Jesus Confronts Religious Leaders
(April 5 to Late Summer 28 A.D.)

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Jesus' Birth   -   Early Life   -   Temptation
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Topics covered: Jesus declares he is Lord of the Sabbath, Christ challenges erroneous Sabbath beliefs, the twelve apostles are officially selected, a Roman Centurion's great faith saves his servant, Jesus is accused of being demon possessed after which his family visits him, a widow's only son is resurrected, John the Baptist wonders why he is not released and a sinful woman is forgiven.

Primary scriptures: Matthew 8:5 - 13, 11:2 - 30, 12:1 - 50, Mark 2:23 - 28, 3:1 - 35, Luke 6:1 - 19, 7:2 - 50, 8:19 - 21

April 5 (Monday)
28 A.D.

Lord of the Sabbath

Jesus and his disciples, hungry while walking through a grain field on the last day of Unleavened Bread (April 5), pluck heads of wheat and eat them. This simple act, done out of need, roused the anger of the Pharisees who believed it was "work" that broke the Holy Day. The Lord responds by mentioning David, out of a legitimate human need, ate shewbread that other times was unlawful to consume (Luke 6:1 - 5, Mark 2:23 - 28, Matthew 12:1 - 8). He then chastises them by stating the following.

Now if you had known what this means, 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless (Matthew 12:7, HBFV).

The Lord closes his discussion with the religious leaders by stating he has the authority, as Creator and Lord of the Sabbath, to determine what is and is not acceptable to do on such special days.

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Mid-April to
Early Summer
28 A.D.

Confronting Religious Leaders

Jesus, while teaching in a synagogue, notices a man with a withered hand. He also knows that the scribes and Pharisees, also in attendance, erroneously believe due to their traditions (which nullified God's law, see Matthew 15 and Mark 7) that healing on the Sabbath is a sin.

And the scribes and the Pharisees were watching Him, whether He would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find an accusation against Him (Luke 6:7).

The Lord, wanting to clarify the true meaning of the Sabbath, has the withered hand man stand in the center of the room. Then, in an undeniable direct provocation of the religious leaders, asks if it is lawful to do good or evil on God's day of rest. Amazingly those in attendance, who are considered the spiritual leaders of the nation, offer no response!

Christ, angered and grieved at the hard hearts that refuse to acknowledge the truth for their own selfish reasons, heals the withered hand. The religious leaders, enraged at seeing what they felt was a sin, and that their authority was openly challenged and exposed as not coming from God, begin to actively conspire to destroy Jesus (Matthew 12:9 - 14, Mark 3:1 - 6, Luke 6:6 - 11).

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Selection of Twelve Apostles

Jesus then travels to the Sea of Galilee where he heals countless people. One notable miracle during this period is his healing of a man who was not only demon possessed but also blind and deaf (Mark 3:7 - 12, Matthew 12:15 - 23).

While in Galilee the Lord goes up a local mountain and prays all night. He then officially selects and ordains twelve of his disciples to be apostles who he will send to preach the gospel and have the authority to heal and cast out demons (Mark 3:13 - 19, Luke 6:12 - 16).

And when it was day, He called His disciples to Him and chose from them twelve, whom He also named apostles: Simon, whom He also named Peter, and his brother Andrew; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew;

Matthew and Thomas; James, the son of Alpheus, and Simon who was called Zealot; Judas, brother of James; and Judas Iscariot, who also became the betrayer (Luke 6:13 - 16).

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A Man of Great Faith

The Lord, after he and the disciples journey to Capernaum, is told that a certain Roman centurion's servant was ill and near death. As he travels to heal the servant the centurion has his friends tell Christ he is not worthy to have him in his house. He, instead, recognizes Jesus' authority and humbly requests he simply command the servant be healed.

"Lord, I (a non-Israelite Centurion) am not worthy that You should come under the roof of my house; but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me; and I say to this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another one, 'Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."

Now when Jesus heard these words, He was amazed; and He said to those who were following, "Truly I say to you, nowhere in Israel have I found such great faith . . ." (Matthew 8:8 - 10).

Jesus, impressed by the centurion's faith, commands his servant be made whole (Matthew 8:5 - 13, Luke 7:2 - 10).

Christ's popularity has now grown to such an extent that people constantly mob his house and make it impossible for him to even eat a meal!

Then a multitude gathered together again, so that they were not able even to eat bread. And after hearing of it, those who were contrary to Him (Jesus) went to restrain Him; for they said, "He is out of His mind!" (Mark 3:20 - 21).

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Summer 28 A.D.

Evil Accusations

Jewish leaders from Jerusalem, while visiting Capernaum, accuse the Lord of being possessed of Satan and using his power to cast out demons. Jesus not only refutes their flawed argument he confronts them with a pointed question.

And if I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? (Matthew 12:27).

The unspoken answer to above is that the sons of the leaders are not able to cast out demons or they merely pretend to do so (see Acts 19:13 - 17)! After warning them about committing the unpardonable sin (Mark 3:22 - 30, Matthew 12:24 - 37), some in attendance have the audacity to demand Jesus perform a miracle to prove he is the Messiah. Although their immediate request is rejected, they are offered his death and burial for three full days as proof of who he is (Matthew 12:38 - 42).

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A Family Visit

Jesus' mother and half-brothers, shortly after the above incident, arrive in Capernaum and wish to speak to him. When he is told they are outside his home, unable to come in due to the throng of people, he states that all those who do God's will are his family.

"Who is My mother and who are My brothers?" And He (Jesus) looked around at those who were sitting in a circle around Him, and said, "Behold My mother and My brothers; for whoever shall do the will of God, that one is My brother, and My sister, and mother." (Mark 3:33 - 35, see also Matthew 12:46 - 50, Luke 8:19 - 21).

Young Man Resurrected!

Traveling to Nain, our Savior runs into a funeral procession carrying a young man for burial. The man who died was his widow mother's only son. The loss of such a son, who likely was also taking care of his mother, usually brought with it poverty. Feeling immense compassion for the mother, the Lord stops the procession and resurrects the man back to life (Luke 7:11 - 18)!

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John Has His Doubts

John the Baptist, who has been stuck in prison for more than a year, understandably wonders why the Lord hasn't yet freed him. He sends two of his disciples to ask him a simple question.

And after calling two certain disciples, John sent them to Jesus, saying, "Are You He Who was to come, or are we to look for another?" (Luke 7:19).

After they witness many miracles performed they are told by Christ to inform John about what they have seen and heard. The Lord, when the two people leave, confirms to the multitude gathered around him that John was the person prophesied to prepare the way for the Messiah (Luke 7:19 - 30, Matthew 11:2 - 15).

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Correction and Forgiveness

Jesus castigates his generation for their fickleness and willingness to create contradictory excuses to justify their rejection of those who serve God. He also chastises the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum for refusing to repent in spite of the many signs and wonders they experienced (Matthew 11:20 - 30).

The Lord, sometime later, while eating at a Pharisees' house, is approached by a sinful but forgiven and grateful woman who humbly washes his feet with her tears and anoints them. The Pharisees' rejection of both the woman and Jesus' divine calling earns him a rebuke (Luke 7:36 - 50).

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Previous    -    Next

Timeline of Jesus' Life and Ministry
Conception and Birth of Jesus
Christ's Early Life
Baptism and Temptation
The First Miracle at Cana
Jesus Reveals He Is the Messiah
The Sermon on the Mount
Confronting Religious Leaders
Preaching, Parables and Miracles
Miraculously Feeding the Masses
The Transfiguration
Training the Disciples for Evangelism
A Final Visit to Capernaum
The Last Trips Before Crucifixion
Jesus' Last Days, Death, Resurrection
Christ's Ministry after His Resurrection