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Lesson 2 The Synoptic Gospels and Matthew

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Lesson 2 The Synoptic Gospels and Matthew

Chapter 3: Behold the Lamb!
The Synoptic Gospels

Good Tidings

Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called the “Synoptic Gospels” because they review the life of Christ from a common point of view (Gk. sun, with; opsis, seeing). The word ‘gospel’ comes from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning god spell, or good tidings. This is a literal translation of the Greek euaggelion which referred to bringing good news. [Euaggelion has been transliterated into the English evangel: evangelism, evangelical, etc.] A casual reading of the Gospels reveals that there are both similarities and differences. The challenge facing each student of the Scriptures is to harmonize the separate accounts while understanding how each relates to the others. Such an endeavor is reasonable and exciting, for the discovery will be made of how the Lord has blended the biblical narratives to retell the marvelous story of Divine redemption through the shed blood of Christ at Calvary.

Commonality in the Gospels

Because of the parallelisms found in the Gospel narratives, some believe that these records have been extracted from other sources upon which the authors have relied for information. Of course this need not be the case, because the three gospel writers were each inspired by the same Holy Spirit. He is the One who could prompt them with the same words to use. But even if there were other common texts which they each referred to, such a situation should produce no surprise, because the use of source material is characteristic of the Jewish teaching culture, as reflected in other portions of the Scriptures.

In the Old Testament, reference is made to various writings that are no longer available (Num. 21:14, Joshua 10:13, 1 Chr 29:29). And in the New Testament, a similar situation exists: there are references to non-biblical sources.

The Apostle Paul in Acts offers a quotation from a pagan poet, Aratus or Cleanthes (Acts 17:28). In 1 Corinthians 15:33, the phrase “evil communication corrupts good manners” is also found in an Attic play and is credited to Menander (322 BC).

In several of the Epistles there are verses from a song in the early Church as well as summaries of doctrinal statements that the saints circulated (1 Cor. 11:23-25; Eph. 5:14,19; Col. 1:13-20; 1 Tim. 3:16, 6:15-16).

Titus 1:12 declares that, “the Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.” This description also occurs in a hymn to Zeus by Callimachus in Hesiod, and in a writing of Epimenides.

Several suggestions have been offered to explain the many phrases which the Gospels have in common [note: abstracted from William Graham Scroggie’s work: A Guide to the Gospels.]

The Oral Tradition Hypothesis. It has been argued that each of the Evangelists wrote independently of the others, relying solely upon what they remembered about the words and works of Christ. Because they were with Him for so long and often repeated what was done, the stories about Jesus are fixed and reliable. It would not be illogical to believe that the oral traditions would have arisen in Jerusalem (cp. Luke 1:4 RV) and been preserved until the events could be written (Luke 1:1). According to Divine design, the truth of the Gospel was entrusted to the care of faithful Christian converts with good memories aided by the Holy Spirit (John 14:26). This view cannot be easily dismissed, for the life of Christ would make a deep impression upon anyone. The Jews were very familiar with catechetical schools which trained the memory and preserved oral traditions.

The Mutual-Use Hypothesis. Another view is that the similarities of the gospels can be attributed to the fact that the writers of the Gospels simply used each other's writings. However, it is not certain who might have borrowed from whom.

The Documents Hypothesis. Some Bible scholars believe that there are at least two documents that were used in the writing of the synoptic gospels. The first source is the Gospel of Mark. The argument states that Mark wrote his gospel first and that Matthew and Luke borrowed extensively from it. Of the 1,068 verses (RV) found in Matthew, about 500 are from Mark's 661 verses; and of Luke's 1,149 verses (RV), about 320 are from Mark. In summary, there are only about 55 verses of Mark not to be found in Matthew or Luke.

While some scholars believe that Matthew and Luke borrowed from Mark, others believe that the apostles either consulted or borrowed from a now non-existent document which is called Q, so designated from the German quelle, which means ‘source.’ The main problem is that the biblical critics are not in agreement upon the contents of Q. Nor is there any common consent as to how much of this hypothetical document each of the Evangelists might have used. One main reason why a Q document is even considered is because Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis (A.D. 130), made an obscure statement that, “Matthew composed [i.e., put together in writing] the Oracles [of Jesus] in the Hebrew [Aramaic?] and each one interpreted them as he was able” (Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiae, III.39).

The idea that there might have been a common collection of the sayings of Christ, called the Oracles or Logia, finds support from Irenaeus in the second century, by Origen in the third, and by Eusebius in the fourth (Church Fathers, p. 39). In the end, it should be noted that the Documents Hypothesis based upon parallel passages is only a theory and is not a certainty. Therefore, it should be considered with reservation.
While it is not necessary, or even desirable, for the average student of the Bible to go into all the complexities of textual criticism, a Christian should not be ignorant of the fact that legitimate concerns about biblical documents do exist. There is merit in the technical examinations of the data behind the Gospels provided by Source-Criticism and Form-Criticism. For this study, it is enough to remember that, “The evangelist was not the compiler of a history, but the missionary who carried the good tidings to fresh countries; the bearer, and not the author of the message” (Bishop Westcott). Also, it should not be forgotten that all three Gospels revolve around the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, whose ministry would not soon be forgotten by those who were intimately associated with Him. It might be more surprising if the Gospels were not so close in harmony.

The Gift of the Gospels

By acknowledging the possibility of source documents, nothing is taken away from the doctrine of divine inspiration, nor from the truth that the Gospels were produced independently, at different times, in different places, and for different purposes. Each Gospel has its own characteristics, emphasis, and personal expression as Jesus Christ is presented in all of His splendor and glory.

Matthew Mark Luke John
Messiah Servant Perfect Man Son of God
Jewish world Roman world Greek world All the world
authority ministry integrity Deity
what Jesus said what Jesus did what Jesus thought what Jesus was
sermons miracles parables personal interviews

It is not known for certain where or when the Gospels were first made available to the general public. The letters of Ignatius ( AD 70- 115, bishop of Antioch) provide the earliest quotations in the Epistle of Barnabas, the Teachings of the Twelve Apostles, and the Epistle of Polycarp. These documents all relate to the church at Antioch of Syria. If, as Papias believed, Matthew was first written for the Hebrew [Aramaic] church in Jerusalem, then this Gospel would have been read soon after AD 50 and prior to the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70.

According to Clement of Alexandria (AD 200) and Irenaeus (c. AD 100), Mark wrote his gospel after the death of Peter. If the second gospel records the memories of Peter, then it was probably put in circulation c. AD 65.

The Gospel of Luke may have originally been intended to be a private document to the friends of Luke such as Theophilus (Luke 1:3). It may have been prior to AD 62 in light of Acts, which was written near the end of the first imprisonment of Paul. It is possible that John was written prior to AD 50, though a later date (c. AD 85) is often given.

A Concise Summary of the Life of the Lord Jesus Christ
5 BC Angelic appearance to Zacharias

6 months later Angelic appearance to Mary

Mary visits Elizabeth

3 months later Mary returns to Nazareth

Angelic appearance to Joseph

Birth of John the Baptist

4 BC Birth of Jesus Christ

Angelic appearance to the shepherds

8 days later Jesus is circumcised

32 days later Jesus is presented in the Temple

3 BC The visit of the Wise Men

The flight into Egypt

The slaughter of the Innocents

2 BC The return to Nazareth
AD 26 Fall Baptism in the Jordan River

Wilderness temptation

The calling of the first of the disciples
AD 27 Jesus cleanses the Temple in Jerusalem

1st Passover Ministers for eight months in Judea

(cp. John 3:22-36)

December Travels through Samaria to begin the Great Galilean Ministry, lasts for two years

Performs His first miracle at Cana

Heals the son of a nobleman at Capernaum

Returns to Nazareth only to be rejected

Moves to Capernaum where he calls Peter and Andrew, James and John

Heals a demoniac and many others

Matthew is called to follow Christ

Questions are answered about fasting and the Sabbath
AD 28 Jerusalem is visited (John 5:1)

2nd Passover Jesus heals on the Sabbath despite opposition

Asserts He is ‘very God’ and returns to Galilee

Summer All of the Twelve are finally chosen

The Sermon on the Mount is preached

Many parables and miracles, including the raising of Jairus’ daughter from the dead.

Accused of being in harmony with Beelzebub

Resurrects the widow of Nain’s son

Receives a question from John the Baptist

Visits Nazareth once more

Heals the servant of a centurion

Forgives a woman of her sin

AD 29 The Twelve Apostles are sent to preach

February John the Baptist is murdered

The Twelve Apostles return

3rd Passover The 5,000 are fed

Discourses on the Bread of Life

Performs many miracles

Discourses on defilement

Cities are condemned

Retires to the north

Heals a Syro-Phoenician woman

Returns to Galilee

Feeding of the 4,000

Gives the sign of Jonah as His resurrection

Heals a blind man

October Jerusalem is visited (John 7:2, 10)

Forgives woman taken in adultery

Blind man healed

Condemns the religious rulers

November Returns to Galilee

Peter makes his great confession

The Transfiguration takes place

Heals a boy with epilepsy

December The Galilean Ministry is concluded (Luke 9:51)

The journey to Jerusalem (John 10:22)

The Judean and Perean Ministries take place, lasting 4 to 6 months

The Lord foretells His death three times

The Lord answers the question of greatness
AD 30 Leaves Galilee for Jerusalem

Lazarus is raised from the dead

4th Passover The Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

Last week Cleansing the Temple

Teaching in the Temple

Arrest and Trials

The Lord is crucified and buried

On the third day, He rose again!

Chapter 4: The King and His Kingdom

The Gospel According to Matthew

Written c. 58-68

Key word: King
“Tell ye the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek...’” - Math. 21:5

Why Written: Presenting Christ as the King of the Jews

It was Matthew's desire to use the knowledge he had of the history and honored tradition of his people. He wanted to help the Jews see that Christ was the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies. At least 60 times Matthew will appeal to the Old Testament Scriptures as being confirmation of the validity of the Person and work of Jesus Christ, including born of a virgin in Bethlehem, His suffering, ‘hung on a tree,’ and the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. Matthew proclaims to the Jewish nation that Jesus is their long-awaited Messiah, their King. In so doing, he lays a solid historical foundation for all believers today.

Without using the term per se, Matthew describes the Lord much as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Rev. 5:5). The lion represents royalty, majesty, strength, and authority; indeed, Christ is the King of the Jews. Matthew traces the Lord’s genealogy to show Him as rightful heir to the throne of David. In the five discourses, the new covenant of our Lord’s kingdom is set forth.

Leaving All to Follow the Lord

Though he was ordained by God to eternal life, converted by the Holy Spirit, and called by Christ to Christian service (Rom. 8:29-30), little is known of the man named Matthew (lit. gift of God) from his own gospel. That is not bad, for it is one of the measures of a virtuous man that he does not speak of himself but of his Lord and Savior (cp. John 3:30). We do know that Matthew was probably a Galilean and born at or near Capernaum. He was the son of Alphaeus and Mary, who may have been a relative of Mary, the mother of Christ. But best of all, we know that Matthew met the Master.

The power of the pen would serve Matthew well as an author, for as a person he was not well received in religious society. Matthew had disgraced himself. By becoming a tax collector, he had dishonored the ancient beliefs and behavior that for centuries had helped the Jewish nation survive foreign domination. He became a man whom other men despised, for he conspired with the enemy. Matthew had become a collector of Roman revenue.

The Roman officials who were directly responsible to extract money from the people were called “publicans” (from the Latin publicanus) because of their close proximity to the purses of the public. The Jews deeply resented any one of their own nation who accepted the office of publican, for such a person was a traitor with God and man. Though a publican might become wealthy, he was cast outside the boundaries of decent society, and was relegated by the righteous to be among the “sinners.”

In the territory under the jurisdiction of Herod Antipas, Matthew became a custom's official. He sat at a specific location in Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee and made money simply by extracting excessive taxes from his own countrymen who passed by. There was much money to be made, for Capernaum was along the important caravan route that came from Egypt and led all the way to Damascus and the Mesopotamia Valley in the north.

Why did Matthew do such a thing? He did not have to work for Rome. He did not have to be a social outcast. According to Mark and Luke his name was Levi (lit. joined; cp. Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27) which indicates that he was of a priestly line. Matthew should have been set apart for the work and service of God (Num. 3:6; Deut. 10:8). Instead, he chose to serve man and mammon.

John the Baptist had warned against this. When some publicans came to ask him the way into the kingdom of heaven, John had instructed them to repent of their sins and to, “Exact no more than that which is appointed you” (Luke 3:12,13).

One day, while sitting at the receipt of custom, a shadow fell across Matthew's path. He looked up to see who stood in his way. That upward look changed Matthew forever, for he gazed into the face of the Son of the Living God. Jesus said simply enough, “Follow Me” (Matt. 9:9). Matthew got up and he followed Christ all the way to Calvary, and beyond that, into immortality.

Because Matthew committed himself fully to the Lord, he gave his life to bring others to faith. This is reflected in the fact that soon after conversion, Matthew held a great dinner party where he introduced others to the Lord (9:10, cp. Luke 5:29). Then for over three years Matthew listened as Jesus expounded the Scriptures. He watched the miracles of the Master, and what he witnessed Matthew never forgot.

The Message, not the Man

His memory served him well, for the time came when he picked up a pen and began to write the life of Christ under the influence of the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 3:16). There is a strong early tradition that Matthew initially wrote his gospel in Hebrew for the nation of Israel, which means that he probably wrote in Aramaic, the spoken language of his day (Historia Ecclesiastica, Eusebius, AD 264-340). Unfortunately, no trace of this first edition of Matthew's gospel has survived. What has survived is the gospel in Greek dating back to the second half of the first century.

Little is known of the life of Matthew following the end of the earthly ministry of Christ. It is possible that he preached in Palestine and then traveled to Persia, Media, and Parthia before becoming a martyr for Christ in Ethiopia. According to Foxe's Book of Martyrs, Matthew was killed with a battle ax in the city of Nadabah, AD 60.

Overview of Matthew

With the enabling of the Holy Spirit to recall the specific words of Christ, Matthew presents in a very logical way the great themes associated with the ministry of the Lord. He collects many of the most notable parables of the Savior. Matthew also is careful to set forth five selected sermons, or discourses, as a main emphasis of his Gospel, using these as the framework for presenting the teachings of Christ. Surrounding these great sermons are other important details of the life of Christ.

Sermon Chapters

1. The Sermon on the Mount 5-7 character of the Kingdom

2. Instruction to the Twelve 10 proclaiming the Kingdom

3. Mysteries of the Kingdom 13 parables on the Kingdom

4. Significance of Humble Service 18 fellowship in the Kingdom

5. Woes and the Olivet Discourse 23-25 the end of the Kingdom

Particular attention should be given to Christ as King in Matthew’s gospel, for this gospel is designed to present Christ to the Jewfirst as King, and then as the Savior (cf. John 1:11-12). The late Bible teacher J. Vernon McGee has a helpful outline:
1. Person of the King 1 - 2 birth

2. Preparation of the King 3 - 4:16 John the Baptist

3. Proclamation of the King 4:17 - 9 Sermon on the Mount

4. Program of the King 10 - 20 teachings, miracles

5. Passion of the King 21 - 28 the last week.
Person of the King Chapters 1 - 2

The narrative begins with the genealogy of the Messiah, “the son of David.” It is divided into three equal sections of fourteen generations each (1:17). The threefold division harmonizes with the periods before, during, and after the occupation of the throne by the lineage of David. It is important to note that while Matthew traces the genealogy of Christ from Abraham to Joseph, emphasis is made on the royal descent from David through Solomon. In Luke's genealogy, the ancestry of Jesus is traced back to David through the house of Nathan (Luke 3:23-38).

The purpose of this twofold lineage is to demonstrate that Christ has a legal right to the throne of Israel. In all the charges brought against the Lord during His ministry, no one ever accused Him of not being of the royal line of David. The genealogy proves that Jesus was born the legal King of the Jews, a true “son of David,” and thus a son of Abraham. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit (1:18-25), demonstrating that He was the Son of God, and very God of very God (cp. John 1:1-2)while still a man (cp. Luke 1:26-35; 2:1-7; John 1:14) in fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah (7:14, cf. Matt. 1:22-23).

The genealogy of Christ is followed by the story of His birth, the worship of the Wise Men, the murderous intent of Herod the Great, the flight into Egypt, and the return to Nazareth. The “Wise Men” refer to the Magi, a group of scholarly men of Persia. Following a supernatural astronomical phenomenon, they were brought to worship the King of kings and Lord of lords, not on the night of His birth, but when He was a young child (cp. Matt. 2:11).

Warned of God not to report back to the cruel Idumaean named Herod, who ruled Judea as king by the authority of the Roman senate (from 37 BC to 4 BC), the Wise Men departed into their own country another way (Matt. 2:12). Their gifts of gold (reflecting deity), frankincense (reminding one of prayer), and myrrh (used in embalming the dead) would serve to remind the Savior’s parents of their Son's coming hour of sacrifice (note Luke 2:19).

Preparation of the King Chapters 3 - 4:16

Passing over the youthful years of the Lord, Jesus is suddenly presented for public ministry against the background of the preaching of John the Baptist, His own baptism, and His temptation by Satan. During the following two years (of the Galilean ministry), Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee will serve as point of return and departure in fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 9:1.

The preaching of John, which had been predicted in the Old Testament (cf. Isa. 40:3-5; Mal. 3:1), is described by Luke (1:5-80) as preparatory work for the Messiah. What a privilege it was for John to baptize the Lord in order for Him “to fulfill all righteousness” (Matt. 3:15), the righteousness of the Mosaic law. The Levitical law required that all priests be consecrated by ritual purification (Ex. 29:4-7; Lev. 8:6-36) when they “began to be about thirty years of age” (Luke 3:23; cf. Num. 4:3). Though Jesus was without sin, He was the fulfillment of all the types and shadows which spoke of Him, and so He graciously identified Himself with sinners.

Following His baptism, Jesus was tested of the devil. His total reliance upon the Father and the Word of Truth (cf. Deut. 8:3; 6:16; 10:20) made Him worthy as the Sinless One to bear the sins of the unrighteous in His own body.

Proclamation of the King Chapters 4:17 - 9

During the Galilean ministry, Jesus will call His twelve Apostles, preach the Sermon on the Mount, and perform great miraclesHe is proclaiming His kingdom to the Jews. The King of the kingdom will not only speak, but He will demonstrate His great authority over all manner of demons and diseases. Even the winds and the sea will obey Him! Best of all, the King has the authority to forgive sin.

In the Sermon on the Mount, the greatest sermon ever spoken, the Lord sets forth His ethical teachings, which are binding on all believers in all ages without exception. Jesus made it clear that the externals of the Mosaic Law were to be applied to the hearta much stronger requirement (able to be met only through Christ). Those who are true citizens of the kingdom of heaven will learn the way to spiritual blessings, out of a motive of lovenot in order to earn salvation. The heirs of the kingdom will learn how to pray, and how to live out the normal Christian life in a way that is pleasing to the Lord. And here we have our first introduction to the Lord’s marvelous use of word pictures from everyday life in order to make striking and penetrating spiritual applications. Sometimes they were simple metaphors, sometimes they were simply object lessons, and sometimes they were put into stories called parables.

Program of the King Chapters 10 - 20

Chapters 10 - 16:20 Once the Twelve disciples have been prepared for ministry, the Lord will send them on a mission with instruction on how to preach. The need for more laborers will be stressed. During their missionary journey, the disciples were to go only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. They were not to go among the Gentiles nor to enter into the towns of the Samaritansthe gospel would first be offered to Israel. The disciples were given power to perform miracles in order to confirm that they were true Ambassadors of Christ.

Despite the preaching of the gospel and the performing of great miracles, most of the people did not come to faith in Christ. A judicial judgment was passed upon some towns such as Chorazin, located 2 miles north of Capernaum, and Bethsaida (lit. houses, i.e., places of catching fish).

Later, the scribes and the Pharisees, who had been hostile to the Lord from the first, began to discuss openly how they could destroy Him. When companies of scribes and Pharisees from Jerusalem came down to Galilee to unite with His enemies there, Jesus rebuked all of them, declaring them to be blind leaders and hypocrites!

While He ministered on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, the Lord’s mother and brothers and sisters went to see Him. But they did not understand His ministry and left (12:46-50). Later, while visiting His home town of Nazareth for a second time, Jesus was again misunderstood, and was rejected by the rulers of the synagogue (13:53-58).

Even John the Baptist had become concerned. He must have thought that perhaps he, too, had misunderstood the things concerning the Messiah after all. But no, John had not misunderstood. He had met the Master and loved Him. John will die the death of the righteous by the wicked hand of Herod Antipas, a son of Herod the Great. John will be received into heaven as the greatest among men.

Despite all of the doubt and opposition which He encountered, even from family and friends, the Lord continued to perform miracles, such as calming the raging sea. Jesus will continue to teach in parables, feed the hungry (5,000 and then 4,000), show love for the multitudes and prepare for the day of His sacrificial death. The Lord spoke often of His death, while assuring Peter and others that ultimate victory would be found in His resurrection. He told Peter (petros, a stone) that the Church will be built upon a rock (petra, a great ledge of rock), even Christ (cf. 1 Pet. 2:4-6 with 1 Cor. 3:11).

The parables on the kingdom (chapter 13) and the sermon on humility (chapter 18) bring the Galilean Ministry to a close. Following the Transfiguration (ch. 17), which took place on Mount Hermon during a visit to Caesarea Philippi, Jesus departed from Galilee. The people left behind had many precious memories. They could consider all that they had seen and heard. They would discuss in detail the meaning of the seven parables (or mysteries) of the kingdom of heaven presented by the Great Teacher (ch. 13).

Chapters 16:21 - 20 Peter, James, and John left Galilee with the memory of the majesty of Christ being revealed in glory in the Transfiguration (2 Pet. 1:16-21). Such glory will make it easier for those in the kingdom to be characterized by humility (18:1-14), prayer (18:15-20), and the ability to forgive others (18:21-35).

Leaving Capernaum and Galilee, Jesus began the Perean ministry. The time may have been in the summer or early autumn of AD 29, six months before the trial and Crucifixion. This particular phase of the ministry took place in the territory of Perea“beyond” or east of the Jordan. This area extended from the Sea of Galilee on the north to the Dead Sea on the south. Several trips were made by the Lord and the disciples to Jerusalem, including a visit for the celebration of the Feast of the Tabernacles in September, and the Feast of Dedication in December.

During this period, Jesus spoke on the sanctity of marriage (19:1-15). He re-established the high standard against divorce. Even when His disciples were amazed, the Lord did not alter His position. The ethics of the Kingdom are not wanted by all. One rich young man (19:16-26) thought the Lord was asking too much. But there are rewards in regeneration when Jesus rules and reigns for those who follow Him (Matt. 19:27-30).

It was also during this time period that Jesus sent forth the seventy disciples into Judea, who returned with exciting reports of great spiritual results (cp. Luke 10:1-17). While not all disciples will meet with as great results as the seventy sent forth, all will be treated fairly by the Master at the end of the day (Matt. 20:1-16).

The events of this period are treated briefly by Matthew and Mark, with more detail by John, but at great length by Luke (cp. Luke 9:51-19:28). For the fourth time, Jesus predicts His death and resurrection (cf. Matt. 12:38-42; 16:21-28; 17:22-23; 20:17-28).

Passion of the King Chapters 21 - 28

The last week of the Lord's ministry occupies a great portion of all the gospel narratives. The main episodes of the Last Week include the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem; the driving of the traders out of the Temple, the story of the widow's mite, the parables of talents and of foolish virgins, the Last Supper, the washing of the feet of the disciples, the various trials, the Crucifixion, the burial, and the glorious Resurrection.

Since so much attention surrounds the death of Christ, careful consideration should be given to the seven trials of the Savior as recorded in the following passages: Matthew 26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65; Luke 22:54,55,63-65,67-71; John 18:24; Matt. 27:1-2; 27:11-26. These trials may be divided between the Ecclesiastical courts and the Civil courts.

The Ecclesiastical trials are three in number: the preliminary hearing before Annas (John 18:12-14, 19-23); the trial before Caiaphas and select members of the Sanhedrin (Matt. 26:57); and the trial before the whole assembled body of the Sanhedrin after daybreak (Matt. 27:1-2) where Jesus is charged with blasphemy (Matt. 26:65).

The Civil trials are three in number: the trial before Pilate (Matt. 27:11-26) whereby Jesus is charged with being a revolutionist, inciting the people not to pay their taxes, and claiming to be a king (Luke 23:2); the trial before Herod Antipas (Luke 23:6-12); and, finally, the return to Pilate for a second trial (Luke 23:11-25).

The seventh trial for the Savior was a Theocratic trial which took place at Calvary, whereby God the Father judged the sins of the world in the Person of His only begotten Son.

The gospel narrative ends with the glorious Resurrection of Christwho is alive forevermore!

Study Questions: Lesson 2

3. The Synoptic Gospels: Behold the Lamb!

First please read chapter 3 in the text.


The Gift of the Gospels

1. On your answer sheet, make four columns as in the chart below. Fill in the chart answering the five questions below for each Gospel, using the information in the comparison box (on page 30):

a. Who was Jesus portrayed as

b. To which audience (world) was the book written

c. What characteristic of Jesus is emphasized

d. What is a focus of the content in the book: what Jesus _____

e. What types of events or teachings are mentioned most

Matthew Mark Luke John

a. __________ __________ __________ __________

b. __________ __________ __________ __________

c. __________ __________ __________ __________

d. __________ __________ __________ __________

e. __________ __________ __________ __________

Note: it is a good idea to commit these comparisons to memory!

A Concise Summary of the Life of the Lord Jesus Christ

2. On your answer sheet, make a small map of “Palestine during the Time of Jesus” (from page 34). Include only the region around the Sea of Galilee. Now locate the cities where Jesus visited from December of AD 27 through the summer of 28.

4. Matthew: Presenting the King and His Kingdom

First please read chapter 4 in the text.


Why Written

3. Why did Matthew write the Gospel According to Matthew?

Leaving All to Follow the Lord

4. Who was Matthew and what does his name mean?

Preparation of the King - Ch. 3 - 4:16

5. Why was Jesus baptized?

Proclamation of the King - Ch. 4:17 - 9

6. Read Matthew chapters 5-7. What is the overall fundamental principle which Jesus was communicating in the Sermon on the Mount?

Program of the King - Ch. 10 - 20

7. Is the Church ultimately built upon Peter or Christ? What is the true foundation? Provide Scripture for your answer.

Passion of the King - Ch. 21 - 28

8. List the Ecclesiastic, Civil, and Theocratic trials of Christ.


9. Why is the accumulation of money such a compelling attraction to people, despite the evidence that it does not bring happiness?


10. What does the death of Jesus Christ and His resurrection mean to you personally?

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