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Introduction to the New Testament: Gospel and Acts - Lesson 20

Jesus' Early Galilean Ministry (Part 2)

Turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana was one of the first miracles Jesus performed in His public ministry. He also had conversations with Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman, and healed the nobleman's son.

Craig Blomberg
Introduction to the New Testament: Gospel and Acts
Lesson 20
Watching Now
Jesus' Early Galilean Ministry (Part 2)

Public Ministry

Part 3

II. Jesus' Early Galilean Ministry (part 2)

A. John and Jesus



LESSON BEGINS HERE

B. The Newness of Jesus' Ministry (John 2-4)

1. New Joy (2:1-2:10) [sign + discourse]

a. Jesus in Cana

b. Turning water into wine

2. New Temple [sign + discourse]

a. Cleansing the Temple (2:11,12)

b. Jesus and Nicodemus (2:25-3:1)

3. New Birth [discourse + sign]

a. John the Baptist vs. Jesus (3:22-23)

4. New Universalism

a. Jesus and the Samaritan woman (surprisingly positive)

b. Jesus in Cana

c. Healing the nobleman's son


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Transcript
  • Overview of the influences of the Persian, Greek and Roman Empires on the Jewish nation. 

  • A summary of the Jewish political and religious rulers and movements, and the tensions that arose between the Jews and the occupying Roman authorities.

  • Ancient philosophies and religious movements had a significant influence on peoples' beliefs and behavior in the first century. The influence of Rome and Greece was evident throughout the world. 

  • Religious groups like the Pharisees and Sadducees, and teachings of contemporary Judaism about the Messiah affected Jesus' teaching and ministry.

     

  • One of the major influences in the social structure in Israel during the first century was the relationship and interaction between Jews and Gentiles. Various Jewish groups had differing views on how they should interact among themselves and with Gentiles. (Dr. Blomberg did not provide us with the PowerPoint slides for this lecture.)

  • One of the major influences in the social structure in Israel during the first century was the relationship and interaction between Jews and Gentiles. Various Jewish groups had differing views on how they should interact among themselves and with Gentiles. (Dr. Blomberg did not provide us with the PowerPoint slides for this lecture.)

  • The Gospels are historically reliable documents. Some of the main arguments and pieces of evidence pointing to the historical reliability of the Gospels are given in this lecture.

  • Form criticism, or form history examines how tradition has changed and how it has stayed the same. 

  • The gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke have so many similarities that they are referred to as the "Synoptic Gospels." There is also material in each of these Gospels that make it distinctive from the other two.

  • It can be helpful to examine, from a literary perspective, the passages that record the encounters that Jesus had with Nicodemus, and the Samaritan woman.

  • In order to understand the message of the Gospel of Mark, it is helpful to understand who the author is, the approximate date it was written, the audience to whom it was written, and the major themes of the book. The content of the book can be divided into the first 8 chapters that focus on the life and ministry of Jesus and the last 8 chapters that focus on His death and resurrection.

  • In order to understand the message of the Gospel of Matthew, it is helpful to understand who the author is, the approximate date it was written, the audience to whom it was written, and the possible sources on which Matthew relied when he was writing. Matthew begins by recording genealogy of Jesus and some of the events surrounding his infancy. Jesus' public ministry began with HIs baptism by John the Baptist, temptation in the wilderness and calling of the disciples. His preaching included the Sermon on the Mount and parables which Matthew grouped together in the Gospel.

  • Examining the outline and structure of the Gospel of Luke reveals the main points and the focus of Luke's Gospel and the book of Acts. Luke and Matthew have some similarities as well as some elements that are distinctive.

  • Much of the material of the Gospel of John is unique, compared to the other 3 Gospel accounts. Some of John's account alternates between recording a sign that Jesus performs with a discourse about a certain subject. Chapter 12 to the end of the Gospel covers the final days of Jesus' life on earth.

  • Some scholars belief that historical evidence supports the Gospel accounts of Jesus' life, some think the historical evidence supports the inauthenticity of the Gospel accounts, and some think that the historical evidence is irrelevant. The different conclusions are due mainly to different presuppositions. It is possible to propose a probable time line of Jesus' life.

  • The Gospel accounts of Jesus' birth and early years of life show how He accurately fulfilled specific OT prophecies made hundreds of years earlier, and how His life was intertwined with that of John the Baptist. The beginning of John's Gospel is a testimony to Jesus' nature as being both fully God and fully human.

  • Locations in present day Israel that are related to Jesus' infancy and the beginning of His public ministry.

  • John the Baptist began his ministry before Jesus's public ministry. For a while their public ministries overlapped, then Jesus conducted the remainder of His public ministry without John the Baptist on the scene.

  • Turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana was one of the first miracles Jesus performed in His public ministry. He also had conversations with Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman, and healed the nobleman's son.

  • The Sermon on the Mount is one of the main passages showing how Jesus defines the "Kingdom of God." He also calls the disciples, redefines the family, performs healings and exorcisms, and uses parables and pronouncements to teach about who God is and how He relates to humans.

  • Images of locations in present day Israel related to Jesus' early Galilean ministry.

  • The Sermon on the Mount shows how the teachings of the Kingdom of God relate to the OT Law. It also includes additional NT teachings and a model prayer.

  • Pictures of places in present day Israel related to Jesus' early Galilean ministry.

  • Understanding parables as a literary form helps us interpret them accurately. Jesus performed miracles in various contexts for specific purposes.

  • Locations in present day Israel related to parables Jesus said and places He performed miracles.

  • Jesus' ministry in Galilee took place in locations like Nazareth, Cana, the Sea of Galilee and other nearby towns and areas. As Jesus was departing from Galilee, he performed miracles and taught at specific places along the way.

  • One of the themes in John chapters 5-11 is how Jesus fulfills the Jewish festivals. He also uses metaphors, saying that he is the, “bread of life,” “light of the world,” “gate for the sheep” and others.

  • In Matthew chapter 18, Jesus gives a sermon on forgiveness and humility. 

  • Locations in present day Israel related to Jesus' ministry.

  • Does the Bible teach that we are to marry or that we are not to marry?

  • Passion Week in the life of Jesus includes his anointing in Bethany, triumphal entry into Jerusalem, cleansing of the temple, celebrating Passover, prayer and arrest in Gethsemane, crucifixion and resurrection.

  • Chronological order of the events of the Passion week of the ministry of Jesus.

  • The death and resurrection of Jesus are significant both historically and theologically.

  • Narration describing slide photographs of locations of events that took place during Passion Week.

  • Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Jewish Messiah. He was both fully God and fully man. Jesus taught about the kingdom of God and showed compassion to the people who were outcasts in society.

  • Acts was written as a continuation of the Gospel of Luke to record what the Holy Spirit was doing through the lives of followers of Christ in the early church. The gospel spread ethnically from Jews to Gentiles, and geographically from Jerusalem to the rest of the world.

  • Stephen challenged the Jewish leaders to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah. Paul's conversion was a key event in the history of the early church.

  • The discussion in the Jerusalem council in Acts chapter 15 was how Jews and gentiles could function together as the body of Christ.

  • Narrative describing pictures relating to places that were significant in the early church.

  • The book of Acts records events that happened during Paul's travels as he preached the gospel and established churches throughout Asia Minor and Europe.

This class studies issues of introduction for the four Gospels and Acts, and, using the English New Testament, provides a harmonistic study of the life of Christ with a focus on his essential teachings, the theology of evangelism, and the planting of the church as recorded in Acts.

 

Dr. Craig Blomberg

Introduction to the New Testament: Gospel and Acts

nt511-20

Jesus Early Galilean Ministry (Part 2)

Lesson Transcript

 

This is the twentieth lecture in the online series of lectures for understanding the Gospels and Acts, in complement with the textbook by Craig Blomberg’s Jesus and The Gospels: an Introduction and Survey

 

In our last lecture, we looked at the relationship between John the Baptist and Jesus and thus were launched into the very beginning of the ministry and career of Jesus of Nazareth. A helpful way of summarizing the combined effect of the early messages of John and Jesus phrased in first century Jewish language in terms of later Christian theologizing, might be to summarized by saying that John and Jesus came announcing the restoration of God’s people, that is, what historically is called the people of Israel. But now without ethic limitations, that is to say, a new kind of humanity is being created, particularly by one, namely, Jesus, who does not personally need to repent of any sin, but who says that all others do; a rather astonishing claim, however implicit or explicit from the opening chapters of the four Gospels. 

 

The Synoptics move immediately from discussion of the ministry of John to Baptist, Jesus baptism and the temptation in the wilderness to his great Galilean ministry; a period of time that span perhaps, at least, a year of his, roughly, three year ministry, in which his popularity, particularly among the masses, was at its height. John’s Gospel, however, includes a period of time, apparently, preceding this great Galilean ministry. In John’s chapter 2 to 4 and the entire three chapter segment, indicated by the inclusion of the only two references to Cana, the Galilean village, in all of Scripture can be represented by a single chart reflecting the PowerPoint slide for this comparative brief lecture. Not only does John 2:1 begin with Jesus in Cana and the final kerygapi of the healing of nobleman’s son of which John forecloses, finds Jesus again in Cana. But there are a number of signs of careful literary artistry and symmetry in between these two bounding references. The major kerygapi involved the first miracle or what John consistently calls, ‘signs’, namely turning water into wine. This is followed by Jesus’ first cleansing of the Temple precinct in Jerusalem. 

 

Chapter three combines the report of Jesus’s conversation with Nicodemus with follow up conversation about the relationship between John the Baptist and Jesus. Chapter four is dominating the extensive dialogue between Jesus and the Samaritan woman and then as we have already noticed, closes with the healing of the nobleman’s son. It would appear that there are four main units that these six kerygapi can be grouped into. The message or key theme of turning water into wine is surely the new troy that attends Jesus announcement of the Kingdom. The miracle reminds readers of the synoptics of the parallel of new wine creating new wine skins, such as the six jars used in the rites of purification, which of course, involved what religious people of the later era might have called holy water, proved inadequate and therefore the water was turned into wine so that the social obligations of a bridegroom, bride and their families, could be fulfilled and not be shamed in the eyes of the villagers. Also, the old rites of Judaism, particularly the ritual oral traditions that had been added to the law, whether ritual or moral, were inadequate for this new age that was dawning, and hence wine, a consistent symbol of joy throughout Jewish history and associated with festive occasions, is the effective symbolic replacement for water. 

 

Whatever one makes of whether there was one or two Temple cleansing, one at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and one as the synoptics describe it at the end, or whether John has thematically and programmatically relocated this passage to the beginning of his narrative in order to demonstrate one of John’s key recurring themes, namely Jesus as the fulfillment of the rituals and ritual laws of Judaism. Luke did this in regards to his Nazareth manifesto. Most distinctive piece of John’s teachings about Jesus’ claims, on this occasion comes in 2:19, where he associates his body, later to be given in death and then resurrected as the Temple which really counts against the religious edifice in which he was speaking lof in that occasion. But, fore swallowing, if not explicitly pointing forward to a time when the Jerusalem Temple would no longer be present, indeed, no longer be needed because in his own person provided forgiveness of sins as the Temple building for animal sacrifices represented. 

 

The passage that most Christians are familiar with out of this section comes with the dialogue with Nicodemus in John 3 and the claim in verses three and five that a person must be born again or a new, defined as born of water and the spirit; that is to say, a spiritual cleansing as fore told in Ezekiel 36. Thus, after highlighting the new joy and Temple surrounding Jesus’ ministry, we now have reference to a new birth, a spiritual birth rather than second physical birth. And it isn’t surprising in that context, further discussion and the narrative surrounding the role of John the Baptist, visa-vie Jesus and their respected baptisms should ensure, given the use of water, for that ritual as well. Chapter four then appears to be thematically unified by the concept of a new universalism. Not universalism in the technical theological sense of the doctrine that everybody will someday be saved whether or not they have actually accepted the Gospel of Jesus. But universalism in the sense of a newer and fuller universal offer of the Gospel, a most conscience mission to all of the ethnic groups and peoples and places in the world, signified dramatically by Jesus’ acceptance of the Samaritan woman and her positive response. She would have had three strikes against her by the cultural standards of her day, for gender, her ethnicity/religion and at the very least, the perception of having led an immoral life. Along with this, the nobleman’s son is a person usually considered a gentile. 

 

As we have already seen in a supplemental lecture to the textbook’s introduction to literary criticism; there are all kinds of contrasts, apparently deliberately arranged in John’s literary artistry between Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman. He, who would have been by orthodox Jewish cultural standards, the most likely person to be in touch with God’s will in the entire world, yet, did not at this stage in the Gospel understand Jesus’ teaching at all. While the Samaritan woman, the least likely to understand, had in fact a positive understanding and appreciation, at least, by the end of the conversation, so much so that she brings her towns people to come and hear and in many instances, believe for themselves. There is also symmetry in that, it begins and ends, what John calls attention to, the first and second of Jesus’ signs. He will continue to high light these signs but not enumerate them and in between, having not only the contrast between Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman but presenting them in similar literary forms, namely discourses or dialogues between Jesus and a solitary conversational partner. All of this suggests that this segment is meant to be seen as a historical and literary unit by John the Apostle and author of the fourth Gospel and at his presentation at the outset of Jesus’ ministry, consistent with what we see in the synoptics, though emphasizing and highlighting a different set of events than the synoptics omits. The newness of Jesus’ ministry and hint, polarizing effect that it will have because not all will be convinced that it is continuous with and consistent with God’s previous revelation, is highlighted in John, every bit as much as it is with the synoptic claims that one who exists needs no repentance and yet that he calls everyone else in his nation to same level of a very serious personal and corporate repentance.