Study Papers

INTRODUCTION

            There are misunderstandings among Christians and Judaisers regarding statement made by Jesus about the laws and prophets in the Old Testament. Due to this misconception, some have come to say that Jesus indeed annulled the Old Testament Law. Jesus did not actually annul the Law as some have said, but he came to fulfill it according to Matthew 5:17. “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophet. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17 ([NIV]). This is a mistake both Christianity and Judaism make about the teachings of Jesus Christ. Both hold the erroneous view that Jesus departed from the teachings of the Old Testament, especially with regard to the law.

         In this exegetical approach to how Jesus views the Old Testament scriptures, there are parallel scriptures listed in the Old Testament which spoke concerning Jesus and were eventually fulfilled in the New Testament. In this study paper, the visit of Magi in Matt. 2:1-6 during the birth of Jesus prophesied by Micah, the deity and humanity of Jesus recorded in Matt. 22:44-46 prophesied in Psalm 110:11, the controversy concerning the contemporary of Elijah argued by the Pharisees and his disciples prophesied in Mal. 4:5-6, the parable of Jesus regarding the tenants in Matt. 21:33-44 referenced in Acts 3:17-18; 4:11-12 prophesied in Psalm 118:22-23 will be discussed in this study paper taking into account some theological issues and applications.

         According to the scripture recorded in Matt. 2:1-6, when Jesus was born, Magi from the east saw the star and eventually sought inquiry regarding this star because someone great is being born; therefore, they set out to meet the baby who was wrapped in cloth and placed in the manger. God in time past predetermined and pre-engineered for this to happen; therefore, he spoke through Micah, the prophet. “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” This statement does not dictate Jesus’ view about the Old Testament, but it gives the prophetic views about the birth of Jesus.

         Jesus questioned the Pharisees concerning his identity in Matt. 22:41-46. They emphatically answered and said he was the son of David. Jesus commented and said how will Christ be called his son if David himself calls him Lord? He asked them this question because they have refused to recognize Jesus as the Son of God. If David himself calls him Lord as recorded in Psalm 110:1, it is the validity that Jesus is God. “The Lord says to my Lord; sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” Jesus’ view of this scripture indicates that the Old Testament validates his deity.

         In Matt. 17:10-13, Jesus explained to his disciples that John the Baptist is Elijah whom the Old Testament talked who will to be forerunner to prepare the way for the Savior. Malachi prophesied about the Prophet Elijah who would come to fulfill this. “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”(Mal. 4:4-5[NIV]). Indeed John the Baptist was the Elijah whom the prophet Malachi talked about. Jesus recognized the Old Testament as being authoritative and authentic. This affirms his statement recorded in Matt. 5:17 regarding the abrogation of the law as some had thought due to misconceptions.

         He finally concludes in Matt. 21:33-44 affirming that his death was prophesied in Psalm 118:22-23 using the parable of the tenants.

            “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place.When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.

The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way.Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.” Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “The stone the builder rejected has become the cornerstone, the Lord has done this and it is marvelous in our eyes.” Jesus quoted these scriptures to confirm the prophecy in Psalm 118:22-23 regarding the stone that the builder rejected. He Jesus is the stone whom the Jews rejected and he has become the Savior of all mankind. In conclusion, Jesus’ view of the Old Testament scripture was not to abrogate it, but his was to ratify it as to prove its authenticity and inerrancy in scope.

THEOLOGICAL ISSUES

            The Pharisees had consistently denied that Jesus was the Son of God; as the result, he was declared blasphemous and heretic. His questioning of the Pharisees regarding his deity and humanity is theological in nature. Between the 14th and 16th century during the reign of Constantine, the emperor of Roman, this was a theological confrontation which existed as the result of the ideologies of Arus called the Arian Controversy. This controversy led to the meeting held in Constantinople to decide and conclude the finality of the outcome of this teaching propagated by Arus and his group regarding the Trinity. At the end of this meeting, it was concluded that indeed Jesus is both human and God in the flesh. The issue of whether Jesus is God or not is proven in the scripture discussed in this paper. If David calls him Lord and the Pharisees confirmed that he is the Son of David, then, Jesus is indeed both God and Man. He is God as the result of his virgin birth and he is man because he was born through a woman. If the Pharisees confirmed his humanity and David confirmed his deity because David was speaking by the Lord’s voice, which means Jesus existed before he was born into this world. If he existed, then he pre-existed. This explains to us his infinite nature which validates his eternality as being God who has no beginning and ending.

THEOLOGICAL APPLICATION

            If Jesus is God, then mankind can be saved through him according to scripture. We have a living hope that the hopeless, weary, frustrated, and sick can go to for hope, strength, counsel, and healing. He is the source of our salvation and restoration.

  1. INTRODUCTION

            The Greek word for kingdom is “βασιλεία” transliterated as “basileia” which indicates kingship, sovereignty, authority, rule, especially of God, both in the world, and in the hearts of men.[1] This definition regarding the kingdom of God substantiates that the kingdom of God is abstract now and will become embodied in the future as the scripture teaches. Zenos writes, “Evidently there are two main senses in which the term “Kingdom” may be used, i.e., the abstract and the concrete. The word kingdom means either reign, or it means organization.”  Jesus declares in the book of Luke that the kingdom of God is within us [2](Luke 17:20-21). However, the bible also speaks of the future kingdom which Jesus will be the ruler visibly[3] (Jeremiah 23:5). From these references, the kingdom of God is God’s sovereign rule in the hearts of men now. This kingdom will appear visibly where Jesus will be the ruler of all nations and languages. This is yet to happen in future.

            During the days of Jesus, he talked about the kingdom of God using parables to explain how the kingdom of God looks like. In his usages of parables he outlined the kingdom of God into four categories according to the Gospels. He declared the kingdom of God as a place, a possession, a political body, and an order or dispensation. The four classifications are outlined on the preceding pages of this paper. The kingdom of God is viewed and presented in various fashions based on how the Gospel writers viewed it through the power of the Holy Spirit. The four categories may not be conclusive, but at least these are seen in scriptures.

A         THE KINGDOM OF THE GOD IS PRESENTED AS A LOCALITY.

  1. The word “entering” indicates a place (Matt. 7:21)
  2. Be converted as little children to enter (Matt. 18:3).
  3. The rich has difficulty entering the kingdom (Matt. 19:23-24; Mark 10:14, 23-25; Luke 18:24-25).
  4. The publicans and the harlots go into in before the Pharisees (Matt. 21:31).
  5. The Scribes and Pharisees shut it up (Matt. 23:13).
  6. Entering the kingdom with one than having two eyes (Mark 10:47).
  7. The Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:29).
  8. Near or far from the kingdom (Mark 12:34).
  9. Many will sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and Jesus will eat and drink in the kingdom (Matt. 26:29; Mark 14:25; Luke 22:16; 18).

B         THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS PRESENTED AS A POSSESSION.

  1. The poor in the spirit and the persecuted will inherit the kingdom (Matt. 5:3 10f; Luke 6:20).
  2. The kingdom is reserved for the little children (Matt. 19:14, Mark 10:14; Luke 18:16, 17).
  3. The kingdom will be taken from the Jews and be given to the nation which brings fruits (Matt. 21:43).
  4. The kingdom is promised to the little flock (Luke 12:32).
  5. The kingdom is the treasure hidden in the field (Matt. 13:44-46).
  6. The kingdom is the self-made eunuch (Matt. 19:12).
  7. Self-denial is a reward for obtaining the kingdom (Luke 18:29).
  8. The kingdom is the most valuable of all possessions (Matt. 6:33; Luke 12:31).

C         THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS PRESENTED AS A POLITICAL BODY.

  1. The kingdom is the organized being that has the principle of growth in it and consists of human beings: the parables of the Sower, wheat, tares, grains of Mustard seed (Matt.13:33; Mark 4:30; Luke 13:18; Mark 4:20).
  2. The parable of the leaven (Matt. 13:33; Mark 4:30; Luke 13:20, Matt. 13:33).
  3. The parable of the net and children of the kingdom (Matt. 13:38).
  4. The divided kingdom (Matt. 12:25).
  5. The kingdom is an organization (Matt. 20:21f).
  6. The referred as the church (Matt. 16:16-19).
  7. God appoints people in the kingdom (Luke 22:29).

D         THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS PRESENTED AS A DISPENSATION.

  1. The kingdom is announced as near (Matt. 4:17; Mark 1:15, Matt. 10:7; Luke 10:9, 11; 2:31; Luke 10:20; Matt. 12:28).
  2. Pray for the kingdom to come (Matt. 6:10-13; Luke 11:2).
  3. Announce or preach the kingdom (Luke 9:2; 11:60; 16:16).
  4. Jesus preaches the kingdom (Luke 4:23; 8:1; Matt. 4:23; 9:35; 24:14; 13:19; 5:19).
  5. The least in the new dispensation is greater than the greatest under the Old order (Matt.11:11, 12; Luke 7:28).
  6. The humble are greater in the kingdom (Matt. 18:4; 18:23).
  7. Justice and mercy found in the kingdom (Matt. 21:1).
  8. The rebellious are punished in the kingdom (Matt. 25:1).
  9. The kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:20, 21).
  10. The kingdom of God is a mystery (Matt. 13:1; Mark 4:11; Luke 8:10).

II.        CONCLUSION          

   At various times, Jesus spoke in parables to explain the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is God’s sovereign rules in the hearts of men now and the contingent kingdom waits to be revealed when Jesus comes for the second time to judge this world of sin and to give his punitive and remunerative justice to tho


[1]http://biblesuite.com/greek/932.htm

[2]Luke 17:20-21.

[3]Jeremiah 23:5.

The Crucifixion Story

Jesus’ crucifixion is an event which occurred via the 1st century AD. Jesus was arrested, tried, and sentenced by Pontius Pilate to be scoured and finally crucified. This collectively referred as the passion. His redemptive suffering and death by crucifixion represent the central of the Christian theology, comprising the doctrine of salvation and atonement.

The four canonical gospels attest and other ancient sources firmly established as an historical event confirmed by non-Christian sources. Christians believed his suffering was foretold in the Hebrew Bible, such as in Psalm 22 and Isaiah’s songs of the suffering servant.

Matthew narrates the death and crucifixion of Jesus in this manner: Matthew 27:32-56.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: this is Jesus, the king of the Jews. Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him.“He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

The Death of Jesus

From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani? (Which means“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.” And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and[c]went into the holy city and appeared too many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

            In conclusion, Matthew gives a complete account regarding the death of Jesus Christ and his crucifixion. In the narrative of Jesus’ trial as stated in the gospels after his betrayal, he was taken to the Sanhedrin Council, the judicial body. From the historical view, the era in which the story occurred, his body was an ad hoc gathering in a fixed court system. In the gospels, Jesus is tried and condemned by the Council, mocked and beaten for having the claim of being Son of God. The gospel agreed with vary in respect to various details, they consent on the general character and overall structure of the trials of Jesus in a realistic spiritual and political environment. During his arrest according to Matthew, he was taken to house of Caiaphas, the high priest at the time where the scribes and the elders were gathered. Matthew 27:1 adds that the next morning, the priests convened another conference talking about his apprehension. Mark 14:53 states that Jesus was taken that night to the high priests where all the chief priests and the elders gathered and in Mark 15:1, it adds that another consultation was held among the priests and the elders gathered the following morning. Luke 22:54 confirms that Jesus was taken to the high priest’s house, where he was mocked and beaten that night and in chapter 22:66, it adds that as soon as it was day, the chief priests and scribes gathered together and led Jesus away into their assembly. John 18:12-14, Jesus is first taken to Annas; the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was the current high priest. Annas is believed to have been the former high priest, and it appears that Caiaphas sought Annas’ confirmation of Caiaphas’ actions. In Matthew 18:24, Jesus is sent from Annas to Caiaphas. In 18:28, Jesus was led from Caiaphas to Pontius Pilate in the Praetorium. Jesus is in upper right hand corner and he is led to the high priest’s house where his hands are bound behind him and he turns to look at Peter. In all four Gospel accounts the trial of Jesus before the priests and scribes brings into the photo the denial of Peter’s narrative, where Apostle Peter denied him three times. In Luke 22:61, it states that Jesus was bound and standing at the priest’s house where Peter stood near the courtyard. He turned and looked straight at him and he remembered the words Jesus has spoken to him regarding his denial. “Before, the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times. In the Gospel, Jesus did speak little and gave infrequent and indirect answers to the interrogations of the priests making the officer to slap him. In Matthew 26:62, the irresponsive reaction from Jesus prompted the high priests to ask him. ‘Answerest thou nothing?’ In Mark 14:55-59, the chief priests had sought witness against Jesus to put to death, but he did not find fault; as the result, they arranged false witness against him; unfortunately, the witnesses did not agree consensually. In Mark 14:61, the high priest then interrogated Jesus: “Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? I am, said Jesus. The high priest tore his own robe in anger and accused Jesus of blasphemy. In Matthew 26:63, the high priests questioned him and stated, ‘Tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus responded, “You have said it”, making the priests to tear his own robe. In Luke 22:67 Jesus is asked again if he is the Christ. “If thou art the Christ, tell us. But he said unto them, if I tell you, ye say that I am” affirming the title Son of God. At that point, the priests say. “What further need have we of witness? For us ourselves have heard from his own mouth and decided to condemn Jesus. At the closure of his trial, the Jewish asked Pontius Pilate to judge and condemn Jesus accusing him of claiming to be the King of the Jews. This study paper discusses the discourses Jesus addressed his disciples prior to his departure to heaven. These references are primarily taken from the book of John chapters 13 to 17. They have been outlined subsequently according to the discourse.

            In the John gospel of chapters 13: 1-17, Jesus watches his disciples’ feet. This incidence took place before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour has come for him to leave and to go the Father. He needed to wash their feet as the sign of servant hood leadership. In verse 18 to 30 of John, Jesus predicts his betrayal. Jesus said in the beginning discourse that he, who shares the bread with me, will betray me. He was speaking directly to Judas Iscariot. Eventually, Judas did betray him by handling him to the Chief Priests.

            In verse 31 to 38 of John, Jesus predicts Peter’s Denial. When he was gone, Jesus said that the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself.

            In Chapter 14:1-4, Jesus comforts his disciples. He mainly talks about the heart being troubled. If they believe in God, they should also believe in him because in his Father’s house, there are many mansions. In verse 5-14, Jesus declares himself as the Way to the Father. No one goes to God except through Jesus Christ. In verse 15 to 31 of John, Jesus promises the Holy Spirit. He admonishes his disciples to love him by keeping his commandments.

            In chapter 15:1-17 of John, Jesus introduces himself as the vine, the Father as the vine dresser, and the believers as the branches. In verse 18 to 25 of John, he discuses the relationship between the disciples and the world system. The world will eventually hate the disciples. The disciples are not of the world; as the result, the world will not understand them based on value systems and Christian norms. In verse 26 to 27 of John, he talks about the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the believers. He continues in Chapter 16:1-14 deliberating on the works of the Holy Spirit. In verse 16 to 33 of John, he discusses the disciples’ grief turning to joy. He told them that a little while; they could see him no more. This was a sad incidence for the disciples knowing Jesus was going to die.

            In chapter 17:1-4, Jesus prays for himself to be glorified after his death. He knew what he was going through at this time. In verse 6 to 17, Jesus prays for his disciples knowing that he was going to be with them more bodily. In verse 20 to 26 of John, Jesus finally prays for all believers.

1 Corinthians 11:20-30

The Lord’s Supper

So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter! For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me. For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.

            In the church of Corinth, Paul addresses the believers regarding how the Lord’s Supper was being handled in a way that did not portray its purpose in a realistic spiritual atmosphere. He writes to correct this misconception and misconduct that were being exhibited by the believers in this church setting. Some went to the church to take the Lord’s Supper hungry; as the result, others were being deprived from taking the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper was no longer discerned as a spiritual ceremony, but rather as a carnal one. Paul asserts that any one of them who takes the Lord’s body and the blood in the form of bread and wine without recognizing it as a spiritual medium, drinks damnation unto himself. He said that because of this some were sick and fell asleep (dead). He admonished them to examine themselves before taking the Lord’s Supper.

            Paul, the Apostle of Jesus receives the cup of Lord and he decides to past it to the believers at ceremonially so that by participating in the Lord’s Supper, they reminder the Lord’s death till he returns. There are elements in the Lord’s Supper that are earthly elements of a heavenly reality. The bread represents Jesus’ body which was broken for us when he dies for our sins. The wine represents his blood which also shed for the remission of our sins. When believers eat the bread and drink the wine, they partake in the new covenant as children of God remind the Lord’s death until he returns for the second time. Until us as believers eat the body of the Lord and drink his blood, we can never become part of him. Communion is an earthly symbolic activity which has heavenly reality. This ceremony should not be taken lightly because it has spiritual impactation and implication which affect the believers negatively or spiritually. Paul said that everyone should examine himself before partaking in this ceremony. Anyone who partakes in this ceremony without recognizing the Lord’s body and wine as spiritual ones eats and drinks condemnation unto him. This is the reason at Corinth; some were sick and even die because they did not recognize the Lord’s body and wine as spiritual entities that had heavenly significant reality. How does this affect us today as believers when it comes to Lord’s Supper? Paul was universally speaking to believers of his days and our times as well. We as pastors of churches should teach on the Lord’s Supper to our congregation explaining to them its significance or spiritual impart it has on them before offering them the communion. Before the Lord departed for heaven, he instituted this ceremony to be carried out believers. Communion is the continued spiritual initiation and rite performed in Christendom to define the Christian existence and true identity into the kingdom of God to indicate a disconnect between him or her from the practices of the world system. We can not become partakers of the Lord’s Table and become partakers of idol temples. If we are partakers of the Lord’s Supper, we have to demarcate ourselves from the world system of things. We must go to places that reflect Christ-likeness. The teaching of Jesus about his return can be found in Gospel account according to the book of Matthew; however, other Gospels such Mark and Luke also record the account regarding the return of Christ. This exemplifies the synoptic validation the Gospels. According to scriptures, Jesus actually taught ten things centering on his return. They are as follows:

No one knows the day or the hour of my return: In Mark 13:32, Jesus teaches his followers about his return and he states, “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Luke states in this manner, “You also must be ready, for the son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Luke 12:40). Jesus himself does not know when he will return; however, the Father knows the exact time when Jesus will return to earth to judge this perverted and sinful generation. Jesus told his disciples to be ready for his return 2, 000 years later during his discourse in Matthew gospel.

There will be several signs, increasing in intensity, as my return draws near: This statement does not mean Christ’s follower should not pay attention to the signs of his return. They should figure out the day or the hour, but should pay attention to natural events and recognize the potential fulfillment of Christ’s word as they happen. He promised there would be wars and rumors of wars, famines, and earthquakes in various places (Matt. 24:6-7). “There would be signs in the sun and moon and stars. There would on earth distress of nations in confusion because of the roaring of the sea and waves. People will faint with fear and foreboding of what is coming on the entire world. The heavenly bodies will be shaken; consequently, the Son of Man will come in a cloud of with power and great glory.” (Luke 21:25-27).

Pray for the strength of escape the things that are going to take place: In Luke 21:36, Jesus taught his disciples, “But stat awake at all time, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” In this context, Jesus refers to this escaping from the judgment and wrath God will bring upon those who have rejected Christ. Jesus teaches his disciples to pray for the strength to escape. Many believe Christians will escape narrowly by default; however, he told his disciples to pray for strength in order to escape; therefore, we should do as well.

It will seem like a normal day: In Luke 17:26-30, Jesus made a comparison regarding the day he will return to reveal God’s judgment in the days of both Noah and Lot. In both times, people were going about the normal business of life. They were eating, drinking, marrying, buying, selling, planting, and building. In the milieu of these normalcies, God’s judgment and wrath fell on them. He said that it will be like same things happening when he returns to judge this world (Luke 17:24).

I Will repay everyone for what he has done: In the last chapter of Revelation, Jesus told his disciples that he will come and bring his recompense and to pay everyone for what he or she has done (Rev. 22:12). Matthew 25 describes the scene when Jesus will sit on his glorious throne and all nations will be gathered before him to be judged (31-33). All people will stand before Jesus and give account for what they did in life.

Not everyone who expects to make it in to the Christ’s kingdom will: Some of the most sobering words of Jesus are about those who will not be allowed to enter the kingdom of heaven. In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty work in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” What could be worse than hearing these words from Jesus? At the end, there will be many people who will think they are in because of their ministry credentials. And Jesus will say, “I never knew you” and call them “workers of lawlessness.” Their repentance was in word only. They acted like followers, but didn’t have a saving relationship with Christ based on faith and repentance as the foundation of their lives. Jesus said there will be many people in this terrifying condition, living their lives thinking they were in and finding out in the final analysis they were not.

There will be great persecution and many will fall away: Jesus promised great persecution would break out against his followers and would cause many to fall away (Matt 24:9-10). It’s relatively easy to follow Christ when things are going well, but when times get tough we find out what we’re made of. Is our faith in Christ only as strong as the comfort we enjoy? If God’s enemies come and take everything will we cling to Christ or fall away? Jesus promised many would make the incomprehensible choice to fall away.

Because of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold: Jesus promised that sin would lure many away from Him (Matt 24:12). These are people who once loved Christ warmly who have cooled in their affections for Him. They’ve traded in their desires for Christ for worthless idols. Sex, money, power and other false gods have replaced the love of Christ in their hearts. Their love grows cold as they lose the war against temptations to sin. Stoking the heart’s fiery love for Christ must include destroying the wet buckets of sin that can so quickly quench it. True Christ followers must repent often and much.

Be on guard, keep awake: Jesus continually told his followers to stay awake, to watch their lives, and to be ready for his return. In Matthew, Jesus gave four parables to explain how and why his followers should be prepared for his coming: the homeowner and the thief (24:42-44); the good and wicked servants (24:45-51); the 10 virgins (25:1-13); and the talents (25:14-30). In each of these parables, Christ described readiness with working to complete the work Christ gave us, namely fulfilling the Great Commission. Every Christian is to diligently use the gifts and opportunities God provides to reach the world for Christ. To be awake is to be ready and willing to do Christ’s will. In Gethsemane, Jesus’ disciples slept instead of joining Him in prayer. They weren’t doing what Christ asked, but slept. In the same way, many Christians today are asleep to Christ’s will. They don’t seek him or ask for his direction. Instead, like the disciples in the garden, they sleep. Hear the words of the prophet Isaiah, “Awake, awake, put on strength” (51:9). Peter says it well, “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:7-8).

I am coming soon: Four times in the book of Revelation, Jesus said to the churches, “I am coming soon!” (Rev 16:15; 22:7, 12, 20). It was originally meant as an encouraging word to 1st century Christians suffering by the hands of Rome and has continued to encourage Christ’s followers throughout the ages. Christians in every generation are to hold tightly to the promise that Christ will return soon. As the writer of Hebrews reminds, “Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Heb 9:28). Like young children eagerly longing for Christmas morning, Christians eagerly wait for Christ to return. In doing so, we live out Paul’s wonderful promise to the church in Thessalonica, “Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord” (1 Thess 4:17). Nothing is greater than to be with Jesus Christ. In an effort to compare and reconcile exegetically the two Temple cleansings, it is essential to interrogate whether Jesus cleansed the temple more than-once or if it is a mistake in the Bible? Realistically speaking, there are no mistakes in the Bible. In John 2:13-25 talked about the temple cleansing. This incidence immediately follows Jesus turning the water into wine accompanied by the conversation with Nicodemus. In Matthew 21:12-16 the story is accompanied by the cursing of the fig tree. In Mark 11:15-18, the temple cleansing takes place after the cursing of the fig tree. It should be understood that the Gospels were not written in chronological order. Secondly, the incidence might have happened more than once or not.

            The gospels were not written chronologically; therefore, many of the incidences recorded in the gospels were not written in chronological order. The only exception to this rule is Luke’s gospel where he intentionally decided to write it out in consecutive order as recorded in Luke 1:3.

            There are few points to consider when it comes to the two Temple cleansings. In John’s account, there are completely different account given in the synoptic such as Matthew, Mark, and Luke. If Jesus strongly anticipated cleansing the temple due to its corruption, he might have cleansed it once at the beginning of his ministry and at the end of his public ministry. Since cleansing the temple was an overly Messianic act, which some of the Jews would have approved, it is not possible that Jesus could get away with doing this once at the outset of his ministry. When the Jews realized that Jesus was not really the Messiah that they were looking for, the second cleansing would have decided his fate as recorded in Mark 11:18. In the synoptic, Jesus is accused of having said that he would destroy the temple and rebuild another within three days not made with human hands (Mark 14:58). This comment is explicitly stated in John 2:19 and it appears that the witnesses in Mark’s gospel get the statement slightly wrong and can not agree among themselves. It may be something Jesus said two or three years earlier rather than just a few days earlier. Jesus’ sayings in the synoptic gospel are more severe than that in John. He referred to the Gentiles’ need to pray and the Jews as robbers. In John 2:20, the Jews refer to the temple rebuilding project which begun 46 years earlier. This would mark the day of the cleansing at around AD 27 or 28[1]. During this time, Jesus was not certainly crucified until AD 30. John might be describing a distinct cleansing from the one mentioned in the Synoptic gospel. In conclusion, based on the above arguments stated, there were in fact two temple cleansings in the life of Christ. One was at the beginning of his public ministry and the other at the conclusion of his ministry.


[1]Michael Gleghorn, Did Jesus Cleanse the Temple More than Once or Is There a Mistake in the Bible?

Jesus’ Claim of Himself

The “I AM” in the bible is the state of whom God is and what he can do without limitation of space and time. It indicates his self-existence, pre-incarnate nature as the Son manifested in the flesh, and his transcendence power. The “I AM” in the bible sets God apart from his creation showing the fullness of his moral and non-moral attributes. There are numerous scriptures in the Gospels, the Psalms, the Prophets, and the Laws which talks about the” I AM”. It refers to Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God who had lived in the eternally past with no beginning and no ending. He is called the Alpha and the Omega. In the following scriptures, Jesus views himself according to scriptures:

The Gospels

“I am the bread of life” (John 6:35, 48, 51).

“I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).

“I am the door of the sheep”(John 10:7, 9).

“I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11, 14).

“I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).

“I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).

“I am the true vine” (John 15:1, 5).

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through me.” (John 14:6).

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.”(John 15:1).

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from me you can do nothing.”(John 15:5).

“They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He said to them, “I am He.” And Judas also who was betraying Him, was standing with them.” (John 18:5).

“When therefore He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back, and fell to the ground.”  (John 18:6).

“Jesus answered, “I told you that I am He; if therefore you seek me, let these go their way,” (John 18:8).

The Psalms

“I am a worm and no man” (Psalm 22:6).

“I am poor and needy” (Psalm 40:17).

“I am a stranger unto my brethren” (Psalm 69:8).

“I am full of heaviness” (Psalm 69:20).

“I am poor and sorrowful” (Psalm 69:29).

“I am as a sparrow alone upon the house top” (Psalm 102:7).

“I am withered like grass” (Psalm 102:11).

The Revelation

“I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:18)

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending” (Revelation 1:8).

“I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last” (Revelation 1:11).

“Fear not; I am the first and the last” (Revelation 1:17).

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 21:6).

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (Revelation 22:13).

“I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star”(Revelation 22:16)

THE DEMAND OF DISCIPLESHIP

We live in a world of temptation and hardship which calls for disciples to comprehend the nature of discipleship. The presence of the kingdom now and the future means not only instant power or position, but rejection by the world. Disciples of Jesus need to focus to discipleship with respect to commitment. According to Jesus, anyone who desires to become a disciple, must pick up the cross and follow Jesus. Picking up the cross, demands complete denial of self. “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and takes up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”(Matt. 16:24-26[NIV]). The above statement declares the demand of discipleship according to Jesus. We can not become true disciples if we fail to consider these facts as outlined by Jesus.

WHY DID JESUS PREACH IN PARABLES?

            Jesus lived among the generations at the time whose ears and hearts were not ready to hear and to believe the word of God; as the result, it was useless to speak to these generations in clear statement regarding the kingdom of God; therefore, he spoke to them in parables so that those who were ready to hear would come to him and ask for clarification. In most instances, his disciples always came to him to inquire about the meaning of the parables spoken; then, he would sit with them and explain the meaning of the parables. He said to his disciples on one occasion that to them the mysteries of the kingdom were given to be understood, but to others, it was not so. The others refer to the generations who were not prepared to listen to him. It is like going on the field of evangelism to speak to people who are not prepared to receive your message. It will be a waste of time and energy to spend talking to such groups who are not prepared to accept the Gospel message; so, was it in the days of Jesus. Jesus knew what was in men; consequently, he dealt with them according to their present status. At what time, his disciples asked him why he spoke in parables to these generations. The bible states, “The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables[1]? (Matt. 13:10[NIV]). He answered and said I speak to these peoples in parables so that while seeing, they might not see and while hearing, they might not understand. He spoke to the peoples in parables because their hearts were waxed gross and their ears were so dull of hearing, and their eyes were closed to the Gospel message.[2] Jesus did not want them to hear with their ears and understand with their hearts and be converted. If Jesus did preach to the people to get them believe his message, why then, he spoke in parables for the people not to hear with their ears and understand with their hearts and be saved? Was Jesus’ desire for the people to disbelieve his message? Never, it was not his desire, but he knew the people were not ready to believe his message; therefore, he spoke to them in earthly stories which had heavenly meanings. Every time he spoke in parables, he said that those who had ears should hear. Was he speaking about biological ear? No, Jesus did not speak in terms of the biological ears responsible for amplification of sound and possible interpretation of sounds in collaboration with the parasympathetic nervous system. Jesus was talking about the spiritual ears. People can go to church the rest of their lives, if their ears and hearts have not been circumcised, they never hear and understand the message; therefore, they will remain in their sins as if the pastor is not preaching the rightful message. If they are not ready to listen neither to obey the Father’s message, they will remain in their sins. Proverbs states, “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God “(Proverbs 2:1-5[KJV])..[3]

            The word of God would have had impact on them if they had cherished it acceptably without reservation. They did not believe Jesus as the Messiah; as the result it was an abomination to listen to a heretic who called himself a Son of God. He was considered blasphemous individual by his own people (Jews). He came unto his own, but his own did not receive him.[4]


[1]Matt. 13:10.

[2]Matt.13:13-15.

[3]Proverbs 2:1-5.

[4]John 1:11.

INTRODUCTION: This lesson is intended to teach the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life and the ministry of Jesus in various aspects of Jesus’ life and ministry. Such includes his conception, his childhood, his baptism, his temptation, his healing, his teaching, and his death.

I.          THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE CONCEPTION OF JESUS

A   Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit

  1. Matt. 1:18
  2. Matt. 1:20
  3. Luke 1:35
  4. Luke 1:41

II         THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE BOYHOOD OF JESUS

B   Jesus grew up in the sight of God as the chosen one.

  1. Luke 1:15
  2. Luke 2:27
  3. Luke 3:16
  4. Luke 2:40
  5. Luke 2:52
  6. Luke 1:80
  7. John 1:14

III        THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE BAPTISM OF JESUS

C   Jesus, the baptizer of the Holy Spirit

  1. Luke 3:16
  2. John 1:33
  3. Matt. 3:11
  4. Luke 3:22
  5. John 1:32
  6. John 1:33
  7. Matt. 3:16
  8. Mark 1:8
  9. John 20:22

IV        THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE TEMPTATIN OF JESUS

D   The Holy Spirit guided Jesus in his temptation.

  1. Matt. 3:13-14; 4
  2. John 13:21
  3. Matt. 4:1
  4. Luke 4:1

V         THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE HEALING MINISTRY OF JESUS

E    The Holy Spirit anointed Jesus to heal.

  1. Acts 10:38
  2. John 7:39
  3. John 11:33
  4. Matt. 4:23
  5. Matt. 8:13
  6. Matt. 9:16
  7. Matt. 10:1
  8. Matt. 10:8
  9. Matt. 14:14
  10. Luke 16:19
  11. John 3:34

VI        THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE TEACHING MINISTRY OF JESUS

F    The Holy Spirit anointed Jesus to teach.

  1. Luke 4:14
  2. Luke 4:18
  3. Luke 10:21
  4. Luke 12:12
  5. John 14:7
  6. John 14:26
  7. John 15:26
  8. John 16:13
  9. Matt. 28:19
  10. Matt. 10:20
  11. John 14:17
  12. John 15:26
  13. Luke 12:12

VII      THE HOLY SPIRIT IN TH DEATH OF JESUS

G               The Holy Spirit made Jesus to endure death.

  1. John 19:30
  2. John 20:22