The Condensed Gospel chapter 4 (part E)

The ideal shepherd

“Truly, anyone who tries to get into the sheep pen by any way other than the gate is a thief and a robber. The shepherd enters by the gate. The gatekeeper opens it for him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls each of them by name and leads them out of the pen. He walks ahead of them after he has brought all of his flock out. The sheep follow behind him because they recognize him by his voice. Sheep will run away from a stranger rather than follow him because they don’t recognize his voice.”

Jesus gave this example but they didn’t understand what he meant.

JN 10:1-6

The good shepherd

Jesus said, “Truly, I am the gate. All those who came before I did are thieves and robbers, but the sheep ignored them. I am the gate. Those who enter by way of me will be saved and will be able to come in and go out and find green pastures. Thieves are there only to steal, kill, and destroy. I am here so that my flock may have life in abundance.

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd will sacrifice even his own life for the sheep. A hired man will run away and leave the sheep defenseless when he sees a wolf coming. He doesn’t own the sheep and doesn’t care about them like the shepherd does. The wolf will enter and savagely attack the sheep.

I am the good shepherd. My sheep know me, and I know them, in the same way that the Father and I know each other. I sacrifice my life for the sheep. But there are other sheep that belong to me who are not here. I must gather them as well, and they will recognize my voice. Then the flock will be together with one shepherd. The Father loves me because of this, because I will sacrifice my life so I can take it back again. No one steals my life from me; rather, I sacrifice it voluntarily. I am empowered to lay it down, and I am empowered to take it back up again. The Father has given me this order.”

The Jewish leaders were divided in their opinion about him after hearing these words. Many said “He must be possessed or insane! Why listen to what he has to say?” Others said “He doesn’t sound like someone who is possessed. Can someone who is possessed heal someone from blindness?”

JN 10:7-21

Jesus at the Feast of Lights

It was winter, and Jesus went to the Feast of Lights (Hanukkah) celebration that was taking place in Jerusalem. Jesus was walking in a part of the Temple complex known as Solomon’s Colonnade. The Jewish leaders surrounded him and asked him “How long are you going to make us wait? Tell us openly if you are the Messiah.”

“I’ve already told you and you didn’t believe me,” Jesus answered. “All the miracles that I do in the name of my Father speak to the truth about who I am. But you don’t believe because you are not part of my flock, like I’ve said. My sheep recognize my voice. They follow me and I know them. I give eternal life to them so that they will never ever perish. No one will steal them from me. My Father has given them to me and is more powerful than anyone. No one can steal them from the Father. I and the Father – we are One.”

JN 10:22-30

Renewed efforts to stone Jesus

The Jewish leaders again picked up rocks to throw at Jesus.

He said “You have seen me perform many good works that are from God. Which one of those are you trying to stone me for?”

The leaders replied “We aren’t stoning you because of good works. We are stoning you because you are committing blasphemy because you – a human being – are saying you are God.”

Jesus replied, “Isn’t this written in the Law: ‘I said, you are gods’? The Scriptures are never false. Since God called prophets ‘gods’, are you really accusing me of blasphemy – me, the one sanctified and sent into the world by God – because I said I am the Son of God? Don’t believe in me if I’m not doing my Father’s works. If I am doing them and you still don’t believe in me, then believe the works. Through this you will understand and know that the Father and I are one.”

They again tried to arrest him but he slipped out of their hands.

JN 10:31-39

Many beyond the Jordan believe

Jesus left and stayed at the site across the Jordan where John had earlier baptized people. Many people came to him there and said “John never performed a miracle, but everything he said about Jesus was true.” There were many people in that area who believed in Jesus.

JN 10:40-42

Jesus and Herod Antipas

Then some Pharisees told him “Leave here! Herod wants to have you killed!”

Jesus replied, “Tell that fox that I’m busy casting out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and I’ll be through on the third day. But I have to travel for the next three days because prophets can die only in Jerusalem!”

LK 13:31-33

A Sabbath controversy

The Pharisees were watching Jesus closely when he dined at the home of one of their leaders one Sabbath. There was a man there whose body was swollen with fluid because he had edema. Jesus challenged the Pharisees and the experts in the Law by saying, “Is it permissible according to the Law of Moses to heal on the Sabbath or not?” They did not answer him. Jesus brought the man to him, healed him, and then sent him on his way. He turned to them and said “Who among you, if your son or ox fell into a well, would not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?” They had no answer to this.

LK 14:1-6

Teachings on humility

Jesus told a parable to those who were invited to an important dinner. He noticed that people were choosing to sit near the head of the table where the best places were. He said “If you are invited to an important dinner such as a wedding feast, don’t go to the best place and sit down. If someone with a higher status than you is invited, the host may come up to you and ask you to move. Then you, in humiliation, will have to go take the least important seat.

It is better to do this – go and sit at the least important seat so that it gives the host a chance to invite you to move up to a more prestigious position. You will then be honored in front of all the other guests. Everyone who tries to raise himself up will be brought low, and everyone who humbles himself will be raised up.”

Then he turned to the host and said “Don’t invite your friends, relatives, or rich neighbors when you have a dinner party, because they can return the favor and invite you back. Instead, it is better to invite those who are poor, maimed, lame, or blind when you host a banquet. You will be blessed when you do this because they cannot repay you. Instead, you will be repaid by God at the resurrection of the righteous.”
A man who was reclining at the table when he said this said, “Blessed is he who will eat bread with God in His kingdom!”

LK 14:7-15

The parable of the large banquet

Jesus said “There once was a very wealthy man who decided to give a large banquet. He invited a lot of people. On the day of the banquet, he sent his servants to go remind everyone who had been invited because everything was ready.

Without exception, all of them sent excuses instead of coming. Some of them said they had to work on their farm, some at their business, and some said they had just gotten married. All of them were too busy to show up to this feast that they had been invited to a long time ago. Some of the guests were quite abusive to his servants as well.

When the host learned the news, he told his servants to go into the streets and alleyways of the city and invite anyone they could find, including the poor and handicapped. The servants did this and there was room for even more people, so the host sent them out to get even more guests. The host was determined that none of the original guests would enjoy his banquet.”

MT 22:1-10, LK 14:16-24

“When the host came in to look at his guests, he saw a man who was shabbily dressed – not appropriate for a grand feast such as this. He asked him how it was that he was admitted in without appropriate clothing. The man didn’t know how to answer, so he didn’t. Then the host told his servants ‘Tie this man up by his hands and feet and throw him out with the trash. For many people are invited but few make the cut.’”

MT 22:11-14

The cost of following Jesus

“Who among you would try to build a tower without making sure he has enough money to finish it? Otherwise people will mock him when they see that he has laid the foundation and can’t complete it, saying ‘This person started something he couldn’t finish.’ Doesn’t a king going to war analyze whether he has enough soldiers to go against the other king? If he doesn’t, then he sends a peace delegation ahead while the other army is still far away. In the same way, only those who renounce their possessions are able to be my disciples.”

LK 14:28-33

The parable of the lost sheep

Tax collectors and sinners were coming to Jesus to listen to what he had to say. The Pharisees and scribes complained about this saying “This man welcomes sinners and dines with them!”

LK 15:1-2

(People also questioned why Jesus would bless small children.) “Be careful that you don’t belittle young children. You need to know that their angels constantly see my Father in heaven. The Son of Man has come to rescue the lost.”

MT 18:10-11

“Consider this, if one of you has a flock of 100 sheep, and one of them wanders away and gets lost, don’t you leave the 99 on the hillside to go find the one who wandered away? I assure you: if you find it you’ll joyfully put it on your shoulders and come home, calling your friends and neighbors together to rejoice with you that you have found your lost sheep. You’ll celebrate over that one sheep more than you will about the 99 that stayed. In the same way, your Father in heaven will celebrate more about one sinner who returns to Him than over the 99 righteous people who never turned away. It is not the will of your Father in heaven that anyone should perish.”

MT 18:12-14, LK 15:3-7

The parable of the lost coin

“What woman doesn’t light a lamp and thoroughly search the house from top to bottom if she loses a single silver coin out of the ten she has? She will call together her female friends and neighbors when she finds it, saying ‘Let’s celebrate, because I’ve found my lost coin!’ Truly, the angels before God are just as joyful when one sinner repents.”

LK 15:8-10

Parable of the lost son

Jesus said “A father had two sons. The younger one said to him ‘Father, give me my inheritance now,’ and his father honored his request. Not long afterwards, that son took all of his belongings and traveled far away to another country, where he spent all he had living large. When he was penniless, a famine broke out there and he became needy. Then he found a job working for a local citizen who sent him to feed the pigs in his fields. He desperately wanted to eat even the seed pods that the pigs were eating but nobody would let him have any.

When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself ‘All of my father’s workers have plenty of food, and I’m starving to death because of this famine! I should get up and travel back to my father and say to him, Father, I have sinned against God and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son. Please take me on as a hired hand.’ He then got up and started to walk back to his father. But while he was still very far away, his father saw him and was overcome with compassion. He ran to him and hugged and kissed him. The son said ‘Father, I have sinned against God and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.’

But the father called to his servants, saying ‘Hurry! Fetch the finest robe we have and put it on him; bring a ring and sandals and put those on him as well. Then slaughter the fattened calf and let’s have a feast of celebration, because my son was dead and has returned to life. He was lost and has been found.’ And thus the party began.

Meanwhile, his older son was in the fields. When he approached the house, he heard the sounds of music and dancing. He called one of the servants to him and asked what was going on. The servant said, ‘Your brother is here, and your father had us slaughter the fattened calf to celebrate that he has safely returned.’

The older son then became very angry and didn’t want to go into the house. His father came outside to plead with him. But the son replied, ‘Look I have worked many years for you and I’ve always obeyed your orders, yet you never even gave me a young goat so I could have a feast with my friends. But when this son of yours shows up, the one who threw away your money on prostitutes, you have the fattened calf slaughtered for him!?’

‘Son’, he said, ‘you have never left me and all I have is yours. But we had to rejoice and celebrate because your brother was dead and has returned to life; he was lost and is now found.'”

LK 15:11-32

Kingdom values

The Pharisees (who loved money) were listening to what Jesus was saying and mocking him.
Jesus told them “All of you justify yourselves in front of others, but God knows what is in your heart. What people admire the most is what is repulsive to God. The words of the Law and the Prophets were followed until John came. Ever since then, the good news about the kingdom of God has been declared, and many people are crowding in. But even the smallest letter of the words of the Law and the Prophets are still valid.”

LK 16:14-17

The wealthy man and Lazarus

“Once there was a very wealthy man who dressed in royal purple and fine linen, and he ate a lavish feast every day. A poor man named Lazarus was left at his gate. He was covered in sores. He would have been grateful to eat even the scraps that fell from the wealthy man’s table, but dogs came and licked his sores instead. One day Lazarus died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The wealthy man died on the same day and was buried. While he was being tormented in Hades, he looked up and saw Abraham very far away with Lazarus reclining next to him. He called out ‘Father Abraham! Show mercy to me and send Lazarus to cool my tongue with a taste of water from his fingertip. The flames here are agonizing!’

‘Child,’ Abraham replied, ‘remember all the good things in life that you had, while Lazarus had only bad? He is getting his share of comfort now, while you are in torment. In addition, there is a huge chasm between us and you, so that even if someone wanted to travel to the other side, they couldn’t.’

‘Father,’ the wealthy man begged, ‘then please send him to my father’s house to warn my five brothers so they won’t end up here.’

Abraham said, ‘They should listen to Moses and the prophets.’

The wealthy man then said, ‘No, father Abraham, they will repent if someone comes to them from the dead.’

And Abraham countered, saying “If they ignore Moses and the prophets, they will ignore someone who comes back to life.'”

LK 16:19-31

The Condensed Gospel chapter 4 (part D)

Martha and Mary

While Jesus and his disciples were traveling they arrived at a village where a woman named Martha welcomed them into her home. Her sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, listening while he taught.

Martha was anxious about everything that she had to do to prepare for these unexpected guests. She said “Lord, do you think that it is fair that my sister has left me to do all the work? Tell her to give me a hand.”

Jesus answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and anxious about many things, but only one thing matters. Mary has made the right choice, and I won’t take it away from her.”

LK 10:38-42

The parable of the rich fool

Someone called out from the crowd, saying “Teacher, tell my brother to split the estate with me.” Jesus said, “Man, who appointed me as a judge over you to decide such things like that? Be on guard against greed because real life isn’t about having a lot of things.”

He then told them a parable:

“There was a rich man who had a very productive farm. In fact, it was so productive that he decided that it would be a good idea to tear down his barns and build bigger ones to store everything he had. He said to himself, ‘I have enough stored away for many years. I can take it easy and eat, drink, and be merry!’

But then God said to him ‘Fool! This very night you are going to die. All these things you have saved up – who will get them?’

The very same thing will happen to those people who get rich here on earth but are poor in heaven.”

LK 12:13-21

The cure for anxiety

“Because of this I’m telling you – don’t worry about anything in regards to your life or your body. Don’t worry about what you will have to eat or drink or wear. Life is about much more than food or clothing.
Think about the ravens – they don’t sow or reap or store up their food, and yet God provides for them. Don’t you know you are more valuable than them? Can anyone add even a minute to his life by worrying? If worry can’t change the little things, then why worry about the big things?

Why worry about what you’re going to wear? Think about the wildflowers – they don’t earn money for clothing or make thread, yet they are more beautifully clothed than King Solomon ever was! If that is how God adorns grass, which is temporary and insubstantial, won’t he do much more for you – you who don’t believe?

So don’t be anxious about what you are going to eat or drink or wear – those are the kinds of things that people who don’t believe in God focus on. Your Father in heaven knows of your needs.

Instead of striving for those things, strive for the kingdom of God, and then everything you need will be provided for you. Don’t be anxious, because your heavenly Father gets great pleasure in giving you the kingdom. Therefore, don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own to deal with.”

MT 6:25-34, LK 12:22-32

Serving two masters

Jesus then told this story to his disciples:

“There was a rich man who heard that his accountant was mishandling the books. He called the accountant in and told him to defend himself against these accusations, because he was about to fire him.

The accountant was really worried about what to do. He knew he wasn’t strong enough to be a laborer and he was too proud to beg. He came up with a plan so that after he got fired people would welcome him into their homes.

He called everyone who owed money to his master, asking them how much they owed. After each told him, he had them mark down the amount they owed dramatically, even cutting some bills in half. The manager praised his dishonest accountant because he had acted shrewdly.

The people who are more worldly are far more shrewd at dealing with their own kind than godly people are. I tell you, use the wealth of this world to get friends, so that when that money is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal homes.”

LK 16:1-9

“If you are honest in handling small matters, you will be honest in handling large ones. If you are dishonest with small matters you will also be dishonest with large ones. If you have not taken care of what little has been given to you, who will give you anything more? If you have not taken care of what was entrusted to you by someone else, who will give you anything of your own to take care of?

You can either serve God or money. You can’t serve both. God is either your master or money is your master. If you try to serve both at the same time, you will end up being devoted to one of them and despising the other.”

MT 6:24, LK 16:10-13

“Don’t store up treasures for yourself here on earth, where they can be destroyed or stolen. Instead, store up treasures in heaven, where they can’t be destroyed or stolen but will last forever. Because where your treasure is, there your heart is as well. Sell what you have and give it to those who don’t have anything. This is the best kind of wealth to have.”

MT 6:19-21, LK 12:33-34

The Gospel causes division

“You assume that I have come to bring peace on earth, and you are mistaken. I have come to set fire to the world, and how I wish it was already burning! I have a mission that I am called to, and it will overwhelm me until I have completed it. I’m not here to join people together but to divide them. Families will turn against each other in their households. I’ve come to bring a sword, cutting old family ties. I’ve come to turn sons against fathers, daughters against mothers, daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law. Your worst enemies will be members of your household. Anyone who loves their family more than me cannot be my disciple.”

MT 10:34-37, LK 14:25-26, LK 12:49-53

Repent or perish

Around this time some people told him that Pilate had killed some people from Galilee while they were offering their sacrifices at the Temple. Jesus responded to them by saying “Do you think that because of how they died they must be more sinful than other Galileans? They weren’t. But you’ll also perish if you don’t repent! Do you think that the eighteen people who were killed when the tower in Siloam collapsed were more sinful than everyone else in Jerusalem? They weren’t. But you’ll perish too if you don’t repent!”

LK 13:1-5

The parable of the barren fig tree

“There once was a man who had a fig tree in his vineyard. He went to see if there was fruit on it, but there wasn’t any. He told his gardener to cut the tree down, explaining that in three years there hadn’t been any fruit on the tree. It was a waste of dirt. The gardener asked him to give it another year. He promised to dig around it and fertilize it. He said ‘If it doesn’t bear fruit after that then it can be cut down.’”

LK 13:6-9

Healing a daughter of Abraham

Jesus noticed a woman who was disabled by a spirit while he was teaching in the synagogue one Sabbath. She was bent over and could not completely straighten up, and had been this way for eighteen years. Jesus called to her and said “Woman, you are released from your disability!” He laid his hands on her and she was instantly restored to health and began to praise God.

The local synagogue leader was indignant because Jesus had worked on the Sabbath. He said to the crowd “There are six days in which people are allowed to work – therefore come to be healed on one of those days and not on the Sabbath!”

The Lord answered him, saying “Hypocrites! You all work on the Sabbath! Don’t you untie your ox or donkey and lead it to water on the Sabbath? Satan has tied this woman, a daughter of Abraham, for eighteen years. Shouldn’t she too be released on the Sabbath day?”

All of his adversaries were humiliated when he said this, and the whole crowd was rejoicing over all the amazing things he was doing.

LK 13:10-17

Healing a man who was born blind

While he walking by, Jesus saw a man who was born blind. His disciples asked him “Teacher, who is guilty of sin to cause him to be blind – this man, or his parents?”

“Neither he nor his parents are guilty of sin,” Jesus answered. “This happened so that the work of God could be revealed through him. We all must do the work of the One who sent me while it is day. Soon night will be here when no one can work. As long as I am here, I am that light.”

After saying this, he spat upon the ground, made a paste of the mud, and then spread this on the blind man’s eyes. He then said to the man “Go and wash in the pool of Siloam.” (Siloam means “sent”). The man did as he was instructed and then returned with his sight restored.

His neighbors and those who had seen him beg asked “Is this the same man who begged?” Some said “Yes, that’s him” while others said “No, but he looks just like him.”

The formerly blind beggar said “I’m the guy!”

They asked him “Then tell us how you can see.”

He answered, “A man named Jesus made a paste of mud, put it on my eyes, and said ‘Go wash in the pool of Siloam.’ I went there, washed, and my sight was restored!”
Then they asked “Where is he?”

“I have no idea,” he answered.

JN 9:1-12

The healed man’s testimony

The man whose sight had been restored was brought to the Pharisees because Jesus had made the mud paste and healed him on the Sabbath. The Pharisees asked the man again how his sight had been restored. The man told them that Jesus had put mud on his eyes, he washed, and then he could see.

Some of the Pharisees exclaimed “He can’t be from God! He breaks the Sabbath!” Others said “But how could a sinful man perform such miracles?” They were divided about this. They asked the formerly blind man “What do you think about him, since he healed you of your blindness?”

The man replied “He’s a prophet.”

The Jewish authorities didn’t believe that this man had really been cured of his blindness, so they called for the man’s parents. Then they asked them “Is this your son, the one you claim was blind from birth? How is it that he can see now?”

“We assure you that this is our son, and that he has always been blind,” the man’s parents said, “but we don’t know who restored his sight or how it happened. He’s an adult. Ask him.” They said this because they were afraid of the authorities. The leaders had already proclaimed that anyone who said Jesus was the Messiah wouldn’t be allowed to go to the synagogue.

The leaders summoned the man again and asked him to solemnly swear the truth by saying to him “Give glory to God.” Then they said “We know that Jesus is a sinner!”

The man answered “I don’t know if that is true or not, but I do know that I was blind but now I can see!”

“Tell us exactly what he did and how he did it” they demanded.

“I’ve already told you and you didn’t believe me. Why should I tell you again?” he replied. “Do you want to become his disciples?”

They started to make fun of him and said “You’re his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. God definitely spoke to Moses, but this man is a mystery to us.”

“Isn’t that interesting?” he retorted. “He healed my blindness, but you aren’t sure about him. God doesn’t act for sinners – only those who fear God and do his will. In the history of the entire world, there has never ever been anyone who could heal the blindness of a person born that way. This man has to be from God, otherwise he couldn’t do this.”

“You were born full of sin, and you’re trying to teach us?” they shouted. Then they threw him out.

JN 9:13-34

The sight of the blind man and the blindness of the Pharisees

Jesus went and found the man after they had thrown him out. He said “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

The man asked “Who is that, Sir, so I can believe in him?”

Jesus answered, “You have seen him. Actually, he’s talking to you right now.”

“Lord, I believe!” he said, and he began to worship Jesus.

Jesus said “I have been sent as a sign of God’s judgment, so that those who are blind will see and that those who are sure of their sight will become blind.”

Some Pharisees who were standing nearby overheard this and asked “Are you saying that we are blind?”

“If you were blind,” Jesus replied, “you would be free of any guilt that would cause your sin. But because you say that you can see, you are fully accountable for your sins.”

JN 9:35-41

The Condensed Gospel chapter 4 (part C)

The Journey to Jerusalem

Jesus decided to travel to Jerusalem when the time drew near for him to return to the Father. He sent messengers on ahead, and they stopped in a Samaritan village on the way to find a place for him to rest. But the villagers didn’t welcome him because he didn’t want to stay there, but to continue on to Jerusalem.

When his disciples James and John realized this, they said “Teacher, do you want us to call down the fire of heaven to destroy them, as Elijah once did?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them, saying “You don’t know the Spirit that you are a part of. The Son of Man came to save people’s lives, not destroy them.” Then they traveled on to another village.

LK 9:51-56

I will follow you

When Jesus noticed how large the crowd was growing, he instructed his disciples to prepare to cross to the other side of the lake. Just then a teacher of the Law said to him “Rabbi, I will follow you no matter where you go.”
But Jesus said “Foxes have dens, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to rest.”

Later, when he invited a man to come with him and be his disciple, the man said that he needed to go home to bury his father. Jesus told him “Now is the time to follow me. Let those who are spiritually dead care for their own. Your job is to spread the good news of the kingdom of God.”

Another asked to follow him but said “First let me go and say goodbye to my family.” But Jesus said to him “Anyone who turns aside from the work I plan for him to do is not fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

MT 8:18-22, LK 9:57-62

Jesus at the Festival of Sukkot

Jesus secretly went up to Jerusalem to attend the festival of Sukkot after his brothers left. The Jewish authorities were on the lookout for him there, asking “Where is he?” The crowds were actively talking about him. Some thought he was good, while others thought he was leading people astray. However, nobody was openly talking about him because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities.

Halfway through the festival, Jesus began to teach in the Temple complex. The Jewish authorities were astonished and wondered “How can he know the Scriptures when he has never been taught?”

Jesus answered them “What I teach doesn’t come from me, but from the One who sent me. If anyone wants to do the will of God, he’ll know whether what I say is from God or from me. Anyone who presents his own ideas is seeking glory for himself. However, he who seeks to give glory to the One who sent him speaks only the truth and is free from unrighteousness. Moses gave you the Law, yet none of you keep it! Why do you want to put me to death?”

The crowd shouted “You are possessed by a demon! Who wants to put you to death?”

Jesus answered “I did one miracle and you all were stunned. Think about this: Moses taught you the mitzvah of circumcision – not that Moses invented it, because it came from our forefathers – and you perform circumcisions on men on the Sabbath. If a man is circumcised on the Sabbath to uphold the Law of Moses, then why are you angry with me because I healed a man on the Sabbath? Don’t judge based on outward appearances. Instead, judge based on what is righteous.”

JN 7:10-24

The identity of the Messiah

Some of the citizens of Jerusalem were talking amongst themselves, saying “Isn’t this the person the authorities want to kill? But look here, he’s openly speaking and they aren’t saying anything to him. Is it possible that the authorities know he is the Messiah? But we know where he comes from. Nobody will know where the Messiah is from when he arrives.”

While Jesus was teaching in the Temple complex, he shouted “You know me, and you know where I come from. Yet I didn’t come here on my own, but you can trust the One who sent me. You don’t know the One who sent me. I know him because he sent me and I am from him.”

Then the authorities tried to grab him, but they were not able to touch him because it wasn’t his time. However, many people in the crowd believed he was the Messiah, and said “When he finally comes, the Messiah couldn’t possibly perform more miracles than this man has, could he?”

The Pharisees heard what the crowd was saying about him, so they and the chief priests sent the Temple police to arrest him.

Jesus said “I am only going to be here among you for a little while. Then I will return to the One who sent me. You will search for me, but you won’t find me, and where I’ll be, you can’t go.”

Then the Jewish authorities said to themselves, “Where does he think he can go where we can’t find him? He doesn’t plan on going to where some Jews have spread out to Greece and teach the Greeks, does he? What did he mean when he said ‘You will search for me, but you won’t find me, and where I’ll be, you can’t go’?”

JN 7:25-36

The promise of the spirit

On the final and most important day of the festival of Sukkot, Jesus stood and shouted, “Anyone who is thirsty should come to me and drink! Just like the Scriptures say, anyone who believes in me will have rivers of living water flowing from their very center.”

He was talking about the Holy Spirit, which his believers were going to receive. The Spirit had not been received yet because Jesus hadn’t yet gone to his glory in heaven.

JN 7:37-39

The people are divided over Jesus

When some of the people in the crowd heard Jesus say this, they said “He is really the Prophet!” Others said “He is the Messiah!” Yet others said “The Messiah can’t come from Galilee, can he? Isn’t the Messiah supposed to be from Bethlehem, where David lived, and be descended from him?” The crowd was divided about who they thought he was. Some of them wanted to grab him, but nobody touched him.

JN 7:40-44

Debate over Jesus’ claims

The chief priests and the Pharisees challenged the Temple police when they returned without Jesus, asking “Why didn’t you bring him?”

The police answered “Nobody ever talked like this man!”

The Pharisees countered “Has he fooled you too? Has anybody among us or the Jewish rulers believed in him? But this crowd, which is ignorant of the Law, is cursed!”

Nicodemus, the Pharisee who had previously spoken with Jesus in secret, said “The Law doesn’t condemn a man before it knows what he’s doing, or before he has a chance to testify, does it?”

“Are you also from Galilee?” they questioned. “Check for yourself and learn that no prophet ever comes from Galilee.”

Everyone went home, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

JN 7:45-53 and JN 8:1

An adulteress is forgiven

Jesus went to the Temple complex at dawn. A large crowd gathered around him. He began to teach them after he sat down.

The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman into the center of the gathering. She had been caught committing adultery.

They said “Teacher, this woman was caught committing adultery. The Law of Moses says that we should stone her for this. What do you say we should do?” They said this because they wanted to corner him into breaking the Law so they would have a crime to charge him with.

Jesus leaned over and began writing in the dirt with his finger. They kept questioning him, so he stood up and said “Whichever one of you who has led a sinless life should throw the first stone at her.”

He crouched back down and started writing on the ground again. Having heard this, the scribes and Pharisees started leaving, with the older men leaving first. Finally, only Jesus and the woman were left, with her standing in the center.

Jesus stood up and said “Woman, where are they? Is no one here to condemn you?”

“There is no one, Lord,” she answered.

“I do not condemn you either,” he said. “Go, and don’t sin again.”

JN 8:2-11

The light of the world

Jesus said “I am the light of the world. If you follow me you will never stumble around in the dark because you will have the light of life.”

The Pharisees said, “Your testimony isn’t valid because you are testifying about yourself.”

Jesus replied, “What I say about myself is true because I know where I came from and where I’m going. You don’t know either of these things about me. You make your judgments based on earthly standards, while I don’t judge at all. If I did, my judgment would be valid because I don’t act on my own, but with my Father who sent me. In your own Law it says that the testimony of two men is valid. I testify about myself, and my Father testifies about me.”

“So where is your father?” they challenged.

“You don’t know either one of us.” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you’d know my Father as well.” He said all this while standing near the treasury when he was teaching in the Temple complex. Nobody arrested him because it wasn’t yet the time for this to happen to him.

JN 8:12-20

Jesus predicts his departure

Then Jesus again said “I’m leaving; you’ll search for me, and die in your sinfulness. You won’t be able to follow me where I’m going.”

The Jewish authorities said “He isn’t planning on suicide, is he, when he says ‘You won’t be able to follow me where I’m going.’?”

Jesus told them “You are from the earth, while I am from heaven. You are of this world, while I am not. This is why I said you will die in your sinfulness – because you don’t believe in who I am.”

“Who are you, then?” they asked.

“Exactly what I’ve been saying from the start,” Jesus told them. There are many things I could say and pass judgment about you, but I won’t now. The One who sent me is true. I will tell the world what He has told me.”

They did not realize he was speaking about God. So Jesus said “When you raise up the Son of Man, then you will know who I am, and that I don’t do anything on my own. I say whatever the Father has taught me. The One who sent me is here with me and has never left because I always do what is pleasing to him.”

JN 8:21-29

Truth and freedom

Many people believed that Jesus was the Messiah while he was saying these things. Jesus said to them, “If you follow my message, you really are my disciples. You will know the truth, and it will free you.”

Some people in the crowd said “We are descended from Abraham. We’ve never been anybody’s slave. How can you say we will be freed?”

Jesus replied, “This is the truth: everyone who sins is a slave to it. A slave doesn’t always stay in his master’s house, but a son does. Therefore if the Son releases you, you are free to go. I know that you are descended from Abraham, yet you want to kill me because you don’t welcome my message. I speak about what my Father has shown me. You do what your father has told you.”

“Abraham is our father!” they exclaimed.

Jesus said “If Abraham really was your father, you’d do what he did. But you are trying to kill me – someone who has spoken the truth of God that he heard. Abraham didn’t act like this! You are acting just like your father.”

“We aren’t illegitimate,” they replied. “Our father is the One God.”

“If God really were your father,” Jesus replied, “you would love me because I have come from God. God sent me – I’m not here on my own. Why can’t you understand what I’m saying? Because you can’t hear my message. Your father is the Devil, and you want to do what he wants. From the very beginning he was a murderer and he hates the truth because he is full of lies. It is his very nature to lie, because he lies all the time and creates liars. Yet you don’t believe me because I tell the truth. Which one of you can accuse me of any sin? Why don’t you believe me when I tell you the truth? Anyone who is from God hears God’s word. You don’t hear what I have to say because you are not God’s children.”

JN 8:30-47

Jesus and Abraham

The Jewish leaders said “Aren’t you a Samaritan? Aren’t you possessed?”

Jesus replied “I’m not possessed. In fact, I show honor to my Father, and you dishonor me. I’m not trying to gain any glory for myself. God wants me to have glory, and is the One who judges. I assure you: if you follow my teaching you’ll never die.”

Then the Jewish leaders said “Now we know you are possessed. Abraham and all the prophets have all died. You say ‘If you follow my teaching you’ll never die’. Are you more powerful than our father Abraham who has died, along with all the prophets? Who do you think you are?”

Jesus answered, “If I praise myself, it means nothing. My Father – the One you claim is your God, He is the One who praises me. You don’t know him, but I do. If I said I don’t know him, I’d be a liar just like you. But I do know him, and I do what he says. Your father Abraham eagerly looked forward to this time – he rejoiced to see it come.”

The Jewish leaders said “You aren’t even 50 years old yet, and you’re saying you’ve seen Abraham?!”

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied “before Abraham ever existed, I am.”

When they heard this, the leaders picked up stones to hurl at him, but Jesus hid himself and left the Temple complex.

JN 8:48-59

The return of the 70

The 70 disciples returned, joyfully reporting to Jesus, “Lord, even the demons submit to us when we use your name!”

He said, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy. You can walk on snakes and scorpions and nothing will ever harm you. However, don’t celebrate about the fact that spirits submit to you. The important thing is that your names are known in heaven.”

LK 10:17-20

The Condensed Gospel chapter 4 (part B)

The Transfiguration

About a week later, Jesus led Peter, John, and James up a high mountain to be alone with them. He was transformed in front of them as he was praying. His face began to shine like the sun and his clothes became radiant with a white light. Suddenly Elijah and Moses appeared in glory and began talking with Jesus about his upcoming death that was to happen in Jerusalem.

Peter said to Jesus, “Teacher, it is good that we are here! Let us make three shelters, one for each of you.” He didn’t know what he should say because they were all terrified.

While he was speaking, a bright cloud formed around them and overshadowed them. A voice came from the cloud saying “This is my beloved Son, the chosen One! I take delight in him, listen to him!”

The disciples were even more terrified when they heard this voice, and they fell facedown. Then Jesus came up to them and touched them, saying “Get up. Don’t be afraid.” Then they noticed that they were alone with Jesus – Elijah and Moses were gone.

While they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus said “Don’t tell anybody about what you just saw until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” They spoke about the event only among themselves, wondering what being “raised from the dead” meant.

The disciples began to question him, saying “Why do the Jewish leaders say that Elijah must come first?”

“Elijah does come first and will restore everything,” he answered. “But I tell you that Elijah has already come and they didn’t recognize him, but did whatever they wanted to him, just as it was prophesied. The Son of Man is going to suffer in the same way.”

The disciples then understood that he was talking about John the Baptist.

MT 17:1-13, MK 9:2-13, LK 9:28-36

The power of faith over a demon

A large crowd met them when they came down from the mountain the next day. Scribes were arguing with the rest of the disciples. Jesus asked them “What are you arguing with them about?”

A man in the crowd answered, saying “Lord, have compassion on my only son. He has a spirit that makes him shriek instead of being able to speak normally. Often the spirit seizes him and makes him have convulsions. He foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid when this happens. The spirit often throws him to the ground or into fire or water. I asked your disciples to drive the demon out of my son but they couldn’t.”

Jesus said “You unbelieving and corrupt generation! How long will I be here with you to help you out? How long must I put up with your lack of faith? Bring your son to me.”

They brought the boy, and when the spirit saw Jesus it immediately made the boy have convulsions. He fell on the ground, rolling around, and was foaming at the mouth.

Jesus asked the father “How long has this been happening?”

“From his childhood,” said the boy’s father. “It has often tried to destroy him. If you are able to do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”

“’If you are able’? Everything is possible if you believe.” Jesus replied.

The boy’s father immediately cried out “I believe! Help my unbelief!”

Then Jesus noticed a large crowd was quickly gathering around them. Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, saying “You deaf and mute spirit, I command you to come out of him and never enter him again.” It came out of the boy, making him violently convulse and shriek. Many people in the crowd thought he was dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, helped him stand up, and gave him back to his father. The boy was healed from that moment on. The crowd was amazed at the greatness of God.

Later the disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He told them “This kind of spirit can only come out by prayer and fasting.”

MT 17:14-21, MK 9:14-29, LK 9:37-43a

The second prediction of his death

The crowds were amazed at everything he was doing. Then Jesus started traveling through Galilee, away from the crowds. Jesus was teaching his disciples while they were there.

“Mark my words: the Son of Man is about to be handed over to men. They will kill him and he will be raised up three days later.”

They were deeply distressed and did not understand this statement because the meaning was concealed from them.
They were afraid to ask him what he meant.

MT 17:22-23, MK 9:30-32, LK 9:43b-45

Paying the Temple tax

When they came to Capernaum, the people who collected the double drachma tax for Temple maintenance approached
Peter and said “Doesn’t your teacher pay the double drachma tax?”

Peter answered “Yes.”

When he went to the house, Jesus started talking about what had just happened before Peter had a chance say anything. “What do you think, Simon Peter? Do earthly kings collect taxes from their sons or from strangers?”

“From strangers,” he answered.

“Then the sons owe nothing. But so we won’t annoy them, do this: go cast your fishing line into the sea and catch the first fish that comes up. You’ll find a coin in its mouth. Give it to them to pay the tax for me and you.”

MT 17:24-27

Who is the most important?

The disciples came up to Jesus and asked him “Who is the most important in the kingdom of heaven?” They had been arguing about it.

To answer them, he called a child to him and had him stand in the middle of them. Jesus said, “If anyone wants to be the most important, he has to be the least important, even like a servant to everyone.

Mark my words: unless you change your ways and become innocent like children you will never get into the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever is able to humble himself in the same way that this child is, that person is the most important in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives an innocent child like this in my name is also welcoming me. And whoever welcomes me also welcomes the One who sent me.”

MT 18:1-5, MK 9:33-37, LK 9:46-48

“It is impossible to avoid the causes of sin, but it is a terrible thing to be someone who is responsible for those stumbling blocks! He would be better off if a huge rock were to be tied around his neck and he was thrown into the sea than for him to cause the downfall of an innocent person who believes in me!”

MT 18:6-7, LK 17:1-2, MK 9:42

“If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. Likewise, if your eye leads you into temptation then gouge it out and throw it away. It is better to lose one of the parts of your body than for all of your body to go to hell, where the prophet Isaiah tells us that ‘Their worm does not die, and the fire never goes out.'”

MT 18:8-9, MT 5:29-30, MK 9:43-48

“Everyone will be salted with fire in the same way that every sacrifice made at the Temple is salted. You are the salt of the earth. Salt is good, but if it loses its flavor how can you make it salty again? Then it is no longer good for anything, even the compost pile. The only thing you can do is throw it out for people to walk on. If you have salt among yourselves you will be at peace with one another.”

MK 9:49-50, MT 5:13, LK 14:34-35

Whoever is not against us is for us

Jesus’ disciple John said to him “Teacher, we stopped someone from driving out demons in your name because he isn’t one of us.”

Jesus said “Don’t stop him, because if anyone is doing miracles in my name he’ll soon support my message. Whoever is not against us is for us. Whoever gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Christ, I assure you he will be rewarded.

Anyone who welcomes you, welcomes me. Anyone who welcomes me welcomes the One who sent me. Anyone who welcomes the prophet because he speaks for God will receive the same award the prophet receives. Whoever welcomes a righteous person because of his righteousness will receive the reward of the righteous. Furthermore, whoever gives even a cup of cold water to a little child in the name of the disciple is blessed.”

LK 9:49-50, MK 9:38-41, MT 10:40-42

Restoring a brother

“If your brother sins against you, you should confront him about it in private. If he listens to you, you have won him back. But if he won’t listen to you, then take one or two other people with you to speak with him again, so that these witnesses may be able to establish the truth. If he still won’t listen, then tell the congregation. If he won’t listen even then, treat him as you would treat an unbeliever or a tax collector.

I’ll share this truth with you: whatever you unite on earth is united in heaven, and whatever you let go on earth is let go in heaven. Here’s another truth: if two of you agree about anything that you pray for then my Father in heaven will do it for you. Wherever two or three people gather together in my name, I am there with them.”

MT 18:15-20

Forgive 70 times 7

Peter went up to Jesus and asked “Teacher, how many times should I forgive someone who sins against me? As many as seven times?”

MT 18:21

“Listen to me closely,” Jesus said. “Don’t forgive him seven times, but seventy times seven! If he offends you seven times in one day, yet comes back to you seven times saying that he repents, you must forgive him.”

MT 18:22, LK 17:3-4

The parable of the unforgiving person

Jesus said “The kingdom of heaven is like the idea of the king who wants to balance his books. In the middle of that process, a person who owed him $10 million was brought before him. Since the man had no way of settling his debt, the king ordered that the man, his wife, their children and everything they owned be sold to pay off the account.

The man threw himself to the ground and said ‘Master, please give me a little more time and I will pay you everything!’ The king felt compassion for him so he forgave his debt and sent him on his way.

However, just after the man left the king he found a person who owed him $2000. He started choking him and demanded to be paid back immediately. That man threw himself to the ground and said ‘Please give me a little more time and I will pay you everything!’ But the man refused his request and instead had him thrown into prison until he could pay his debt in full. Other people saw what had happened and they went to the king and told him everything.

The king summoned the man who had owed him $10 million and said ‘You wicked man! I forgave everything that you owed me because you begged me for mercy. Shouldn’t you then have mercy on someone who owes you?’ Then the king had him thrown into jail until he could pay back every penny that he owed.

My Heavenly Father will treat you the same way if you refuse to truly forgive everyone who has harmed you.”

MT 18:23-35

Do your duty

The apostles asked Jesus to show them how to increase their faith. He replied “Would any of you tell your servant to come and sit down to eat when he comes in from a hard day of plowing or tending the sheep? Wouldn’t a master say this instead: ‘Make something for me to eat and then wait on me. After I’m through you can have your supper.’ Do you think he is going to praise the servant for doing what he was commanded to do? Just like that, when you do everything you are commanded to do, you should say ‘We are merely lowly servants; we’re just doing our job.’”

LK 17:7-10

The unbelief of Jesus’ brothers

Jesus traveled in Galilee from then on. He didn’t want to travel in Judea because the Jewish authorities were trying to find a way to have him killed. The Jewish festival of Sukkot was approaching.

Jesus’ brothers said “You should leave here and travel to Judea in order that your followers can see the miracles you are doing. Nobody does something privately if he is seeking public acclaim. If you are going to do these works, you should do them so everyone can see.” Not even his brothers believed in his message.

He said “My time isn’t here yet, but yours is always present. There is no reason for the world to hate you, but it hates me because I speak up about it and its evil acts. Go up to the festival by yourselves. I’m not going yet because it isn’t my time.”

He stayed in Galilee after he said this.

JN 7:1-9