John the Baptist and Jesus Christ
Learning Outcomes. By the end of this topic, you should:
- Explain the teachings of John the Baptist
- Describe the baptism and temptation of Jesus and its relevance to Christians today.
- Give reasons as to why Jesus was rejected at Nazareth
- Describe the first miracles of Jesus at Capernaum
LESSON ONE. THE PREACHING OF JOHN THE BAPTIST (Luke3: 1 – 20)
John the Baptist preached about
- Baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Baptism means to dip in water’. Repentance means ‘change of heart/mind, turning around. Baptism was a symbol of repentance, which means a total change heart/mind, a confession of sins). Baptism of water was a preparation of the baptism of fire and Holy Spirit by Jesus.
- He warned people of God’s coming Judgment. The religious leaders stressed outward observance of the law rather than inner righteousness. John the Baptist told them to bear fruits worthy of repentance.
- He told them to live righteous lives and not as hypocrites (brood of vipers). Religious leaders also assumed that since they were descendants of Abraham, God would not punish them. He warned them that God could raise descendants of Abraham from stones.
- He announced the coming of the Messiah as Judge. John the Baptist became famous that some thought he is the promised messiah. He however pointed to a messiah who will not baptize with water but with the Holy Ghost and fire (Jesus Christ). ‘
- He preached on social justice. He taught, emphasized, advised:
That those who have should share with those who do not have
The need for fairness and honesty for example tax collectors not to collect more than what was required.
That soldiers should not to abuse their power by accusing others falsely, robbing. They were told to be content with their wages.
6. He condemned King Herod’s immoral behaviour. King Herod had married Herodians – his own brother’s wife. Herod imprisoned John the Baptist and this led to his death (Luke 3 v.22)
Summary of the teachings of John the Baptist
- He taught on repentance and forgiveness of sins.
- He warned people of God’s coming judgment.
- He announced the coming of the messiah who would be judge. ‘
- He preached on social justice. Those who have should share with the poor.
- He emphasized the need for fairness and honesty.
- He warned against abuse of power by those in power and authority.
- He condemned taking of bribes, corruption and over taxation.
- He condemned sexual immorality (adultery).
Relevance of the teachings of John the Baptist to Christians today
The teachings challenge Christians to be fair, honest, and just in their dealings with other people.
Christians should avoid being hypocritical to one another. Christians need to know that God will judge them for their wrongdoing. Hence Christian should repent their sins sincerely and seek forgiveness.
Christians should warn non-believers of the coming judgment. They should preach against evils without fear; and avoid corruption, and sexual immorality. Christians should live together in harmony. Baptism was important to Christians.
Group Activity. Read Luke and find out how John the Baptist was killed, why and by whom
LESSON TWO. THE BAPTISM OF JESUS AND ITS RELEVANCE TODAY
Learning Outcomes. By the end of this lesson, you should be able to: a. Describe the baptism of Jesus Christ
- Give reasons why Jesus was baptized
- State relevance or the importance of the baptism of Jesus to Christians
- The baptism of Jesus Christ (Luke 3: 21 – 22)
When Jesus was around 30 years of age, He went to be baptized by John the Baptist. Jesus was the last to be baptized. Although he did not need to repent as He did not sin ; He nevertheless was baptized even though He was without sin.
When he was baptized, the heaven opened and the Holy Ghost descended on Him in the form of a dove.
At the same time, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased”.
- Reasons why Jesus was baptized. He was baptized because:
- Jesus wanted to show his approval of John’s Ministry of baptism
- Jesus accepted the work of redemption of human kind to be completed through suffering and death
- Jesus identified himself with the sinful humankind who needed redemption through baptism
- Jesus carried all the sins of humankind (baptized last)
- He wanted to carry sins of people/humankind upon himself in order to bring about reconciliation between people and God.
- God can confirm to the people that Jesus Christ was the messiah (Ps 2:7)
- It was an act of preparing those who were ready to receive the Messiah.
- Baptism was a way of fulfilling the Old Testament prophecy.
Relevance or the Importance of the baptism of Jesus to Christians
- Christians practice baptism. They follow example of Jesus baptism. There are many forms of baptism such as full immersion in water, sprinkling of water on the forehead, partial immersion (head only) and passing under a flag.
- Christians teach importance of baptism. It qualifies a new convert to become a member of Christian
- Through baptism, Christians receive the power of the Holy Ghost. 4) Through baptism, Christians identify themselves with Jesus Christ and all that he stands for.
- Baptism unites Christians in the body of Christ.
- Baptism is a symbol of death and resurrection. In some denominations, the baptized are given new names of other Christians and Jews.
- Baptism signifies the forgiveness of sins
- Through baptism one is considered a child of God.
- Baptism is a form of preparation for the kingdom of God.
- Baptism is a sign of Christ’s forgiveness of sins.
Lesson Revision questions
- What is the relevance of john the Baptist teaching to Christians today?
- Give reasons why Jesus accepted to be baptized
- Describe the baptism of Jesus
- What is the significance of the baptism of Jesus to Christians today
LESSON THREE. TEMPTATIONS OF JESUS: RELEVANCE TO CHRISTIANS TODAY
Learning Outcomes. By the end of the lesson, you should a. Narrate temptations of Jesus
- State relevance of the temptations of Jesus to modern Christians
- State lessons that Christians can learn from temptations of Jesus
- The temptations of Jesus (Luke 4:1 – 13). Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit returned from Jordan into the desert. Like Elijah, Moses, He ate and drunk nothing for 40 days and nights. He was hungry after 40 days.
It is at this time of weakness when the devil tempted Him.
First temptation. The devil told Jesus to proof that He was the Son of God by turning the stones to become bread. Jesus however replied that it is written man does not live on bread alone to sustain him but on everything that the Lord says (Deut 8:3). Satan was telling Jesus to use his Messianic power and Spirit to obtain material security for himself and his followers for selfish, materialistic purposes.
What can we learn from this temptation? Jesus was not seeking to establish a material paradise on earth.
Second temptation. The devil led Jesus up to a high place (High Mountain) and showed Him in an instant all the Kingdoms of the world. He told Him that he would give Him all their authority and splendor, if He bows and worships Satan. Jesus replied… it is written worship the Lord your God and serve him only. Do not worship other gods (Deut.6: 13-14). Satan wanted Jesus to use Godly power and influence. This was idolatry i.e. worshipping other gods.
What can we learn from this temptation? Jesus did not come to seek a worldwide political military reign as many Jews expected Him to do.
Third Temptation. The Devil led Jesus to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the highest point of the temple. He told Jesus to throw Himself down if He was the Son of God for it is written that the Lord will command angels to guard him (Psalm 91:11 – 12). Jesus replied and said it is written, do not put the Lord your God to the test. Satan wanted Jesus to presume on God’s good care by jumping from the roof of the temple.
What can we learn from this temptation? Jesus will not force belief in His Messiah ship through a spectacular sign.
Notice that the temptations came after Jesus’ Baptism, where he had solemnly accepted the opening of his public ministry and God confirmed it. Therefore the temptations were a testing of his loyalty to God’s chosen way of life.
Relevance of Jesus temptations to Christians
Jesus, though without sin was tempted. His followers must expect to be tested in their faith. Christians learn that it is not sinful to be tempted. Since Jesus was tempted, he understands Christian’s difficulties when they are tempted. Jesus is always ready to help Christians to cope with temptations.
Why do you think Christians are tempted?
Through temptations and trials, Christian’s faith in God is strengthened.
Christians learn to refer to the Bible for guidance when tempted. Jesus said that it is written… in reference to scripture.
Christians should seek the Holy Spirit to give them strength to fight any form of trials and temptations.
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit went to the wilderness and was tempted by the devil……………” In temptation, God does provide a way out. Thus followers of Jesus Christ (Christians) should not be seekers of spectacular signs.
LESSON FOUR. REJECTION OF JESUS AT NAZARETH
Learning Outcomes. By the end of the lesson, you should a. Describe rejection of Jesus at Nazareth
- Suggest possible reasons for rejection
- Rejection of Jesus at Nazareth (Luke 4:14 – 30).
After the temptation, Jesus went to Galilee, His home district to begin his ministry. As a faithful Israelite, Jesus attended service in the synagogue every Sabbath day. During that time, it was customary for visiting Rabbis (Teachers of the law) to be given the honor of reading from the law or to address the congregation. When Jesus was given this opportunity, He opened the scroll and read from Isaiah 61: 1 – 3 …’The Sovereign Lord has filled me with his spirit. He has chosen me and sent me.’ Luke writes in 4 v 18 “ The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has chosen me to bring good news to the poor”. On completion of the reading, Jesus told them that today this scripture has been fulfilled in their hearing.
From this reading Jesus referred to himself as the Messiah. The people of Nazareth in indignation wanted to kill Jesus by throwing him over a cliff.
Possible Reasons for Rejection.
Jews of Nazareth rejected Jesus because one, they knew him as the son of Mary and Joseph. They did not know Him as the Son of God. Two, Jesus did not fit into the idea of a political King that the Jews were expecting. They were waiting for a King with an army and horses.
Three, Jesus preaching was seen as being against that of Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees: the religious leaders at that time. Four, Jesus pointed out evils of religious leaders. Five, a leader is never accepted at home especially in a superior or senior position. Six, Jesus did not follow the general rules of the Mosaic Law. These were fasting, healing and working on the Sabbath day. Worse still Jesus associated Himself with Jewish outcasts such as sinners, and the sick.
- What are the possible reasons for rejection of Jesus at Nazareth?
- He was known by people as son of Mary and Joseph
- He did not fit in the idea of a political king that Jews were expecting
- Often times one is not accepted at home and at a senior position
- He did not follow the general rules of the law of Moses
- He associated with sinners, and outcasts
LESSON FIVE. HEALING AT CAPERNAUM
By the end of this lesson:
- Describe Jesus’ healing at Capernaum
- Explain healing of a man possessed with an evil spirit
- Describe Jesus healing of Simon’s mother – in law
- Jesus’ healing at Capernaum LK. 4:31 – 44
After his rejection in Nazareth and an attempt to throw him down a hill, Jesus went on to Capernaum.
Here he cast out demons (Luke 4: 40 – 41). He was teaching people. He performed many miracles of healing. For example:
- Healing a man possessed by an evil spirit. A man was possessed by an unclean demon/spirit. He was in the synagogue. When he saw Jesus, the evil spirit shouted, “Ah! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy one of God” (Luke 4:34). Jesus replied, “Be silent and come out of him.” The Demon threw the man down and came out without doing any harm. The man was made whole.
- Jesus heals Simon’s mother – in law. After Jesus left the synagogue, he went to the house of Simon Peter’s mother in law. She had a fever, Jesus commanded the fever to leave and she was made whole immediately.
Which lessons do Christians learn from the healings at Capernaum
There are many lessons. These are that
- Jesus is the son of God
- Jesus came to establish the Kingdom of God and destroy the kingdom of Satan.
- Jesus has power over evil spirits / demons.
- Jesus came to save human beings from the slavery of sin 5) God cares for his people.
LESSON SIX. THE CALLING OF THE FIRST DISCIPLES Luke 5: 1 – 11
Introduction: A disciple is a learner, a student or a follower. Learners followed a master so as to learn about religious matters. Disciples were followers of Christ. Learning Outcomes. By the end of the lesson, you should be able to describe the call of the first disciples.
Rabbis. These were teachers of law. They had special schools where they taught law. In these schools, learning was by memorization and repetition what students heard from the rabbis.
The disciples of Jesus did not memorize. They learnt by observation. They were witnesses – and they spoke what they heard and described or explained what they saw.
Call of the first disciples
Jesus entered into Simon’s ship and started to teach people who were there. Later, He told Simon to “push off a little from the shore”. Jesus sat in the boat and taught the crowd. After speaking, he told Simon, and his partners James and John; “Push the boat out further to the deep water…and let down your nets for a catch of fish”. Simon told Jesus that they had toiled all night, and caught nothing. But if you say so, I will let down the nets. Simon obeyed. They let down the nets and caught a multitude of fish. They called for assistance from other fishermen. When Simon Peter saw this, he told Jesus “Go away from me, Lord! I am a sinful man!” Jesus said to Simon “Don’t be afraid, from now on you will be catching people”. On getting to the shore, Peter and his friends James and John sons of Zebedee forsook all and followed Jesus Thus the first disciples of Jesus were Simon Peter; James and John.
Lessons from the call of the first disciples
- God can choose anybody to serve him regardless of his or her social status.
- God still calls people to serve him in various capacities as evangelists, pastors and others.
- Those called should repent their sins as Peter did
- Christians should trust in God – Simon Peter trusted Jesus and cast his nets even though they had caught no fish from the same spot.
- God can intervene in people’s lives through miracles (miraculous catch of fish)
- Christians should work together as a team. Fishermen worked together.
- There is hope for those who follow Jesus. He told them ‘follow me and I will make you fishers of men’
- God reveals himself to people in everyday activities as Jesus revealed himself to Simon Peter, and his friends James and John through fishing.
- Christian’s vocation may require renunciation of family ties and occupations or a change of life.
- Those called to serve God are expected to be humble
LESSON SEVEN. OPPOSITION IN GALILEE
Learning Outcomes. By the end of the lesson, you should a. Describe the Pharisees? Scribes? Sadducees.
- Identify the differences between the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
- Explain why Jesus faced opposition from Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes
Jesus ministry consisted of teaching, healing and doing many miracles.
Because of this work, Jesus faced opposition from the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes. These were Jewish religious leaders.
Opposition by Pharisees and Sadducees. Luke 5:12- 6:11 Why did Jewish religious leaders; the Pharisees? Scribes? Sadducees oppose Jesus? There were many reasons for Jewish opposition to Jesus. These were:
1) Jesus was becoming more famous than the religious leaders
2) His claim to forgive sins. This was reserved only for God.
3) His association with tax collectors / publicans and sinners. For example, Jesus ate with Levi.
4) His failure to observe the law of fasting. Jesus disciples did not fast like the disciples of the Pharisees and John the Baptist.
5) Doing what religious leaders regarded as unlawful things on the Sabbath day. For example,
- Eating on Sabbath with unwashed hands (disciples),
- Plucking corn on the Sabbath day
- Jesus healed on the Sabbath day. This was considered as work, which was unlawful. Jesus healed a man with a paralyzed hand on the Sabbath day.
- Touching the unclean. Jesus reached out his hand and touched a leper and healed him. Religious leaders were not allowed to touch the unclean lepers.
- Associating with tax collectors who were regarded as sinners because they were corrupt. They collected more tax than the required amount. Jesus was supposed not to associate with them or support them in any way.
Who were the Pharisees? These were Referred to as the ‘separated ones’ Religious leaders who expected people to respect and honour them.
Pious leaders and wanted everybody to recognize them.
Rich Jews and looked at their riches as blessings from God.
Called ones and thought of themselves as the ‘righteous’ ones.
Popular to the poor who respected them.
Characteristics of Pharisees
- They believed in the Law of Moses and accepted the first five books of the Bible as God inspired. They insisted on strict observance of the law.
- They upheld and insisted on the observance of the oral traditions of the elders.
- They followed strictly 632 distinct rules and regulations broken down from the ten commandments
- They believed in the teachings of the prophets and other writings of the Old Testament.
- They passed religious traditions of the Jews from generation to generation and regarded this as a duty or obligation.
- They believed in the existence of angels and regarded them as intermediaries between God and human beings.
- They believed in the existence of demons and Satan
- They believed in and waited for the Messiah of God to come
- The believed in the resurrection of the dead
- The believed in the judgment of God at the end of time for all human kind
- They were strong nationalists and political leaders who resisted all foreign influences and power.
Who were the Scribes?
The word Scribe means ‘a writer. The work of a scribe was to rewrite by hand – new manuscripts of the Jewish scriptures. The copied the word exactly as it was. The scribes were either Pharisees or Sadducees. At the time of Jesus, majority of the Scribes were associated with the Pharisees. A scribe was also a ‘Rabbi’ – teacher. Some scribes managed schools called ‘Rabbinical Schools’. In these schools, Jewish male youth learnt the Mosaic Law from the age of 13 years. Scribes were represented in the Jewish religious council called the Sanhedrin. Sanhedrin was the Jewish Court of Justice, which tried those who committed religious sins.
Who were the Sadducees?
Sadducees were the wealthy people. They were an influential group.
These were the majority in the Sanhedrin, the Jewish Court of Justice. The poor hated them. They were also members of the Jerusalem priesthood. The chief priests were mainly drawn from the Sadducees. They believed in the divine authority of the Law of Moses and the Pentateuch’s first five Books of the bible. They believed that Moses wrote the first 5 books of the Bible. They regarded all the other books in the Old Testament as not divinely inspired. Hence they rejected them. They rejected and did not believe in (a) The resurrection of the dead (b) Last judgment (c) Coming of the Messiah (d) Angels and demons and (e) the oral traditions of the Pharisees. They were enemies of the Pharisees particularly because of religious matters. However, they joined with the Pharisees and Scribes to oppose Jesus Christ.
LESSON EIGHT. THE SERMON ON THE PLAIN (Luke. 6:12–16, 27– 49)
In the previous section, we learnt that Jesus chose His apostles. He came down the hill and stood on a level place. He gave a sermon to those present. This address is referred to as the sermon on the plain in Luke’s Gospel.
The people had come to hear Jesus’ word to receive healing and for Jesus to exercise unclean spirits from them. In the sermon, Jesus talked of the characteristics of the new community. All those who would listen to His word would be the “New Israel”.
Learning Outcomes. By the end of the lesson, you should be able to
- Name the 12 disciples
- Summarize the teachings of Jesus on true discipleship
- Analyse the teachings of Jesus on the plain (sermon on the plain)
Selection of 12 disciples (Luke. 6:12 – 16)
Jesus went into a mountain to pray. In the morning, he called his disciples. From them, he selected 12 disciples, whom he also called apostles. Apostle means one who is sent, a missionary. The 12 disciples were: (1) Simon Peter (2) Andrew (3) James (4) John (5) Phillip (6) Bartholomew (7) Mathew (Levi) (8) Thomas (9) James son of Alphaeus (10) Simon who was called the Patriot Judas son of James and Judas Iscariot who became the traitor (Luke vs. 14-16)
Jesus teachings’ on true discipleship
Jesus taught that a follower or disciple of Christ should:
- Have unshakeable faith
- Be obedient to God’s word
- Be self-critical/analytical/self-searching
- Be kind, loyal, objective, fair, and generous
- Accept others without discrimination.
- Be a disciple and show concern for others.
The Sermon on the plain (Luke 6: 17 – 49)
The Sermon on the plain is a lecture or lesson that Jesus gave to “ a large number of his disciples and a large crowd of people who had come from Judea, Jerusalem, tyre, and Sidon. They came to listen to the sermon of Jesus and to be healed of diseases, evil sprits. The purpose of the sermon was to teach the crowd the meaning of following Christ. Jesus covered 6 beatitudes or topics in his sermon. These are.
1) Blessings and woes – beatitudes
(2) Love for enemies
(3) Judging others
(4) Giving to the needy
(5) A tree and its fruits
(6) Wise and foolish builders – hearing and doing the words of Jesus.
We shall now discuss each of these beatitudes in detail.
Blessings and woes.
Jesus taught that:
- Blessed are the poor for theirs is the Kingdom of God.
- Blessed are the hungry for they shall be filled
- Blessed are those who weep now for they shall laugh
- Blessed are those who men shall hate, reject, reproach for the sake of Christ’s for their great reward is kept in heaven.
- Woe to those who are rich, for they have already received their reward.
- Woe to those who are full for they shall go hungry
- Woe to those who laugh now for they shall mourn and weep (viii) Woe to those whom people speak well, for ancestors said the same about the false prophets.
Those who accept to be followers of Christ are promised blessings while those who reject Christ are to suffer in future.
Love your enemies. Luke. 6: 27 – 36.
Love is often defined as a warm feeling / affection towards somebody or something. Jesus taught his followers to love their enemies and do well to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you. Do unto men as you expect them to do unto you.
Lend also to your enemies.
Love your enemies and do good to them. Lend and expect nothing back.
From these teachings: true discipleship of Jesus Christ:
- Entails unconditional love even for enemies
- Doing good without expecting any returns
- Praying for those who mistreat us
- Showing love to our enemies by exhibiting God’s love in us.
- Is love; because those who love are children of the most high who is kind and merciful to the sinners.
Judging others Luke. 6: 37– 42
Jesus taught his followers not to judge others lest they are also judged. They should not condemn others lest they are also condemned. He asked disciples to forgive others and they shall also be forgiven. True discipleship requires acknowledging one’s shortcomings and avoiding criticism of others.
Giving to the needy.
A true disciple should share what they have with the needy. Those who share shall be rewarded. He also said that the blind couldn’t lead the blind. There is a master and a follower. The disciple is not above his master.
A tree and its fruits.
A healthy tree bears good fruits. A poor tree bears poor fruit. Neither does a corrupt tree bring forth good fruits. A tree is known by its fruits. Followers of Christ are evident to others by their actions. They are not hypocritical or fault finding.
Wise and foolish builders.
A wise builder digs a deep foundation on a rock. When floods come, the house is able to stand. A foolish builder builds his house upon the sand. Without a foundation, when floods come, the house falls and is ruined. Wise builders are those who hear the word of God and do what is required. Those who do not adhere to the teachings are the unwise builders. True discipleship entails obedience to the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Relevance of the lessons of the Sermon on the Plain to Christian Life Christians are urged to love even those that hate them. The challenges that followers of Christ encountered in the New Testament are not different from those that Christians experience today. Christians should forgive others, share with the needy, avoid judging others, and follow the teachings of Christ.
Lesson Revision questions
- Give the main teaching of Jesus on the sermon on the plain 2. What is the relevance of the (beatitudes) sermon on the plain to Christians today?
LESSON NINE. JESUS’ WORKS OF COMPASSION
In this lesson, Jesus’ works of compassion is discussed. These include the works of mercy for those in distress and pity for the suffering. Jesus’ mission lays its foundation in these works of compassion, because He came to establish the kingdom of God by conquering all forms of suffering caused by Satan.
Compassion is a feeling of empathy for other people’s sufferings. It’s being merciful, showing concern and affection for others.
By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:
- Give examples of Jesus works of compassion
- Narrate Jesus works of compassion
- Give reasons why Jesus used parables
- Identify categories of the miracles of Jesus
- Give lessons learnt from each example in each category
- Examples of Jesus works of compassion. There are many examples of compassion
Healing of the centurion’s servant (Luke 7:1 – 10)
Centurion is an officer in charge of 100 men. Jesus healed the servant of a Roman soldier and a Gentile.
The Centurion showed love and concern for his servant. The centurion sent Jewish elders to Jesus with a request to heal his servant. The leaders said ‘this man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue’ (Luke 7:5). Jesus agreed and went with the elders. But before Jesus reached the centurion’s house, the centurion sent his friends to stop him from coming to his house. He said that he was not worthy to have Jesus under his roof. He said that he was a man of authority. Hence Jesus could give an order and the servant would be healed. On hearing this, Jesus declared to the crowd ‘ I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel’. When the men returned, they found the servant well.
Lessons Christians can learn from the healing of the centurion servant.
- Faith in God is important for healing to occur
- We should confess our faith in Jesus. The centurion declared his faith in Jesus by saying he believed that Jesus could heal his servant by his word.
- Christians should have compassion like Jesus. He took compassion on the servant and was ready to go and heal him.
- Salvation was not for Jews alone, but for all who believed in Jesus. Centurion was not a Jew but a gentile officer in the Roman army. But he had faith in Jesus healing.
- Christians should love each other regardless of their background or social status – the centurion loved his servant dearly.
- Christians should learn to relate well with all around them – the centurion related well with the Jewish elders and others.
- Jesus has power to heal any form of sickness.
The raising of the widows son – Luke 7:11 – 17.
A widow is a woman whose husband is dead. The widow was of the city of Nain. When Jesus neared the gates of the city, he saw the funeral procession of the widow’s son, the only son of his mother. Jesus had compassion on the widow and told her ‘ weep not’. Jesus then touched the casket and said ‘young man I say unto you, arise’. The dead sat up and began to speak. All the people were filled with fear and glorified God, saying God has visited his people.
Lessons Christians learn from the raising of the widow’s son
- Jesus has power over death
- Jesus empathizes with the suffering
- Acts of love should not be hindered by traditions – Jesus touched the casket even though Jewish traditions forbid it.
- The Widow of Nain was a gentile. This is a sign that salvation was universal.
- The crowd acknowledged Jesus’ lordship; Christians should acknowledge the lordship of Jesus.
What are the practices pertaining to the disposal of the dead in your culture? and community?
Assurance to John the Baptist (Luke 7:20 – 30).
A question arose whether Jesus Christ was the Messiah. John the Baptist wanted to assure his disciples that Christ; was the expected messiah: and not him (John the Baptist). He sent his disciples to Jesus to ask “if you are the one he said was going to come, or if we should expect someone else?” (Vs. 20). Jesus told the disciples of John to go back and tell John of the miracles works they saw and heard. Jesus then gave a testimony of John the Baptist as a prophet, whose life and missions is beyond that of ordinary prophets. Jesus testified that John the Baptist; was the forerunner or messenger of Jesus Christ: as the prophets in the Old Testament had written. The Pharisees and the publicans (teaches of the law) however rejected the testimony about John the Baptist. They had refused to be baptized by John. Those baptized by John the Baptist, the tax collectors acknowledged the testimony of Jesus. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and teachers of law for their hypocrisy.
In what ways were the Pharisees and teaches of law hypocritical?
The forgiveness of the sinful woman (Luke 7: 36 – 50)
Jesus was invited by one of the Pharisees called Simon to his house to dine with him. In that city, there was a sinful woman. She went to the house of Simon when she learnt that Jesus was in the Pharisees house. She brought with her an alabaster jar full of perfume. She stood behind Jesus. She was weeping and washing his feet with her fears. She then wiped the tears from the feet of Jesus with her hair, kissed his feet, and anointed them with oil (an alabaster box of ointment). When Simon, the host saw this he said within himself, ‘if this man was a prophet, he would know who this woman is who is touching him” a sinful woman. Jesus told Simon a parable of a man who forgave two people that owed him money – one 500, the other 50. Jesus asked which of the two debtors would love him most. Simon said the one that was forgiven much, Jesus then told Simon that when he came to his house, Simon did not give him water for his feet; neither did he welcome Jesus with a kiss; nor provide him with olive oil. But the woman washed his feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair. She also kissed his feet. Jesus told the people that her sins, being many are forgiven for she loved much. Jesus turned to the woman and told her ‘thy sins are forgiven’. ‘Thy faith has saved thee, go in peace’.
The people who were eating with Jesus murmured. Who was Jesus? He forgives sins.
Lessons from the forgiveness of the sinful woman
- The Jews believed that by associating with sinners, one becomes virtually defiled. Jesus however allowed the sinful woman to touch him.
- By her actions, the woman acknowledged that she was a sinner, and repented. This was in contrast to the Pharisees who were self-righteous and therefore did not repent. The Woman’s great love for Jesus led to her being forgiven of her sins. 4. Christians need to accept their sinful nature and seek forgiveness from God.
- Faith in Jesus is necessary.
Summary. Jesus is accepted women to be his followers unlike the Jewish customs which viewed women as lesser than men. Other women that played a key role in the ministry of Jesus include Mary Magdalene, Joann Joanna and Susanna among many others.
Lesson Revision questions
- What role do women play in the church ministry?
- Narrate the story of the forgiveness of the sinful woman (Lk 7: 36, 8:3)
- What lessons do you learn from the above story?
- Describe the story of the raising of the widow’s son at Nain (Lk 7: 11- 17)
Women play many roles in the church ministry. Some of these are:
- Carrying out duties of pastors, bishops, and deacons
- Some are heads of the women groups
- Leading in church service
- Participating as church ushers, choir singers, and youth leaders
- Attending church. Women are part of the congregations
LESSON TEN. JESUS TEACHING IN PARABLES (LK. 8: 4- 21)
Jesus used parables to teach. A parable is a Greek word. It means comparing or ‘putting side by side’ in order to understand. A parable is defined as a short story or description, which teaches something or answers some questions. It is an allegory – an earthly story with a hidden or heavenly meaning.
- Use of parables. Jesus used parables in his teachings in order to explain unfamiliar messages in a language that his hearers could understand. Other reasons were because Jesus wanted to:
- Provoke critical thinking
- Make the audience understand issues from a different point of view
- Explain the nature of the kingdom of God by giving real life examples.
- Explain the nature of God. The parables brought out the attributes of an invisible God. For example, the parable of the prodigal son who had been lost.
- Attract the attention of his audiences so that they could listen and understand.
- Make people understand how they should relate to one another. Read the parable of the good Samaritan
- Teach God’s love to mankind. The parable of the lost sheep, lost coin. Separate / identify those who were sincere in seeking the kingdom of God from the onlookers.
- Challenge the imagination of his hearers since entry to God’s kingdom was a personal decision.
- Make an indirect attack on his opponents like the Pharisees, the scribes and the Sadducees.
- Teach his disciples that they should be persistent and never be discouraged.
- Make his teachings interesting and easy to understand.
The parable of the sower Lk 8:4 – 15
Jesus told this parable to the crowd that followed him. He said that a farmer went out to sow corn. He scattered seeds in the field. As he did so, some of them fell on the path, and they were trampled on and eaten by birds. Other seeds fell on the rock ground. When they germinated, they withered because they lacked moisture. Some seed fell among thorns bushes. They grew with bushes, which choked them as they grew. Some other seeds fell on fertile soil. They grew up in fertile soil and their yield was100 seed for each seed sown.
Meaning or interpretation of the parable
Jesus gave the meaning of the parable to his disciples. He said that the seed is the word of God.
- Seed that fell on the path represents people who hear the word of God, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts so that they do not believe. Such listeners are like the seeds that fell on the path. They hear the word but soon after the devil takes away the message to stop them from believing and being saved.
- Seed that fell on the rocky ground are people who receive the word with joy but it does not stay with They believe for a while but when faced with trials and temptations they stop believing and fall away.
- Seed that fell on the thorny bushes stands for people who receive the word. However, they fail to follow their beliefs because of interference by life’s worries, riches and pressures of the world. They fail to mature as believers.
- Seed that fell on the good soil are those people with a noble and good heart. They hear the word, and retain it in their hearts. Such people persevere and produce good harvest. Interpretation. The different types of soil in this parable refer to different kinds of Hearts of people.
The farmer is Jesus, God or Preacher. We learn that:
One should not despair and It’s important to receive the word of God, practice it and persevere so as to bear fruits.
The parable of a lamp under a bowl (Lk.8: 16 – 18).
Jesus taught that no one lights a lamp, then covers it with a bowl or hide it under a bed. When one lights a lamp, they put it on the lamp stand so as to illuminate a room and for people to see the light. For whatever is hidden or covered up shall be revealed. In this parable Jesus is the light. The disciples had a duty to pass on to others messages they had learnt from Jesus. They should not keep messages to themselves. Interpretation. From this parable of a lamp under a bowl, we learn that:
- A Christian has a duty to share the knowledge of God with others
- One cannot be a Christian if this knowledge is hidden
- Those who do not share may loose their beliefs.
Jesus mother and brothers. Luke 8:19 – 21
The mother of Jesus and brothers came to see him. Someone told Jesus that they were there. He told the crowd. “My mother and brothers are those who hear the word of God and obey “. Accepters and believers are the members of the family of Jesus.
Lesson Revision Questions
- Give reasons why Jesus used parables
- Identify various methods used by Christians in spreading the gospel today
- Discuss the reasons why Jesus faced opposition fro the Jewish leaders.
LESSON ELEVEN: MIGHTY WORKS OF JESUS
Learning outcomes. By the end of this lesson
- Organise in categories miracles performed by Jesus
- Narrate each miracle
- Discuss the significance of the miracle and lessons to learn
Jesus continued to do miracles; and teach. His work is referred to as the mighty works of Jesus in various books. Miracles can be defined as acts of power whose purpose is to establish the kingdom of God.
Miracles can also mean extraordinary events that go against the laws of nature.
Categories / types of miracles
Jesus performed four types of miracles. These were:
- Nature miracles – miracles that dealt with nature e.g. calming of the storm
- Raising of the dead e.g. Jairus daughter
- Healing miracles – healing Simon’s mother in law of fever, healing of the woman with the flow of
- Exorcism miracles – casting out of evil spirits e.g. the Gerasene demonic
The calming of the storm
One day, Jesus entered a boat with his disciples to go across Lake Galilee. As they sailed Jesus was asleep in the ship. Suddenly, there was a strong wind and the boat began to sink. The disciples woke him up saying, “ Master, we are about to die”. Jesus woke up and gave an order to the winds and the raging waters. They obeyed and there was calm. He then said to his disciples
‘where is your faith?’ Disciples were afraid and amazed and wondered, “Who is this man?” Winds and waves obey him.
This miracle teaches Christians to have faith and to depend on Jesus when they face raging temptations and persecutions. Jesus has power over nature.
Jesus Heals a Man with demons (Lk8: 26 – 39)
Jesus and his disciples sailed to Gerasa town across Lake Galilee. On arrival a man who had demons in him for a long time met Jesus. He lived naked in tombs, and wilderness. On seeing Jesus, he cried out, threw himself down at the feet of Jesus and shouted; “Jesus son of the Most High God! What do you want with me?” ” I beseech thee, torment me not’. Jesus had ordered the demons to go out of him.
Jesus asked him “what is your name?” He replied Legion or Mob. This was because the man had been possessed by many demons. The demons begged Jesus not to send them into the deep but to let them go into some pigs (swine) that were feeding by. Jesus allowed them and the devils went out of the man, into the pigs. The herd ran down the cliff into the lake and drowned. The herders run to the city and spread the news. The multitude found the man sitting at the feet of Jesus clothed, and in his right mind.
The multitude asked Jesus to leave their country region. The healed man wanted to follow Jesus but Jesus declined and told him to go and tell others of the great things that God had done for him. The man went to town and told all “what Jesus had done for him”.
This miracle teaches Christians that:
- The mission of Jesus’ was universal.
- Jesus mission is to teach all the people irrespective of their race, tribe or geographical location. The demon man was healed in a Gentile area.
- Jesus has power over evil
- Powers of evil (demons) are real
- Human life is more valuable than man’s material things
- The demons – evil spirits identified Jesus as the Son of the most High
- Christians need to fight the power of evil
SAQ. What were the causes of mental illness and spirit possession in traditional African society and in modern society?
Jairus daughter is raised. Lk.8: 40 – 42, 49 – 56
Jairus was an official in the local synagogue. He begged Jesus to come to his house and heal his only daughter who was 12 was dying.
Woman with the flow of blood is Healed (Lk. 8:43 – 48)
When Jesus was on route to Jairus house, great crowds followed him and pressed him on either side.
Amongst them was a woman who had suffered from severe bleeding for 12 years. She consulted doctors and spent all her savings on physicians. But she was not cured. The society considered the woman unclean. It blamed her for her illness. She herself was embarrassed by her condition. This woman walked behind Jesus and she touched the hem of the garment of Jesus. Her bleeding stopped at once.
Jesus asked, who touched me? Everyone denied it. Peter replied the multitude was around Jesus and it was difficult to know who had touched him. Jesus persisted someone touched him. The woman who had touched Jesus the woman came forward, and fell at his feet and confessed to all her sickness and explained why she touched Jesus and how she was healed at once. Jesus said to her “My daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace”.
Jairus daughter is raised. Lk.8: 40 – 42, 49 – 56
As Jesus was talking to her, Jairus was told that his little girl was dead.
“Don’t bother the teacher anymore. Jesus told Jairus not to fear but to believe and she will be well. When he got to the house he went into the room with Peter, John and James and the parents of the girl. People around were weeping and wailing. But Jesus told them not to weep. She is not dead but asleep. They scorned and laughed at him for saying that she is asleep because they knew she was dead. Jesus took the girl by hand and called out “Get up, my child” – ‘little girl arise’. She immediately got up and Jesus ordered the parent to give her food. He commanded them not to tell what had happened.
Teachings from these two miracles
The miracle of raising Jairus daughter teaches Christians that Jesus is compassionate and the author of life. He has power over death, resurrection and life. In the miracle of healing the Woman with the flow of blood:
- Jesus made her healing public. This was probably because He wanted to acknowledge the woman’s faith in the public. Jesus made it clear that her faith made her whole.
- Jesus wanted to challenge the cultural practices that kept women in bandage and could not participate in public life.
- Jesus made her healing public so that the community can receive her back and shall not isolate her From this miracle of healing this woman, Christians learn that one; Jesus is the healer. He has power over all sicknesses even those without cure. Two, Christians should have faith in Jesus Christ.
Lesson Revision Questions
- Narrate the healing of the Gerasene demoniac Lk 8: 26-39
- What lessons can Christians learn fro the healing of the demoniac man above?
- What do the miracles of Jesus teach us about him?
- Compare the raising of Jairus daughter and the healing of the woman with the flow of blood
A comparison of the raising of Jairus daughter and the healing of the woman with flow of blood
- Jairus daughter was 12 years old and the woman sick with the flow of blood had suffered for 12 years.
- Jesus referred to both of them as daughter
- Their situation – death and flow of blood did not have a cure (iv) The public witnessed the miracle of the woman with the flow of blood.
- Jesus commanded Jairus to keep secret raising of his daughter
LESSON TWELVE. COMMISSIONING OF THE TWELVE DISCIPLES Lk 9:1 – 10
Introduction. Commission means to officially ask someone to do something.
Learning Outcomes: By the end of the lesson, you should be able to: 1. Describe the commissioning of the twelve disciples.
2. Explain the story of the feeding of the 5000 3. Describe the transfiguration of Jesus 4. Explain the teachings of Jesus on faith and humility.
The commissioning of the twelve disciples
The twelve disciples or followers accompanied Jesus wherever he went.
They were regarded as apostles.
An apostle comes from a Greek word ‘Apostols’ which means ‘send out’ one who is sent or a ‘missionary’. The commissioning of the 12 disciples meant that they were given four main duties, power and authority to:
- Exorcise or cast out demons
- Cure diseases
- Heal the sick
- Preach the Kingdom of God and proclaim the arrival of God’s They were told to: i) Take nothing for the journey ii) Initiate attack on the forces of evil iii) Depend entirely on God to take care of them iv) Take no stick, no beggars’ bag, no food, no money and not even an extra shirt for their journey
- Whatever house they entered they were to stay there until they leave the town.
- If they were not welcomed, they were to leave that town and shake the dust off their feet as a warning to that city or town.
With these instructions, the disciples left and travelled to all villages preaching the Good News and healing people everywhere. King Herod was perplexed by the work of the disciples and he desired to see Jesus.
Feeding of the five thousand.
Please open your Bible and read Luke chapter 9. Verses 11-17)
After reading these verses, about feeding of the five thousand (5000) people we learn that
- Jesus is concerned about people’s physical needs
- Jesus demonstrated that he is the bread of life
- Jesus has divine power
- The Church has the duty of continuing to feed its followers both spiritually and physically.
- The feeding of the 5000 people points to the Messianic banquet
- Christians must learn to share whatever they have with one another From this miracle, Jesus expected his disciples to appreciate their responsibility. Their work was not only to preach and heal but also feed the hungry. Feeding was both physical and spiritual.
The personality of Jesus and his identity Lk. 9:18 – 27
When Jesus was alone with his disciples, he asked them who people say he is. The disciples told him that some say he is John the Baptist, others say he is Elijah and others say he is one of the old prophets who have risen again. Jesus asked them who they, disciples say he is. Peter replied that he is Christ of God.
Jesus then told them not to tell people who he is for he Son of man has first to suffer many things be rejected by the elders chief, priests and scribes, be killed and be raised the third day. Jesus announced to the disciples of his passion (great sufferings) Jesus is the Christ
(anointed) of God – Messiah as well as the son of man. A divine nature and a human nature. Jesus went on ahead to tell his disciples that they should deny themselves (self – denial) take up their cross daily and be ready to lose their lives for Jesus.
However, great is the reward for the faithful.
LESSON THRTEEN: THE TRANSFIGURATION (LK.9: 28 – 36)
Instructions. Read. Luke chapter 9, verse 28 to 36. Then answer revision questions that follow.
A brief summary from the Bible Transfiguration is change or transformation of form or appearance. Jesus was transformed in appearance when he took Peter, John and James to the mountain to pray.
During the transfiguration, Moses and Elijah came down from heaven to talk with Jesus about his coming death in Jerusalem.
Moses, Elijah and Jesus were in heavenly glory and glorious splendor. Peter, John and James were asleep. When they woke up, they saw Jesus’ glory. They also saw Elijah and Moses with Jesus. Peter suggested to Jesus that they build three tents for Jesus, Elijah and Moses. As he spoke a cloud overshadowed them. A voice from the cloud said ‘this is my son, whom I have chosen——– listen to him”. The cloud left and the disciples found themselves with Jesus. They kept what they saw and heard to themselves.
Significance and importance of transfiguration
- The voice from heaven confirmed that Jesus is the Christ of God, or the Messiah
- Moses represented the Old Testament law. Jesus came to fulfil the Law of Moses. It showed that Jesus was not against the Law of Moses.
- Elijah represented the Old Testament Prophets. This meant that Jesus had fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies. He is above the prophets.
- Jesus is above or greater than the law and the prophets.
- Transfiguration was a way of preparing the disciples for the death and resurrection of Jesus. Death is not the end of life (Moses and Elijah appeared to confirm this)
- The transfiguration prepared and gave strength to Jesus for what lay ahead of him
- Dazzling appearance showed the glory of Jesus
- The transfiguration also shows the importance of encouraging each other.
5.0 Revision questions
- Explain the teachings of John the Baptist
- Describe the baptism and temptation of Jesus and its relevance to Christians today.
- Give reasons as to why Jesus was rejected at Nazareth
- Describe the first miracles of Jesus at Capernaum
- Narrate and dramatize the temptations of Jesus from the gospel according to St Luke,
- Identify five occasions when Jesus was tempted
- Explain ways in which Christians can be tempted today
- Outline ways in which Christians can overcome temptations in the contemporary world
- Identify lessons that Christians can learn from the temptations of Jesus?
- What is the role of the clergy in Kenya?
- How does the church participate in the upkeep of the clergy?
- Define and describe the transfiguration of Jesus