Showing posts from January, 2022


Jesus considered a time when He had finished praying and one of His disciples asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” And so, Jesus taught the crowd about prayer. “When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners in order to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your inner room, shut your door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. “And when you pray, do not babble on like the pagans, for they think that because of their many words they will be heard. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. “So then, this is how you should pray:  ‘Our Father in heaven, holy is Your name. Let Your kingdom come, let Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also


“Be careful not to perform your charitable acts before people in order to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So, when you give to those in need, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by people. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward in full. But when you give to those in need, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (See Matthew 6:1-4) (Editor's Note: Reference: Deuteronomy 15:7–11) -


“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on one cheek, offer them the other cheek also. Do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. Give to everyone who asks you. If someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let them have your cloak as well. And if someone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Do to others as you would have them do to you. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘Hate your enemy.’ But to those of you who will listen, I say: Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Lend to them, expecting nothing in return. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you. And pray for those who persecute you. In doing these things, your reward will be great, and you will be children of your Father in heaven. For He is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good. And


Jesus returned to His teaching that upholding the Law extends from outward actions down to the mind and heart. "You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Jesus then used hyperbole--exaggeration for effect--to emphasize that sin is not only an outer act that can be remedied externally, but rather that sin also extends inward to the mind and the heart. "If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to depart into hell." "It has also been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, ex


Jesus wanted the people to understand that the Law applied not only to outer actions but also to the deepest thoughts and feelings. And so to demonstrate this, Jesus explained the importance of relationships. "You have heard that it was said to the ancients, ‘Do not murder,' and ‘Anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca’ (meaning empty or foolish), will be subject to the Sanhedrin (the Jewish ruling council). But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be subject to the fire of hell." "So, if you are offering your gift to God at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar. First, go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift." Here Jesus taught that reconciliation with one another was more important than even the most sacred action. Jesus the


Jesus knew that some critics were claiming that He was telling people to ignore the law of Moses and that other critics were claiming that He was teaching a new or different law. And so, Jesus told the crowd, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill them. For I tell you truly, until heaven and earth pass away, not a single jot, not a stroke of a pen, will disappear from the Law until everything written there is accomplished. "So then, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do likewise, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever practices and teaches these commandments will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." By this, Jesus was teaching how difficult it was for people to enter heaven throug


Jesus knew that those who followed Him would not blend in with the crowd. In fact, He knew that they should not blend in. As followers of Jesus, they would be noticed. Their lives would draw the attention of others to God because they would do the things that Jesus did and they would tell others about Him. And so, because His followers would draw attention and give direction, Jesus compared them to light: "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and cover it with a basket. Instead, they set it on a lampstand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before everyone, that they may see the good that you do and glorify your Father in heaven." (See Matthew 5:14-16; Luke 11:33) -


Jesus knew the importance of salt. When used in food, a small quantity could add flavor, and a larger quantity could preserve the food. And when used carefully in agriculture, it could enhance the growing soil for some crops or treat certain kinds of manure. But all of this was possible only if the salt was pure. For example, most of the salt used in Israel came from the Dead Sea, which contained impurities. If the salt had impurities, it lost its flavoring, preserving, and agricultural qualities. But even then it could still be of some use. By scattering the impure salt on roads and walkways, it could melt any ice and snow and clear the way. Jesus often used common things to teach important lessons. And so it was when He compared His followers to salt. "Salt is good. And you are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness--its savor--how then can you make it salty again? With what can you season it? That salt is no longer good for anything, not even for the soil or


The Gospel of Luke tells us that just as Jesus taught the Beatitudes to the people, He also taught them the woes of being satisfied. “But woe to you who are rich. You are receiving your comfort in full. “Woe to you who are well-fed now. You shall be hungry.  “Woe to you who laugh now. You shall mourn and weep.  “Woe to you when all speak well of you. Their ancestors used to treat the false prophets in the same way.” (See Luke 6:24-26) -


Jesus went up a short distance on the mountain slope and sat down to teach the people. He began, saying: “Blessed are you who are poor in spirit. Yours is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you who mourn and weep. You will be comforted and you will laugh. “Blessed are you who are meek. You will inherit the earth. “Blessed are you who hunger and thirst for righteousness. You will be filled. “Blessed are you who are merciful. You will be shown mercy. “Blessed are you who are pure in heart. You will see God. “Blessed are you who are peacemakers. You will be called children of God. “Blessed are you who are persecuted because of righteousness. Yours is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people hate you, insult you, persecute you, exclude you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me, the Son of Man. When that happens, rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven; for, in the same way, they persecuted the prophets before you." (See Matthew 5:

Crowds Gather

 Jesus came down the mountain with the newly-appointed apostles. And He stood with them on a level place. A large crowd of Jesus' disciples also was there. Also, there were a great number of people from all over Judea, Jerusalem, and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon. The people had come to hear Jesus and to be healed of their diseases, and those who were troubled by unclean spirits were healed. The entire crowd was trying to touch Jesus because power was coming from Him and healing them all. (See Matthew 5:1; Luke 6:17‭-‬19) -


 After healing the crowds by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus went up on the mountain to pray. And He spent the night in prayer to God. When daylight came, Jesus called His disciples to Him. Jesus then chose twelve of the disciples and also designated these twelve as apostles. The apostles were to accompany Jesus, to be sent out to preach, and to have authority to drive out demons. These are the twelve that Jesus appointed: Simon (whom He named Peter) and his brother Andrew; James and John, the sons of Zebedee (whom Jesus named Boanerges, meaning “Sons of Thunder”); Philip and Bartholomew (Nathanael); Matthew (Levi) and Thomas; James son of Alphaeus and Simon called the Zealot; Judas son of James (Thaddaeus);  and Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed Jesus.  (See Mark 3:13‭-‬19; Luke 6:12‭-‬16) (Editor's Notes:  1. Bartholomew / Nathanael: Modern scholars disagree on this point, but traditional scholars accept that Bartholomew of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and Nathanael of the

Healing by the Sea

Jesus was aware that, following the healing of the man in the synagogue on the Sabbath, the scribes and Pharisees and Herodians were plotting to kill Him. And so, Jesus and His disciples withdrew from that place to the Sea of Galilee. Jesus was followed there by a large crowd. The people came from Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, the region beyond the Jordan, and the vicinity of Tyre and Sidon. And they came to Jesus because they had heard of the great things Jesus was doing. Jesus asked His disciples to have a boat ready for Him so that He might enter the boat so that the crowd would not crush Him. For He had healed so many that all who had diseases were pressing forward to touch Him. And when the unclean spirits saw Him, they fell down before Jesus and cried out, “You are the Son of God!” But Jesus warned them sternly not to make Him known. Jesus warned the people who were healed to not make Him known to the scribes, Pharisees, and Herodians. This was to fulfill what was spoken thr

Withered Hand

The Gospel of Matthew tells us that on the same Sabbath day, Jesus and His disciples moved out of the grain fields and into "their" synagogue. And "their" presumes that the synagogue was frequented by the Pharisees who were just speaking with Jesus about the disciples doing work on the Sabbath by picking and eating the heads of grain. Jesus began teaching in the synagogue. And also present was a man whose right hand was withered. Some scribes and Pharisees were also there in the synagogue. And they were watching Jesus closely in order to accuse Jesus of breaking the Sabbath. They motioned to the man and asked Jesus, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”  But Jesus knew their thoughts and said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and stand among us.” So the man got up and stood there. Jesus said to the scribes and Pharisees, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?”  Jesus continued: “If one of you ha

Picking Grain

 One Sabbath, Jesus, and His disciples, were walking through the grain fields. The disciples were hungry. And so, they began to pick the heads of grain, rub them in their hands, and eat them as they walked along. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to Jesus, “Look! Why are Your disciples doing what is unlawful to do on  the Sabbath?”   Jesus replied, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? During the high priesthood of Abiathar, David entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which was lawful only for the priests to eat. And David gave some of the bread to his companions as well.  Jesus continued: "Or haven’t you read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and yet they are innocent? But I tell you that something even greater than the temple is here. " "If only you had known the meaning of the words ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.


Sometime after Jesus began His ministry in Galilee, He went up to Jerusalem for another feast of the Jews. Now, in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate, is a pool with five covered colonnades. In Hebrew, the place is called Bethesda, meaning "house of mercy" or "house of grace". A legend had developed that, at certain times, an angel came down to the pool and stirred up the water, and the first person to enter the water after its stirring would be healed. And so, on the walkways of the colonnades laid a great number of the sick, the blind, the lame, and the paralyzed. One man there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw the man lying there and realized that he had spent a long time in this condition, Jesus asked the man, "Do you want to be well?" The man replied, "Sir, I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am coming, someone else steps into the water before me." Then Jesus said to the man, "Ge

Old Ways and New Ways

Now, John’s disciples and the Pharisees were often fasting. So, John's disciples and some others came to Jesus and asked, “Why is it that John’s disciples and the Pharisees and their disciples frequently fast and pray, but Your disciples keep on eating and drinking?” Jesus replied, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn and fast while He is with them? As long as He is with them, they cannot fast. But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast." Jesus then told them parables about new ways and old ways: “No one sews a patch of new, unshrunk cloth onto an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, and a worse tear will result. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will spill, and both will be ruined. Instead, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” Jesus then made an observation about those who prefer and maintain the old ways over the

Calling Matthew (Levi)

Once again, Jesus went out beside the Sea of Galilee. All the people came to Jesus, and He taught them there.  As He was walking along, Jesus saw a man named Matthew, also called Levi son of Alphaeus. The man was sitting at the tax booth. "Follow Me,” Jesus told him, and Matthew got up, left everything, and followed Him.  Then Matthew hosted a great banquet for Jesus at his house. And many tax collectors and sinners were eating with Jesus and His disciples—for there were many who followed Him. When the Pharisees and scribes saw this, they asked His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”  On hearing this, Jesus told them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”  (See Hosea 6:6; Matthew 9:9‭-‬13; Mark 2:13‭-‬17; Luke 5:27‭-‬32) -

Healing a Paralytic

Jesus and His disciples got into a boat and crossed over the Sea of Galilee. And they came to Jesus' own town of Capernaum.  And when the people heard that Jesus was home, they came from Jerusalem and from every village of Galilee and Judea. And so, Jesus was teaching, and the Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for Jesus to heal the sick. And the people gathered in such large numbers that there was no more room in the house, not even outside the door.  Just then, some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They tried to bring him inside the house, to set him before Jesus, but they could not find a way through the crowd. So, they went up on the roof. The men uncovered the roof tiles that were above Jesus, made an opening, and lowered the man on his mat into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.  When Jesus saw the faith of the men, He said to the paralytic, “Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.” But some

Healing a Leper

While Jesus was in one of the towns of Galilee, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell facedown and begged Him, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Jesus was moved with compassion. He reached out His hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” He said. “Be clean!” And immediately leprosy left the man, and he was cleansed.  Then Jesus instructed the man, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and present the offering Moses prescribed for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”  But the man went out and began to openly proclaim Jesus. And the news spread all the more. And great crowds came to hear Jesus and to be healed of their sicknesses. Consequently, Jesus could no longer enter a town in plain view, but He stayed out in solitary places. And He frequently withdrew to the wilderness to pray. (See Leviticus 14:1-32; Matthew 8:1-4; Mark 1:40-45; Luke 5:12-16) -

Traveling Through Galilee

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in the synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.  News about Jesus spread all over Syria, and people brought to Him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering acute pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed—and Jesus healed them. The large crowds that followed Jesus came from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan. (See Matthew 4:23-25; Mark 1:39; Luke 4:44) -

Calling the Fishermen

Jesus was in Capernaum, standing by the Sea of Galilee, also called the Lake of Gennesaret. And the crowd was pressing in on Him to hear the word of God He was teaching. Jesus saw two boats at the edge of the lake. The fishermen had left their boats and were washing and mending their nets. Jesus got into the boat belonging to Simon Peter and asked him to put out a little ways from shore. Then, Jesus sat down and taught the people from the boat. When Jesus finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” “Master,” Simon replied, “we have worked hard all night without catching anything. But because You say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to tear. So, they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees. “Go away from m

Morning Prayer in Capernaum

Early in the morning, while it was still dark, and before anyone else was awake, Jesus got up and slipped out to a solitary place to pray. Simon and his companions realized Jesus was gone and they went to look for Him. The crowds soon realized Jesus was gone and they began looking for Jesus, too. When Simon and his companions found Jesus, they said, “Everyone is looking for You!”  But Jesus answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns so I can preach there as well, for that is why I have come.”  And when the crowds found Jesus, they tried to keep Him from leaving. But Jesus told them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well because that is why I was sent.”  (Mark 1:35‭-‬38; Luke 4:42‭-‬43) -

Simon's Mother-in-Law

When Jesus and His friends left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. When Jesus entered, they told Jesus that Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. So, Jesus went to her, took her by the hand, and helped her up. And as she arose, the fever left her. And she began to serve them. That evening, after sunset, people brought to Jesus all who were sick, and the whole town gathered at the door. Jesus laid hands on each one and healed them. The people also brought many who were demon-possessed, and Jesus drove out the spirits with a word. This all was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took on our infirmities and carried our diseases.” Now, when the demons came out of the people, many shouted, “You are the Son of God!” But Jesus rebuked the demons and would not allow them to speak, because they knew He was the Messiah (Christ). (See Isaiah 53:4; Matthew 8:14-17; Mark 1:29-34; Luke 4:38-41) -

Synagogue in Capernaum

Jesus and His disciples were in Capernaum of Galilee. On the Sabbath, Jesus entered the synagogue and He began to teach the people. And they were astonished at His teaching because He taught as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. Also in the synagogue was a man who was possessed by an unclean demon. He cried out in a loud voice, “Ha! What do You want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!”  But Jesus rebuked the demon. “Be silent!” He said. “Come out of him!”  At this, the demon threw the man into convulsions and he fell down on the ground before all the people. Then the demon came out of the man with a loud shriek, but without harming him.  All the people were overcome with amazement and asked one another, “What is this message? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey Him!" And the news about Jesus spread quickly through the whole region of Galilee. (See Mark 1:21-28; Lu

Settling in Capernaum

Leaving Nazareth, Jesus went and lived in Capernaum, which is by the sea in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned.” This recalls the larger passage in the Book of Isaiah: "Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those in distress. In the past, He humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future, He will honor the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations: "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased its joy. The people rejoice before You as they rejoice at harvest time, as men rejoice in dividing the plunder. "For as in the da

Rejection in Nazareth

Jesus came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. As was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath. And when He stood up to read, the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. Unrolling it, He found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then He rolled up the scroll, returned it to the attendant, and sat down. Now, in the synagogue, the teacher would read the Scripture passage that was the subject of their teaching, and they would then teach the listeners. And so, the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on Jesus. And He began by saying, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” As Jesus taught, all the people spoke well of Jesus and marveled at the gracious words that came from His lips. “Isn’t this the son o

The Official's Son

Jesus came to Cana in Galilee. This is where He had turned the water into wine at the wedding feast.  Now, in Capernaum, there was a royal official whose son lay sick, and was dying. And when the official heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to Jesus and begged Him to come down to Capernaum and heal his son. Jesus thought the official wanted a sign to prove Jesus' authority in what He said and did. He said to the man, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will never believe.” But the official pleaded, "Sir, come down before my child dies.” Then Jesus said to the man, “Go, your son will live.” The man took Jesus at His word and departed. And while he was still on the way back to Capernaum, his servants met him with the news that his boy was alive. So, the man asked at what hour his son had recovered, and the servants told him, “The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour." Then the father realized that this was the very hour in which Jesus


Jesus and His disciples stayed in Sychar of Samaria for two days. Then they left and completed their journey to Galilee. Now, Jesus Himself had testified that a prophet had no honor in his own hometown. Yet when He arrived in Galilee, the people welcomed Him. They had seen all the great things He had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, for they had gone up to the Feast as well. About this time, Jesus learned that John had been put into prison. And so, Jesus stayed in the region of Galilee. Jesus was filled with the Spirit, and the news about Him spread throughout the region surrounding Galilee. Jesus taught in the synagogues and was glorified by everyone. Jesus proclaimed the gospel of God. “The time is fulfilled,” He said, “and the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe in the gospel!” (See Matthew 4:12; Mark 1:14-15: Luke 4:14-15; John 4:43-45) (Editor's Note: The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke state that Jesus withdrew to Galilee after news of John's arrest. But


After the death of Herod the Great, the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus divided Herod's kingdom among Herod's children, giving half to Herod Archelaus, one quarter to Herod Antipas, and one quarter to Philip the Tetrarch. Late in Philip's reign, his wife, Herodias, divorced herself from Philip so that she could marry his half-brother Herod Antipas. At this time, Herod Antipas was married to Phasaelis, the daughter of King Aretas IV of Nabatea. But Herod divorced from Phasaelis so that he could marry Herodias. Now, John preached the gospel to the people with many exhortations. But John also constantly reprimanded Herod Antipas because of all the wicked things he had done, especially marrying his half-brother's wife, Herodias. John maintained, "It is not lawful for you to have her." Herodias held a grudge against John and kept urging Herod to kill him. Herod also wanted to kill John, but he could not because he feared John. He knew John was a righteous and holy ma


Jesus realized that the Pharisees became aware that He was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John. Although it was not Jesus who baptized the people, but rather His disciples. And so, Jesus decided to leave Judea and return to Galilee. Now, when Jews traveled from Judea to Galilee, they typically took a roundabout path, heading east to the Jordan River valley, and then north toward the Sea of Galilee. Why take this path instead of traveling due north from Jerusalem to Galilee? Because the path was level and there was a ready supply of drinking water during the journey. But most importantly, the path avoided the region of Samaria. You see, the Samaritan heritage was a mixture of Jew and Gentile. And the Samaritans worshiped differently from the Jews. There were other distinctions between the two peoples. But these were the main points. And so, both communities considered the other to be unclean and untouchable. Since Jesus and His disciples were already on the banks of the Jorda