“The Condensed Gospel” is now available!

Cover of book

My latest book, “The Condensed Gospel” is now available from Amazon in print and e-book. It is the Gospel story, in order, as one story, with no repetition. It is designed to be the most accessible rendition of the message and life of Jesus ever yet produced.

Here is a link to the print version

http://www.amazon.com/Condensed-Gospel-Betsy-Nelson/dp/1505514940/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1450559270&sr=8-2&keywords=betsy+nelson

And here is a link to the e-book version

http://www.amazon.com/Condensed-Gospel-Betsy-Nelson-ebook/dp/B019KFXZ2U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1450559270&sr=8-1&keywords=betsy+nelson

I have them at the lowest price that Amazon will allow me to sell them.

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The Condensed Gospel chapter 6 (part B)

Crucified between two criminals

They made their way to Golgotha (which means “Skull Place”). It was late morning by this point. There were two criminals who were crucified that same day along with Jesus. There was one on either side of him. This fulfilled the scripture which said “He was counted among the outlaws.”

Jesus said “Father, forgive them, because they don’t know what they are doing.” They offered him bitter wine with an anesthetic called gall in it but he refused to drink it after he tasted it.

Pilate had the charge against him mounted above him and written in Greek, Latin and Hebrew. It said “This is Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews.” Many Jews read the sign because Golgotha was near the city. The chief priests said to Pilate “Don’t write that he is ‘the King of the Jews’, but that ‘he claimed to be the King of the Jews’.” Pilate replied, “I have written what I have written.”

Four soldiers took Jesus’ clothes when they crucified him, dividing them between them. They decided to cast lots for his tunic because it was woven as one piece, without seams, so they didn’t want to tear it up. In doing this they fulfilled the scripture that said “They divided my clothes among them, and they cast lots for my clothing.” The soldiers then sat down there to guard him.

The passers-by were yelling insults at him, shaking their heads and saying “You said you would demolish the Temple and rebuild it in three days!? Save yourself by getting off that cross if you are the Messiah!”

Likewise, the chief priests and scribes were mocking him among themselves and saying “He saved other people but he can’t save himself! Let the ‘Messiah’, the ‘King the Jews’, save himself now so we can see and believe in him! He said that he is God’s son. If God loves him, then let God rescue him!”

One of the criminals being crucified alongside Jesus also began to mock him, saying “Save yourself and us if you’re the Messiah!” But the other criminal rebuked him, saying “Don’t you have any fear of God since you’re being punished in the same way? We deserve to be punished like this for the things we’ve done, but this man is completely innocent.” Then he added “Jesus, Lord, think of me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus replied “Truly, you will be with me today in paradise.”

MT 27:33-44, MK 15:22-32, LK 23:32-43, JN 19:17-24

Jesus’ provision for his mother

Jesus’ mother, along with Mary Magdalene and his aunt Mary (who was the wife of Clopas), were standing by his cross. When Jesus noticed his mother standing with the disciple he loved, he said “Woman, here is your son.” To the disciple he said, “Here is your mother.” From that point on the disciple made her a part of his family.

JN 19:25-27

Jesus dies

Darkness came over all the earth from noon until three. Jesus knew that all the Scriptures had been fulfilled at this point. Around three pm he yelled out “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?”

The people standing by thought he was calling out for Elijah. Jesus then called out, saying “I’m thirsty!” Someone ran to get a sponge, soaked up some sour wine that was in a nearby jar, and put it on a long hyssop reed to hold up to his mouth so he could drink. Another person said “Let’s wait to see if Elijah comes to rescue him!”

After Jesus had some of the wine, he said with a loud voice “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands. It is finished!” He bowed his head, breathed his last, and released his spirit.

Suddenly the curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the sanctuary ripped in half from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks broke in half, and the tombs of the dead were broken open. The bodies of the righteous were raised from the dead. They left their tombs after Jesus was resurrected and walked to Jerusalem, where many people saw them.

The centurion and the soldiers who were guarding Jesus saw all that had happened and were terrified. They said “This man really was the Son of God!” The crowd that had gathered to watch the spectacle went home, striking their chests in grief after they witnessed the events.

MT 27:45-54, MK 15:33-39, LK 23:44-48, JN 19:28-30

Women with him

Many women were there who had followed and helped Jesus from when he was in Galilee. They were watching the crucifixion from a distance. They included Mary Magdalene, Mary who was James and Joseph’s mother, Salome, and the mother of James and John (the sons of Zebedee). Many other women had traveled with him up to Jerusalem.

MT 27:55-56, MK 15:40-41, LK 23:49

Jesus’ side pierced

The Jews didn’t want the bodies to stay on the cross through the next day because not only was it the Sabbath, but it was also the first day of Passover. They asked Pilate to have the men’s legs broken to hasten their death so that their bodies could be removed before the Sabbath began. The soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men who had been crucified alongside Jesus. They saw that Jesus was already dead when they came to him, so they did not break his legs. However, a soldier used a spear to pierce his side and blood and water immediately flowed out.

The one who saw this has told you this so that you might believe. He speaks the truth and is convinced that what he is saying is true.

These things fulfilled the Scriptures that say “None of his bones will be broken” and “They will look upon the One they have pierced.”

JN 19:31-37

The burial

Joseph, a wealthy man from Arimathea in Judea, came to Golgotha in the evening. He was an important member of the Sanhedrin who had not agreed with what they had decided to do about Jesus. He was also a righteous man and secretly one of Jesus’ followers. He looked forward to the coming of the kingdom of God.

He boldly approached Pilate to claim Jesus’ body. Pilate agreed to his request once he learned from the centurion that Jesus had already died. He was surprised that he had died so quickly.

Joseph removed Jesus’ body from the cross and wrapped it with fine linen he had bought. Nicodemus (the Pharisee who had earlier come at night to secretly talk with Jesus) was also there and he brought a large mixture of myrrh and aloe. They used it along with the linen to prepare Jesus’ body in accordance with Jewish burial customs.

Joseph placed the body in an unused tomb that was cut into the rock in a nearby garden. They did this because they did not have time to fully prepare the body because the Sabbath was quickly approaching. Joseph rolled a large stone over the entrance and then left.

Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph were seated nearby, watching where the body was placed. They returned to where they were staying and prepared spices and perfumes for the body. Then they rested, because it was the Sabbath.

MT 27:57-61, MK 15:42-47, LK 23:50-56, JN 19:38-42

The closely guarded tomb

The next day the chief priests and Pharisees assembled before Pilate and said “Sir, we remember that while that liar was alive he said ‘I will rise again after three days’. Therefore, we request that you give orders for the tomb to be secured until then. If not, his disciples may steal his body and tell everyone that he has been raised from the dead. If they do that it will make a bad situation worse.”

Pilate told them to use some soldiers as a guard saying “Go make it secure in the best way you know.” Then they left and secured the tomb by putting a seal around the stone and posting guards.

MT 27:62-66

Resurrection morning

Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, Joanna, and Salome went to the tomb while it was still dark on the first day of the week, after the Sabbath had ended. They brought the spices and perfumes they had prepared to anoint the body. They were wondering among themselves how they would roll back the stone that was covering the entrance to the tomb.

An angel of the Lord suddenly descended from heaven, causing the earth to shake. He rolled back the stone door and then sat upon it. He shone with a brilliant light and his robe was snow-white. The guards were paralyzed with fear when they saw him. The women bowed down to the ground, amazed and terrified.

The angel said to the women “Do not be afraid! I know that you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. Why are you looking among the dead for the living? He is not here – he has been resurrected! Remember how he told you when he was in Galilee that the Son of Man would be betrayed into the hands of sinners, be crucified, and will rise on the third day?” Then they remembered that Jesus had said this.

The angel continued, saying “Come and see where they put him. Go quickly and tell his disciples ‘He has been raised from the dead. He is going ahead to Galilee – you will see him there, just as he said.’ Make sure you tell them this.”

The women, trembling with amazement and alarm, ran from the tomb to tell the other disciples the news.

MT 28:1-8, MK 16:1-8, LK 24:1-8, JN 20:1

Mary Magdalene and the other women see Jesus

Mary saw a man in the garden not far from the tomb. She assumed he was the gardener. He was Jesus, but she did not recognize him. When he said “Mary”, she instantly knew who he was.

“Teacher!” She exclaimed, reaching for him.

He cautioned her, saying “Don’t hold on to me, because I haven’t yet gone up to my Father. But go and tell my brothers that I am ascending to our Father – mine and yours. I am leaving for Galilee, have them meet me there.”

The other women saw him as well, and they held his feet and worshipped him.
The women reported to the disciples on all that had happened and relayed the message from the angel and Jesus to travel to Galilee, yet they didn’t believe them. The disciples thought they were making up the story.

MT 28:9-10, MK 16:9-11, LK 24:9-11, JN 20:14-18

Peter and John go to the tomb

Peter and John ran to the tomb. John outran Peter and got there first. He stooped down to look into the tomb and saw the linen cloths, but he stayed outside. Then Peter arrived and went inside the tomb. He saw the linen cloths for the body along with the linen that was used to wrap Jesus’ head folded up and separate from the rest.

John, who had gotten there first, entered the tomb after Peter and when he saw the linen cloths he believed. At this point they still did not understand the Scripture that said Jesus must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned home.

JN 20:3-10, LK 24:12

The soldiers are bribed to lie

While the women were returning to the disciples, the soldiers who had been guarding the tomb reported what had happened to the chief priests. The priests met with the elders to decide what to do. They gave the soldiers a lot of money and told them “Say ‘His disciples stole his body while we were sleeping.’ If Pilate hears about this we will handle it and cover for you.” The soldiers took the bribe and did as they were told. This story has been repeated among the Jews to this very day.

MT 28:11-15

On the road to Emmaus

The same day, two of Jesus’ followers were on the way to a village named Emmaus. It is about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were discussing everything that had happened while they were walking. While they were talking and arguing, Jesus began to walk along with them but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. Jesus asked them, “What are you two arguing about on your way?” They stopped walking and looked dejected.
Cleopas answered, “Are you the only person visiting in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard the news?”
“What news?” Jesus asked.

They said “All the news about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet that was powerful in word and deed before God and everyone, and the fact that our own Temple priests and leaders handed him over to the civil authorities to be sentenced to death and then crucified. We had hoped that he was the promised Messiah who had come to liberate Israel. In addition to all of this, three days have passed. Also some of the women in our group told us something amazing. They went out early in the morning to the tomb and didn’t find his body there. They told us that they had seen an angel who said he was alive! A couple of people from our group went to the tomb to check and found it as the women had said, but they didn’t see him.”

Then Jesus said to them “How slow you are to believe everything the prophets said was to happen! Didn’t they clearly say that the Messiah had to endure everything that has happened before entering into his glory?” Then he began telling them everything that the Prophets had said about him, starting with Moses and going through all the Scriptures, explaining what everything meant.

By this time they were almost to Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus gave the impression that he had further to go, but they urged him to stop for the evening because it was so late. So he went in with them to where they were staying.

While he was reclining at the table to eat, he took the bread, gave thanks for it and broke it, and then gave it to them. Suddenly their eyes were opened and they recognized him but then he immediately vanished before their eyes. They began to discuss this, saying “Weren’t our hearts full of fire while he was explaining the Scriptures to us on the road?” They immediately returned to Jerusalem and found the rest of Jesus’ followers who told them “The Lord is risen! He has appeared to Simon!” Then the two who had returned from Emmaus began to share what had happened to them and how he had revealed himself to them while breaking bread.

LK 24:13-35, MK 16:12-13

Jesus appears before them

That same evening, the disciples were all together behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities. Jesus suddenly appeared among them saying “Peace to you!” They were terrified, convinced that they were seeing a ghost.

“Why are you upset?” he asked. “Why do you doubt that I’m real? Look at my hands and feet. Touch me and know for sure that I’m real. A ghost doesn’t have a body like I do.” He then held out his hands and feet for them to look at. Even though, they still had a hard time believing that he was really there because they didn’t dare believe it was true. He then asked if they had something to eat, so they gave him some broiled fish and a piece of honeycomb, and he ate it while they watched.

Then he said “Here is what I told you before, about how everything written about me in the Scriptures must come to pass.” He then opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He then said “It was written that the Messiah must suffer and then rise from the grave on the third day, and there would be repentance and forgiveness of sins declared in his name, beginning in Jerusalem and spreading to the whole world. You are all witnesses of these facts. Behold, I will send to you what my Father promised. But for now, stay here in Jerusalem until you receive that heavenly power.”

LK 24:36-49, MK 16:14, JN 20:19-20

The great commission

The 11 disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. They worshiped him when they saw him there. Then Jesus approached them and said “Peace to you! My Father has given me authority over all the earth and heaven. As my Father has sent me, so I send you.”

Then he breathed on them, saying “Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive their sins, they are not forgiven. Go preach the gospel and disciple everyone throughout the world, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, instructing them to follow everything I have commanded you to do. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved, but anyone who does not believe will be lost.

These signs will follow believers – they will cast out demons in my name, they will speak new languages, they will handle snakes and not be harmed if they drink poison, and the sick will be healed when they lay hands on them. Look! I am always with you, to the end of this era.”

MT 28:16-20, MK 16:15-18, JN 20:21-23

Doubting Thomas

Thomas, the disciple known as “Twin” was not with the others when Jesus appeared before them. They kept telling him “We have seen the Lord!” He kept saying “I’ll never believe unless I see the nail marks in his hands with my own eyes and touch them with my own fingers and put my hand into the spear wound on his side!”

Eight days later the disciples were again indoors, but this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked, but then Jesus suddenly stood among them, saying “Peace to you!”

Looking at Thomas, he said “Look at my hands – touch them! Put your hand into my side as well. Don’t be without belief – be a believer!”

Thomas replied “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus said “Have you believed only because you have seen? Blessed are those who believe without seeing.”

JN 20:24-29

John’s commentary

The disciples saw Jesus perform many other signs that are not recorded here, but these which have been included are written so that you will believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, and that through this belief you will have life in his name.

JN 20:30-31

Jesus appears on the shore

Jesus also revealed himself to his disciples by the Sea of Galilee. This is what happened: Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael from Cana of Galilee, James and John (Zebedee’s sons) and two other disciples were together. Peter announced “I’m going fishing.” The rest of them decided to go with him. They caught nothing that night.

At daybreak, Jesus stood on the shore, but they did not recognize him. He called out to them, saying “Boys, don’t you have any fish?”

“No,” they replied.

He said “If you cast your net on the right side of the boat, you’ll find some.”

They cast their net as he said, and the net was so full of fish they were unable to haul it in. John, the disciple Jesus loved, said to Peter “It is the Lord!”

When Simon Peter heard this, he tied his tunic around him (he was bare-chested) and jumped into the sea to swim ashore. The other disciples decided to steer the boat ashore instead, since it was only about a hundred yards away. They dragged the net full of fish with them.

When they came ashore they saw a charcoal fire with fish cooking over it, along with some bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring over some of those fish you just caught.” Simon Peter got up and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish – 153 of them – but even though there were so many fish, the net did not tear.

Jesus invited them to have breakfast with him. None of them were brave enough to say “Who are you?” to him. They all knew it was Jesus. He then served them the bread and fish.

This was the third time he had revealed himself to his disciples after he had been raised from the dead.

JN 21:1-14

Feed my sheep

After they ate breakfast, Jesus asked Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than the others?”

“Of course, Lord,” Peter replied. “You know that I love you.”

“Feed my lambs.” Jesus said.

Then a second time he asked, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter answered “Yes, Lord. You know I love you.”

“Shepherd my sheep.” Jesus said. Then Jesus asked him for the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was upset and even a little sad that Jesus had asked him three times if he loved him. He said “Lord, everything is revealed to you! Surely you know that I love you.”

“Feed my sheep.” Jesus said. “Listen to me closely. When you were young, you could do anything you wanted to do however you liked, but when you grow old you will reach out your hands and others will take you where you don’t want to go.” In saying this, Jesus indicated how he would die that would glorify God.

Then after saying this he said to Peter “Follow me!”

JN 21:15-19

What about him?

Peter noticed John, the disciple Jesus loved, following along behind them. That was the same disciple who had leaned in and asked Jesus at the supper which one of the disciples was going to betray him. Noticing him, Peter asked Jesus “What will happen to him, Lord?”

Jesus replied “If I want him to stay until I come again, what concern is that of yours? Your task is to follow me.”

So this message spread throughout the community of believers that John would not die. Yet Jesus did not say that, but only “If I want him to stay until I come again, what concern is that of yours?”

JN 21:20-23

John’s epilogue

This disciple is the one who speaks the truth about these events and who wrote them down. We confirm the truth of his testimony.

Jesus did many other things which were so numerous that, if they were written down, would fill up so many books that I believe there wouldn’t be enough room for them throughout the whole world.

JN 21:24-25

The Ascension

Jesus led his disciples near Bethany. He lifted his hands up and blessed the disciples. During his blessing, he rose up into the heavens and went to sit at the right hand of God.

The disciples spoke words of praise and worship and then returned to Jerusalem, overflowing with joy.
When they weren’t blessing God in the Temple complex, they preached the message of Jesus everywhere they went. The Lord worked with them and confirmed their message by the accompanying miracles.

MK 16:19-20, LK 24:50-53

The Condensed Gospel chapter 6 (part A)

The Judas kiss

A crowd suddenly arrived while Jesus was speaking. Jesus’ disciple Judas was leading them. He knew where Jesus would be because he often met there with his disciples. Judas lead priests, scribes, and elders from the Temple, along with soldiers carrying lanterns, torches, swords and clubs.

Judas had given them a sign, saying “The one I kiss is the one you want to arrest.” Judas immediately went up to
Jesus and said “Teacher!” and kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, are you here to betray me with a kiss? Do what you have come to do.”

Jesus, knowing what was about to happen, said to the crowd “Who are you looking for?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they answered.

“I am.” Jesus responded.

Judas was standing with the accusers at this point. When Jesus admitted he was the one they were looking for, they all fell to the ground.

Again he asked them “Who are you looking for?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.

“I’ve already told you I am. Since you are looking for just me, let these others go.” This fulfilled Jesus’ words when he said “I have not lost a single person that God has given me.”

Then the Temple authorities and soldiers seized him to arrest him.

One of the disciples asked “Lord, should we attack them with their swords?” Without waiting for an answer, Simon Peter drew his sword and cut off the right ear of the high priest’s slave, whose name was Malchus.

Jesus said “No more violence! Put your sword away! Everyone who takes up the sword will die in the same way. Do you not think that I can call on my Father who will immediately provide me with more than a dozen legions of angels? The Scriptures must be fulfilled that say it has to happen this way. I must drink the cup which my Father has given me.”

Jesus then touched the slave’s ear and healed him.

Speaking to the crowd, Jesus said “Have you come with weapons to arrest me like I’m a criminal? I used to teach every day in the Temple – you could have arrested me there. Yet all of this happened so that the words of the prophets would be fulfilled. But this is your time, and a time when darkness reigns.”

Then all of his disciples ran away.

A young man who was following Jesus was there, wearing just a linen cloth. The crowd tried to grab him as he ran away, but he slipped away naked, leaving his cloth behind.

MT 26:47-56, MK 14:43-52, LK 22:47-53, JN 17:1-11

Jesus taken to the high priest

The civil and religious authorities tied Jesus up and led him first to Annas. He was the high priest Caiaphas’ father-in-law. Caiaphas had told the Jews that it would be a good idea if one man should die for everyone.

JN 18:12-14

Jesus was asked there about his followers and what he taught them.

Jesus said “Many people know what I’ve taught, because I have regularly taught in the synagogue and the Temple complex, where all the Jews gather. I’ve not taught anything secretly. Why are you questioning me? Question the people who have listened to me – they know.”

A Temple policeman slapped Jesus after he said this, demanding “Is that the way to speak to the high priest?”

“If I have spoken falsely, then prove it. If not, then why hit me?” Jesus asked.

Then Annas had Jesus tied up and sent him to Caiaphas, the high priest.

JN 18:19-24

Jesus was taken to see the high priest Caiaphas. The chief priests, elders, and scribes were waiting there. Peter was following not far behind so he could see what happened.

MT 26:57-58, MK 14:53-54, LK 22:54

Jesus faces the Sanhedrin

The chief priests and scribes assembled at daybreak to bring Jesus before the Sanhedrin. They were trying to gather testimony against Jesus so they could sentence him to death, but they had no success. There were many people who brought false testimony against Jesus, but their accounts did not agree.

Two men stood up and testified against him, saying “He said that he could demolish this sanctuary of God which was built with human hands, and build another in three days, not using human hands.”

Then the high priest stood up in front of everyone and asked Jesus “Don’t you have something to say about what these men have testified against you?” But Jesus said nothing.

The high priest demanded “I place you under the oath of God, are you the Messiah?”

Jesus said, “No matter what I tell you, you won’t believe me. If I ask you, you won’t answer.”
Then they asked “Are you the Son of God? Tell us!”

“You have said so,” Jesus replied, adding “and from this point onwards, every one of you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power of God, and arriving with the heavenly clouds.”

The high priest tore his robes, saying “We don’t need to hear from any other witnesses, since he spoke this blasphemy to us himself. What is your decision?”

They unanimously decided that he deserved to be put to death. Some of them spit on Jesus’ face. They then blindfolded and beat him, mocking him by saying “Prophesy to us now! Who hit you?” The Temple police slapped him as well.

MT 26:59-68, MK 14:55-65, LK 22:63-71

Peter denies that he knows Jesus

Meanwhile, Peter and another disciple were following Jesus at a distance. The other disciple was acquainted with the high priest, so he followed Jesus all the way into the high priest’s courtyard. Peter stayed outside by the door, standing by himself. The other disciple spoke to the slave girl who was the doorkeeper and he brought Peter into the courtyard.

The slaves and Temple guards lit a charcoal fire in the courtyard below to warm themselves up. Peter was sitting around the fire with them.

When the slave girl who had let him in took at look at him in the firelight, she said “You were with him, that Jesus of Nazareth.”

But Peter denied it, saying “I was not, I don’t know him! I don’t know what you are talking about!” Then he walked closer to the doorway.

A little later, another person saw him and said to those nearby, “He’s one of his disciples!”

“I don’t know him!” Peter exclaimed.

About an hour later, a relative of Malchus, the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said “Weren’t you in the garden with him? Your accent is Galilean, so surely you are one of them.”

Then Peter started to curse and make oaths to swear that what he was saying was true, saying “I don’t even know who you are talking about!”

Right then, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed, and Peter remembered that the Lord had said “Truly, you will deny that you know me three times before the rooster crows this very day!”

He went outside and wept bitterly.

MT 26:69-75, MK 14:66-72, LK 22:55-62, JN 18:15-18 and 18:25-27

Judas hangs himself

Judas was filled with remorse at what he had done when he learned that Jesus had been sentenced to death. He returned the 30 silver pieces to the chief priests and elders.

“I have sinned by betraying an innocent man,” he said.

“So? How does that concern us? That is your problem!” they retorted.

He threw the silver into the Temple sanctuary and left. He hung himself that very hour.

The chief priests gathered up the coins and said “It is against the Law to put this money with the Temple offerings because it is blood money.” After some discussion, they decided to buy a potter’s field to turn it into a burial place for foreigners who died in the city. It is because of this that this cemetery is called “The Field of Blood” even now.

This fulfilled the words of the prophet Jeremiah when he said – “They took the thirty silver pieces, the price the sons of Israel set for Him, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord ordered me.”

MT 27:3-10

Jesus faces Herod

When Pilate heard the people say the word “Galilee,” he asked if Jesus was a Galilean. They said he was, so Pilate sent him to Herod Antipas because that was his jurisdiction and Herod happened to be in Jerusalem then.

Herod was thrilled to see Jesus. He had heard a lot about him and had wanted to see him for a long time. He hoped to see him perform a miracle. He kept asking Jesus questions but he would not answer. The chief priests and scribes stood there, angrily accusing Jesus.

Then Herod and his soldiers began to treat Jesus with contempt by mocking him and dressing him in a purple robe.
Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate that same day. Herod and Pilate became friends with each other from that point – previously they had been enemies.

LK 23:6-12

Jesus faces Pilate

As soon as the sun rose, the chief priests, elders, scribes and the entire Sanhedrin met, plotting to find a way to execute Jesus. They bound him and led him out to hand him over to Pilate, the governor of that area. They did not enter Pilate’s headquarters because they would have become ritually unclean and thus unable to eat the Passover meal.

Pilate came out of his headquarters to speak to them. He asked them “What do you accuse this man of?” They answered “He has been dividing our nation, telling people to not pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that he is the Messiah, our king. We wouldn’t have brought him to you if he weren’t a criminal.”

Pilate replied “You should take him back and judge him by your own Law.”

“Our Law doesn’t allow us to sentence anyone to crucifixion,” they replied. In saying this, they fulfilled Jesus’ prophecy as to how he would be killed.

Pilate then went into his headquarters, summoned Jesus, and asked him “Are you their King?”

Jesus answered, “You have said the truth. Are you asking me for yourself if I am the Messiah, or have others said it to you?”

“I’m not Jewish, am I?” Pilate retorted. “Your own people and the chief priests brought you to me. What have you done to warrant that?”

“My kingdom is not an earthly one. If it was, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish authorities. But actually, my kingdom is not of this world.”

“Then you are a king?” Pilate persisted.

“You say that I am.” Jesus answered. “This is why I was born, why I came into this world – to speak the truth.

Everyone who is truthful listens to what I have to say.”

“What does ‘truth’ mean?” asked Pilate.

Pilate then told the Jewish authorities that he found no reason to press charges against Jesus.

The Jewish authorities began to accuse Jesus of many things, saying that he riled people up through his teachings, all throughout Judea, from Galilee to here.

Jesus did not answer their accusations.

Pilate said to Jesus “Don’t you hear all that they are accusing you of? Aren’t you going to say anything?” And Jesus still would not defend himself. Pilate was stunned.

MT 27:1-2 and 11-14, MK 15-1-5, LK 23:1-5, JN 18:28-38a

Jesus or Barabbas

It was the preparation day for the Passover, and it was around nine in the morning by this point. While Pilate was presiding over the court, his wife sent him a message saying “Leave that righteous man alone, because I had a terrible nightmare about him last night!” Pilate knew that the Jewish authorities had brought Jesus to him because they were jealous of how popular he was with the people.

Pilate called together the Jewish authorities and said “You have brought this man to me saying that he leads people astray. But after examining him, I have found that there’s no evidence to charge him with any crime that you have accused him of. Herod hasn’t found anything either, because he returned him back here. Therefore I will have him flogged to discipline him and then release him to you.”

The chief priests and Temple police shouted “No! Crucify him!”

Pilate replied “Crucify him yourself, because I find no reason to charge him.”

The Jewish religious leaders responded “He has to die because of our Law, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”

Pilate was even more afraid when he heard this. He went back inside his headquarters and asked Jesus “Where are you from?” But Jesus did not answer. Pilate said “You won’t answer? Don’t you know I have the power of life and death over you?”

Jesus answered “You have no authority over me at all except that which is given to you from heaven. This is why the greater guilt is upon the One who handed me over to you.” Pilate was even more desperate to release Jesus after hearing this.

There was a custom for the governor to release a prisoner to the Jews during the Passover festival. The chief priests agitated the crowds to demand for Barabbas to be released instead of Jesus. Barabbas was a notorious criminal who had been thrown into prison for taking part in a rebellion and murder.

Pilate wanted to release Jesus, so he brought him outside for the crowds to see. He sat on the judge’s bench in a place called Gabbatha (The Stone Pavement) and asked the crowds “Of the two of them, who do you want me to release to you, the man called Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?”

“Barabbas!” they shouted, adding “If you release Jesus, you oppose Caesar! He said he was our king! Only Caesar is our king!”

Pilate then asked “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?”
With one voice they answered “Crucify him!”

Pilate asked “Why? What is his crime? Should I crucify your king?”

But the crowds and the chief priests shouted even louder “Caesar is our king! Take this man away! Crucify him!”
Pilate saw that he wasn’t making any progress with the crowds, and in fact a riot had started. He took a bowl of water and washed his hands before them, saying “I am innocent of any guilt concerning this righteous man. This is your concern now!”

The mob answered “His blood will be upon us and our children forever!”

Pilate yielded to their voices and released Barabbas to them. After having Jesus flogged, he released him to them, to be crucified as they demanded.

MT 27:15-26, MK 15:6-15, LK 23:13-25, JN 18:38b-40 and 19:6-16

Mocked by the military

Then the soldiers led Jesus into the courtyard of Pilate’s headquarters, summoning the entire regiment to join them. They put a royal purple robe on him and made a crown for him by twisting together thorny vines and put it on his head. They placed a reed in his right hand to serve as a scepter. They kept coming up to him and mocking him by kneeling down before him or saluting him and saying “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they took the reed from his hand and began to repeatedly beat him on the head with it. They were also slapping his face and spitting on him. Then they stripped the purple robe off, put his own clothes back on him, and then led him out to be crucified.

MT 27:27-31, MK 15:16-20, JN 19:1-3

On the way to the cross

There was a Cyrenian man named Simon who was coming in from the country. He was the father of Rufus and Alexander. He was passing by as the soldiers were taking Jesus to the crucifixion site. They grabbed him and forced him to carry Jesus’ cross by laying it across him.

MT 27:32, MK 15:21, LK 23:26

There were many women wailing with grief in the large crowd that was following Jesus. He turned to them and said “Don’t weep for me, daughters of Jerusalem. Weep for yourselves and for your children. The days are coming when people will say that those who never bore children are fortunate. They will call out to the mountains, saying ‘Fall on us!’, and begging the hills to bury them. For if they do things like this when the tree is green, what will they do when it is dry?”

LK 23:27-31

The Condensed Gospel chapter 5 (part D)

The way to the Father

“Don’t let your heart be troubled. If you believe in God, then also believe in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house. I would have told you if it were otherwise. I am leaving to prepare a room for you. If I do this, I will return and draw you to myself, so that you may be where I am. You know where I am going, and you know the way.”

His disciple Thomas said, “Lord, we have no idea where you’re going. How can we know how to get there?”

Jesus replied “I am the way as well as the truth and the life. Only those who follow my teachings will come to the Father.”

JN 14:1-6

Jesus reveals the Father

“To know me is to also know my Father. From this point on you do know him because you’ve seen him.”

His disciple Phillip said, “Lord, show the Father to us and we will be satisfied.”

Jesus asked him, “Don’t you know me, Philip, after all this time we’ve been together? If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father. How can you ask me to show you the Father? Don’t you trust that the Father is in me and I am in the Father? I don’t speak for myself. The Father who lives in me does what he wants. Trust that the Father is in me and I am in the Father. If not, believe who I am because of the works.”

JN 14:7-11

Praying in Jesus’ name

“Truly, anyone who believes in me will be able to do the same things I do. In fact, that person will do even greater works because I am returning to the Father. If you ask for anything in my name, I will do it in order for the Father to be glorified through the Son. I will do anything you ask for in my name.”

JN 14:12-14

Another counselor promised

“If you love me, honor my commandments. I will ask, and the Father will send you another Counselor to always be with you. The Counselor is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth. The world cannot see or know the Holy Spirit – this is why they can’t receive it. But you know the Spirit because it is in you and stays with you. I’m not abandoning you – I’m returning to you.”

JN 14:15-18

Father, Son and Holy Spirit

“In just a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will. You will live because I live. Then you will know that I am in my Father, you are in me, and I am within you. The one who loves me is the one who knows and follows my teaching. The one who loves me is also loved by my Father. I will love him as well and I will reveal myself to him.”

The other Judas said to Jesus, “Lord how are you going to reveal yourself to us but not the world?”

Jesus said “Anyone who loves me follows my teaching. Then my Father will love him and my Father and I will make our home within him. Anyone who doesn’t follow my teachings doesn’t love me. What I’m telling you is not from me. It comes from the Father who sent me. I have told you these things while I’m here with you. But the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name will teach you everything and remind you of what I have told you.”

JN 14:19-26

Jesus’ gift of peace

“I leave you with the gift of my peace. I don’t give gifts to you like the world does. Don’t let your heart be troubled or afraid. You’ve heard me say that I am going away but I’m returning to you. If you love me, you should be overjoyed that I am going to the Father, because the Father surpasses me. I’ve told you this now so you can believe when it happens. I’m not going to speak with you for much longer because the Devil, the ruler of the world, is coming. He has no power over me because nothing of him is within me. Instead, I’m going away to show the world that I love the Father and do as he commands me to do. Now get up – it is time to leave here.”

JN 14:27-31

The vine and the branches

“I am the true vine, and my Father keeps the vineyard. He removes every branch in me that is not fruitful. He prunes every fruitful branch so it will be even more productive. The teachings I have given you have pruned you already. Be mindful that you remain in me so that I may remain in you. In the same way that a branch can’t produce fruit if it is separated from the vine, you can only produce spiritual fruit if you remain in me.

I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you stay in me and I in you, you’ll produce an abundance of spiritual fruit. You can’t do anything apart from me. If you are separated from me you’ll be tossed aside to wither. People will gather up these withered branches to burn in a fire. If you stay in me and my teaching stays in you, you can ask for anything and it will be done. It brings glory to my Father for you to prove to be my disciples by producing much spiritual fruit.”

JN 15:1-8

Christ-like love

“I have loved you in the same way that the Father has loved me. Abide in my love. You will abide in my love if you follow my instructions, just as how I have remained in the love of my Father and kept his instructions.

I have told you all this so that you may be completely filled with my joy. This is my command of you – love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to sacrifice your life for your friends. If you do what I have commanded then you are my friends. You can no longer be called slaves, because a slave has no idea what his master is doing. I call you friends because I have told you everything the Father has told to me. I chose you – you didn’t choose me. I selected you so that you could go out and produce fruit that lasts, in order that the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. My only commandment is that you show love to each other.”

JN 15:9-17

Persecutions predicted

“Don’t worry if the world hates you. It hated me first. The world would love you if you were worldly. However, you aren’t worldly because I have called you out of the world: this is why the world hates you. Remember my teaching that “A servant is not above his master.” Since they persecuted me, they will persecute you. They will keep your teaching if they kept mine. But anything they do to you will be because of my name, because they don’t know the Father who sent me. They would have been free of sin if I hadn’t come and taught them. But now they know better, they have no excuse. Anyone who hates me also hates God. They would also be free of sin if I hadn’t performed any miracles before them that nobody else had ever done. But now they’ve seen them and they hate me as well as God. But this fulfills the prophecy that says ‘They hated me without reason.'”

JN 15:18-25

Coming testimony and rejection

“The Counselor is the Spirit of truth which travels ahead of the Father. I will send it to you from him. When it comes, it will testify about me. You too will testify because you have been with me from the start. I’ve said all of this to prevent you from going astray. You’ll be banned from synagogues. Worse, people will kill you, thinking they are honoring God. They’ll do all of this because they don’t know me or my Father. But I’ve said all of this so when it happens you’ll remember I told you. I didn’t tell you this at the start because we were together.”

JN 15:26 – JN 16:4

The Counselor’s ministry

“Now I am returning to the One who sent me here, and none of you ask me where I’m going? Yet you are all very sad because I’ve told you all of this. In spite of that, I’m telling you the truth. It will benefit you if I leave because then the Counselor can come to you: I’ll send the Holy Spirit to you when I leave. The Holy Spirit will declare the world’s guilt about sin, and teach it about righteousness and judgment. The world is guilty of sin because they don’t believe in me. It will teach about righteousness because you’ll no longer see me because I’m returning to the Father. Judgment will be taught because the ruler of this world – the Devil – has been judged.

There are yet more things I have to tell you but they are too much for you to handle now. The Spirit will help you to know all truth when it comes to you. The Spirit does not speak on its own. It only says what the Father reveals. The Spirit will also reveal future events to you.

The Spirit will glorify me by showing you who I am – and everything I am is from the Father. The Spirit will show you just a part of that glory by taking it from me.”

JN 16:5-15

Sorrow turned to joy

“Soon you won’t see me, but shortly after that you’ll see me again, because I am returning to the Father.”

Some of the disciples started saying to each other, “What does he mean when he says ‘Soon you won’t see me, but shortly after that you’ll see me again,’ and ‘because I am returning to the Father.’?” They also said “What does he mean by “Soon”?

Jesus knew they had questions for him, so he said “Are you asking each other about my words ‘Soon you won’t see me, but shortly after that you’ll see me again’?

Trust my words – you’ll be overcome with grief but the world will celebrate. You will be sorrowful but your sorrow will transform into joy. A pregnant woman is in pain when she is in labor, but she forgets about it after she gives birth because she is overjoyed that a new person has been born. In the same way, you are sad now, but your hearts will be filled with joy when you see me again, and nobody can steal your joy from you. Then you won’t ask me any questions.

Truly, the Father will give you anything you ask for in my name. You’ve not asked for anything in my name up to now. Ask and you will get what you ask for so that you will be filled with joy.”

JN 16:16-24

Jesus the victor

“I have told you all these things in figures of speech. Soon I won’t speak to you indirectly like I have been doing. Then I will speak openly about the Father. Then you will pray in my name. I’m not saying that I will petition God for you. God loves you on his own, because you love me and believe that I was sent from God. I came from God and entered into the world. Now I am leaving the world and going back to God.”

His disciples said “Now you are making sense! Now we know that everything has been revealed to you and nobody has to question you. Because of this we know that God has sent you.”

Jesus answered “Now you believe? Look, the time is fast approaching when each of you will run away from me, each to your own home. In spite of that, I won’t be alone because the Father is always with me. I’ve said this so you may have peace through me. You will suffer in this world, but don’t be afraid! I have overcome the world.”

JN 16:25-33

Jesus prays for himself

After saying this, Jesus cast his eyes up to heaven and said,

“Father, the time has now come. Give glory to Your Son so he may glorify You, because You gave him authority over everyone, in order that he may grant eternal life to everyone You have given to him.

Eternal life is this: that they may know You, the One True God, as well as Jesus, the One You have sent. I have given glory to You here on earth by finishing all the work You sent me to do. Now, Father, give me glory in Your presence, the same glory that I had with You before the world began.”

JN 17:1-5

Jesus prays for his disciples

“I have declared Your name to the people You sent to me from the world. They belonged to You, and You gave them to me. They have honored Your word by keeping it. Now they know that everything You have given me is from You, because I have given them the same words that You gave me. They have accepted Your words and truly know that I have come from You. They believe that You are the One who sent me.

I’m only praying for them. I’m not praying for everyone, just those who You have sent to me, because they belong to You. Everything I have belongs to You, and everything You have is mine, and I have been glorified through them.

I am no longer part of the world, but they are. Since I am returning to You, please shelter them in the name that You have given me, so they may be united just as we are united. I protected them in Your name that You gave me while I was with them. I protected them and didn’t lose a single one of them, except for the one who was destined to be lost, in accordance with the scriptures.

I’m now coming to You, and I’m saying these things here in the world so they may experience the fulfillment of my joy. I have spoken Your message to them. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world, so the world hates them. I am not asking for You to remove them from here, but to protect them from the Devil. Set them apart for holy work by your message of truth. I’m sending them out into the world in the same way You sent me into the world. I have sanctified myself for them so that the truth may sanctify them.”

JN 17:6-19

Jesus prays for all believers

“I’m also praying for everyone who believes in me because of their message. Just as You and I are one, may they all be one. May they be united with us so that the world may know that You sent me. I have glorified them with the same glory that You have given me. You have loved them in the same way that You love me.

Father, I ask that everyone You have given to me to be present with me where I am. Then they will see the glory that You gave me because You loved me before the world began.
Righteous Father! The world does not know you. But I do, and these disciples know that You are the One who sent me. I’ve revealed Your name to them and will continue to reveal it so that the same love that You have given me will be in them and that I may be in them.”

JN 17:20-26

Prayer in the garden

Jesus went with his disciples to a part of the Mount of Olives called Gethsemane. He told them “Stay here while I go a little further away to pray. Pray that you will not be tempted.”

Walking a little further away, he took Peter and James and John (the sons of Zebedee) with him. He was overcome with a sense of immense sorrow and anxiety. He told them “My soul is full of sadness to the point of grief. Stay here and remain awake with me.”

He walked about a stone’s throw away from them, fell face-down on the ground, and began to pray that he would not have to undergo the upcoming trial. “Father, everything is possible for you. If it is your will, let this cup pass by me. However, it isn’t what I want, but what ou want that is important.”

Returning to where the three disciples were, he found them sleeping. “Why are you asleep? Couldn’t you all stay awake for just one hour? Keep awake and pray so that temptation will not overpower you. The soul is willing, but the body is weak.”

He went away a second time and prayed as before. “Father, if this cup cannot pass by me unless I drink it, let it be so because that is your will.” He returned again to where the three were and again found them sleeping because their eyes were heavy with grief. They didn’t know what to say.

He went away a third time, praying in the same way. An angel appeared before him and gave him strength. He prayed even more fervently because he was in despair, and his sweat fell like drops of blood upon the ground.

Returning to his disciples, he said “Are you still sleeping? It is time to get up and go! Look, the hour has come. The Son of Man is about to be handed over to sinners. See? My betrayer is very close.”

MT 26:36-46, MK 14:32-42, LK 22:39-46

The Condensed Gospel chapter 5 (part C)

Preparing for Passover

The first day of the festival of Unleavened Bread is when the Passover lamb is sacrificed. Jesus called Peter and John to him, saying “Go and prepare the Passover meal for us.”
They asked “Where shall we do this?”

He said “A man carrying a water jug will meet you when you go into the city. Follow him into the house he enters. Tell the owner of that house ‘The Teacher says “My time is at hand, so I ask where your guestroom is so that I may celebrate the Passover meal with my disciples.” He will then show you a large furnished room upstairs ready to use. That is where you should prepare for our dinner.”

Peter and John left and found everything exactly as Jesus had told them, and they prepared the Passover meal.

MT 26:17-19, MK 14:12-16, LK 22:7-13

Jesus washes his disciples’ feet

Before the Passover festival began, Jesus knew that it was now the time when he was to leave this world and return to God. He loved the people who had been sent to him and stayed with them to the end.

The Devil put the thought to betray Jesus into the heart of Simon Iscariot’s son Judas before the Passover meal began.

Jesus knew that he had received everything he had from God, that God had sent him, and that he was going to return to God. Therefore, he got up from the table, put his robe aside, and tied a towel around himself. He then put water into a basin and started to wash his disciple’s feet and dry them with the towel that was tied around him.

When he got to Simon Peter, he was asked “Lord, why do you want to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied “You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but you will later.”

“You shouldn’t ever be the one to wash my feet!” Peter exclaimed.

“If I don’t wash you, then you have no right to say you are my disciple.” Jesus countered.

“Then wash my hands and head too!” Peter said.

Jesus replied “If you’ve bathed, you only have to wash your feet to become clean. You are clean, but not everyone is.” Jesus said that not everyone was clean because he knew who was going to betray him.

JN 13:1-11

The meaning of foot washing

Jesus reclined at the table after he had finished washing their feet and had put his robe back on. He said, “Do you know what I was doing for you? You say that I am your Lord and your Teacher. It is right that you say this, because I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher wash your feet, you should wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example of how you should treat each other.”

JN 13:12-15

Betrayal at the Passover

Jesus arrived in the evening with his 12 disciples at the place where they were going to celebrate the Passover. While they were reclining at the table to eat, Jesus’ spirit was troubled and he said, “Mark my words: one of you who is eating with me right now will betray me!”

MT 26:20-21, MK 14:17-18, LK 22:21, JN 13:21

“This doesn’t apply to all of you. I know well everyone I have chosen. But the scripture must be fulfilled which says ‘The one who eats bread with me has raised his heel against me.’ I am telling you this now in advance so that when it does happen you will believe in me.”

JN 13:18-19
“The Son of Man will be betrayed as it has been foretold, but woe to the one who betrays him! It would have been easier for him if he had not been born!”

LK 22:22, MK 14:21, MT 26:24
The disciples were distressed and began to argue among themselves as to who it would be and saying to Jesus “Surely it isn’t me Lord?

MT 26:22, LK 22:23, JN 13:22
The disciple that Jesus loved was reclining next to Jesus. Simon Peter gestured to him to ask Jesus who he meant. He leaned in close and asked him “Lord, who is it?”

JN 13:23-25

Judas, the one who was to betray him, asked “Surely it isn’t me, Teacher?”
Jesus answered him “You have said it.”

MT 26:25

“The one who will betray me is the one who dipped his bread in the bowl with me.”

MT 26:23, MK 14:20

“He is the one that I give the bread to after I have dipped it.” After he had dipped the bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. Satan entered Judas after he ate the piece of bread. Then Jesus told him “What you are about to do, do quickly.” Judas went out immediately after receiving the piece of bread from Jesus. It was nighttime by this point.

No one at the table knew why Jesus had said this to Judas. They thought that since Judas kept up with all of their money that Jesus was telling him to go buy what they required for the festival or to give money to the poor.

JN 13:26-30

The first Lord’s Supper

When it came time to eat, Jesus reclined at the table with his apostles. He said to them “I have looked forward to sharing this Passover meal with you before my suffering starts. I will reveal to you now that I won’t eat it again until what it represents has come to fruition in the kingdom of God.”

LK 22:14-16

Jesus then took unleavened bread, and after offering a blessing for it and breaking it into pieces, gave it to his disciples, saying “Take and eat, this is my body, which is offered for you. Do this to remember me.”

Then he took a cup of wine and, after offering a blessing for it, gave it to them and they all shared in drinking from it. He said “This is my blood of the new covenant. It is poured out for you and for many so that sins may be forgiven. Truly, from now on I will not drink the fruit of the vine until when we will drink it together in the kingdom of my Father.”
After singing psalms, they all went to the Mount of Olives.

MT 26:26-30, MK 14:22-26, LK 22:17-20

The dispute over greatness

Then the disciples began to argue among themselves as to which one of them was the best.

Jesus said to them “The Gentiles have kings that rule over them and they are granted the honorific title of ‘Benefactor’, but this should not happen with you. Instead, whoever is the most important among you should act like the youngest, and the leader should act like a servant. Who is more important – the one who sits at the table or the one who serves him? Normally it is the one at the table. But here I am being a servant. You are the ones who supported me when I was tested. I have granted you a kingdom, in the same way that my Father granted one to me, so that we may dine at the same table in the kingdom of God. You will all sit on thrones and judge the 12 tribes of Israel.”

LK 22:24-30

The new commandment

After Judas had left, Jesus said “The Son of Man is now glorified, and God is glorified through him. God will also give glory to him in himself, and will do it immediately.

Friends, I’m here with you for just a little longer. I’m telling you just as I told the authorities – you’ll search for me but you cannot go where I am going.

This is a new commandment that I’m giving you – love each other. In the same way that I have loved you, you must also love each other. People will know you are my disciples if you love each other.”

JN 13:31-35

Peter’s denial predicted

Then Jesus said to them “All of you will falter because of me tonight, because it is written ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep and his flock will be scattered.’ But after I have been resurrected, I will travel ahead of you to Galilee.”

Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where you going?” Jesus answered him, “You cannot follow me where I am going right now, but you will go there later.”

Then he added “Simon, Simon, be on your guard! Satan has asked to be able to sift all of you like wheat. But I have prayed for you personally that your faith will be strong. I hope that when you have turned back, you will strengthen your brothers.”

Peter said “I will not run away even if everyone else does! Lord, I am ready to follow you to prison and even to death!”

Jesus replied “Will you die for me? Truly, you will deny that you know me three times before the rooster crows this very day!”

Peter told him “Even if I have to lay down my life for you, I will never deny that I know you.”

All the disciples repeated these words.

MT 26:31-35, MK 14:27-31, LK 22:31-34, JN 13:36-38

Taking provisions

Jesus said “Did you ever need anything when I told you to go out without money, clothes, or any other provisions?”

“No” they answered.

“But now, if you have a wallet, take it – and a suitcase too. If you don’t have a sword you should sell your coat to buy one. Mark my words: the scripture must be fulfilled through me which says ‘And he was numbered among the thieves.’ Yes, what is written about me is happening.”

“Look, Lord, there are two swords here,” they said.

“That is plenty!” he told them.

LK 22:35-38

The Condensed Gospel chapter 5 (part B)

Signs of the destruction of the Temple

As Jesus was leaving the Temple complex, the disciples noticed how ornate and impressive it was. One disciple exclaimed “Look, Teacher! This building has such massive stones!” Jesus said to him “Notice all of this now, because mark my words: the day is coming when not one stone will be left standing on another!”

A little while later, Peter, James, John, and Andrew approached him privately when he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, across from the Temple complex. They begged him to tell them when this destruction would happen, and what the warning signs would be.

Jesus said “Be alert so that you are not deceived, for many will come in my name saying ‘I am the Messiah’ and they will lead many people astray. Don’t be alarmed when you hear of wars and rumors of wars. These things have to occur, but the end isn’t happening yet. There will be battles between nations and kingdoms. There will be earthquakes and famines all over and there will be terrifying sights in the skies. But all these events are just the beginning of what is to come.

Then the authorities will grab you and hand you over to the local courts and you will be flogged in the synagogues. You will be brought before kings and governors because you follow me. This will give you an opportunity to reveal the Gospel, because it must be proclaimed to all nations. Therefore, don’t worry beforehand about what you are going to say, because the Holy Spirit will give you the words when you need them. You will have all the wisdom and words you need so that your enemies will not be able to contradict you.

At that time families will betray one another. You will be hated by everyone because you follow me but by your endurance you will be saved.”

MT 10:17-22, MT 24:1-10, MK 13:1-13, LK 12:11-12, LK 21:5-19

Be alert!

“As regards to exactly when the Day of Judgment will happen, no one knows, not angels, not the Son. Only the Father knows.”

MT 24:36, MK 13:32

“That time will be just like it was in the time of Noah and the flood. Right until the flood happened, people went on like they always had: eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, right up until the day Noah boarded the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all, sweeping away all their possessions. They didn’t know what was going to happen to them until it happened.”

MT 24:37-39a, LK 17: 26-27

“Just like it was in Lot’s time, people went on with their normal lives, doing all the usual things they always did. But right after Lot left Sodom, the whole town was destroyed by a rain of fire and sulfur from heaven. It will be just as sudden and surprising as that was to them when the Son of Man is revealed.”

LK 17:28-30

“When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing in the holy place, which was spoken of by the prophet Daniel (let the reader take note of this) then everyone in Judea must flee to the mountains. When you see that Jerusalem is surrounded by armies, know that it is time for its destruction. When that happens, a man standing on his roof must not come down to get anything out of his house. Also a man out in the fields should not return home to get his clothing. Those inside Jerusalem must escape, and those in the country must not enter the city because the days of vengeance have come to fulfill all the prophecies.”

MT 24:15-18, MK 13:14-16, LK 17:31, LK 21:20-22

“Remember what happened to Lot’s wife!”

LK 17:32

“It will be very hard for women who are pregnant or nursing when this happens. Pray that you won’t have to escape in winter or on the Sabbath. For this will be a time of great trouble and stress, unlike anything that has happened since the creation of this world until now, and will never happen again! No one would survive that time if God didn’t limit those days, but he did limit them for the sake of those he chose. People will be cut down by swords and taken captive into all the nations, and the nations will trample Jerusalem until the end of that era.”

MT 24:19-22, MK 13:17-20, LK 21:24

“The coming of the Son of Man will be like this – two men will be in the field. One will disappear, and the other will remain. Two women will be grinding grain at the mill. One will disappear, and one will remain. Two people will be together in a bed. One will disappear, and the other will remain. Therefore, be on guard, because you don’t know when your Lord is coming.”

MT 24:39b-42, LK 17:34-36

His disciples asked “Where, Lord?”

Jesus answered, “The vultures will gather around the corpses.”

LK 17:37, MT 24:28

“Be ready to work and make sure your lamps are lit. You must be like servants waiting for their master to come back from the wedding banquet so they can immediately open the door for him when he knocks. The servants who are alert when he arrives will be blessed. Mark my words: he will prepare himself, have them sit at the table, and come serve them himself. If he arrives in the middle of the night or near dawn and finds them waiting for him, they will be blessed.”

LK 12:35-38

“Know this: if the homeowner had known exactly when the thief was going to break into his house, he would have stayed at home and stayed awake so he could prevent his house from being robbed. You need to be ready in the same way, because the Son of Man will appear when you least expect it to happen.”

MT 24:43-44, LK 12:39-40

“Watch! Be alert and pray! You have no idea when it will happen. It is like a man who went on a journey and left his house in the hands of his servants. He left tasks for each of them and ordered the doorkeeper to keep watch. Be alert then, because you don’t know when the master will return; it could be any time of the day or night. If you aren’t alert, he could suddenly arrive and find you asleep. I say to you and to everyone: be alert!”

MK 13:33-37

“The kingdom of heaven is like ten bridesmaids who went out to meet the groom with their lamps. Only half of them were wise and took oil with them. The groom took a while in coming and all of the bridesmaids fell asleep. They were suddenly awakened by a shout from someone announcing that the groom was coming. All the bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The ones who hadn’t prepared asked the others for oil because their lamps were going out. The ones who had prepared said ‘No, because there won’t be enough for all of us if we give you any.’ They told them to go buy more oil for themselves. While they were gone, the groom showed up and only the bridesmaids who had prepared were able to go with him to the wedding feast. The door was locked after them. When the rest of the bridesmaids arrived, they asked to be let in. The groom refused to open the door, saying ‘I don’t know you!’ Therefore, always be ready, because you don’t know the hour or the day.”

MT 25:1-13

Look! The Messiah!

Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come. He answered, “You won’t be able to see when the kingdom of God comes because it is among you.”

Then he spoke to the disciples. “Soon you will miss days like this, where the Son of Man is among you. People will say ‘Look there!’ or ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ Don’t listen to them or go where they show you. False messiahs and false prophets will gain prominence and will mislead a lot of people by performing great signs and wonders. Even the elect are at risk of being led astray by them.

I’ve told you everything in advance so that you can be on your guard. This way if they say ‘Look, he’s in the wilderness’ or ‘He’s in the inner rooms’, you’ll know not to believe what they say and you’ll stay where you are.

The Son of Man will come in the same way that lightning flashes from one side of the sky to the other, lighting it all up.”

MT 24:23-27, MK 13:21-23, LK 17:20-24

The coming of the Son of Man

“Just after the tribulation of those days, the sun and moon will become dark, stars will fall from the skies, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. The nations will be bewildered by the roaring sea and the immense waves. People will tremble because they are afraid of what is about to happen, because everything in the sky is breaking apart.

Then they will see the signs of the Son of Man appearing among the clouds with great power and glory. He will send forth his angels with a loud trumpet, and they will gather up those he has called from the four winds from the ends of the earth and sky.

Many people will lament, but as for you, when these things begin to happen, stand up straight and lift up your heads, because your salvation is near.”

MT 24:29-31, MK 13:24-27, LK 21:25-28

The parable of the fig tree

“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: when you notice that its branches are tender and leaves are sprouting, you know that it is almost summer. In the same way, when you see all the signs that I have told you about happening, then you know that the kingdom of God is near, at the very threshold! Mark my words: after all this happens this era will come to an end. Heaven and earth will fade away, but what I have said will last forever.”

MT 24:32-35, MK 13:28-31, LK 21:29-33

Rewards and punishment

Peter asked, “Lord, are you saying this parable just for our benefit or for everyone?”

Jesus answered, “Who is the kind of person who his master would put in charge of his household to make sure that everyone who lives there gets fed on time? It is the wise and faithful servant who the master finds working when he comes home. Mark my words: the master will put that kind of servant in charge of everything he owns.

However, if a servant starts to think to himself ‘My master won’t be back for a long time,’ and begins to beat the people he is supposed to look after, and to spend his time getting drunk at parties, the master will return at a surprise day and hour. He will discipline the servant severely and put him with other untrustworthy people, and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The servant who knew what his master wanted him to do and didn’t rise to the occasion or act upon his master’s wishes will be severely punished. However, the one who didn’t know what his master wanted and acted badly will be beaten less severely. More is expected of those people who have been given a lot. Even more than that is expected for those who have been entrusted with more.”

MT 24:45-51, LK 12:41-48

The need for watchfulness

“Be on your guard so that the day I come again will not surprise you. Be careful that your wits are not dulled from partying or worrying about the problems of this life. That day will come to all who live on this earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may be given the strength to get through all that is to happen so that you may stand in my presence.”

Jesus went to the Temple complex to teach during the day, and the crowds would come early in the morning to listen to him. In the evening he would go to the Mount of Olives to rest.
LK 21:34-38

The sheep and the goats

“The Son of Man will sit on the throne of his glory when he comes in triumph and all the holy angels will be him. All the people of the world shall be gathered before him, and he will separate them in the same way that a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King shall say to the sheep, ‘You who are blessed by my Father in heaven, come into the kingdom that has been prepared for you since the beginning of the world.

This is because when I was hungry you gave me food. When I was thirsty you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger you made me feel welcome. When I was naked you clothed me. When I was sick you took care of me, and when I was in prison you visited me.’

Then those who are righteous will reply, ‘Lord, when did we do all these things?’ And the King will answer, ‘Be assured, whatever you did to take care of the poorest member of my kingdom, you did to me.’

Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Get away from me, you cursed ones, and go into the eternal fire that is reserved for the devil and his minions!

For when I was hungry, you left me to starve. When I was thirsty you gave me nothing to quench my thirst. When I was a stranger you ignored me. When I was naked you didn’t share your clothes. When I was sick and in prison you didn’t take care of me.’

Then they too will answer, ‘Lord when did we see you and not do these things?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Be assured, whatever you did not do to take care of the poorest member of my kingdom, you did not do for me either.’

And then they will go away to their eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into everlasting life.”

MT 25:31-46

The anointing at Bethany

Jesus was staying in Bethany at the house of Simon, a man who had a serious skin disease. They gave a dinner in honor of him there. Martha was serving, and Lazarus, the one Jesus had raised the dead, was reclining at the table with him. Mary, Martha’s sister, approached Jesus with an alabaster jar filled with a pound of pure and expensive fragrant oil called nard.

She broke the jar open and poured the oil on his head and feet while he was reclining at the table, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the oil’s fragrance.

The disciples were indignant about this. Judas Iscariot, the one who was going to betray him, spoke up to scold Mary, saying “Why wasn’t this expensive perfume sold and the money given to the poor, rather than being wasted like this?”

Jesus said “Why are you bothering her? What she has done for me is very noble. She has saved this oil for the day of my burial, which she has now prepared me for by anointing my body. The poor will always be with you for you to take care of, but I won’t. I assure you, what this woman has done for me will be told in memory of her wherever the gospel is proclaimed throughout the world.”

MT 26:6-13, MK 14:3-9, JN 12:1-8

Judas talks with the authorities

Then Satan entered Judas’ heart to make him betray Jesus.

JN 13:2, LK 22:3

Judas left and went to speak with the chief priests and Temple police, asking them “How much are you willing to pay me if I turn Jesus over to you?” Delighted by this, they offered him 30 pieces of silver. He accepted their offer and began looking for a time to hand Jesus over to them when nobody was around.

MT 26:14-16, MK 14:10-11, LK 22:4-6

The decision to kill Lazarus
A large number of people in the crowd learned that Jesus was present. They had come not only to see Jesus, but also to see Lazarus, the man that Jesus had brought back to life. Then the chief priests decided to kill Lazarus as well. This was because many Jews began to stop following the Jewish leaders and believed in Jesus after seeing Lazarus alive.

JN 12:9-11

The Condensed Gospel chapter 5 (part A)

The triumphal entry

Then they went on to Jerusalem. Near the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent ahead two of his disciples, saying “Go into the next village. As soon as you enter the village you will find a young donkey that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it to me. If anyone asks you why you are doing this, say ‘The Lord needs it, and will send it right back.'”

The two disciples left and did as Jesus had asked them. They found everything as he had told them they would. This fulfilled the prophecy that was spoken by Isaiah, which said “Tell daughter Zion, ‘See, your King is coming to you, riding humbly on a donkey’s colt!'”

His disciples did not recognize the significance of what was going on at the time. However, after Jesus was raised from the dead, they remembered this prophecy and that it had been fulfilled in their presence.
They returned to Jesus, laid their cloaks on the donkey, and helped Jesus up so he could sit on it. The crowds began to place their cloaks and leafy branches from the nearby trees on the road.

When he approached the path that went down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd began to loudly praise God because of all the miracles they had seen, such as the miracle of Lazarus being raised from the dead. They were chanting “Hosanna! Blessed is the King who comes on the name of the Lord! Praise God in heaven!”

Some of the Pharisees said “Teacher, make your followers be quiet!”

Jesus answered, “Even if they were to be quiet, the stones would speak for them!”

When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was abuzz, saying “Who is this?” The crowds with Jesus answered “This is the Messiah, the Son of David, our King!”

The Pharisees were very angry, realizing that all they had done to discredit Jesus hadn’t worked. They said “Look! The whole world is following him!”

Because it was late, Jesus and his followers briefly looked around at everything in the Temple area and then went out to Bethany.

MT 21:1-11, JN 12:12-19, MK 11:1-11, LK 19:28-40

Jesus’ love for Jerusalem

Jesus wept when he saw Jerusalem, saying “If only you could see the salvation that has come to you today, but your eyes have been closed. The time will come when your enemies shall build mounds of earth against your walls and block you in with their troops. They will crush everyone inside your walls to the ground, and then level your buildings. Not even one stone will be left atop another. And this will all be because you did not recognize salvation when it came to you.”

LK 19:41-44

Jesus again predicts his crucifixion

Some Greeks had come to Jerusalem to participate in the Passover festival. They went to Philip, who was from the village of Bethsaida in Galilee, and requested to see Jesus.

Philip told Andrew and they then went together to tell Jesus.

Jesus told them “It is now time for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, unless a kernel of wheat is put into the ground and dies to its nature, it remains just a kernel of wheat. But if it dies to its nature, it produces a large crop.

Anyone who loves his life will lose it, and anyone who hates his earthly life will have the same life eternally. To be my servant is to follow me. My servant is wherever I am. If you serve me, you will be honored by my Father. Now I am troubled in my soul. Should I ask the Father to rescue me from what is coming? But what is coming is why I’m here. Father, may your name be glorified!”

Then a voice came from heaven, saying “I have already glorified it, and I will give glory to it again!” Some in the crowd thought they heard thunder, while others said “An angel just spoke to him!”

Jesus said “That voice was for your benefit, not mine. This is now the time when the world will be judged. This is now the time when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be overthrown. As for me, I will draw all people to me when I am raised up.”

The crowd replied “The Law says that the Messiah will never leave. So why do you say that the Son of Man must be raised up? Who is the Son of Man?”

“The light will soon leave you,” Jesus answered. “You should walk while the light is still here so you don’t get caught in darkness. Anyone who walks in darkness gets lost. Believe in the light while you still have it so you can become children of light.”

After saying this, Jesus retreated and hid from the crowd.

JN 12:20-34

Isaiah’s prophecies fulfilled

They still didn’t believe in him even though he performed many miracles in front of them. However, this fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which said “Lord, who has believed what we have said? And who has witnessed the strength of the Lord?”

Isaiah explained why they were unable to believe when he said “He has closed their eyes and their hearts, so they could not see or understand, otherwise they would turn to me and be healed.” Isaiah said this when he saw His glory.

In spite of this, many people did believe that Jesus was the Messiah, even including some of the rulers. However, they didn’t publicly admit this because the Pharisees had threatened to ban people from the synagogue if they did. They loved to get praise from men rather than getting glory from God.

JN 12:37-43

A summary of Jesus’ mission

Jesus shouted “If you believe in me, you really believe in the One who sent me, and if you see me, you really see the One who sent me. I am here to be a light for the world, so that everyone who follows me will no longer be in darkness. I don’t judge anyone who hears my message and doesn’t follow it. I have come to save the world – not to judge it. Anyone who rejects me and my message is judged at the last day by my message. I don’t speak for myself. The One who sent me tells me what to say. I know that the Father’s words lead to eternal life, so I share the Father’s message exactly as I have received it.”

JN 12:44-50

Cleaning out the Temple

Jesus went up to Jerusalem because it was nearing the time for the festival of Passover. When he reached the Temple complex he found money changers and people selling the animals that the Jews bought to sacrifice there to atone for their sins. He made a whip of cords and drove everyone and their animals out, even overturning the money tables. He would not permit anyone to bring in anything to sell there. Quoting the prophet Isaiah, he said “‘My house will be a house of prayer for all people,’ but you have made it into a den of thieves! Stop turning My Father’s house into a marketplace!”

Seeing this, the disciples recalled this verse from the psalmist: “Devotion for God’s house will consume me.”

He was teaching and healing there every day. Children cheered out “Hosanna to the Son of David!” The temple leaders said “Do you hear what these children are saying?” Jesus answered “Haven’t you read the Scriptures? ‘From the lips of children The Lord has called forth praise’?”

The chief priests, scribes, and elders started looking for ways to undermine him. They were afraid of him because the crowd of people there was captivated by what he taught.

All the Temple leaders challenged Jesus, saying “Who gave you authority to do these things?”

Jesus said “Answer me this and I’ll tell you: was the baptism of John from heaven or from men?”

They debated amongst themselves, saying “If we say from heaven, then he’ll challenge us, saying ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say it was from men, the crowd will get angry with us because they thought John was a true prophet.” To be safe, they said “We don’t know.”

Jesus said “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Jesus also told them “Destroy this sanctuary, and I will restore it in three days.”
The Temple leaders looked at him like he was crazy. “This Temple took 46 years to build! Who are you to say you can do all this in three days?” But Jesus was talking about the sanctuary of his body. Later, after he was resurrected, his disciples remembered these words.

MT 21:12-17, MT 23-27, MK 11:15-19, MK 27-33, LK 19:45-48, 20:1-8, JN 2:13-22

Many people believed in Jesus while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival because of the miracles he was doing. Jesus, however, did not fully reveal himself to them because he knew the true nature of mankind.

JN 2:23-25

The fig tree and faith

Jesus was hungry one morning on the road back from Bethany. He saw a solitary fig tree in the distance, but found only leaves on it and no fruit when he went up to it. It was not the season for figs.

Angrily he said “May you never bear fruit again!” Quickly the fig tree withered and the disciples were amazed. They asked him how it was possible for it to wither so quickly.

He said “Nothing is impossible with faith. If you have faith the size of a mustard seed you can tell a mulberry tree or a mountain to uproot itself and move, even into the sea, and it will. You have to believe that what you ask for will happen and it will. Pray as if you have already received everything you ask for. Also, while you are praying, be sure to forgive anyone that you have a grudge against so that your Father in heaven will forgive you as well. If you don’t forgive them then God won’t forgive you.”

MT 21:18-22, MK 11:12-14, MK 11:20-26, LK 17:6, MT 17:20-21

The parable of the two sons

“What do you think about this story? There was once a man who had two sons. He asked the first one to work in the vineyard, and the son refused, yet later he changed his mind and went to work. When the man asked his second son to work in the vineyard, that son said he would but then he didn’t go. Which of the two did what his father wanted?”

“The first,” they replied.

“Mark my words: tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of heaven before any of you! John the Baptist came to warn you about your evil ways and you didn’t repent and return to God. The tax collectors and prostitutes did. Even when you saw this happening for yourself, you refused to change your minds and believe John’s message.”

MT 21:28-32

The parable of the vineyard owner

Jesus began to teach them again using parables.

“There once was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a fence around it and included a winepress and a watchtower. He leased it to tenant farmers and then he went away for a very long time. When it was harvest time, he sent his servant to the farmers so that he could collect some fruit from them. Instead of giving him fruit, the farmers beat the servant and sent him away with nothing. The landowner sent another servant and they treated him just as badly. Then the landowner sent a third servant and the farmers killed him. He sent other servants, and they were all either beaten or killed.

Finally he decided to send his much-loved son, thinking ‘Surely they will respect him.’ But the tenant farmers talked amongst themselves and decided that since this was the heir they should kill him and collect the inheritance for themselves. They did just that and then threw him out of the vineyard. Because of their shameful behavior, the owner of the vineyard went there himself to destroy the farmers and let other people manage his land and crops.”

Jesus asked the religious leaders if they had ever heard the verse from scripture that says ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. The Lord has done this and it is wonderful to see!”
“Therefore, it follows that the kingdom of God will be taken away from the original tenants and given to those who are good stewards and can produce healthy fruit. All who stumble on this rock shall be broken, and all those who this rock falls on will be ground to dust!”

The chief priests and scribes started to look for a way to arrest him because they knew he was speaking these words against them. However, they were afraid of the crowds because they regarded him as a prophet, so they left him alone for the time being.

MT 21:33-46, MK 12:1-12, LK 20:9-19

God and Caesar

Then the Pharisees began to plot, trying to trap him by his words. They sent some of their disciples along with some of the members of a Jewish political party. They wanted to get him arrested by the civil authorities.
They said to him “Teacher, we know that you correctly teach God’s laws and that you treat everyone the same, regardless of who they are. Tell us your opinion on this, then: according to the Law, are we supposed to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

Jesus knew what they were up to and said “Why are you testing me? Show me a denarius. Whose picture and name is on it?”

“Caesar’s,” they all said.

“You have your answer,” Jesus said. “Give back to Caesar the things that belong to Caesar, and give back to God the things that belong to God.”

They were all speechless at his answer.

MT 22:15-22, MK 12:13-17, LK 20:20-26

The Sadducees and the resurrection

The same day, some Sadducees who didn’t believe in the resurrection approached Jesus to challenge him on the Law of Moses.

“Teacher, Moses taught us that if a married man dies childless, his brother must marry his wife and have children with her, because legally, they are his brother’s children. For instance, once there were seven brothers. The first married and died childless. The second brother married her and he too died without having any children. One after the other, all seven of the brothers married this same woman and died, leaving her childless. Then she finally died. Therefore, when the resurrection happens, whose wife will she be, since she had been married to all seven of them?”

“None of you know the Scriptures or the power of God,” Jesus said. “People in this age marry and are given in marriage, but it won’t be like that in the age to come. In the resurrection, people are like angels. There is no need for them to marry.”

He continued, getting to the real reason for their question. “Concerning the resurrection of the dead, don’t you remember the passage in Scriptures when God spoke to Moses from the burning bush? He said ‘I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.’ We learn from this that God is the God of the living, not the dead, because in God’s eyes, all are living with him.”

They were impressed with what he had just taught them, and no longer dared to question him.

MT 22:23-33, MK 12:18-27, LK 20:27-40

The primary commandments

The Pharisees went to where Jesus was when they heard how he had refuted the Sadducees. An expert in the Law challenged Jesus asking him, “Which commandment is the most important?”

Jesus answered “‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all of your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second commandment is like it –‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ There are no commandments greater than these two. All the teachings of the Prophets and the Law base their foundation upon these two commandments.”

The man who questioned him said “You are correct, Teacher! You spoke the truth when you said that there is only One God, and that we are to love God with all of our being, and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. These practices are far more important that all the burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

Because of the wisdom of his answer, Jesus said to him “You are not far from entering the kingdom of God. You have answered correctly. If you do these things you will live.”

The authorities did not dare to challenge him any further.

MT 22:34-40, MK 12:28-34, LK 10:25-28

The parable of the good Samaritan

There was a man who wanted to justify his actions and said “Who is my neighbor?”

Jesus answered him by telling a parable. “There once was a Jewish man who was attacked by robbers as he was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. They took all of his clothes and money, beat him up, and left him lying half dead on the side of the road. When a priest walked down that same road and saw him, he crossed over to the other side and walked on by. After that a Levite did the same thing. Then a Samaritan, sworn enemy of the Jews, noticed him and had compassion. He kneeled beside him and put healing ointments and bandages on his wounds. Then he put the man on the animal he had been riding. Walking all the way, he led the donkey to an inn and continued to take care of the man throughout the night. The next day he gave the innkeeper two days’ worth of room and board. He said ‘Please take care of him. I’ll pay you back when I return if the bill is any higher.’”

Jesus asked, “Which of the three people would you say was a neighbor to the man who had been waylaid by the robbers?”

The man replied, “The one who showed him compassion.”

Jesus told him “Go and do likewise.”

LK 10:29-37

The question about the Messiah

Jesus asked this question while he taught in the Temple complex, “Why do the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David? Inspired by the Holy Spirit, David says in the Psalms ‘God said to my Lord, sit at my right hand until I place your enemies under your feet.’ Since David called him his Lord, how can the Messiah be his son?” The large crowd was delighted with this teaching.

MT 22:41-46, MK 12:35-37, LK 20:41-44

Religious hypocrites discredited

Then Jesus said to the crowds and his disciples “The Jewish leaders and the Pharisees have the authority of Moses. Therefore, follow their rules and do what they say to do. But make sure not to follow their example because they don’t practice what they preach.”

MT 23:1-3

“It is terrible to be them, because they load people with heavy burdens that are hard to carry when they give them all these rules, yet they themselves can’t be bothered to lift those same burdens with even a finger.”

MT 23:4, LK 11:46

“They evict widows from their homes and say long prayers just to show off. God will punish them more than others because of this.”

MT 23:14, LK 20:47, MK 12:40

“They do everything to show off how pious they are so they will be noticed by others. They wear long robes and make their tefillin and tzitzit bigger than necessary. They love it when they have the front seat in the synagogue and the seat of honor at a banquet. They are pleased when they are recognized and greeted in the marketplace and people call them Rabbi.”

MT 23:5-7, LK 11:43, LK 20:45-46, MK 12:38-39

“But as for you, don’t be called Rabbi or Teacher, because you have one Teacher, and that is God, and you are all equal like brothers. Don’t call anyone on earth your father because you have one Father, and that is God. And do not be called Master, because you have only one Master, and that is the Messiah. To be the greatest, be a servant. Whoever raises himself up will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be raised up.”

MT 23:8-12

“Beware, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You make it impossible for people to enter the kingdom of heaven, because you have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves don’t go in, and you don’t allow those who are entering to go in either.”

MT 23:13, LK 11:52

“Beware, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel far and wide to convert one person, and then when he is converted, you make him twice as damned as you are.”

MT 23:15

“Beware, you blind guides, who say it means nothing if you take an oath ‘by the Temple’, but then say if you swear by the gold of the Temple, it is binding. You are blind fools! What is greater, the gold, or the Temple that makes the gold holy? You also say that it means nothing if you take an oath ‘by the altar,’ but then say that if you take an oath by the gifts on the altar it is binding! You fools and blind people! What is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift holy? Therefore, the person who takes an oath by the altar takes an oath by it and everything on it, and when you take an oath by the Temple you are taking an oath by it and by God who dwells in it, and the person who makes an oath by heaven makes it by the throne of God and by the One who sits on it.”

MT 23:16-22

“Beware, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You make sure to ritually clean the outside of the cup and dish, but you are full of greed, evil, and self-indulgence inside! You are blind fools! Didn’t the One who made the outside make the inside as well? First clean the inside of the cup and dish so the outside will also become clean. Donate to charity from your heart first and then everything will be clean for you.”

MT 23:25-26, LK 11:39-41

“Beware, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You make sure to tithe a tenth of your mint, dill, cumin, rue, and every other kind of herb, and yet you neglect the more important matters of the Law such as justice, mercy, and love for God. You should have taken care of these without neglecting the rest. Blind guides! You strain out a gnat, yet you swallow a camel!”

MT 23:23-24, LK 11:42

“Woe to you! You are like unmarked graves. People walk over you not even knowing that they have become defiled.”

LK 11:44

“Woe to you! You are like whitewashed mausoleums, which appear beautiful on the outside but are full of impurity on the inside. You appear on the outside like righteous men, yet on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and sin.”

MT 23:27-28

“Beware, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous. You say ‘If we had lived in the time of our fathers, we wouldn’t have shed the prophet’s blood along with them.’ You therefore testify against yourselves that you are the sons of those who killed the prophets! Fill up on the measure of your fathers’ sins. You are witnesses that you approve of what your fathers did because they killed the prophets and now you build monuments to them.”

MT 23:29-32, LK 11:47-48

“You are a nest of snakes! How can you escape from the fires of hell? This is why the wisdom of God said ‘I will send them prophets, sages, scribes, and apostles. Some of them will be killed, persecuted and crucified, and some of them you will beat in your synagogues and chase from town to town. This will mean that this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that was shed since the beginning of the world – from the blood of righteous Abel all the way to Zechariah, son of Berechiah, who you murdered in the Temple between the altar and the sanctuary. Mark my words: this generation will be held responsible!”

MT 23:33-36, LK 11:49-51

The scribes, Pharisees, and experts in the Law all felt insulted and furious. From that moment on they began to challenge Jesus about matters of Jewish Law, trying to trap him into saying something wrong so they could bring charges against him.

LK 11:53-54

Jesus said “Jerusalem, Jerusalem! The city who kills the prophets and stones everyone that God sends to her. I have often wanted to gather your children together like how a hen gathers her chicks under her wings for protection, yet you wouldn’t let me. And now your house is left empty. Mark my words: you will not see me again until you say ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'”

MT 23:37-39, LK 13:34-35

The widow’s gift

Jesus was sitting across from the tithe box at the Temple. He saw all the people dropping their money into it. The rich were putting in a lot. A poor widow came along and put in just two tiny coins, barely enough to buy a loaf of bread. Jesus called his disciples to notice this and said “Truly, this poor widow has donated far more than anyone else. They had given out of their excess, but she has given out of her lack. She has given everything that she has to live on.”

MK 12:41-44, LK 21:1-4