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Article 35 - The Life of Christ

The Life of Christ: Historically and Geographically
Jon Gary Williams

Period Of Preparation

This is the longest period in the life of Jesus, spanning 30 years. However, it contains the fewest recorded events.

I. His Birth (Bethlehem)
A. Mary and Joseph informed of Jesus' coming miraculous birth (Lk. 1:26-31; Matt. 1:18-23)

B. At Bethlehem - (see Mic. 5:2) (Lk. 2:4-7; Lk. 2:15-18)
II. Presentation At The Temple (from Bethlehem to Jerusalem and return)
A. At 40 days Jesus was taken to be presented at the temple in Jerusalem. (Lk. 2:22-24)

B. Here Jesus was identified by Simeon and Anna. (Lk. 2:25-32; 36-38)
III. Visit Of The Wise Men And Flight Into Egypt (from Bethlehem to Egypt)
A. Wise men from the east came to worship Jesus. (Matt. 2:1-12)

B. After the visit of the wise men, Jesus was taken to Egypt to escape Herod. (Matt. 2:13-15)

C. Herod set forth to kill all children up to two years. (Matt. 2:16,17)
IV. Settlement In Nazareth (from Egypt to Nazareth)
A. After Herod's death Jesus was taken to Nazareth where he spent his childhood. (Matt. 2:19-23)

B. The next 9-10 years pass in silence.
V. Visit To The Temple (from Nazareth to Jerusalem and return)
A. At age twelve, this is the only recorded event of Jesus' boyhood.

B. Having discovered he was missing, Joseph and Mary found him in the temple discussing with the doctors of the law. (Lk. 2:40-50)

C. He and his family returned to Nazareth. (Lk. 2:51,52)

D. The next 18 years pass in silence.

Period Of Inauguration

This period covers approximately 15 months, from Jesus' baptism to his healing of the nobleman's son in Cana, and is made up of 5 journeys.

I. Baptism (
from Nazareth to Bethabara)
A. During the preaching of John the Baptist, Jesus left Nazareth and went to see him at Bethabara, 13 miles south of the Sea of Galilee. (Jn. 1:6-8; Mk. 1:9; Jn. 1:28)

B. At age 30 he was baptized and received the testimony of his Sonship. (Jn. 1:29-31) (Matt. 3:13-17; Lk. 3:23)
II. Temptation (from Bethabara to the wilderness and return)
A. After his baptism Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where he fasted and overcame Satan's temptations. (Matt. 4:1-11)

B. Returning to Bethabara he received the testimony of John and finds his first apostles. (Jn. 1:29-34; 35-51)
III. Marriage Feast At Cana (from Bethabara to Cana and Capernaum)
A. At a wedding in Cana Jesus performed his first miracle. (Jn. 2:1-11)

B. He then went to Capernaum with his mother, brothers and disciples. (Jn. 2:12)
IV. First Passover (from Capernaum to Jerusalem)
A. At the first passover during his ministry Jesus asserted his authority by cleansing the temple. (Jn. 2:13-17)

B. Later, Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, came to him during the night. (Jn. 3:1-6)
V. Return To Galilee (from Jerusalem to Sychar and Cana)
A. After John's imprisonment Jesus left Judea and traveled to Galilee. Passing through Samaria, at Sychar he met a woman at Jacob's well. (Jn. 4:1-15)

B. He then went to Cana where he healed a nobleman's son. (Jn. 4:43-54)

Period Of Early Galilean Ministry

This period covers about 4 months, from Jesus' rejection at Nazareth to the events following his sermon on the mount, and is made up of 5 journeys.

I. Opening Of Jesus' Ministry (from Cana to Nazareth to Capernaum)
A. Jesus went to Nazareth where he was rejected and escaped being put to death. (Lk. 4:16-30)

B. At Capernaum he healed many and cast out many demons. (Lk. 4:31-44)
II. Preaching In The Cities Of Galilee (from Capernaum to parts of Galilee)
A. He visited various cities preaching and healing many. (Matt. 4:23-25) (cf. Lk. 4:44)

B. At the Sea of Galilee after the miracle of fishes he called two more apostles. (Lk. 5:1-11)
III. His Work In The Region Of Capernaum (Capernaum and other parts of Galilee)
A. In an unnamed city Jesus healed a leper. As many more were healed his fame continued to spread. He withdrew to the wilderness to pray. (Lk. 5:12-16)

B. In Capernaum (Mk. 2:1) he healed a paralytic let down through a roof. (Lk. 5:17-26)

C. Levi (Matthew, Matt. 9:9) was called to be an apostle. (Lk. 5:27,28)
IV. Second Passover (from Capernaum to Jerusalem and return)
A. Jesus went to Jerusalem for the second passover during his ministry. While there he healed a cripple on the sabbath. When the Jews became angry and sought to kill him, he defended his actions. (Jn. 5:1-47)

B. On returning to Capernaum he defended his disciples who had plucked grain on the sabbath and asserted his authority as "Lord of the sabbath." (Lk. 6:1-5)

C. Later, in the synagogue on a sabbath he healed a man's withered hand. Again he was accused and again he justified himself. (Lk. 6:6-11)
V. Sermon On The Mount (from Capernaum to a mount and return)
A. Jesus went to a mount and prayed all night, after which he appointed the apostles. (Lk. 6:12-16)

B. Here Jesus preached the "sermon on the mount." (Lk. 6:17-49) (cf. Matt. 5-7)

C. He returned to Capernaum where he healed a centurion's servant. (Lk. 7:1-10)

Period Of Later Galilean Ministry

This period covers probably ten months, from the healing of the centurion's servant to Jesus' discourse on the "bread of life," and is made up of four journeys.

I. Tour In Southern Galilee
(from Capernaum to Nain and return)
A. Jesus went to Nain and healed a widow's son. (Lk. 7:11-17)

B. Here Jesus answered John's questions. (Lk. 7:18-35) Later his feet were washed by a "sinful woman." (Lk. 7:36-50)

C. On his return to Capernaum he visited many villages. (Lk. 8:1-3)
II. Gadarene Voyage (from Capernaum to the country of the Gadarenes [probably Gergesa] and
A. Jesus was accused of healing by the power Satan. (Mk. 3:22-30)

B. By the sea side he taught many parables. (Matt. 13:1-53)

C. While sailing to the country of the Gadarenes (Mk.5:1) he stilled the tempest. (Mk. 4:35-41)

D. In the country of the Gadarenes he healed the man possessed of multiple demons. (Mk. 5:1-13)

E. After returning to Capernaum a woman with an issue of blood was unexpectedly healed as well as the young daughter of Jairus. (Mk. 5:21-42)
III. Tour In Central Galilee (from Capernaum to Nazareth and return)
A. Jesus was again rejected at Nazareth. He then traveled to other villages in Galilee. (Mk. 6:1-6)

B. The twelve were sent on the "limited" commission. (Mk. 6:7-13)

C. Later, Jesus heard the report of the twelve. Mk.6:30 Details of the death of John the Baptist are mentioned. (Mk. 6:17-28)
IV. Retirement To Bethsaida (from Capernaum to Bethsaida and return)
A. Jesus sailed to Bethsaida (Lk. 9:10) where, when the people found him, he was compelled to
teach. Here he fed the five thousand. (Mk. 6:31-44)

B. Jesus appeared to the apostles walking on the water. (Mk. 6:45-51) (cf. Matt. 14:22-33)

C. They landed at "Gennesaret" (Capernaum) where Jesus again healed many. (Mk. 6:53-56)

D. The multitudes followed Jesus to Capernaum. Finding him in the synagogue (Jn.6:59) Jesus
taught the great lesson on the "bread of life." (Jn. 6:24-58)

Period Of Outreach

This period covers about six months, from Jesus' discourse on the "bread of life" to his discourse on humility, and is made up of four journeys.

I. Journey To Phoenicia
(from Capernaum to the borders of Tyre and Sidon)
A. While in Capernaum Jesus made another defense of his disciples. (Mk. 7:1-23)

B. In the region of Tyre and Sidon Jesus cast a demon out of the daughter of a Syrophenician woman. (Mk. 7:24-30)
II. Journey To Decapolis (from the borders of Tyre and Sidon to Decapolis)
A. Jesus journeyed through Galilee and arrived at Decapolis. (Mk. 7:31)

B. Here Jesus wrought two miracles:
1. The healing of a man who was deaf and had an impediment of speech. (Mk. 7:32-37)

2. The feeding of the 4000. (Mk. 8:1-9)
III. Journey To Caesarea Philippi (from Decapolis to Dalmanutha, to Bethsaida and to the region of Caesarea Philippi)
A. Jesus sailed across the Sea of Galilee to the region of Dalmanutha and was met by Pharisees seeking a sign. (Mk. 8:10-13)

B. He then sailed north to Bethsaida where he healed a blind man. (Mk. 8:22-26)

C. Later, in the area of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus told his disciples about the coming of his church. (Matt. 16:13-20)

D. Here, Jesus began to tell his disciples of his coming death and resurrection and what it meant to be his followers. (Matt. 16:21-27)

E. A few days later Jesus was transfigured with Moses and Elijah before Peter, James and John. (Mk. 9:2-10) (cf. Matt.17:1-9)

F. Following this, Jesus cast out a demon of the worse kind - one his disciples could not cast out. (Mk. 9:17-29)
IV. Jesus' Last Return to Capernaum (from the region of Caesarea Philippi to Capernaum)
A. Jesus traveled south and came again to Capernaum. (Mk. 9:33a)

B. Here Jesus taught lessons on different topics. (Matt. 18:1-35)

Period Of Judean Ministry (Confrontation)

This period covers approximately three months, from Jesus' great lessons at Capernaum to his arrival in Bethabara and is made up of two journeys.

I. Journey to Jerusalem
(from Capernaum to Jerusalem)
A. In a city of Samaria where Jesus was rejected, he rebuked James and John for wanting to call down fire from heaven. (Lk. 9:51-56)

B. Jesus talked with three who thought they wanted to follow him. (Lk. 9:57-62)

C. When Jesus arrived at Jerusalem he taught in the temple. (Jn. 7:10-36)
1. A division arose concerning him. (Jn. 7:37-53)

2. A woman caught in adultery was brought to him. (Jn. 8:2-11)

3. He asserted his eternal existence which angered many. (Jn. 8:51-59)

4. He healed another blind man. (Jn. 9:1-12) This led to an extensive investigation on the part of the Pharisees. (Jn. 9:13-34)

5. He spoke of himself as the "door" and "shepherd" and another division arose. (Jn. 10:1-21)
D. Near Jerusalem (Bethany) Jesus visited the home of Martha and Mary and taught a lesson on priorities. (Lk. 10:38-42)

E. Jesus taught his disciples about prayer (Lk. 11:1-13); was again accused of working by the power of Satan (Lk. 11:14-26); denounced the Pharisees and lawyers (Lk. 11:37-54); taught about hypocrisy, covetousness, worldly anxieties and stewardship (Lk.12:1-59); emphasized the need for repentance (Lk. 13:1-9); and defended healing on the sabbath day. (Lk. 13:10-17).

F. Jesus was again confronted by the Jews. (Jn. 10:22-39)
II. From Jerusalem Jesus went to Bethabara (from Jerusalem to Bethabara)
A. Due to being rejected Jesus left Jerusalem for Bethabara. (Jn. 10:39,40) (see Jn.1:28)

B. Here he made preparations for the closing of his earthly ministry.

Closing His Earthly Ministry

This period covers five months, from Bethabara to Bethany.

I. Journey To Judea
(from Bethabara to Judea)
A. Jesus traveled through cities and villages preaching. (Lk. 13:22)

B. He was warned about Herod Antipas. (Lk. 13:31-33)

C. On a sabbath while at the home of a chief Pharisee, Jesus challenged Jewish traditions by healing a man suffering from dropsy. (Lk. 14:1-6)

D. Multitudes followed him and he taught on the cost of discipleship. (Lk. 14:25-27)

E. When murmured against for receiving sinners, in response Jesus taught three parables: the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son. (Lk. 15:1-32)

F. Jesus taught in parables on wisdom and covetousness and related the story of the rich man and Lazarus. (Lk. 16:1-31)
II. Arrival At Bethany (Jesus went to Bethany where he raised Lazarus.) (Jn. 11:1-46)

III. Journey To Ephraim
(from Bethany to Ephraim)
A. Fearing the influence of Jesus, the Jews sought to kill him. (Jn. 11:47-53)

B. Jesus went to Ephraim to spend time with some disciples. Jn.11:54 The Jews wondered if he would come to Jerusalem during the Passover. (Jn. 11:55,56)

C. The chief priests and Pharisees commanded the people to report Jesus' whereabouts. (Jn. 11:57)
IV. Last Journey Through Samaria And Galilee (from Ephraim through Samaria and Galilee)
A. Jesus healed the ten lepers and spoke of the events of his second coming. (Lk. 17:11-37)

B . While traveling east of Jordan, Jesus taught on divorce and remarriage. (Matt. 19:1-9)

C. He responded to a question asked by a rich young ruler. (Matt. 19:16-22)

D. Jesus again spoke of his coming death and resurrection. (Matt. 20:17-19)

E. He rebuked the selfish ambitions of James and John. (Matt. 20:20-28)
V. Journey to Jericho (from Galilee to Jericho)
A. Entering Jericho Jesus healed a blind beggar. (Lk. 18:35-43)

B. In Jericho he went to the home a chief publican named Zacchaeus. (Lk. 19:1-10)
VI. Journey To Bethany (from Jericho to Bethany) (Jn. 12:1)

Period Of Passion

This period covers only one week, from Jesus' anointing by Mary at Bethany to his crucifixion at
Jerusalem, and is divided into eight parts.

I. Jesus Arrived At Jerusalem
(from Bethany to Jerusalem)
A. Jesus made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. (Mk. 11:1-11)

B. For the second time he cleansed the temple. (Mk. 11:12-19)

C. The next day he taught in Jerusalem and was questioned by the chief priests and elders. (Mk. 11:27-33) He was also confronted by the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Mk. 12:13-27)

D. Later, on the Mt. of Olives, Jesus foretold of the fall of Jerusalem. (Matt. 24:1-34)
II. The Last Supper (from Bethany to Jerusalem)
A. The betrayal foretold. (Matt. 26:17-25) (cf. Jn.13:18-30)

B. Here, Jesus instituted the Lord's supper. (Matt. 26:26-30)
III. Jesus Went To Gethsemane Here he endured agony and was later arrested. (Matt. 26:36-56)

IV. Jesus Is Taken Before Annas, Father-In-Law Of The High Priest (Jn. 18:13, 19-23)

V. Jesus Is Taken Before Caiaphas The High Priest (Jn. 18:24; Matt. 26:57-68)

VI. Jesus Is Delivered To Pilate The chief priests and elders sent Jesus to the governor. (Lk. 23:1-50)

VII. Jesus Is Sent To Herod And Back To Pilate
(from Pilate to Herod and return)
A. Pilate learned of Herod's jurisdiction over Jesus. After seeing Jesus, Herod sent him back to Pilate. (Lk. 23:6-11)

B. Pilate reluctantly sentences Jesus. (Lk. 23:13-24)

C. Jesus was mocked and humiliated by Roman soldiers. (Matt. 27:27-31)
VIII. The Crucifixion (from Pilate to Golgotha)
A. For a time Jesus bore the cross. (Jn. 19:17) However, eventually Simon was compelled to bear it for him. (Matt. 27:32)

B. Jesus was crucified. (Lk. 23:33-46)