The baptism of Jesus is a very familiar scene to many, but there is so much confusion about it. Why was Jesus baptized and how does it tie into the greater story of the Gospels and the Old Testament? This episode looks at those moments in Bethany beyond the Jordan and connects Jesus' baptism to His identity as God's "son", the promised descendant of David who would rule as king from Jerusalem.
All resources referencing 2 Samuel
Luke 2 tells us about an aged Jew, Simeon, who had been eagerly waiting for the fulfillment of all of God's promises to Israel. The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that the child Jesus would be the One who would bring all that the Prophets had promised to pass. But Jesus would be much more - according to Simeon, He would divide Israel and cause the truth about how Israel really felt about God to be exposed.
Lowly shepherds are given the "good news" that a baby who was "Christ the Lord" had been born in Bethlehem. Before they could even compose themselves, Luke 2 tells us that a multitude of the "heavenly host" appeared to them in the sky in a valley just outside Bethlehem. But are these angels really choirs that are "sweetly singing o'er the plains"? The answer the Bible gives may surprise you. Find out in this episode!
God could have announced the birth of Jesus to the elite ruling class in Jerusalem, but He chose to tell the outcasts of Jewish society. A lowly band of shepherds were the first to hear of the birth of "Christ the Lord" in Bethlehem. This episode discusses the political and military implications of the weighty phrase, "Christ the Lord" and links it to the developing story of the Gospels.
An extended supplemental episode on the meaning of "Messiah" / "Christ" can be watched here...
In today's culture, "Christ" is often a synonym for "Jesus" or perhaps His last name. "Messiah" is a synonym for "Savior" and often just means "the one who died on the cross for us". While there is some measure of truth to those things, "Christ" and "Messiah" have largely been misunderstood. You may be surprised when you find out what the Bible is really saying when the scriptures use those words!
This video is a supplement to Episode 21 of Opening Up the Gospels. Watch the original episode...
Mary and Joseph travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem, a small historic town in Judea. Though Caesar's hand seemingly is driving them southward for a census, God's hand was in their journey, preparing them and keeping them along what was perhaps a week-long journey. Mary is very pregnant with Jesus at this point. Learn more about their trip and what it must have been like for them in this episode as we look at chapter 2 in the Gospel of Luke.
On a real night over 2000 years ago, Joseph lay his head down to sleep, undoubtedly troubled in his soul as everything in his life had been turned upside down. The one he loved was pregnant, and not by him! But on that night, he received a dream from the Lord in which an angel gave him confidence to take Mary as his wife. The child within her was indeed of the Holy Spirit, and she had not been unfaithful to him as he presumed. This episode discusses Matthew 1, verses 20-25.
After at least 9 months of being mute, Zechariah's son John is born. His tongue is loosed and he prophesies that his child will "go before the Lord to prepare his ways". Mary returns to Nazareth, seemingly after John was born, and walks into perhaps the hardest season of her life thus far. She had returned home after 3 months and was showing her pregnancy. What must this have been like for this "highly favored" young woman? Find out in this episode.
While Herod and the leaders of the Jews are filled with self-importance and jockey for power in Jerusalem, God's eyes are on two expectant mothers in a small house in southern Israel. Mary and Elizabeth, the mother of Jesus and John, were the two most important people on the planet at the time. This episode looks at Mary's visit to Elizabeth from Luke 1.
Once again scripture records the angel Gabriel's appearance, this time to a young girl named Mary from a despised town in northern Israel called Nazareth. Not only did Gabriel tell Mary that she was going to be with child by the Holy Spirit, but that her son would be the king that God had promised to David many years before. What was this like and what was Mary's reaction to Gabriel's words? This episode looks at Luke 1:26-38.