Below is our selection, in chronological order, of the nineteen greatest events recorded in the New Testament.
John the Baptist's birth
Luke 1:5 - 25, 41 - 44, 57 - 63
Date: 5 B.C.
The first great event in the New Testament is the conception and birth of John the Baptist. John's conception was miraculous in that his mother had to be healed of a barren womb in order to conceive him (Luke 1:7). He was born with the expressed goal of preparing the people for the ministry of Jesus.
John was never to drink wine, as he was one of the few Biblical persons dedicated, from birth, to live as a Nazarite. Christ called him the greatest prophet up to that time (Matthew 11:11) even though the Bible does not record John performing a single miracle!
Birth of the Messiah
Matthew 1:18 - 2:1, Luke 2, John 1:1 - 14
Date: 5 B.C.
The long awaited Messiah, foretold in many Bible prophecies including the first one God gave (Genesis 3:15), becomes a reality through a betrothed virgin named Mary. His life, ministry, sinless death and resurrection are the cornerstones of God's great New Testament plan to offer eternal salvation to all.
Baptism of Jesus
Matthew 3:13 - 17, Mark 1:9 - 11
Luke 3:21 - 22, John 1:28 - 34
Date: Fall 26 A.D.
Jesus is baptized, at the age of about thirty, not as a sign he was repentant or needed to ask God for forgiveness. The purpose of his baptism, stated to John the Baptist, was to fulfill one of the requirements of righteousness (Matthew 3:15). His baptism was also a sign to the world that his ministry was starting.
Before preaching a single word, however, Jesus would have to endure an unrelenting forty days of trials and temptation at the hands of God's greatest enemy.
Temptation of Jesus
Matthew 4, Luke 4, Mark 1:12 - 13
Date: Fall 26 A.D.
Jesus, immediately following his baptism, is driven by God's spirit to experience one of the greatest tests of his ministry. He is drawn to travel to the Judean wilderness so that the devil can assault him with any temptation he wishes for a forty-day period. Satan's goal is to lead the Messiah to disobey God just once and disqualify himself from being mankind's perfect sacrifice for sin.
Sermon on the Mount
Matthew 5 - 7, Luke 6:20 - 49
Date: Shortly after Pentecost in 27 A.D.
Given on Mt. Eremos, Jesus' most well known message explains the full spiritual intent of God's commandments. It also reveals profound principles of living that all people should strive to fulfill. His teachings are the foundation of a New Covenant offered between God and all humans.
Resurrection of Lazarus
Date: Early 30 A.D.
Jesus, during his brief three and one half year ministry, performed countless miracles (John 21:25) many of which are delineated in the New Testament. Arguably the greatest of these is the resurrection of Lazarus after he had been dead and buried for four days (John 11:39).
The resurrection of Lazarus was an awesome miracle that could not be denied or explained away even by the harshest critics (John 11:47 - 48). It testified of God's perfect authority over all life and bore witness that Jesus was the promised Messiah. It also, amazingly, solidified Jewish resolve, even unto the High Priest, that Christ must be put to death (verses 49 to 53)!
The Last Passover
Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, John 13
Date: After sunset Tuesday, April 4, 30 A.D.
The terms of the New Covenant, explained by Jesus during his Sermon on the Mount, are accepted, during his last Passover, by eleven of his disciples. They partake of unleavened bread, symbolizing his (soon to be) broken body, and wine, symbolizing his (soon to be) shed blood, as acceptance of his perfect sacrifice.
Christians are commanded to continue to partake of, once a year, these New Testament symbols as a remembrance of Christ's sacrifice (1Corinthians 11:26) and as a reminder of the commitment they made at baptism.
Crucifixion, Death of Jesus
Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, John 19
Date: Wednesday, April 5, 30 A.D.
Jesus is condemned to die, by the Romans, even though he was innocent of all charges laid against him. His sinless sacrifice is the greatest death in human history as he was also the God of the Old Testament. His sacrifice makes possible the forgiveness of all sin and opens the way to eternal salvation through reconciliation with God the Father (2Corinthians 5:18 - 19, Hebrews 2:17).
Jesus' perfect sacrifice confirms and ratifies the New Covenant that is offered to all humans.
Resurrection of Jesus
Mathew 28, Mark 16, John 20, Luke 24
Date: Saturday, April 8, 30 A.D. at sunset
Jesus' resurrection from the dead is the fulfillment of the only sign he offered to prove he was the Messiah (Matthew 12:40). His resurrection makes possible the gift of eternal life that is offered to all those who remain faithful to God unto death (1Corthians 15:12 - 22).
Ascension of Jesus
Matthew 28:18 - 20, Mark 16:15 - 18
Acts 1:4 - 5
Date: Thursday, May 18, 30 A.D.
Jesus, prior to his ascension to the right hand of God, charges his disciples with an awesome task. Known as the Great Commission, they are told to spread the Gospel, baptize converts, and teach obedience to all the things Christ commanded. These specially chosen men will be the foundation on which true Christianity spreads around the world.
Two angels, after Christ rises to heaven from the Mount of Olives, inform the disciples that the Lord will come back to earth in the same way he left it (Acts 1:9 - 11).
Birth of New Testament Church
Date: Sunday, May 28, 30 A.D. (Pentecost)
The greatest recorded one-day outpouring of God's Holy Spirt takes place after the ascension of Jesus. The promise of the Holy Spirit, spoken by Christ, comes first to 120 of his disciples on the Day of Pentecost in 30 A.D. Another 3,000 people are baptized and become Christians after God's gift of power is manifested before those in Jerusalem (Acts 2:41).
This event becomes the pivotal springboard that will lead to the evangelizing of the entire world.
First post-resurrection martyr
Acts 6 - 8:2
Date: 32 A.D.
A man named Stephen, one of the first seven leaders chosen by the brethren of the early church, becomes the first post-resurrection Christian martyr.
Early church scattered
Acts 8:1 - 4, 11:19 - 20
Date: 32 A.D.
The martyrdom of Stephen kicks off a concerted effort by Jewish religious leaders to stamp out the growing flames of Christianity arising all around them. One of the men at the forefront of stopping the spreading belief in Christ is a young man named Saul. His zealousness for Judaism knows no bounds, as he is even willing to arrest believers in their homes and travel to distant cities like Damascus.
Ironically, the death of Stephen is the catalyst for many in the early New Testament church to finally leave Jerusalem and preach the gospel everywhere as was commanded by Christ (Matthew 28:18 - 20).
Conversion of Saul to Paul
Date: 33 A.D.
A zealous Saul, while traveling to Damascus, is confronted by the Being whom he is vainly seeking to eradicate from the minds of Jews! Jesus speaks from heaven to a terrified Saul and says, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?" (Acts 9:4). This event will ultimately lead to Saul's conversion and turn him into the Apostle Paul.
No other Biblical person, short of Christ himself, has had a greater impact on Christianity than Paul. His fourteen Biblical books have helped to convert countless people and teach them to walk worthy of their high calling in Christ.
Paul's first missionary journey
Acts 13:4 - 14:25
Date: 44 A.D.
Although converted in 33 A.D., it would take another eleven years before the Apostle Paul officially embarked on his first missionary journey. This initial evangelistic tour, carried out with the help of fellow apostle Barnabas, sets the stage for at least four others carried out during his ministry.
Date: 49 A.D.
The Jerusalem Conference, which took place in the fall of 49 A.D., was convened to settle the New Testament question of whether circumcision should be required of all Gentile (non-Israelite) believers in the church. Disagreement over whether circumcision was necessary for salvation went back at least to 38 A.D. when the first recorded Gentile, Cornelius, was baptized (see Acts 10).
The inspired decision of the conference slams open the door for Gentiles to become Christians and to be considered spiritually equal with those who had converted from Judaism. The decision also paves the way for explosive growth of the Christian church.
Paul and Peter are martyred
Date: 67 - 68 A.D.
Two of the most influential Christians to have ever lived, Paul and Peter, die as martyrs around the same time. Peter, whose martyrdom was hinted at by Jesus (John 21:18 - 19, 2Peter 1:14), met his demise in 67 or 68 A.D. The Apostle Paul was beheaded in Rome in 68, likely before Roman Emperor Nero committed suicide on June 9.
Destruction of Jerusalem and its temple
Date: 70 A.D.
The complete destruction of Jerusalem and its temple are prophesied to occur by Jesus himself (Luke 13:33 - 35, 19:42 - 44, 21:5 - 6, 23:28 - 31). In fact, the knowledge of the leveling of Jerusalem and its house of prayer for all nations (Isaiah 56:7) led Christ to cry over it on at least one occasion (Luke 19:41).
In 70 A.D., the Roman army, led by future emperor Titus, fulfilled the Lord's prophecy by destroying Jerusalem and burning its temple to the ground.
Canonization of New Testament
Date: 96 - 99 A.D.
Paul and Peter edit and finalize their writings before their martyrdom. Their manuscripts, and those of the other New Testament writers, ultimately make their way to the Apostle John. As the last of the original apostles still alive, he finalizes the Bible shortly before his death around 100 A.D. (Holy Bible in its Original Order, second edition, chapter 10).