Red Thread of the Bible 11b: The life of Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 1 – 3)
titre : Red Thread of the Bible 11b: The life of Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 1 – 3)
Résumé : We can form an opinion about a person by observing his life. It’s good that the first 4 Gospels of the New Testament tell us about the life of Jesus, seen by his friends as well as by his opponents.
Red Thread of the Bible 11b: The life of Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 1 – 3)
We can form an opinion about a person by observing his life. It’s good that the first 4 Gospels of the New Testament tell us about the life of Jesus, seen by his friends as well as by his opponents.
Sympathizers attest to it: The accounts of the life of Jesus are filled with testimonies of people who confirm the unique identity of Jesus. God confirms the identity of Jesus by calling him his “beloved son” at Jesus’s baptism. At this same baptism, John the Baptist affirms « solemnly that this man is the son of God ». When Jesus asks his travelling companions what they think of him, Peter affirms without hesitation that Jesus is “the Son of the living God”. Nathaniel, another disciple, gives the same testimony.
Opponents attest to it: You would say that affirmations from sympathizers are easy to get. However, the four accounts of the life of Jesus report the same event: a demon nicknamed Legion, servant of the Serpent, challenges Jesus by naming him “son of God”. We also find the testimony of the Roman officer in charge of the control of the putting to death of Jesus who recognizes in front of his soldiers that the man whom they had whipped, insulted and hanged on the wood « was really the Son of God ». No wonder Jesus confirms and maintains before the religious leaders who accuse him of blasphemy and demand his death that he is indeed the son of God!
Actions that attest to this extraordinary identity could legitimately cause a lot of scepticism. But to support our confidence in Jesus, God left us a certain number of concrete facts: these are all the transcriptions of the extraordinary acts that Jesus accomplished during his earthly life! This is why John states at the end of his account of the life of Jesus that all the miraculous signs of Jesus were recorded « that you might believe that Jesus is the Son of the living God. » Thus, I voluntarily leave the references of my quotes so that you can discover these testimonies.
A unique power: Let’s take a quick look at these facts. Jesus demonstrated his power over matter: he walked on the waters of a lake, calmed a furious storm, fed three thousand people with five loaves and three fish, and transformed water into excellent wine during of a marriage. Jesus demonstrated his power over illness by healing many sick people: blind people, lepers, paralyzed people, and a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. Jesus also demonstrated his power over the Serpent, by refusing his proposals at the beginning of his public involvement. He claimed his authority over evil spirits by delivering possessed people. Above all, Jesus demonstrated his power over death by bringing back to life the young daughter of a religious leader, and a child who was being buried. When he did the same for his friend Lazarus, Jesus said it was « an opportunity to bring forth the glory of the son of God. »
And yet, parallel to Jesus’s extraordinary life, we see that Jesus lives a life which resembles ours. He is the eldest of many siblings whom he must learn to manage. He grows up with this special relationship that a child can have with a stepfather, Joseph, whom he knows from the age of twelve that he is not his real father. He learns a physical and harsh profession, which he exercises for twenty years. Jesus experiences hunger, fatigue, thirst, fear, the anger of others, rejection, misunderstanding, pain, the death of his closest friends, and sadness, to the point of crying.
A priceless life: The life of Jesus is as extraordinary as his birth. It seems to confirm the promising identity of Jesus. Beyond an ordinary carpenter from the small town of Nazareth, everything seems to indicate that Jesus is also God. If Jesus is this man/God, he is the only link that allows reconciliation between humanity and the creator God. His life has an inestimable value because it is perfect while being concrete. If that perfect life were to be offered, it could be a vital part of realising God’s rescue plan. Will Jesus lay down his life for humanity?
The whole life of Jesus is beyond us in quality and capacity. Are there other equivalents in the history of humanity?
Biblical texts: Available in Darby online: John 1 (below), Matthew 1 to 3, Luke 1 to 3
1. Book of the generation of Jesus Christ, Son of David, Son of Abraham.
2. Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob, and Jacob begat Juda and his brethren;
3. and Juda begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom, and Esrom begat Aram,
4. and Aram begat Aminadab, and Aminadab begat Naasson, and Naasson begat Salmon,
5. and Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse,
6. and Jesse begat David the king. And David begat Solomon, of her [that had been the wife] of Urias;
7. and Solomon begat Roboam, and Roboam begat Abia, and Abia begat Asa,
8. and Asa begat Josaphat, and Josaphat begat Joram, and Joram begat Ozias,
9. and Ozias begat Joatham, and Joatham begat Achaz, and Achaz begat Ezekias,
10. and Ezekias begat Manasses, and Manasses begat Amon, and Amon begat Josias,
11. and Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, at the time of the carrying away of Babylon.
12. And after the carrying away of Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel, and Salathiel begat Zorobabel,
13. and Zorobabel begat Abiud, and Abiud begat Eliakim, and Eliakim begat Azor,
14. and Azor begat Sadoc, and Sadoc begat Achim, and Achim begat Eliud,
15. and Eliud begat Eliazar, and Eliazar begat Matthan, and Matthan begat Jacob,
16. and Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
17. All the generations, therefore, from Abraham to David [were] fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away of Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the carrying away of Babylon unto the Christ, fourteen generations.
18. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was thus: His mother, Mary, that is, having been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be with child of [the] Holy Spirit.
19. But Joseph, her husband, being [a] righteous [man], and unwilling to expose her publicly, purposed to have put her away secretly;
20. but while he pondered on these things, behold, an angel of [the] Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, fear not to take to [thee] Mary, thy wife, for that which is begotten in her is of [the] Holy Spirit.
21. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for *he* shall save his people from their sins.
22. Now all this came to pass that that might be fulfilled which was spoken by [the] Lord, through the prophet, saying,
23. Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which is, being interpreted, 'God with us.'
24. But Joseph, having awoke up from his sleep, did as the angel of [the] Lord had enjoined him, and took to [him] his wife,
25. and knew her not until she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.
Related Links / Notes
Study Notes are translated from the original French and available in the online magazine TaJeunesse (literlly “Your Youth”). The orginal texts are magazine articles. The texts provided here follow that form and include some of the images from the magazine, and help provide a deep understanding of the main themes of the Bible.
Services at the church AB Renens-Lausanne as well as some of the bible studies are streamed on the channel YouTube église AB Renens-Lausanne. Also visit the You Tube channel of the Swiss Action Biblique Youth Groups (JAB Suisse Romande.
Bible verses in the study link to the Darby bible. In addition to the Darby Bible , other versions of the Bible are also available on our website (KJV, Basic English as well as the Webster version and Young’s Bible on the Action Biblique Suisse website.
The King James Version is available as an audio bible Podcast which can be accessed below.