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Introduction to the New Testament: Gospel and Acts - Lesson 26

Places Related to Parables and Miracles

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

Craig Blomberg
Introduction to the New Testament: Gospel and Acts
Lesson 26
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Places Related to Parables and Miracles

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Part 9

Slide show of locations in present day Israel related to parables Jesus said and places He performed miracles.


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  • 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

nt511-26

Places Related to Parables and Miracles

Lesson Transcript

 

This is the 26th 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

 

(This lecture represents another set of slides and photos of places in Israel related to the Parables and Miracles of Jesus)

 

When one envisions Jesus and his disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee by boat, one cannot think about modern boats but smaller ones still used today by fishermen at dust and dawn to ply the waters of this fertile and fish rich sea. These days, tourists can cross over much more quickly and with less effort. Yet, even today, quick squalls can come up with large amounts of rain, accompanied by howling winds. Another photo (slide) shows yellow flowers of the mustard plant beneath much larger palm trees. One can understand, being spring, they have not grown to full size as of yet they do grow fast and thus they remind us of the parable that Jesus taught about the growth of the Kingdom. 

 

The resurrection of the daughter of Jarett was an event in Capernaum that took place in her father’s home. He was described as the synagogue ruler who typical lived in an adjacent large home next to the synagogue, much like a manse being provided for the pastor of a church. This portion of a large excavated home immediate across from the synagogue may have been Jarett’s home. Nain, where Jesus raised the only son of a widow, is one of those smaller towns that have never been excavated. You can see the lush fields of grain in that area today. 

 

The somewhat bizarre story of the exorcism of the demoniac and the herd of pigs which they then subsequently entered; the evil spirits then threw themselves off the cliff into the Sea of Galilee. This probably took place somewhere near the ancient town Khersa. (One photo here reflects the drought conditions of 1986 when the Lake was the lowest it had been in a hundred years) So in Jesus day, the water came right up to the edge of the cliff and thus the pigs would have drowned in the water immediately. One such photo, looking from the bottom of the cliffs, shows the ruins of a Byzantine church just back away at the top of the cliff. 

 

Jesus went to Nazareth where he found out that he could only do a few miracles there because of their lack of belief. Today Nazareth is dominated on the skyline by the Church of the Annunciation which commemorates the traditional site, though we really don’t know where the Angel Gabriel gave the announcement and prophecy to Mary that in spite being a virgin, she would conceive a child who would be the Saviour, Christ the Lord. Another photo with a view from another angle of the church and then a more gloomy obscure picture from the hill overlooking Nazareth where it would have been quite easy for an angry crowd having followed Jesus out of town after he preached in the Nazareth Synagogue, reaching a point where they tried to cast him over the hill side but Jesus seemingly miraculously escaped from them. One photo shows ancient style pottery and kitchen ware with bowls and where bread was made and then put in the oven with yeast reminding us of the parable of the leaven or yeast. 

 

The parable of the rich fool speaks of the man having a bumper crop of grain with no mention of sharing it with any of the many needy people around him. He simply decided to build a bigger storage bin; one such stairway out of the rock along the far edge of that enables the grain owners to go down into the storage bin or house. The next several slides (photos) move to the area outside the ancient city of Caesarea Philippi (north of the Sea of Galilee) which was a center of emperor worship as one might suspect from the name of a town after the Caesar of the time who was Tiberius and also Herod Philip. But before it had been called Caesarea Philippi, it was called Panius after the god of the forest ‘Pan’ in Greek mythology. 

 

The original head waters of the River Jordan, one would have flows out of a cave. But now for the sake of controlling the water, Israeli authority has rerouted some of it; at the same time, turning the area into a national park. But at one point, imperial statues were erected at the mouths of these caves as well. So in a place where there were so much background of false religion, it’s understandable why Jesus might ask what other people were saying about who he was and then to see if the disciples had a better understanding of who he was. Another photo (slide) shows those headwaters of the Jordan, further downstream from the cave entrances. Another angle showing some of the water falls created by the way the river has been dammed up in places. There are also ancient idols, statues to gods and goddesses of the Greco-Roman polytheistic pantheon were worshiped. And later in post Christian times, the site of Muslim tombs as well. 

 

A miracle that appears immediately after Jesus’ withdrawal from Galilee is the spectacular miracle of the transfiguration. Mount Tabor with no nearby hills from the Jezreel valley in the south of Galilee is the traditional site of the transfiguration, but with both the village and Roman fortress atop it in Jesus’ day, many scholars wonder whether it was a remote enough of a place to qualify for the miracle. Other scholars wonder if one should image instead Mount Hermon, the tallest mountain anywhere near Israel, just to the northeast of what probably were the borders of Galilee in the time of Christ. The question with this site in another time of the year with better weather is whether it would have been too remote and difficult and an unnecessary trek for the events that happened. Other suggestions, most noticeably, Walter Wyfelts compromise of Mount Marian, the tallest peak within Galilee, though not nearly as well known. It is closer to Mt Hermon than Tabor.