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.


  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).