New Testament Survey: Gospels - Lesson 22

Introduction to the Life of Jesus

The Chronology of Jesus' life in the Gospels begins with his birth and ends with his resurrection. How you explain the miracles of Jesus depends on your presuppositions. He performed miracles to heal sicknesses and also miracles showing his authority over nature. 

Robert Stein
New Testament Survey: Gospels
Lesson 22
Watching Now
Introduction to the Life of Jesus

The Life of Jesus

Part 1

I.  Introductory Issues

A.  Miracles of Jesus

1.  Two Types

a.  Healings

b.  Nature miracles

2.  Approaches

a.  Rationalism

b.  Mythical Treatment

c.  Liberalism

d.  Demythologizing

B.  Chronology

1.  Birth of Jesus

a.  Matthew 2:1

b.  Events at birth

2.  Baptism of Jesus

a.  Exact year uncertain but ...

b.  Around 27-28 A.D.

3.  Length of His Ministry

4.  Resurrection of Jesus

  • The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke record some of the same stories and even use the same wording in sections. They also each have material that is unique, and the chronology is different in some places. Both the purpose of each gospel and the role of oral and written tradition play a role in understanding the similarities and differences.

  • The Gospel of Mark is shorter than the other Gospels and some of the grammar and theology is unique. There are also significant portions of Mark that are contained in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

  • Discussion of the extensive similarities between the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. It's possible that Mark was already written and they used that as a source. It's aslo likely that they had in common other oral and written sources of what Jesus did and taught. 

  • Some time passed between the ascension of Jesus and the writing of the Gospels because there was no need for a written account while the eyewitnesses were still alive. In that culture, oral tradition was the primary method of preserving history. Form critics also note that it is likely that it is likely that many of the narratives and sayings of Jesus circulated independently.

  • Form criticism is the method of classifying literature by literary pattern to determine its original form and historical context in order to interpret its meaning accurately. The Gospels were not written to be objective biographies. They omit large portions of the life of Jesus, they include accounts of miraculous events and they have a purpose to demonstrate that Jesus is both God and human.

  • Redaction criticism focuses on evaluating how a writer has seemingly shaped and molded a narrative to express his theological goals. Examining how Matthew and Luke used passages from Mark can give you insight into their theology and their purpose for writing their Gospel.  

  • Studying the background and theological emphases of the Gospel of Mark helps us to understand the central message of his Gospel. The central point of the Gospel of Mark is the death of Jesus when he was crucified. This event happened because it was a divine necessity in God's plan to redeem humanity. It's likely that the Gospel of Mark is a written record of the apostle Peter's account. 

  • The Gospel of Matthew emphasizes how Jesus' life, death and resurrection fulfilled prophecies that were made in the Old Testament. Matthew also shows concern for the church and has a strong eschatological emphasis. 

  • Luke emphasizes the great loving concern of God for the oppressed, such as tax collectors, physically impaired, women and Samaritans. He warns of the dangers of riches and emphasizes the ministry of the Holy Spirit. 

  • John's Gospel focuses on Christology and emphasizes dualism and eschatology.  John has long pericopes, clear statements about the identity of Jesus and a number of stories not found in the synoptic Gospels. 

  • By studying the background and comparing the text of the synoptic gospels, we can be confident of their authenticity. Many of the accounts in the Gospels appear in multiple Gospels and are confirmed by separate witnesses. Details in the narratives and parables are consistent with the culture and common practices of the time in that region.  

  • In order to understand Jesus' teaching, it is important to understand how he uses exaggeration and determine when he is using exaggeration to make a point. An exaggeration is something that is literally impossible and sometimes conflicts with teachings of the Old Testament or other teachings of Jesus. They often use idiomatic language that had a specific meaning to the original hearers. 

  • The Gospels record how Jesus used different literary forms to communicate his teachings. He communicated effectively with everyone including children, common people, religious leaders and foreigners. He used a variety of literary devices to communicate in a way that was effective and memorable. (This class was taught by a teaching assistant of Dr. Stein's but his name was not provided.) 

  • It's important to know how to interpret parables to accurately understand what Jesus was trying to teach. At different times in history, people have used different paradigms to interpret parables. Each parable has one main point. To interpret the parable, seek to understand what Jesus meant, what the evangelist meant and what God wants to teach you today.

  • Dr. Stein uses the parable of the Good Samaritan as an example of how to apply the four rules of interpreting parables. He also applies the four rules to interpret the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl, the ten virgins, the unjust steward and the laborers in the vineyard. 

  • Jesus used different literary forms to communicate with people. It's important to know how to interpret these literary forms, including parables, to accurately understand what Jesus was trying to teach. The rule of end stress is one factor in determining the main teaching of a parable. Dr. Stein describes two parts of a parable as the, "picture part" and the "reality part." 

  • The kingdom of God is God's kingdom invading the earthly kingdom. In the Gospels, there are both "realized" passages and "future" passages. There is a tension between the "now" and "not yet" and it is important to emphasize each aspect equally.

  • Jesus' teaching about the fatherhood of God reveals for us a tension between reverence and intimacy. Jesus shows his reverence for God by not using the name of God even when referring to God. When he refers to God as Father, it is an indication of a personal relationship. 

  • Jesus does not provide an organized ethical system, but his ethical teachings are scattered throughout the Gospels. Sometimes they seem to be contradictory, until you look at them more closely. He emphasized the need for a new heart and the importance of loving God and our "neighbor." Jesus upheld the validity of the Law but was opposed to the oral traditions. 

  • Implicit Christology is what Jesus reveals of himself and his understanding of himself by his actions words and deeds. Jesus demonstrates his authority over the three sacred aspects of Israel which are the temple, the Law and the Sabbath. 

  • Explicit Christology deals with what he reveals concerning his understanding of himself by the use of various titles. Christ is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word, Messiah. The titles, Son of God and Son of Man refer both to his human nature and divine nature. 

  • The Chronology of Jesus' life in the Gospels begins with his birth and ends with his resurrection. How you explain the miracles of Jesus depends on your presuppositions. He performed miracles to heal sicknesses and also miracles showing his authority over nature. 

  • The birth of Christ is an historical event. The virgin birth of Jesus is a fundamental aspect of his nature and ministry. The details of the birth narrative in Luke are consistent with historical events. 

  • Except for the accounts of a couple of events in Jesus' childhood, the Gospels are mostly silent about the years before Jesus began his public ministry. Luke records the story of 12 year old Jesus in the temple to show that already, you can see something different about Jesus. Jesus' public ministry began when John the Baptist baptized Jesus publicly in the Jordan River.

  • The three temptations that Satan put to Jesus were significant to him and instructive to us. Jesus had a specific purpose in mind in the way he called his disciples and the fact that he chose 12.

  • After Simon Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ, Jesus begins teaching about his death and focuses his efforts on teaching the twelve. The Transfiguration was a significant event because the pre-existent glory of Jesus broke through and it was also a preview of future glory.

  • The events surrounding Jesus' "triumphal entry" into Jerusalem were the beginning of the week leading up to his crucifixion and resurrection. When Jesus cleansed the temple in Jerusalem, he was rejecting the sacrificial system, reforming temple worship and performing an act of judgment.

  • At the Last Supper, Jesus celebrated with his disciples by eating the Passover meal. He reinterpreted it to show how it pointed to him as being the perfect Lamb of God, the atoning sacrifice for the sins of all people. When we celebrate the Lord's supper, there is a focus of looking back at the significance of what Jesus did and how the Passover pointed toward him and of looking forward to the future. 

  • The night before his crucifixion, Jesus went to Gethsemane with his disciples to pray. Judas betrays Jesus there and Jesus allows himself to be arrested.

  • The trial of Jesus involved a hearing in the Jewish court conducted by the high priest and the Sanhedrin, and a hearing in the Roman court conducted by Pilate. The Jewish leaders brought in false witnesses against Jesus and violated numerous rules from the Mishnah in the way they conducted the trial. 

  • Jesus died by crucifixion. The Romans used it as a deterrent because it was public and a horrible way to die. The account of the crucifixion is brief, likely because the readers knew what was involved and it was painful to retell. Jesus was buried by friends.

  • The historical evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus is compelling. Jesus appeared physically to people, many of whom were still alive when the books in the New Testament were written. Rising from the dead confirmed that Jesus has power over death and gives hope of eternal life to people who put their trust in him. 

  • The Gospels are eyewitness accounts that clearly show that Jesus claimed to be fully human and fully God, and what he did to back up this claim. Some people try to reinterpret the Gospels to make Jesus out to be a moral teacher with good intentions, but not God in the flesh.

This is the first part of an introductory course to the New Testament, covering the books Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The synopsis Dr. Stein refers to is the Synopsis of the Four Gospels, English Edition, published by the American Bible Society. You can click here to order it from American Bible Society or click here to order it from Amazon

The lecture notes you can download (to the right) are for both NT Survey I and II. In some of the lectures, Dr. Stein does not cover all the points in his outline, but we include the additional outline points for your benefit. 

Thank you to Charles Campbell and Fellowship Bible Church for writing out the lecture notes for both sections of Stein's NT Survey class (to the right). Note that they do not cover every lecture.

Recommended Books

New Testament Survey: The Gospels - Student Guide

New Testament Survey: The Gospels - Student Guide

This participant’s guide is intended to be used with the BiblicalTraining.org class, New Testament Survey - The Gospels with Dr. Robert Stein. This is the first part of an...

New Testament Survey: The Gospels - Student Guide

Dr. Robert Stein
New Testament Survey: Gospels
Introduction to the Life of Jesus
Lesson Transcript


A father. As we begin to look at the life of our Lord, we pray that you would give us insight into your word and help us to understand more about our Savior, his life, and come to love him more as a result. We pray your blessing upon us. Now, in this day and in the days to come, in Jesus name, Amen. Let me just make some general comments concerning the miraculous in regard to the study of the life of Jesus. When you realize that 30% plus of the Gospel of Mark is devoted to Jesus miracles, you have to somehow come to grips with whether you're going, whether you believe in miracles or not. If you don't believe in miracles, you have a real difficult task. You have to eliminate huge portions of the gospel materials. That presupposition involves a particular view of Jesus. Don't be surprised if it comes out. If you don't believe in miracles with the non miraculous Jesus. But please note that if you start out that way, that's the way you generally finish the lesson. Miraculous event takes place. On the other hand, if you start out with an openness towards the miraculous, then you may come to an understanding of the life and teachings of Jesus and his ministry that is more in harmony with the Gospels. Now that we've already talked about miracle stories. When we talk about form criticism and the normal form would be the description of the condition. In other words, the diagnosis of the problem. Then there may be sometimes, or quite often a reference to the faith of the individual, but not always. Then you have the healing itself, what the doctor does, the doctor of the soul, Jesus, and then a description of the result of that.


And Jesus, you have describe a man who is a paralytic from birth. Jesus's rise. Take up, be bed and walk. The story can't end there. You have to do rise and take off his bed and walk. So then you have the proof of that. The miracles are generally divided into two categories Healing miracles. And I list here sickness, miracles, raising from the dead. I should also include their exorcisms. Exorcisms. So add to 312 miracle stories divided into healing miracles under that sickness raisings from the dead exorcisms. Then there are nature miracles. Those who tend to be left of us are frequently willing to talk about Jesus working miracles of healing. They never accept a nature miracle. And the reason for that is that they can rationalize various healing miracles. Jesus was the great Freudian psychologist of the first century. He perceived people's mental problems and brought them psychic healing or something like that. And so you can explain that rationally. Some of those things, some of them are a little more difficult, like a withered hand. Multiplying bread becomes even more difficult walking on the water. So nature miracles tend to be disregarded by critical scholars completely. Some of the healing miracles are accepted. Now there are various approaches to miracles. Well, look at the last day of class, kind of a history of what was called the old quest for historical Jesus and the first approach that we want to look at. Just talk about it very briefly is that of rationalism. Were the scholars who didn't believe in the miracles said there must have been an event of some sort that gave birth to this. Let's try to reconstruct the actual event itself, which would of course be non supernatural. And so rationalism tried to reconstruct, quote unquote, what really happened.


And that would be a non miraculous explanation of the event, like the sharing of bread during the feeding of the 5000 and so forth, the mystical treatment acknowledged like rationalism, that miracles could not happen. But they didn't think there was any event behind these stories. They thought they were kind of growing out of the consciousness of the individual church members. And stories began to develop, which encapsulated a great spiritual truth of one sort or another. And what we should do then is to dismiss the story to find out what that truth is. Liberalism's approach was to simply cut out all those passages in the Gospels that deal with them. Right. Was a kind of Thomas Jefferson approach where you just eliminate all the miracle stories and you deal with the pure kernel of the gospel, and those would be the teachings of Jesus, those miracle stories or husk that you have to get rid of. In the 20th century, we had the bold money and deep mythologizing which sought to again remove the mythical story and say, What is that subconscious existential truth that this myth is trying to teach? It's like reading Homer's Odyssey. You don't believe any of these things. But do you see any morals being taught in these stories? If so, you are dismissing the story and looking for some meaning in that. And that same approach took place here. Now, one of the vocabulary expressions that you need to know is the distinction between what critical scholars called Historia and Geschichte. These are German words Don't try to pronounce them. You may find you're spitting at your neighbor or something like that. Or, you know, these classify the stories in the gospels if they are historic. That means that objective, historical critical analysis can be can deal with that.


And since objective historical critical analysis does not allow for the miraculous or for miracles, they are the non miraculous portions. So an event as the baptism of Jesus is a historic event. Historians using the objective historical critical approach of which of course doesn't allow for miracles, can deal with the baptism. That's a real event. Jesus was baptized by John. Now when you get to voice coming from heaven, that's other stuff. You have to eliminate that. The crucifixion is historic. Historians can deal with that. The trial of Jesus. His stories. His Call of the Disciples. The Story of the Transfiguration. No, that is a miraculous event and critical historical approach. Can't deal with that. So that is called gushy stylish. And it's kind of nice that the Germans use different vocabulary to distinguish between what they say are stories about Jesus that do not deal with the miraculous, the historical ones, and then those that deal with the supernatural or dashiki. And we can, as historians deal with that, we can't really deal with the story of the resurrection because we don't believe in it. It is simply part of not capable of being discussed by the critical historical approach. Now, sometimes you should click materials that are sometimes referred to also by another term charismatic, the preaching element in charisma. And supra historical above history. There's a kind of subtlety here that you have to be careful of. Somebody can start talking about the transfiguration and say, Now, of course, this is not a historic event. It's completely. Well, I can handle that. Well, your definition, you say, deals with miracles. And as a historian, I can't handle that. Okay. Okay. I think it's a rather narrow definition of history. I think history has to deal with what took place and that you find out by historical investigation, not by presuppositions of one sort or another.


But after you read the first few chapters where this definition is very clear, this is the meaning that historical research can't deal with it because it's a miraculous. It claims to be miracle and we can deal with miracles all of a sudden in chapters four or five or six. They make a statement like, Now we know this is a sheet like event. It did not really happen. And now they are jumping to a conclusion on the basis of a definition. And that's not legitimate. If you want to say it's a Gucci click event, a historical approach that precludes the possibility of miracles, don't who know how to handle it. All right, I'll accept that. Although it seems strange to me that you're not open to the possibility of wrestling wrestling with this. But to say if it's she think it can't happen, that no research is determined that that's simply a blatant fundamentalist presupposition and you bring that with you. It's never been determined by the investigation of the text. You simply have started out with that presupposition. Now, as to the miracles of Jesus. The Bible looks at them as signs of who He is. They are wonders of the powers brought by the Son of God. But Jesus never intentionally does them for that purpose. There are a lot of miracles that are done privately with no one around. Now, if you're doing these are signs, you need a crowd. But nowhere does the Gospel have Jesus entering into a town, passing out pamphlets and saying, Tomorrow at 2:00, I'm going to heal all the paralyzed. Come and see and then you'll know who I am. His miracles are not done that way. They are signs, to be sure, but they are not done for the purpose of being signs.


He is not a showman of Ringling Brothers or something like that, trying to get people who are unsure as to his miracle working power. But he does them nonetheless. He, however, refuses. When people say Work a miracle, do a sign for us here in Nazareth like they say you've been doing. You refuses to do that. And the fact is that if he did it, people still wouldn't believe. So Jesus works a miracle. How does his audience respond? You never did it. No. Even the Talmudic literature that the Jewish literature in the Talmud acknowledges he did miracles in the New Testament. They attribute this to satanic power. He does this through the Prince of Demons and in the Talmudic literature. He does it because he learned sorcery in Egypt during his stay there and so forth. As to the veracity of the miracles, I mean, just in general comment that they they were performed openly in the public. They were not done with props around like a magician might do today. They were performed before unbelievers. And over a period of time, in different circumstances, they're different kinds. And even Jesus himself, his opponents themselves, will acknowledge his miracle work and power. Furthermore, when it comes to a miracle such as the resurrection, I think there's strong evidence in favor of its historicity. We're going to go into that now, but we'll do that later on at the end of the semester when we come to that point in the life of Jesus. Just some preliminary comments with regard to the miracles of Jesus at this point. All right. Now, with regard to chronology, we have a rather frustrating and and a humorous kind of situation, and that is that when we look at the birth of Jesus, he is born before Christ.


Gear wise, they said, well, how could that have been? Well, our calendar did not become created on the day of Jesus birth. There was no one in Bethlehem when Jesus was born that ran to Western Union, sent the wire to Rome and say, the calendar change everything. Now is B.C. and the calendar that existed Was the Roman calendar a period Youth period. C Urbach data from the foundation of the City of Rome. That was the decisive turning point in history as far as the Roman Empire was concerned when the city of Rome was founded. Now, our calendar primarily was worked by a man named Dionysius Exiguus. He was a monk, a mathematician, theologian, an astronomer, but he worked this out in the sixth century. I believe his my memory's correct is somewhere around there. And he came to the conclusion, like many Christians, that the turning point in all of history was not ad urban detached from the foundation of the city of Rome, but the birth of Jesus Christ. And as Christianity now has become such a dominating force in the empire, the calendar, now the Christian calendar comes into existence. And so he tried to work it to conform to the birth of Jesus. The problem was he made a mistake and he's off. And as to the birth of Jesus, Jesus could not have been born any earlier than four B.C. He said, Well, how do you know that? Well, Josephus tells us that Herod the Great and turn with me here to. Yeah. Matthew two one, Page eight. Matthew two one, Page eight. Now, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the King, Jesus is born in the days of Herod the king, Josephus says that Herod the Great died in four B.C., April 4th, April 4th, four B.C.


Actually, he said at Herbert did the 750 that day. When you transform it into the Christian calendar, it becomes April 4th, four B.C. That's when at Herbert King did the 750 ends. Now, the result then is that if Herod dies on April 4th, four B.C., Jesus has to be born before then. That's also confirmed in what Josephus says, that he died shortly after there was an eclipse. And the eclipse he refers to is an eclipse that we can date March 12th to 13th, four B.C. So shortly before that, April 4th fits very nicely. Jesus Herod dies and Jesus has to be born before them. Okay, Now, how much before that did he die on the day that Jesus was born? No, I can't say that because after Jesus is born, remember wise men come and He wants to find out about this. So Jesus is born before Herod dies. Now, if we look at the events surrounding his birth, we find that in Luke 212 20, we have a story of Jesus birth in Bethlehem, in Judea, and that wise men not actually being shepherds, were out in the field and they come to the birth of Jesus and see him lying in a manger. And they are there that first night of his birth. But when is that? When is that? Now? If you follow the events in the first days of Jesus life, turn to page nine and we'll go through them. We have shepherds present at the birth of Jesus, then Luke 221, Page nine And at the end of eight days when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the Angel before he was conceived in this war. On the eighth day, a Jewish male was circumcised.


Remember, Paul, when he talks about his Jewishness, is circumcised on the eighth day of the tribe of Israel and so forth and so forth. So Jesus is circumcised on the eighth day, after which there is another event. And that event involves two things. One is his redemption, which is a ceremonial right. The first born of everyone is redeemed. And this is the reenactment now in the birth of the firstborn son of the Exodus and the Passover event, so that the firstborn being redeemed with a coin. This reminds us that our firstborn. Did not die in the Passover, but everyone else did. And in celebration of our having this first born, we then give this coin and it's a reenactment and the birth and early early days of the firstborn child of the Passover event. It's wonderful to have rituals like this that really live the experience of your religious history like this. It's one thing that I think that we as Protestants are very poor at. I think Roman Catholic tradition has lots of these kinds of things that go over and you go through various kinds of rights and it reminds people of these things can, of course, become empty, sterile ritual. But if done properly, it can be very, very meaningful. Now we read the verse 22, and when the time came for their purification, and according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present them to the Lord. As it is written in the law of the Lord, every man that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord. Now, it mentions here a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons.


Now that refers back to the book of Leviticus, Chapter 12. Let me read you the opening verses. The Lord spoke to Moses saying, Speak to the children of Israel, saying if a woman conceives and builds a male child, she will be ceremonial, unclean for seven days. On the eighth day, the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. Her time of blood purification shall be 33 days. She shall not touch any holy thing or come into the sanctuary until the days of a purification are completed. When the days of her purification are completed, whether her son or daughter. It was longer for the daughter she shall bring to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting a lamb in its first year for a burnt offering and a pigeon or a turtle love for a sin offering. Now, what does that tell you right away about Joseph and Mary with regard to this? Right. They are poor because it says they shall bring a turtle dove or a lamb and a turtle dove for offering. And if they cannot afford the land, she will take two turtle doves. And Luke says here that they offer a pair of two turtle doves or two young pigeon. So we have hear that they are poor. Now, that indicates we take these things seriously. The Weizman having arrived yet? Because when the wise men arrive, we read on page eight here and nine that they come bringing in verse 11 treasures gold, frankincense and myrrh. Now, if the wise men have come, you have to envision this. Joseph and Mary go from Bethlehem, would you, dear, to the Jerusalem, sir? I probably can do it in a little over an hour. And as they come to the temple, Joseph whispers to Mary, Don't tell them about the gold, frankincense, myrrh.


We can get by on two pigeons this way. This doesn't seem to fit the kind of people Joseph and Mary are, so they don't have this kind of material available for them. Now, that means that at least 41 days before Herod dies, Jesus has to be born. But there's more to this. If you look at Matthew two, verse seven, then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained for them what time the star appeared. And then when we read about the massacre of the Innocence of the Cutters on page ten, after the wise men come, they do not go back to Herod, but they flee and go another way. We read verse 16, then Herod, when he saw that he'd been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men. So there are two references as to the star having appeared, and Herod brings about the slaughter and massacre of the innocents according to that time. So you get the impression that Jesus could be up to two years old already at this time. And it was, say, two years, and Herod died the next day. Then we have going from four B.C. to six B.C. and could have been somewhat earlier than that as well. So when we talk about the birth of Jesus, if I were to guess, I would say seven B.C., plus or minus a year is as good a guess as any. So the irony is that Jesus. This is actually seven years old when he was born, according to our particular calendar. Now you say, well, why don't we change the color? We could get a little closer, but we still would know exactly which year we don't know.


So as did the birth of Jesus, probably seven B.C. or so, somewhere around there? No. With regard to the day of Jesus birth. Protestants and Catholics celebrate the 25th of December. The Greek Orthodox celebrate it on the 6th of January. Now, which is right. Well, my own view is that each one has about a one in 365 chance of being correct. There is nothing in the accounts that give a date on the first month in the 14th day, nothing like that. If anything, it's probably unlikely that it's winter. If there are shepherds out in the fields. No, no, you can defend that. There are always some crazy shepherds out doing something in the weirdest time of the year. But the normal shepherding period was in the spring when the rains had come and the weather, it warmed up and they led the sheep out to pasture to feed on the new green grass that had come up. It may well be that the 21st of December was celebrated by the early church because it was to set up a rival to the worship of the Sun God in mystery ism, and that even as they called the 25th of December, the day of the invincible sun. Soon Christians may have as a rivalry said, Now we want to celebrate and remember the day of the sun of God's birth and chose the 25th of December. It's impossible to be dogmatic on something of this. The result is they are people who tend to be rather iconoclastic about that and say, Well, if we don't know the exact date when Jesus was born, we shouldn't celebrate it. And there are some religious groups that will mention their names that do capitalize on that and are antique.


Christmas is a pagan holiday as copy dressed as the mystery. Mystery religion. Well, I think practically there are a number of things that say, let's make the most of it. It's a time of year when people think about the birth of Jesus. Even unbelievers think about it. It's a time when Christmas carols are being sung. Why not make the most of this as an opportunity of evangelism? If we can share that and I mean, let's face it, if one of our children said to us and there was no day we celebrated the birth of Jesus, how come Jesus birthday we don't celebrate? You might say, Well, let's make one. Won't be a good day to celebrate. And every year we'll celebrate it this day and recall the birth of the savior of the world. So practically, and I think and it has a great value. And let's use the opportunity and rather simply be iconoclastic and speak against it. And the second reason that for some of us, like me, may be most important is that I get presents on Christmas. I don't want to give that up. So as very practical remembrance of that way. All right, now the baptism of Jesus or the date of the beginning of his ministry is also somewhat uncertain. But let's look at page 12 here. You would think that we have a really exact date to help us understand the the beginning of Jesus ministry. Here you have Luke three one in the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar. Ha, that that's good. Pontius Pilot being governor of Judea, Herod being kept track of Galilee, his brother, Philip Tektronix of the region of the victory, and Titus and Licinius Tetrarchy of Bellini in the high priestess of Annas and Caiaphas.


The Word of God came to John, the son of Zachariah, in the wilderness, and he went preaching a baptism of repentance and so forth. Well, what you do then is you figure it out. When Pontius Pilot was governor, Herod was Tetrarchy, Philip was Tetrarchy, Licinius Tetrarchy and I understand Caiaphas, the high priest. And well, when you put them all out, then a lot of these have long rings and there's a large overlapping of years. The only one that looks like it's really very distinctive is the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar. Now, when did Tiberius become Caesar? Was it in the 15th year or 15th year from what, in the 11 A.D.? Tiberius Caesar became the co-emperor with Caesar Augustus. See it as Augustus was old, feeble, senile, and Tiberius became the co-ruler. He didn't, however, receive sole authority as. Until September 17th, 8014. That's when Caesar Augustus died. So do we begin from 11 or 14 to count the 15th year of his reign? It. It's been an interesting study recently and has suggested that the reason so many of these emperors became senile and crazy at the end of their reign, like Nero, who really started out as a pretty good, good emperor, is that being specially privileged? They did not have to drink their wine from wooden cups like the poor, but they could drink from lead cups. And I think they got lead poisoning and they went bonkers as a result of that. So it might be good to be poor once in a while. No. If we take the date September 1780 14, that would be the first year. But the second year began just then, two weeks later on the 1st of October, because any part of the year was considered a year and the years were counted from October 1st.


So that is if you had become emperor on the 14th of September and died 2nd of October, you had a two year reign. It was only 15 days. Yeah, I'm not counting days. I'm counting years. There are years. And so when you put this together, if you start with the date of his becoming sole emperor, the 15th year would be sometime around October 1st, A.D. 27 to September 30th, A.D. 28. So this leads you somewhere around 27. If you figure out the first year, 50 year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar in Luke 323, Page 17 we have another one. Another time indicator of Jesus ministry. Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about 30 years of age being the sun, as we suppose, of Joseph and so forth. The end of the genealogy about 30 years. Well, born in seven B.C.. 27. You leave out zero. There's no zero that way. You have him in the early thirties or towards the mid-thirties, and that would fit reasonably well. The other indicator is page 24 of John two 2324 John 220 When Jesus begins his ministry. Jesus says verse 19, line 28 Destroy this temple in three days I will raise it up. The Jews then said It has taken 46 years to build this temple and will you raise it up in three days? So the temple had been in the process of being built in for 46 years, and Josephus again tells us that Herod began to build the temple, rebuild the temple on the 18th year of his reign. That comes to be about 20 or 19 B.C. And if you put 46 to that again, you're around 80, 27, 28, something of that nature. So if you're going to talk about the date of Jesus ministry, I think the wisest thing would be around 2728 in that regard.


Now, the length of his ministry we have in the Gospel of John three specific references to Passover. And they're not the same. They're different Passover. So in John 213, the Passover, the Jews was his hand and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Then you go to page 135, John 64. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews was at hands. Then you go to 281, John, 13 one now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that is our had come to depart part of the world to the father having loved his own, who were in the world. He loved them to the end. So it's three specific clear references to the Passover. There's another one in John five one page 129 that refers to another particular date, but it's not specific. After this, there was a feast of the Jews and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now, usually when one went up during the Passover, is this another reference to the Passover or is it a reference to perhaps the Feast of Tabernacles or something like that? And that raises the question of how many years was the Ministry of Jesus? According to John, it probably somewhere around three years. So the irony is an early church father, when A.D. said it must have been 10 to 20 years, there's no indication like that at all. The Synoptic Gospels look more or. Like a possibility of a year, year and a half of ministry. But we talked about the arrangement of the gospel of Mark being not chronological, but first of all, dealing with the materials that Jesus did in Galilee and the things there and then the Jerusalem material. So there's not a chronology of going back and forth. And as we find in the Gospel of John, the other date that helps us with regard to the death of Jesus is that after the Passover, the next day is the Sabbath.


So all four gospels say that Jesus is crucified on the Passover day, and the next day is the Sabbath. And that's why the bodies come down from the cross and so forth. Now we know through astronomy when the Sabbath would have to take place because it involves the moon. And so you can date the Sabbath to astronomical observations fairly clearly. There are only four years roughly in that period where the Passover was linked in time with the Sabbath, and they are A.D. 27, A.D. 38, 33 and 80, 36, 80, 20. Sevens too early. Not possible. 8036 is too late. Not possible. So the debate then, is whether Jesus died in A.D. 30 or A.D. 33 and I incline to 8030. But there are a lot of people who have already tried to argue for A.D. 33. I don't think one can really be dogmatic on that issue some way. There are a number of people who argue for 33. Some evangelical friends of mine argue for that. To me, it's more likely it's 830 when we deal with issues of chronology. We have to realize that the gospel writers don't seem to be that interested in those things. Sometimes, like Luke three one, there's an attempt to do some of that, but they're not so concerned about when things happen. But what happens, and our historical interest in chronology and so forth may not necessarily follow theirs. Finally, let's talk about the resurrection of Jesus. Here, too, we have something of a difficulty. We have Jesus rising on the third day, first Corinthians 15 three, three and four. I delivered you what? I also received all that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scripture, was buried. On a third day He rose from the dead.


The Passover sayings of Jesus that on the third day he would rise from the dead. But for many people it's a real problem because Jesus dies late in the afternoon of our Friday and he rises early in the morning of Sunday. Well, we're talking about, say, 36 hours and three days is not what we would consider 36 hours. That's a day and a half. But again, you have to deal with the time understanding of of the people of their day. They're not writing our using our concept of time, but they're on the day, first day of Jesus. Burial and death is from Thursday 6 p.m. to Friday, 6 p.m.. Friday afternoon late dies the second day at 6 p.m., Friday to 6 p.m. Saturday and the third day begins 6 p.m. Saturday and then 6 p.m. Sunday by our calendar. And so he rises on the third day. And again, the irony could be that if he died, if they had the precision at the 559 on Friday and rose 601 on Saturday, there would have been two days so he could have done it 559 Friday and 601 Saturday would be three days, 24 hours, 2 minutes, the way they count time. But of course, it wasn't quite like that. All right. That gives you an idea of the time. And I I've heard people make references that Jesus had to die on an earlier day. He died Thursday because that's the only way you can get three days out of it. And I said you would You not doing is not thinking how the author is using time. You're thinking about how you understand time. You didn't write this account. The gospel writers, that their understanding is different. They counted time like a Jew counts time in any part of the day was a day.


So part of Friday is the first, Saturday is the second, Saturday being Friday night, 6 p.m. Sunday, Saturday night, 6 p.m., 6 p.m. Saturday to Sunday is the third day and fits nicely in that the.