Table of Contents
UNIT ONE: The World 1 The Synoptic Background and John Mark .................................... 16 2 The Backgrounds of Matthew and Luke ....................................... 36 3 The Historical Background ........................................................... 56 4 The Jewish Religious System ....................................................... 80 UNIT TWO: The Man 5 The Early Narratives and Preparation for Ministry ........................ 102 6 The Early Judean and Galilean Ministry ...................................... 124 7 The Later Judean/Perean Ministry and the Passion Week ........... 148 8 The Arrest, Trial, Crucifixion, and Resurrection ........................... 168 UNIT THREE: The Message 9 The Teachings of Christ ............................................................... 194 10 The Kingdom of God .................................................................. 218 11 The Parables of Jesus ............................................................... 238 12 The Miracles of Jesus ................................................................ 264 13 Conclusions ................................................................................ 288 Glossary .......................................................................................... 304 Bibliography..................................................................................... 310
THE LIFE OF CHRIST BIB1032
Course Introduction
While all four Gospels deal with the life of Jesus Christ, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, called the Synoptic Gospels, present very similar narratives. In our attempt to learn more about our Savior and Lord, we find it very helpful to try to integrate the material from the Synoptics into one unified narrative. In this course we present background material that must precede an in-depth study of the Gospels. We discuss the date of writing, authorship, and purpose of each Synoptic Gospel. We also highlight the similarities as well as the unique achievements of the writers. Then we survey the development of the various empires—Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome—that provided the historical background for the advent of Christ. Another major factor in the preparation for Christ was the Jewish religious system. Who were the Pharisees, Sadducees, and teachers of the Law? What purposes did the synagogue and the Sanhedrin serve? These are some of the questions we address. Next we present a chronological, event-oriented description of Christ’s life. Thus, you will become familiar with the events of the annunciation of Christ and of John the Baptist before Him, of Christ’s birth, and of His preparation for ministry. Then you will study a detailed account of Christ’s public ministry, including the greater Galilean and the later Judean- Perean periods. In addition, you will peruse the key events of the Passion Week, Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, and later His ascension into heaven. Finally, we focus on the content of Christ’s ministry. Why is Christ known as the model teacher? What method did He use? What were His topics? You will consider Christ’s primary focus on the kingdom of God, His parables, and the miracles He performed. This should help you determine to what degree He achieved the goals of His teaching ministry. Although this course minimizes practical application and the exegetical study of the Scripture, it provides the framework for you to use when you engage in these studies later on.
Course Description Life of Christ (BIB1032/3—Credit: 2–3 hours) Life of Christ is an introductory study of our Lord’s life and times according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It examines the background of the world into which Christ came “when the time had fully come.” Using a chronological, event-oriented approach, it focuses on His life from the Annunciation to the Ascension. It also stresses His message and His method, including His parables and His miracles. Organized around three themes—the world, the Man, and the message—this study helps students integrate their understanding of His life and work with a clear commitment to live by the principles He taught and the values He demonstrated.
Course Learning Outcomes Upon successful completion of this course, you should be able to: 1. Explain the term Synoptic Gospels, when it came into focus, and the nature of the so-called “Synoptic problem.” 2. Identify and give the significance of background facts that relate to the writing of the Synoptic Gospels. 3. Discuss the historical background of Palestine and the Jewish religious development that prepared the way for Christ’s coming. 4. Identify key events in the early life of Christ, His public ministry, and His final days on earth. 5. Distinguish between Christ’s early ministry, greater Galilean ministry, later Judean/Perean ministry, and Passion Week. 6. Summarize Christ’s teachings on the kingdom of God and analyze the already but not yet aspects of the Kingdom. 7. Explain Christ’s purpose in using parables and miracles and discuss His teaching method. 8. Appreciate more fully God’s redemptive plan that He unveiled in the incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of His beloved Son. 9. Value increasingly the sinless life, vicarious death, and intercessory ministry of our Lord in the presence of the Father.