively participate in public polunbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen icy decisions, we should make the most of 15 Him after He had risen. And He said to that right in ways that honor the Lord. them, “Go into all the world and preach the As we take Christ’s message to the world, 16 gospel to every creature. He who believes we must understand how our world operates. and is baptized will be saved; but he who
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