The last few months in the earthly life of Jesus begins when he leaves Jerusalem a short time after Hanukkah (which ended on December 26) in 29 A.D. (John 10:22 - 39). He crosses over the Jordan River and travels to where John the Baptist first began to baptize (verses 40 - 42). John's baptisms began in Bethabara (John 1:28) which, although it likely existed just south of the Sea of Galilee, may have been located closer to the Dead Sea. After staying in the Bethabara area for an unspecified period Jesus and the disciples travel, one last time, to his hometown of Capernaum.
On the weekly Sabbath day, while eating at the house of a Pharisee, Jesus heals a man who has dropsy. Noticing how others invited to the meal sought out the best places to sit, he informs the guests it is far better to be humble and have others exalt you than exalting yourself (Luke 14:1 - 11). He further teaches about the importance of unconditional mercy and generosity, especially to the poor, and gives the parable of the great supper (verses 12 to 24).
In Galilee, Jesus teaches the multitudes that those who follow him must place a relationship with him as their highest priority (Luke 14:25 - 35). He also gives several well known parables such as those concerning lost sheep (15:1 - 7), a lost coin (verses 8 - 10), a prodigal son (11 - 32), and an unjust steward (Luke 16:1 - 9). He boldly proclaims that no one can fully serve both God and mammon (money, possessions) then follows this declaration with a parable about a person named Lazarus and his relationship with a rich man (verses 13 - 31). Jesus finishes his discourse by answering a question regarding how faith can be increased (Luke 17:5 - 10).
Jesus and his disciples continue their travels by going through Samaria (Luke 17:11). They arrive in a village where ten men with leprosy cry out to be healed. The Lord, hearing their pleas, commands the group show themselves to the priests. The lepers are miraculously cured as they walk away! Sadly, only one of them, a Samaritan, returns to thank him who took away his sufferings (verses 12 - 19).
Continuing his travels, the Lord warns that his Second Coming will come suddenly upon the world (Luke 17:24 - 25). He states that before his arrival people will be living their normal lives just as they did before the Flood and before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (verses 26 - 33). His discourse ends with the parables of the unjust judge and the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:1 - 14).
As the group enters Judean territory a message reaches them that Lazarus, who lives in Bethany, is quite ill and near death. The Lord knows, however, that Lazarus died soon after the messenger left the home of Mary and Martha. He waits two more days before traveling toward Bethany. Lazarus, when the group arrives in the city, has spent four days in a tomb. After the tomb's stone door is removed, Jesus miraculous brings Lazarus back to life (John 11:1 - 45)! The Pharisees, who hate Christ, find out about the miracle and conspire to have him murdered. The High Priest unknowingly predicts Christ's death when he states it is better for one man to die for the nation than all the people perishing (verses 46 - 53).
Fleeing death threats
Jesus, with his disciples, leaves Bethany for Ephraim in order to avoid the Jews (John 11:46 - 54). The Pharisees search him out and try to tempt him by asking whether it is lawful to divorce for ANY reason. His answer is that God's perfect will is that people stay married for life (Matthew 19:1 - 12, Mark 10:2 - 12). Little children are then brought to him to bless (Matthew 19:13 - 15, Mark 10:13 - 16, Luke 18:15 - 17).
A rich young man approaches Jesus wanting to know what it takes to inherit eternal life. He is told he must obey the commandments and give up all his worldly riches. The man, who decides not to give up his possessions, leaves quite sad. The disciples are then taught not to set their heart on riches and that it is incredibly difficult, like a camel going through a needle, for those with wealth to enter God's kingdom (Mathew 19:16 - 26, Mark 10:17 - 27, Luke 18:18 - 27). The group, after Peter states that he and the disciples have given up everything to follow the Lord, are promised to be blessed abundantly (Matthew 19:27 - 30, Mark 10:28 - 31, Luke 18:28 - 30). The parable of the workers in the vineyard is then given (Matthew 20:1 - 16).
Jesus, after his leaves Ephraim, reveals that he will soon be betrayed, suffer, have his life taken then rise from the dead three days later (Matthew 20:17 - 19, Mark 10:32 - 34, Luke 18:31 - 34). An unspecified time later the mother of James and John comes to Christ and requests that her sons have authority, directly under him, in his Kingdom. The other disciples become infuriated at the brothers when they hear about the request. They all are taught that the "greatest" in God's kingdom are those who serve everyone (Matthew 20:20 - 28, Mark 10:35 - 45).
Jericho, Bethany and Jerusalem
As the group enters Jericho a blind man cries out to the Lord for mercy and is miraculous healed (Luke 18:35 - 43). Inside the city Jesus stays overnight at the house of Zacchaeus, a wealthy Jewish tax collector, who repented of growing rich by stealing from others (Luke 19:1 - 10). As he leaves the city, two more blind men are healed (Matthew 20:29 - 34, Mark 10:46 - 52).
As Christ and the disciples walk seventeen miles (27.3 kilometers) to Bethany, on their way to Jerusalem, he gives the parable of the pounds (Luke 19:11 - 28). The last Passover Jesus will celebrate is fast approaching (John 11:55 - 57).
Jesus arrives, near sunset on Wednesday, March 29 in 30 A.D., in Bethany. He travels to the house of Mary, Martha and Lazarus where he has dinner and stays overnight (John 12:1 - 2). In the morning, he goes to Bethphage, mounts a colt, and then proceeds to make a triumphal entry into Jerusalem (John 12:12 - 19, Mark 11:1 - 10, Luke 19:29 - 40, Matthew 21:1 - 11). Over the course of the next several days, until his death, he will spend most or all of a day in the city then leave to spend the night in Bethany (Mark 11:11, Matthew 21:17, 26:6) or on the Mount of Olives (Luke 21:37). Please see our detailed timeline for all the events that transpired during the last days in the life of Jesus.
Next Map in Life of Jesus Series
Baptism to First Passover