The Living Christ
Outline: A Survey of the Life of Christ for Evangelism and Basic Bible Teaching. Comes with a 120 picture set.
|Language:||English: South African|
|Theme:||Saviour of Sinful Men|
Scripts are basic guidelines for translation and recording into other languages. They should be adapted as necessary to make them understandable and relevant for each different culture and language. Some terms and concepts used may need more explanation or even be replaced or omitted completely.
Part 1: Pictures 1-14
The Coming of Jesus the Christ to the earth
Who was Jesus Christ? When was he born and what did he do? Where did he come from? To answer these questions we must go to the book called the Bible. Everything we need to know about Jesus and about God is written in the Bible. The Bible teaches us about the beginning of time. Listen carefully while you look at pictures 1 to 14. You will learn why and how Jesus Christ came to the earth. Every time, when you hear the music, you must turn to the next picture. (Music bridge)
In the beginning, before time began, God existed. He was always there. Jesus Christ existed with God. Jesus shows us perfectly who God is. The Bible is God's Holy Book, where God's will for man is written. Everything we need to know about Jesus and God is written in the Bible. The Bible also calls Jesus the Light of the world. This is because he shows those who believe in him, the way to God. Jesus gives all who believe in him, eternal life with God.
We just said that Jesus was with God in the beginning. He created everything in the universe. He created all the animals and the people in this world. The first man was called Adam and the first woman was called Eve. At that time there was no sickness or death in the world. There was no murder, no crime, no robberies, no pain and no hurt. Everything was good, just like God had created it.
God put Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, in a beautiful garden. God planted the garden himself. There were all kinds of good fruit to eat. There was only one tree in the middle of the garden that God told the man and woman not to eat from. Adam and Eve trusted God and obeyed him. But one day Satan came to Adam and Eve in the form of a snake. Satan was one of God's creatures. But he had turned against God who is good, because he wanted to be like God. And He also wanted to turn Adam and Eve against God. He told them a lie about the fruit God told them not to eat. And instead of believing God, they believed Satan's lie and decided to eat of the forbidden fruit in the middle of the garden. Satan succeeded in persuading the humans to disobey God and to act against his good will for their life.
Through this wrong act Adam and Eve became sinners. Sinners are people who do not obey God. Adam and Eve stopped believing God's words and in his good will for their life. The relationship between them and God was broken, because they chose to turn against his command and truth.
God sent Adam and Eve away from the beautiful garden where they had lived so far. Everything on earth changed drastically; life became hard and full of problems. Sorrow, pain, robbery, murder, sickness and death came into the world. And from that time on, all people that were born lived without God and his will. So everyone lived according to Satan's way and his plans.
But God always loved the people. He created them. So he made a plan to save all people from Satan's wicked lies that were never good for mankind.
Genesis 15:1-6, 22:15-18
In the mean time there were more and more people on the earth. They forgot that God even existed, that he cared for them, and that he only wanted what is best for them. Therefore most people thought bad thoughts and did bad things because they did not know a better way. However, there was one man among them who knew God and obeyed him. This man's name was Abraham.
Abraham and his wife Sara were already very old and they still could not have any children. You can see Abraham in this picture. It shows that one night God spoke to Abraham and said, "Look up at the heavens and (try to) count the stars. Your descendents (offspring) will be just as many as there are stars in the sky." God also promised Abraham that through his descendents (offspring) all people on the earth will be blessed. Blessed here means they will be happy because they will be in the right relationship with God again.
Abraham could not understand everything God said to him, but he trusted God and believed everything God promised him. And then, when Abraham was 100 years of age, his wife Sarah gave birth to a baby boy.
Abraham became very, very old before he died. Many years after this his son, and later his son's children lived and died. And after many years their children and their children's children lived and died. And even many years after that, God one day sent an angel, one of his messengers from heaven where he lives, to the earth to the land of Israel. First the angel went to the city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the capital-city (main city) of Israel. There was a huge temple in this city. The temple was the main place where the people who believed in God, went to pray to God.
In this temple there was a priest with the name Zechariah. Zechariah and his wife, just like Abraham and his wife Sarah, could not have children. But one day while Zechariah was praying in the temple, the angel of God came to Zechariah and told him, "Do not be afraid. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you must give him the name John. He will make you very happy and many people will find joy through his life. Your son will have an important job to do for God. The Holy Spirit of God will be with him from the moment he is born."
Everything happened just like the angel told Zechariah. John was born and grew up to become an important prophet in the service of God in the country of Israel. A prophet is a person through whom God gives important messages to people.
A few months after the angel had spoken to Zechariah, the same angel appeared to a young girl in Israel. Her name was Mary. She had never slept with a man. The angel said to Mary, "You will give birth to a son, and you must give him the name Jesus. The Holy Spirit of God will come upon you; so the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God."
At that time Mary was engaged to a man called Joseph. He was a descendent of Abraham. Joseph was a good man. When he discovered that Mary was pregnant, he decided not to marry her anymore. But the angel of God appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the baby in her is from the Holy Spirit of God. She will have a son, and you must give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." The name Jesus means "Saviour". A Saviour rescues one out of danger.
So Joseph took Mary as his wife. They travelled to a town (village) called Bethlehem, because that is where Joseph's family came from. There were many people in Bethlehem at that time. Joseph and Mary could not find a place to stay. They had to spend the night in an animal stable, and while they were there, Jesus was born.
In the fields outside Bethlehem there were shepherds. They were looking after their sheep. Suddenly an angel appeared to them. He said, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will make you very happy and it is for all people. Today in the town (village) of Bethlehem a Saviour was born; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you. You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in an animal stable.”
Then suddenly many angels appeared singing to God, “Praise God and peace on earth for those to whom God shows his favour.”
Immediately the shepherds went into Bethlehem. And there they found the baby Jesus with Mary and Joseph, just as the angels had told them. Those shepherds were uneducated people, but they realised that Jesus was a very special baby, so they praised God for him, because they were very glad.
Mary and Joseph took the baby Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem. They went to thank God for this baby and to present (or dedicate) the baby to God. Do you remember that the temple was the main place where people went to pray to God? There was an old man called Simeon in the temple. Simeon believed God's promise to send a Saviour into the world to save all who believe in him. Simeon was looking forward to this. When Simeon saw Jesus in the temple, he took him in his arms and prayed the following words to God, "With my own eyes I've seen what you have done to save your people, and foreign nations will also see this. Your mighty power is a light for all nations, and it will bring honour to your people Israel."
There was also an old prophetess called Anna in the temple. Anna also saw Jesus in the temple. She went and told people that this child had come to save them. Simeon and Anna both knew that Jesus was the Christ whom God had promised. Christ means "anointed one" or "chosen one". Anointed means "set apart for God".
Some wise men travelled to Israel from a very far country. They asked everywhere, "Where is the baby who has been born as king of the Jews, the people of Israel? We saw his star in the east and have come to honour him / show respect to him." The wise men followed the star to Bethlehem and there they found Jesus. They gave him gifts and worshipped him.
The man who was king of Israel at that time, was called Herod. He was very jealous when he heard about the wise men's visit to Jesus, especially because they said Jesus was born as king of the Jews, the people of Israel. Herod wanted to kill Jesus. But an angel of God warned Joseph about this in a dream. So Joseph took Mary and the baby and fled to a country called Egypt. There they stayed until king Herod died. Only then they returned to Israel. They went to live in a town (village) called Nazareth.
Every year Joseph and his whole family travelled to the city of Jerusalem. They went to attend a feast at the temple in honour of God or to show God how thankful the people of Israel were for what God had done for them in the past. The feast was called the Passover Feast.
The year when Jesus was 12 years old, as usual, the family again travelled to Jerusalem and attended the feast at the temple. There Jesus spoke to the teachers They were amazed because Jesus knew so much about God.
Jesus knew that God was his heavenly Father, but no one else understood this. Jesus grew up to be a man and more and more people were pleased with the way he lived. God was also very pleased with him. ("And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men."- original quote)
Let us sum up what we’ve heard so far
Today it is more than 2 000 years ago that Jesus was born in the land of Israel. As you have heard now, Jesus' birth and childhood years were very special.
You've learnt that right at the beginning of time, after everything was created, Adam and Eve caused all people after them to live in sin, without knowing God, when they ate from the forbidden fruit in the garden where they lived. But God made a plan and sent Jesus to the earth to show the way back to God for all people who believe in him.
Part 2: Pictures 15-32
The miracles of Christ
Many years before Jesus was born, God already promised the people of Israel that he would send someone to the earth called the Christ, to save them. God did this by giving them messages through the prophets. The Christ would have power over Satan, sin and death. The Christ would heal the sick, would care for the poor and needy and he would do many wonderful signs and wonders. Let us look at pictures 15-32 to find out more about all the miracles Jesus did.
Do you remember the old priest named Zechariah who had a son called John? Well, John grew up to be a great prophet in Israel. He lived in the desert. Many people went there to listen to what he had to say. He told them, like the prophets before him, that God would send someone to save them. He also warned them to prepare themselves for the Saviour's coming and to turn from their evil ways. Evil ways are bad or wrong ways. Many believed John's message. They were baptised in the river named the Jordan. Baptism was a sign (showed) that they decided to turn away from their old ways of life and start learning and living the way God wants them to live.
One day when John was baptising people in the river, Jesus came to him. Jesus did not need to turn from sin, because Jesus never sinned. However, Jesus still wanted John to baptise him in the river. In the picture you can see how John baptised Jesus. As Jesus came up out of the water, the Holy Spirit of God came down upon Jesus in the form of a dove. A voice from heaven spoke and said, "This is my son, whom I love. With him I am very pleased."
After John baptised Jesus, the Holy Spirit of God led Jesus into the desert. There Jesus prayed and did not eat for 40 days. He did this to prepare for the future work he had to do on earth.
Then Satan came to Jesus in the desert to tempt him. He also told lies to Jesus, just like he told lies to Adam and Eve in the garden in the beginning. Satan wanted Jesus to listen to his lies and to sin just like Adam and Eve did, because Satan wanted to stop Jesus from doing the work he came to do on earth - that is, saving people from sin and death. Three times Satan tried to make Jesus (persuade Jesus to) listen to him and obey his lies, but Jesus knew God and his will perfectly. Jesus responded to every lie of Satan by quoting words from the Bible, God's Holy Book, where God's will for man is written. These words are the truth and they proved that everything Satan speaks are lies and can't be trusted. Jesus knew this; therefore Satan had no power over Jesus. After a while Satan left Jesus and went away.
After this, Jesus went to Galilee in the north of the land of Israel. There he went to a wedding feast with his mother and some of his disciples. Disciples were followers of Jesus. They believed in Jesus and everything he taught, and they wanted to obey his teachings.
Anyway, at this wedding feast it happened that there was not enough wine for the wedding guests. Then Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water." The servants did as he told them. He then said to them, "Now pour some out and take it to the master of ceremonies (of the banquet)." When the master in charge of the wedding feast tasted the water, he found that it had changed into the very best wine and there was enough for all the guests. This was the first miracle that Jesus did. It showed that Jesus had amazing power.
After his first miracle, Jesus began to do many more miracles. More and more people heard about these miracles that he did. Among these was an important religious leader called Nicodemus. When Nicodemus heard about Jesus, he went to Jesus one night in secret. Jesus taught Nicodemus many things that night. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born again. He must be born of water and the Holy Spirit of God."
Jesus meant that it is not enough to be born in the usual way.
A person also needs to be born again through the work of God's Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit shows people their sin and helps them to turn away from their old way of life and from Satan's lies. They will start to live (according to God's will) (or to please God). Then they will know that Jesus saves all who believe in Him.
Whoever believes in Jesus will have eternal life in God's kingdom, meaning they will live forever with God where he is, but whoever rejects (turns against) Jesus, will perish and not see life.
Jesus travelled around and taught many people. One day Jesus was travelling when he became very tired. He sat down beside a well. A Samaritan woman came to the well to draw some water. Samaritans were not true Jews from Israel. They belonged to another people group who lived in the country of Samaria.
Jesus also knew that she was a bad woman. She had already had 5 husbands and the man she lived with was not her husband. She was surprised when Jesus asked her to give him some water to drink. Jesus then also said to her, "You don't know who I am. You should actually ask me to give you some living water."
Then he told her about the living water. What is it?
Jesus meant that to live without knowing God, is like being very, very thirsty.
Water cannot take away this thirst. The living water that Jesus offers, is the Holy Spirit. God will give his Holy Spirit to everyone who believes in Jesus.
Jesus went back to Cana where he turned the water into wine. An important man from a nearby town (village) came to Jesus. The man's son was very ill. He begged Jesus to come and heal his son who was close to death. Jesus did not go with the man to his home. Jesus only said to the man, "You may go. Your son will live." At that very moment the man's son became well. The people who heard about this, realised that Jesus also had power over sickness.
Mark 1:16-20; Matthew 4:18-22; Luke 1:1-3; John 1:35-42
One day Jesus saw four fishermen beside the lake of Galilee. Their names were Peter and Andrew, James and John. Jesus called to them and said, "Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." A big crowd of people gathered beside the lake, so Jesus told the fishermen to push one boat out into the water. Jesus sat in the boat and taught the people on the shore about God.
Jesus finished teaching the people. Then he said to Peter, "Take the boat out into the deep water and let down the nets for a catch of fish." Peter answered him, "Sir (Master), we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets." They let down the nets and caught many fish. They had to call James and John in the other boat to come and help them. When they pulled the fishnets into the boats, the boats became so full that they nearly sank. Peter and his friends were all amazed. They pulled their boats up onto the shore, and started to follow Jesus everywhere he went. They became his disciples. Remember, disciples were followers of Jesus. They believed in Jesus and everything he taught, and they wanted to obey his teachings.
Mark 1:21-28; Luke 4:31-37
In the town (village) of Capernaum, Jesus went into the local synagogue and taught the people about God. A synagogue was the local place where people went and listened to God's Word and prayed to Him. The people were amazed because Jesus spoke with such authority. It means that he knew what he was talking about and the people easily believed him. While Jesus was speaking, a man with an evil spirit in him suddenly cried out, "What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us (harm us)? I know who you are - the Holy One of God!".
Jesus knew there was an evil (bad) spirit in the man. Jesus spoke to the spirit in the man and said, "Be quiet! Come out of him!" The spirit had to obey Jesus. It gave a loud cry and then left the man. Through this miracle the people saw that Jesus also had power over spirits.
Mark 1:29-34; Matthew 8:14-17; Luke 4:38-41
From Capernaum Jesus went with his disciples to Peter's house. Peter's mother-in-law was very sick. She had a high fever. Jesus took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her; she was healed and began to serve them (give them something to eat). Many people started to bring sick people to Jesus. He healed them all and also sent many evil (bad) spirits out of people.
Mark 1:40-45; Matthew 8:2-4; Luke 5:12-14
Jesus continued to travel around the area called Galilee teaching about God and healing the sick. One such sick man had a bad disease called leprosy. The man begged Jesus to heal him. Jesus stretched out his hand and touched the man, and immediately the man was healed from his disease. More and more people followed Jesus everywhere he went. They wanted to hear everything he taught and some wanted Jesus to heal them. Sometimes it was hard for Jesus to enter the towns (villages), so big were the crowds who gathered to see him.
Mark 2:1-12; Matthew 9:2-8; Luke 5:18-26
A few days later, the crowds heard that Jesus was teaching at a certain house in the town (village) of Capernaum. Among the listeners were also a number of the local religious leaders. There were also four men outside the house who desperately wanted to bring their paralysed friend to Jesus so that Jesus could heal him. But because of all the people gathering outside the house, the four men could not get to the door to go in. So they made a plan. You can see in the picture what they did. They made an opening (a hole) in the roof of the house. Then they lowered the paralysed man through the opening, down in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw that they believed in him, he said to the paralysed man, "Son, your sins are forgiven." Then he said to the paralysed man, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." This man was also healed. The people were amazed, but the religious leaders said, "Who can forgive sins but God alone?" But through this miracle Jesus showed that he had power to forgive sins.
Mark 2:13-14; Matthew 9:9; Luke 5:27-28
Jesus went out beside the lake. As he walked along, he saw a man called Matthew. Matthew was a tax collector. His job was to see that all the people in the country pay their taxes. The people hated tax collectors, because they often cheated and mistreated the people. But Jesus said to Matthew, "Follow me!" Immediately Matthew got up, left everything and followed Jesus.
By doing this, the people could see that Jesus also wanted even very bad people, like criminals and all other sinners, to believe in him and to obey him.
Mark 2:15-17; Matthew 9:10-13; Luke 5:29-31
Matthew invited all his friends to a great feast that he prepared for Jesus. Many of Matthew's friends were dishonest tax collectors and really bad people. The religious leaders saw Jesus eating with these bad guys, so they asked his disciples, "Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?" Jesus heard this and said, "Healthy people do not need a doctor. Sick people do. I have not come to call people who are right with God. I have come to call sinners."
Jesus went to the capital city called Jerusalem. He saw a man who had been lame for 38 years. The man lay beside a certain pool that some believed was special. The man hoped the water in the pool could heal him. It was believed that only at certain times, the water could heal people. But the lame man could never get into the pool at the right time. Jesus said to the man, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." At once the man was healed! Jesus worked this miracle on the special day of the week called the Sabbath. The Sabbath was the seventh day of the week when everyone rested from his or her work. It was a special day. However, the religious leaders had made many rules about the Sabbath. They even prevented people from helping others on the Sabbath because they said it was work. They did not care about poor people in need. So they were angry because Jesus had healed the paralysed man on the Sabbath day.
Mark 2:23-28; Matthew 12:1-14; Luke 6:1-11
On another Sabbath day Jesus and some of his disciples were walking in the fields. They picked some grain and ate it. Again the religious leaders accused them of breaking the laws about the Sabbath. Jesus said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." It means God wanted the Sabbath to be a day to rest, to pray and help other people. He didn't want it to be a day of hardship and sorrow. From this the people learnt that Jesus was also Lord of the Sabbath.
And Jesus is still the Lord of the Sabbath today. It means he rules over the Sabbath. We should set the day apart to honour and worship Him but be willing to use it in service to others also.
On another Sabbath day there was a man at the local synagogue who had a withered hand. The religious leaders watched Jesus carefully. They wanted to see if he would also heal this man on the Sabbath. They wanted more reasons to accuse him of breaking their religious laws. Jesus was very sad about the stubbornness of their hearts. Jesus said to the man with the withered hand, "Stretch out your hand," and the people could see that his hand was completely healed. Then the evil leaders went out and made plans to kill Jesus.
Time to sum up
The people of Israel were amazed by all that Jesus did. They saw that he had great power, and so many people began to follow him and believe in him. However, the religious leaders of the day were jealous of him. They would not believe that he was the promised Christ, the anointed one or the chosen one from God.
Part 3: Pictures 33-45
The Teachings of the Christ
Jesus worked many miracles because he cared for the poor and the needy, but he also taught them about the kingdom of God and how they should live to please God. Now listen to the teachings of the Christ, while watching pictures 33-45.
Matthew 5:1-12; Luke 6:20-23
In the place called Galilee, Jesus spent one whole night in prayer to God. When the morning came, he chose 12 men whom he called apostles, from among his disciples. The 12 men Jesus chose to be apostles had to help him in the important business of teaching others what they had learnt from him. The word apostle means "sent one".
Jesus went with these apostles to where a large crowd of his disciples and people from all over the country had gathered to hear him. He sat down in an open place with his disciples and he taught them many things about the ways of God - how to learn to know God and to live according to his ways. Here are some of the things Jesus taught:
No one hides a light under a basket. He puts it up where it gives light to everyone. Jesus said to his disciples, "You are the light of the world. Let your light shine where people can see it. Let them see the good things you do. But do not expect them to praise you. They should give praise to God, your Father, who is in heaven."
This he said because he (Jesus) was and still is the light of this world. When we follow and obey him, we carry his light in us. That's why Jesus said to his disciples, "You are the light of the world." His disciples get their light from him, the light, whom they follow. Jesus has nothing bad in him; he is only good. His life shines like a bright light in a world full of darkness. Darkness represents all kinds of evil and sin, like violence, pride, theft and murder. If we live a good life by following Jesus and believing in him, our lives also shine like lights in this dark world. If our lives are different to all the evil in this world, people cannot help but see it.
Jesus taught his disciples (followers) not to resist an evil person (a person who looks for trouble). He said, "If someone strikes you on the right cheek, let him strike the other also. Love your enemies; bless those who hate you." God knows when people do wrong to us. He himself will judge evil people. He may judge them in this life or he will judge them after death. We do not have to take revenge on evil people. God wants us to love all people. Jesus said, "Do to others as you want them to do to you."
Matthew 6:5-15; Luke 11:2-4
Some people are proud and like to show off. They want others to be impressed with them, even when they pray. Jesus found fault with people like that. He said, "When you pray, pray to your Father God, in secret. God sees what is done in secret and he will reward you. And when you pray, do not use many words or repeat the same thing over and over; there are people who think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Here is an example of how you should pray:
("Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed (honoured) be your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one."
"Our Father in heaven, help us to honour your Name. Come and set up your kingdom, so that everyone on earth will obey you, as you are obeyed in heaven. Give us our food for today. Forgive our sins, as we forgive others. Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil."
Jesus continued saying, "If you forgive others for the wrong they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you. But if you don't forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins."
Jesus taught that there are two ways in life: the one way is a wide and easy way to follow. Many people follow this way, but it leads to their downfall (ruin or doom) and unending suffering.
The second way is the narrow and difficult way. Only a few people find this way, but it is the way that leads to life with God forever. This is the way that Jesus came to show us.
Which of the two ways are you following?
Matthew 7:24-29; Luke 6:47-49
The teachings of Jesus are a strong foundation for our lives. Some people hear his teachings and obey him. Jesus said they are like a wise man that built his house on a rock foundation. Can you identify (see) the wise man in the picture? When the flood came, his house stood firm. Other people hear Jesus' words, but they do not obey them. Jesus said that they are like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. When the flood came, he lost everything because his house had no foundation.
Are your lives built on the strong foundation of Jesus' words? Or is your life like the house built on sand?
One day Jesus and his disciples went to a town (village) called Nain. A large crowd went along with them. On the way they met a funeral procession. The funeral was for the only son of a widow. Jesus understood her sorrow. He said to her, "Don't cry." Then he spoke to the dead boy. He said, "Get up!" Immediately the young man sat up. He was alive again! The people in the crowd were amazed and they told everyone about it. Through this miracle the people saw that Jesus also had power over death.
Matthew 11:1-15; Luke 7:18-35
Do you remember John the Baptist? He was the one who announced that Jesus was coming. John persuaded many people to follow Jesus. But the wicked king of the country put John in prison, because John spoke out against the evil things the king and some of his family members were doing. While in prison, John heard what Jesus was teaching and doing. So John called for two of his friends. He sent them to Jesus with the question: "Are you really the one from God, or should we look out for another one?" Jesus answered them in this way, "You have seen the miracles I'm doing. Go back and tell John about them. Then he will be sure who I am." Jesus added, "How happy are those who have no doubts about me!" Later the king had John killed in prison, but John obeyed God to the end and Jesus said that John's reward in heaven was great.
Jesus was invited to eat at the house of a religious leader. A woman who was a prostitute came there to him. A prostitute is someone who sleeps with many different men for money (has sexual relations with many different people for money). This woman began to wash Jesus' feet with her tears, and poured perfume over them. The religious leaders could not believe that Jesus would allow this sinful woman to touch him. Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." The woman meant well and showed her faith in Jesus by what she did, but the religious leaders hated him even more.
Mark 4:1-9; Matthew 13:1-15; Luke 8:4-10
One day Jesus was teaching many people beside the lake of Galilee. He told them about a farmer. The farmer went out to plant seeds. Some seeds fell on the path and the birds ate them. Some fell on rocky ground and when the sun was strong, they dried up. Other seeds fell among thorns. The thorns choked the seedlings. They could not grow properly. Other seeds fell on good, fertile ground. They grew and produced much grain.
Mark 4:10-20; Matthew 13:18-23; Luke 8:11-15
The story of the seeds has a hidden meaning. The seeds are messages or words from the Bible (God's Word) and the different places where the seeds are sown
are different people in different situations of life who hear the messages.
Some people are like the path where some seed is sown: they hear a message from the Bible, but because they don't understand it, Satan comes and takes away what was sown in their hearts so that they cannot obey and live by it.
Some people are like rocky places where some seed is sown: they hear a message from the Bible and they think it is good, but when life gets hard, they blame God and go their own way.
Other people are like the ground where the seed is sown among weeds and thorns. Just like the ground where the grain was choked by the weeds, these people hear teaching from the Bible, but because of the worries of this world they cannot continue to trust and believe in God.
However, some people are like good soil where some seed is sown: they hear the message from the Bible, understand it and obey it. They please God in this life and gain everlasting life (life that lasts forever).
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Jesus told many such stories with hidden meanings. These stories are called parables. He told about a man who sowed good wheat in his field. However, an enemy came at night and sowed weeds in the field among the wheat.
When the plants grew and began to ripen, the farmer's servants could see the weeds. So they came and asked the farmer, "Sir, didn't you sow good seeds in your field? Where did the weeds come from?" "An enemy did this", the farmer replied. So the workers asked him, "Do you want us to go and pull out the weeds?" "No", the farmer answered. "You might also pull out the wheat. Leave the weeds until harvest time. Then I'll tell my workers: first gather the weeds and tie them up and burn them. Then gather the wheat and I will store it in a safe place."
In this parable Jesus is the One who sows the good seed. The field is the world, and the good seeds are the disciples of Jesus. The unwanted seeds are the bad people who do not believe in Jesus, but follow Satan's ways. Satan is the enemy who sows them. The harvest time is the end time. The disciples of Jesus and the followers of Satan will live together on this earth until then. God's children, the followers of Jesus, will be separated from the followers of Satan. All who do evil now, will be treated like weeds. They will be burned by fire. God's children are like the wheat. God will take them to be with him forever.
Jesus told another story about a man who found some treasure hidden in a field. He took the treasure and hid it again, so that no one else could find it. Then he went and sold everything he had, so that he could buy that field where he hid the treasure. Jesus said that the kingdom of God is like that treasure. If we are part of God's kingdom, we will live with God forever, because we have chosen to believe in him and learn about him through what Jesus teaches. And this is worth more than anything else we have in this life.
So what have we learnt in these pictures?
Jesus taught ordinary people about God. He knew God perfectly, so he taught the people with authority. He was not like the religious leaders of that day. Those leaders taught God's laws, but they didn't know or love God. They followed Satan's ways.
Part 4: Pictures 46-60
The revelation of the Christ, in other words, what did he come to show us?
Only someone who came from God, who is God, could work the miracles and teach the things which Jesus taught. But did the people really believe that he was the promised Christ who can save people from their sin?
This was made clear only to those whom God had chosen. Look at pictures 46-60 while listening.
Mark 4:35-41; Matthew 8:18, 23-27; Luke 8:22-25
One day after Jesus had finished teaching, he told his disciples to take him across the lake in their boat. A great wind arose, and the water came into the boat. The disciples were terrified. They thought they were going to die. But Jesus said to the storm, "Quiet! Be still!" Immediately the wind ceased and the waves became calm. The disciples said, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!" Jesus was showing them that he was also the Lord of the wind and the waves.
Mark 5:1-20; Matthew 8:28-34; Luke 8:26-39
After the wind and the waves became quiet, Jesus and his disciples came to the other shore of the lake. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man came running to him. This man had many evil spirits, that means bad spirits, also called demons in him. He was so wild that no one could tie him up. He fell on his knees in front of Jesus. Then Jesus commanded the evil spirits (demons) to leave the man. The evil spirits (demons) left and entered a herd of pigs nearby. The pigs rushed into the lake and drowned. The man went and told many people about the great thing that Jesus had done for him. Everyone learnt through the miracle that evil spirits had to obey Jesus, for he had stronger power than all of them together.
Mark 5:21-34; Matthew 9:18-26; Luke 8:41-56
Jesus went back to Capernaum, and a great crowd of people pressed around him. There was a sick woman in the crowd. For twelve years she had been sick with a bleeding problem. The woman thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed." So she came up behind Jesus and touched his clothes. Immediately she was healed. She did not think that Jesus knew what she had done. But Jesus turned around and spoke to her, "Your faith has healed you. Go in peace." That woman believed in Jesus and so she was healed.
Mark 5:35-43; Matthew 9:18-26; Luke 8:41-56
While Jesus was still speaking to the woman, one of the synagogue leaders came to Jesus. He told him, "My little daughter is dying. Please come and heal her." Jesus went to the leader's house, but the girl was already dead. Jesus sent everyone outside except for her parents and three of his disciples. Then Jesus took the dead child by the hand. He said to her, "Little girl, get up!" Immediately the girl came to life again. She stood up and walked around and her family gave her something to eat. From this miracle everyone present saw that Jesus had power over death.
Luke 9:1-6; Matthew 10:9-15; Mark 6:8-11
One day Jesus called the 12 apostles he had chosen from amongst his disciples, together. We said before that the word apostle means "sent one". The apostles were to specifically go and teach others what they've learnt from Jesus. He gave them power to cast out evil spirits or demons and to heal the sick. Then he sent them into the country to preach about the kingdom of God. He said to them, "Do not take anything for your journey. If you go into a house, stay there until you leave." He warned them that some people would not accept their message. So the apostles went from town (village) to town (village) healing the sick and telling people about the good news of Jesus who had come to show them the way back to God.
Luke 9:10-17; Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:32-44; John 6:5-13
The apostles returned from their journeys. They were all tired, so Jesus took them to a quiet place to rest. However, more than 5 000 people followed them. Jesus taught this crowd all day and at the end of the day the people in the crowd were getting hungry. The disciples said to Jesus, "Send the crowd away so they can go to the nearby towns (villages) to find food and a place to sleep for the night, because we are in a remote place." Then Jesus replied, "You give them something to eat!" One of the disciples, Andrew, then said to Jesus, "Here is a boy with 5 small loaves of bread and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many people?" Jesus took that small amount of food and gave thanks to God. Then he fed all those people with the five loaves and the two fish. Everybody had enough and there were even 12 baskets of food left over.
John 6:14-21; Matthew 14:22-36; Mark 6:45-56
Then Jesus went away to a mountain to pray. His disciples went away in their boat. Late that night they were in the middle of the lake. The wind was blowing against them and the waters (waves) were rough. They were in danger. Then they saw Jesus. He was walking to them on the water! The disciples were afraid. They thought they saw a ghost. But Jesus said, "It is I, don't be afraid." Then he got into the boat and the storm calmed. The disciples were amazed. They worshipped him saying, "Truly, you are the Son of God." They crossed the lake and came to the other side.
John 6:22-40, 60-66
The next day the crowd who stayed on the other side of the lake, went searching for Jesus. Some wanted to crown (make) him king of the people of Israel. Because they found him on the opposite (other) side of the lake, they could not understand how he got there. They asked him, "Master, when did you get here?" He answered, "You are not looking for me because you saw a miracle, but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not only work for food that can spoil. Food for the body can spoil, but seek food that keeps forever and gives eternal life. I will give you this food." They asked him, "What must we do to please God?" Jesus answered, "The work of God is this, to believe in the one he has sent." Jesus said further, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me, will never go hungry, and he who believes in me, will never be thirsty. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever." Many people could not understand this teaching. Some were angry and said, "How could this man give us his flesh to eat?" From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
Mark 7:24-30; Matthew 15:21-28
Jesus went to a region called Tyre where a different nation (tribe) lived. There a woman came to him. The woman had a little girl at home. There was an evil (a bad) spirit, also called a demon, in the girl. The woman begged Jesus to drive the spirit out of her child. Jesus said to her, "The evil spirit (demon) has left your daughter." Immediately the evil spirit (demon) left that child even before the mother returned home.
The disciples learnt something new through this miracle. That is: The woman whose child Jesus healed, was not a Jew. She was from another country. Jesus and his disciples were all Jews.
The disciples of Jesus believed that Jesus had come to save only the Jews of Israel from the powers of sin and death. But through this miracle they learnt that Jesus had come to save people from all other nations (tribes) on earth as well.
Mark 7:31-37; Matthew 15:29-31
Jesus went down to the Lake of Galilee, to an area called Decapolis. The people brought a deaf and dumb man to him. Jesus took the man aside, away from the crowd. He put his fingers into the ears of the man and he touched his tongue. Then he looked up to heaven and said with a deep sigh, "Be opened!" Immediately the man could hear and speak. When people heard of this, more and more of them came to see Jesus. He healed more sick people and he fed another crowd in a miraculous way. This time there were about 4 000 people and Jesus had only seven loaves of bread and a few small fish. The people were amazed by all the things Jesus did.
Jesus went to a place called Bethsaida. There some people also brought a blind man to him for healing. Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the town (village). He touched his eyes and the man began to see a little. The man said, "I see people, they look like trees walking around." Then Jesus touched his eyes again and then the man could see everything clearly.
Mark 8:27-31; Matthew 16:13-16; Luke 9:18-20
Jesus asked his disciples, "Who do you say I am?"
This was an important question. Had Jesus really come from God? Had God sent him into the world? Even though they were the disciples of Jesus, they found it hard to believe. Some of them thought that he was only a great prophet. Do you remember what a prophet is? A prophet is someone through whom God gives important messages to warn them or to encourage them. But God showed Peter the truth. He understood it clearly. He said to Jesus, "You are the Christ! You are the Son of the living God."
Yes, this is true. And do you remember what the word "Christ" means? It means the anointed one or the chosen one. Jesus told the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.
Mark 9:1-9; Luke 9:28-37; Matthew 17:1-9
Jesus told his disciples why they had to keep it quiet for a while. He said, "I am going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill me, and after three days I will rise to life." The disciples did not understand this, and they could not believe it.
A few days later Jesus took three of them to a mountain to pray. They climbed to the top, and as Jesus was praying, his face changed and started to shine like the sun before their eyes, and his clothes became very bright. Two prophets named Moses and Elijah, who had lived many, many years before, appeared with Jesus. They talked with Jesus about the suffering and death that was awaiting him. A bright cloud came over them all, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my son; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him." The disciples fell face down; they were afraid, but Jesus touched them and said, "Don't be afraid." When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. Jesus continued to teach them as they came down the mountain.
Mark 9:14-29; Luke 9:37-43; Matthew 17:14-20
When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them. There was a man who brought his son to some of Jesus' disciples. The boy had an evil (a bad) spirit, that is a demon, inside him. It caused him to have terrible fits. The disciples had tried to command/order the evil spirit (demon) to go out of the boy, but the evil spirit (demon) would not obey them. Jesus commanded the evil spirit to leave the boy. The boy was healed from that moment on. Jesus was the only one who had the power to do this.
Later the disciples asked Jesus, "Why couldn't we drive it out?" Jesus answered, "This kind can only come out by prayer."
Jesus and his disciples went on to the town (village) called Capernaum. On their arrival, workers from the synagogue who collected temple tax came to Peter. They asked him, "Does your teacher pay the temple tax?" In those days every family who attended the synagogue, the local place of worship, contributed what they called temple tax for covering some expenses. Peter answered the tax collectors, "Yes, he does." When later Peter went into the house where Jesus and the disciples stayed, Jesus was the first to speak. He asked Peter, "From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes - from their own sons or from others?" "From others," Peter answered. Jesus said, "Then the sons shouldn't pay tax. But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch, open its mouth and you will find a coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours."
Let us summarise once more
Jesus came to live on the earth to show us in a perfect way what God is like. Jesus was more than just a prophet. He came from God and he was the revelation of God himself. This is why he is called the Son of God. However, only his closest disciples realised and believed the truth about Jesus.
Part 5: Pictures 61-78
The parables of the Christ - the stories he told
Jesus continued to teach his followers. He taught them by telling stories called parables. These stories have hidden meanings. Only those who believe in him, can understand these stories. Pictures 61-78 show us more of these parables. They teach us things that are true about the kingdom of God and how we can become children of God. Come and listen to some of these parables.
Matthew 18:1-6; Mark 9:33-37; Luke 9:46-48
People always want to feel important. One day, the disciples asked Jesus, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of God?" Jesus called a little child to stand among them. He said, "I tell you the truth; if you don't change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of God. Whoever humbles himself like this child, is the greatest in the kingdom of God. And he who welcomes a little child like this in my Name, welcomes me."
It is important for us to be humble. We must not think that we are better than others. We must trust God and do what he says.
Matthew 18:10-14; Luke 15:4-7
Jesus told his disciples a parable about a sheep. The story has a hidden meaning. One day a sheep became lost from its shepherd and the rest of the sheep. The shepherd cared about that sheep, so he left the other sheep, and went to search for the lost one. When he found it, he was very happy.
This is the meaning of the story: God does not want to lose any one of his children. We are his children if we believe in him and obey his words. He loves each one of his children very much. If even one of his children is lost from him, he will search for that person until he finds him or her.
One of the disciples asked Jesus this question, "How many times shall I forgive my brother when he does something wrong against me? Up to 7 times?" Jesus answered him, "I tell you, not 7 times, but 70 times 7 at least. Listen to this:
"A poor servant owed his master a lot of money, but he could not pay it back. He did not have enough money. The master felt sorry for him and forgave him the whole debt. Then the servant went out and he met a fellow servant who owed him only a small amount of money. The servant grabbed his fellow servant and said, 'Pay back what you owe me!' But the fellow servant could not pay, so what do you think the servant did? Did he forgive his fellow servant? No! He put him in prison.
"But later the master heard what had happened. He was very angry with his servant, because this servant did not show pity on his fellow servant. The master then put this servant into prison."
What is the meaning of this parable?
Jesus said, "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each one of you unless you forgive other people from your heart." Why? It is because God has forgiven a great debt of sin to everyone who believes and follows him. Now also He expects every believer to forgive those who sin against them.
One day Jesus was in the temple in Jerusalem. Do you remember that the temple was the main place where people worshipped and prayed to God? There the religious leaders brought a woman to Jesus. They said, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery." Adultery here means she cheated her husband by having relations with another man. The religious leaders asked Jesus, "Now, what do you say?" They wanted to stone her to death. But Jesus said, "Is there someone here who has not sinned and disobeyed God's will for man? Let that person throw the first stone at her." One by one the religious leaders left the temple. Then Jesus asked the woman, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" "No one, Sir" she said. Then Jesus answered, "Then neither do I condemn you. Go now, and stop your life of sin." The religious leaders knew that they were sinners also, like anyone else, but they hated Jesus for saying it in public.
As Jesus left the temple, he saw a man who was born blind. The disciples thought that the blindness had come because he or his family had sinned. Jesus did not agree. He said, "This man is not blind because of his sin and it is not because of his parents' sin. This happened so that everyone can see the work of God in him." Then Jesus healed the man and he saw clearly. The man went and told everyone how Jesus had healed him. But the religious leaders were even angrier than before.
Jesus told a parable against the religious leaders. He said that they were like hired shepherds. Shepherds are people who look after sheep. A hired shepherd cares about his pay, but he does not care so much for the sheep, because he doesn't own them. The religious leaders in Israel were like that. They did not care for God's people, and they would not believe in Jesus, whom God had sent to teach the people and take away their sin. Jesus said, "I have come that my sheep may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. I will give my life for my sheep." Jesus also told them he is like the gate of the sheepfold. You can see that in the picture. Whoever enters through him, will be saved. The sheep are safe while the shepherd guards the gate. Jesus protects his people so that evil cannot come and destroy them.
Luke 10:25-37; Mark 12:28-31
One of the religious leaders wanted to trap Jesus with this question: "What must I do to inherit eternal life? "
Jesus answered, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbour as you love yourself."
So the religious leader asked back, "And who is my neighbour?" In reply Jesus said, "A man was travelling down a lonely road. Robbers attacked him and left him almost dead. Two religious Jews came along. They saw the injured man, but they did not help him. Then a man from another tribe came along the road. He felt sorry for the man. He stopped and took care of him. He cleaned his wounds and took him to a safe place.
Which of the three do you think was the neighbour to the injured man?"
The religious leader answered, "The one who helped the injured man."
Then Jesus said, "Go and do just as he did (the same)."
From this parable we learn that those religious people did not show God's love to the injured man. To be religious will not give anyone eternal life. Religion cannot make us love God and other people; we have to understand that God loves us first and accept God's love for us, and his forgiveness for our sin. Then we will be able to love God and also love all other people from all other nations and tribes, just like the foreigner loved and felt pity for the injured man.
In the picture we see Jesus visiting at the house of two sisters. Their names were Mary and Martha. Jesus was a friend of this family. Mary sat at Jesus' feet. She wanted to hear everything he said. But Martha had much housework. She said to Jesus, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" Jesus answered, "Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen something better, and it will not be taken away from her." To know Jesus and his way is more important than the concerns of this life.
Luke 11:1-13; Matthew 6:9-13
Can you remember that in picture 36 Jesus taught his disciples how to pray? The example he used was this one:
("Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."
"Father, help us to honor your Name. Come and set up your kingdom, so that everyone on earth will obey you, as you are obeyed in heaven. Give us our food for today. Forgive our sins, as we forgive others. Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil."
Jesus taught his disciples to bring their needs to God at any time. He explained it further with this parable:
A man went to his friend in the middle of the night. He called out, "Friend, lend me some loaves of bread. Another friend of mine has come to me, and I have nothing to give him." The friend said, "Don't bother me. The door is already locked and my family and I are in bed sleeping. I can't get up now to give you anything." However, the man kept knocking. So the friend got up out of bed and gave him what he needed.
Jesus explained this about prayer to God, "Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you ... if you, though you are bad and sinful, know how to give good things to others, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him."
The friend in the parable took care of the need the man had. Even more certainly God hears his children if they continue to pray to him. He will also give his Holy Spirit to those who really seek him.
Jesus warned people not to be greedy. He told a story about a rich man. The rich man was a farmer who owned (had) a lot of property. The land produced many food products to sell. So he built many store houses to keep all the produce. He said, "I have plenty for many years. I can take life easy." But God said to him, "You fool. This night you will die. Then who will get what you have stored up for yourself?" That night the rich man died. All his work and all his money were no good to him any more. Jesus said, "This is how it will be with anyone who stores up earthly or material things for himself." We should not just live and work to fill our stomachs, but we should seek to live according to God's will for our lives: to love God and to do good to other people. Then we shall have riches in heaven as well.
Again Jesus told his disciples that he would be killed, but they did not understand Him.
Jesus talked about this a few times, saying that he was going to die soon, but that he would rise from the dead after three days and go back to heaven where he had come from. In this picture Jesus also explained to them that one day he will return from heaven. When he returns, his people who are ready and waiting for him, will receive their reward. Jesus said: "Be dressed, don't be lazy and be watchful. Be like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding feast, so that when he comes and knocks, they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants if the master finds them watching when he comes ... It will be good for those servants if the master finds them ready, even if he comes late at night. You should be ready, because I will come at an hour when you do not expect me."
I will soon explain to you how Jesus came to die, rose again and went back to heaven. The important thing we learn from this parable is that he promised to come back again, and that we should also be ready for his return.
One Sabbath day Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, which were local places of worship / prayer houses. There was a crippled woman who had been bent over for 18 years. Jesus healed her so that she could stand up straight again. How she praised God for what happened to her! The people, who were watching, were delighted.
But again, the religious leaders of the synagogue were angry, because Jesus did this miracle on the Sabbath day. The religious leaders accused Jesus of breaking God's Law. They said Jesus worked on the Sabbath, while God's Book, the Bible, says that you should not work on a Sabbath day. One religious leader said at this meeting, "There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath." Jesus answered him, "You hypocrites! Doesn't each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey and lead it out to the water to drink? Then should not this woman, whom Satan has kept bound for 18 long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?" Jesus knew that he did not dishonour God by what he did for the woman. He was doing God's will when he healed her.
On another Sabbath day, Jesus healed another sick man. Again the religious leaders were angry. Then Jesus told them this story: A man gave a feast. He invited many special guests. However, every one of them made excuses for why they could not come. So the man said to his servants, "Go out quickly into the streets and bring in to my feast the poor, the crippled people, the blind and the lame. Go out to the roads and make them come in, so that my house can be full."
Jesus was saying that the religious leaders were like the special guests in the parable. They were important religious leaders who should have taught the people God's will, but they refused to accept God's invitation to come to him by believing in Jesus. Now God invites all people to come to him.
The religious leaders were also angry because Jesus liked to spend time with poor people and sinners, so Jesus told them this story. He said, "A woman had ten silver coins and she lost one. She lit a lamp and searched the house. At last she found it. She was very happy. She called her friends to come and they all rejoiced with her." Jesus said, "In the same way, there is rejoicing in heaven when one sinner turns to God."
Every single person on this earth is important to God: old people, young people and the little children, male and female. He wants everyone to turn from sin and from Satan's lies and come to him. God is the one who created us, loves us and knows what is best for us. He and all the angels in heaven rejoice (are so happy) whenever anyone turns back to Him.
Jesus told yet another parable to explain this important matter a bit more clearly: It is about a son who was rebellious and stubborn. The boy lived with his older brother on his father's farm. But one day this boy said to his father, "Give me my share of your property, my inheritance, now." Well, because the father had two sons, he gave this boy one half of everything he owned. The boy left home and went to live in a far country. He had not learnt how to take responsibility and how to manage what he had received. So he ended up wasting all his money in wild living. He didn't save any money and he did not think it was necessary to find a job.
At last, all his money was gone. The rebellious son had nothing to eat. He had to look for a job, but these were difficult times. There was a famine in the land. He only found a job feeding pigs, for which he got a place to stay. But he still didn't have any food yet. So he came to his senses and began to think about his life. He said to himself, "My father's servants have plenty of food, and here I am starving to death. I will go back to my father and say to him, 'Father, I have sinned against you. You should not call me your son anymore, but make me one of your servants,'" So the son decided to return to his father's house.
The father loved the boy very much. He was hoping that his son would return. When the boy was still a long way off, his father saw him coming home and felt great pity for him. He ran to meet the boy and welcomed him with great joy. He forgave him and took him back as his own son.
God is also like this father. And we are all like the rebellious son. We all went away from our heavenly Father, our Creator, and his will for our lives, wasting our lives in sinful living. But God, our heavenly Father, loves and forgives every person who confesses his or her sin and turns back to God. To confess means that a person acknowledges (admits) that he or she has done wrong.
Jesus taught the people much about money. He also warned how people's love for money or worldly riches can harm their relationship with God. This happens when our love of earthly things is stronger than our love for God and what is important to him. This was one of the reasons the religious leaders hated Jesus; they loved money. This was why they did not take notice of the poor. So Jesus told them this parable: There was a very rich man who lived in great wealth. At his gate sat a poor beggar. He was sick and hungry, but the rich man would not help him. After some time, the poor man died and the angels carried him to heaven where God the Father is. There the poor man found rest and comfort.
The rich man also died, but he went to a place of terrible suffering. From where he was, he could see the place of comfort and happiness, but there was no way to cross over from his place of suffering to the place of comfort and peace, called heaven.
This parable teaches us that the only way to get to heaven is to believe in Jesus, follow him and obey his Word. Don't wait until you have died to seek God. Then it will be too late.
A quick summary
Many people believed what Jesus taught them while he was on earth. These were usually ordinary people like Mary and Martha. They were also human beings, like you and me. But (we see that) most of the important people, the rich people and the religious leaders would not believe. The religious leaders especially, were also like wicked shepherds who did not care for God's people who were put under their care. Through the parables Jesus warned all of these unbelievers.
He also taught about the things that really have no value before God: these things (with no value) are to have lots of money, to be important, to impress people, or to have power in the eyes of men.
The things that really have value are to know God the Father through believing in his sent one, Jesus, to know God's will for our lives and to live accordingly,
to live responsibly with fellow men and women here on earth and to manage the things God entrusts to us in such a way, that we will be ready to give account to him after we die, or when Jesus comes back to the earth - if we are still alive at the time.
Part 6: Pictures 79-96
How people finally rejected (turned against) the Christ
Now we must learn more about how Jesus Christ, his teachings and his miraculous works were finally rejected (not accepted) by the leaders in the Jewish society to the extent that he was sentenced to death and killed. These leaders were the religious leaders. In the meantime Jesus continued to teach the people and do miracles. One of these miracles happened in the family of Mary and Martha. Look at picture 79.
This picture shows an amazing thing that happened. Do you remember those friends of Jesus called Mary and Martha? They had a brother called Lazarus. One day Lazarus became very sick. Jesus was not with them at that time and before He came to them, Lazarus died. The family bound his body in grave clothes and put him in a cave. That's how people were buried in those days. Then they rolled a huge stone across the entrance.
Four days later Jesus came to be with the family. Mary and Martha said, "Lord, if you had been here, our brother would not have died." Jesus said, "Your brother will rise again." Jesus wanted them to trust in him, not just for this life, but also for life after death. So he said, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, will live even though he dies." They went to the cave. Jesus said to the people, "Take away the stone." Then he prayed and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I know that you always hear me, but I said this so that these people can hear and believe that you sent me." Then Jesus called out, "Lazarus, come out!" Lazarus came out. Then Jesus said, "Unbind him and let him go." Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead. The people were amazed and many believed in Jesus, but the religious leaders hated him still more and sought ways to kill him. Therefore Jesus stopped moving in public among the Jews; he withdrew to a place near the desert where he stayed for a while with his disciples.
If a person believes in Jesus and obeys what Jesus teaches, that person will continue to live in heaven with God after he or she has died. That's what Jesus meant when he said, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, will live even though he dies."
Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, the capital (main) city when 10 men met him on the way. They were sick with the infectious disease called leprosy, so they did not come close to Jesus. They stood at a distance and called out, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” Jesus sent them on their way. As they went, they were all miraculously healed. One of them came back to Jesus to thank him. This man belonged to a different tribe. He was not a Jew like Jesus. He fell at Jesus’ feet and praised God. So Jesus said, “Were not all ten healed? Where are the other nine? Did no one return and give praise to God except for this foreigner (foreign man)?” Then Jesus said to the man, “Get up and go; your faith has made you well (because you believed, you were healed).”
Jesus continued to teach as he travelled. He told his disciples this parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up praying. A wicked judge did not fear God or care about anyone. One day a poor widow came to him and said, "Give me justice against my enemy." But the judge would not do it. She came to him again and again. After a while, the judge said, "I don't fear God or care about people. But because this woman keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice." Jesus said God is not like that wicked judge. God wants to hear and answer our prayers. He will bring justice to his children (treat his children right) and quickly. He won't keep putting them off.
Some people, who heard Jesus teach, were very proud. In their own eyes they were satisfied and pleased with the way they served God. And they were proud of themselves and thought they were better than other people. So Jesus told this story about two men: They both went up to the temple to pray. The one man was very religious. He was very pleased with himself. In his prayer he told God how good he was. He said, "God, I thank you that I am not like other men, robbers, evildoers, adulterers (people who cheat on their husbands or wives), or even like this tax collector. I do many good deeds." But God was not pleased with this man. The other man, the tax collector, stood right at the back of the temple and said to God, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner." God was pleased with this man, said Jesus. He also said, "Everyone who thinks he is great, will be made humble. Everyone who humbles himself will be made great."
Mark 10:13-16; Matthew 19:13-15; Luke 18:15-17
Some people brought little children to Jesus. They wanted him to touch them. The disciples did not think that children were important, so they told the people to go away. However, Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me. Do not hinder them. The kingdom of God belongs to people who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not become part of the kingdom of God, by receiving God's forgiveness like a little child, will never enter it."
This means people who want to follow Jesus, must believe in him. They must trust him like a child trusts a good and beloved parent. That is the only way to enter God's kingdom.
Mark 10:17-27; Matthew 19:16-30; Luke 18:18-30
A rich young man asked Jesus, "What must I do to live forever (get everlasting life)?" The rich man was a leader, an important man in the community among his fellow men. He was also a good person. He said he had kept all the commandments of God since he was a boy. Jesus loved this young man and said to him, "You still need to do one thing. Sell everything you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure (riches, something valuable / something worth much) in heaven. Then come and follow me." The man went away and was very sad. His earthly possessions were too important to him. He did not want to give away his material possessions. He did not understand or believe that he could trust Jesus to give him something much better. He could, give him everlasting life, that is a life forever with God.
Do you believe in Jesus, and do you live according to what he teaches? What reward can you expect from him? Jesus told this story about rewards: A landowner was paying his workers. Some of them had worked all day, so he gave them a full day's pay. Some had only worked part of the day, but he gave them a full day's pay as well. Then those who worked the full day complained. They did not think it was fair. But the landowner said to them, "I have not been unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for the amount you received? Take you pay and go. I want to give the men who were hired later in the day, the same as I gave you. Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Do not be jealous and greedy because I am generous!"
God is like this landowner. He wants to give eternal life with God to anyone who believes in Jesus and follows him. We cannot earn this everlasting life (life that never ends) by how many good deeds we do. God wants to do this because he loves people and wants what is good for everyone.
Luke 18:35-43; Matthew 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52
As Jesus went on to Jerusalem, He came to a city (big village) called Jericho. There a blind beggar sat beside the road. His name was Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was on his way and Bartimaeus started to shout, "Jesus, have mercy on me!" It means "Jesus, have compassion on me and help me!" Some people in the crowd rebuked Bartimaeus and told him to keep quiet, but he shouted again. Jesus stopped and asked Bartimaeus, "What do you want me to do for you?" He replied, "Lord, I want to see." Jesus said to him, "Because you have believed in me, I will heal you." And immediately Bartimaeus could see!
In this city (big village) of Jericho lived a tax collector named Zacchaeus. He was a very short man. He wanted to see Jesus, but in the crowd he could not see him. There were just too many people. So he climbed into a tree as Jesus passed by. Jesus saw Zacchaeus in the tree and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." The people were surprised and complained about this. They knew that Zacchaeus was a bad man who cheated people. But Zacchaeus received Jesus with great joy. He decided to change his lifestyle and give up his bad, sinful ways. Then Jesus said, "Today people were saved in this house; for I came to seek and save those who are lost."
Mark 11:1-11; Matthew 21:1-9; Luke 19:29-38; John 12:12-15
Jesus travelled further on to Jerusalem. He sent two of his disciples ahead of him. He told them: "Go to the town (village) ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a donkey tied there. No one has ever ridden on it. Untie it and bring it here. If anybody asks you why you have untied it, tell him, 'The Lord needs it.'"
Many people saw Jesus riding the donkey; they thought he was coming to be their king. So they led him into the city of Jerusalem, the capital city, while they called out, "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord." There were many people who welcomed and honoured Jesus in this way.
Mark 11:15-18; Matthew 21:12-22; Luke 19:45-47; John 2:13-16
In Jerusalem, Jesus went to the temple, the main place of worship. There he saw that some people showed no respect for God. They were selling animals for sacrifice and were cheating the people too. So Jesus tipped over their tables and drove them out. He said, "My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations, but you have made it a den of robbers." The religious leaders heard this, and were still looking for every possible opportunity to kill Jesus, because they were afraid of him. More and more people believed his teachings and much of that teaching was against the religion they practiced.
Mark 12:1-12; Matthew 21:33-46; Luke 20:9-19
This was another story Jesus told against the religious leaders: A landowner planted a vineyard. Then he decided to rent that vineyard out to some farmers. So he did, and went away. At harvest time he sent one of his servants to the farmers to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard for rental payment. But the farmers (tenants) beat the man and sent him away with nothing. The man sent many other servants after that to collect his payment. The farmers beat some of them. They killed others.
Last of all the landowner sent his son whom (that) he loved, but the farmers killed him too. Jesus asked, "What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will kill those farmers and give the vineyard to others."
Yes, the wicked religious leaders were just like the farmers in the vineyards. They did not love God. They refused to believe his messengers, the prophets, who promised the coming of God's anointed one to the earth.
And as Jesus was speaking to them, they were thinking of a way to kill him, the Son of the living God. They rejected him, just like they had rejected the prophets who came before him.
Jesus told this parable because he knew all about their plans. He knew they were looking for an opportunity to trap him into doing or saying something wrong, so that they could find a reason to kill him.
Mark 12:13-17; Matthew 22:15-22; Luke 20:20-26
One of the things they did, was to send other people to test Jesus with difficult questions. They wanted him to say something wrong against the government. At that time, the king was called Caesar. Some people asked Jesus, "Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar?" Jesus answered, "Why are you trying to trap me? Bring me a coin." They brought a coin and he looked at it. Then he asked them, "Whose portrait is on the coin?" They replied, "Caesar's." Then Jesus said to them, "Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God." Jesus answered all their hard questions well, and they could not find anything wrong to accuse him of.
Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4
One day Jesus was sitting in the temple opposite the place where people put the offerings they brought. He watched the people and noticed rich people bring large offerings of money. Then a poor widow came in. She gave only two small coins. Immediately Jesus called his disciples to him and said, "Do you see this poor widow? She has put more in the offering box than all the other people. They gave what they had left over from their wealth, but she has given everything she had."
Matthew 24:1-14; Mark 13:1-37; Luke 21:5-36
The buildings of the temple were very beautiful. Jesus' disciples were looking at these buildings from the outside. Then Jesus said, "Do you see all these great buildings? Not one stone will be left on another, every one will be thrown down." This meant that the temple would soon be destroyed.
He also told them about the end time. He told them what was going to happen before the end time on earth. He said there will be wars and famines and earthquakes before the end time. Many people who believe in Jesus will be persecuted and killed.
Today we do see these things happen. But there is also another sign of the end times: The good news about Jesus who takes away people's sin, will be preached through the whole world and then the end will come. At the end time he will come back to the earth.
Jesus told his disciples another parable to explain how his return to the earth will happen. He said, "There were 10 young virgin women. They were waiting for a wedding feast to begin. Five of them were wise and five of them were foolish women.
"They all expected the bridegroom to come during the night, so they went out with lamps to meet him. But the bridegroom took longer that they expected. The five foolish women did not take enough oil for their lamps, so after a while they had to go and buy more oil. While they were away, the bridegroom arrived. Those who were ready went with him to the wedding feast and the door was shut. When the foolish women came back later, they called out, 'Open the door for us!' But the bridegroom replied, 'I don't know you.' So the foolish women could not attend the feast, because they did not have enough oil. They should have been ready at the time the bridegroom arrived."
This story has a warning for every person: Jesus, who is in heaven now, will return to the earth, just as he promised. He will come suddenly. Some people will be ready. They will enter the place that God has prepared for them with Jesus, and they will live there forever. Others that will not be ready will be left outside forever. Jesus said, "Therefore be on the lookout and ready, because you do not know when I will return."
Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-27
Jesus told his disciples another story to explain the time of his return. The story was about a rich man who went on a journey. Before he left his home, he called his servants. He trusted them with his money to invest while he was gone. Then the man went on his journey. Two of his servants worked responsibly with his money. They gained more money for their master. But the other servant was afraid that he would lose the money he received, so he hid the money in the ground. Eventually the master returned. He said to the servants who made more money for him, "Well done. You are good servants. I could trust you with a few things I put under your care. Now I will put you in charge of more things." He gave them their reward. But he was angry with the lazy servant who was afraid and threw him out of his house.
God gave each one of us talents, abilities and strengths. We must use our abilities for him and be ready to give account of our lives when Jesus returns to the earth.
Jesus wants everybody to be ready for his return. On that day, he will come in great glory, bringing all the angels of heaven with him. He will judge all people, men and women. He will be like a shepherd who separates the sheep from the goats.
He will separate the people who live according to the will of God by loving other people and doing good deeds, from the people who do evil (wrong) because they don't know God.
The people who live according to God's will because they believe in Jesus, will receive life that never ends (everlasting life) in God's kingdom. Those who do not believe in God and only live for themselves will receive everlasting punishment.
So what have we learnt?
We have learnt that Jesus knew all about the religious leaders' plans to kill him. But he told his disciples that it was all part of God's plan. Jesus had to complete his work on earth by dying for all people, but he promised that he would rise again and that he would go back to heaven, and after many years he will return to the earth to take his followers, to be with him forever.
Do you believe in Jesus and follow his ways?
Part 7: Pictures 97-108
The death of the Christ
Jesus taught and did many miracles on earth for three years, from age 30 to age 33. He showed the people what God is like. God is good, but Satan is evil. Satan worked in the hearts of the Jewish leaders in Israel to have Jesus killed. Listen to what happened while you watch pictures 97-108.
Mark 14:1-9; Matthew 26:6-16
Jesus went to the town (village) of Bethany. There he spent time at the house of a man called Simon the leper. That evening he went to a dinner served in his honour. Do you remember Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead? He had 2 sisters, Mary and Martha. Mary arrived at Simon's house with a jar of very expensive perfume. She poured it over Jesus. One of the disciples, called Judas Iscariot, was angry about this. He said, "Why was this perfume not sold and given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages!" He did not say this because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief. He was also the keeper of the purse and he sometimes stole some of the money Jesus and all the disciples received to live on. But Jesus said, "Leave her alone. You will always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. She poured the perfume on my body to prepare for my burial." This showed again that Jesus knew the leaders planned to kill him very soon.
Mark 14:10-11; Luke 22:1-6
After this, Judas went to the Jewish priests to discuss with them how he was going to betray Jesus to them. He offered to help them arrest Jesus. The priests were delighted. They gave Judas thirty silver coins as payment. So he agreed and watched out for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to the religious leaders. But Jesus knew what Judas was doing.
John 13:1-17; Matthew 26:17-25; Mark 14:12-21; Luke 22:7-30
On their way from Bethany to Jerusalem, Jesus sent two of his disciples ahead to Jerusalem saying, "Go into the city; a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. Say to the owner of the house he enters, 'the Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' He will show you a large (upper) room, furnished and ready. Make preparation for us there." The disciples left and found everything just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared to celebrate the feast called "Passover".
Can you remember what the Passover feast is? During this feast the Jewish people remembered what God had done for the Jews many, many years before. They remembered how God delivered them out of a foreign country where they suffered much and had to work hard under bad bosses. The Jews remembered how God protected their forefathers against their enemies and gave them the country of Israel to live in.
During that Passover meal, the disciples started to argue with each other about who was the most important among them. Jesus got up from the table. He took some water and a towel. Then he washed the feet of each one of his disciples. He said to them, "Do you understand what I have done for you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and that's right. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you should wash one another's feet." Jesus was teaching them who are the most important in the kingdom of God. It is those who are willing to serve others.
Mark 14:22-30; Matthew 26:26-35; Luke 22:13-34; John 13:31-38
Jesus gave his disciples something else to remember at their Passover feast. As he broke the bread and gave it to the disciples to eat, he said, "Take it and eat it; this is my body." Then he passed the cup around and said, "This is my blood. It is poured out for many people for the forgiveness of sins." Then Jesus said, "Do this in future to remember me."
From that time on, followers of Jesus often eat bread together and drink from the cup to remember Jesus' death for their sins.
Today we call this feast the Lord's Supper, referring back to this first evening when Jesus ate this meal with his disciples in Jerusalem.
But his disciples then did not understand why he did this. He told them again that he had to die soon. But Peter was upset about his words. He said, "Lord, why can't I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you." Jesus answered, "Will you really lay down you life for me? I tell you the truth, before the cock crows, you will deny that you know me three times."
The disciples did not understand that Jesus' death would be the sacrifice for the sin of all people. Sins are the things that control them and cause suffering. Jesus had to die, so that people who live in sin, can receive forgiveness for that sin, and can be set free from sin.
This was the only way to save the people from sin and death.
The disciples also didn't know the great suffering and the kind of death that awaited Jesus. But Jesus knew. He also knew that they would run away in fear and leave him later that very night.
At this Passover meal Jesus taught his disciples another important thing. He said, "I am the grapevine, you are the branches. If someone remains in me, he or she will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
He told them that God is like the gardener in a vineyard. Jesus is the vine and his disciples are like the branches on the vine.
Just as branches, which are attached to the vine, produce fruit, in the same way, disciples who stay close to Jesus will draw strength from Him and they will produce much fruit for God.
The fruit of God's vine is love for God and love for other people. It is also, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
But Jesus said that some people will not produce fruit for God, so he will cut them out of the vine. They will be like dry branches gathered up and burned in a fire. (Bible for Today's Family)
John 17:1-25; Mark 14:32-42; Matthew 26:36-46; Luke 22:40-46
Then Jesus prayed for his disciples. He asked God to make them strong in difficult times. After this Jesus and some of his disciples went to a garden called Gethsemane. It was late at night. Jesus told three of them to keep watch. He went aside and prayed again, but the three disciples fell asleep. In the picture you can see them. Jesus was praying alone. He was greatly troubled, because he knew he had to suffer much and die very soon. He asked God for strength to do what God wanted him to do: that was, to suffer at the hands of men and die for the sins of all people.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Rise, let's go! Here comes the one who will betray me."
Mark 14:43-50; Matthew 26:47-56; John 18:12-24; Luke 22:47-53
As Jesus was speaking with his disciples in the garden of Gethsemane, Judas Iscariot came to Gethsemane. He led a crowd of people, including a number of soldiers and some officials who were sent by the religious leaders. They were armed with clubs and swords. Judas told these men, "I will kiss one man. He is the one you want; arrest him." Then Judas went to Jesus, greeted and kissed him. The soldiers took hold of Jesus and arrested him. The disciples were very much afraid. They left Jesus and ran away.
Mark 14:53-65; Matthew 26:57-67; John 18:12-24; Luke 22:54-63
The soldiers tied Jesus up and took him away to the Jewish leaders. The apostle Peter followed at a distance. He wanted to see what would happen to Jesus. The leaders and the priests questioned Jesus. They found people to tell lies about him, but their statements were not the same. The chief (high) priest said to Jesus, "Are you the Christ, the Son of God?" And Jesus said, "I am." So they said he must die because he claimed to be the Christ, the Son of God. They beat him and spat in his face.
Mark 14:66-72; Matthew 26:69-75; John 18:15-27; Luke 22:54-62
Peter was warming himself at a fire outside, when a servant girl recognised him and said, "You also were with Jesus." But Peter denied it because he was afraid of what could happen to him. "I don't know what you are talking about," he said. Three times he said that he did not know Jesus. Suddenly a cock crowed and then Peter remembered what Jesus had said to him at the Passover feast, "Before the cock crows, you will deny that you know me three times." Peter was ashamed because he had denied knowing the Christ. He went out and wept bitterly.
Mark 15:1-20; Matthew 27:11-31; Luke 23:2-25; John 18:29 - 19:16
The priests agreed that Jesus should die. They were not allowed to carry out a death sentence, so they sent Jesus to one of the political leaders. He was the Roman governor and his name was Pilate. He had the power to sentence people to death. The Jews wanted Pilate to sentence Jesus, but Pilate said, "I cannot find any reason to kill him." However, the soldiers beat Jesus. They made a crown out of thorns and pressed it on his head. They laughed at him, and they mocked him by calling him "king of the Jews". Pilate wanted to let Jesus go free, but the crowd called out, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" Pilate was afraid that the crowd would become violent. The religious leaders succeeded in stirring up the people in the crowd by falsely accusing Jesus. They forced Pilate to condemn Jesus to death. Pilate wanted to prevent a breakout of violence. He was also afraid of the Jewish leaders, because they warned him that if he should release Jesus, the people would think he was against Caesar, the king over Israel and many other countries at that time. It was because Jesus was known as king of the Jews. So Pilate gave in and handed Jesus over to be crucified. What does it mean to be crucified? Listen further.
John 19:17-22; Matthew 27:32-34; Luke 23:26-33; Mark 15:21-22
Soldiers took Jesus away to put him to death. They made him carry a big wooden cross, which were two wooden poles nailed across each other. You can see it in the picture. Then they went to a place outside the city called Golgotha. Golgotha means 'the place of the skull'.
Mark 15:23-39; Matthew 27:35-54; Luke 23:33-48; John 19:23-30
The soldiers took Jesus' clothes and divided them among themselves. They nailed him to the cross through his hands and his feet. Then they raised the cross to stand upright. It was 9 o'clock in the morning when they crucified Jesus. Two other criminals were crucified beside Jesus. They all had to hang on the crosses until they died. After 3 hours, at midday, a great darkness covered the land. For 3 hours it was very dark. After 6 hours on the cross Jesus called out in triumph, "It is finished." Then he died. One officer, that is a soldier in charge of other soldiers, stood there the whole time. He was amazed and said, "This man was really the Son of God."
Let us see why Jesus had to die
Yes, Jesus really died. His work on earth was finished, just as he said on the cross. Jesus never sinned, but he came to die as a sacrifice for the sin of all people.
Why? Because all people have sinned against God, and the punishment for sin is death and everlasting separation from God. Before God, people cannot find forgiveness for their sin, unless blood is offered. That's why the priests in the temple always offered animals before God and then prayed to God for the people. But no animal can really pay for the sin of man.
That's why Jesus, who was perfect, without sin, was the perfect sacrifice. He offered his blood as a sacrifice for the sin of all people when he died on the cross as an innocent man. Yes, because he was without sin, he was the only acceptable sacrifice before God. God loved us so much that he gave his only Son to die, to save us from sin and everlasting death.
Part 8: Pictures 109-120
The Resurrection of the Christ (How Jesus Christ was raised back to life)
After Jesus had died on the cross, a soldier stuck a spear into his body to make sure he was really dead. But this was not the end of Jesus. Wait and see ... the greatest miracle of all was still going to happen.
Mark 15:42-47; Matthew 27:57-61; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42
There was a disciple of Jesus named Joseph from a place called Arimathea. He was a rich man. He had made a new tomb for himself in a garden near the place where Jesus died. Nicodemus was an important religious leader. He was the one who came to Jesus one night for teaching. Well, Nicodemus helped Joseph to take the body of Jesus down from the cross and they laid the body in the new tomb. Some men rolled a great stone across the entrance. Then Pilate sent soldiers to guard the tomb. He did this because the religious leaders asked him to guard the grave. They heard that Jesus had promised to rise from the dead. They did not believe this. But they were afraid that Jesus' disciples would steal the body of Jesus and then tell everybody that he was raised from the dead.
Matthew 28:1-7; Mark 16:1-7; Luke 24:1-9
But on the third day after Jesus died, a wonderful thing happened. At the break of day a few women who had followed Jesus, went to look at the tomb. There was a great earthquake. An angel of God came down from heaven and rolled back the stone door before the grave opening and he went and sat on it.
The soldiers guarding the tomb were so afraid that they fell down like dead men. The angel spoke to the women. He said, "Do not be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples he has risen from the dead."
John 20:1-9; Matthew 28:1-8; Luke 24:10-12
Some women ran and told the disciples that Jesus had risen from the dead, but they did not believe them. So Peter and John also ran to the tomb. They saw that only the grave cloths were left in the tomb where the body had been. Nobody had touched the grave clothes, but the body of Jesus was not there. When John saw it all, he believed. They went home, but they still did not understand why Jesus had to rise from the dead.
The guards went and told the religious leaders what had happened. Then these religious leaders gave the soldiers a large sum of money to tell the lie that the disciples had come and stolen the body of Jesus while they were asleep.
This lie is still told today and many believe it.
After John and Peter had gone home, one of the women, Mary Magdalene, stayed at the tomb. She was crying. She looked into the tomb and saw two angels where the body of Jesus was. They said, "Why are you crying?" "They have taken the body of my Lord Jesus away, and I don't know where they have put him," Mary said. Suddenly Jesus himself appeared. Mary did not recognise him (did not realize it was Jesus). He asked her, "Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" She thought he was the gardener, and that he had taken the body of Jesus. So she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him..." Then Jesus said to her, "Mary!" Immediately she knew his voice. It was Jesus speaking to her!
That same day two other disciples left Jerusalem to walk to a place called Emmaus. They were very sad. They did not know that Jesus rose from the dead. They talked about the death of Jesus. Suddenly Jesus was walking beside them. They did not know that it was Jesus - they did not recognise him. He talked with them and explained why the Christ had to die. The men asked him to stay with them. Later, at the table with them, Jesus took bread, broke it and gave it to them. Then they recognised him. They realised that their guest was Jesus Christ himself. Then he disappeared from their sight.
John 20:19-23; Luke 24:33-49
Immediately the two disciples went back to Jerusalem. They told the other disciples, "We have seen Jesus!" While they were still speaking, Jesus suddenly stood among them. He said, "Peace be with you." They were all amazed and also afraid. They thought they saw a ghost (a spirit). But Jesus said to them, "Why are you troubled and why do you doubt? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see. A ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see I have." He showed them the nail marks in his hands and feet. They knew for certain that this man was Jesus and they could all see that he was alive again. He also ate some baked fish with them.
Then he said to them, "You saw all the things that had happened, that I suffered and died, and that I rose from the dead on the third day. In my name you must now tell all people about God's forgiveness for sins."
When Jesus appeared to the disciples, one disciple named Thomas was not with them. So they told him later that Jesus was alive, but Thomas did not believe them. A week later they were all together again. This time Thomas was with them. All the doors were locked because they were afraid of the Jews, especially the Jewish leaders. Once again Jesus appeared to them all. He said to Thomas, "Put your finger here. See the nail marks in my hands. Reach out your hand and put it where the spear went into my side. Stop doubting and believe." Then Thomas also believed. He knelt in front of Jesus and said, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed. How happy are those who have not seen me and still believe in me."
Some of the disciples went back to Galilee. One night they went fishing but they did not catch anything. Just as the sun rose, they saw a man on the beach. He called to them, "Throw your nets on the right side of the boat and you will catch some fish." They did what he told them and caught many fish. Suddenly they realised (knew) that the man on the beach was Jesus. They brought the fish to the shore. There on the beach they talked and ate breakfast with Jesus again. He encouraged them to continue to obey him and everything he taught them.
Another time, the disciples were together on a mountain in Galilee. Jesus appeared to them there and said, "God the Father has given me all authority in heaven and on earth. You must go and make people my disciples in all nations on earth. Baptise them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey me. Know for sure that I am with you to the end."
Jesus showed himself to his disciples several times over a period of 40 days and proved to them that he was alive and taught them what to expect in the future.
Jesus led his disciples to a mountain outside Jerusalem. He told them, "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised ... that is, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses ... to the ends of the earth." After he said this, he was taken up before their eyes into the clouds of heaven. They were still looking up at the sky as he was going, when two angels appeared. They said, "This same Jesus who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." The disciples returned to Jerusalem with great joy. There they waited, just as Jesus told them to do, and they prayed together.
After ten days God sent his Holy Spirit to them. The Holy Spirit gave them great boldness. They went out and began to tell people everywhere about Jesus: what he came to do on the earth and why. Many people believed and were baptized. This is how the Christian Church began.
The disciples saw Jesus go up into the clouds of heaven; he was taken up into heaven where God lives. Jesus is now sitting at the right hand of God the Father in
heaven. So he is still alive in heaven today. Jesus hears the prayers of every person who believes in him. Jesus speaks to God for us. Here on earth his Holy Spirit guides and helps us and prays with us in our daily lives until we die.
So, what happens to us when we die?
If the person who dies is a believer in Christ, he will be taken to God in heaven. When an unbeliever dies, he will be separated from God and taken to hell.
At the end of time, when Jesus returns to the earth, those believers who had died already will rise again with perfect bodies, just as Christ died and rose again. They will join those who are still alive on earth to live forever in God's wonderful presence.
The unbelievers will be separated from God for always.
Won't you come to Jesus now? Turn from the wrong things in your life. Ask him to forgive your sins. Ask his Holy Spirit to control your life. He will teach you more about God as you learn from the Bible, the book in which everything we need to know about God, is written. The Holy Spirit will teach you. He wants to give you new life. It is an everlasting life of joy and peace with God.
And remember, one day Jesus will return on the clouds of heaven. He will reign in peace over all those who believe in Him. Jesus is not only a man or a prophet of God. Jesus is God's Son and he showed us what God is like in a perfect way. That's why Jesus is also called Immanuel (Matt. 1:23), because he came to the earth to live among people. Immanuel means "God with us". Jesus existed from the beginning. He lives today and he will live forever.
When Jesus died on earth, he broke the power of sin and evil. When Jesus returns to the earth, Satan and death and evil will be destroyed forever.
Therefore, let us love, obey and worship the Lord Jesus.
Just a summary again
You have heard about Jesus, the Living Christ. But you may ask, "What does this have to do with us?"
Well, it is important to know that Jesus Christ loves all people and wants to give all of us life that never ends (everlasting or eternal life) with God. He wants us to be with him forever. He wants us to receive God's forgiveness for all our sin. He wants us to know God and understand his will for our life. Once we understand God's will, we will not be satisfied with our old ways any more.
That's why Jesus came to die for our sin.
But then we must believe in him and trust that he knows what is best for us.
We must also ask him and trust him to forgive our sins. We can speak to God in prayer. He will hear us. We can start by praying like this, "Lord, I am a sinner. I need you to forgive my sin. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sin. Thank you for rising from death so that I can also live forever with you. Please send your Holy Spirit into my life. Help me to honour you (obey you because you know what is best for me), (and) because you are the only true God. Amen."