Free Online Bible Library | Lecture 3: Life of Jesus - Part 1

Lecture 3: Life of Jesus - Part 1

Course: New Testament Overview, by Dr. Carl Laney

Lesson 3: Life of Jesus Part 1

I am Carl Laney, Prof at Western Seminary, and it’s my privilege to give you a survey of the New Testament. Today we’re going to be focusing on the background of the Life of Jesus.


Well we begin with a little bit of the intertestamental history that prepares the way for the coming of Jesus. You know the time in which Jesus lived was a major transition. It was a transition from a predominately Jewish culture to a predominately Greek culture. A transition from a predominately Hebrew and Aramaic language to a predominately Greek language. The philosophy was changing as well. Instead of a Hebraic background for this land it was becoming more Hellenistic and all of this set the stage then for the New Testament and the ministry of Jesus.

But we pick up the intertestamental history with the ministry of Malachi the last of the Old Testament Prophets around 431BC. After Malachi we come to a period of decline in the Persian Rule and the Conquest by Alexander the Great in 334 BC he conquered Persia and established a great Greek empire. After his death his empire was divided among his generals. His sons were ruled to be incompetent and so we have the beginning of the Ptolemy Rule from Alexandria and this was from Egypt. The Ptolemies ruled until about 198BC when they were defeated by the Seleucids, and Seleucids began to rule over Palestine from Antioch.

Probably the most infamous of the Seleucid rulers was Antiochus Epiphanes who ruled 175 to 163. In 167 he decided that he wanted to bring Greek culture to Jerusalem and he was going to do that by setting up an altar to himself in the Jewish Temple. He believed that he was the incarnation of Zeus and so he wanted to be worshipped there in the Jerusalem Temple. Well, there were some Jewish leaders that thought this was wrong and they began a revolt, Mattathias and his sons revolted. This became known as the Maccabean Revolt. Mattathias from Modein and his sons including Judas, Judas Maccabee, revolted.

For three years they fought against the Seleucid Rule and eventually they overcame it. They went back to Jerusalem, they tore down the altar that had been dedicated to Zeus and they reestablished true worship there in Jerusalem. The feast that followed that deliverance was called Hanukkah – the Festival of Lights because of the miracle that took place. They only had enough oil to light the menorah to have it burn for a day. But in fact, it burned for eight days and so we have the eight days celebration of the Feast of Lights or Hanukkah the Feast of rededicating the Temple. This is actually mentioned in John 10:22, where Jesus was in Jerusalem for this celebration in the winter of AD32 just before his spring crucifixion.

The Maccabees descendants ruled in the land after the Maccabean Revolt and these were known as the Hasmoneans. So, we have a period of Hasmonean rule and there’s a variety of different Hasmoneans who ruled but by the time we come to 63BC we find that the rule passes from the Jewish leaders to the Romans and Pompeii conquered Jerusalem and Palestine, the Land of Israel, fell under Roman domination. There were various people in charge of the land at this time. There was a governor by the name of Antipater and he was murdered and his two sons, Herod, and his brother Phasael, were appointed as co-rulers of Judea. In 40BC the Parthians invaded, swept into the land, Herod fled. He headed to Rome where he sought refuge and asked the Roman Senate to give him the title, King of the Jews. And they did. They gave him that title and he then returned to Palestine in 40BC, he raised an army, he captured Jerusalem in 37BC and became the undisputed ruler of Judea with the title given to him by the Romans, King of the Jews. The ironic thing is that he wasn’t Jewish he was Edomite, a descendant of Esau rather than of Jacob.

He began a rule in 37 over the land and Herod is known for his great building project. He built the city of Caesarea on the sea. He rebuilt the city of Samaria, named it for the Emperor Sebaste or Caesar. He built a great fortress at Masada, He built a fortress just south of Jerusalem at a place that he named after himself, Herodian. It was later there that the was buried. Of course, he built the magnificent Jerusalem Temple. It was said in those days if you hadn’t seen the Jerusalem Temple you hadn’t seen a beautiful thing.

Herod was plagued with all kinds of domestic troubles. He had 10 wives and that will cause you a lot of problems anyway you look at it. All of these wives wanted their children to succeed Herod as king and so there was a lot of sibling rivalry. Herod ended up murdering several of his own children and murdered, had his favorite wife Miriam, executed because he suspected her guilty of adultery. It was toward the end of Herod’s life that Jesus, the Promised One, was born in Bethlehem. That’s usually dated about 5 or 4BC. Herod died in Jericho in the spring of 4BC so we know that Jesus was born before that time, before the spring of 4BC. The Emperor Augustus, after Herod’s death divided his kingdom into three parts and assigned it to his three surviving sons. Archelaus was appointed the ruler of Judea, Idumea and Samaria. Antipas was given the title of Tetrarch and was given the territories of Galilee and Peraea, Herod Philp was appointed Tetrarch, or ruler of a people in the area northeast of the Sea of Galilee.

You might be a little bit confused by the fact that Jesus was born probably 4 or 5BC. How did that happen? Well the present Christian era is a dating system that was invented by a Scythian monk who was living in Italy at the request of Pope St John in 525AD. This monk modified the Alexandrian system of dating which was based upon the reign of Diocletian, the persecutor of the church. He prepared a numbering system from the incarnation of our Lord Jesus. He placed the birth of Jesus at 753 years before the foundation of the city of Rome. But he failed to take into account that the Gospel records that Jesus was born under King Herod who died in 750 before the foundation of the city of Rome. So, he was about three or four years off. The dating was questioned in the eighth century, actually rejected in the ninth century but tradition had been established and no body wanted to change their calendars and so today we find that our actual calendar system is about four years, three and a half or four years off.


That provides a little background then for the beginning of Jesus’ ministry which is recorded for us in four gospels. Three of these gospels are called synoptic gospels and the synoptic gospels, the word synoptic means to see together, to see together as. So, Matt, Mark and Luke are the synoptic gospels and they see parallel events in the life of Jesus. They see the same basic story of the life of Jesus. The Gospel of John is different it doesn’t parallel Matt, Mark, or Luke and so it’s a gospel unique to itself. But we have the three synoptic gospels and then the Gospel of John. I’ve provided some notes for you today that highlight the distinctives of each of these gospels and that what’s we want to look at for a little bit. They were written to different groups of people at different times and with different ideas and purposes in mind so it’s helpful as we begin our study of the Life of Jesus to know and to be familiar with these gospel writers.

A. Addreses

Well, Matt. Matt address the Jews and his gospel is probably the first gospel to have been written. Mark addresses the Romans and his gospel is probably the third gospel to have been written about AD65-70. Luke addresses the Greek readers and it’s probably the second gospel dated around AD60. John is the universal gospel addressing his gospel to all humanity and probably written as the last of the gospel writers around AD85-90 although some interesting arguments have been made which would date John’s Gospel around AD70. In Matt, Jesus is presented as King. He is presented as the King who has come to claim his Kingdom. Mark focuses on Jesus as the Servant of the Lord, he came to serve. Luke highlights the fact that Jesus is the Son of Man and he fulfills the prophecy of Dan 7:13, the son of man who came to receive from God the Father, kingdom rule and authority. The Gospel of John presents Christ as the Son of God, really highlights the deity of Jesus as illustrated by his miracles. Matt’s purpose is to demonstrate to the Jewish readers that Jesus is the Messiah of Old Testament prophecy. So, we have many quotations from the Old Testament that highlight that truth. Mark seeks to present that Jesus is God’s servant attested by his mighty miracles, his works. Luke shows that the life of Jesus is there to present a message of salvation and to save lost humanity so there’s real emphasis on saving humanity. Gospel of John presents the orthodox doctrine of the Son of God inspiring faith and life in him.

B. Theme

The theme of Matt I believe is captured in the words that were placed upon the cross, this is Jesus the King of the Jews. Mark’s theme is captured in Mark 10:45 the Son of man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many. In Luke’s gospel I believe the theme is captured in 19:10, the son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost, real emphasis on salvation. I believe the theme of John’s gospel is captured in 20:31, believe in Jesus the Messiah and Son of God. Two things John wants us to know is that Jesus is the promised Messiah and the Son of God.

C. Design

In terms of their design Matt’s gospel is more dispensational. It highlights the fact that God has worked in different economies over the age with the economy of the Old Testament law and moving into the New Covenant which highlights God’s great theme of grace and on into the kingdom. The focus in Mark’s gospel and its design is more chronological. Jesus did this and then he did that, then he did this, a real highlight on chronology. Luke’s gospel is more historical. He writes as a historian he says that his gospel was researched. He didn’t live at the time of Jesus or didn’t interact personally with Jesus so he’s a researcher. He’s gathering materials, putting it together in a historical document. John’s gospel is more theological by design.

D. Style

The style of Matt is more methodical and massive. He gives us everything. Mark is more colloquial and concise. He’s kind of the reader’s digest version of the Gospel of Matt. Luke’s gospel is more artistic and classical, he is a gifted writer and writes with a classical style. John’s gospel is more abstract, in the beginning was the Word, WOW! You can think about that all day long, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. It’s a profound gospel, the first 18 verses, the prologue, very profound. So much packed into this small section.

E. Emphasis

The emphasis in Matt’s gospel is on discourses so we find there the Sermon on the Mount, the Olivet Discourse. Mark’s gospel emphasizes miracles, 18 of the 35 miracles that are recorded in the gospels appear in Mark’s gospel and it’s got more of a concentration than any of the other gospels. Luke’s gospel highlights the parables. There’s 35 parables in Luke 19 of which are unique. John’s gospel presents the interviews and discourses; interview with Nicodemus, interview with the Samaritan woman, some unique interviews.

F. Old Testament Quotations

In terms of Old Testament quotations, Matt excels them all with 129 Old Testament quotations. It’s pretty clear that Matt is writing to a Jewish audience. Mark has 63 Old Testament quotations. Luke 67 and John 43.

G. Prominent Words

In terms of the prominent words in the Gospels, Matt’s prominent word is fulfill, this happened in order that it might be fulfilled. You see the emphasizes on the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. Mark’s Gospel likes that word immediately, immediately Jesus went and did this and immediately he went and did that. It’s a sequential word. Luke likes the phrase Son of Man and 26 times that phrase appears in Luke’s Gospel. John is very fond of the word believe 98 times that Greek word pisteuo, believe appears in John’s Gospel.

These are some of the distinctives of the Gospels that we’ll be looking at. The information that we can draw from these Gospels highlights different aspects of the person of Jesus Christ. Mark is going to emphasize chronology of events. Luke is going to emphasize some of the miracles and the healings of Jesus as a physician. Matt wants to emphasize the Old Testament prophecies being fulfilled and all of these Gospels give us different perspectives and greater understanding of the life of Jesus. It’s like looking at the life of Jesus from the eyes of different witnesses and they all tell us what is true about the life of Jesus.


A. The Hypothesis

We have four Gospels and that leads to a theory that has been proposed that the Gospels depended upon each other and other sources that haven’t been actually found to present what we know as the Gospels. This is known as the four-source theory of the Gospels. I don’t want to spend a lot of time with this, but I want you to be familiar with it because the fact is many commentaries and theologians will comment on this and refer to it. Many commentaries spend most of their time discussing where Matt got information or where Luke got this information or how Matt copied this from Mark and we need to be familiar with this four-source theory. The idea is that there are four major sources of the Gospel material.

B. The Sources

1. Q(uelle)

2. M(atthew)

3. L(uke)

4. Mark

A Quelle source, the Q source which is material used by Matt and Luke but not by Mark. The M source is material found uniquely in Matt based upon a Jerusalem sayings document. No one has ever found this document but it’s a hypothesis that there was some kind of a Jerusalem sayings document that Matt had access to. Then we have the L document which is material found uniquely in Luke based upon what is thought to be a Caesarian oral tradition that Luke had access to. Then there is the Gospel of Mark, the Roman Gospel and it’s believed according to this view, that both Matt and Luke drew their basic material from Mark’s Gospel.

C. The Method

1. Mark

2. Matthew

3. Luke

The basic idea is that Mark’s Gospel was the first Gospel and the key to the whole hypothesis and that the other writers depended upon the Gospel of Mark as they put together their life of Jesus. Then it’s believed that Matt used the Mark source, a Q source and the Jerusalem sayings document to bring together his Gospel and that Luke used the Mark source, the Q source and his Caesarian oral tradition that Luke had access to. Then there is the Gospel of Mark, the Roman Gospel and it’s believed, according to this view, that both Matt and Luke drew their basic material from Mark’s Gospel. The basic idea is that Mark’s Gospel was the first Gospel and it’s the key to the whole hypothesis and that the other writers depended upon the Gospel of Mark as they put together their life of Jesus. Then it’s believed that Matt used the Marken source, a Q source and the Jerusalem sayings document to bring together his Gospel. Luke used the Mark source, the Q source and his Caesarian oral tradition to bring together his Gospel.

D. The Crux

Well the crux of the issue is whether the similarities and differences in the Gospel can only be accounted for on the basis of literary dependence. Did the Gospel writers need to copy information from the other Gospel writers and these stories? For those who adopt this hypothesis it seems inconceivable that the similarities could be accounted for in any other way. However, as Guthrie warns in his New Testament introduction he says, “The investigator must guard against the fallacious assumption that what is inconceivable to him must necessarily be false.”

E. The Difficulties

One of the major difficulties with this concept of literary dependence is why Matt, an apostle, who was there for the three and half years of the life of ministry would need to gather material from Mark who wasn’t there who only got his message about Jesus from Peter. Neither Mark nor Luke were apostles. Why would Matt need to draw from those sources? This hypothesis, this four-source theory is also contradicted by the understanding of the early church that the Gospels with the genealogies were written first. Which Gospels have genealogies? Matt and Luke. So this Marken priority this is a theory but it’s not based on the earliest view of the church that the Gospel of Matt and the Gospel of Luke were written first.

F. The Alternatives

There are several alternatives to this hypothesis that the Gospel writers depended upon each other as literary sources for their material.

1. Oral Tradition

The fact is oral tradition can account for the similarities of the Gospel. The early teaching of Jesus was passed on by his disciples according to a fixed pattern that the Gospel writers were acquainted with. Matt, Mark and Luke all had access to this oral tradition, a fixed oral tradition that was passed on. The similarities would be based upon this fixed oral tradition.

2. Audience and Purpose

Then the audience and purpose could account for some differences in the Gospels. Matt, of course, is writing to Jews. He has a different purpose then Mark who is writing to Roman readers. Matt is going to emphasize some different things, emphasized a prophecy. He’s going to omit some things that Luke thought was interesting and wanted to include in his researched Gospel as he includes information about the virgin birth and more details about Joseph and Mary and the betrothal that they had before Mary was pregnant.

3. Divine Inspiration

Then divine inspiration ultimately led the Gospel writers to record the same teachings and narratives often with the same words. So, we believe that the Holy Spirit led them by divine inspiration to write the same words and sometimes led them to make different emphasis in the Gospels. One cannot be dogmatic in suggesting an ultimate solution to this problem of the synoptic tradition. Alternatives suggested here will help us to understand that we don’t have to take this view, that Mark was written first and that the other Gospel writers depended upon Mark for their information. I don’t think that’s a well-established view although it’s quite popular and it is growing in popularity even among evangelicals. Enough about that I wanted you to be familiar with it.


More than that I want you to be familiar with the Land of Israel, the land in which Jesus lived. It’s an amazing thing that it’s such a small land, about 150 miles north to south but 50 miles east to west. We start at sea level at the Mediterranean Sea, we go to about 3,000 feet in elevation in the hills of Judea and Samaria. It’s a small land but it’s very unique, and it was this place of all the places God could have chosen in the world, it was this land that he chose to reveal himself through the Lord Jesus Christ. I think it’s important to understand a little bit about this land and I want to introduce you to the Land of Israel.

Bargil Pixner, who was a Benedictine Monk at the Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem referred to the Land of Israel as the fifth gospel. He says five gospels record the life of Christ, four you will find in books, one you’ll find in the land they call Holy. Read the fifth gospel and the world of the four will open up to you. Those words really capture something that is very dear to my heart and that is the Land of Israel and helping students to understand and appreciate the Land of Israel. For many years I’ve been taking students to the Land of Israel to help them to be able to read the fifth gospel as they get introduced to the land in which Jesus lived and ministered. You can understand the Bible, you can get saved apart from going to the Land of Israel but when you go to the Land of Israel it’s like taking the Bible from black and white to living color. All of a sudden, the background, the culture, the geography, the climate becomes so real and it just really helps a person to appreciate and better understand the scriptures and its background.

A. Land Bridge

Well, the Land of Israel – it’s a strategic land bridge. It’s a very small land but it’s a strategic land bridge between the continents. If you think of Europe in the north and Africa in the south and Asia in the east how would ancient peoples go from one continent to the other? Well you’ve got a desert east of the Land of Israel, you’ve got a sea west of the Land of Israel, Israel forms a narrow land bridge through which ancient people had to pass to go from continent to continent. God chose to put Jesus and his ministry right in that central area where the nations would pass through and Israel could be a light to the nations in that strategic land bridge. We can expand that thought with the concept of the fertile crescent which is this fertile area. Abraham starts down at Ur, goes up to the north and Heron and then south into the land of Canaan and this is the land, once again, this land bridge in which God wanted to reveal himself and Israel is right in the middle of that travel area. This fertile crescent land bridge between the continents.

The name Israel is the land in which God gave his people, it’s also called Palestine. Now the name Palestine originally was used by the Romans in an attempt to say that it was no longer the land of the Jews, it was the land of the Philistines. So, after the Romans conquered Jerusalem and took over this area they said, “This is not the land of the Jews, this is the land of the Philistines,” and that the derivation of the word Palestine. But until 100 years ago the land was referred to as Palestine in a non-political sense, there were Palestinian Jews and Palestinian Arabs and they were all Palestinians because they lived in this land that had been designated by the Romans, the land of Palestine and the name really stuck. Today the Israelis refer to it as Arat’s Israel, the Land of Israel and the name Palestine has become a very politically charged name taken by the Arab people who live in the land. Today Palestinians are uniquely the Arab people who live in the land and there’s Palestinian mausoleums and there’s Palestinian Christians living in the land. When I use the word Palestine I’m not using it in a political sense unless I specifically say that I am, I’m using it in the geographical sense as it was used in antiquity, the Land of Israel. The Land of Israel and the land of Palestine basically the same land.

Now the land has some borders. The Mediterranean Sea is the border on the west, the Transjordan desert the border on the east. On the north we’ve got the mountains of Lebanon and specifically Mt. Hermon or Mt. Hermone and to the south we have what is referred to as the Wadi el-Arish, it called the river of Egypt but we don’t believe that’s the Nile but rather it’s a river channel or river bed just to the south of the Negev area, the Wadi el-Arish. These are he borders that are given for the land. As I mentioned the land is about 150 miles from Dan to Beersheba and about 50 miles from the Mediterranean Sea to the Rift Valley. It’s a pretty small land but this is where Jesus lived and ministered and revealed God to us. The Land of Israel is small land, it’s such a little tiny place compared to our large country. The amazing thing is that if something happens in Jerusalem you’re going to read about it in the front page. If something happens in Miami or New York, you might not read about it. But what happens in Israel even though it’s a small land is significant because remember it’s the land bridge between the continents. Even though you can fly over that land bridge today, it nevertheless is a strategic location and surrounded by the nations of the world.

B. Four Major Geographical Regions

Four major geographical regions in the land, we’ve got the coastal plane on the west, the hill country going north and south through the land kind of the central spine of the land. We’ve got the Rift Valley that follows the Jordon River from the Sea of Galilee down to the Dead Sea and the Transjordan Highlands to the east. The coastal plane, you can see by this satellite view that the coastal plane of Israel is very straight going North. There’s a little bump there though at Mt. Carmel as Mt. Carmel juts out into the Mediterranean Sea. Here’s what the coastal plane looks like at the site of Tel Aviv and you can see in this slide the modern city of Tel Aviv about in the central part of the picture on the coast you can see a little bit of a hill, that’s the Hill of Jaffa or Joppa in the Old Testament and a port from which Jonah set sail as he was fleeing the will of the Lord. The coastal plane is pretty straight just heading north to Mt Carmel and then bumping out a little bit and then continuing on up to Phoenicia. Israel’s hill country is really a spine, it’s like the pressure around this area just kind of created a hill going right north and south through the Land of Israel. That’s the hill country. Now you think of hill country you might think of a more mountainous area, but the hill country of Israel is not as mountainous as the Rocky Mountains or the Oregon Cascades. But when you get there you can see that there are hills there and this is the central part of the Land of Israel. A little closer view on the ground you can see there are these hills and valleys it is a mountainous area but not like the Rockies or the Cascades mountains.

Then we come to Israel’s Rift, the Rift Valley. The Rift Valley starts in the mountains of Lebanon goes through the Beqaa Valley down into the Land of Israel, The Sea of Galilee, the Jordon River, the Dead Sea and then the Rift Valley continues on to the Red Sea and actually extends into Africa. So, this is a huge break in the earth’s crust. Basically, separates Israel from the Transjordan area to the east. This is a nice view of the Rift Valley at the Dead Sea. You can see the mountains and the Judean desert to the left here and the great Rift full of salt water at the Dead Sea.

The Transjordan Highlands extend north and south paralleling the Rift Valley and these are a little bit higher, these mountains go up to 4,000 to 5,000 feet in elevation whereas Israel’s mountains max out at about 3,000 feet. Here we can look across the Dead Sea to those Transjordan Highlands and we’ve got the State of Jordan over there with the Monjordan, this is the area that is to the east of the Rift Valley. These pictures give you a little bit of an idea of what this land is like.

C. Three Major Travel Routes

There are three major travel routes that go through the Land of Israel. We’ve got along the coast the international coastal highway that actually goes from Egypt through the Land of Israel on to Damascus and continues on north. Then we’ve got a smaller route the Central Ridge Route that goes north and south from the Negev area in the south up to the area of the Jezreel Valley. Then we’ve got the Transjordan Highway. There are smaller routes that interconnect these three major routes, but these are the three major travel routes through the Land of Israel. As you study the Bible you can find the Patriarchs traveling on this Central Ridge Route, you can find Pharaoh Necho going up the International Coastal Highway and the Transjordan Highway used by the Queen of Sheba when she comes to visit Solomon. These highways, these roads are referred to in scripture.

A few pictures of the land will help you appreciate the land. Here we are at Nazareth which is a very large city today. A small village of 150 – 200 people in the time of Jesus but this is where the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she was going to be the mother of the Promised One. That event is commemorated by the Church of the Annunciation in the center of the picture. The Jordan River where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptizer, and began his public ministry.

The Wilderness, the Judean Wilderness where Jesus was tempted, tempted to turn the stones of the wilderness into bread. The Jerusalem Temple, Jesus went up to Jerusalem cleansed the Temple and he cast out the moneychangers and sheep salesmen from the Temple area. This was the Temple that had been refurbished by King Herod and beautified so that it was a beautiful place. A large plaza there for both Jews and Gentiles to come together and to worship. The Gentiles could not go past the barrier, a fence around the central part of the Temple, that barrier was the dividing wall that separated the Jews from the Gentiles. Gentiles could not go past that barrier and if they did they would be responsible for their own deaths which would ensue.

I love the area of Galilee and here we are up on Mt Arbel, overlooking the plane of Gennesaret and the beautiful Sea of Galilee. It’s a great view of the land and Jesus was so familiar with this area. I love to take my students up on Mt Arbel, it’s nice and windy and cool up there and you can get a great view of the land in which Jesus ministered and served.

Capernaum, a fourth-century synagogue built over the earlier first-century synagogue. You can actually see the foundation of the first-century synagogue at Capernaum. This was the site where Jesus gave his bread of life discourse in John 6 where it says, “These things Jesus spoke in the synagogue at Capernaum.” You can stand in that synagogue today. A later synagogue built over the earlier synagogue where Jesus ministered.

The Mount of the Beatitudes, a traditional place where Jesus gave his Sermon on the Mount. A beautiful view of the Sea of Galilee from this traditional place. You can see it there in the spring of the year with all the beautiful spring flowers. I like to go to Israel in the spring because it’s before the hot summer sun causes the flowers to wither and so you see beautiful poppies, beautiful daisies, and all kinds of beautiful flowers in the spring. Jesus would often rise up early in the morning to spend time with his Heavenly Father and here we view the sun rising up over the hills from the Sea of Galilee. If you haven’t been to the Land of Israel I hope you’ll make that investment. I believe one of the best investments you’ll ever make in terms of getting to know the Word of God and getting to know the Savior better to go to the Land of Israel and study where the Bible was actually written. We make a lot of investments in our lives, we buy homes, we buy cars, we buy computers, we buy cameras but it’s my conviction that the very best investment you can make in your personal spiritual life is an investment in the Land of Israel to go there and study there.


We want to show some chronological highlights of the life of Jesus. We can pin some dates on some key events in the life of Jesus. I have suggested that his birth took place sometime around 5-4BC, the birth of Jesus around 5-4BC. We can date that pretty accurately. Then we’ve got the beginning of his ministry at his baptism probably the summer or autumn of AD29 when he was immersed in the Jordan River and he began his public ministry. We can date his first temple cleansing, the Passover that followed his baptism in AD30, April 7, AD30. There are some other dates we can pin down like the Feast of Tabernacles that Jesus attended recorded in John 5, the feeding of the 5,000 recorded in John 6, and that was just a year before Jesus went up to Jerusalem for Passover so that was AD32 and in AD33 Jesus went up to Jerusalem for the Passover and his own passion. We know that he was in Jerusalem during the winter of AD32 we have a reference in John 10:22 to Jesus attending the Feast of Dedication. We have his arrival in Bethany in the spring, March 28 of AD33. We can actually date his royal entry it was Monday rather than Sunday, tradition places it on Sunday, but it was actually Monday, March 30, AD33 that Jesus came into Jerusalem in fulfillment of prophecy riding on the colt of a donkey. Passover followed and then the trial and crucifixion of Jesus April 3, AD33. His resurrection followed on Sunday, April 5 of AD33 and his ascension from the Mt. of Olives forty days later that would be May 14, AD33. Some have wondered if Jesus was born 5-4BC how old was he when he died. Well Luke 3:23 indicates that Jesus was about 30 at his baptism. Often times this is misunderstood, and it’s thought that he was 30 at his baptism, it’s says he was about the Hosea term that is used there, used with numbers is best translated “about” so we don’t know exactly but he was in his 30’s, about 30. He lived three years before AD1 and 32 years after AD1 to AD33. This adds up to about 35 perhaps maximum 36 years old at his death.

We have attempted to set a little bit of historical and literary background as the context for the life of Jesus. Next, we want to focus on 12 major events in the life of Jesus that summarize in these 12 major events what went on in the life of our Savior.

Transcribed by BT volunteer Sandy Whitfield