LIFE OF CHRIST
A Harmony of the Gospels
(16) So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought
up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath
day, and stood up to read. (17) And He was handed the
book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He
found the place where it was written:
(20) Then He closed the book, and
gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who
were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. (21) And He
began to say to them, "Today this
Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." (22) So
all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which
proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, "Is this not
|(18) "The Spirit of the LORD
is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to
the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken hearted, To
proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the
blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
(19) To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD."
(23) He said to them, "You
will surely say this proverb to Me, 'Physician, heal yourself!
Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your
country.'" (24) Then He said, "Assuredly,
I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. (25)
But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of
Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and
there was a great famine throughout all the land; (26)
but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the
region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. (27) And
many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and
none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian."
(28) So all those in the synagogue, when they
heard these things, were filled with wrath, (29) and
rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow
of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him
down over the cliff. (30) Then passing through the midst
of them, He went His way.
||Jewish writers claim for the synagogue a very
remote antiquity, but its origin probably dates during the
||There were no fixed proportions in the building, as
there were in the tabernacle and in the temple.
||When a synagogue was to be built the highest ground
that could be found in the vicinity was selected for the site, and,
if possible, the top was erected above the roofs of surrounding
buildings. Where this could not be done a tall pole was placed on
the summit in order to make the building conspicuous.
||They were often built without roofs.
||They were constructed so that the worshipers, as
they entered and prayed, faced Jerusalem.
||At the Jerusalem end was the chest or ark that
contained the book of the law.
||Toward the middle of the building was a raised
platform, and in the center of the platform was a pulpit.
||A low partition five or six feet high divided the
men from the women.
||The leading object of the synagogue was not
worship, but instruction. Reading and expounding the law was the
great business of the synagogue: and, though a liturgical service
was connected with these, it was subordinate to them.
||The priests had no official standing or privileges
in the synagogue, though they were always honored when present. They
were the hereditary officials of the Temple, but the officers of the
synagogue were elected either by the congregation or by the council.
||The leader of the congregation might ask any
suitable person to address the assembly. Persons who were known as
learned men, or as the expounders of religious faith, were allowed
to speak. Visitors were also giving the privilege of addressing the
A synagogue could not be formed unless there were at least ten Jewish men
in the community. Some synagogues paid ten unemployed men a small
sum to be present at every service to be sure this rule was met. The
following officials served in a synagogue.
|A board of elders made up of devout and
respected men of the community regulated the policies of the
|Ruler of the synagogue
|There could be one or more rulers. They
were appointed by the elders. Their duty was to attend
to matters concerning the building and the planning of the
|The minister (chazzan) had several
duties. He had charge of the sacred scrolls which were
kept in the Ark; he attended to the lamps; and he
kept the building clean. If an offender was found guilty
by the council of elders, the chazzan administered the
number of lashes prescribed for the scourging. During
the week the chazzan taught elementary children how to read.
|Delegate of the congregation
|This was not a permanent office. Before
each service the ruler chose a capable person to read the
Scripture lesson, to lead in prayer, and to preach
or comment on the Scripture. Jesus was selected for this
office in the synagogue in Nazareth.
|The Scriptures were written in ancient
Hebrew. By Jesus' day the people spoke Aramaic, a
language related to Hebrew but different enough to call for an
|These were two or three persons who received
money or other necessities for the poor.
Stood up to read
After the prayers two lessons were always read:
||From the Law
||From the Prophets
As there were no ordained ministers to conduct the services, these lessons
were not only read by any competent person who received permission from
the rosh hak-keneseth, but he was even at liberty to add his own
Midrash, or comment.
The reading of the parashah from the Pentateuch was apparently over when
Jesus ascended the steps of the bima. Recognizing His claim to perform
the honorable function of a maphtir or reader, the chazzan drew aside
the silk curtain of the painted ark that contained the sacred manuscripts, and handed Him the megillah or roll of the Prophet Isaiah, which
contained the naphtarah of the day.
Jesus unrolled the volume*, and found the well-known passage in Isaiah 61. The whole congregation stood up to listen to Him. The length of the haphtarah might be from three to twenty one verses, but Jesus only read
the first and part of the second. He then rolled up the megillah, handed
it back to the chazzan, and, as was customary among the Jews, sat down**
to deliver His sermon.
|* The Sacred Writings used in all Jewish synagogues
were written on skins
of basil, parchment, or vellum, sewed end to end, and rolled on two
rollers, beginning at each end; so that, in reading from right to left
(this because it was in Hebrew). After having read, he rolled it up again, and returned it to the officer (v. 20), the ruler of the synagogue, or his
servant, whose business it was to take care of it.
|** The Jews, in general, sat while they taught or commented on the Sacred
Writings, or the traditions of the elders; but when they read either the
law or the prophets they invariably stood up: it was not lawful for them
even to lean against any thing while employed in reading.
The Ministry Of Our Lord Jesus Christ
The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because
|He has anointed Me to
||Preach the gospel to the poor
|He has sent Me to
||Heal the broken hearted
Proclaim liberty to the captives
Recovery of sight to the blind
Set at liberty those who are oppressed
Proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD
Compare Matt 11:4 & 5
Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The
blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the
deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.
(from New International Version)
How far we have come today from the ministry that was handed to us.
How often do we offer the good news of the Savior to only those who can
afford it, are well adjusted, can find their way into our churches?
And how often do we wait for them to come to us to hear the good news?
Or how often do we "go into all the world" to take the good
news to them (Mark 16:15)?
Then the master said to the servant, 'Go out into the
highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house
may be filled.
As Jesus was sent, so He has sent us. The command "go into
all the world" does not only refer to other countries, but it also
tells us to seek out those in our own neighborhoods, in our own villages,
in our own towns, in our own cities. In fact, wherever we
happen to be at any given moment, our commission is to compel them to come
in, that His house may be filled.
Elijah and Elisha
||1 Kings 17:9
||City of Sidon
|Stranger to the commonwealth (a
||2 Kings chapter 5
|An enemy who enslaved the people
Commander of the enemy's armed forces
As God would hereby show himself a Father of the fatherless, and a
Judge of the widows, so he would show that he was rich in mercy to all,
even to the Gentiles.
When they heard these things
They were offended because:
|He claimed the Scriptures were fulfilled in Him,
thus claiming to be t he Messiah
|He compared Himself with their 2 greatest prophets
|He claimed the Gentiles were actually chosen
over the Israelites
|To provide for Elijah
To receive healing through Elisha
|He claimed God's blessings were for the Gentiles as
well as the Israelites
They were filled with wrath ... and rose up ... and thrust Him out
The speaker was no longer interrupted by a murmur of disapprobation, but
by a roar of wrath.
With one of those bursts of sanguinary excitement
which characterized that strange, violent, impassioned people a people
whose minds are swept by storms as sudden as those which in one moment
lash into fury the mirror surface of their lake they rose in a body,
threw Him out of the city, and then dragged Him to the brow of the hill
above. The little town of
Nazareth nestles in the southern hollows of that
hill; many a mass of precipitous rock lies imbedded on its slopes, and it
is probable that the hillside may have been far more steep and precipitous
2,000 years ago. To one of those rocky escarpments they dragged Him, in
order to fling Him headlong down.
Passing through the midst of them
Either He shut their eyes so that they could not see him; or he so
overawed them by His power as to leave them no strength to perform their
murderous purpose. Psalm 91:11,12 says: For he shall give his angels
charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in
their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone."
According to Barnes:
More probably that Jesus by divine power, by the force of a word or look,
stilled their passions, arrested their purposes, and passed silently
through them. That he "had" such a power over the spirits of people we
learn from the occurrence in Gethsemane, when he said, "I am he; and they
went backward and fell to the ground," John 18:6.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)
The man Christ Jesus was immortal till his time came; and all His
messengers are immortal till their work is done.
(13) And leaving Nazareth,
He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the
regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, (14) that it might be
fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:
(17) From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for
the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
|15) "The land of Zebulun and the
land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles:
(16) The people who sat in darkness have seen a
great light, And upon those who sat in the region and
shadow of death Light has dawned."
Then He went down to Capernaum, a
city of Galilee, and was teaching them on the Sabbaths.
Galilee of the Gentiles
Galilee was divided into upper and lower Galilee.
Upper Galilee was called Galilee of the Gentiles, because it
was occupied chiefly by Gentiles. It was in the neighborhood of Tyre,
Sidon, etc. The word "Gentiles" includes in the
Scriptures all who are not Jews. It means the same as nations,
or, as we should say, the pagan nations.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by
From that time on
(from Holman Bible Handbook. (c) Copyright 1992 by Holman Bible
Publishers. All rights reserved.)
||This marks the beginning of His major
public ministry, mostly spent in Galilee. "Repent, for the
kingdom of heaven is near" epitomizes His message in one
With Jesus' ministry, death, and resurrection, God's
saving reign would be inaugurated in the hearts and lives of those
who became His disciples.
||Universal acknowledgment of God's
sovereignty in Jesus must await his second coming, but the
kingdom has at least been inaugurated. He began to call to
Himself those who would be His most intimate associates and
||Matthew then previewed the essence of
Christ's ministry with the key terms "preaching, teaching and
healing," which characterized his activity wherever He went.
And so He left them, never apparently to return to Nazareth again; never, if we are
right in the view here taken, to preach again in their little synagogue. Did any feelings of merely human regret weigh down His soul while He was
wending His weary steps down the steep hill-slope towards Cana of Galilee? Did any tear start in His eyes unbidden as He stood, perhaps for the last
time, to gaze from thence on the rich plain of Esdraelon, and the purple
heights of Carmel, and the white sands that fringe the blue waters of the
Were there any from whom He grieved to be severed, in the green secluded
valley where His manhood had labored, and His childhood played? Did He
cast one longing, lingering glance at the humble home in which for so many
years He had toiled as the village carpenter? Did no companion of His
innocent boyhood, no friend of His sinless youth accompany Him with awe,
and pity, and regret?
Such questions are not, surely, unnatural; not, surely, irreverent; -
From the NKJV
they are not answered.
Of all merely human emotions of His heart, except
so far as they directly affect His mission upon earth, the Gospels are
silent. We know only that henceforth other friends awaited Him away from
boorish Nazareth, among the gentle and noble-hearted fishermen of
Bethsaida; and that thenceforth His home, so far as He had a home, was in
the little city of Capernaum, beside the sunlit waters of the Galilean
(1) So it was, as the
multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood
by the Lake of Gennesaret, (2) and saw two boats
standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and
were washing their nets.
(18) And Jesus, walking
by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and
Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were
(16) And as He walked
by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting
a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.
(3) Then He got
into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out
a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes
from the boat.
(4) When He had stopped speaking, He said to
Simon, "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a
(5) But Simon answered and said to Him, "Master,
we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your
word I will let down the net." (6) And when they had
done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was
breaking. (7) So they signaled to their partners in
the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled
both the boats, so that they began to sink. (8) When
Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying,
"Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!"
(9) For he and all who were with him were
astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken;
(19) Then He said
to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men."
(20) They immediately left their nets and followed Him.(21)
Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of
Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their
father, mending their nets.
(17) Then Jesus
said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of
men." (18) They immediately left their nets and
(19) When He had gone a little farther from
there, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who
also were in the boat mending their nets
(10) and so also
were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with
Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid. From now on you
will catch men."
He called them, (22) and
immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.
(20) And immediately He called them, and they
left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and
went after Him.
(11) So when they
had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed
The Lake of Gennesaret
This lake is referred to by at least 4 different names:
|Sea of Chinnereth
||In the Old Testament
|Sea of Galilee
||Derived from the territory of Galilee
which bordered its western shores
|Sea of Tiberius
||So named by Herod Antipas to impress
Tiberius Caesar, however, the name never caught on with the local
|Lake of Gennesaret
||Derived from the name of a plain
stretching about 3 miles along its northwestern shore
"Gennesaret was the more ancient name of the lake, taken from a
small territory or plain of that name on its western borders. See
Num 34:11; Josh 19:35, where, after the Hebrew
orthography, it is called Chinnereth" (Owen).
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by
|The plain lying between Capernaum and Tiberias is
said by Dr. Thomson ("The Land and the Book," vol. i. p. 536) to be
a little longer than thirty, and not quite twenty
furlongs in breadth.
|It is described by Josephus as being, in his time,
universally fertile. "Its nature is wonderful as well as its beauty.
Its soil is so fruitful that all sorts of trees can grow upon it,
and the inhabitants accordingly plant all sorts of trees there; for
the temperature of the air is so well mixed that it agrees very well
with those several sorts; particularly walnuts, which require the
coldest air, flourish there in vast plenty. One may call this the
ambition of nature, where it forces those plants which are naturally
enemies to one another to agree together. It is a happy conjunction
of the seasons, as if every one laid claim to this country; for it
not only nourishes different sorts of autumnal fruits beyond
people's expectations, but preserves them a great while. It supplies
people with the principal fruits; with grapes and figs continually
during ten months of the year, and the rest of the fruits, as they
become ripe, through the whole year; for, besides the good
temperature of the air, it is also watered from a most fertile
|This was the region of the early toils of our
Redeemer. Here he performed some of his first and most amazing
miracles; here he selected his disciples; and here,
on the shores of this little and retired lake, among people of
poverty and inured to the privations of fishermen.
Casting their nets
The net, being cast over the shoulder, spreads into
This same word is sometimes used by classical Greek writers to denote a
garment that encompasses the wearer.
We have toiled all night
Night fishing is very common in the East.
Roberts says that in India the fishermen prefer the night to the day. They
carry lighted torches to allure the fish. Dr.
The fish came nearer the surface at night to feed; in the daytime
they went down to the cooler waters deep in the lake.
Thomson gives a lively description of night fishing in Palestine:
|It is a beautiful sight. With blazing torch the
boat glides over the flashing sea, and the men stand gazing keenly
into it until their prey is sighted, when, quick as lightening, they
fling their net or fly their spear; and often you see the tired
fishermen come sullenly into harbor in the morning, having toiled
all night in vain.
I will let down the net
One writer says:
One end of the net is attached to the shore; the fishermen row out, and
drop the net as they go, making a kind of semicircle from the shore; they
return, and bring the rope attached to the other end with them, and then
the net is hauled on shore; and, as it was sunk with weights to the
bottom, and floated with corks at the top, all the fish in that compass
were included, and drawn to shore.
We have toiled .... nevertheless at Your Word
||...that the purpose of God according to
election might stand,
|not of works
but of Him who calls
||...it is the gift of God
|not of works
lest anyone should boast.
|2 Tim 1:9
||...who has saved us and called us with
a holy calling
|not according to our works
but according to His own purpose and grace which was
given to us in Christ Jesus
|Titus 3:4, 5
||...But when the kindness and the love
of God our Savior toward man appeared
|not by works of righteousness which we
but according to His mercy He saved us
|Heb 9:14, 15
||...how much more shall the blood of
Christ...cleanse your conscience
|from dead works
to serve the living God
Depart from me, for I am a sinful man
Peter was fully convinced that this draught of fish was a miraculous one;
and that God Himself had particularly interfered in this matter, whose
presence and power he reverenced in the person of Jesus.
But as he felt
himself a sinner, he was afraid the Divine purity of Jesus could not
possibly endure him; therefore he wished for a separation from that power,
which he was afraid might break forth and consume him.
It seems to have been a received maxim among the Jews, which whoever had
seen a particular manifestation of God should speedily die:
These different passages sufficiently show in what sense these words of
Peter are to be understood.
||Jacob seemed astonished that his life
should have been preserved, when he had seen God face to face
||The nobles of Israel saw God, and yet
did eat and drink; for on them He had laid not His hand, i.e. to
||Moses said: Who is there of all flesh
that hath heard the voice of the living God, speaking out of the
midst of the fire as we have, and lived?
||Gideon expected to be immediately
slain, because he had seen the angel of the Lord
||Manoah and his wife said: We shall
surely die, for we have seen God.
||This seems to have been founded on the
authority of God Himself: There shall no man see my face and live.
Fishers of men
discoveries of God tend to LIFE, not death. They were to become
instruments of Life and Salvation to a lost world.
.you shall catch men.
You shall catch men ALIVE.
The fish they had been catching were to be killed, but those who were
converted under their ministry would be preserved unto Eternal Life.
And they left ... and went after Him
Before (at the baptism of John) they had desired to be with Him, but it
was not the total commitment that this was. In this case, they left
everything dear and familiar to them in order to be continually with
There was no turning back.
With the hired servants
Implying that Zebedee carried on his business on a larger scale than
(21) Then they went
into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the
synagogue and taught. (22) And they were astonished at
His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not
as the scribes.
(31) Then He went down to
Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and was teaching them on the Sabbaths.
(32) And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word
was with authority.
(23) Now there
was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried
out, (24) saying, "Let us alone! What have we to do
with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know
who You are -- the Holy one of God!"
(33) Now in the
synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon.
And he cried out with a loud voice, (34) saying, "Let
us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You
come to destroy us? I know who You are -- the Holy one of God!"
(25) But Jesus
rebuked him, saying, "Be quiet, and come
out of him!" (26) And when the unclean spirit
had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of
him. (27) Then they were all amazed, so that they
questioned among themselves, saying, "What is this? What new
doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean
spirits, and they obey Him." (28) And immediately His
fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee.
(35) But Jesus
rebuked him, saying, "Be quiet, and come
out of him!" And when the demon had thrown him in their
midst, it came out of him and did not hurt him. (36)
Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying,
"What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the
unclean spirits, and they come out." (37) And the
report about Him went out into every place in the surrounding
An unclean spirit - Mark
It seems the man had lucid intervals; else he could not have been admitted
into the synagogue.
Unclean or impure spirit is a common epithet for those fallen spirits:
but here it may mean, one who filled the heart of him he possessed with
lascivious thoughts, images, desires, and propensities. By giving way to
the first attacks of such a spirit, he may soon get in, and take full
possession of the whole body and soul.
An unclean devil - Luke
This from Luke, from the Greek word daimonion, or, literally, demon.
In the many passages in the Synoptics and Acts that refer to those
possessed by demons, three points are to be made:
From the NKJV
||With respect to demons as the cause of sickness,
it should be noted that in the New Testament, it might be said that
the existence of sickness in this world belongs to the character of
the atmosphere of which Satan is the prince.
Thus, while not all sicknesses are the result of the possession
of a demon, they may all be seen as the work of Satan.
|It is for this reason that Jesus says of the
women in Luke 13:11 who had a spirit of infirmity
whom Satan has bound (v. 16).
||In most of the stories of possession what is at issue is not merely
sickness but a destruction and distortion of the divine likeness of
man according to creation.
Jesus is conscious that He now breaks the power of the devil and
his angels because He is the One in whom the dominion of God is
present on behalf of humanity (Matthew 12:28).
|The center of personality, the
volitional and active ego, is impaired by alien powers
that seek to ruin the man and sometimes drive him to
self-destruction (Mark 5:5). The ego is so impaired that the
spirits speak through him.
The crucial thing is
that demons are expelled by a word of command issued in the power of
God and not by the invocation of a similar spirit, nor by the use of
||The demons, as spirits,
possess a certain knowledge that they must express in words in the
face of Jesus for example,
The confession that Jesus seeks to evoke is not, however, this
witness that proceeds from demonic knowledge. Hence He forbids it.
|thou Son of God.
They also recognize their fate (Matthew 8:29; James
The New Testament dispels the constant fear of evil spirits. Yet it
confirms the popular sense of something horrible and sinister in such
spirits, bringing out the demonic nature of their activity as an attack on
the spiritual and physical life of man in fulfillment of the will of
Satan. The New Testament bears witness to the victory won by Jesus over
evil spirits a victory that is efficacious for the community and will
preserve it through the temptations of the last time.
(29) Now as soon as they
had come out of the synagogue,
(38) Now He arose from
the synagogue and
(14) Now when Jesus had
come into Peter's house,
they entered the
house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.
He saw his wife's mother
lying sick with a fever.
(30) But Simon's wife's
mother lay sick with a fever, and they told Him about her at once.
But Simon's wife's
mother was sick with a high fever, and they made request of Him
(15) So He touched
her hand, and the fever left her.
(31) So He came
and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and immediately the
fever left her.
(39) So He stood
over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her.
And she arose and served
And immediately she arose and
Notice here the progression of the tale as all three Synoptics work
together to give the complete picture.