Jesus warns religious leaders about their vanity, a large crowd is warned to be wary of hypocrisy, Christ teaches time and chance can happen to all, several parables are given and the Lord predicts Jerusalem and its temple will be destroyed. Links to all timelines in this series.
Primary scriptures: Matthew 17:24 - 27, 18:1 - 35, 19:1 - 2, Mark 9:33 - 50, 10:1, Luke 9:46 - 62, 10:1 - 42, 11:1 - 54, 12:1 - 59, 13:1 - 35, John 10:22 - 40.
Mid-November 29 A.D.
The Temple Tax
Jesus and the disciples, after observing the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem, make their way back to Capernaum.
Peter is approached by those who collect the temple tax and is asked if Jesus was going to pay it (Matthew 17:24 - 27). The tax, which was voluntary in the first century and justified by Exodus 30:11 - 16, was requested of every Israelite male twenty years old or older. The tax was half a shekel (or two drachmas) per male and was used to support the service and maintenance of Jerusalem's temple.
Peter, after informing Jesus of the request, is told to cast his fishing line into the Sea of Galilee. The fish he catches miraculously has a coin in his mouth which he uses to pay the tax for both of them!
Who Are the Greatest?
The disciples soon begin to dispute among themselves who will be the greatest in God's kingdom. Jesus' response was to teach them that only those with the heart of a servant, a person who humbly serves all others, will be exalted by God (Matthew 18:1 - 5, Mark 9:33 - 37, Luke 9:46 - 48).
Then He (Jesus) came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He asked them (his disciples), "What were you discussing among yourselves on the way here?" But they were silent because, while on the way, they had discussed who would be the greatest.
And after sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, "If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all." (Mark 9:33 - 35).
Jesus additionally warns his disciples about offending those who are spiritually "little children" and tells them about God's loving concern for every person (Matthew 18:6 - 14, Mark 9:42 - 50). He also instructs them on how to resolve disagreements between people (Matthew 18:15 - 17) and gives believers the authority to make binding decisions regarding disputes (verses 18 - 20).
Lastly, after commanding that believers should offer unlimited forgiveness to others (Matthew 18:21 - 22), Christ gives the parable of the unforgiving servant (verses 23 - 35).
Late December 29 A.D.
Jesus and the disciples leave Capernaum and the Galilee region for Samaria. They then travel south through Samaria then cross to the eastern side of the Jordan River at an unknown location (Matthew 19:1, Mark 10:1). They cross back over the Jordan on their way to Bethany to visit Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38 - 42) before ultimately going to Jerusalem for the Feast of Dedication (also called Festival of Lights or Hanukkah, John 10:22).
Fire From Heaven?
James and John, as the group travels through Samaria, are rebuked for impulsively wanting to destroy a Samaritan village with fire because of their rejection of the Lord (Luke 9:51 - 56, Matthew 19:1 - 2, Mark 10:1)!
Training 70 Disciples
Jesus sends seventy disciples (not the 12 apostles trained earlier in the year) on an evangelistic training mission to prepare the way for him in cities he will soon visit (Luke 10:1 - 24). Before the leave, however, he instructs them on what they should and should not do while on their journey. He also stresses that those who accept or reject them are also accepting or rejecting both him and God the Father.
The one who hears you hears Me; and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and the one who rejects Me rejects Him Who sent Me (Luke 10:16).
Jesus gives his famous Good Samaritan parable after the seventy return and report on their evangelism (Luke 10:25 - 37).
Travel to Judea
Jesus continues traveling south, crosses the Jordan, travels further south on the eastern side of the river, and then crosses back over to continue his journey to Bethany. While in the city he is the dinner guest of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38 - 42).
The Lord teaches the disciples to pray and that the Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him (Luke 11:1 - 13). He then casts a demon out of a man only to be accused of possessing one himself (verses 14 - 26)!
The multitudes who hear the Lord speak are informed that the only sign that will be given that he is the Messiah is the sign of Jonah (Luke 11:29 - 32). He is then invited to a Pharisees' house for a meal (verse 37). Christ, during the meal, warns the religious leaders in attendance about their vanity, pettiness and other sins (verses 37 - 52).
Beware of Hypocrisy!
A large crowd, gathered outside the Pharisee's home who hosted Jesus, is warned to be wary of the hypocrisy of religious leaders (Luke 12:1 - 3). They are also taught about fearing God and the unpardonable sin, as well as life being more than possessions and that the highest priority one can have is seeking God's Kingdom (verses 1 - 34).
Jesus further teaches that believers should be watching and prepared for his return at any time (Luke 12:35 - 48). He then makes that stark statement that his appearance on earth was not to bring it peace (verses 49 - 53)!
Time and Chance
It was commonly believed, in the first century A.D., that those who were rich were made so through blessings God granted them for pleasing him. Conversely, it was also felt that the calamities and trials that a person experienced were a direct result and "reward" for sinning against God (see John 9:1 - 3, Mark 10:23 - 26). Jesus refuted this popular belief by stating time and chance (being at the wrong place at the wrong time) can adversely affect any human at any time.
Now at the same time, there were present some who were telling Him about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, "Do you suppose that these Galileans were sinners above all Galileans, because they suffered such things? No, I tell you . . . (Luke 13:1 - 3).
The Lord then gives the parable of the unfruitful fig tree (Luke 13:6 - 9).
Later, while teaching in a synagogue, the Lord mercifully heals a woman who had been physically bent over for eighteen years. The ruler of the synagogue receives a stinging rebuke from Christ after criticizing him for healing on the Sabbath (Luke 13:10 - 17). Following this event the parables of the mustard seed and the hidden leaven (verses 18 - 21) are given.
Only a Few Saved?
Someone approaches Jesus wondering if only a few people will be ultimately saved. In response, he gives a parable about a narrow gate and warns that salvation cannot be received simply by knowing who he is and what he teaches (Luke 13:23 - 30). Later, he informs the Pharisees that not only will his life be taken in Jerusalem, the city and its magnificent temple will in the near future be attacked and destroyed (verses 31 - 35).