The Gospels are often seen as a collection of random events where Jesus is haphazardly wandering Israel, healing and giving good sermons while getting angry at the Pharisees. On the contrary, Jesus was being very purposeful with His movements and His words. This episode introduces the structure, chronology, and geography of Jesus' 2-year public ministry.
All resources referencing Matthew
John the Baptist's message of division was not something new in redemptive history. This episode examines the Old Testament foundation of the promise of restoration and regeneration and links it to Jesus' first coming. As we trace "the seed" (Genesis 3:15), the message of John and the story of the Gospels will become much clearer to you.
John the Baptist said that the One coming after Him (who we know to be Jesus of Nazareth) would separate the "wheat" from the "chaff" and would be the one to baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. This is yet another example of John's offensive message to Israel. This episode also discusses the "baptism of fire", which may be something quite different than you think!
The significance of John's message to the nation of Israel is only heightened when we see that he is baptizing. Yet it is important to remember the audience of his proclamation was not Gentiles, but the Jews, the physical descendants of Abraham. This episode examines the importance of baptism and how offensive it would have been for John to call the Jews to be baptized.
The story of John the Baptist precedes the ministry of Jesus in all four Gospels and is critical for rightly understanding why Jesus says what He says and does what He does. John speaks to the people of Israel of soon judgment and gives an urgent plea for repentance. The God of Israel was coming in person to reckon with His people and divide them. This episode begins to develop the details of John's message to Israel, some of which may be surprising to you!
In 166BC, the Jews revolted against their Greek oppressors in a time historians call the Maccabean Revolt. After the Jews violently fought and regained control of Jerusalem, leaders would be set in place over the next century that would cause Israel to stray from the Lord, setting the stage for a Roman takeover in 63BC. Learn more in this episode about what happened and why it's significant to the life and message of John the Baptist and the broader story of the Gospels.
John the Baptist as a very unique individual. After 400 years of prophetic silence in Israel, the Gospels clearly present John as prophet in several main ways: the formula used to introduce him, the way he dressed, and the message he proclaimed. This episode helps link John into the continuing story of the Old Testament.
All four Gospels tell us about John the Baptist, making him an extremely important figure in the story of Jesus. Who was John and how do the writers of the Gospels present him? These are critical questions to ask if we are to rightly understand the words and mission of Jesus. This episode develops the context and setting of John's ministry from Luke 3 and Matthew 3.
After the circumstances of the birth of Jesus, the Gospels fall silent and give us no information about Jesus' upbringing. What was life like in Nazareth? What was it like for Jesus to be a toddler and to play with his friends? What was it like when He lost His first tooth? This episode examines what Jesus' life could have been like throughout his early childhood.
Joseph wakes Mary and Jesus and they all depart Bethlehem for Egypt by night. It was not too long after their departure that Herod ordered the execution of the male children in Bethlehem in his attempt to kill the newly born Jewish king. In addition to looking at these details from Matthew 2, the last few minutes of this episode summarizes the steps of Mary and Joseph's journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census all the way to their journey out of Egypt to live in Nazareth.