LIFE OF CHRIST
A Harmony of the Gospels
(1) In those days John the Baptist came preaching in
the wilderness of Judea, (2) and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of
heaven is at hand!"
(1) The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the
Son of God.
(1) Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of
Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being
tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the
region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, (2) while
Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of God came to John
the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. (3) And he went into all
the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance
for the remission of sins,
(3) For this is
he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: "The voice of
one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the LORD;
Make His paths straight.'"
(2) As it is written in the Prophets:
"Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
Who will prepare Your way before You."
(3) 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
'Prepare the way of the LORD;
Make His paths straight.'"
(4) John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a
baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. (5) Then all the land
of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all
baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.
(4) as it is written in the book of the words of
Isaiah the prophet, saying:
"The voice of one crying in the wilderness:' Prepare the way of the
LORD; Make His paths straight. (5) Every valley shall be filled And
every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made
straight And the rough ways smooth;6 And all flesh shall see the
salvation of God.'"
(4) Now John himself was clothed in camel's hair, with
a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild
(6) Now John was clothed with camel's hair and with a leather
belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.
(5) Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region
around the Jordan went out to him (6) and were baptized by him in
the Jordan, confessing their sins.
(7) But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his
baptism, he said to them, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee
from the wrath to come? (8) Therefore bear fruits worthy of
repentance, (9) and do not think to say to yourselves, We have Abraham
as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children
to Abraham from these stones. (10) And even now the ax is laid to the
root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit
is cut down and thrown into the fire.
(7) Then he said to the multitudes that came out
to be baptized by him, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from
the wrath to come? (8) Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and
do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.'
For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from
these stones. (9) And even now the ax is laid to the root of the
trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down
and thrown into the fire."
(10) So the people asked him, saying, "What shall we do then?"
(11) He answered and said to them, "He who has two tunics, let
him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do
(12) Then tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to
him, "Teacher, what shall we do?"
(13) And he said to them," Collect no more than what is
appointed for you."
(14) Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, "And what shall we
So he said to them, "Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and
be content with your wages."
(15) Now as the people were in expectation, and all reasoned
in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not,
(11) I indeed baptize you with water unto
repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose
sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy
Spirit and fire. (12) His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He
will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat
into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
(7) And he preached, saying, "There comes one after me
who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to
stoop down and loose. (8) I indeed baptized you with water,
but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
John answered, saying to all, "I indeed baptize you with water; but
one mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to
loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (17)
His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His
threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He
will burn with unquenchable fire."
(18) And with many other exhortations he preached to the people.
During the ministry of John the Baptist
and Jesus there were several
political and religious divisions which affected greatly the Jewish nation
and the formation of the Christian church.
Political - Roman
||Galilee and Perea
||Samaria and Judea
Political, Religious - Jew
||The Jewish tribunal, or court of justice
Religious - Jew
Diaspora - Jew
|The Dispersion (Deuteronomy 4:27;
|These were Greek speaking (and other languages)
Jews who had come to Jerusalem to await the advent of the Messiah,
since Old Testament prophecy pointed to this as the time of His
These Jews had been scattered among the nations by:
Alexander the Great
Basic source material for these groups comes from the New Testament,
Josephus, Philo, the Talmud, Pliny, and Hippolytus.
Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus succeeded to the principate on the death
of Augustus in A.D. 14,
becoming the second Roman Emperor. He was born in 42 B.C., the
son of the Empress Livia, wife of Augustus, by her first
husband, Tiberius Claudius Nero.
He had a distinguished military career in the East and in Germany,
and, in the absence of direct heirs to Augustus, was the
logical successor. Augustus, however, did not like
Tiberius, and Tiberius, over many years, was the passive
witness of several attempts to bypass his claims and his abilities.
The experience of disapproval and rejection no doubt contributed to the
dourness, secretiveness, ambiguity, and suspicious
preoccupation that marred the years of Tiberius’ power. A morbid
fear of disloyalty led to the heavy incidence of treason trials that were
a feature of Rome under its worst incumbents.
Josephus, in his Antiquities 18, 6, 5, speaking of Euticus,
Agrippa’s freed-man, says:
|“But Tiberius, according to his usual custom,
kept him still in bonds, being a delayer of affairs, if
ever there was any other king or tyrant that was so; for he
did not admit ambassadors quickly, and no successors were
dispatched away as governors or procurators of the provinces that
had been formerly sent, unless they were dead; whence it
was that he was so negligent in hearing the causes of prisoners.
And as a further attestation to what I say of the dilatory nature of
Tiberius, I appeal to this his practice itself; for
although he was emperor 22 years, he sent in all but two
procurators to govern the nation of the Jews – Gratus, and his
successor in the government, Pilate.
Nor was he in one way of acting with respect to the Jews,
and in another with respect to the rest of his subjects. He
further informed them, that even in the hearing of the causes
of prisoners, he made such delays because immediate death to
those that must be condemned to die, would be an alleviation
of their present miseries, while those wicked wretches have
not deserved any favour; ‘but I do it that, by being
harassed with the present calamity, they may undergo greater
This was the 15th year of his Principality and the 13th year of his
Monarchy: for he was 2 years joint Emperor, previously to the death of
He began his reign August 19, A.D. 14; reigned 23 years.
During the latter
part of his reign especially, he did all the mischief he possibly could; and that his tyranny might not end with his life, he chose Caius Caligula
for his successor, merely on account of his bad qualities.
The 5th Procurator, or governmental representative, of imperial Rome in
Palestine at the time of Christ, holding this office A.D. 26-36.
His name Pontius was his family name, showing that he was descended from
the Roman family of “gens” or “pontii.”
Pilate, no doubt comes from the Latin “Pilatus” meaning “one armed with a
“pilum” or Javelin.”
It is probable that, like the sons of many prominent Romans, he was
trained for governmental service and either because of his political
astuteness or as a political plum the Emperor Tiberius gave him the hard
task of governing the troublesome Jews.
Generally the governor over a province was in charge of tax and financial
matters, were appointed by the Senate, and answered to the Senate. But the
more difficult provinces, like Palestine, were appointed Procurators by
the Emperor himself, and were directly responsible to the Emperor. The
Procurator also had supreme judicial authority such as Pilate used
Most Procurators disliked being stationed in a distant, difficult, dry
outpost such as Judea. Pilate, however, seemed to enjoy tormenting the
Jews, although, as it turned out, he was seldom a match for them. He never
really understood them, as his frequent rash and capricious acts reveal.
The Jewish historian Josephus tells us that he immediately offended the
These fearful events seem to disagree with the
role Pilate played in the trial of Jesus were he was as clay in the hands
of the Jews.
|bringing the “outrageous” Roman standards into the Holy city.
|At another time he hung golden shields inscribed
with the names and images of Roman deities in the temple itself.
|Once he even appropriated some of the temple tax to
build an aqueduct.
|To this must be added the incident
mentioned in Luke 13:1 about “the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled
with their sacrifices.”
The answers to these examples lie in the social and political climate of
|The discovery of a great traitor who was very close
to the throne
|A change in Emperors which could mean an immediate
change in Roman policy
|And as the Emperor was influenced by those opposing
forces (of which there were many) that constantly swirled around him
these and many more circumstances (among which we must remember that
the Jews were an especially difficult and rebellious people) were
capable of keeping even the most gifted and cunning governors in a
state of total confusion over how to rule the people fairly while
keeping Rome happy.
Herod the Tetrarch
A son of Herod the Great by his Samaritan wife called Malthace.
He was, therefore, half Idumaean and half Samaritan, perhaps without a single drop
of Jewish blood in his veins. He was the full brother of Archelaus, and
was younger than Archelaus.
He was educated with his brother, and with his
half-brother Philip at Rome.
On his father’s death he competed with his
brother for the kingdom, but received only the tetrarchy of Galilee and
Perea (a tetrarchy was ¼ of the original kingdom, in this case, approximately ¼ of the kingdom of Herod the Great).
He was a great builder
as was his father. He built:
|A wall around Sepphoris and made it his
|Betharamphtha in Perea he walled, and built a palace there –
it was named Livias and Julias, after the wife of Augustus;
|And he built the city of Tiberias.
He married a daughter of Aretas, king of the Nabataean Arabs, whose
capital was Petra; but afterward, while lodging at Rome with Herod Philip, his half-brother, he indulged a guilty passion for his host’s wife, Herodias, and arranged to divorce his lawful consort and take Herodias
instead. This immoral transaction was carried into effect. Aretas resented
the injury inflicted upon his daughter, and commenced a war against Herod
successfully. Antipas was forced to appeal to Rome for help, and the task
was assigned to Vitellius, governor of Syria. The affair dragged on until
A.D. 37, when Tiberius died, and Vitellius stayed his hand.
Two years later Herod was banished to Lyons in Gaul by the new Emperor,
Philip the Tetrarch
He is not the same as the first husband of Herodias.
This Philip seems to
have been the best of Herod’s three surviving sons.
His remote province
insulated him from some of the problems of Jewry, but he seems in his own
person to have been a man of generous mold and notable justice.
Salome, the daughter of Herodias.
He was the Roman-appointed governor of the territory around the city Abila,
located between Damascus and Heliopolis in Syria. Not much is known about
Annas - High Priest
In his 37th year, about A.D. 6,
Annas was appointed high priest by Quirinius, governor of Syria, and was deposed about A.D. 15 by Valerius Gratus, governor of Judea.
His five sons became high priests (none for very long).
He was a rich, unscrupulous Sadducee who continued to exert power through
his son-in-law Caiaphas, who replaced him as High Priest.
Caiaphas - High Priest
From 66 B.C. the Roman rulers appointed not only the civil officers but
also the high priests as well with the result that the office declined
Joseph Caiaphas held the office from A.D. 18-36, a testimony
to his pro-Roman activities.
||Annas is here called the high priest, and placed before Caiaphas, who was also the high priest. The reason seems to be that though Caiaphas
was high priest de facto, being intruded into the office by the civil
power of Rome, yet Annas was high priest de Jure, and was regarded as such
John the Baptist ... spoken of by Isaiah the prophet
* In this and many other Old Testament quotations, we will be quoting from
LXX (Septuagint), considering this was the translation of the Hebrew
Old Testament current in that day, and used almost exclusively by Jesus.
|(Malachi 3:1 – Behold, I
will send my messenger,
and he shall prepare the
way before me)
||Behold, I send my messenger before thy
face, who shall prepare thy way;
|A voice of one crying in The wilderness
||The voice of one crying in the
||The voice of one crying in the wilderness,
||The voice of one crying in the
|Prepare the way of the
Lord; make straight the Roads for our God.
|Make ye ready the way of the Lord, make
his paths Straight.
||Make ye ready the way of the Lord, make
His paths Straight.
||Make ye ready the
way of the Lord, Make his paths
|Let every valley be Filled up, and every
Mountain and hill be Leveled: and let the Crooked be made a Straight
road, and the Rough way, smooth Plains:
And the glory of the Lord will appear: and
All flesh shall see the
Salvation of God.
||Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough ways smooth;
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
Clothed with camel's hair
This was a coarse, rough outer garment. It is made of the thin coarse hair of the camel. Some think,
because Elijah is called “a hairy man” in 11 Kings 1:8, that he wore a
garment of this sort. A rough garment seems to have been
characteristic of a prophet (Zech. 13:4).
A girdle of skin - A leather belt
The girdle was one of the most useful articles of Eastern costume, and
frequently the most ornamental of them all. With the long loose dress it became a necessity, since it would be difficult to walk
or run unless the dress were tightened. It was also thought to give
strength to the body while engaged in severe bodily labor or exercise, and
hence the word is sometimes used figuratively to denote strength.
Girdles were of various sizes, and were made of different materials.
||use silk or linen, and sometimes decorated their girdles with gold, silver, and precious stones.
||have them of coarser materials,
leather being very commonly used.
Elijah’s was of leather, and so was that
of John the Baptist.
Graham thus describes the mode of putting on the girdle:
When running, the ends of the
outer garment are tucked into the girdle.
|“The girdle is put on thus: your slave having
folded it the right breadth, holds it at one end, while
you take the other and lay it upon your side, and roll
yourself round and round, as tight as possible, till you
arrive at the slave, who remains immovable. If you have
no slaves, a hook or the branch of a tree will answer the same
Locusts and wild
With many of the Bedouin on the frontiers locusts are still an article of
food, though none but the poorest eat them. They are considered a very
inferior sort of food. They are salted and dried, and eaten with butter or
wild honey. The fact that John ate this kind of food illustrates the
extreme poverty of the forerunner of Christ, and shows the destitution he
suffered by living in the wilderness far away from the haunts of men.
Shall be filled - brought low
An allusion to the practice of Eastern monarchs.
On occasions of their
progress, heralds were sent out to call on the people to clear and improve
the old roads or to make new ones.
“When Ibrahim Pasha
proposed to visit certain places in Lebanon, the emirs and sheiks sent
forth a general proclamation, somewhat in the style of Isaiah’s
exhortation, to all the inhabitants to assemble along the proposed route
and prepare the way before him. The same was done in 1845, on a grand
scale, when the Sultan visited Brusa. The stones were gathered out, the
crooked places straightened, and rough one made level and smooth. I have
the benefit of these labors a few days after his majesty’s visit. The
exhortation ‘to gather out the stones’ (Isaiah 62:10) is peculiarly
appropriate. The farmers gather up the stones from their fields and cast
them into the highway; and its is this barbarous custom that, in many
places, renders the paths uncomfortable and even dangerous.”
Whose shoes I am not worthy to bear
To carry the master’s sandals was considered the most menial duty that
could be performed.
On entering a house the sandals are taken off by a
servant, who takes care of them, and brings them again when needed. In
India it was customary for a servant to accompany his master when he walked
out. If the master desired to walk barefoot on the soft grass of the
smooth ground the servant removed the sandals and carried them in his
John felt himself unworthy to do for Christ even the meanest work of
|This was not so much to point out his own unworthiness,
point to the greatness and majesty of the One that was to come.
From Strong's NT:5330
||a separatist, i.e. exclusively religious
(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded
Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994,
Biblesoft and International
Bible Translators, Inc.)
Of the three prominent societies of Judaism at the time of Christ –
Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes – the Pharisees were by far the most
The origin of this most strict sect of the Jews is shrouded
in some obscurity, but it is believed the organization came out of the Maccabean Revolt (165 B.C.). There was, however, a group of Jews
resembling the Pharisees as far back as the Babylonian Captivity.
The Name “Pharisee,” which in its Semitic form means “the
separatists,” first appears during the reign of John Hyrcanus (135 B.C.).
|They were found everywhere in Palestine, not only in Jerusalem, and even
wore a distinguishing garb so as to be easily recognized.
|According to Josephus, their number at their
zenith of popularity was more than 6,000.
Because of the significant role they played in the life of the Lord and
Apostles, knowledge of the character and teachings of this group is of
great importance for the understanding of the New Testament. They are
mentioned dozens of times, especially in the Gospels, and often form the
foil and fabric of the works and words of Jesus.
Three facets or characteristics of the Jewish nation contributed to the
development of the Pharisees, or paradoxically, it may be said that the
Pharisees made these contributions to Judaism, so that ultimately Pharisaism
and Judaism became almost synonymous.
||Began in earnest after the Babylonian
|The Temple worship and the sacrifices had
ceased and Judaism began to center its activities on the
Jewish Law and the synagogue.
|The highest qualification for membership was
strict adherence to the Law, oral or written.
|They were a body of Jews who professed to be
more religious than the rest, and to explain the laws more
||Continued persecution and isolation
crystallized this narrow spirit.
|The fierce persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes
(175-164 B.C.) only drew the Jewish people closer together.
|The Pharisees took the
occasion to cultivate a national and religious consciousness that has
hardly been equaled.
||Formulation and adaptation of Mosaic
law by Scribe and Rabbi,
Pharisaism epitomized this
|increased tradition, and a more rabid
separatism from almost everything resulted in almost a new
religion much the opposite from that handed down in the
Covenant by the prophets.
They made life difficult for themselves and bitter for others.
despised those whom they did not consider their equals and were haughty
and arrogant because they believed they were the only interpreters of God
and His Word.
It is only natural that ultimately such a religion became
only a matter of externals and not of the heart, and that God’s grace was
thought to come only from doing the Law.
Their doctrines included
The immortality of the soul, and
From Strong's NT:4523
||probably from Sadducaean (i.e.
or follower of a certain Israelite:
The origin of this group is uncertain.
But it is to be sought in the period in Jewish history between the
restoration of the Jews to their own land (536 B.C.) and the
Christian era. No evidence of Sadduceeism is to be found in
Israel before the captivity.
The origin of the name of the sect is obscure.
The root of the word means “to be righteous,” and the word has sometimes been taken to be an
adjective, “the righteous ones,” but since the Sadducees were not
particularly distinguished for their righteousness, it is unlikely that
they got their name from this word.
The probability is that the name is
derived from some person named Zadok:
||The best-known Zadok was the Davidic high priest (11 Samuel 8:17), from
whom the succeeding high priests claimed to descend. He himself was
descended from Aaron through the line of Eleazar (1 Chron. 24:3). The
prophet Ezekiel, in his description of the restored temple, says that
because the sons of Zadok remained loyal to Jehovah when the Israelites
went astray, they would be ministers in the new sanctuary. Some scholars
hold that the Sadducees trace their origin to this Zadok.
||Others think that the name comes from another Zadok, a disciple of
Antigonus of Socho (250 B.C.), who taught that obedience to God should be
absolutely disinterested, without expectation of future reward. This view
goes back to an apocryphal legend in the Abot-de-Rabbi Nathan (1,000
||There is also the possibility that the name may be
derived from some Zadok unknown to us.
The chief authorities for our knowledge of this sect are Josephus, the New
Testament, and the Talmud.
“They only gain the well-to-do; they have not the people on
|They were the political party of the Jewish aristocratic
priesthood from the time of the Maccabees.
|They were priests, but not all
priests were Sadducees.
|The likelihood is that the priestly party only
gradually crystallized into the sect of the Sadducees.
aristocracy became leaders in the Hellenizing movement that began with
Alexander the Great.
|The high priesthood and the throne were united in a
single person when Simon was recognized as both high priest and ruler of
the Jews (143 B.C.).
|Under the Romans, they became the party
favorable to the government.
|As aristocrats, they were naturally very
conservative, and were more interested in maintaining the
political status quo than in the religious purity of the nation.
|Since they were not popular with the
people, they sometimes found it necessary to adopt the Pharisaic policy in
order to win the popular support.
Annas and Caiaphas were both Sadducees.
The Sadducees contrasted strongly with the Pharisees in a number of their
|They held only to the written Law, and
rejected the traditions of the Pharisees.
They denied the resurrection of the body, personal immortality, and
retribution in a future life.
They denied the existence of angels and spirits.
They differed with the Pharisees on divine predestination and the
freedom of the human will.
While the Pharisees were a religious party, the Scribes held an office.
The double designation “Scribes and Pharisees” distinguishes them from the
Pharisees, but the majority of the scribes belonged to the Pharisee party
that recognized the legal interpretations of the scribes.
The powerful position of the scribes in the New Testament was the result
of a long development.
In pre-exilic days they were public writers, governmental secretaries, and copiers of the law and other documents.
distinctive nature of the office first comes into view with Ezra, who set
himself to the task of teaching the law to the returning exiles. By New
Testament times they held undisputed sway as the recognized exponents of
the law and the revered representatives of Judaism.
Proudly they claimed the positions of first rank, sought the public
acclaim of the masses, and dressed in long robes like the nobility. They
demanded from their disciple’s utmost reverence, claiming an honor
surpassing that due to parents.
Because of their legal knowledge the scribes were often called upon to
serve as judges in Jewish courts.
EXCERPTS FROM FARRAR CONCERNING THE
MINISTRY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST
(Life of Christ by Dr. Frederic W. Farrar Copyright: 1949)
|The nature of John the Baptist was full of impetuosity and fire. The long
struggle which had given him so powerful a mastery over himself which had:
||Made him content with self-obliteration before the
presence of his Lord.
||Inspired him with fearlessness in the face of
danger, and humility in the midst of applause. Had left its traces
in the stern character, and aspect, and teaching of the man.
If he had won peace in the long prayer and penitence of his life in the
wilderness, it was not the spontaneous peace of a placid and holy soul.
The victory he had won was still encumbered with traces of the battle; the
calm he had attained still echoed with the distant mutter of the storm. His very teaching reflected the imagery of the wilderness:
the Barren Tree
While he was musing the fire burned, and at the last he spake with his
tongue. Almost from boyhood he had been a voluntary eremite. In solitude
he had learned things unspeakable; there the unseen world had become to
him a reality; there his spirit had caught “a touch of phantasy and
flame.” Communing with his own great lonely heart – communing with the
high thoughts of that long line of prophets, his predecessors to a
rebellious people – communing with the utterances that came to him from
the voices of the mountain and the sea – he had learned a deeper lore than
he could have ever learned at Hillel’s or Shammai’s feet. He had learned a
language; he had received a revelation, not vouchsafed to ordinary men –
attained, not in the schools of the Rabbis, but in the school of solitude,
in the school of God.
There was enough and to spare of those respectable, conventional teachers,
who spake smooth things and prophesied deceits. The ordinary Scribe or
Pharisee, sleek with good living and supercilious with general respect,
might get up in the synagogue, with his broad phylacteries and luxurious
robes, and might, perhaps, minister to some sleepy edification with his
Midrash or hair-splitting puerilities and threadbare precedents; but the
very aspect of John the Baptist would have shown that there was another
style of teacher here.
Even before the first vibrating tone of a voice that rang with scorn and
indignation, the bronzed countenance, the unshorn locks, the close-pressed
lips, the leathern girdle, the mantle of camel’s hair, would at once
betoken that here at last was a man who was a man indeed in all his
natural grandeur and dauntless force, who, like the rough Bedaway prophet
(Elijah) who was his antitype, would stand equaling before purple Ahabs
and adulterous Jezebels.
No wonder that such a man at once made himself felt as a power in the
midst of his people. It became widely rumored that, in the wilderness of
Judaea, lived one whose burning words it was worth while to hear; one who
recalled Isaiah by his expressions, and Elijah by his life.
||A Tiberius was polluting by his infamies the throne
of the Empire;
||A Pontius Pilate with his insolences, cruelties,
extortions, massacres, was maddening a fanatic people;
||A Herod Antipas was exhibiting to facile learners
the example of calculated apostasy and reckless lust
||A Caiaphas and an Annas were dividing the functions
of a priesthood which they disgraced.
Yet the talk of the new Prophet was not of political circumstances such as
these; the lessons he had to teach were deeper and more universal in their
moral and social significance. Whatever might be the class who flocked to
his stern solitude, his teaching was intensely practical, painfully
heart-searching, fearlessly downright. And so Pharisee and Sadducee,
Scribe and soldier, priest and publican, all thronged to listen to his
The place where he preached was the wild range of uncultivated and
untenanted wilderness, which stretches southward from Jericho and the
fords of Jordan to the shores of the Dead Sea. The cliffs that overhung
the narrow defile which led from Jerusalem to Jericho were the haunt of
dangerous robbers; the wild beasts and the crocodiles were not yet extinct
in the reed-beds that marked the swellings of Jordan; yet from every
quarter of the country – from priestly Hebron, from holy Jerusalem, from
smiling Galilee – they came streaming forth, to catch the accents of this
Without a shadow of euphemism, without an accent of subservience, without
a tremor of hesitation, he rebuked the tax-gatherers for their
extortionate ness; the soldiers for their violence, unfairness and
discontent; the wealthy Sadducees and stately Pharisees, for a formalism
and falsity which made them vipers of a viperous brood. The whole people
he warned that their cherished privileges were worse than valueless if,
without repentance, they regarded them as a protection against the wrath
But he had anther and stranger message – a message sterner, yet more
hopeful – to deliver; for himself he would claim no authority save as the
forerunner of another; for his own baptism no value, save as an initiation
into the kingdom that was at hand. When the deputation from the Sanhedrin
asked him who he was he never for a moment hesitated to say that he was
not the Christ, no Elias, neither that prophet; but after him was coming
One who was preferred before him, for He was before him – One whose shoe’s
latchet he was unworthy to unloose – One who would baptize, not with
water, but with the Holy Ghost, and with fire – One whose fan was in His
hand, and who should thoroughly purge His floor – who should gather His
wheat into the garner, but burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. The
hour for the sudden coming of their long-promised, long-expected Messiah
was at hand. His awful presence was near them, was among them, but they
knew Him not.
(13) Then Jesus came from
Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. (14)
And John tried to prevent Him, saying, "I need to be baptized by
You, and are You coming to me?"
(15) But Jesus answered and said to him, "Permit
it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all
righteousness." Then he allowed Him.
(9) It came to
pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and
was baptized by John in the Jordan.
(21) When all
the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was
He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water;
and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit
of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.
immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting
and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove.
and while He prayed,
the heaven was opened. (22) And the Holy Spirit
descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him,
(17) And suddenly a voice
came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I
am well pleased."
(11) Then a
voice came from heaven, "You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well
and a voice came from
heaven which said, "You are My beloved Son; in You I am well
(23) Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty
years of age..
Then Jesus came
In the 30th year of His life, Jesus came from Galilee.
John was his
kinsman by birth, but the circumstances of their life had entirely
||John as a child in the house of the his father the
priest, had lived at Juttah, in the far south of the
tribe of Judah and not far from Hebron
||Jesus had lived in the deep seclusion of the
carpenter’s shop in the valley of Galilee
John tried to prevent him
Though Jesus was not yet revealed as the Messiah, there was something in
His look, something in the sinless beauty of His ways, something in the
solemn majesty of His aspect, which at once overawed and captivated the
soul of John.
The battle-brunt that legionaries could not daunt – The lofty manhood
before which hierarchs trembled and princes grew pale – resigns itself,
submits, adores before a moral force that is weak in every external
attribute and armed only in an invisible mail.
John bowed to the simple stainless manhood before he had been inspired to
recognize the Divine commission. He earnestly tried to forbid the purpose
of Jesus. He who had received the confessions of all others, now
reverently and humbly makes his own:
"I need to be baptized
by You, and are You coming to me?"
Suffer it now
The answer contains the second recorded utterance of Jesus, and the first
word of His public ministry –
"Permit it to be so now, for thus it is
fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness."
“I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean” – such seems
to be the burden of John’s message to the sinners who had become sincerely
||But if so, why did Jesus receive
baptism at His servant’s hands?
||His own words tell us;
It was to fulfill every requirement to which God’s will might
seem to point (Psalms 60:7,8)
|He did not accept it as subsequent to
a confession, for He was sinless; and in this respect, even before he
recognized Him as the Christ, John clearly implied that the rite would be
in His case exceptional.
|He received this baptism as
the humble inauguration of a ministry that came not to destroy the
Law, but to fulfill.
|He does not say:
||“I have to be baptized,”
||“Thou hast no need to be baptized of me,”
||“Permit it to
be so now,”
||“Thus it is fitting for us to
fulfill all righteousness."
Here we have the Great Example:
From the NKJV
||Jesus did not submit because He needed
to for Himself.
||Jesus submitted because it was
necessary to redeem us.
||The desires of His own personal flesh
was not number one with Him.
Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted
by the devil. (2) And when He had fasted forty days
and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.
Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. (13)
And He was there in the wilderness forty days,
Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan
and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,
Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of
God, command that these stones become bread."
by Satan, and was with the wild beasts;
being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He
ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.(3)
And the devil said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command
this stone to become bread."
(4) But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by
bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of
(4) But Jesus answered him, saying, "It is written, 'Man shall not
live by bread alone, but by every word of God.'"
Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the
pinnacle of the temple, (6) and said to Him, "If You are the
Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:
'He shall give His angels charge over you,' and,
'In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.'"
(7) Jesus said to him, "It is written again, 'You shall not
tempt the LORD your God.'"
(8) Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high
mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their
glory. (9) And he said to Him, "All these things I
will give You if You will fall down and worship me."
(10) Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it
is written, 'You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you
(5) Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed
Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. (6)
And the devil said to Him, "All this authority I will give You,
and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it
to whomever I wish. (7) Therefore, if You will worship
before me, all will be Yours."
(8) And Jesus answered and said to him, "Get behind Me,
Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the LORD your God,
and Him only you shall serve.'"
(9) Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the
pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If You are the Son of
God, throw Yourself down from here. (10) For it is
'He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you,'
'In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.'"
(12) And Jesus answered and said to him, "It has been said,
'You shall not tempt the LORD your God.'"
Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to
angels ministered to Him.
Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from
Him until an opportune time.
|Then Jesus was led up by the
Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
||Immediately the Spirit drove Him
into the wilderness.
||Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned
from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the
||The place is unknown.
The tradition fixes it near Jericho, in the neighborhood of the
Quarantania, the precipitous face of which is pierced with ancient
cells and chapels, and a ruined church is on its topmost peak.
||The first act of the ministry of Jesus Christ was a
combat with Satan.
As Genesis 3:17 states: “I will put ENMITY
between the woman’s seed and thy seed…”
||The Revised translates properly:
He was not only impelled INTO the wilderness, or led into it by an OUTWARD
force, but the Spirit with which He was filled guided him IN the
…And He was with
||The region surrounding the Quarantania mentioned above abounds in
boars, jackals, wolves, foxes, leopards, hyena, etc.
||This seems to intimate that He was in the most
remote, unfrequented, and savage part of the desert; which,
together with the diabolic influence, tended to render the
whole scene the more horrid.
|And when he had fasted forty days and
forty nights, he afterward hungered. And the tempter came
||And he was in the wilderness forty days
tempted of Satan
||…in the wilderness during forty days,
being tempted of the devil. And
He did eat nothing in those Days
We have here, in Matthew, Mark and Luke a three-fold description of
Lucifer in his fallen state:
||to try, make trial of, put to the test
– in the bad sense, to bring out something against one who is being
tried – also, of enticement to sin.
||literally, the Adversary or one who
||literally, Slanderer. It is from this
Greek word that we derive our word “diabolic” meaning very cruel or
He is the father of the lie.
There were 3 great fasts:
||the great Lawgiver
||chief of the Prophets
||the Fulfiller of the Law and Prophets,
issuing in the New Covenant
Hunger always leaves after a few days of a fast and returns after about
40 days or when all toxic poisons have been expelled from the body. The
breath at this time becomes as sweet as a baby’s. Any normal healthy
person can fast this long without any harm. Starvation only begins after
hunger returns. One must use water in long fasts and break the fast
Originally one of the greatest and most beautiful of all God’s created
beings who was “the anointed cherub that covereth,” Lucifer, who Isaiah
14:12 describes as “son of the morning,” and whose very name means “morning-star,” became, through the sin of pride and self-exaltation, the
arch-enemy of God Himself.
Not willing to endure his punishment alone with those angels who followed
him in his first insurrection, he is consumed with the desire to destroy
God’s most precious possession and crowning achievement of creation:
Having been successful with the perfect man, Adam, he now tries
relentlessly to bring that perfect Jesus, Son of God, yet Son of Man, down
to his own heinous level, and with Him damn all mankind forever.
|Now when the tempter came to Him, he
said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these
stones become bread."
But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by
bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth
|And the devil said to Him, "If You are
the Son of God, command this stone to become bread."
But Jesus answered him, saying, "It is written, 'Man shall not live
by bread alone, but by every word of God.'"
“IF thou be” is so typical of the sly approach of the master tempter, even as he did with Eve when he said, “HATH God said…”
The IF automatically raises the response:
||SINCE you are ...
||You MAY ...
||You CAN ...
||Then WHY NOT?
Jesus did not argue the question of whether or not He was the Son of
God (even as Eve should not have argued the question of whether God had
said, and what He meant by it). There was no need to argue the settled
|In His answer, Jesus as much as said to
|“Supposing you are right, and I am not
the Son of God at all
– my response is the same –
I draw for my defense and for my sustenance the Word of God,
and that which proceeds from the mouth of God.
Jesus was hungry, and “these stones” were perhaps those siliceous
accretions, sometimes known under the name of “lapides judaici,” which
assume that exact shape of little loaves of bread, and which were
represented in legend as the petrified fruits of the Cities of the Plain.
The pangs of hunger work all the more powerfully when they are stimulated
by the added tortures of a quick imagination; and if the conjecture were
correct, then the very shape and traditional origin of these stones would
give to the temptation added force.
|It was a temptation to the senses
|– an appeal to the appetites –
|It was just such a temptation that caused Esau to
loose his birthright as the eldest son of Isaac
|It was the same basic temptation that caused King
David to bring reproach to Israel and loose four of his sons
|And it is just such a temptation to which every
man, save Jesus, has fallen victim
| Then the devil
took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the
temple,6 and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw
Yourself down. For it is written:
'He shall give His angels charge over you,'
'In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.'"
Jesus said to him, "It is written again, 'You
shall not tempt the LORD your God.'"
the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed
Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said
to Him, "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and
Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For
it is written, 'You shall worship the LORD
your God, and Him only you shall serve.'"
| Then the
devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms
of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, "All
this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been
delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You
will worship before me, all will be Yours."
And Jesus answered and said to him, "Get behind Me,
Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the LORD
your God, and Him only you shall serve.'"
Then he brought Him to
Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If
You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here.10 For
it is written:
'He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you,'
'In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.'"
And Jesus answered and said to him, "It has been said, 'You
shall not tempt the LORD your God.'"
The order of the temptations is given differently by Matthew and Luke.
Consider the possibility of a continued series of temptations, which is
entirely true to the tenacious character of the Master Tempter. Take, for
instance, the word AGAIN at the beginning of the final temptation recorded
||Some say that
||both orders cannot be right, and
possibly Luke arranged his in order of importance, with the
thought that a temptation to spiritual pride and the arbitrary
exercise of miraculous power was a subtler and less transparent,
and therefore more powerful one, than the temptation to fall
down and recognize the power of evil.
||Others say that
||this represents two entirely separate
series of temptations, both of which the Lord overcame.
|It is from the Greek word, “palin” which is used in these ways:
||Back – go back, return.
||In expressions that denote a falling
back into a previous state or a return to a previous activity.
||Again, once more, anew – when something
||Furthermore – connecting things that
|Our English word “pinnacle”
|is a derivative of the Latin “pinnaculum”
which is a diminutive of “pinna” or “penna”
|The Latin word
literal translation of the Greek “pterugion,” which is used here,
means “a little wing” or “winglet.”
It may be used in the familiar English
sense of the wing of a building.
Herod’s temple had two wings,
southern was the higher and grander; that being the direction in which the
chief enlargement of the temple area made by Herod was practicable. Building up walls of solid masonry from the valley below effected that
enlargement, according to Josephus.
The roof of this portico, at the southeastern angle, where it joined
Solomon’s Porch, and from which the view into the Kedron valley beneath
was to the depth of four hundred and fifty feet.
|At the extremity of a magnificent colonnade, consisting of a nave and two
aisles, running across the entire space from the eastern to the western
wall. Josephus further says, that “while the valley of itself was very
deep, and its bottom could scarcely be seen when one looked down from
above, the additional vastly high elevation of the portico was placed on
that height, insomuch that, if any one looked down from the summit of the
roof, combining the two altitudes in one stretch of vision, he could be
giddy, while his sight could not reach to such an immense depth.”
|Then the devil left Him, and behold,
angels came and ministered to Him.
||... and the angels ministered to Him.
||Now when the devil had ended every
temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.
The final temptation savoring of nothing but diabolical impudence, Jesus did not treat as the others; but, with Divine authority, commanded
the tempter to return to his own place.
Ended every temptation
The verb “suntelesas,” meaning “to bring to one end together,” or to
“complete,” actually gives the idea that Satan literally exhausted himself
trying to tempt Jesus, to cause Him to bend to his own diabolical will.
A CORRELATION OF THE TWO GREAT TEMPTATIONS
|1 JOHN 2:15-16
|HATH GOD SAID
||IF THOU ART
|It was good for food
||LUST OF THE FLESH
||Turn these stones to
|It was pleasant to the
||LUST OF THE EYES
||Turn these stones to
|Desired to make one wise
||PRIDE OF LIFE
||All these things I will
(19) Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent
priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?"
(20) He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, "I am not
(21) And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?"
He said, "I am not."
"Are you the Prophet?"
And he answered, "No."
(22) Then they said to him, "Who are you, that we may give an
answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?"
(23) He said: "I am 'The voice of one crying in the
wilderness: 'Make straight the way of the LORD,"'
as the prophet Isaiah said."
(24) Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees.
(25) And they asked him, saying, "Why then do you
baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?"
(26) John answered them, saying, "I baptize with water,
but there stands one among you whom you do not know. (27)
It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal
strap I am not worthy to loose."
(28) These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan,
where John was baptizing.
(29) The next day John saw Jesus coming toward
him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of
the world! (30) This is He of whom I said, 'After me
comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.'
(31) I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to
Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water."
(32) And John bore witness, saying, "I saw the Spirit
descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.
(33) I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with
water said to me, 'Upon whom you see the Spirit descending,
and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'
(34) And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of
The Jews verse 19
This is used more than 50 times in the Gospel of John, while it occurs in
only 4 passages in the other three Gospels. In John’s Gospel they are
distinguished from the multitude:
The Multitude - By the former “o ochlos” is meant the aggregate of the Jewish
inhabitants of Palestine:
||They were the mass of people, chiefly Galileans.
||They were unsettled in conviction, inquisitive.
||They were despised by the Pharisees, because they
were inclined to listen to Jesus and to believe.
||They were moved to make Him a king, and escorted
Him triumphantly into Jerusalem.
The Leaders - By the latter “oi ioudaioi” is meant more particularly the leaders of
Judaism in opposition to Jesus:
||They were tenacious of the expectation of a
||They represent the narrow, sectarian aspect of
||They are the instigators and leaders of the
opposition, and to them is the crucifixion attributed.
||Wrapped up in this word is the upper crust of the
||The idea underlying the word is habitually that of
separation from the character and privileges of a true Israelite
because of their rejection of Jesus.
Elijah (Elias) verse 21
Elias is the Greek rendering of Elijah.
The scribes had taught that Elijah would
This they supported by a literal translation of Malachi
The Prophet verse 21
This was the prophet spoken of by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15 & 18
text they had also misunderstood: for the Prophet or Teacher promised by
Moses was no other than the Messiah Himself (Acts 3:22).
"The LORD your God will raise up for you a
Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall
I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their
brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to
them all that I command Him
But the Jews had a tradition that Jeremiah was to return to life, and
restore the pot of manna, the ark of the covenant, etc., which he had
hidden that the Babylonians might not get them. Besides this they had a
general expectation that all the prophets should come to life in the days
of the Messiah.
For Moses truly said to the fathers, 'The LORD
your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren.
Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you.
Why then do you baptize? verse
Baptism was a very common ceremony among the Jews, who never received a
proselyte into the full enjoyment of a Jew’s privileges, till he had been
both baptized and circumcised.
||Such baptisms were never performed except by an
ordinance of the Sanhedrin,
or in the presence of three
||They never baptized any Jew or Jewess, nor
even the children of Proselytes.
These were considered as born in the covenant,
so they were considered not to be in need of this
||John had, in this respect, altered the
common custom by admitting Jews to his baptism.
The Sanhedrin took it for granted that no man had authority to make
unless especially commissioned from on high.
Behold! The Lamb of God verse 29
There can be no doubt that the image is derived from Isaiah 53.
idea of vicarious suffering endured with perfect gentleness and meekness, which is conveyed by the prophetic language (comp. Jeremiah 11:19), does not
exhaust the meaning of the image:
||The lamb was the victim offered continually at the
morning and evening sacrifice (Exodus 29:38),
thus pointing out the CONTINUAL
efficacy of the blood of atonement.
||The Passover was not far off (John 2:12,13),
and the Lord was definitely identified with the Pascal Lamb
(John 19:36; 1 Peter 1:19).
||The deliverance from Egypt was the most conspicuous
symbol of the Messianic deliverance (Rev. 15:3;
Heb. 3:3; Ezek. 20:33), and “the lamb”
called up all its memories and promises.
||The thought was probably brought home by the sight
of the passing flocks of lambs on their way to Jerusalem as
offerings at the coming Feast.
||John was as much as telling the people, that
after all of the hundreds of years of sacrifices brought by man to
roll forward for a little longer the sins of disobedience and
rebellion, God was providing that Perfect Sacrifice
that would not just roll them forward, but would blot them
Life of flesh is in the blood.
The blood maketh
atonement of the soul.
(35) Again, the next day, John stood with two of his
disciples. (36) And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, "Behold the
Lamb of God!"
(37) The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed
Jesus. (38) Then Jesus turned, and seeing them
following, said to them, "What do you seek?"
They said to Him, "Rabbi" (which is to say, when translated,
Teacher), "where are You staying?"
(39) He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw
where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was
about the tenth hour).
(40) One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him,
was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. (41) He first found
his own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah"
(which is translated, the Christ). (42) And he brought
him to Jesus.
Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, "You are Simon the son of
Jonah. You shall be called Cephas" (which is translated, A Stone).
(43) The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He
found Philip and said to him, "Follow Me." (44) Now
Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. (45) Philip
found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found Him of whom Moses in
the law, and also the prophets, wrote -- Jesus of Nazareth, the son
(46) And Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of
Philip said to him, "Come and see."
(47) Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him,
"Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!"
(48) Nathanael said to Him, "How do You know me?"
Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, when you
were under the fig tree, I saw you."
(49) Nathanael answered and said to Him, "Rabbi, You are the
Son of God! You are the King of Israel!"
(50) Jesus answered and said to him, "Because I said to you,
'I saw you under the fig tree,' do you believe? You will see greater
things than these." (51) And He said to him, "Most
assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and
the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man."
Jesus lays the foundation of the New Covenant
||Followed Jesus Because
||First thing they did
after they met Jesus
|John and Andrew
||Witness of John the Baptist
||Andrew Witnessed to his
brother (Simon Peter)
and brought him to Jesus
||Witness of his brother
||Received a new name from
||Jesus went and found him
||Witnessed to his friend
and brought him to Jesus
||Witness of his friend
||Acknowledged Jesus as
Savior and King
|To follow Jesus because of the
||witness of a minister
||John and Andrew
|To bring his brother to Jesus
|To follow Jesus because of the
||witness of his brother
|To be changed by Jesus
|To follow Jesus because
||Jesus found him
|To whom Jesus said "Follow Me"
|The only disciple with a Greek name
|To bring his friend to Jesus
|To follow Jesus because of the
||witness of a friend
|To acknowledge Jesus as Savior and King
Two of his (John the Baptist) disciples
One of those two youths who came earliest to Christ was Andrew.
suppressed his own name because he was the narrator, the beloved disciple,
No wonder that the smallest details, down even to the very hour of
the day, were treasured in his memory, never to be forgotten, even in
extreme old age.
You are - You shall be
Simon the son of John (John is from the Hebrew, Jonas, or “dove”).
“You are Simon, the son of the “dove”. You shall be as the rock
in which the dove hides.
The dove represents the Holy Spirit.
It was, indeed, a play upon the word, but one that was memorably symbolic
and profound. Especially when you consider that it was in the form of a
dove that the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus.
Alone of the apostles Philip had a Greek name, derived, perhaps, from the
Tetrarch Philip, since the custom of naming children after reigning
princes has always been a common one. If so, he must at this time have
been under thirty. Possibly his Greek name indicated his familiarity with
some of the Greek-speaking population who lived mingled with the Galileans
on the shores of Gennesareth; and this may account for the fact, that he, rather than any of the other Apostles, was appealed to by the Greeks who
wished to see Jesus.
In the list of apostles, he is generally, and almost undoubtedly, identified with Bartholomew; for Bartholomew is less a name than a
designation – “Bar-Tolmai,” “Son of Tolmai” – and while Nathanael is only
in one other place mentioned under this name (John 21:2), Bartholomew is
never mentioned in the same list with Nathanael, and he is always
associated with Philip.
As his home was at Cana of Galilee, the son of Tolmai might easily have
become acquainted with the young fishermen of Gennesareth.
Can any good thing come out of Nazareth
Nathanael expressed surprise that Jesus should have come from Nazareth, a
poor village, even the name of which does not occur in the Old Testament. Contrary to the popular view, there is no evidence that Nazareth was any
worse than other places. It was a proverb, that no prophet was to come
from Galilee (John 7:52).
(1) In the third day there was a wedding in Cana
of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. (2) Now
both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. (3)
And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him,
"They have no wine."
(4) Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does your
concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come."
(5) His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He
says to you, do it."
(6) Now there were set there six waterpots of
stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews,
containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. (7) Jesus
said to them, "Fill the waterpots with water." And they filled them
up to the brim. (8) And He said to them, "Draw some out
now, and take it to the master of the feast." And they took it.
(9) When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was
made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who
had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the
bridegroom. (10) And he said to him, "Every man at the
beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well
drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!"
(11) This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of
Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in
(12) After this He went down to Capernaum,
He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples;
and they did not stay there many days.
A Marriage feast
The custom was to celebrate for several days, usually seven.
CANA OF GALILEE:
So called each time when mentioned in the Gospel, to distinguish it from
Cana in Coelo-Syria.
Cana of Galilee is identified with “Kefr Kenna,”
about 4-½ miles northwest of Nazareth.
The mother of Jesus
In the Gospel of John alone, the name of “the mother of Jesus” is not
mentioned, even when Joseph is named.
It shows the respect John had for
Mary, as he would his own mother.
In the New Testament Greek there is not the least tinge of reproof or severity in the
The address is that of courteous respect, even of tenderness. It
could be similar to our “Madam.”
My hour has not yet come
The ministry of Jesus was to officially begin at the Passover Feast when
He would cleanse the temple.
This is not the last time that Jesus allowed
faith to alter His schedule. (See Matt. 15:21-28).
The depth, obscurity, and naturalness of this conversation reveal a very
||“They have no wine”
||“My hour has not yet come”
||PERSISTENCE OF TRUST
||“Whatever He says to you, do it.”
||"And they filled them up to the brim"
||TRIUMPH OF FAITH
||"You have kept the good wine until now!"
Twenty or thirty gallons apiece
The “metretes,” or “firkin,” was the principal Greek liquid measure, and
contained a little more than eight gallons. Three firkins would be
somewhere between 24 and 30 gallons.
The governor of the feast
Among the Greeks, at all formal feasts, there was a “symposiarch,” which
was one of the guests, and was selected to take charge of the feast. It
was his duty to
He also tasted the wine before it was offered to the guests.
maintain liveliness among the guests,
assign each one his proper place,
decide what proportions of water
should be mingled with the wine, and
how much each of the company was to drink.
Among the Romans was a corresponding officer who was called “rex convivii” or “arbiter bibendi.”
Also there was a custom of hiring a special servant to overlook the other
servants, and to fulfill this office of governor of the feast.John
|Moses' first miracle was a plague
||turning water into blood (Ex 7:19 ff)
||which speaks of judgment
|Our Lord's first miracle
||turning water into wine
||which speaks of grace
From The Bible Exposition Commentary
Israel was ignorant of its own Messiah.
|"There stands One among you whom
you do not know," said John the Baptist in 1:26.
This wedding feast is a
picture of the nation:
The six waterpots
were used for ceremonial cleansing (see Mark 7:3 ff),
|the wine had run out,
the people's supply was
yet their Messiah stood there to help them.
|but the Jewish
ceremonies could not help the spiritually bankrupt nation.
It was without
joy (wine is a symbol of joy in the Bible - see Ps 104:15 and Judg 9:13)
and without hope.
The people had external ceremonies, but they had nothing
to satisfy them within.
|Christ will one day bring joy again to Israel, when it receives Him as its
Until that day comes, Christ must say to Israel, "What have I
to do with thee?" (John 2:4)
|Israel will be wedded again to its God (see Isaiah 54 and Hosea 2),
the wine of its joy will run freely and Christ's glory will be revealed
|The nation has rejected Him, and it will not
receive Him until that day when He returns in glory and power.
The Doctrinal Lessons
A thirsty crowd
|Isn't this a picture of the lost world today?
They are tasting the world's
pleasures but finding no personal satisfaction,
and what fulfillment they
have eventually runs out.
The Bible invites thirsty sinners to come to
Christ for salvation and satisfaction
(John 4:13-14; 7:37; Isaiah 55:1; Rev
|Representing the human heart, which is hard and empty.
The Word of God
compares the human being to a vessel (2 Cor 4:7; 2 Tim 2:20-21).
sinner's life may look lovely on the outside,
but God sees it is empty and
useless unless He is able to work a divine miracle.
Filled with water
|Water for washing is, in the Bible, an image of the Word of God. (See Eph
5:26; John 15:3.)
All that the servants had to do was fill the empty waterpots with water,
which is like the servant of God filling the heart
of the unbeliever with the Word.
It is not our job to save souls,
is our job to give people the Word and let Christ perform the miracle of
Water to wine
|When the sinner's heart has been filled with the Word, then Christ can
perform the miracle and bring joy.
In Acts 8:26-40, Philip filled the
Ethiopian with the Word, and when the man believed, the miracle of
salvation took place.
The Ethiopian went his way rejoicing. Note John
1:17-"The law came through Moses";
in the Old Testament water was changed
to blood (Ex 7:19), which indicates judgment.
But Christ turned water into
wine, which speaks of grace and joy.
Wine symbolizes the Holy Spirit (Eph
The third day
|This foreshadows the Resurrection, since Christ arose from the dead on the
Perhaps John had Genesis 1 in mind when he wrote of this first
week of "a new creation" (2 Cor 5:17).
This would be the third day of the wedding feast.
The beginning of miracles
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright (c) 1992 by SP
Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.)
|Salvation is the beginning of miracles, for after a person is saved,
performs one miracle after another for him;
and the miracles we experience
bring glory to Christ.
(13) Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and
Jesus went up to Jerusalem. (14) And He found in the temple
those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers
doing business. (15) When He had made a whip of cords, He
drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and
poured out the changers' money and overturned the tables. (16)
And He said to those who sold doves, "Take these things away! Do not
make My Father's house a house of merchandise!" (17)
Then His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for Your
house has eaten Me up."
(18) So the Jews answered and said to Him, "What sign do You
show to us, since You do these things?"
(19) Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy
this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."
(20) Then the Jews said, "It has taken forty-six
years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?"
(21) But He was speaking of the temple of His
body. (22) Therefore, when He had risen from the dead,
His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they
believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.
(23) Now when He was in Jerusalem at the
Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw
the signs which He did. (24) But Jesus did not commit
Himself to them, because He knew all men, (25) and had
no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in
It is impossible not to feel the change that at this point comes over the
There is a change of:
||Manner of action
|Ennobling of Common Life
||Purifying of Divine Worship
|Revelation of the Son of
||Revelation of the Son of
This was the first Passover after Christ's baptism.
The second is mentioned, Luke 6:1.
The third, John 6:4.
And the fourth, which was that at which he was crucified, John 11:55.
Excerpts from Farrar concerning Jesus at the First
(Life of Christ by Dr. Frederic W. Farrar Copyright: 1949)
|Then, as now, an immense multitude, composed of pilgrims from every land, and proselytes of every nation, flocked to the Holy City, bringing with
them many needs. The traveler who now visits Jerusalem at the Passover
(Easter) will make his was to the gates of the Church of the Sepulchre
through a crowd of vendors of relics, souvenirs, and all kinds of objects, who, squatting on the ground, fill all the vacant space before the church
and overflow into the adjoining street.
Far more numerous and far more noisome must have been the buyers and
sellers who choked the avenues leading to the Temple, in the Passover to
which Jesus now went among the other pilgrims; for what they had to sell
were not only trinkets and knick-knacks, such as now are sold to Eastern
pilgrims, but oxen, sheep, and doves. On both sides of the
eastern gate –
the gate Shusan – as far as Solomon’s porch, there had long been
established the shops of merchants and the banks of moneychangers.
The moneychangers were almost a necessity; for, twenty days before the
Passover, the priests began to collect the old sacred tribute of half a
shekel paid yearly by every Israelite, whether rich or poor, as atonement
money for his soul, and applied to the expenses of the Tabernacle service.
Now it would not be lawful to pay this in the coinage brought from all
kinds of governments, sometimes represented by wretched counters of brass
and copper, and always defiled with heathen symbols and heathen
inscriptions. It was lawful to send this money to the priests from a
distance, but every Jews who presented himself in the Temple preferred to
pay it in person.
He was therefore obliged to procure the little silver coin in return for
his own currency, and the moneychangers charged him 5%.
Had this trafficking been confined to the streets immediately adjacent to
the holy building, it would have been excusable, though not altogether
seemly. But the mischief had not stopped here. The vicinity of the Court
of the Gentiles, with its broad spaces and long arcades, had been too
tempting to Jewish greed.
We learn from the Talmud that a certain Babha Ben Buta had been the first
to introduce “3,000 sheep of the flocks of Kedar into the Mountain of the
House” – or, the Court of the Gentiles. The profane example was eagerly
followed. The “chanujoth” of the shopkeepers, the exchange booths of the
usurers, gradually crept into the sacred enclosure.
There, steaming with heat in the burning April day, and filling the Temple
with stench and filth, were penned whole flocks of sheep and oxen, while
the drovers and pilgrims stood bartering and bargaining around them. There
were the men with their great wicker cages filled with doves, and under
the shadow of the arcades, formed by quadruple rows of Corinthian columns,
sat the money-changers with their tables covered with piles of various
small coins while they reckoned and wrangled in the most dishonest of
My Father's House
The Jews considered the Gentiles as defiled; therefore the Court of the
Gentiles was not holy to them.
Jesus, however, considered, it just as holy
and precious as any other part of the temple.
It was all part of His
He came to redeem people of all nations, and not just a
How close is the resemblance of these remarkable words to those in Luke
2:49, "Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business!".
||He was simply
||"a Son IN
His own house"
||"a Son OVER
His own house" (Heb 3:6)
"Behold, I send My messenger (John the Baptist),
And he will prepare the way before Me.
And the Lord, whom you seek,
Will suddenly come to His temple,
Even the Messenger of the covenant,
In whom you delight.
Behold, He is coming,"
Says the LORD of hosts.
What sign do You show
When Moses came to deliver Israel, he gave signs, or miracles, that he
acted under a Divine commission.
His answer was similar to the one He gave
His disciples later on (Matt. 12:38-40).
His resurrection was the Sign of
||The Jews ask for a sign
||His disciples believe the Scriptures
||The Jews see only the natural
||Jesus is speaking of His death and
The true Sacrifice
"This is an evil generation. It seeks a sign, and no sign will
be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet.
This is the First time Jesus refers to His death and resurrection.