Archive for the ‘Part 1’ Category

Book Cover

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008



PART 1

BIRTH AND YOUTH





1. “The Word Was Made Flesh”

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

        1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God; 3all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
        6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.b 7He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all men through him might believe. 8He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.
        9The true light that lights every man was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and yet the world knew him not. 11He came to his own and his own received him not. 12But to as many as received him, who believed in his name, to them he gave power to become sons of God, 13born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
        14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. 15John bore witness to him and cried, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks before me, for he was before me.'" 16And from his fullness have we all received, and grace upon grace. 17For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has seen God; but God's only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.
        (Jn. 1:1–4, 6–18)



a   "John's Introduction"—These are the words of John Zebedee, the apostle who wrote the New Testament book of John, which is the source of this introduction.

b   "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John."—John the Baptist. (See Section IV.)

Jn. 1:7   all men through him might believe. (KJV) / all might believe through him. (RSV)
Jn. 1:9   that lights every / that enlightens every (RSV)
Jn. 1:10  made by him, (KJV) / made through him, (RSV)
Jn. 1:11  own and his own received (KJV) / own home and his own people received (RSV)
Jn. 1:12  to as many as received (KJV) / to all who received (RSV) • become sons of (KJV) / become children of (RSV)
Jn. 1:13  born, (KJV) / who were born, (RSV)
Jn. 1:14  Word was made flesh (KJV) / Word became flesh (RSV)
Jn. 1:16  received, and grace (KJV) / received, grace (RSV)
Jn. 1:17  given by Moses, but grace (KJV) / given through Moses; grace (RSV)
Jn. 1:18  has seen God; but God's only (KJV) / has ever seen God; the only (RSV)

For an explanation of the numbers in the text and the verse notes, see “How to Read the Numbers and Reference Notes.”

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Jesus by M. Hook

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

Jesus by M. Hook

Jesus by M. Hook


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2. Gabriel’s Announcement to Mary

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

        26The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth 27to Mary. 28And he came unto her and said, "Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!"
        29But she was greatly troubled at the saying and considered in her mind what sort of a greeting this might be.
        30And the angel said to her, "Fear not, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31You will bear a son and you shall call his name Joshua (Jesus). a 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; 33and of his kingdom there will be no end. 36Your kinswoman Elizabeth has also conceived a son. 35And the power of the Most High will overshadow you."
        38And Mary said, "I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
        (Lk. 1:26–33, 36, 35, 38)



a   "Joshua (Jesus)."—The name Jesus is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Yeshua. Yeshua is the contracted form of Yehoshua, and the English translation of Yehoshua is Joshua.

Lk. 1:26  The / In the sixth month, the (RSV)
Lk. 1:27  to Mary. / to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. (RSV)
Lk. 1:30  her, "Fear not, Mary, (KJV) / her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, (RSV)
Lk. 1:31  You will bear / And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear (RSV) • name Joshua (Jesus). (See fn. a.) / name Jesus. (RSV)
Lk. 1:36  Your / And behold, your (RSV) • Elizabeth has / Elizabeth, in her old age, has (RSV)
Lk. 1:35  And / And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and (RSV)
Lk. 1:38  said, "I / said, "Behold, I (RSV)   (122:3/1346)

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Map showing Nazareth

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008



"The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth."

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3. Mary’s Visit to Elizabeth

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

        39In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to the City of Judah, 40and she entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.
        41And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 45And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
        46And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48for He has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; 49for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”
        56And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
        (Lk. 1:39–42, 45–49, 56)



Lk. 1:39  to the City / to a City (RSV)
Lk. 1:40  of Zacharias and (KJV) / of Zechariah and (RSV)
Lk. 1:53  sent away empty-handed. / sent away empty. (RSV)   (122:2/1345–6)



4. Birth and Youth of John the Baptist

        57Now the time came for Elizabeth to be delivered and she brought forth a son. 58And her neighbors and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they would have named him Zacharias after his father, 60but his mother said, “Not so; he shall be called John.”
        80And the child grew and became strong in spirit. And he was in the wilderness till the day of his public manifestation to Israel.
        (Lk. 1:57–60, 80)



Lk. 1:57  she brought forth a (KJV) / she gave birth to a (RSV)
Lk. 1:59  him Zacharias, after (KJV) / him Zechariah, after (RSV)   (135:0,1/1496–7)


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5. The Birth of Jesus

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

        1In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled.a 2This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city.
        4And Joseph went up from Galilee from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5to be enrolled, with Mary, who was with child.
        6And so it was that while they were there the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7And she gave birth to her first born son, and wrapped him in swaddling cloths,b and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
        21And at the end of eight days when he was circumcised he was called Joshua (Jesus),c the name given by the angel.
        (Lk. 2:1–7, 21)



a   “In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled.”—Dated papyri in Egypt tell of a 14-year cycle of census inaugurated by the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus (27 BC–AD 14), and record one in AD 20. Counting back 14 years, we come to AD 6, the date of the preceding census; this census is referred to in Acts 5:37. Counting back 14 more years (and remembering that instead of starting at year zero our calendar begins at Jan. 1, AD 1), we come to the first census, the one originally decreed by Caesar Augustus, at 8 BC. This was the census attended by Joseph and Mary. However, because of Jewish opposition to “being numbered” (and paying taxes to Rome), Herod is thought to have been slow in instituting this first census of the Roman world. (Master Study Bible, p. 1330) But it is not likely that Herod would have long delayed this census of “all the world,” which was decreed by the Emperor himself. If we assume that Herod held the census the next year, we can date Jesus' birth at 7 BC.
        This date of 7 BC is also consistent with two other recorded events associated with Jesus' birth. Herod (Ch. 7, fn. a), who was alive at the time of Jesus' birth, died in 4 BC. (Ch. 9, fn. b) Also, the three extraordinary conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn, which would explain the new “star” in the sky noticed by the Magi (Ch. 7, fn. b), took place in 7 BC.
        The modern calendar is based on calculations made by Dionysus Exegines, a Roman abbot who lived over 500 years after the time of Jesus. Because of insufficient historical data, the monk erred in fixing the time of birth and this error persists in our calendar to this day.

b   “swaddling cloths,”—Narrow strips of cloth wrapped around an infant to restrict movement.

c   “Joshua (Jesus),”—Joshua is the English form and Jesus the contracted Greek form of the Hebrew Yehoshua. (See Ch. 2, fn. a.)

Lk. 2:5   Mary, who / Mary, his betrothed, who (RSV)
Lk. 2:6   And so it was that while (KJV) / And while (RSV) • the days were accomplished that she should be (KJV) / the time came for her to be (RSV)
Lk. 2:21  called Joshua (Jesus), the (Ch. 2, fn. a) / called Jesus, the (RSV) • angel. / angel before he was conceived in the womb. (RSV)   (122:7,8/1350–1)

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6. Angels Sing Anthems of Glory over Bethlehem

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

        8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.a
        13And there was a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
        (Lk. 2:8, 13, 14)



a   “keeping watch over their flock by night.”—During the wintertime, from November until April, when pasturage became slim and rain and cold weather threatened, sheep could no longer be kept outdoors and were placed under cover. Since the sheep were out at night it is likely that Jesus' birth occurred in or around the warmer summer months. Thus we may conclude that Jesus was born around the middle of the year 7 BC, rather than early or late in that year.

Lk. 2:8   (KJV)
Lk. 2:13  (KJV) • And there / And suddenly there (KJV) • was a / was with the angel a (KJV)
Lk. 2:14  (KJV)   (122:8/1352)


Possible Route of the Wise Men

Possible Route of the Wise Men


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7. Visit of the Wise Men

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

        1Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the King,a behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, 2“Where is he who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East,b and have come to worship him.”
        3When Herod the King heard this he was troubled; 4and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiahc was to be born. 5They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet: 6'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel.'”
        (Mt. 2:1–6) (continued)



a   “Herod the King,”—Also called Herod the Great. Herod was the son of the governor of Idumea (the area south of Judah). He rose to a high position in the government of Judah during the reign of the aging high priest, Hyrcanus II. During this time Hyrcanus' younger nephew, Antigonus, rebelled against his uncle's rule. Antigonus raised an army in Syria and, after securing the help of many Judeans unhappy with Hyrcanus' rule, as well as the Parthians to the east, he overthrew Hyrcanus in 40 BC. Herod fled to Rome, taking his case directly to Mark Anthony, who received Herod as an old family friend. And, through the assistance of the Roman rulers Anthony and Octavian, he was proclaimed king of Judah by the Roman Senate in 40 BC. He captured Jerusalem in 37 BC from Antigonus and ruled from Jerusalem until his death in 4 BC. His kingdom eventually expanded beyond Judea and Idumea to include Samaria, Galilee, Gaza, Perea, and the territory east of the Sea of Galilee. (See map on page 5.)

b   “we have seen his star in the East,”—The most likely explanation of this new star in the sky concerns the extraordinary triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation of Pisces that took place on three separate nights in 7 BC. This new bright light in the sky, which would naturally have been described as a new “star,” appeared on the nights of May 29, September 30, and December 5, 7 BC.
        “This is by far the most popular explanation for the star of Bethlehem. Johannes Kepler, after seeing the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Pisces a few days before Christmas in 1603, calculated backward and discovered the 7 BC event. But Kepler was certainly not the first to call attention to it. In 1977, David H. Clark and two colleagues quoted a similar assertion in English church annals dating from AD 1285.” (Sky and Telescope, December 1986, p. 632, "Computing the Star of Bethlehem")

c   “Messiah”—See Ch. 13, fn. c.

Mt. 2:3  troubled; / troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; (RSV)
Mt. 2:4  the Messiah was (Ch. 13, fn. c) / the Christ was (RSV)
Mt. 2:6   Micah 5:2   (122:8,10/1352–4)

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7. Visit of the Wise Men (continued)

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

        7Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared;d 8and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him bring me word that I too may come and worship him.”
        9When they had heard the king they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East was before them. 10When they saw the star they rejoiced exceedingly.e 11And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
        12And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
        (Mt. 2:7–12)



d   “ascertained from them what time the star appeared;”—The first conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn took place the night of May 29, 7 BC. (See fn. b.)

e   “When they saw the star they rejoiced exceedingly.”—This implies that, around the time the wise men left Herod and found Jesus, the star reappeared. Knowing the dates of the conjunctions, we may reason that the Magi first saw the star the night of May 29, 7 BC (the first conjunction). They then made the long journey (probably from Babylon in the East) to Jerusalem; it is estimated that this trip would have taken around three months traveling by camel. (See map on page 8.) The reappearance of the star after the audience with Herod would then correspond to the second conjunction on September 30.
        Since the second appearance of the star was associated with the discovery of the baby Jesus, we may use the date of the second conjunction (September 30) to approximate Jesus' birth to late August or early September, 7 BC. This date is consistent with the fact that shepherds still had sheep out at night, which could only happen during the warmer months. (See Ch. 6, fn. a.)

Mt. 2:9   East was before / East went before (RSV) • them. / them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. (RSV)
Mt. 2:10  exceedingly." / exceedingly with great joy;" (RSV)   (122:10/1353–4)


Events surrounding the birth of Jesus

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8. Presentation in the Temple

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

        22And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the law, “Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”
        25Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Messiah.a
        27And inspired by the Spirit, he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him according to the custom of the law, 28he took him up in his arms and
blessed God and said:
        29“Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word,
        30For my eyes have seen your salvation,
        31Which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples;
        32A light for revelation to the gentiles
        And for glory of your people Israel.”
        33And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him.
        36And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser. 38She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
        (Lk. 2:22–33, 36, 38)



a   “the Lord's Messiah.”—The long-awaited Jewish deliverer, who would reign in righteousness and bring about the kingdom of God on earth. (See Ch. 13, fn. c.)

Lk. 2:23   Exodus 13:2 • law, “Every / law of the Lord, “Every (RSV)
Lk. 2:24   Leviticus 5:11; • law, "a / law of the Lord, "a (RSV)
Lk. 2:26  Lord's Messiah (Ch. 13, fn. c) / Lord's Christ (RSV)
Lk. 2:29  now let your servant (NAB) / now lettest thou thy servant (RSV) • to your word (NRSV) / to thy word (RSV)
Lk. 2:30  For my eyes (NRSV) / For mine eyes (RSV) • seen your salvation (NRSV) / seen thy salvation (RSV)
Lk. 2:31  Which you have prepared (NRSV) / Which thou hast prepared (RSV)
Lk. 2:32  glory of your people / glory to thy people (RSV)   (122:9/1352–3)

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9. Flight to Egypt and Return to Nazareth

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

        14And Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt,a and remained there until the death of Herod.
        16Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage. He gave orders and had killed all the male children in Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men.
        21When Herod diedb Joseph took the child and mother, and went to the land of Israel. 22But when he heard Archelaus reigned over Judeac in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there and withdrew to the district of Galilee.d 23And he went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth.
        (Mt. 2:14, 16, 21–23)



a   "departed to Egypt,"—Alexandria was the location of a large Jewish settlement in Egypt and would have been a natural place for them to live during their sojourn there.

b   "When Herod died"—The Jewish historian Josephus (who lived in the latter half of the first century AD) records the death of Herod (at age 70) shortly before April 12, 4 BC.

c   "Archelaus reigned over Judea"—Herod died in the spring of 4 BC. By Herod's final will his son Archelaus was named as ruler over Judea, Samaria, and Idumea. Most of the remainder of Herod's kingdom was divided among his other two sons: Herod Antipas was made ruler over Galilee and Perea, while Herod Philip became ruler over the Transjordan lands of Batanea and Trachonitis. (See map on page 5.)
        Herod Antipas was the man who later ordered the death of John the Baptist. In AD 6, Caesar Augustus replaced Archelaus with a series of military prefects. The most famous of these rulers was Pontius Pilate, the man who ordered Jesus' death.

d   "withdrew to the district of Galilee."—If Jesus were born around August, 7 BC (Ch. 5, fn. a; Ch. 7, fns. b and e), he would have been around three years old when the family returned to Nazareth after the death of Herod in April, 4 BC.

Mt. 2:14  And Joseph rose / And he rose (RSV)
Mt. 2:16  Herod / Then Herod (RSV) • rage. He gave orders and had killed / rage and he sent and killed (RSV) • Bethlehem who / Bethlehem and in all that region who (RSV)
Mt. 2:21  When Herod died Joseph took (Mt. 2:19, 21) / And he rose and took (RSV)
Mt. 2:22  and withdrew / and being warned in a dream he withdrew (RSV)   (122:10/1353–4)

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10. Youth in Nazareth; Visit to Jerusalem

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

        40And the child grew and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon him.
        41Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover.a
        42And when he was twelve years old,b they went up to the feast according to custom; 43and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44but supposing him to be in the company, they went a day's journey, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances. 45And when they did not find him they returned to Jerusalem seeking him. 46After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48And when they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.”
        49And he said to them, “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?” 50And they did not understand what he was saying to them.
        51And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.
        52And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.
        (Lk. 2:40–52)



a   “the feast of the Passover.”—Hundreds of years after the time of Abraham, his descendants, on the occasion of an unusually severe famine, entered Egypt as laborers on the Egyptian public works. As time passed they found themselves falling into economic slavery as common and downtrodden laborers of the Nile valley.
        The Passover feast commemorated the time when Moses delivered the Hebrews out of their economic bondage in Egypt. It began on the 15th day of Nisan, a date that fell somewhere in March or April each year. The Passover was the most important of the yearly Jewish religious festivals.

b   “when he was twelve years old,”—If Jesus were born in late summer 7 BC (Ch. 5, fn. a; Ch. 7, fns. b and e,) he would have turned 12 around August, AD 6, and this Passover would have occurred around April, AD 7.

Lk. 2:40  waxed strong in spirit, filled (KJV) / and became strong, filled (RSV) • the grace of (KJV) / the favor of (RSV)
Lk. 2:50  understand what he was saying to them. / understand the saying which he spoke to them. (RSV)   (123-7/1355–1406)

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11. The Great Temptation

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

        12The Spirit drove him out into the wilderness.a 13And he was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to him.
        (Mk. 1:12–13)



a   “The Spirit drove him out into the wilderness.”—Each of the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) treat the temptation of Jesus somewhat differently. Mark recounts the event in two short verses (quoted above). Matthew and Luke tell a detailed story but differ in the order of temptations. The gospel of John does not mention the event at all.
        The gospel writers recount the temptation as taking place immediately following Jesus' submission to baptism by John. However, since John's baptism marked the actual beginning of Jesus' public ministry, it is more likely that the 40 days following John’s baptism was a time of communion with God and planning the proclamation of the kingdom. Perhaps Jesus' temptation occurred just before his baptism and the two events were combined in the gospel record. This would be consistent with the Father's expression of approval at Jesus' baptism—“This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” (Ch. 14, Mt. 3:17)—which would naturally occur after Jesus had met and overcome his “great temptation.”

Mk. 1:12  Spirit drove / Spirit immediately drove (RSV)   (134:7,8/1492–4)



Jesus by L. Mullins

Jesus by L. Mullins

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