An exposition of Jesus’ life meant for young and old, to clarify the deeper meaning of the Messiah.
In the previous section, part 2, we have extensively discussed Satan as the world ruler, the one who may certainly not be underestimated:
NKJV (2 Corinthians 4: 3-4) 3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
Jesus did not avoid any enemy. He gave beautiful and special education.
He was approachable to the poor and sinners and He showed us, how to live the best in harmony with His words and how to deal with our neighbors.
Christianity is therefore based on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ:
The evangelist John wrote about Jesus:
NKJV (John 1: 9) 9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
Choosing the 12 Apostles
After a whole night in prayer to God (Luke 6:12) Jesus chose the 12 apostles out of his disciples:
NKJV (Mark 3: 14-19) 14 Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, 15 and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons: 16 Simon, to whom He gave the name Peter; 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom He gave the name Boanerges, that is, “Sons of Thunder”; 18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Cananite; 19 and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him….
The family where Jesus grew up
Joseph had no communion with Mary until Jesus was born:
NKJV (Matthew 1:25) 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
Jesus had at least six brothers and sisters, among whom the (half) brothers James, Joses, Simon and Judas and at least two (half) sisters:
NKJV (Matthew 13: 55-56) 55 Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? 56 And His sisters, are they not all with us?….
The first sign that Jesus did at the request of his mother at the wedding in Cana, Galilee, was the change of water in wine:
NKJV (John 2: 3-10) 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!”
Jesus’ immediate family could not understand what was going on and thought that Jesus had lost his mind:
NKJV (Mark 3: 20-21) 20 Then the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. 21 But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, “He is out of His mind.”
Apparently, Jesus mother and brothers went to Jesus, but they could not come to Him because of the crowd (see Luke 8:19):
NKJV (Mark 3: 31-35) 31 Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him. 32 And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You.” 33 But He answered them, saying, “Who is My mother, or My brothers?” 34 And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.”
Later on, Jesus (half) brothers still did not believe in Him:
NKJV (John 7: 2-5) 2 Now the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles was at hand. 3 His brothers therefore said to Him, “Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. 4 For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” 5 For even His brothers did not believe in Him.
The love for Jesus (and His heavenly Father) must be an unconditional love.
Because Jesus always did the will of the Father, He gave for that reason a special contradiction:
NKJV (Luke 14:26) 26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.
NKJV (Luke 18: 28-30) 28 Then Peter said, “See, we have left all and followed You.” 29 So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
Just before Jesus died, he wanted to honor his mother, so that she would stay behind in a trusted Christian protection:
NKJV (Mark 7:10) 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’;….
NKJV (John 19: 26-27) 26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.
In order to be able to understand Jesus’ teachings towards the Jewish spiritual leaders, it is distinct to explain first the brief history of the Jews to the days where Jesus did his work.
After the return from the Babylonian exile, the temple could be rebuilt and under the Persian rule, the Jews could exercise their faith.
In 331 BC Alexander the Great from Macedonia conquered the Middle East and also introduced the Greek language and culture. The Greek culture is described as Hellenism with its philosophy, nude sports and multiple gods. After Alexander’s death in 323 BC, four of his generals divided the vast empire.
Daniël chapter 11 (to verse 21) gives an view of the Ptolemean and Seleucidal conflicts, of respectively the north (Syria) and the south (Egypt), which battled for countries such as Judea and Samaria
In 198 BC however, Judea fell into the hands of the Seleucidian Empire. The Seleucids continued the Hellenistic culture. Orthodox Jews had many objections to the practice of Hellenistic culture, which knew many gods.
The Maccabees were Jewish insurgents in the 2nd century BC.
The father of Judas the Maccabee, Mattathias, is considered to be the ancestor of the Maccabees . He was a priest of the Levitic priesthood family Jojarib. (Nehemiah 12: 1-6)
Mattathias had five sons: John, Simon, Judas, Eleazar, and Jonathan.
Mattatias gave in 167 BC the start signal of the rebellion against the Seleucid Syrians. Reason was the command of the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epifanes to set up a pagan altar in the Jewish temple in Jerusalem dedicated to the pagan god Zeus.
Judas the Maccabee – Judas with the sledgehammer – led a small army of Jews who fought against the Seleucids and could expel the Seleucids in 165 BC out of Jerusalem.
The worship in the Temple of Jerusalem as described by Moses was restored by him.
Subsequently, the temple of Jerusalem was cleansed of all pagan elements by Judas the Maccabee and inaugurated.
In John 10:22 we read about this inauguration feast, the feast of Hanukkah:
NKJV (John 10:22) 22 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter.
This inauguration feast is still celebrated annually during the Jewish Hanukkah feast.
After the death of Antiochus IV Epifanes, relations with the Seleucids normalized and in 152 BC, the Seleucids acknowledged Judas brother Jonathan as high priest.
His brother Simon followed up Jonathan.
In Judea itself, the status of the Maccabees was such that Simon in 140 BC was appointed to high priest, warlord and ruler of the Jews by a decree of the Jewish people, and the independent Jewish state of Judea was reached.
Simon and his successors formed the dynasty of the Maccabees, also known as Hasmoneans.
The Hasmoneans were named after Hasmon, the great-grandfather of Mattatias.
And in that way the Hasmonian royal house was originated.
The Maccabees started carrying the king’s title.
For law-abiding Jews this was highly controversial; The true king had to come from the tribe of Judah (from the house of David), while the high priest had to be a descendant of the paternal line of Aaron, from the tribe of Levi.
The Hasmonian royal house did not comply with both provisions of the Scripture, so also not for the position of high priest. The high priesthood was from father to son and was a nomination for life. (1 Chronicles 6: 1-15)
In the period 520 – 175 BC the high priest was a descendant of Zadok.
Many Jews therefore remained loyal to the descendants of Zadok and rejected other high priests from Levitic priest families because so it was written in the Scriptures:
NKJV (1 Kings 2:35) 35 The king put Benaiah the son of Jehoiada in his place over the army, and the king put Zadok the priest in the place of Abiathar.
The Maccabees retained the power until Roman troops led by Pompey in 63 BC made the Selucidian empire as a Roman province and Judea (and Edom and Samaria) as a vassal state. Hyrkanus II was installed by Pompeus as high priest.
Judea lost hereby its independence.
Herod the Great became king of the Jews, but was not a Jew himself. He was a son of Antipas, who was governor of Idumea (Edom), that was considered as a part of Judea by the Romans at that time.
Edom consisted of the descendants of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob (Gen. 36: 1) and was situated south of the Dead Sea.
Both Edom and Samaria were incorporated by the Makkabeeans as Jewish territory.
Because he was not a natural Jew, Herod the Great could not become a high priest himself, and therefore out of self-preservation, he personally appointed the high priests and also deposed them.
He was the first of the Herodian dynasty that lasted until 70 AD.
The Roman city holders of Judea left the daily administration of Judea to the Jewish aristocracy, including the chief priest.
The Roman city holders were as first interested in tax returns.
In the period still before the victory of the Maccabees, during the Hellenism, there were Jewish sects with different religious beliefs.
We will therefore consider the Pharisees and Sadducees more closely:
A Pharisee was recognized by the prayer mantle with long fringes, the prayer belts around his wrists and the forehead band.
According to Jewish historian Josephus, this group emerged in response to continuing Hellenism after the acquisition of Judea by the Seleucid Empire in 198 BC.
The Pharisees came forth of the common Jewish people and were regarded as the successors of the Scribes, who taught the people in the centuries after Ezra from generation to generation.
It is probably these orthodox Jews who have supported Judas Makkabee to cleanse the temple in Jerusalem.
Among the ordinary people they were in much higher respect than the Sadducees.
The Pharisees sought a punctual compliance with the commandments of God and Jewish law.
Although they formed a minority in the Sanhedrin and held much less priesthood duties, they were still influential because they had the support of the people.
In religious terms, they considered the written Word, the Tenach, which is also called the Old Testament, as inspired by God. Alongside the written Torah (the 5 books of Moses, the Pentateuch) they also considered the oral Torah, the oral traditions inspired by God to Moses They also added oral traditions themselves as Scribes. These oral traditions were in the 2nd century AD merged and were called Mishna.
A few centuries later, the Mishna was incorporated into the Jewish Talmud.
Characteristic of the Pharisees is that they have expanded the purity regulations and ritual washings, which belonged to the sacrificial service, to the daily life of all Jews. Likewise, they went very precisely with the payment of the tenths, the gift for the temple service. The rejection of Hellenism by the Pharisee had as purpose, that the Jews in Judea were living again according to the law of Moses and obeyed the law concerning purity, food and tenths.
This led to major differences of opinion with the Sadducees.
The Pharisees had love of money and wanted to be seen by the people:
NKJV (Luke 16:14) 14 Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him.
NKJV (Matthew 23: 5) 5 But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments.
The Jewish aristocracy, the noble families, were represented by the Sadducees, a group of distinguished priest families, vast landowners and rich merchants in and around Jerusalem.
They only acknowledged the authority of the written Torah, the 5 books of Moses, the Pentateuch.
In politics, the Sadducees had the conviction to cooperate with the Roman occupier to maintain influence and power.
They were strongly influenced by Greek philosophy.
The Sadducees claimed that there would be no resurrection of the dead:
NKJV (Acts 23: 8) 8 For Sadducees say that there is no resurrection…..
The Greek philosophy is the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom. She first came up for the first time in the 6th century BC.
As an example, Plato (Athens, about 427 BC) who was a student of Socrates and he himself was a teacher of Aristotle.
Other well-known philosophers are Epicurus (human happiness) and Zeno of Citium (Stoics, emotionless).
The Sanhedrin was the Jewish High- or Grand-Council with limited political and religious authorizations. The limits of their powers and authorizations were defined by the Romans. The political power was aimed primarily at maintaining the domestic peace and the occurrence of insurgency against the Romans.
As long as the Sanhedrin did not act contrary to Roman interests, Sanhedrin was given the freedom to adjudicate and to apply judgments.
The council consisted of 71 members, namely the chief priests, the elders and the scribes.
The High Priest – chosen at that time – was the Supreme Authority of the Grand Council:
The high priest:
After the rebellion of the Maccabees, the high priests were chosen from the priest family Jojarib.
Many high priests were of Sadducean view. (Acts 5:17).
Kajafas, the high priest during Jesus ministry, was high priest from 18 to 36 AD and was chosen and appointed by Valerius Gratus, then Roman governor of Judea.
During Jesus’ ministry, Pontius Pilate was the Roman city holder.
The chief priests:
A chief priest in the Bible is a superior or head of priests.
Amongst the chief priests were counted; the ruling high priest, the high priest substitute and the previous high priests.
The chief priests were also the supervisors of the daily temple ceremony and were in charge of the ordinary priests.
The ordinary Levitic priests consisted of twenty-four orders of priests.
They were of the families of Eleazar and Ithamar and King David had divided the priestly families into twenty four groups:
NKJV (1Chronicles 24: 4) 4 There were more leaders found of the sons of Eleazar than of the sons of Ithamar, and thus they were divided. Among the sons of Eleazar were sixteen heads of their fathers’ houses, and eight heads of their fathers’ houses among the sons of Ithamar.
These were the elders of the people, representatives of distinguished families, family heads.
A collection of members of the Sadducees, of the Pharisees and of a separate group.
They were called Rabbi (teacher / master).
Their task was to interpret the meaning of the law, the teaching of the law and the jurisdiction in the Sanhedrin.
According to Jesus, the Pharisees Scribes, along with the Pharisees, were on the wrong track with their oral traditions, the oral Torah, and thereby ‘sitting on the seat of Moses’:
NKJV (Matthew 23: 2-3) 2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in [on] Moses’ seat. 3 Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.
The temptation by the Sadducees
On one occasion, the Sadducees asked Jesus a trick question about the resurrection:
NKJV (Matthew 22: 23-24, 28-30) 23 The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, 24 saying: “Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. …. 28 Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her.” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.
The temptations by the Pharisees and the condemnations by Jesus
The Pharisees wanted to catch Jesus on his words about the divorce between man and woman:
NKJV (Matthew 19: 3-9) 3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” 4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” 7 They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” 8 He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”
Or catch Jesus on his words with regard to paying taxes:
NKJV (Matthew 22:15) 15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. 16 And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. 17 Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” 18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? 19 Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius. 20 And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” 21 They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God’s.
Or by testing Jesus on his knowledge of the Scripture:
NKJV (Matthew 22: 34-40) 34 But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Jesus did not spare them to denounce their behavior:
NKJV (Matthew 23: 12-15) 12 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. 13 But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation. 15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
NKJV (Matthew 23: 23-31) 23 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe (tenths) of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! 25 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. 29 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’ 31 Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.
They found it strange that Jesus was approachable to all:
NKJV (Mark 2: 16-17) 16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
They also tried to impress Jesus with their traditions:
NKJV (Mark 7: 2-9) 2 Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault. 3 For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders. 4 When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches. 5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?” 6 He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 7 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ 8 “For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men–the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.” 9 He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.
Jesus showed them that He was the Son of God:
NKJV (Luke 5: 18-25) 18 Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him. 19 And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus. 20 When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” 21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”–He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” 25 Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.
They continued to seek opportunities to accuse Jesus:
NKJV (Luke 11: 52-54) 52 Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.” 53 And as He said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to assail Him vehemently, and to cross-examine Him about many things, 54 lying in wait for Him, and seeking to catch Him in something He might say, that they might accuse Him.
The healing on the Sabbath was a gross sin to them:
NKJV (Luke 14: 2-6) 2 And behold, there was a certain man before Him who had dropsy. 3 And Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” 4 But they kept silent. And He took him and healed him, and let him go. 5 Then He answered them, saying, “Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?” 6 And they could not answer Him regarding these things.
The love of money unmasked:
NKJV (Luke 16: 13-15) 13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” 14 Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. 15 And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
The testing of Jesus with an adulterous woman:
ESV (John 8: 3-7) 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
The relationship between the Pharisees and Saccudees
Although the Pharisees differed thoroughly in opinion with the Sadducees, they later were unanimous in letting Jesus be condemned to death.
John the Baptist saw through the behavior of the Pharisees and the Sadducees:
NKJV (Matthew 3: 7) 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?
Jesus also warned his disciples not to be deceived by them:
NKJV (Matthew 16: 6, 11-12) 6 Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”… 11 How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?–but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
NKJV (Luke 11:44) 44 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like graves which are not seen, and the men who walk over them are not aware of them.”
Both the Pharisees and the Sadducees were repeatedly criticized by Jesus.
Because the Sadducees were more concerned with politics than religion, they did not worry about Jesus until they were afraid that he would draw unwanted attention from the Romans.
The Pharisees found, that the signs which Jesus did, were a threat for their authority.
At that moment, the Sadducees and Pharisees united themselves and began a conspiracy towards Jesus, so that He could be condemned to death.
NKJV (John 11: 47-48) 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. 48 If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.”
The foregoing is a concise overview to portray the spiritual leaders in Jesus days and to give an impression of the struggle that Jesus had to undergo in his days
Now we can continue with the missionary work of the twelve apostles
NKJV (Mark 6: 8-9) 8 He commanded them to take nothing for the journey except a staff–no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts– 9 but to wear sandals, and not to put on two tunics.
The temple cleansing:
NKJV (John 2: 13-21) 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 moneychangers 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.
The conversation with Nicodemus, who did not understand yet the required water baptism:
NKJV (John 3: 1-8) 1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Coming to faith in Jesus’ words of truth
During his preaching, Jesus made clear not to follow the Sadducees and Pharisees in their manner of action, but only to apply their teachings of the Scripture.
Despite the difficult struggle that Jesus had to deliver, still many of the Sadducees and Pharisees believed in Jesus, but did not make this openly noticeable:
NKJV (John 12:42) 42 Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue;
NKJV (Acts 15: 5) 5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up,….
People like Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus and Gamaliël:
NKJV (Luke 23: 50-51) 50 Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man. 51 He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God.
NKJV (John 19: 38-39) 38 After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. 39 And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds.
NKJV (Acts 5: 34-35, 38-39) 34 Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while. 35 And he said to them: “Men of Israel,… 38 And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; 39 but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it–lest you even be found to fight against God.”
The ordinary Levitic priests (not the chief priests) were impressed with Jesus and stood also open to Jesus’ education:
NKJV (Acts 6: 7) 7 Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.
And how was the situation later with Jesus direct relatives?
Jesus’ immediate family, His mother and brothers, later belonged during Pentecost to the faithful sanctified disciples:
NKJV (Acts 1: 13-14) 13 And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. 14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
NKJV (Acts 2: 1-4) 1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Also Jesus (half) brothers Jacobus and Judas were privileged.
It is generally assumed that the inspired letters of Judas and James are written by the (half) brothers of Jesus:
NKJV (Mark 6: 3) 3 Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?”… ..
So far this part. In the next part – Jesus the promised Messiah part 4 – we continue to teach Jesus important education.