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Bible

Understanding

Made Easy

Jesus Part One

(I) THE BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST

  • Zacharias was a priest at the Jewish Temple.

  • He was married to a sweet woman named “Elizabeth.”

  • They were very old people and could not have any children.

  • One day, he was burning incense in the Temple while the people stood outside of the Temple praying.

  • An angel came to Zechariah while he was in the Temple and said, “13 …Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:13-17).

  • Unfortunately, Zechariah did not believe the angel and God would punish him for his unbelief.

  • Here is what the angel said, “19…I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time” (Luke 1:19-20).

  • As you can see, God was going to punish Zechariah for not believing by taking his voice away for awhile.

  • Remember, when we ask God for something, we have to believe that He will give it to us or He will not give us our blessing (James 1:5-7).

  • Also, if God tells us something in the Bible, then we must believe it; otherwise, we cannot go to heaven (Hebrews 3:12).

  • The Bible stated that after Zechariah was done with his service at the Temple, he and his wife went home.

  • When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she had a son (Luke 1:57-80).

  • Her friends and family were happy for her.

  • However, they wanted to name the baby “Zechariah” after his father, but Elizabeth said he would be named “John” instead.

  • So they turned to Zechariah to settle the issue.

  • He could not talk; so, he wrote the name “John” on a tablet.

  • After that, God healed his tongue so he could talk again!

  • Why was the birth of John the Baptist so special?

  • God made him a special prophet before he was even born.

  • In other words, he would be a preacher that God would speak through to cause the people to turn their lives to living righteously and not sinfully anymore.

  • We call this change in someone’s life by the word “repentance.”

  • So, he would become a very great preacher that would turn many to God.

  • Furthermore, there is another reason why he was so special.

  • He would be the only preacher to ever live that would introduce the Savior to the world!

  • He would be the one who would tell the people that Jesus was their Savior later on Bible history (John 1:29-34)!

  • So, John’s life was very important and is why God taught us about him before Jesus was born!

(II) THE ANGEL COMES TO MARY

  • While Elizabeth was 6 months pregnant, the angel Gabriel came to the town of Nazareth (Luke 1:26-38).

  • There was a special woman there named “Mary” that the angel delivered a very special message from God to.

  • The angel told Mary that she found favor with God and she would become the mother of a very special child named “Jesus.”

  • This child would grow up to become the King of the Jewish people.

  • He would have a kingdom that would never come to an end like other kings that lived before Him and will live after Him!

  • Mary was not married yet, and wondered how this would happen?

  • The angel said that a miracle would happen and that the Holy Spirit would cause her to become pregnant.

  • The Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4).

  • Jesus would be called the “Son of God,” because no man was His Father.

  • God Himself was Jesus’ Father.

  • The angel gave her a sign which was her cousin Elizabeth was an old woman and thought of as not being able to have children, but God caused her to be pregnant.

  • So, Mary believed the Word of God and later on in Bible history, she became the mother of Jesus Christ!

(III) THE BIRTH OF JESUS

  • Jesus was not born in Nazareth, but grew up in that town (Luke 2:1-7).

  • Instead He was born in Bethlehem of Judah.

  • How was He born in Bethlehem?

  • Well here’s how the story goes:

  • Caesar August was the King in the land at the time.

  • He ordered all the people to become registered for a census.

  • A census is where you have to make yourself known to your government so they can tax you.

  • So, Mary and Joseph had to go to Bethlehem to register for this census.

  • Joseph was Jesus’ step-dad.

  • Remember, only God was His real Father.

  • While Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem, they could not find any inn to stay in.

  • So, they had to stay in a barn and she gave birth to the Lord and placed him in a manger.

  • A manger was a small box that the animals ate out of.

(IV) THE SHEPHERDS ARE SENT

  • The Bible talks about shepherds who lived nearby the barn where Jesus was born (Luke 1:8-21).

  • An angel appeared to them at night.

  • He tells the shepherds that the Savior has been born in Bethlehem.

  • He gave them a sign so that they could identify Him after they journeyed to find Him.

  • The child would be wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.

  • Then, by a miracle, a crowd of angels appeared and started praising God in front of the shepherds.

  • So, when the angels left, the shepherds started their journey to Bethlehem to see Jesus.

  • When they found Mary, Joseph, and Jesus in the manger, they told them all the Words of the angel, which included Jesus being man’s Savior.

(V) JOHN THE BAPTIST'S PREACHING AND JESUS' BAPTISM

  • John the Baptist always preached that people should repent (i.e. change) and be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins (Luke 3:1-15).

  • The people who heard John were wondering if he was the Savior?

  • He told them that He was not, but that a special person would be sent by God to be this Savior.

  • John knew the Savior was coming, but did not know who He was yet!

  • So, in order for Him to identify Jesus, God gave Him a sign.

  • When he baptized the Savior in water, the Holy Spirit would come down on Jesus and the Holy Spirit would look like a dove.

  • From there, John could tell the people that Jesus was the Son of God, which means their Savior.

  • So that day came and Jesus came to be baptized by John (Luke 1:21-22)..

  • After Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove came down and rested on Jesus!

  • Also, God spoke from heaven and said, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased” (Luke 1:22 New International Version).

  • After this baptism, John started preaching to the people that Jesus was the Son of God and the lamb that takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29).

  • This is important, because as the Son of God, we must do what He says to be saved.

  • This means He is the boss.

  • As the lamb of God, this means that He died for us so that God would not punish us for our sins.

  • Remember, the lesson we had regarding Moses and the children of Israel when they were going to leave Egypt?

  • They had to kill a lamb or goat and place the blood on the door frame of each home.

  • When that happened, God’s judgment would pass over them and allow them to live instead of die like the Egyptians who had no blood on their door frames.

  • The same is true today.

  • For Christians, the blood of Jesus is said to cover us up and make God’s judgment pass us by so we can go to heaven instead of eternal punishment (Romans 5:9-10).

(VI) JESUS IS TESTED IN THE WILDERNESS

  • After Jesus was baptized, He was tested by the devil in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-13; Matthew 4:1-11).

  • We call this testing by the devil by the word “temptation.”

  • In other words, the devil wants to trick us into doing things that are evil.

  • So, we cannot listen to him, because he is the enemy of God and only wants bad things to happen to you and me.

  • Doing the things that the devil wants makes God angry.

  • So, you have to do what God says and leave the devil’s temptations alone to go to heaven (Matthew 7:21).

  • First, the devil tried to trick Jesus into proving He was the Son of God by turning stones into bread.

  • This was a big temptation because Jesus had been fasting, which means not eating, for 40 days.

  • Jesus was smarter than that, because He knew God’s Word.

  • He told the devil that man cannot live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God.

  • In other words, it is better to obey God so that we have eternal life than to satisfy our bellies by disobeying Him.

  • Remember, God never told Jesus to prove He was the Son of God by turning stones into bread; so, if He would have done so, He would have disobeyed God.

  • Second, since the devil could not get Jesus to turn stones into bread, he tried another trick.

  • He told Jesus to prove He was the Son of God by jumping off the top of the Temple because God would send angels to catch Him.

  • But Jesus told the devil He would not do this either, because that would be testing God and we are not supposed to test God by asking for miracles that God has not promised.

  • In other words, we don’t need miracles on demand to prove that God sent Jesus.

  • The miracle of Him getting up from the dead proves that He is the Son of God not jumping off the Temple (Luke 11:29-30; Psalm 16:8-11).

  • Third, the devil showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and the riches within them.

  • He promised to give Jesus power over every one and make Him very rich.

  • But Jesus loved the Father more and told the devil to get behind him and that He was only going to worship God and not the devil!

  • We must do the same.

  • God should always mean more to us than any thing else in this world.

  • Never walk away from Him, because there are more riches in heaven than here on earth anyway!

(VI) JESUS HEALS PETER'S MOTHER-IN-LAW

  • Jesus had the power to heal people and He healed a lot of people (Luke 4:38-39)..

  • One person he healed as Peter’s mother-in-law.

  • She had a really bad fever and Jesus told the fever to leave her.

  • She was instantly healed and got up to serve food to the Lord and everyone in the house at the time.

  • This short story teaches us two things.

  • First, when we receive anything from God, we should be thankful.

  • Second, we should show our thankfulness to God by doing something for Him.

  • This woman showed her thanks and gratitude by serving food to the Lord and all in her house.

  • She did not show ungratefulness by not giving something back to God for her blessing.

  • Don’t be ungrateful.

  • You can show God how thankful you are to Him for all of your blessing by telling Him thank you in prayer (Philiippians 4:6-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:18).

  • You can show God how thankful you are by coming to worship service every Sunday (Hebrews 10:25).

  • You can also show Him how thankful you are by continuing to believe in Him (Hebrews 3:12).

  • You can also show Him how thankful you are by singing worship songs to Him (Hebrews 13:15).

  • You can also show Him how thankful you are by doing everything He asks you to do, which is called obeying Him (John 14:15)!

  • You can show thanks by telling others that Jesus is the Savior so they can be saved and go to heaven (Matthew 28:18-20).

(VII) JESUS CALLS PETER, JAMES, AND JOHN

  • Next, we see Jesus preaching by the seaside and noticed Simon Peter’s fishing boat (Luke 5:1-11).

  • He jumped in Peter’s boat and asked him to row out a little bit from the shore.

  • Peter obeyed and Jesus preached to the people on the shore from the boat.

  • After Jesus was done preaching to the people, He asked Peter to put down his net to catch some fish.

  • Peter did not understand why Jesus was asking Him to do so, because he and the other fishermen had tried all night to catch fish and were not able to do so on their own.

  • However, Peter did what he was told to do!

  • A great miracle happened and there was so many fish caught that the net broke from the weight of the fish!

  • So Peter had to ask other fishermen to help him get all the fish.

  • They came and helped.

  • They put all the fish in two boats.

  • The fish were so heavy in both boats that they began to sink in the water.

  • James and John were two of the helpers who helped save the catch of fish.

  • They were Peter’s partners in their fishing business.

  • So Jesus told them that from now on, they will fish for men!

  • This means that Jesus was going to make them into His first preachers, which are called “Apostles.”

  • Later on in Bible history, they would preach that Jesus is the Son of God and Savior of all mankind.

  • From this miracle of the fish, they knew that Jesus was no ordinary man.

  • They knew God had sent Him!

  • So they left their fishing business and started following Jesus everywhere!

VIII JESUS HEALS A PARALYZED MAN

  • One of the most interesting stories of faith and determination is told to us in Luke 5:17-26.

  • This Bible story tells us that a paralyzed man was lying on a mat and was being carried by friends who took him to a house where Jesus was teaching the people.

  • There was a humongous crowd there.

  • So they were not able to break through the crowd to get to Jesus.

  • They believed very strongly that if they could get the man to Jesus, then the Lord would heal him.

  • So, they came up with an ingenious way of getting to Jesus.

  • They climbed on the roof of the house where Jesus was and removed some of the tiles.

  • From there, they lowered the man to the floor where he was now in reach of Jesus.

  • Jesus was impressed by the faith of the men and this causeD Him to bless the paralyzed man in two ways.

  • First, He told the man that his sins were forgiven.

  • Remember, God cares more about our soul salvation than anything else.

  • Thus, the first thing Jesus did was to heal the man of the sickness of sin, which means He pronounced forgiveness over the paralyzed man.

  • Then, He told the man to get up off of His mat and go home.

  • Guess what?

  • The man was healed instantly; this was the second blessing Jesus gave to the man!

  • So, as you can see, Jesus has the power to do these two things for the paralyzed man and anyone He decides to heal.

  • This is is why we believe in Him as the Son of God, because nothing is impossible for Him!

  • Today, we cannot physically see Jesus, but our prayers are what are placed in front of God.

  • We have to be determined to keep believing when we ask God for something; otherwise we will not receive that blessing (James 1:5-8).

  • We have to be determined to get our blessing like the paralyzed man and his friends.

  • If God is willing, then that blessing will come no matter how long it takes!

(IX) JESUS IS CRITICIZED FOR EATING WITH TAX COLLECTORS AND SINNERS

  • Another storY talks about Jesus meeting a man who would become one of His apostles later on in Bible history (Luke 5:27-32).

  • His name was Levi.

  • He was a tax collector and they were hated by their own people.

  • He saw Levi at his tax booth, told him to leave, and follow Him.

  • Levi obeyed Jesus and started following the Lord everywhere.

  • Levi invited Jesus to a great banquet at his house where a lot of the religious big wigs were.

  • They were the Pharisees and teachers of the law.

  • They criticized Jesus for eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinful people.

  • Jesus said, “31…It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31-32 New International Version).

  • So, Jesus was showing them that He came to save all mankind.

  • He could not do so if He did not associate with those who needed salvation.

  • This teaches us a lesson.

  • We cannot hate people because they are different from us.

  • We cannot think we are better than other people like the Pharisees and teachers of the Law did.

  • We all need Jesus to save us, because we have all done something wrong that would keep us out of heaven (Romans 3:23; 6:23).

  • Even the critical Pharisees and teachers of the Law needed Jesus to save them from their sins, because they were sinful too.

  • So after you become a Christian, treat every one with love even if they seem like the worse people in the world to love.

  • God does not care about where someone has come from or what they have done.

  • If they are willing to repent, which means change and become a Christian, He will save them like He will save you!

(X) THE ORIGINAL TWELVE APOSTLES

  • Later on in Jesus’ story, He chose 12 men out of all of His followers to be His apostles (Luke 6:12-16).

  • The Apostles would be His preachers after His death who would tell the world the things Jesus did and tell the story of His death, burial, and resurrection.

  • They would also be the first leaders of the church after Jesus rose from the dead and went back to heaven.

  • They would be His preachers and have the power to do miracles such as heal the sick and raise the dead.

  • The names of the original 12 apostles were:

  • Simon Peter (who we call “Peter” for short)

  • Andrew (who was Peter’s brother)

  • James (we will call him James 1)

  • John

  • Philip

  • Bartholomew

  • Matthew

  • Thomas

  • James son of Alphaeus

  • Simon who was called the Zealot (We will call him Simon the Zealot)

  • Judas son of James

  • Judas Iscariot (who became a traitor)

(XI) THE BEATITUDES

  • Jesus also taught us some Beatitudes in His sermon on the plain, which read as follows, “20…Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.  Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. 22 Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. 23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets” (Luke 6:20-23).

  • The Beatitudes are Jesus’ teachings on how to be happy in this life.

  • They are a way of thinking to help us feel better especially on bad days.

  • The word “blessed” means to be “happy!”

  • First, Jesus tells us that those who are poor should be happy, because they are going to heaven (Luke 6:20).

  • This means that they will not always be poor.

  • Instead, they will be rich  when they go to heaven!

  • Second, they may be hungry and crying now because of their hardships, but in heaven they will be happy and laughing (Luke 6:21).

  • This is because there is nothing but happiness in heaven.

  • We won’t die anymore.

  • We won’t cry anymore.

  • We will never be in pain again (Revelation 21:4).

  • Third, Jesus tells us that there are some people who are going to hate you and mistreat you for being a Christian (Luke 6:22-23).

  • He tells us to be happy even when this happens, because God will have a great reward for you in heaven.

  • He warns us that all prophets that God ever sent were treated poorly.

  • So this shows us that when you are living righteously and doing God’s work, it will make enemies.

  • That is okay, because God will always be your friend and love you.

  • Even though you may be mistreated on earth, He will make sure you are treated like royalty in heaven.

  • So be happy even when people mistreat you, because God loves you and you will see how great that love is for you when you reach heaven!

(XII) THE FAITHFUL CENTURION

  • Jesus entered into a town called Capernaum (Luke 7:1-9).

  • A centurion was living in this town.

  • A centurion was a Roman military commander.

  • He normally was the commander of 100 men (Luke 7:1).

  • This centurion had a servant that he loved dearly.

  • Unfortunately, this servant was so sick that he was about to die (Luke 7:2)!

  • The centurion was not Jewish like Jesus and the people who the Lord worshipped with.

  • Non-Jewish people in the Bible were called Gentiles and this is what the centurion was.

  • However, the centurion was loving to the Jewish people, because he built them a place of worship called a “synagogue”  and was always nice to the Jewish people (Luke 7:3-5).

  • So the centurion sent some of the Jewish elders to Jesus so that the Lord would heal the sick servant.

  • The elders were Jewish leaders and they told Jesus that the centurion’s wish should be granted, because he showed love to the Jewish people and built a synagogue for them.

  • Jesus started making His journey to the centurion’s home, but was stopped short of getting there.

  • This is because the centurion sent some messengers to Jesus before he arrived at the house and said, “6…Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7 That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it” (Luke 7:6-8 New International Version).

  • You can see that this man was humble.

  • He did not feel worthy to even be in the presence of Jesus.

  • Even though He had command of 100 men, he did not let power go to his head and started acting as if he was better than the Lord.

  • Instead, he was more like a beggar to Jesus.

  • He also believed that Jesus had authority over disease just like he had authority over men.

  • So he told Jesus to just say a command without coming to his home and the servant would be healed (Matthew 8:8).

  • This man had a lot of faith that we should imitate.

  • Jesus does not have to physically come to us today so that we can touch Him or He touches the sick literally.

  • He can say anything from heaven and make it happen, because He has all power (Matthew 28:18-20)!

  • That is why when we pray, we know that anything can happen as long as Jesus wants it to be so.

  • You must have faith for your prayers to be answered just like the centurion did (James 1:5-8)!

  • He is a good example for all of us!

  • Jesus was so impressed with the centurion’s faith that he turned to the crowd and said that He has not seen this much faith among the Jewish people!

  • So, Jesus healed the sick servant without ever going to the house!

  • This is power indeed!

(XIII) JESUS RAISES THE DEAD - THE WIDOW OF NAIN'S SON

  • The Bible tells us about an amazing story in Luke 7:11-16.

  • The Bible says that Jesus and His disciples (i.e. followers) went to a town called “Nain.”

  • When they arrived at the entrance to the town, they saw a sad sight.

  • There was a funeral procession (i.e. crowd of people) carrying out a dead body.

  • This mother of this dead young man was already a widow and now she was saddened by the lose of her only son.

  • Remember, a widow is a woman whose husband had died.

  • Thus, the woman had to be very sad because she had two deaths in the family now.

  • When Jesus saw the woman, He told her not to cry.

  • He had compassion on her and wanted to make a difference in her life.

  • Remember, compassion means to feel sorry for someone that is having a hard time, but to also do something to make them feel better!

  • We should always have compassion on others when we are able to help them.

  • The Bible tells us that our good deeds will come back to us, because when we need God to help us, He will help us if we helped others in the past (Matthew 5:7).

  • So, Jesus went to where the body was and touched the bier.

  • The bier was a wooden frame that the dead body was laid on so that the people could carry it away to either cremate it (i.e. burn it to ashes) or bury it.

  • When Jesus touched the bier, a great miracle happened!

  • After touching the bier, Jesus told the man, “Young Man, I say to you, get up!” (Luke 7:14 New International Version).

  • Guess what?

  • The dead man came back to life!

  • The crowd was amazed and praised God.

  • We should always praise God for everything He does, because this is showing Him that we are grateful for His blessings (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

  • The people also praised Jesus because they called Jesus a “prophet.” 

  • This means that they considered Jesus a righteous man that God sent to preach God’s Word to them.

  • Remember, nothing is impossible for Jesus to do!

  • This is why He is our Lord Savior; He can do anything which includes save us from our sins (John 3:16).

(XIV) JESUS CALMS THE SEA

  • One day, Jesus told His disciples that they should cross to the other side of the Lake (Luke 8:22-25).

  • So they got in a boat and started their journey.

  • A great storm arose while Jesus was asleep on the boat.

  • The boat was taking on water where it could have sunk and drown them all!

  • The disciples (i.e. followers) of Jesus woke Him up and told Him they were going to drown.

  • Jesus got up and told the wind and the water to stop their raging. 

  • The wind and the water stopped their stormy behavior.

  • Jesus asked the disciples where was their faith, because He told them they were going to the other side of the lake?

  • So, if Jesus said they were going to go there, they should have believed Him, because He cannot lie.

  • This shows us that we can trust anything Jesus says that is recorded in the Bible.

  • If Jesus says God will give us something, He will give us something.

  • If Jesus says that everything is going to be alright, everything will be alright.

  • If Jesus tells us not to worry about things, then we should not worry because He is in charge of everything and can make anything happen for us.

(XV) JESUS CASTS OUT THOUSANDS OF DEMONS AT ONCE

  • One of the scariest stories in the Bible was when Jesus met a man named “Legion” (Luke 8:26-39).

  • The Bible says that the man was demon-possessed.

  • He wore no clothes and lived in the tombs.

  • People tried to tie him down with chains, but he had superhuman strength and would break them every time.

  • When he saw Jesus, he wanted to know what the Lord wanted from him and begged Him not to torture him.

  • Legion was begging, because he knew Jesus was the Son of God and had the power to send him to Hades and he didn’t want to go there!

  • The man’s name was Legion, because he was possessed by many demons; probably thousands of them!

  • The demons inside the man begged Jesus not to send them to the torture of Hades so the Lord cast them out into some pigs who ran off a cliff and drowned in the sea!

  • Legion was no longer insane, now dressed, and sitting at Jesus’ feet.

  • He was no longer acting like an animal.

  • Unfortunately, the townspeople were afraid of Jesus and asked Him to leave instead of saying thank you and desiring to Him preach to them.

  • So He left.

  • Legion wanted to leave too and follow Jesus, but the Lord told him to go back home and tell them how God had blessed Him!

  • What do we learn from this story?

  • Well, we learn that when Jesus comes into our lives, we should be changed.

  • Like Legion had bad behavior, but changed to living righteously, we are to do the same to please God.

  • Again, this change for the better is called repentance.

  • We must repent in order to be saved (Luke 13:3,5).

  • Also, we learn that Jesus has power over demons and mankind.

  • Thus, He will judge us all and determine if heaven or hell will be our home, because He is the Son of God (2 Timothy 4:1)!

(XVI) THE LORD HEALS THE WOMAN WITH THE ISSUE OF BLOOD

  • Another fun story was the healing of the woman with an issue of blood, which means she kept bleeding for no reason (Luke 8:40-53).

  • This determined woman saw Jesus in a crowd and snuck up on Him.

  • She touched the hem of HIS clothes and was healed instantly from her bleeding that had been going on for 12 years (Mark 5:25-26).

  • The hem was the outer edge of Jesus’ outer robe.

  • She had even spent all that she had on the doctors but only got worse until she touched Jesus’ clothes and was healed.

  • After she touched the Lord, He asked who had touched him, because power had left him and entered the woman.

  • The woman was afraid to say that she was the one who snuck up on Him and took a blessing from the Lord!

  • However, Jesus was not mad at her.

  • He was impressed by her faith instead.

  • He told her that her faith had healed her, because she believed strongly enough to get a blessing from the Lord.

  • Remember, we must have faith so that God will bless our prayer requests.

  • We must be determined to get a prayer through to God and wait long enough for Him to respond with a blessing!

  • We know that faith is required, but we also know that living righteously is also required for us to receive a blessing from God through prayer (1 Peter 3:12).

  • If we are living rebelliously, God will not listen to our prayers until we change for the better!

(XVII) JESUS FEEDS 5,000 MIRACULOUSLY

  • One day, Jesus and His followers went to a town called Bethsaida (Luke 9:10-17).

  • There was a big crowd who found out that He was in the town and came to Him.

  • While the crowd was there, He preached to them about the kingdom of God and healed those who were suffering.

  • Later that day, His 12 disciples came to Him and said that He should send the crowd away, because they were in a secluded place and the people needed somewhere to stay and food to eat.

  • But Jesus did not like the plan and told His 12 disciples to feed the people instead!

  • The disciples did not understand why Jesus was asking them to feed the people, because they did not have enough food on hand to feed the thousands of people who were there.

  • They told Jesus that they only had 5 loaves of bread and 2 small fish!

  • This could not have possibility have fed the five thousand men who were there.

  • However, Jesus had another plan.

  • He told the 12 disciples to have the crowd sit down in groups of 50 each.

  • Everyone did as they were told.

  • Jesus gave thanks for the 5 loaves and 2 fish to the Father and then broke them in pieces so that everyone could eat.

  • He gave the broken pieces to the 12 disciples to give to the crowd of thousands of people!

  • Miraculously, God multiplied all the food that they had and everyone was able to eat.

  • So much so, they had scraps left over that the 12 disciples put in 12 baskets.

  • This again shows us that nothing is impossible for Jesus!

  • Always remember that everything we have comes from God anyway (James 1:17).

  • That is why we give thanks before we eat, because it is God that provides food and everything for us on this earth (Matthew 6:33).

(XVIII) JESUS FORETELLS HIS DEATH

  • Jesus also told His followers about His upcoming suffering, death, and resurrection (Luke 9:21-22).

  • Before Jesus died on the cross of Calvary, He already knew that this death was coming.

  • So, He warned His followers that this sad moment was going to take place.

  • He told them that He would have to go to Jerusalem and while there, the Jewish leadership would cause Him to be killed by the Romans!

  • However, the good news is that He also told His followers that He would rise from the dead on the third day after He died!

  • It is important to know that Jesus rose from the dead, because it is the sign God the Father gave us to show that Jesus was His Son.

  • Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, God spoke through a prophet in Psalms that the Son of God would rise from the dead (Psalm 16:8-11)!

  • As you will see later on in Bible history, Jesus’ enemies succeeded in having Him crucified on a cross, but on the third day, He rose from the dead (Matthew 27-28).

  • 40 days later, He rose back into heaven to sit on His throne as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Acts 1:3)!

  • He will come back the second and final time when the world ends and judge all of mankind (John 5:28-29; 2 Timothy 4:1).

  • He will tell some they can go to heaven and others He will tell them that they will go to eternal misery (Matthew 25:31-46).

  • Only those who are Jesus’ faithful and obedient followers will be saved and see heaven as their home (Revelation 2:10).

​(XIX) JESUS TEACHES DENIAL OF SELF

  • Jesus said some very powerful things in order to teach us to live righteously in God’s sight.

  • He said, “23…Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me…24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? 26 Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:23-27 New International Version).

  • Jesus is telling us how to be a real Christian.

  • First, He tells us that if we want to be a Christian, we must deny ourselves and take up our crosses.

  • To deny ourselves means to stop doing things we know are wrong that we like doing.

  • For example, we may like talking back to our parents, but God says this is the wrong thing to do; so, we must keep ourselves from talking back.

  • We may want to go places our parents tell us not to go because God would not like us there, so we must keep ourselves for going to the wrong places.

  • We may want to hang out with people we should not hang out with; so we stop hanging out with people that will get us in trouble.

  • To pick up our crosses means that we may go through some hard times, but we must continue being a Christian even though things are not going so well with us.

  • Second, Jesus tells us not to try to gain the whole world and lose our souls.

  • This means to not be a greedy person that loves things in life more than the Lord!

  • If we do, then heaven will not be our home.

  • When you get older, God is going to give you everything you need, but not everything you want (Matthew 6:33).

  • So, you will have to learn to be satisfied with what you have and share with others as well (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).

  • Third, Jesus says that some people that actually heard Him teach before He was crucified would see the Kingdom of God before they died.

  • The kingdom and the church are the same thing.

  • So, God’s church would come before the people who heard Jesus teach died.

  • That church is here today, because Jesus suffered, died, and rose from the dead over 2,000 years ago (Colossians 1:1-13).

(XX) JESUS IS TRANSFIGURED

  • Another fun story was when Jesus took Peter, John, and James up onto a mountain to pray (Luke 9:28-36; Matthew 17:1-9).

  • While they were there, by a miracle, His face and clothes began to change.

  • His face became very bright like the sun.

  • His clothes were as bright as a flash of lightning.

  • Two famous men came back from the dead and were talking to Him.

  • One of these two men was Moses, who was the leader of the children of Israel out of Egyptian slavery hundreds of years before this day on the mount.

  • The other was Elijah who had done many miracles and preached repentance to the children of Israel also hundreds of years before this day on the mount.

  • These two men were great men and very famous among the Jewish people.

  • Jesus, Moses, and Elijah were speaking about Jesus’ upcoming death at Jerusalem, which we know happened on the cross of Calvary later on in Bible history (Luke 9:31).

  • Of course, this death of Jesus is the price paid for the penalty of our sins so that we can go to heaven instead of experience eternal misery on the judgment day (Romans 5:9-10).

  • Peter seemed to mean well, but he said something that God did not agree with.

  • He wanted to build three tabernacles, which are tents used to worship someone.

  • He wanted to build one for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah.

  • So God stepped in from heaven.

  • A cloud came overhead and covered them.

  • A voice from the cloud said, “…This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him” (Luke 9:35).

  • After the voice was done speaking, there was no one left there, but Peter, James, John, and Jesus!

  • What this story is teaching us is that although the men of the Old Testament were great men and left us Words to live by, their words would soon be replaced by what we call a new covenant.

  • A new covenant is an agreement from God that we must obey today to be saved and go to heaven; it is called the New Testament which Jesus gave to us!

(XXI) THE PARABLE OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN

  • Jesus gave us a parable called the “Parable of the Good Samaritan” (Luke 10:29-37).

  • A parable is a fictional story that proves a spiritual lesson to us.

  • In other words, it is a made up story that proves a lesson to us.

  • In this story, a man was traveling from Jerusalem.

  • The Bible does not give his name, but he was most likely a Jewish man because he was coming from Jerusalem.

  • So we will call the traveling man, the Jewish man to keep it simple.

  • Well this traveling man was traveling down the road from Jerusalem to the city of Jericho.

  • Unfortunately, the man was attacked by robbers on his way to Jericho.

  • These were ruthless men, because they took the traveling man’s clothes and severely beat him.

  • One of the priests saw him, but would not help the wounded man and kept on his journey.

  • Remember, priests were those who performed the animal sacrifices, burnt incense, and did other tasks at the Jewish Temple.

  • A Levite also saw the wounded man but did not help either and just kept on his journey (Luke 10:29-32).

  • A Levite was a helper to the priest at the Temple.

  • But a good Samaritan saw the wounded man and had compassion on him.

  • Remember, to show compassion for others is more than just feeling sorry for them.

  • It is to both feel sorry for them and try to help them at the same time.

  • For example, you may know another child who is hungry and you have an extra sandwich.

  • You should have compassion on him and give him the extra sandwich so his stomach doesn’t hurt any more!

  • As another example, if you see a girl fall off her bike, don’t laugh at her; instead, help her up and get back on the bike so she can go home.

  • As even another example, if you see people calling someone bad names, you should tell them to stop and tell the other person some good things about him so that he feels better.

  • The Bible says that the good Samaritan found the wounded man, bandaged up his wounds, and poured oil and wine on the wounds to clean and disinfect them.

  • He then put the wounded man on his donkey and paid for a room for him to stay in; so, he could get some rest.

  • The Samaritan even stayed all night with the wounded man to continue caring for him (Luke 10:33-34).

  • The Samaritan was even more compassionate to the wounded man, because the next day he paid the innkeeper’s bill for the wounded man.

  • He told the innkeeper to continue caring for the wounded man and if any more money is needed, he would pay for the wounded man’s bills later!

  • At the end of the story, Jesus told the hearers to do the same things that the Samaritan man did.

  • In other words, we must imitate the compassion of the Samaritan for those we run into that are in need.

  • God wants us to be helpful to others (Luke 10:35-37)!

(XXII) THE LORD'S PRAYER

  • Jesus also taught us how to pray (Matthew 6:9-13).

  • He gave us an example to follow that reads, “9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” (Matthew 6:9-13 King James Version).

  • Jesus told us to add many parts to our prayers so that God would be pleased when we talk to Him!

  • First, He told us to call God our “Father.”

  • When we are Christians, we are God’s children.

  • So, we should express this love for God by showing Him that we appreciate Him by calling Him “Father” when we talk to Him!

  • Second, Jesus told us to “hallow” God’s name.

  • This means to praise God’s name as something holy to us!

  • In other words, it means to compliment Him when we talk to Him!

  • It also means that we are representing Him and do not want to bring any embarrassment on Him by rebellious behavior that we show in front of others!

  • To hallow God’s name means to make Him feel special by telling Him He is special and then obeying Him as well!

  • Third, we are to wish success for His kingdom, which is the church (Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:1-13).

  • The kingdom is here today and all people who are in the church are a part of God’s kingdom, because they are the same thing.

  • Today, Jesus wants us to pray for the obedience of all human beings on earth so that they can go to heaven too!

  • Of course, they must become Christians first and it is our job to tell them how to be a Christian so they can be saved (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 8:1-4).

  • Fourth, we are to pray that God provides our food every day.

  • It is no coincidence that we have things to eat each day.

  • These things are blessings from God.

  • So appreciate everything that God gives you; even if you don’t want it!

  • This is because there are many starving people in this world that wish they were blessed like you and me!

  • So never take for granted that you have something to eat.

  • It all comes from God (James 1:17).

  • Sixth, Jesus tells us to pray for our forgiveness from God when we do wrong.

  • All Christians make mistakes, but God is willing to forgive them if they are willing to pray for their forgiveness.

  • Keep in mind that we must also change our ways, which we call repentance, for God to forgive us and confess our fault to Him in our prayers (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:7-10).

  • Seventh, God wants us to pray when the devil uses temptations to make us do things that are wrong.

  • God will give us the strength to say “no” and do good things instead

​(XXIII) THE PARABLE OF THE RICH FARMER

  • Jesus tells us about someone who is called the Rich Fool (Luke 12:13-21).

  • The point of the story is to teach against being greedy.

  • In this story, Jesus is telling us that there are things in life more important than trying to be rich and having everything in the world!

  • In the story, Jesus tells us that there was a rich farmer whose farm produced more crops than what he needed.

  • He had a lot of grain that God blessed him with (Luke 12:18).

  • We make things like cereal and bread from grains grown from farmers.

  • So, the Rich Farmer wanted to figure out what he would do with all the extra food that he grew!

  • Here is what the greedy farmer decided to do.

  • The man thought, “18…This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry” (Luke 12:18-19 New International Version).

  • What mistake did the man make?

  • First, He did not think about others.

  • God wants us to share with others in need.

  • Most likely, he knew somebody that needed food, but was too selfish to share with others.

  • God says that when we won’t help others, He won’t help us when we are in need.

  • So being stingy will cause God not to bless us (Matthew 5:7; 2 Corinthians 9:6).

  • Second, the rich man was wrong because he assumed that God was going to let him live to enjoy all of the goods that he was going to put in his barns.

  • We must realize that it is God who gives us life and death (Deuteronomy 32:39).

  • This is why we are thankful every day that God wakes us up, because this does not happen to everyone (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

  • People die every day.

  • Third, the man never said “Thank you” to God for blessing him with what He had grown.

  • Remember, God not only gives us life, but everything we need in life (Matthew 6:33).

  • This is why we thank God for our food, clothing, a place to live, and all of our blessings.

  • They all come from God.

  • Returning to the story, remember that God can see everything we do, hear everything we say, and even know our thoughts.

  • So God read the man’s thoughts and was angry.

  • God said the following to the rich man, “20…‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ 21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:20-21 New International Version).

  • In other words, God told the man that he was going to die that same night.

  • God was showing him that he could not take his earthly things with him after death.

  • God wants us to be rich in the things that matter to Him instead!

  • This means that God wants us to be rich in faith, which means we must have a strong belief in Him and the things He can do for us (James 2:5; Hebrews 11:6).

  • He also wants us to be rich in righteous living, which means that we are trying with all our might every day of our lives to obey God’s commandments (1 Timothy 6:18).

(XXIV) DON'T WORRY

  • Jesus goes on to teach us to not worry about what we need (Luke 12:22-34).

  • He tells us not to worry about what we will eat or what we will wear, because there are more important things in life to be concerned with.

  • He tells us that God will provide for all of the things we need.

  • He gave us some examples of things out in nature that God provides for automatically to show us that He will provide for us too.

  • He tells us to look at the birds.

  • The birds are not farmers and they don’t save up their food for another day.

  • God gives them what they need each day anyway.

  • Another example that Jesus gives us is to look at how wild flowers grow.

  • They do not make any clothing for themselves, but God makes them beautiful anyway!

  • God says that the richest man who ever lived, which was King Solomon, did not have clothing that made him more beautiful than the wild flowers that God takes care of every day!

  • God tells us to make sure that the first thing we are thinking about is to be a part of the saved group of people in God’s kingdom and to live righteously in His sight instead of the material things we need in this life (Matthew 6:33).

(XXV) THE PARABLE OF THE PRODIGAL SON

  • Moving on, Jesus tells us of a very helpful story called the “Parable of the Prodigal Son” (Luke 15:11-31).

  • In this story, a man had two sons.

  • The youngest son, which we will call the “Prodigal Son” wanted his inheritance earlier; so his father gave it to him (Luke 15:11-12).

  • This youngest son took his inheritance and moved to a foreign country.

  • He was living the wild life.

  • If he was alive today, all that the young man would have been doing was partying it up!

  • Unfortunately, he spent all of his money!

  • His friends would not help him; so, he became extremely poor and hungry.

  • He worked for a man in the foreign country where he had relocated, but he was still starving.

  • He was taking care of the man’s pigs.

  • He was so hungry that he would have ate the food that the pigs were eating. (Luke 15:14-16).

  • Finally, the Prodigal Son came to his senses and realized that he was treated better back in his father’s house, so he said to himself that he would apologize to his father and ask to be a servant in his father’s house because he did not feel worthy to be his father’s son anymore.

  • So, he got up and took his journey back home to his own country and his father’s house (Luke 15:17-19).

  • As the Prodigal Son was walking home, his father saw him and ran to him (Luke 15:19-24).

  • Instead of being angry with the Prodigal Son, the father had compassion on him, ran up to him, hugged him, and kissed him!

  • The Prodigal Son apologized to his father and admitted he had sinned against God!

  • The father made a great celebration for the Prodigal Son because he obviously loved him and was glad he was home.

  • The father put a fine robe on him, a ring on his finger, and sandals on his feet.

  • He even killed a fatted calf and had big feast and celebration for his son that came home!

  • What do we learn from this story?

  • First, living in a wild, sinful way has consequences.

  • It seems like fun at first, but eventually it will come back to hurt us just like the Prodigal Son who lost all of his money and could have starved to death in a foreign land.

  • Second, a real friend will help you when you are down and not be your friend just because they can use you.

  • The Prodigal Son probably had a lot of friends as long as he had money, but when he needed help, a true friend could not be found.

  • Third, the father in the story is symbolic of God; 

  • He will take us back after we make mistakes if we are ready to repent (i.e. change), confess our faults, and ask for forgiveness; The Bible says that angels celebrate when one person repents (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:7-10; Luke 15:10).

(XXVI) THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS

  • The Bible tells us a story about a man who was punished for not being compassionate toward other people (Luke 16:19-31).

  • The Bible says that there was a rich man who lived in luxury.

  • There was a poor beggar named “Lazarus” that would come to the gates of the rich man’s home just to get a few scraps to eat.

  • This poor beggar was not only hungry, but sickly as well (Luke 16:19-21).

  • Unfortunately, the rich man was stingy and mean.

  • He would not give Lazarus anything to eat even though he was rich and had much to spare.

  • So the Bible says that the rich man and Lazarus both died.

  • The angels took them to their place of reward.

  • The poor, beggar Lazarus was taken to a place called “Paradise” where Abraham already was because Abraham had been dead for hundreds of years at this point (Luke 23:43).

  • Unfortunately for the uncompassionate rich man, he was taken and put in the flames for punishment.

  • The rich man wanted Lazarus to help him!

  • This is interesting, because we know that the rich man would not help Lazarus before they both died!

  • So, the rich man was being a hypocrite.

  • He wanted the help of others, but would not help those in need when he had the chance before they died.

  • The rich man did not ask for much.

  • He just wanted Lazarus to come and put a little bit of water on his tongue so that he could have just a little relief from the burning flames he was in!

  • He begged Abraham to send Lazarus to help him!

  • However, Abraham refused to help the rich man.

  • He told the rich man that God had turned the tables on him.

  • In other words, in life, the rich man had it easy while Lazarus suffered.

  • Now, after they died, the rich man was suffering while Lazarus had it easy.

  • He also said that after death, there was a great distance set up by God that would keep those in the torment section from coming to the paradise section and vice-versa.

  • So, no one could go from one place to another!

  • After finding out that he would not get any help to stop his suffering, the rich man made a new request to Abraham.

  • He said that he had 5 brothers still alive on earth and did not want to see them end up in the flames too.

  • So he asked Abraham to send Lazarus there to warn them so they would not end up in the flames.

  • Abraham refused to send Lazarus, because he said the people must listen to the Word of God to be saved.

  • In fact, he knew that if no one would listen to the Word of God to be saved, they would not listen to a man who rose from the dead either!

  • What do we learn from this story?

  • Well, we learn that God watches us and knows when we are not helping others that we can help.

  • Furthermore, when we are not helping others and it is our time where we need God to help us, He won’t help us either!

  • So, God wants us to be helpful people to those in need and not selfish.

  • Otherwise, we cannot go to Paradise like Lazarus and Abraham!

(XXVIII) THE TEN LEPERS

  • The Bible tells us about a story of Jesus meeting 10 men who had the skin disease of leprosy (Luke 17:11-19).

  • Leprosy was a deadly disease.

  • Sometimes, it was mild where there would be white spots on the skin.

  • Sometimes, it would be far worse where people would lose fingers or toes.

  • The Jewish people would not allow people with leprosy to worship at the Temple. 

  • They also could not live in their own houses, but had to live outside of the city by themselves (Leviticus 13:3) (Butler, 1991).

  • So, they probably became very lonely as well. 

  • When Jesus entered a village, 10 men with leprosy begged Him to have mercy on them.

  • Jesus answered them by telling them to go and show themselves to the priest.

  • When they started walking to go and see the priest, they were healed by God’s power!

  • They had to go see a priest, because it was his job to examine the lepers to make sure they were truly healed.

  • After the priest saw that the lepers were truly healed, he would pronounce them as “clean.”

  • This allowed them to go back to live with their families again and be able to come to the Temple and worship again.

  • Thus, the lepers had to be very happy, because Jesus gave them their health back and their family lives back again!

  • After the 10 lepers were healed, the Bible says that only 1 of the 10 men came back to Jesus.

  • The only one who came back was a Samaritan man who was a foreigner to the Jewish people.

  • He was very grateful for the healing God had given him.

  • He was shouting praise, meaning thanks, for God healing him.

  • He was bowed at Jesus’ feet.

  • Jesus was very pleased with the 1 man who came back to give praise to God for his healing.

  • He told the Samaritan man that his faith had healed him!

  • What did we learn from this story?

  • First, we must have faith that when we ask God for something that He can and will do it.

  • Otherwise, God will not answer our prayer (James 1:5-8).

  • Second, we must always come back and tell God “thank you” in praise when He blesses us.

  • We tell Him thank you in prayer and song (1 Thessalonians 5:18; Hebrews 13:15).

  • We also tell Him thank you by obeying everything that He says for us to do because this is part of our love for Him (1 John 5:3).

  • So, don’t try to take advantage of God for a blessing.

  • Be truly thankful to Him by giving back what you can to show Him that you truly love Him and am thankful for all that He does for you!

(XXIX) THE PARABLE OF THE PHARISEE AND THE TAX COLLECTOR

  • Jesus tells us a parable of a Pharisee and tax collector (Luke 18:9-14).

  • The Pharisees were some of the religious leaders of the Jewish people.

  • Unfortunately, they were hypocrites.

  • They thought that they were more righteous than everyone else so they looked down on others.

  • The Pharisee in Jesus’ story was no exception.

  • He prayed in the Temple, but God was not impressed with his prayer, because he was bragging about how good a person he thought he was.

  • He even bragged about how much he gave to God.

  • After he bragged about himself, he looked over to the tax collector and thought that he was better than the tax collector.

  • The tax collector was also at the Temple.

  • Tax collectors were hated by the Jewish people, because they were always thought of as being corrupt.

  • In other words, they would collect more money from the people than they were supposed to.

  • God was impressed with the tax collector’s prayer, because he was humble and honest.

  • He did not brag about himself, but put himself down instead because he was ashamed of his sins.

  • Remember, sins are things we have done wrong that anger God.

  • The tax collector was so ashamed of being sinful that he would not even look up when he was praying.

  • Instead, he said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13 New International Version).

  • He was so upset that he had let God down that he was beating on his chest as he said these words.

  • After both of these 2 men finished their prayers, God made a judgment between the two men.

  • Who do you think God considered sinful and who did he consider to be a righteous person?

  • Well, the Bible says that the tax collector was the person who God considered righteous and not the Pharisee!

  • What did we learn from this story?

  • First, we learn that we all sin (1 John 1:7-10).

  • This was the Pharisee’s problem.

  • He no longer thought that he made mistakes, but he did.

  • So, God was not happy with him.

  • We call his attitude “spiritual arrogance.”

  • He was too conceited for God to accept him.

  • Second, we learn that God can accept the humble and honest.

  • This was the part of the tax collector that God loved and wants us to imitate.

  • We must stay humble by realizing that we are going to do some things wrong from time-to-time.

  • When we do, we must repent (i.e. change), confess our fault to God and ask for forgiveness (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:7-10).

  • When we are humble enough to admit we have done something wrong, God is willing to forgive us just like he did the tax collector!

  • Third, we learn that we should not look down upon others.

  • We should do our best to help others live righteously.

  • We are not to scream at them, look down on them, and make them feel bad.

  • We are to show them how much we love them and God loves them to try to change them (Galatians 6:1).

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