28 Jesus Travels to Bethany and Raises Lazarus from the Dead

Dr. Doug Bookman

A. Jesus Hears of Lazarus’s Sickness and Waits Two Days Before Leaving

Scripture: John 11:1-16

Notes: Only John records this sensational miracle, and he makes it clear that in very important ways preparation for the events of the Passion Week was laid in this event. Notice that this miracle occurred only several weeks before the Passover at which Jesus would die.

Questions/Observations: Because He waited for two days before departing Perea for Bethany, when Jesus arrived Lazarus had been dead for four days. This is important. Why?

B. Jesus Arrives in Bethany and Raises Lazarus from the Dead

Scripture: John 11:17-44

Questions/Observations:

  1. Why do you think Jesus wept (John 11:35)?
  2. Contemplate carefully the dramatic effect of this miracle.

C. The Consequence of Raising Lazarus from the Dead

Scripture: John 11:45-57

Questions/Observations:

  1. John identifies several specific results of this miracle (John 11:45-57). Carefully note those results as cataloged by John, specifically the impact on Jesus’s enemies (John 11:45-53), on Jesus’s travels (John 11:54), and on the city of Jerusalem (John 11:55-56).
  2. According to John 11:57, after He raised Lazarus from the dead, Jesus was a fugitive – He is on the run and must order His movements very carefully.

Note: At this point, Jesus’s public travels are entirely completed. He is tarrying north of Jerusalem at the little village of Ephraim (secret from His enemies), waiting for the time when He would make His way to Jerusalem for the Passover at which He would die. The raising of Lazarus was hugely important in setting the stage for the events of that final week to come. In that connection, note John’s comment in John 12:12 – “a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem….” How is it that that multitude heard that Jesus was coming? The answer has a great deal to do with this final and most deliberately spectacular miracle of Jesus’s ministry.

Adapted from the Life of Christ study notes of Dr. Doug Bookman, professor of New Testament Exposition at Shepherds Theological Seminary (used by permission).

26 The Feast of Dedication/Hanukah (Late December)

Dr. Doug Bookman

A. Jesus Makes His Way to Jerusalem

Scripture: Luke 13:22

Notes: Notice that only Luke records the journey.

Questions/Observations: There is a break in Luke’s narrative between Luke 13:22 & Luke 13:23. All of John 10:22-39 occurs in that break. In the narrative of Luke 13:23 Jesus is already in Perea, after the feast of Dedication (cf. John 10:40).

B. At the Feast of Dedication, Jesus Claims to Be One with the Father

Scripture: John 10:22-39

Questions/Observations:

  1. In John 10:24, Jesus’s enemies insist that He tell them plainly that He is the Christ. What is their purpose in this?
  2. Notice that in His reply, Jesus is “wise as a serpent.” Trace His strategy here carefully.
  3. Notice that in John 10:33, the Pharisees are explicit as to what they perceive to be Jesus’s crime.
  4. Notice that in two places in this account, we are told that Jesus’s enemies took enraged steps to be rid of Him (John 10:31 and John 10:39). Jesus contrives to escape from their hands, but notice that the anger of His enemies has by now metastasized to murderous intent, even if impulsive and frustrated.

C. Jesus Retreats Across the Jordan River to Perea

Scripture: John 10:40-42

Notes: This is often denominated Jesus’s “Perean Ministry.” While the title is appropriate, it needs to be emphasized that Jesus resorts to this place for one reason – His life is in real danger in Judea.

Questions/Observations:

  1. The political dynamics of the 1st century are essential to understand Jesus’s travels and tactics here, as well as those of His enemies. By traveling to Perea, Jesus has left the jurisdiction of Pilate (who could be made to do the bidding of the Jewish leadership) for that of Herod Antipas (who was not vulnerable to political manipulation as was Pilate).
  2. Jesus ministers in Perea for a time, probably primarily to Jews who traveled there to hear Him.

Adapted from the Life of Christ study notes of Dr. Doug Bookman, professor of New Testament Exposition at Shepherds Theological Seminary (used by permission).

25 Open Encounters with the Jewish Leadership

Dr. Doug Bookman

Note: Luke describes a number of miracles wrought by Jesus and times of teaching, as well as the consistently hostile response of the Jewish leadership. Recall that it is very late in His ministry (within several months of Jesus’ death), and that Jesus is traveling in the region very close to Jerusalem, where the Pharisaic leadership so entirely committed to rejecting Him are headquartered.

A. The Blasphemous Accusation Is Repeated: Miracles by the Power of Beelzebub

Scripture: Luke 11:14-36

Notes: The event is very similar to that related to the “unpardonable sin” in Galilee. The Pharisees had no other explanation, and so they returned to it whenever necessary. Jesus’s response was magisterially effective and is repeated in this instance.

  1. Notice that Jesus appends a parable about a man who is cleansed of an unclean spirit, leaves himself empty, and is then possessed by seven wicked spirits. What do you think Jesus is referring to here? That is, who is the man, and in what sense had a cleansing taken place earlier?
  2. Jesus repeats the “sign of Jonah,” the emphasis of which is that this generation has proven itself so hard that signs are no longer wise, and thus they will get only the sign of Jesus’s resurrection.

B. Dining with a Pharisee, Jesus Denounces Empty Legalism

Scripture: Luke 11:37-54

Questions/Observations:

  1. The Pharisees constituted a very tight and exclusive religious fraternity; there were relatively few admitted. On the other hand, the scribes (lawyers) were ideologically and socially identified with the Pharisees. Thus, when Jesus excoriates the Pharisees (in words anticipatory of the Woes of Matthew 23), a lawyer (or scribe) is insulted as well (Luke 11:45). Jesus proceeds to excoriate the scribes as well.
  2. Notice that Luke is explicit as to the purpose of the Pharisees in attending Jesus in these days.

C. Jesus Addresses Hypocrisy, Covetousness, Worldly Anxieties, Watchfulness, and His Approaching Death

Scripture: Luke 12

Notes: Notice Luke’s description of the great hordes of people pressing in on Jesus at this time. As His death draws near, Jesus remains the wildly popular folk-hero of the masses. This is important as it ties the hand of His enemies, and it makes Jesus’s words concerning His coming death entirely incoherent to His disciples. (Jesus is able to see through the great crowds and knows that their interest is superficial and self-serving, but only Jesus discerns this.)

D. The Command to Repent: The Parable of the Fig Tree

Scripture: Luke 13:1-9

E. Jesus Heals a Crippled Woman on the Sabbath

Scripture: Luke 13:10-21

Questions/Observations:

  1. Throughout His ministry, the one perceived crime for which Jesus’s enemies felt they could indict Him was a violation of the Sabbath. Jesus never violated the Law of Moses, but He did transgress some of the traditions of the elders. Here the tactic often employed in Galilee is employed by His enemies in Judea.
  2. Notice Luke’s remarkable description of the result of these confrontations (Luke 13:17).

Adapted from the Life of Christ study notes of Dr. Doug Bookman, professor of New Testament Exposition at Shepherds Theological Seminary (used by permission).

27 Jesus Ministers in Perea

Dr. Doug Bookman

A. Jesus Teaches and Is Confronted by Some Pharisees

Scripture: Luke 13:23-35

Notes: Perea is close to and accessible from Judea, but much safer for Jesus because Herod was not liable to manipulation by the Jewish leadership anxious to be rid of Jesus.

Questions/Observations:

  1. Note carefully the ploy of Jesus’s enemies in Luke 13:31. They are trying to trick Jesus into returning to Judea where they can get the Roman authorities to move against Him. (Understand that it is because of the popularity which Jesus still enjoys with the common man – superficial to be sure, but wild-eyed nonetheless and thus crippling to Jesus’s enemies – that His Jewish enemies cannot simply spirit Him away; they must get the Roman authorities involved, and they cannot do that in Perea.)
  2. Jesus’s answer to that ploy is remarkable. In the concluding lament, He claims that Jerusalem will not see Him until they welcome Him as Messiah. Understand the source and significance of that which Jesus says the city will cry out when they see Him: “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”
  3. Jesus’s prediction here is fulfilled some weeks later when He rides into the city of Jerusalem in His triumphal entry and is welcomed with the words He foretells here. When Jesus made this prophecy, it was almost unimaginable that it would come to pass; the men to whom He made the prediction were representatives of the most powerful body in Judea, and they were committed not to let it happen. The means Jesus employs to cause it to happen are fascinating; be careful to trace those means as the narrative moves toward the Passion Week.

B. Jesus Dines with a Pharisee on the Sabbath and Heals a Diseased Man

Scripture: Luke 14:1-24

Questions/Observations:

  1. Note the intent of the Pharisee in inviting Jesus to his home (Luke 14:1).
  2. The two parables –
    1. the feast at which a guest is moved from a seat of honor and
    2. the man who gave a great banquet and the invited guests refused to come
    3. are spoken in response to the attempt to trap Jesus.

C. Great Crowds Follow Jesus

Scripture: Luke 14:25-35

Questions/Observations: Understand the specific Old Testament ethic that Jesus is imposing upon His followers when He demands that they “hate” mother/father/brother/sister.

D. Parables of the Lost Sheep, Coin, and Prodigal Son

Scripture: Luke 15

Questions/Observations: Notice carefully what precipitated these parables: the Pharisees and scribes were offended because among the great crowds following Jesus were sinners and publicans.

E. Three Lessons on Stewardship

Scripture: Luke 16

Notes: The three lessons: 1) the parable of the unjust steward; 2) to the Pharisees, the rich man and Lazarus; and 3) to the disciples, the servant who is faithful has only done his duty.

Adapted from the Life of Christ study notes of Dr. Doug Bookman, professor of New Testament Exposition at Shepherds Theological Seminary (used by permission).

24 Jesus Ministers in the Region of Judea

Dr. Doug Bookman

Note: This period is often called “The Later Judean Ministry” of Jesus. That works because Jesus had previously ministered for a time in this basic region – several months at the very beginning of His ministry He had spent gathering John the Baptist’s disciples to Himself (John 1). But though Jesus had visited the region briefly on several occasions, He had not spent any extended time here concentrating on the effort to saturate the area with His claims concerning Himself. He does that now. It’s important to understand that by now the nation has made it clear (to Jesus alone) that they were determined to disbelieve. Besides that, this region is very much under the dominion of the rabbinic and Pharisaic leadership centered in Jerusalem. So, Jesus’s intent here is not to set His claims before the villages of Judea in the hope they would acknowledge Him. Rather, Jesus seems to be confronting this strategic region with His claims – and with miraculous demonstration of those claims – in order that “every mouth may be stopped,” that this generation would have no excuse for their rejection of Jesus.

A. Jesus Sends Out the Seventy/Seventy-Two

Scripture: Luke 10:1-24

Notes: This is similar to when He sent out the 12 late in His Galilean ministry, and the intent is the same – to get the message out quickly and dramatically, given that the time is short because of the anger of Jesus’s very powerful enemies.

Questions/Observations:

  1. Notice that there is a textual issue with reference to the number. Some manuscripts of Luke say “seventy,” while others say “seventy-two.”
  2. Mark the purpose for which these were sent out, expressed by Jesus in Luke 10:1 – to go into every place where He was about to go. These 70 were not so much independent preaching teams as “set-up” teams, preparing the ground so that when Jesus came to a village He could quickly confront the place and be on to the next city. This is all a function of the sense of urgency born of the fact that Jesus’s time was so short.
  3. Notice that the commission which Jesus gave these emissaries (Luke 10:2-12) is very similar to that spoken to the 12 when they were sent out in Galilee (Matthew 10:5-42).

B. Eternal Life and the Good Samaritan

Scripture: Luke 10:25-37

Notes: Jesus was asked by a scribe (student of the Law) what had to be done to be saved. The parable was spoken in response to the conversation which ensued, and specifically to the question of the lawyer, “Who is my neighbor?”

Questions/Observations:

  1. Notice the way the lawyer summarizes the Mosaic law? Where else do we encounter this summary? What does this suggest as to whether this man had been attending Jesus’s teachings before this point?
  2. There is some speculation as to the identity of this man. Do you know what identity is often conjectured?

C. Jesus Visits the Village of Bethany, Home of Lazarus and His Sisters

Scripture: Luke 10:38-42

Notes: This home will become very strategic to Jesus during the week of His passion; He seems to be preparing for that week in making this visit.

Questions/Observations: Note that Bethany is a suburb of Jerusalem; it lies on the east of the city, on the backside of the Mount of Olives, about 1.25 miles away.

D. Jesus Instructs His Disciples Concerning Prayer

Scripture: Luke 11:1-13

Notes: The “Lord’s Prayer” is, in fact, a model prayer, spoken by Jesus in response to His disciples’ request, “Teach us to pray.”

Questions/Observations: Note the reference to John’s instruction of his disciples concerning prayer; this is the only reference of this in the New Testament.

Adapted from the Life of Christ study notes of Dr. Doug Bookman, professor of New Testament Exposition at Shepherds Theological Seminary (used by permission).

23 In Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles

Dr. Doug Bookman

A. The Jewish Leaders Watch for Jesus

Scripture: John 7:11-13

Notes: Notice that by this time Jesus is very much the center of thought among the Jews, both the leadership and the common man.

B. Jesus Appears, Begins Teaching, and Creates a Stir

Scripture: John 7:14-36

Questions/Observations:

  1. Notice that Jesus’s teaching in the temple at this Feast produced a great deal of skeptical and/or hostile reaction on the part of the multitudes who heard Him teach. In that regard, notice especially the opposite opinions discussed in John 7:28-31.
  2. Note that as a result of the excitement produced by Jesus’s preaching at the Feast, the “chief priests and Pharisees sent officers (temple guards supplied by the Romans) to arrest Him” (John 7:32). That sub-plot concludes later in the narrative.

C. On the Last Day of the Feast, Jesus Offers “Living Water”

Scripture: John 7:37-44

Notes: Notice especially the response of the multitudes to this remarkable offer made by Jesus.

Questions/Observations:

  1. Why was the offer of “living water” especially meaningful at the feast of Tabernacles?
  2. Notice the very interesting point of confusion regarding Jesus’s messianic credentials as recorded in the discussion of those who heard Him (John 7:41-42).

D. The Roman Officers Sent to Arrest Jesus Return Empty-Handed

Scripture: John 7:45-52

Notes: The Jewish authorities have determined to be rid of Jesus, as reflected in the fact that they had sent officers to arrest Him, and in their deliberations recorded in this section.

Questions/Observations:

  1. Compare John 7:45-49 with John 7:32. Evidently, the Roman officers sent to arrest Jesus were so impressed as they heard His words and confronted His person that they refused to do the bidding of the Jewish authorities.
  2. Who rises briefly (timidly?) to defend Jesus when the Jewish authorities are going about to condemn Him without any legal process? Again, this is reflective of a very important role this man plays in the narrative as crafted by John.

E. A Woman Caught in Adultery Is Brought to Jesus

Scripture: John 7:53

Notes: The strategy of Jesus’s enemies was very clever here, but Jesus’s counter-strategy was magisterial.

Questions/Observations:

  1. There is much discussion as to whether this account is authentic. What are the reasons it is denied authenticity by many? Do you have any strong opinion?
  2. Notice that the account begins with an indication of the remarkable fascination of the city for Jesus, and the anger of the Jewish leadership as a result of that.

F. Great Confrontation with the Jewish Leaders

Scripture: John 8:12-59

Notes: This is one of the more remarkable scenes in the ministry of Jesus. Trace well the claims made by Jesus, the angry response of the Jewish leadership, and the heated exchanges between them and Jesus.

Questions/Observations:

  1. Notice how Jesus argues for the validity and credibility of His claims.
  2. Mark well Jesus’s reference to being “lifted up” in John 8:28. What do you understand Jesus to mean by “lifted up”?
  3. John states in John 8:30 that “many believed in Him,” but he goes on to narrate Jesus’s interaction with those who had confessed belief (John 8:31-47). Given that subsequent discussion, how do you understand John’s statement in John 8:30?
  4. Notice the conversation that resulted in Jesus’s words, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). What was the significance of that strangely worded claim? Why did that claim so enrage Jesus’s detractors (cf. John 8:59)?

G. Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind; the Pharisees “Put Him Out”

Scripture: John 9:1-41

Notes: Remember that this occurs about six months before the Passover at which Jesus will die.

Questions/Observations:

  1. Note that this account commences with a very important insight offered by Jesus concerning God’s purposes in human suffering.
  2. Follow carefully the physical travels of the man who is healed. Why do you think Jesus sent him to wash in the Pool of Siloam? Notice in that regard that after he has been healed, he does not know Jesus by sight until Jesus introduces Himself to him.
  3. The stubborn and entirely irrational unbelief of the Pharisees in this incident is very important to an understanding of the way in which Jesus’s ministry is unfolding – and to the literary purposes of the apostle John.
  4. Note the repeated threat of the Pharisees to put a recalcitrant person “out of the synagogue”; this was a dire threat, and the capacity of the Pharisees to do this is very important to the drama unfolding during these last months of Jesus’s ministry.

H. Jesus Claims to Be the Good Shepherd and Divides the Crowd

Scripture: John 10:1-21

Notes: Given the chronological note of John 10:22, it seems best to attach this account to those preceding – that is, to see this discourse as part of Jesus’s extensive (and extensively recorded) ministry at the Feast of Tabernacles.

Questions/Observations: Notice that Jesus is speaking rather openly of His death by this point in His ministry.

Adapted from the Life of Christ study notes of Dr. Doug Bookman, professor of New Testament Exposition at Shepherds Theological Seminary (used by permission).

22 Jesus and the 12 Travel to Jerusalem

Dr. Doug Bookman

Note: Notice that Matthew and Mark omit the last half year of Jesus’s ministry before the events leading to the passion, and thus we follow these months only in Luke and John. Harmonization is a bit difficult for this period, because there are only a few places where those two Gospels both record the same event (which is key to the harmonizing effort). On the other hand, the two narratives fit together nicely when this reality is recognized: Luke narrates Jesus’s travels beyond Jerusalem, as well as the times when He sets out to go to Jerusalem (or its immediate environs); John, on the other hand, picks up the narrative when Jesus arrives in Jerusalem (or it immediate environs) and relates His ministry in that place. Further, John’s account is built around two feasts which occurred during these last six months: the Feast of Tabernacles (Sept/Oct of 32 AD, about 6 months before Jesus’s death) and the Feast of Dedication (or Hanukah, in late Dec). Jesus goes up to Jerusalem for each of these. Luke has Him leaving for Jerusalem for the feast of Tabernacles (Luke 9:51; John narrates His ministry at that feast in John 7), and then again for the feast of Dedication (Luke 13:22; cf. John 10:22-39). Finally, Jesus goes to the village of Bethany to raise Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-54; Luke makes no mention of this journey).

A. In Capernaum, Jesus Receives Bitter Counsel from His Unbelieving Brothers

Scripture: John 7:1-9

Notes: Note carefully the foreboding summary statement with which John begins his narrative of this period of Jesus’s ministry (John 7:1).

Questions/Observations:

  1. Notice that the record is clear that as of this time, within months of Jesus’s death, His (half-)brothers did not believe on Him. Contemplate how difficult it would have been to accept Jesus’s claims if He were your brother!
  2. Did Jesus’s siblings ever come to faith? How do we know?
  3. Note well that in all this, given the very real danger He was in, Jesus was “wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove,” and in that spirit He conducted Himself very circumspectly through these months.

B. Jesus and the 12 Set out from Galilee

Scripture: Luke 9:51-61; John 7:10; and Matthew 8:19-22

Notes: This is the first of three times that Luke describes Jesus as setting out for or on the road to Jerusalem. Again, these are best harmonized with the times that Jesus arrives in Jerusalem in the narrative of John’s gospel.

Questions/Observations:

  1. Notice that Jesus determines to travel through Samaria, but He takes precautions in that regard (Luke 9:52-56). Understand the careful strategy involved in this route.
  2. John’s comment that Jesus “went up not publicly, but privately” is best understood in terms of the strategically chosen Samaritan route narrated in Luke 9.
  3. Notice the stern demands of discipleship laid down by Jesus along the way. (Matthew’s account of this challenge by Jesus seems to be recorded anachronistically, which is not unusual, as Matthew often arranges material more thematically than chronologically.)

Adapted from the Life of Christ study notes of Dr. Doug Bookman, professor of New Testament Exposition at Shepherds Theological Seminary (used by permission).

21 Last Efforts in Galilee

Dr. Doug Bookman

Note: Almost three years of Jesus’s ministry have passed. Having struggled to find opportunity to confront His apostles with the truth that He was soon to die, and the apostles having resisted the teaching when Jesus set it before them, there are a few days or weeks in Galilee before Jesus sets out for the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem (John 7:2).

A. At Capernaum, Jesus Miraculously Pays the Temple Tax

Scripture: Matthew 17:24-27

Questions/Observations: What do you think is the significance of the way in which Jesus provided the money to pay this tax?

B. The 12 Argue over Who Should Be the Greatest in the Kingdom

Scripture: Matthew 18:1-5; Mark 9:33-37; and Luke 9:46-48

Notes: This episode makes clear that the disciples have refused to accept Jesus’s words concerning His own death, as well as His insistence that they too must be ready to take up a cross and prepare for death.

Questions/Observations:

  1. Notice in Mark’s account the way this conversation began.
  2. Notice the object lesson of humility and simple faith which Jesus employs in response to the apostles’ argument concerning who would be greatest?
  3. Why do you think the apostles were thinking about this issue?

C. The Apostle John Is Rebuked for His Selfish Spirit

Scripture: Matthew 18:6-14; Mark 9:38-50; and Luke 9:49-50

Notes: The confrontation began when John rebuked one who was casting out demons in Jesus’s name, but was not among the 12.

Questions/Observations: Mark’s account places Jesus’s warning about causing “one of these little ones to sin,” as well as the injunction to sever the body part that causes you to sin, as part of His response to John. It seems best to take the parable concerning the shepherd seeking his one lost sheep as part of this same discourse of Jesus.

D. Instruction on Dealing with a Sinning Brother

Scripture: Matthew 18:15-35

Questions/Observations: This is the only other place in the Gospels (besides Matthew 16:18) where Jesus makes mention of the “church.”

Adapted from the Life of Christ study notes of Dr. Doug Bookman, professor of New Testament Exposition at Shepherds Theological Seminary (used by permission).

20 The Transfiguration

Dr. Doug Bookman

A. On the Mountain with Jesus

Scripture: Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; and Luke 9:28-36

Notes: It is imperative that this remarkable event be understood against the backdrop of Jesus’s prophecy and the apostles’ response. In short, Jesus’ prophecy of His own death so staggered the apostles – it was so foreign and so offensive to them – that they began to doubt Jesus’s messianic identity. The transfiguration was a gracious and spectacular strategy to reinforce the staggering faith of three of those apostles.

Questions/Observations:

  1. Matthew says this happened “six days” after the conversation above; Mark says “about eight days.” How would you reconcile those two?
  2. Can you think of other times in the New Testament when Jesus was seen in the effulgent and glorious form that He appears at this time?
  3. According to Luke, what is Jesus doing when He is suddenly transfigured?
  4. What two Old Testament figures appear with Jesus? What are they talking with Him about?
  5. When Peter sees Jesus transfigured, he offers to build three booths. Why?
  6. Given the rebuke spoken from heaven against Peter’s suggestion, how do you understand what Peter was thinking in making the offer?
  7. Why do you think Jesus took only Peter, James, and John to this event?

B. Jesus Instructs the Three Apostles Not to Tell Anyone What They Saw

Scripture: Matthew 17:9; Mark 9:9-10; and Luke 9:36

Questions/Observations:

  1. This is a very important moment, but the significance of the moment is sometimes lost in the discussion of the conversation that follows. Understand that the truth confessed by Peter here is precisely what Jesus has claimed concerning Himself throughout His ministry. By the same token, it is a truth not easily or hastily embraced. Jesus’s delight with the confession is born of the fact that that two-fold truth was so difficult to believe, but the apostles have confessed (11 of them honestly) that they have bowed the knee to those claims.
  2. Why do you think Jesus commanded those three not to tell anyone of what they had seen until after the resurrection?
  3. Notice carefully the point of Jesus’s command which proved confusing to these apostles (Matthew 17:9).

C. The Three Ask about the Coming of Elijah

Scripture: Matthew 17:10-13 and Mark 9:11-14

Notes: Evidently the experience of the transfiguration had reinforced these men’s faith in Jesus’s messianic claims. But there was one other matter that confused them in that regard, and so they put the question to Jesus at this strategic time.

Questions/Observations: How do you understand the relationship between John the Baptist and the Elijah prophecy of Malachi 4:5-6, especially given this passage?

D. The Nine Apostles Left Behind Are Unable to Drive out a Demon

Scripture: Luke 9:37-43; Mark 9:14-29; and Matthew 17:14-21

Questions/Observations:

  1. Notice that Luke is explicit that this occurred the day after the Transfiguration (Luke 9:37), and Mark that it was the other disciples who were unable to do this (Mark 9:14).
  2. Why do you think these men were unable to deliver this boy? (Compare Mark 9:29.)
  3. Note carefully Mark’s account; it is the fullest of the three and it includes very interesting and important details.

Adapted from the Life of Christ study notes of Dr. Doug Bookman, professor of New Testament Exposition at Shepherds Theological Seminary (used by permission).

19 Jesus Finds Solitude with His Apostles Far North in Galilee

Dr. Doug Bookman

Note: Having been several times frustrated in His attempt to get alone with His apostles, Jesus decides to take them to the region of Caesarea-Philippi, a very remote place in the foothills of Mt Hermon, and a place to which Jews did not go.

A. Jesus Carefully Heals a Blind Man in Bethsaida (Men Like Trees)

Scripture: Mark 8:22-26

Notes: Bethsaida was a fishing village on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus and the 12 dock there and pass through the city as they make their way to Caesarea-Philippi. Once again, Jesus is asked to do a miracle of healing, and He cautiously consents.

Questions/Observations:

  1. Compare the steps taken here by Jesus to those He took when healing the man in the Decapolis. What additional steps does Jesus take here?
  2. Why do you think Jesus healed this man in two stages?
  3. Notice that Jesus seems to have got out of Bethsaida without attracting great crowds – something He had been unable to do in other cities on this journey.

B. Jesus Tests the 12 in the Region of Caesarea-Philippi

Scripture: Matthew 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30; and Luke 9:18-21

Notes: This event is the “final exam” of the apostles. Jesus asks specifically what they believe concerning Him, and Peter – speaking for the 12 – confesses that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

  1. This is a very important moment, but the significance of the moment is sometimes lost in the discussion of the conversation that follows. Understand that the truth confessed by Peter here is precisely what Jesus has claimed concerning Himself throughout His ministry. By the same token, it is a truth not easily or hastily embraced. Jesus’s delight with the confession is born of the fact that that two-fold truth was so difficult to believe, but the apostles have confessed (11 of them honestly) that they have bowed the knee to those claims.
  2. How do you understand Jesus’s statement to Peter in Matthew 16:17 – “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven”?
  3. With regard to the ensuing conversation, how do you understand Jesus’s reference to “this rock” (i.e., “on this rock I will build my church”)?
  4. How do you think the apostles understood Jesus’s reference here to His “church”?
  5. How do you understand the concept of the “keys of the kingdom” spoken of here?
  6. Notice the command Jesus gives in Matthew 16:20; why do you think this was important?

C. Jesus’s First Distinct Prophecy of His Rejection, Trial, Death, and Resurrection

Scripture: Matthew 16:21-28; Mark 8:31; and Luke 9:22-27

Notes: This is a most important development in the ministry of Jesus – and specifically in His relationship with His apostles. Understand that the text is explicit that Jesus had not spoken of dying before this (Matthew 16:21; Mark 8:31). Notice as well that when Jesus did begin to speak of His death, His apostles were scandalized.

Questions/Observations:

  1. When Peter rejects Jesus’s statement concerning His death, Jesus responds by saying to Peter, “Get thee behind me, Satan!” Why do you think Jesus refers to Peter in that way?
  2. How do you understand Jesus’s further words of rebuke: “You are an offense to Me, because you are not mindful of the things of God, but of man”?
  3. Compare Luke 18:31-33, which records a later time when Jesus again speaks explicitly and directly of His coming death; and then note Luke’s assessment of the response of the apostles at that time (Luke 18:34).

Adapted from the Life of Christ study notes of Dr. Doug Bookman, professor of New Testament Exposition at Shepherds Theological Seminary (used by permission).