A STUDY OF THE HARMONY OF THE GOSPELS
Lessons 1 - 7
The Coming of the Lord - Lesson 1
The Genealogies - Lesson 2
The Birth of John the Baptist - Lesson 4
The Birth of Jesus Christ - Lesson 4
The Return from Egypt to Nazareth - Lesson 5
Jesus Was Baptized - Lesson 6
The Temptation of Jesus - Lesson 7
A HARMONY OF THE GOSPELS
Why The Title of These Lessons
Gospel means “Good News,” or “Good Tidings.” No more important good news has ever come to this world than the story of Jesus of Nazareth. This story of Jesus is both a historical document and a message of the one hope that life both here and hereafter can be better -- better than anything any theology or philosophy can possible offer. It is the best the world has ever heard.
There are four inspired accounts of Jesus, the Son of God. In this study we will combine them into a composite view of the Son of God who left eternal glory to be born, live and die here on this planet. It is the story of Jesus who came to “save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). The records were written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These four men, guided completely by the Holy Spirit, reveals Jesus in his own particular fashion.
Each of the writers may be likened to four artists painting a portrait of the same person. Each approaches the life of Jesus independent of each other, yet there is not significant difference in any of them. Mark and Luke were included in those chosen as of the twelve. Mark was a close companion of Peter and Paul (Col. 4:10; 1 Pet. 5:13). Luke was a physician (Col. 4:14). John, a fisherman and the son of Zebedee, became one of Jesus’ closest companions (John 13:12; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20).
The four editions of the life of Christ Jesus present Jesus through all that he did and said. Their biographies of Jesus are not expressed as traditions and legends but from the actual words and deeds done by the Savior.
Note the simple beginning of Mark’s account -- “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1). Mark introduces the reader to the good news about Jesus the Christ which is about to be told. That good news is beautifully summarized by John in a prologue to his account -- (John 1:1-18). It begins much like Genesis, with the creation. The Word (a term referring to God as Christ) was both the source through which all things were made, and also came into this world in human form as the man Jesus. John’s prologue also shows that through Jesus the grace of God has come unto mankind bringing salvation. He shows that this was attested to by John, the baptist, a special messenger of God to announce the coming of Christ.
In his introduction, Luke addresses a man named Theophilus and states his intent to “set forth in order a declaration of those things most surely believed.” It has been suggested that “the order” in which Luke sets forth the gospel is not chronological but the order of grouping the details and carrying forward each series to the end before taking up the next. Others think it means a chronological order. Luke was not an eye-witness and therefore was not one of the seventy sent out by Christ or one of the two disciples that walked to Emmaus, as thought by some on the ground that he alone gives these particulars.” According to early historians, Luke was a Gentile, thus the only Gentile writer of the Scriptures. A man of education, he was a Greek of Grecian culture.
Luke points out that other writers who were eyewitnesses had already undertaken the recording of events pertaining to the coming of Christ and the work of his disciples. He impresses the “certainty of those things, in which you (Theophilus) have been instructed.”
Lesson 1 – The Coming of the Lord
Luke 1:1-4; John 1:1-18; Mark 1:1-3
1. Was Luke one of the eyewitnesses?
2. Which writers of the Gospels were eyewitnesses?
3. What are the two main purposes of the Gospel records?
4. What is the significance of the term “Word”?
5. What does the title “Word” tell us about our Lord?
6. Was there ever a time that the “Word” did not exist?
7. What was the “Word’s” part in creation?
8. What is the meaning of “light” in John 1:3-5.
9. What is the meaning of “life” in verse 4?
10. What is the meaning of darkness in verse 5?
11. What is meant by “apprehended” in verse 6?
12. Who or what is meant by “His own” in verse 11?
13. What does “receive” mean?
14. To whom did he grant right to become sons of God?
15. What does the expression in verse 14, that the “word became flesh” mean?
16. What is meant by receiving the fullness of Christ and the “glory for glory?”
17. How does verse 18 show us the overall purpose of the coming of Christ?
Helps With Answers to Lesson 1:
1. No. According to Luke 1:1-4 he compiled an orderly account of the things delivered unto him. “Others still had been eye witnesses to the ministry of Jesus and gave Luke their oral testimony . . . It is clear that he followed in the main our Gospel of Mark (HOG, 1).
2. Matthew (HBH, 264, and John (HBH, 365 and 470).
3. “That ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God: and that believing ye might have life through his name” – John 20:30-31.
4. John places “Word” on an equal with the Messiah, the Son of God, and other phrases that portray the preeminence of Christ. John writes his Gospel for the purpose of proving the deity of Jesus. He uses the term as proof in answer to Gnostics (HOG, *2, WPNT, 4). The Son of God may be called “the Word,” because he is the medium by which God promulgates His will and issues His commandments. See Heb 1:1-3.
5. “The Greek word (Logos) has a double sense (reason and speech) and John seems to have both ideas in mind. Christ is the Idea of God and the Expression of God.” (WPNT, 3).
6. “In the beginning was the word” (John 1:1). “Here was conveys no idea of origin for God or for the “Word,” simply continuous existence” (WPNT, 3).
7. Read John 1:3 – Christ is the intermediate agent in the creation of the universe. Hebrews 1:2 names God’s Son as the one “through” whom He made the worlds (ages). (WPNT, 5). In 1 Cor. 8:6 Paul distinguishes between the Father as the primary source of all things and the Son as the intermediate agent. (WPNT, 6).
8. “That statement is curiously like the view of some physicists who find in electricity (both light and power) the nearest equivalent to life in the ultimate physical form.” (WPNT, 7). "Light" is that by which we see objects distinctly. The light of the sun enables us to discern the form, the distance, the magnitude, and the relation of objects, and prevents the perplexities and dangers which result from a state of darkness. Light is in all languages, therefore, put for "knowledge"-for whatever enables us to discern our duty, and that saves us from the evils of ignorance and error. "Whatsoever doth make manifest is light," Eph 5:13. See Isa 8:20; 9:2. (AB).
9. The term is unlimited and includes all life – the very principle or essence of life. – The power that creates and sustains life in the universe is the Logos (“Word”). (WPNT, 6). See Psalm 6:9.
10. It is an evident reference to the darkness bought into the world by sin. (WPNT, 7). The “Word” (Christ) sheds light on hopelessness and blackness of sin. See Luke 11:34-35.
11. The word is from an “old verb ‘to lay hold of, to seize.” (WPNT, 7). This word means "admitted" it not, or "received" it not. The word "comprehend," with us, means to "understand." This is not the meaning of the original. The darkness did not "receive" or "admit" the rays of light; the shades were so thick that the light could not penetrate them; or, to drop the figure, men were so ignorant, so guilty, so debased, that they did not appreciate the value of his instructions; they despised and rejected him. (AB).
12. It means “unto his own things and in a closer sense to “his intimate friends, his family. – See John 13:1; Mark 6:4; John 4:44; Matt. 13:58. Here is probably refers to the Jews who were baptized by John in preparation for his advent into the world. In verse 11 it has reference also to “his own inheritance” and his own people did not receive him. Read the parable of the wicked husbandmen in Matt. 21:33-41.
13. The word “receive” literally means “to take from the hand of another.” “Mankind in general did not recognize the Messiah; the Jews, to whom He was specially sent did not welcome Him.” (CGNT).
14. It was those who did receive him that received the right. The word “right” is the same as “power.” It was given “even to those who believe.” This clearly shows that believers are not sons of God at the point of faith but have the right to become such. One does not become what one is, thus the right must be exercised in order to become what one is not. Read Gal. 3:26-27.
15. It refers to his birth to his earthly mother, Mary. “The Logos (word), existing from all eternity with the Father not only manifested His power in Creation, and in influence on the minds of men, but manifested Himself in the form of a man of flesh.” (CGNT).
16. In the coming of Christ John says we received his fullness and grace for grace. Literally this should read, and grace in the place of grace. The preposition is the Greek word anti meaning in place of or against. This can imply that one grace leads on to another and another so that the first becomes a reward for the first, etc. Verse 17 shows the true source of grace comes by Christ whereas the law came through Moses. Moses did not give the law; God gave it through him.
17. Since God has never been seen in his glorious personality, Jesus came to give a visible revelation of the invisible God. It is in this way truth came through the Son. The “Word” revealed God to mankind. He “interpreted” God for man, which is the meaning of “declared.” The NASB translates it, “He explained Him.”
Lesson 2 -- The Genealogies
- What seems to be the purpose of the genealogy in Matthew?
- What seems to be the purpose of the genealogy in Luke?
- Matt. 1:16 concludes the lineage by referring to “the Christ.” What is the meaning of “Christ?”
- What would be the most significant thing about the genealogy of Jesus?
- What women are found in his genealogy?
- What differences from Abraham on can you find in the two lists?Matthew's list Luke's list (in inverse order)
David DavidSolomon NathanRehoboam MattathaAbijah MennaAsa MeleaJehoshaphat EliakimJehoram JonamUzziah JosephJotham JudahAhaz SimeonHezekiah LeviManasseh MatthatAmon JorimJosiah EliezerJeconiah JoshuaShealtiel............ ErZerubbabel........ . ElmadamAbiud . . CosamEliakim . . AddiAzor ? ? MelkiZakok . . NeriAkim . ............ShealtielEliud ...............ZerubbabelEleazar RhesaMatthan JoananJacob JodaJoseph (husband of Mary) JosechJesus SemeinMattathiasMaathNaggaiEsliNahumAmosMattathiasJosephJannaiMelkiLeviMatthatHeliJosephJesus ("the son, so it was
thought, of Joseph")
Help With Answers to Lesson 2
- To show that Jesus is the legal successor to David’s throne. Matthew traces the pedigree from Abraham, father of the chosen race, through David, from whose house the Messiah was promised.
- To show Jesus’ blood descent. Luke, true to the nature of his treatise traces the lineage of Jesus from the father of all nations, both Jew and Gentile.
- The word means “the one anointed.” It “translates, in the Sept., the word ‘Messiah,’ a term applied to the priests who were anointed with the holy oil, particularly the high priest” (WEV)
- The most significant aspect of these genealogies is the connection between Jesus and his ancestor, King David. The prophets of old had repeatedly foretold that the Messiah would be of the house of David, and a branch of Jesse, David’s father. Therefore, from the Jews’ perspective, Jesus is of the royal lineage and worthy to be King of Israel. While this brings comfort to many, it brings confusion to others, who are expecting the Messiah to be the same kind of political king as those who reigned before him.
- There were five women included.
1) Tamar was the daughter-in-law of Judah. She was a childless widow, who was given to her brother-in-law after her husband's death. By this marriage, her offspring would continue the name and inheritance of the deceased. Such a union was later called a Leverite marriage (Deut 25:5-6). Tamar was the daughter-in-law of Judah and was a childless widow. By this marriage, her offspring would continue the name and inheritance of the deceased. Such a union was later called a Leverite marriage (Deut 25:5-6). Unfortunately, Tamar’s brother-in-law refused to have proper intercourse with her. God killed him for this. Afterwards, Judah would not give Tamar to any of his other sons. So Tamar disguised herself as a harlot and seduced Judah. Through him, she became the mother of Perez. (Gen. 38:6-30)
2) Rahab was a harlot who lived in Jericho. She hid the spies of Joshua. Because of this, the Israelites spared her life when they conquered Jericho. She later became the wife of Salmon, and the mother of Boaz. Rahab's faith was later commended (Josh. 2:1-24; Heb 11:30-31).
3) Ruth was a foreigner from the land of Moab. She was the widow of a Jew. Her mother-in-law, Naomi, also lived in Moab. Naomi journeyed to Israel after her family died. Ruth's devotion was extraordinary. She left her own country to follow Naomi. While in Israel, Ruth was married to Boaz, one of Naomi's relatives. Ruth later became the mother of Obed, the grandfather of David the King. (Ruth 1:1-4:22).
4) Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah the Hittite, who was a soldier in the army of King David. She and David had an adulterous affair. When David discovered Bathsheba was pregnant, he tried to cover it up by summoning Uriah home from war, hoping that Uriah would have intercourse with his wife. Uriah came home to Jerusalem, but refused to lay with Bathsheba as long as the armies of Israel were at war. So, David sent Uriah back into battle, with orders that Uriah should be withdrawn from when the fighting became fierce. After Uriah was slain in this manner, David took Bathsheba as his own wife. God punished them for this by killing their first child. Bathsheba later became the mother of Solomon. (2 Samuel 11:1-27).
5) Mary was the mother of Jesus and the wife of Joseph. She was a virgin when Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Joseph was betrothed to Mary when he discovered she was pregnant. He intended to put her away secretly because this was shameful. However, an angel told Joseph what had happened. So Joseph took Mary as his wife, and kept her as a virgin until she gave birth to Jesus. During her pregnancy, Mary spent time with her relative Elizabeth, who was the mother of John the Baptist (Luke 1:39-56). Mary was not a perpetual virgin, as she later became the mother of other sons and daughters (Matthew 13:55-56). Mary was a widow at the time of Jesus' death. While on the cross, Jesus committed her to the care of John, his apostle (Matt. 1:18-25, Luke 1:26-56 John 19:25-27).
Lesson 3 – The Birth of John the Baptist
1. What kind of work did John’s father do?
2. What is the “course of Abijah?”
3. What was Elizabeth’s “reproach?”
4. What was “the sixth month” in relation to what?
5. What is the meaning of a virgin as used here?
6. What is the meaning of betrothed?
7. How does the statement in verse 35 indicate that Jesus would be the divine Son of God?
8. What evidence did Gabriel offer to Mary to prove that his words were true?
9. When a person denies the virgin birth of Christ, what also does he deny?
Help With Answers to Lesson 3
1. John’s father was named Zacharias. He was a priest, thus of the tribe of Levi.
2. The “course” of Abijah was a period of one week of temple service. Abijah was the eighth of these twenty-four courses. (FG, 9).It was a reproach to a Jewish wife to be without child. (FG, 12).
3. What was the reproach Elizabeth felt?
4. In reference to Elizabeth’s conception. “This passage is the one from which we learn that John was six months older than Jesus (FG, 14).
5. “A woman who has never been intimate with a a man.” “An unmarried woman.” – The word is from parthenon – the connection being that in Grecian temples young virgins were employed in the worship of their gods.
6. Betrothal was a period of engagement entered into usually a year before the marriage. After the betrothal ceremonies the bride elect was virtually regarded as the wife of her future husband. (PBD, 388).
7. It gives the fact that the Holy Spirit would overshadow Mary and therefore give birth to the body of Jesus.
8. That Elizabeth had conceived a child in her old age.
9. He denies the deity of Christ and the power of the word of God (see verses 35 and 38).
Help with Answers to Lesson 4
1. Joseph is described as a righteous man. “As a righteous man he could not complete his marriage, and thus stain his family name. As a merciful man he did not wish to openly disgrace the one to whom he was so fondly attached. He wished to act justly toward his own reputation and merciful toward the reputation of Mary.” (FG, 23).
2. The word for “put away” is the same original turn (apoluo) as is used of divorce in Matthew 19:3-9). “He did not wish to expose her to the shame of a public trial before the court, nor to punish her as the law permitted.” (FG, 23).
3. The angel announced to Joseph that the child Mary carried was “of the Holy Spirit.” He also said the child would be a son. He told Joseph what name should be given the son, Jesus, which means “savior, or salvation.”
4. The angel cited the words of Isaiah 7:14. This prophecy was given about 740 years before the event. “While Ahaz was king of Judah, his land was threatened with an invasion by the united armies of Syria and Israel. Isaiah came to the frightened Ahaz, promised divine aid, and told Ahaz to seek from God a sign confirming the promise. This, Ahaz refused to do; whereupon Isaiah replied that God would grant a sign anyway. The sign was that a virgin should have a son, and before the son reached the age of discretion, the kingdoms of Syria and Israel should be destroyed. The sign given Ahaz was one of deliverance, and prefigured the birth of Christ, the great Deliverer, in four ways: 1. A virgin bearing a child. 2. A male child (Rev. 12:5). 3. The divinely ordered naming of the child. 4. The significance of the name given. Jesus fulfilled in his ministry many predictions; but many more such as this one were fulfilled upon him without his volition.” (FG, 26).
5. No. The Roman Catholic doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity is not biblical. “This doctrine cannot be proved by Scripture. But there are weightier reasons than this which forbid us to worship her; namely, it cannot be proven from Scripture either that she was divine or sinless. Moreover, the fact that she entered the marital state at all, shows that she was perfectly human, and comported herself as such.” (FG, 27). Jesus had brothers (Matt. 12:46). “The natural and obvious meaning is, however, that they were the children of Mary his mother.” (AB).
6. Caesar Augustus put out a decree that all the world should be enrolled for taxation. “The Romans enrolled each person at the place where he was then residing; but permitted the Jews to return to their ancestral or tribal cities and enroll themselves as citizens of these cities.” (FG, 28). Since Joseph was a descendant of David, and Bethlehem was the “City of David” Joseph returned there. (Read Micah 5:2; Matt. 2:5,6).
7. The shepherds were in their fields at night tending their flocks. They were frightened when “the glory of God” shone around them. “The Shechinah, or bright cloud, symbolizes the divine presence (Exo. 24:16; 1 Kings 8:10; Isa. 6:1-3; Rom. 10:4). It was seen by the three apostles upon the mount of transfiguration (Matt. 17:5) by Stephen (Acts 7:55), and by Paul -- Acts 22:6-11).” (FG, 30). They were told by an angel that he bore to them good tidings of great joy. The good news was that the Savior was to be born that day in Bethlehem (the city of David). A sign was given to them to identify the new born child. They were to find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.
8. The word for wise men is the Greek term magoi. The word is pronounced like magi or magic. They were probably Persians or Chaldeans. “They were probably numerous, with many impostors among them, especially in later times. . . . Matthew does not state the number of the ‘wisemen’ who came to Bethlehem.” It is only tradition that gives their number as three. They brought expensive gifts. Frankincense and myrrh were both very costly. Frankincense came from a white gum that gave off a fragrant color when burned.
9. They said they had seen the star of the new born king of the Jews and had come from afar to worship him. An astronomer named Kepler figured out that there was a conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn in 747 B.C. On the basis of this Oefele figures that the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn occurred between April 15 and December 27 of 6 B.C. While this is interesting, the New Testament represents the star as a miraculous, moving star and came to rest over when “the young child lay” (Matt. 2:9).
10. “Herod was troubled because his sucession to the throne was threatened and Jerusalem was troubled because it dreaded a conflict between rival claimants for the throne.” (FG, 44).
11. An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and warned him to leave because Herod would find the young child and try to kill him. Joseph remained in Egypt until the death of Herod This was done to fulfill the prophecy of Hosea 11:1.
12. He gave orders to have all male children in Bethlehem from two years old and under killed. This fulfilled yet another prophecy - Jer. 31:15.
Lesson 5 - The Return From Egypt to Nazareth
Matthew 2:19-22; Luke 2:39
1. What called Joseph to bring his family out of Egypt?
2. Why did Joseph go to Nazareth rather than Bethlehem?
3. What is said about the growth and development of Jesus?
4. For what reason did Jesus’ parents go to Jerusalem -- what feast was being observed?
5. How old was Jesus at this time?
6. After they fulfilled their days and started home, what did his parents discover?
7. Where did his parents find Jesus and what was he doing?
8. What is the main point of his reply to them?
9. From Luke 2:51 says he went down with them to Nazareth and was subject to his parents. What does it mean that he was “subject” to them?
10. What can we learn about Mary from the saying that she kept all these sayings in uher heart.
11. How did Jesus advance in wisdom, stature and in favor with God and men?
Help with Answers to Lesson 5
1. An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and instructed him to bring his family back to the “land of Israel.” “The land of Israel originally meant all Palestine, but during the period of the kingdom of the ten tribes it was restricted to their portion of the country. After the captivities and the return of Judah from Babylon the phrase resumed its original meaning, and hence it is here used to include all Palestine.” (HG, 53).
2. “After the death of Herod, Joseph, who must protect both the mother and the Child, is instructed to return to Judea. Fearing violence from Archelaus, they are encouraged to go on and return to Nazareth. And what of the life at Nazareth? What sort of boy was Jesus? How did he develop?> How did he spend his time? We sometimes forget that not merely his childhood and youth but ten long years of his manhood were spent at Nazareth.” (SILOC, 278). Another prophecy was thus fulfilled. The prophets spoke that the Son of God would be called a Nazarene. “Now, Nazareth, if derived from netzer answered to its name, and was a despised place (John 1:45-46), and Jesus, though in truth a Bethlehemite, bore the name Nazarene because it fitly expressed the contempt of those who despised and rejected him.”(FG, 56).
3. The child grew and became strong. He was filled with wisdom and the grace of God was upon him. “This verse contains the history of thirty years. It describes the growth of our Lord as a natural, human growth (compare Luke 1:80); for, though Jesus was truly divine, he was also perfectly man. To try to distinguish between the divine and human in Jesus is to waste time upon an impracticable mystery which is too subtle for our dull and finite minds.” (FG, 56). However je was also “filled with wisdom.” the process of filling with wisdom kept pace with the bodily growth. If it were only always true with others! We need not be troubled over this growth in wisdom on the part of Jesus any more than over his bodily growth. "The intellectual, moral, and spiritual growth of the Child, like the physical, was real. His was a perfect humanity developing perfectly, unimpeded by hereditary or acquired defects. It was the first instance of such a growth in history. For the first time a human infant was realizing the ideal of humanity" (Plummer). (WPNT).
4. The feast being observed was Passover. This was one of the three great Jewish festivals. It was held in memory of the great deliverance of the nation of Israel from Egyptian bondage, Every male Jew was required to attend the three great festivals of Passover, Pentecost and the Feast of Tabernacles (See Lev. 23).
5. He was twelve. “The incident which Luke here reports is the only one given in the period between the return from Egypt and Jesus’ thirtieth year. It shows that Jesus did not attend the school of the rabbis in Jerusalem (Mark 6:2; John 6:42; 7:15). But we learn that he could write (John 8:6), and there is little doubt but that he spoke both Hebrew and Greek.” (FG, 57).
6. The days they spent were eight in all: one day to kill the Passover lamb, and seven observing the feast of unleavened bread that followed. His parents supposed Jesus was in the company traveling together. After a day’s journey they discovered he was nowhere to be found. He had remained in Jerusalem.
7. Jesus was found after three days in the temple. He was engaged in asking and answering questions with the wisest teachers in Israel. They were amazed at his understanding and answers. His parents were astonished. They mildly rebuked him, saying they had searched for him with sorrow. He replied to them that they should have known he needed to be about his Father’s business. These are the first words spoken by Jesus that are recorded in the Gospel records. His last words in his physical life are recorded in Luke 23:46 and his last words here on earth are found in Acts 1:7,8.
8. “Wist” means know. Literally he asked them why they did not know that he must be about his Father’s business. Other translations give this as “I must be in my Father’s house,” (ASV, NIV, NASB). “Jesus invariably used the article in speaking of himself, and said ‘the Father of me,’ and invariably omitted the article, and said, ‘Father of you,’ when speaking of his disciples. His relationship to the Father differed from ours, and God, not Joseph, was his father.” (FG, 60).
9. Going “down” to Nazareth, even though it lies north of Jerusalem, is said because Jerusalem is in the mountainous region of Palestine and Nazareth is in the lower hills of Galilee. Jesus is our example of how to live in every stage of growth and development. He is the perfect example of how children should regard their parents.
10. Mary kept all she had heard and observed in her son. “She had treasured up sayings of angels, shepherds, wise men and prophets. She now began to add to these the sayings of Christ himself.” (FG, 61).
11. “Jesus did not literally grow in favor with God. This is a phenomenal expression. The favor of God and man kept company for quite a while; but the favor of God abode with Jesus when man’s good will was utterly withdrawn. Men admire holiness until it becomes aggressive, and then they feel an antagonism against it as great, or intense, as their previous admiration.” (FG, 61)
Lesson 6 - Jesus was Baptized
Matt. 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21, 22
1. For what purpose did John, the baptist, baptize people?
2. Where was John baptizing people? Why?
3. What did John say about his commission to baptize?
4. How did John address the Pharisees and Sadducees?
5. What was John’s reaction when Jesus came to be baptized by him?
6. Jesus told John to go ahead because it “becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.” (Matt. 3:15). What does this mean?
7. Many pictures men paint show John simply putting a small amount of water on the head of Jesus. What is there in what the scriptures say here to disprove that?
8. When the baptism was completed, what happened?
9. How was Jesus acknowledged publicly as the beloved Son of God?
10. What did Jesus immediately begin to do? (Luke 3:23).
Help with Answers to Lesson 6
1 John’s baptism was “of repentance unto the remission of sins” ( Luke 3:3). As John’s work was preparatory so was his baptism. It looked forward to the public introduction of the Messiah. It did not have relation to the “gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). When Paul found disciples at Ephesus who knew only the baptism of John, since they had not received the Holy Spirit, he baptized them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 19:5).
2 John baptized in in “Enon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized” (John 3:23). The fact that the text says there was “much water” there is proof that those who were to be baptized were immersed. Had John been pouring a little water, or sprinkling a few drops of water, on the head of Jesus, much water would not have been mentioned.
3 He said he was sent to baptize with water, but one was coming after him who would baptize in the Holy Spirit and fire. John was preparing people for the coming of their true King. “He pictures this king as, first, administering a different baptism from his own; second as a judge who would separate the righteous from the wicked, just as a huabandman sifts the wheat from the chaff.”
4 He called them the offspring of vipers, (Matt. 12:;34), a deadly serpent, reminiscent of the Devil (Gen. 3). He also called them the Devil’s children (John 8:44). He asked them to tell him who had warned them to flee from God’s wrath. “The viper was a species of serpent from two to five feet in length, and about one inch thick. Its head is flat, and its body a yellowish color, speckled with long brown spots. It is extremely poisonous (Acts 28:6). John here uses the word figuratively, and probably borrows the figure from Isa. 59:5).” (FG, 72).
5 When Jesus came to the place where John was baptizing people, he would have “hindered” Jesus from doing so. He said he needed to be baptized by Jesus. “John knew that Jesus had no sin and did not need his baptism. It caused him to recall how much more fitting it would be for Christ to baptize him. Jesus agreed with John that he had no need of a baptism “of repentance unto the remissions of sins,” but nevertheless asked to be baptized in order to ‘fulfill all righteousness’.” (SITLOC, pp. 315, 316).
6 “Jesus came not only to fulfill all the requirements of the law, but also all that wider range of righteousness of which the law was only a part. 1. Though John’s baptism was no part of the Mosaic ritual, it was, nevertheless, a precept of God, given by his prophet (John 1:33). Had Jesus neglected or refused to obey the precept he would have lacked a portion of the full armor of righteousness, and the Pharisees would have hastened to strike him at this loose joint of his harness (Matt. 21:23-27). 2. It was the divinely appointed method by which the Messiahship of Jesus of Jesus was to be revealed to the witness John (John 1:33,34). We should note here that those who fail to obey God’s ordinance of baptism, fail (1) to follow the example of Jesus in fulfilling the divine will and precepts; (2) to obey one of the positive commands of almighty God spoken by his own Son.” (FG, p 83).
7 The scriptures say that when he was baptized, “straightway coming up out of the water” (Mark) and “went up straightway from the water” (Matt.). It is impossible to come up out of something that has not been going down into. The word baptize comes from an original term that means only immersion.
8 The heavens opened to him and he saw “he Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon him,” Not only did Jesus see the Holy Spirit, John also saw it. “John bare witness, saying, I have beheld the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven; and it abode upon him” (John 1:32). None of the Gospel records actually says it was a literal dove, but that the Holy Spirit descended “as” a dove. This could mean in the form of a dove as well as in the manner of a dove’s descent. The dove is a gentle and harmless bird. Isaiah’s prophecy of the coming of Christ, the Messiah, says “And the Spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah” (Isa. 11:2). “The nations of the earth emblazon eagles upon their banners and lions upon their shields, but He who shall gather all nations into his kingdom, appeared as a lamb, and his Spirit speared under the symbol of a dove.” (FG, 85).
9 A voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son in whom ;I am well pleased.” “The Father himself states the relationship of which the apostle John so often spoke (Jouhn 1:1). Adam was made (Gen. 1:26) but Jesus was begotten (Psalm 2:7). Both were sons of God, but in far different senses. The baptism of Jesus bears many marked relationships to our own: 1. At his baptism Jesus was manifested as the Son of God. At our baptism we are likewise manifested as God’s children, for we are baptized into the name of the Father, and are thereby permitted to take upon ourselves his name. 2. At his baptism Jesus was fully commissioned as the Christ. Not, anointed with material oil, but divinely consecrated and qualified by the Spirit and accredited by the Father. At baptism we also received the Spirit (Johdn 3:5; Acts 2:38; 19:1-6) who commissions and empowers us to Christian ministry - Acts 1:8; 1 John 3:24.” (FG, 86, 87).
10 Jesus began to teach. The text says he was about thirty years old. “The age when a Levite entered on God’s service (Num. 4:3, 47); at which Joseph stood before Pharaoh (Gen. 12:46); and at which David began to reign (2 Sam. 5:4).” (FG, 87).
Lesson 7 - The Temptation of Jesus
Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12, 13; Luke 4:1-13
1. Where was Jesus led to be tempted by the devil?
2. Who led him?
3. What is the meaning of “temptation?”
4. How long did Jesus fast? What does “fast” mean?
5. What was the first temptation?
6. What answer did Jesus give the devil?
7. What was the devil’s second test to Jesus?
8. What the third test?
9. What was Jesus’ answer?
10. When the temptations ended what happened?
11. What did angels do for Jesus?
Help with Answers to Lesson 7
1. The wilderness of Judea. “The desert as the scene of the temptation has a peculiar significance. It was the waste and waterless tract which unpeopled by men was thought to be the abode of demons So Jesus meets the evil spirit in his own domains, the Stronger One coming upon the strong man who keepeth his palace (Luke 11:21, 22). The retirement prepratory to the great work may be compared with that of Elijah and of Paul. It is perhaps an invariable experience in deeply religions lives to be taken into the desert of their own hearts and there to meet and resist the temptations that assailed Christ.” (CGNT, 104).
2. The Holy Spirit. Both Matthew, Mark, and Luke mention the agency of the Holy Spirit. “The two expressions ‘driveth’ and ‘led up’ show us that Jesus was drawn to the wilderness by an irresistible impulse and did not go thither of his own volition. He was brought into temptation but did not seek it. He was led of God into temptation but was not tempted of God.” (HG, 87).
3. “The word "tempt," in the original, means to try, to endeavor, to attempt to do a thing; then, to try the nature of a thing, as metals by fire; then, to test moral qualities by trying them, to see how they will endure; then, to endeavor to draw people away from virtue by suggesting motives to evil. This is the meaning here, and this is now the established sense of the word in the English language.” (AB).
4. Jesus fasted for forty days. Fasting is explained in Matthew’s phrase, “he did eat nothing.” Some think going that long without food is impossible. Moses did it (read Exo. 34:28; Deut. 9:18). Elijah did it (1 Kings 19:8). After the long period of fasting Jesus was hungry (Matt. 4:2).
5. The devil first appealed to Jesus’ hunger and appealed to his Deity. The devil said, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become bread.” The “if” was designed to question the divine relationship Jesus had with the Father. It had just been announced by the voice of the Father that Jesus was indeed his beloved Son. There was no reason for Jesus to doubt this. The appeal was to Jesus’ appetite also. The temptation was to entice Jesus to use his divine power to satisfy the fleshly desire.
6. He appealed to the scriptures. “It is written,” he said, “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” The place where it was written is Deut. 8:3.
7. The devil took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple and challenged him to cast himself to the ground. His challenge included also his divine powers. The devil, after Jesus appealed to what is written, made a similar appeal saying, “it is written.” The devil partially quoted Psalm 91:11-12. The devil omitted “in all thy ways.” “The quotation is from Psalm 91:11, but the tempter omits ‘in all thy ways,’ which would have defeated his object, since the ‘ways’ referred to are only the ways of him ‘who dwelleth under the defense of the Most High’.” (CGNT,147). “The devil’s head is full of Scripture but to no profit for his heart is empty of it. By quoting it he shows a sense of its power which modern rationalism would do well to consider.” (FG, 95).
8. The devil took the Lord to “an exceedingly high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them and said ‘To thee will I give all this authority . . . if thou wilt fall down and worship before me.” The temptation was for Jesus to quickly accomplish his purpose of coming to earth. “Jesus came to obtain the kingdoms of the world. He was born King of the Jews, and confessed himself to be a King before Pilate. All authority is now given unto him, and he must reign until he puts all his enemies under his feet, and until all the kingdoms of the world become his kingdom. Satan’s way differed from God’s way. He might obtain it by doing Satan’s will and becoming his worshiper, or by worshiping God and doing his will. Satan would give the speedier possession, but God the more lasting. We also strive for a kingdom; but let us obtain ours as Christ did his.” (FG, 97).
9. Jesus told Satan to “get thee hence, for it is written, ‘Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” This is the Lord’s translation of Deut. 6:13. “He substitutes the word ‘worship’ for the word ‘fears.’ Fear prohibits false and induces true worship, and loving worship is the source of all acceptable service. The three Scripture quotations used by Jesus are all from the Book of Deuteronomy. He struck Satan with that very part of the Spirit’s sword which modern critical infidelity, in the name of religion, and often aided by the so-called religious organizations, seeks to persuade us to cast away.” (FG, 100),
10. The devil left after he had completed every temptation. He lost each time he tried Jesus. The text says it was “for a season.” “But Satan left to return many times. Here was the first being endowed with human nature who had defeated Satan under all circumstances for thirty years. This was Satan’s first defeat under Christ’s ministry. His last is yet to come and it shall come by this same Christ Jesus. Temptations are battles. They leave the victor stronger and the vanquished weaker. Hence Satan when resisted is represented as fleeing. But he only flees for a season.” (HG, 101).
a. They came and ministered to him. “Jesus was probably fed by the angels, as was Elijah by one of them (1 Kings 19:4-7). Satan was suffering first, then angels, refreshment and rest. God had indeed given his angels charge, and they came to him who refused to put the Father to the test. But they did not succor Jesus during his temptation, for that was to be resisted by himself alone -- Isa. 53:3.” (HG,101).
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