The Life Of Jesus:
Teachings & Parables
Healing, Chosen Family & New Life
Jesus’ teachings and parables are tightly interwoven with healing after healing. We begin at the Pool of Bethesda with the healing of a man who’s been ill for 38 years.
Then we notice a special literary device called an “intercalation” where one story is inserted in the middle of another one. We set the two stories in conversation with each other and together we are able to make sense of Jesus’ seeming rejection of his own family and the scribes’ accusation that Jesus is acting through the power of Satan.
There’s another healing after that and then, for the first time, Jesus raises someone from the dead.
We cover Matthew 8:5-13; 9:32-34; 12:22-37, 46-50; Mark 3:20-35; Luke 7:1-17; 8:19-21; 11:14-23
Parables & Women Disciples
After declaring unequivocally to John the Baptist’s disciples that he is the Messiah, Jesus is pressed hard by the crowds. But he somehow manages to really see each person--to heal them in the ways they need healing, and to speak truth to the religious leaders who still cast aspersions on “sinners.”
Jesus teaches the people using parables. His disciples aren’t sure this is the most effective way to teach and they challenge him on it. Jesus has a very interesting answer.
Then we meet the women. Not just any women, but disciples, part of Jesus’ inner circle. Who knew?
We cover Matthew 11:1-18, 13:1-23; Mark 4:1-20; Luke 7:18-50; 8:1-15
Good & Evil Mixed Together
Jesus tells a whole string of parables to try to get folks to understand that the Kingdom of Heaven is a tiny bit of precious goodness in the middle of a sea of evil. But even though it seems hopelessly tiny, it is more than enough to spread throughout the whole world.
Jesus says not to worry about separating the evil from the good. That gets you dangerously close to being judgmental. He says God will take care of evil when the time comes. And in the meantime, we should pay close attention to the weights and measures we use. How we weigh things out for others is exactly how it will be weighed out to us.
We cover Matthew 8:23-27, 10:26, 13:24-52; Mark 4:21-41; Luke 8:16-18, 22-25, 13:18-21
Healing & Wholeness
In this class, we find Jesus healing a man (or two?) of a legion of demons, raising a little girl from the dead, and acknowledging to a woman that it is her faith that has healed her--not something Jesus did to her.
That’s been a theme with Jesus--asking folks if they want to be healed, giving them agency in their own healing, and always pointing them to God.
We also talk about eternal torment in this class. Yikes! We look at all the places in the New Testament where this term is used, and we discover some surprising things.
We cover Matthew 8:28-34, 9:18-26; Mark 5:1-43; Luke 8:26-56
Judgment & Jesus
We switch from the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) to the Gospel of John. John has a completely different viewpoint on Jesus. He is not as concerned with a more-or-less historical account like the others, but is more concerned with presenting Jesus as divine.
So it makes sense that he skips a lot of Jesus’ more mundane daily teachings and healings and he adds in several stories that simply aren’t found in the other gospels. We make sure to stay aware of John’s particular lens as we read his account.
John’s story of the man born blind leads us to a deep dive into the concept of judgment--what it means in Jesus’ world and what it seems to mean to Jesus.
We cover John 9:1-41, 10:1-21
Sending The Twelve
Jesus’ ministry shifts into a new and more dangerous phase. John the Baptist is beheaded by Herod, and Jesus sends his disciples away for a bit.
But he’s not sending them for a well-earned rest. No, he’s sending them to spread the Good News, and he gives them the jurisdiction to heal all sorts of inner and outer illness, including raising folks from the dead!
His instructions are more than a little scary and have implications for us as Jesus-followers.
We cover Matthew 10:1-36, 40-42; 13:53-58; 14:1-12; Mark 6:1-29: Luke 9:1-9