Lazarus dies at Bethany
A man named Lazarus from the village of Bethany was sick. He was the brother of Mary and Martha, who also lived there. Mary was the lady who had anointed Jesus with fragrant oil called nard and then used her hair to wipe his feet. The sisters sent a message to Jesus, saying “Lord, someone that you love is sick.”
When Jesus received the message, he said “This sickness will not lead to death, but to the glory of God. The Son of Man will be glorified through it.” Even though Jesus loved the three of them, he didn’t start to go to them until two days later.
The disciples challenged him when he told them that they were going to Judea, saying “The Jewish leaders want to stone you to death, and you want to go there again?”
Jesus answered, “There are twelve hours of daylight every day, where people can walk without stumbling because of all the light. People stumble at night because they don’t have light.” Then he said, “Lazarus has merely fallen asleep, and I’m headed there to awaken him.”
The disciples said “Lord, he’ll get well if he has just gone to sleep.” They did not realize that Jesus was talking about his death, so Jesus spoke plainly to them. “Lazarus has died. I’m glad that I wasn’t there at that time so you will have another reason to believe in me. Let us be on our way.”
Thomas, nicknamed “Twin”, said to the others “Let’s all go and die along with him.”
The resurrection and the life
Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days by the time Jesus arrived in Bethany. The village was about two miles away from Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish leaders had come to comfort Martha and Mary about their brother’s death. Martha went to meet Jesus as soon as she heard he was approaching, but Mary stayed sitting right where she was at home.
Martha said to Jesus “Lord, my brother wouldn’t have died if you had been here. But even after all this time I know that God will grant any request you make.”
“Your brother will live again.” Jesus assured her.
Martha thought that Jesus was talking about the resurrection of the dead on the last day, but then Jesus said “I resurrect people and restore them to life. Anyone who believes in me will never really die. Even if his body dies, he will have eternal life. Do you believe what I am saying?”
Martha answered “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the long-awaited Messiah, the Son of God.”
Martha then went to speak privately with her sister, saying “The Teacher is asking for you.” Mary immediately got up to go to him. Jesus was still where Martha had met him just outside the village. The Jewish leaders who had been consoling Mary noticed how quickly she had left, so they followed her. They thought she was leaving to go cry at the tomb.
When Mary saw Jesus, she said “Lord, my brother wouldn’t have died if you had been here!”
Jesus was distraught when he saw that she and the others with her were crying. He asked “Where have you placed him?”
They answered “Come with us and see.”
The Jewish leaders said “Look! He must have loved him deeply!” But others said “Couldn’t someone who healed a blind man have prevented this man’s death?”
The resurrection of Lazarus
Jesus was filled with a deep anger when he heard this and approached the tomb. The tomb was in a cave and there was a large stone covering the entrance. Jesus asked them to roll the stone aside.
Martha said “He’s been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”
But Jesus said “Did I not say that you would see the glory of God if only you believe?”
So they rolled the stone away from the entrance to the tomb. Jesus raised his eyes and said “Father, thank you for listening to me. I know that you always listen to me, but I’ve said this now because of the crowd which is here, so they can believe that you sent me.” After saying this, Jesus shouted “Lazarus, come out!”
Lazarus walked out of the tomb covered from head to toe with the linen cloths that he had been buried in. Jesus said “Remove the burial cloths and release him.”
The plot to kill Jesus
Because of this, many of the Jewish leaders who had come to console Martha and Mary in their grief began to believe in Jesus. However, some of them went to tell the Pharisees what Jesus had done.
Jesus said to his followers, “Know that the Son of Man will be betrayed and ultimately crucified two days from now when the festival of Passover takes place.”
The chief priests, elders, and scribes met at the palace of the high priest Caiaphas to discuss how they were going to secretly arrest and murder Jesus. They didn’t want to do it during the Passover festival because they were afraid that his supporters would riot.
MT 26:1-5, MK 14:1-2, LK 22:1-2
When the Pharisees and the chief priests convened the Sanhedrin, they said “What should we do since this man is performing miracles? If we let him keep doing this, everybody will believe he’s the Messiah! Then the Romans will destroy our Temple and maybe even our nation.”
Caiaphas, the high priest that year, said “You don’t know anything! You don’t realize that it is to our advantage that one man should be sacrificed instead of the whole nation.”
Caiaphas was not speaking for himself when he said this but in his role as that year’s high priest. He was prophesying that Jesus was to die to save the nation. This sacrifice was not just for the nation but also to draw together all the children of God who were scattered around the world.
From that day on the Jewish authorities began to look for ways to kill Jesus. Because of this, Jesus no longer went openly among them but instead went to stay with his disciples in a town called Ephraim, which was in the countryside near the wilderness.
The Festival of Passover was approaching, so many people traveled from the countryside up to Jerusalem beforehand to purify themselves. They were hoping to see Jesus. While they were standing in the Temple complex they asked each other “Do you think he’ll come to the Festival or not?” The Pharisees and the chief priests had ordered anyone who knew where Jesus was to tell them, because they wanted to have him arrested.
The ten lepers
Jesus passed between the regions of Samaria and Galilee while he was traveling to Jerusalem. Ten men with leprosy approached him when he entered a village. They stood some distance away from him and called out to him, saying “Jesus, Lord, have mercy on us!”
Jesus noticed them and said “Go show yourselves to the priests.” They were healed on their way.
One of them returned to Jesus when he noticed that he had been healed and gave glory to God with a loud voice. He threw himself facedown at Jesus’ feet, giving thanks. This man was a Samaritan.
Jesus said “Weren’t ten people healed? Where are the rest? Has only this foreigner returned to give glory to God?” Then he said “Rise, and be on your way. Your faith has healed you.”
The parable of the persistent widow
One day Jesus told his disciples a parable to teach them that they needed to not get discouraged but to pray constantly instead.
“There once was a judge who didn’t fear anyone – God or man. A widow kept coming to him to obtain justice for herself against her adversary. He put her off for a long time. But after a while, he said to himself, “Even though I don’t fear anybody there is something about the fact that this woman keeps pestering me that gets to me. I will rule in her favor so she doesn’t beat me up with her incessant demands.”
Jesus said “Look! Even this hardhearted judge will give in to someone who constantly asks for relief. Don’t you think that God (who is good) will grant relief to those who respect God if they keep asking? Of course God will, and God will help them quickly.
In spite of all this, when the Son of Man comes again how many will be found who have faith and are praying?”
The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector
Jesus told this parable to some people who were contemptuous and felt they were more righteous than everyone else:
“A Pharisee and a tax collector once went up to the Temple to pray. The Pharisee stood alone and began to pray: ‘God, thank you that I’m not like other people – the greedy, unrighteous, or the adulterers, or even this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of my earnings.’
But the tax collector, standing far away, wouldn’t even raise his eyes up to heaven but kept striking his chest in mourning, saying ‘God have mercy on me, a sinner!’
I tell you, this man returned home justified, instead of the other one. Anyone who raises himself up will be humbled, but anyone who humbles himself will be raised up.”
Jesus left Galilee and went across the Jordan to the region of Judea. Large crowds followed him and he healed and taught them as he normally did. Some Pharisees came up to him to test him. They asked “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?”
MT 19:1-3, MK 10:1-2
He replied, “Surely you have read that in the beginning, God made people male and female, and God said ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’. So they are no longer two separate people, but one being. What God has put together, we should not separate.”
MT 19:4-6, MK 10:6-9
“Why then,” they asked him, “did Moses tell us that whoever divorces his wife must give her divorce papers and send her away?”
MT 5:31, MT 19:7, MK 10:3-4
Jesus answered “Moses wrote that rule because people have hard hearts. But this is not what God intended.”
MT 19:8, MK 10:5
“I tell you that any man who divorces his wife, except in a case of sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery. And if a person divorces their spouse and marries another person, they commit adultery. Everyone who marries a divorced woman is also guilty of adultery.
LK 16:18, MT 19:9, MT 5:32, MK 10:11
His disciples said “If being married is like this then it’s better not to marry!”
But Jesus said “This teaching is not for everyone but only to those who it is meant for. There are eunuchs who were that way at birth, there are eunuchs who were created by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves that way for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let anyone accept this teaching who able to.”
Blessing the children
Some parents were bringing their young children to Jesus so he could bless them. The disciples tried to turn them away.
Jesus was upset with them and said “Don’t prevent children from coming to me. The kingdom of heaven is made up of people who have a childlike faith. I tell you truthfully, if you do not welcome the kingdom of God in the same manner as a child, you will never get in.”
After taking the children in his arms, he laid his hands on their heads and blessed them.
MT 19:13-15, MK 10:13-16, LK 18:15-17
The rich young man
A rich young man approached Jesus, and kneeling down before him, said “Good Teacher, what do I have to do to attain eternal life?”
Jesus asked him “Why do you call me good? There’s only One who is good, and that is God. If you want to have eternal life, then keep the Commandments. Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not lie about anyone, honor your parents, and love your neighbor as yourself.”
The young man said “I have kept all these since I was a child. What more should I do?” Jesus looked at him with compassion and said “You have only one more thing to do: sell everything that you have and give it away to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. Then you may follow me.”
The young man was speechless at these words of Jesus. He went away feeling very sorrowful because he had many possessions.
MT 19:16-22, MK 10:17-22, LK 18:18-23
Possessions and the kingdom
Jesus then said “It is very difficult for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. It would be easier for a huge camel to go through the tiny eye of a needle.”
His audience was astounded and confused at the same time. They asked “Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said “If people try to do it with their own power, they will fail. But if they rely on God’s power then everything is possible.”
Peter looked at him and said “Lord, we’ve left everything we had to follow you. What will happen to us?”
“Mark my words,” Jesus said, “everyone who has left their home and family because of me and the good news will receive 100 times more than that back now, as well as receive eternal life in the age that is coming. Many who are last will be first and many who are first will be last.”
MT 19:23-30, MK 10:23-31, LK 18:24-30
The parable of the vineyard workers
“The kingdom of heaven can be compared to the story of a landowner who went out early one morning to find people to work in his vineyard. After agreeing with them about the wage for the day, he sent them off to work. A few hours later he saw more men standing idle in the marketplace. He told them to go to his vineyard as well and he would pay them a fair wage. Around noon and again at 3 PM he hired more men. Around 5 o’clock he saw yet more people and asked them ‘Why are you standing around here doing nothing?’ ‘Because no one has hired us’, they said. ‘Go to my vineyard’, he told them, ‘and you will get a fair wage.’
When the work was over for the day, the owner told the foreman, ‘Call the workers in and pay them, starting with the last who were hired and ending with the first.’ When the ones who were hired around 5 o’clock came, they were each paid a full day’s wage. When the first who were hired came, they were sure that they would get more, but they received the same amount as those who were hired last. They complained, saying ‘The guys you hired last only worked for one hour, and you gave them the same amount as us, who worked all day in the burning heat!’
‘Friend,’ he replied to one of them, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong to you! Didn’t you agree to work all day for this wage? Take it and leave. I want to give the last people who were hired the same as I give the first. Don’t I have the right to run my business the way I want? Are you upset because I am kind?’
In the same way, the last will be first and the first will be last.”
The third prediction of his death
Jesus took his disciples aside to speak with them privately while they were on the road going up to Jerusalem. He let them know what was about to happen to him.
“Pay attention! We are going up to Jerusalem. Everything that the prophets wrote about the Son of Man is about to be fulfilled:
He will be handed over to the religious authorities and they will sentence him to death. Then he will be handed over to the Gentiles and he will be mocked, insulted, and spat on. Then they will flog him and crucify him. After all that he will rise three days later.”
MT 20:17-19, MK 10:32-34, LK 18:31-34
Suffering and service
Jesus’ disciples James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached Jesus with their mother to ask a favor. They asked Jesus to be allowed to sit on either side of him when he achieved his glory in the kingdom of heaven.
But Jesus said “You have no idea what you are asking for! Are you able to undergo all the trials and sufferings that I must endure?”
“We are able,” they answered.
Jesus said “You will indeed go through the trials that I will go through, but it is not up to me to say who sits with me in heaven. That is something that is decided by my heavenly Father.”
When the other disciples realized what James and John were asking, they were angry because of their audacity. Jesus called all the disciples together and said “The Gentiles have people who exercise power over them such as kings and men of high positions. Things must be different among all who follow me. For you, whoever wants to be great must be like a servant. And whoever wants to be the best must serve everyone. For even I did not come to be served, but rather to be a servant, and even to give my life as a ransom for many people.”
MT 20:20-28, MK 10:35-45
A blind man healed
A large crowd was following Jesus and his disciples when they were near Jericho. A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (the son of Timaeus) was sitting by the road. When he asked what was going on, a person told him “Jesus the Nazarene is walking by.”
He began to cry out “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” People in the front of the crowd told him to keep quiet, but he began to cry out even more, saying “Have mercy on me, Son of David!”
Jesus stopped and asked that the blind man be brought to him. They called to the blind man and said “Cheer up! Come on, he’s calling for you!” Immediately he flung off his cloak, jumped up and went to Jesus.
Jesus asked him “What do you want me to do for you?”
Bartimaeus said, “Teacher, I want to see!”
Moved with compassion, Jesus said “Open your eyes. Your faith has healed you.”
He was immediately able to see and he began to follow him on the road, giving glory to God. Everyone who saw this happen began to praise God.
MT 20:29-34, MK 10:46-52, LK 18:35-43
Jesus and Zacchaeus
Jesus entered and traveled through Jericho. The chief tax collector there was named Zacchaeus, and he was quite wealthy. A large crowd had gathered to see Jesus but Zacchaeus was having a hard time spotting him because he was very short. He ran ahead along the path that Jesus was going to take and climbed up a sycamore tree. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up into the tree and said “Zacchaeus, come down quickly because I must stay at your home today.”
He quickly climbed down from the tree and joyfully welcomed Jesus. Everyone who saw this began to complain “He’s going to stay with a sinner!”
But Zacchaeus stood and said “Listen, I’ll hand over half of everything I have to the poor, Lord, and if I’ve overcharged anyone I’ll repay them four times the amount!”
“Salvation has come to this house today,” said Jesus, “because he also is a son of Abraham. The Son of Man has come to find and rescue the lost.”