Free Online Bible Library | Lecture 25: Life of Jesus: Temptation & Call of the Disciples

Lecture 25: Life of Jesus: Temptation & Call of the Disciples

Course: New Testament - Gospels

Lecture: Life of Jesus: Temptation & Call of the Disciples


A.  Source of Information

Closely connected with the baptism of Jesus is the temptation. And have you ever given thought as to where this information about Jesus’ temptation came from? No one is present. The only people present are Satan and Jesus. And it’s clear that Satan was not instructing the disciples about this event. So how did this come into being? Think it was A.M. Hunter refers to this as a piece of spiritual autobiography. Something that was shared by Jesus later with the disciples.

And, the question that would be can you ever imagine why Jesus would share something like this? And there are a number of instances where Jesus experienced things which would make a good setting for telling his experience because this experience was one that directed him to a particular kind of Messiah-ship. Not the commonly thought one, but one that had a particular role as being the suffering servant who would die for the sins of the world. Some have suggested, for instance, that Jesus might have said something to, like, this to Peter.

When after in Mark 8:31-33 he teaches them that the son of man must suffer many things. That’s page 151 if you want to follow. Be rejected by the elders chief priest inscribe and be killed after three days rise again. And saying this now clearly, for the first time about his death. Peter took him and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing that his disciples he rebuked Peter, and said “Get behind me saying for you are not on the side of God but of men.”

This would’ve been a quite natural setting for Jesus to say, “I went to that issue once before.” And share how, at his temptation, he committed himself to a particular role and understanding of the Messiah-ship. Another instance would be John 6:15, page 137. Where here Jesus had performed the miracle of feeding the 5,000. And um, page 137, line 70. In John. When the people saw the sign which he had gone the feeding of the 5000. They said this is indeed the prophet was come into the world. Perceiving them that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

And this idea of an earthly kingship might have very easily gave an opportunity for Jesus to share with his disciples the experience of the temptation. Now of course, if you are anti-supernaturalist, all of this is nonsense. Because you don’t believe in miracles, you don’t believe in Satan, you don’t believe in any this. So it has to be just a fictional thing.

B.  Temptations

But allowing room for the supernatural, the experience in Jesus life could easily have been recounted at times like this. And this is why we have the information that he shared this with his disciples. Now, there are three temptations. The first involves the question if you're the son of God. Then turn this bread to stone. Excuse me, that — that doesn’t make sense. Nobody caught that. You turn stone to bread in the Temptation, not the other way around. Alright?

No you're all asleep, I know that. [audience laughter] Now, the question here seems to be: Would Jesus use his power for personal advantage or to trust God to provide his needs? Others have also said that this is a temptation to Jesus to duplicate, once again, the miraculous events of the Exodus where God provides bread in—in the desert for the people. If he would do so then he would show that he was God's anointed one, his Messiah. And this would be a sign then for the people that he was indeed the Messiah.

Similarly, the second temptation to jump off the temple this being the second in Matthew with the third in Luke we’ll talk about that just in a minute—is the idea of whether one will tend God. Now, there's an indication where he could've shared that with his disciples. For instance, on page 206, we have this account where his brothers and sisters. We know his brothers only in this account. Say the following, 206, John 7:2. “Now the Jews feast the Tabernacles was at hand, so his brother said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea that your disciples may see the work you were doing. For no ‘an—no man works in secret if seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world. Do a sign.”

And then there's the comments by John, for even his brothers did not believe in him. So that you have the temptation of Jesus to do a sign, to vindicate his ministry. This could also be understood messianically or it could be understood as an attempt to dare God in faith. [inaudible]has tremendous application in — in or own life and situation. There are a lot of people who simply say, “Well just walk out in faith, and God will provide.” And my question is whether this is a daring of God, much like Jesus is being—saying, “You don't dare God to do these things, you do it, um, if he has so indicated. But not otherwise.

So jumping off the temple, will Jesus dear God in some way? And Jesus replied again is by means of scripture, You shall not tempt the Lord, your God.” The third temptation. Here you have, um, an experience where Satan takes him to a mountain and shows him all the kingdoms of the world. Saying, “All these will be yours if you bow down and worship him—me.”

C.  Real Experiences?

And here is whether Jesus will contemporize with evil for the purpose of gaining certain political goals of the light. One of the questions that comes up is, “Were these real experiences in the sense that they were physical experiences. A real desert, a real stone, a real mountain, a real temple top, and so forth. Or are they visionary experiences? Visionary experiences can still be very real.

A temptation, for instance, could be in your mind and it's still a temptation. A temptation can be seen [inaudible] physically before you, and that also is a temptation. Now, there's one aspect of it which does look like it’s somewhat visionary. How high do you have to see, to go to see, all the kingdoms of the world? Pretty high. And if you high enough, now knowing the earth is round, you have to wait 24 hours for it to spin around.

So is this a visionary kind of experience in some way. On the other hand, I think the general impression you have here is that where's maybe seeing the kingdoms of the world may be visionary. We’re talking about real experiences, real hunger. I mean he’s in the desert 40 days, and he’s hungry and he feeds afterwards. That all looks like it's not simply visionary, it looks like it's real physical kinds of experience than the fact that you’re talking about the top of the temple.

That looks like a real double top and so forth, and a real mountain. So I think we should see these as real temptations, although certainly the vision is probably one that might not of been physically able to see all the world. But is shown, in some way, by the evil want to Jesus. Turn with me to the temptation accounts think they’re on page 19 if I’m right.

Note that in verse — well let’s look at line 10. “If you are the son of God, command these stones become loaves of bread.” And you have the same in Luke, “If you are the son of God command, command these stones to be bread.” The second one in Matthew is that he’s taking to the pinnacle of the temple. And notice that in Luke, you have small print here, which, this, temptation, but it's not at this place. It’s out of order here.

And the third one, in Matthew then is at the line 28, on page 20. The devil takes them to a very high mountain, shows them all the kingdoms rooms of the world and the glory thereof. Now, here you have Luke which is having this temptation second, and the one that Matthew has second, in Luke, is third. So you have, in Matthew, stone to bread, jump from the temple, worship Satan. In Luke, we have stone to bread, worship Satan, jump off the temple.

And the question is how do you harmonize these? Well, you could say, “Maybe it happened twice, and there were six temptations.” Um, I don't think that's the normal way that you'd want to explain it. You’d you have say the gospel writers are not concerned about the exact chronological order, but they arrange them according to their purpose. For instance, mountains are very important in Matthew. We have this taking place on the mountain, we have the sermon on the mount — on the mountain. And we have at the end of the gospel of Matthew, Jesus being on the mountain and giving the great commission.

So it may be that Matthew wants to end on the mountain because that's very important for him. On the other hand, Jerusalem plays a very important role in Luke and Acts. And he has the temptations ending in Jerusalem, on the mountain, because the gospel ends in Jerusalem. Excuse me, he wants to end it on the—in the Temple. Not in Jerusalem on the mountain.

But on the — in Jerusalem and the Temple. And so this becomes his concluding temptation, and the gospel ends that way in Jerusalem, in that area. So it looks like each—each of the—the orders fit Matthew. They fit Luke's organization of the gospel rather well. What we have to remember is, I think that they were not primarily interested in—in the chronological order. But in what takes place, not exactly how it all takes place. Remember once again Mark was — is referred to as having written the memoirs of Peter, but not in chronological order. So, Matthew and Luke, we shouldn’t press this way. We’ve looked at that also in the sermon on the mount materials in Matthew. You follow the order, it's scattered in Luke in a different order.

D.  Meaning for Jesus

For Matthew and Luke, it's not the order of events it's important in these things. It's the fact of them and what they teach to us. Now the meaning for Jesus, I think the meaning of the temptations is very, very important. For at this point, Jesus settles once and for all the kind of Messiah he's going be. He’s not going be one that works wonders and he gets people to follow him because he does all sorts of signs. He’s not going to contemporize with evil. He doesn't see that his goal is some sort of political situation.

A and new world order. He sees his goal as dying for the sins of the world. And having gone through the temptation, that's settled in his mind. He’s never—it never comes up again in the sense of whether this would be the way he goes. And he begins—they will teach his disciples this particular matter. The temptations, therefore, I think are best understood as the — an attempt to direct Jesus away from his anointing, from he kind of Messiah that God has anointed him to be to a different kind of Messiah-ship. One way or the other.


A.  Jesus Makes Capernaum His Home

Next night, what I want to talk about is the call the disciples. After Jesus’s baptism, and after his temptation. We read in the New Testament that he makes the city of Capernaum his home. He leaves Nazareth, which is a rural city, off the beaten track somewhat. And, on page 30, Mark 4:13, we read at this point that after Jesus had heard that John was arrested, he withdrew into [inaudible] and leaving Nazareth. He went and dwelt in Capernaum by the sea in the territory of Zebulon and Natalie. So that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled. The land of Zebulon and the land of Natalie, toward the sea across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who sat in the region, shadow of death light has dawned.

This is also brought out, page 80, in Matthew 9:1. Indirectly, it’s not specifically mentioned. But here, how Jesus has crossed the sea of Galilee into the area of Gedera. And then in 9:1, he recrosses, and we read Matthew 9:1. And getting into a boat, he crossed over and came to his own city. Now Capernaum's on the Sea of Galilee. If he gets in the boat comes to the city Nazareth, they—they were going uphill. Quite a ways. So, again in the Matthew just mentions it incidentally here shows that he's not trying to make a point. He assumes that his readers will understand that Capernaum is his home.

B.  The Call to Follow

Much larger city, much more in the center of things, if you’re going to an evangelist it's best to go where the people are. And there were people in this area than there would be in Nazareth. So he now makes Capernaum his home. When you read the account of the call of Peter and James and John, it's a really strange one in some ways. Because here this stranger comes along the Sea of Galilee. And he sees these fishermen and he says to them “Leave everything you have, leave father, leave your business, come and follow me.”

And they meet—they leave everything and follow him. It’s almost like he has a such a charismatic character that people just automatically say, “Yeah bye dad.” And just leave. But I think we have to understand this in the light of what John 1:35-51 says. In John, Jesus goes down to meet John the Baptist and disciples of John the Baptist, Peter, Andrew, James, and John. Andrew and James and John especially. Don't know exactly Peter's relationship but it looks like he's a disciple. They meet Jesus and recognize that John has pointed him out to be the Messiah.

And Jesus had said some things that caused them to believe this because he knows things about them. He already says that they're going to do some wonderful things for him. That Peter will call, the rock and so forth. And then he leaves. We don't know that from the gospel of Matthew Mark and Luke because Matthew Mark and Luke don't tell how about an early Judean Ministry. Now, when they pick this up in talk about the ministry in Galilee. Here Jesus comes and he calls these four. And they seem to have known him already, from John one.

And they follow him and now they will continue to follow him throughout his ministry. So it makes sense in light of John 135 through 50. But I’m not saying it‘s impossible that Jesus could come along and just point to four people and say, “Come on and follow me.” And they just desert everything they own. Their father and the people in the boat and take off and follow him. But it makes more sense in light of what John says how this could have taken place.

C.  Importance of Choosing the Twelve

Now the importance of choosing the 12 disciples is evident from the book of Acts. Because the very first thing that we read of in the book of Acts, after Jesus ascension into heaven, is the choosing of the 12, 12th disciple. Lots are cast, and [inaudible] is chosen. He is qualified because of what? He was an eyewitness from the time of the baptism until the end. So the importance of the number 12 is — is very clear. Judas's betrayal makes the number 11. Now after you have the 12, when other disciples died, they don’t replace them anymore. Not in the New Testament at least. Because faithful disciples don’t need to be replaced.

D.  Problems in the Lists of the Twelve

But here you have an unfaithful one and you need 12 disciples. And the list of these are given in our New Testament Gospels. And let's look at where they’re found. Call the disciples, page 47, page 47. Now as we look at the disciples, they’re the list of names. And for the most part, they read pretty straightforward. But there are at least four differences that we find to you that we need to comment on. You have first and all the accounts Simon, line 16. And his name, being named Peter is mentioned there. Then Matthew and Luke have Andrew, James, and John. Marcus, Simon, James, and John, and he comes back to Andrew.

So, the first four are the same but Matthew and Luke, I thought we said that they’d never agreed against Mark. For the most part, they don't agree with John against Mark. But can you think of why they might agree against Mark if you are following Mark and your writing will assume the disciples. Is there any reason you might put Simon, Andrew, James, and John. Rather than Mark, Simon, James John, and Andrew. You keep the brothers together, right? For some reason, Mark splits up the brothers and has Simon. And then he puts in between there the brothers James and John. And then he finishes the other brother Andrew.

So it makes sense to understand that they simply want to keep the brothers together and you have this kind of agreement between them. Alright now, the order, of the first four, I don't think it's a major issue I think it's explanatory by saying James in Matthew prefers to keep the brothers together. Beginning at line 27, you then have Phillip in each, Bartholomew in each. Then then you have a little difference in order, Thomas and Matthew last in Matthew.

But you have Matthew, Thomas in Mark and Luke. Don't know exactly why. Then you have James, the son of Alpheus, and all three. then you have Thaddeus in Matthew and Mark. Followed by Simon the King. Luke has, Simon who is called the zealot, and Judas the son of James. And then all of them conclude with Judas Iscariot]. So we have another problem and that is that you have the references Simon being the King [inaudible]. And here you have Simon who’s called a zealot in Luke. No problem whatsoever in that, because Cain and Ian does not mean someone from the land of [Cana]. It's simply an Aramaic word for zealot.

So what you have in Simon the cane and Ian is Simon, and he is referred to as the zealot, in Aramaic. Which is the way he would've been generally understood along the disciples. Whereas, Luke translates that and puts zealot in the Greek. But there’s—so there's no problem. You simple have, um, difference in the language [Simon the Cain] and it means Simon the zealot. The big problem is Matthew and Mark have Thaddeus and Luke has Judas the son of James. We have looked at Cain and Ian in zealot being the same. But here you have this Thaddeus and Judas situation.

The most common explanation, and one I — I think it has a lot of merit, and I'll explain why in a minute, is that this is the same person that they have the two different names are given to this man, that he many people in that day have two names. And that Matthew and Mark use the name Thaddeus was Luke is the more normal name he had. Judas, the son of James. The explanation there would be—how many have of you have sons? Any of you have sons? How many of you have named him Judas? It might be therefore that they didn't want to name Thaddeus, Judas. Because there is another Judas and the name has bad connotations.

Now you say, “Well you know, okay, that’s just—you’re just making that up. Well, there’s no explanation the—the proof that they are the same. But let me say something to l you. Look for a minute at Simon, he’s given a second name. Why? [inaudible]. There’s another Simon right? And to distinguish Simon you have one who’s called Simon Peter and the other who’s—who’s was called Simon, Cain & Ian. James is the son of Zebedee, why? Because there’s another James, the son of Alphaeus.

Right, now look at Matthew and Mark. The next page you find Judas with the second name Iscariot. Why do you have a second name to Iscariot. You have no second name to Philip, none to Andrew, none to John, none to Bartholomew. While the second name? Is it to distinguish between this Judas and another Judas. That’s the only reason I can—can see why you describe it. And in all other instances where’s a second name, it’s to distinguish that Simon, or that James, from another Simon or James.

But you have only one Judas that’s Judas Iscariot in Mathew and Luke. Is it because Judas Iscariot is to be distinguished from another Judas that was in the group? That makes se — I — I think that makes the explanation that Thaddeus and Judas are the same person. Quite strong [inaudible]. I think it’s a good—it’s a good argument there. And if—if you knew, for instance, that Thaddeus’ name was Judas, you’d have to give a qualifying Judas something else. And if you look at Luke, he is Judas the son of James. Versus Judas the son— Judas Iscariot.

Well of course you have to make a distinction between—when the both names are there. But you do have a second name for Iscariot, Judas Iscariot. Even when he’s the only one listed in the group. Now the question is why would do that? Unless, like Luke has, there’s a second Judas in the group. So Thaddeus [inaudible] and Judas being the same person, two different names. Makes sense, I think.

E.  Theological Significance

The fact that Judas Iscariot is described by a second name I think argues for that. Now there’s one other listing of the names. And that’s in the book of Acts. And here you have, once again, Judas the son of James and Judas Iscariot mentioned there. Now the — the importance of this [inaudible]. When Jesus chose 12 disciples, this was an acted out parable in some ways. 12, in the old Testament what does 12 conjure up in your mind? 12 tribes [inaudible], okay.

Now, in the time of Jesus, how many tribes of Israel still existed? Two and a half. Part of Levi, Benjamin, and Judah. Well, what happened to the other 10 tribes? Nathanael, Levi. The one — they went into Exile and became the lost tribes of Israel. And the common understanding in Jesus’ day was that when the messianic age would begin, God would gather his people from the four corners of the Earth. And there would be the bringing of the 12 tribes once again. And now Jesus is saying the kingdom of God has come, and he’s walking around with 12 disciples. Which visualize that the coming reconciliation and the bringing together of the outcast, the lost tribes of Israel is taking place.

So it’s, to me, very symbolic of the — of the coming of the kingdom of God. And the re-gathering of the lost tribes. I think that is the way I would clearly understand that. And that is furthermore supported by the first thing that the church that is the book of Acts after the ascension. The symbolism 12 have to remain. Because that’s the symbol of the kingdom of God having come. So the symbolism of the 12 is a fulfillment of the promises that there would be this gathering from the four corners of the Earth of the lost tribes of Israel. They are now regathered in the ministry of Jesus.

Another aspect of this is that they will then become the foundation of the church. Jesus Christ the chief cornerstone, I think that is—is fairly clear in Ephesians. Another aspect of their important is that the disciples are not followers of the teachings of Jesus. They are his followers. In other words, they follow him not because you the great Rabbi with great teaching.

And they are disciples of his teachings. They are disciples of them personally. A different kind of the discipleship. A lot of the rabbis had disciples of their teaching, but they were disciples of Jesus himself. They were his personal disciples. He was the goal, he was the essence of their ministry and of their understanding as to what the word. They were the followers of Jesus, they were his apostles. And one of the roles they will have will be to minister in his name.

Now Matthews 6 — Mark 6:7 talks about there going out and preaching in the villages. So he sends them out, and his disciples will go out, he will send them out. The Greek word for “send” is “apostelló”. To send, from which you get the noun apostelló. Apostle, [inaudible]. And then they are then his representatives that go out and probably, the chief of will that they will have, as Luke talks about, will be— they will be the guardians of the Jesus traditions. He trains well so that they will know the traditions, they will know and be able to pass them on and be the ministers of that tradition after he departs. After his death and resurrection and ascension to heaven.

F.  Historicity of the Twelve

There have been some, eh, who have argued against the historicity of the 12, but the greatest argument in favor of the historicity of the 12 disciples is not that we have an early reference to them in the book of Acts. In which that’s the first thing the church does is to make sure the 12 contain, a unity and are complete. The greatest argument for its historicity is not that in an early church [inaudible] in first Corinthians 15:3. Paul talks about the 12 of the group.

The strongest argument that there was a group called 12 was not one of them was a traitor. No one in the church would’ve made up the story of Jesus choosing 12 disciples and make one of them, the one will be traitor. That’s not the way you make up traditions. The difficulty of, how could he choose 12 people in the wrong one of them? So badly one wrong at one of them even betray him. I mean, that guarantees that he really did choose 12 and one of them did betray him. So the historicity is very strong because of the fact that Judas is one of the 12.

Biblical Training

The BiblicalTraining app gives you access to 2,300 hours of instruction (129 classes and seminars). Stream the classes, or download and listen to them offline. Share classes via social media, email, and more.