Why Jesus was rejected in Nazareth

Why Jesus was rejected in Nazareth. Learning Outcomes. By the end of the lesson, you should

a. Describe rejection of Jesus at Nazareth

b. Suggest possible reasons for rejection

a. 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.

b. 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.

Discussion question

1. What are the possible reasons for rejection of Jesus at Nazareth?

Answers

(i) He was known by people as son of Mary and Joseph

(ii) He did not fit in the idea of a political king that Jews were expecting

(iii) Often times one is not accepted at home and at a senior position

(iv) He did not follow the general rules of the law of Moses

(v) He associated with sinners, and outcasts

Healing At Capernaum

Learning Outcomes. By the end of this lesson:

a. Describe Jesus’ healing at Capernaum

b. Explain healing of a man possessed with an evil spirit

c. Describe Jesus healing of Simon’s mother – in law

a. 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:

i. 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.

ii. 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

1) Jesus is the son of God

2) Jesus came to establish the Kingdom of God and destroy the kingdom of Satan.

3) Jesus has power over evil spirits / demons.

4) Jesus came to save human beings from the slavery of sin

5) God cares for his people.

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

1) God can choose anybody to serve him regardless of his or her social status.

2) God still calls people to serve him in various capacities as evangelists, pastors and others.

3) Those called should repent their sins as Peter did

4) Christians should trust in God – Simon Peter trusted Jesus and cast his nets even though they had caught no fish from the same spot.

5) God can intervene in people’s lives through miracles (miraculous catch of fish)

6) Christians should work together as a team. Fishermen worked together.

7) 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.

9) Christian’s vocation may require renunciation of family ties and occupations or a change of life.

10) Those called to serve God are expected to be humble

Opposition In Galilee

Learning Outcomes. By the end of the lesson, you should

a. Describe the Pharisees? Scribes? Sadducees.

b. Identify the differences between the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

c. 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.

a. 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,

a. Eating on Sabbath with unwashed hands (disciples),

b. Plucking corn on the Sabbath day

c. Working. 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.

d. 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.

e. 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

a. 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.

b. They upheld and insisted on the observance of the oral traditions of the elders.

c. They followed strictly 632 distinct rules and regulations broken down from the ten commandments

d. They believed in the teachings of the prophets and other writings of the Old Testament.

e. They passed religious traditions of the Jews from generation to generation and regarded this as a duty or obligation.

f. They believed in the existence of angels and regarded them as intermediaries between God and human beings.

g. They believed in the existence of demons and Satan

h. They believed in and waited for the Messiah of God to come

i. The believed in the resurrection of the dead

j. The believed in the judgment of God at the end of time for all human kind

k. 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) Theresurrection 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.

The sermon on the plain (luke. 6:12–16, 27– 49)

Review

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

(a) Name the12 disciples

(b) Summarize the teachings of Jesus on true discipleship

(c) 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 (11) Judas son of James and

(12) 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:

(a) Have unshakeable faith

(b) Be obedient to God’s word

(c) Be self-critical/analytical/self-searching

(d) Be kind, loyal, objective, fair, and generous

(e) Accept others without discrimination.

(f) 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.

1. Blessings and woes. Jesus taught that:

(i) Blessed are the poor for theirs is the Kingdom of God.

(ii) Blessed are the hungry for they shall be filled

(iii) Blessed are those who weep now for they shall laugh

(iv) Blessed are those who men shall hate, reject, reproach for the sake of Christ’s for their great reward

is kept in heaven.

(v) Woe to those who are rich, for they have already received their reward.

(vi) Woe to those who are full for they shall go hungry

(vii) 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.

2. 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. Be merciful.

From these teachings: true discipleship of Jesus Christ:

a) Entails unconditional love even for enemies

b) Doing good without expecting any returns

c) Praying for those who mistreat us

d) Showing love to our enemies by exhibiting God’s love in us.

e) Is love; because those who love are children of the most high who is kind and merciful to the sinners.

(3) 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.

(4) 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.

(5) 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.

(6) 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

1. 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.

Learning Outcomes. By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

a) Give examples of Jesus works of compassion

b) Narrate Jesus works of compassion

c) Give reasons why Jesus used parables

d) Identify categories of the miracles of Jesus

e) Give lessons learnt from each example in each category

a. Examples of Jesus works of compassion. There are many examples of compassion

i) 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.

1. Faith in God is important for healing to occur

2. 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.

3. Christians should have compassion like Jesus. He took compassion on the servant and was ready to go

and heal him.

4. 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.

5. Christians should love each other regardless of their background or social status – the centurion loved

his servant dearly.

6. Christians should learn to relate well with all around them – the centurion related well with the

Jewish elders and others.

7. Jesus has power to heal any form of sickness.

ii) 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

1) Jesus has power over death

2) Jesus empathizes with the suffering

3) Acts of love should not be hindered by traditions – Jesus touched the casket even though Jewish

traditions forbid it.

4) The Widow of Nain was a gentile. This is a sign that salvation was universal.

5) 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?

iii) 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?

iv) 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

1. The Jews believed that by associating with sinners, one becomes virtually defiled. Jesus however allowed the sinful woman to touch him.

2. 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.

3. 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.

5. 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

1. What role do women play in the church ministry?

2. Narrate the story of the forgiveness of the sinful woman (Lk 7: 36, 8:3)

3. What lessons do you learn from the above story?

4. Describe the story of the raising of the widow’s son at Nain (Lk 7: 11-17)

Answers

Women play many roles in the church ministry. Some of these are:

(i) Carrying out duties of pastors, bishops, and deacons

(ii) Management. Some are heads of the women groups

(iii) Leading in church service

(iv) Participating as church ushers, choir singers, and youth leaders (v) Attending church. Women are part of the congregations

Learning Outcomes. By the end of the lesson, you should

a. Describe rejection of Jesus at Nazareth

b. Suggest possible reasons for rejection

a. 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.

b. 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.

Discussion question

1. What are the possible reasons for rejection of Jesus at Nazareth?

Answers

(i) He was known by people as son of Mary and Joseph

(ii) He did not fit in the idea of a political king that Jews were expecting

(iii) Often times one is not accepted at home and at a senior position

(iv) He did not follow the general rules of the law of Moses

(v) He associated with sinners, and outcasts

Healing At Capernaum

Learning Outcomes. By the end of this lesson:

a. Describe Jesus’ healing at Capernaum

b. Explain healing of a man possessed with an evil spirit

c. Describe Jesus healing of Simon’s mother – in law

a. 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:

i. 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.

ii. 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

1) Jesus is the son of God

2) Jesus came to establish the Kingdom of God and destroy the kingdom of Satan.

3) Jesus has power over evil spirits / demons.

4) Jesus came to save human beings from the slavery of sin

5) God cares for his people.

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

1) God can choose anybody to serve him regardless of his or her social status.

2) God still calls people to serve him in various capacities as evangelists, pastors and others.

3) Those called should repent their sins as Peter did

4) Christians should trust in God – Simon Peter trusted Jesus and cast his nets even though they had caught no fish from the same spot.

5) God can intervene in people’s lives through miracles (miraculous catch of fish)

6) Christians should work together as a team. Fishermen worked together.

7) 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.

9) Christian’s vocation may require renunciation of family ties and occupations or a change of life.

10) Those called to serve God are expected to be humble

Opposition In Galilee

Learning Outcomes. By the end of the lesson, you should

a. Describe the Pharisees? Scribes? Sadducees.

b. Identify the differences between the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

c. 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.

a. 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,

a. Eating on Sabbath with unwashed hands (disciples),

b. Plucking corn on the Sabbath day

c. Working. 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.

d. 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.

e. 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

a. 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.

b. They upheld and insisted on the observance of the oral traditions of the elders.

c. They followed strictly 632 distinct rules and regulations broken down from the ten commandments

d. They believed in the teachings of the prophets and other writings of the Old Testament.

e. They passed religious traditions of the Jews from generation to generation and regarded this as a duty or obligation.

f. They believed in the existence of angels and regarded them as intermediaries between God and human beings.

g. They believed in the existence of demons and Satan

h. They believed in and waited for the Messiah of God to come

i. The believed in the resurrection of the dead

j. The believed in the judgment of God at the end of time for all human kind

k. 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.

The sermon on the plain (luke. 6:12–16, 27– 49)

Review

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

(a) Name the12 disciples

(b) Summarize the teachings of Jesus on true discipleship

(c) 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

(11) Judas son of James and

(12) 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:

(a) Have unshakeable faith

(b) Be obedient to God’s word

(c) Be self-critical/analytical/self-searching

(d) Be kind, loyal, objective, fair, and generous

(e) Accept others without discrimination.

(f) 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) Atree 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.

1. Blessings and woes. Jesus taught that:

(i) Blessed are the poor for theirs is the Kingdom of God.

(ii) Blessed are the hungry for they shall be filled

(iii) Blessed are those who weep now for they shall laugh

(iv) Blessed are those who men shall hate, reject, reproach for the sake of Christ’s for their great reward is kept in heaven.

(v) Woe to those who are rich, for they have already received their reward.

(vi) Woe to those who are full for they shall go hungry

(vii) 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.

2. 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. Be merciful.

From these teachings: true discipleship of Jesus Christ:

a) Entails unconditional love even for enemies

b) Doing good without expecting any returns

c) Praying for those who mistreat us

d) Showing love to our enemies by exhibiting God’s love in us.

e) Is love; because those who love are children of the most high who is kind and merciful to the sinners.

(3) 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.

(4) 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.

(5) 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.

(6) 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

1. 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?

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.

Learning Outcomes. By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

a) Give examples of Jesus works of compassion

b) Narrate Jesus works of compassion

c) Give reasons why Jesus used parables

d) Identify categories of the miracles of Jesus

e) Give lessons learnt from each example in each category

a. Examples of Jesus works of compassion. There are many examples of compassion

i) 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.

1. Faith in God is important for healing to occur

2. 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.

3. Christians should have compassion like Jesus. He took compassion on the servant and was ready to go and heal him.

4. 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.

5. Christians should love each other regardless of their background or social status – the centurion loved his servant dearly.

6. Christians should learn to relate well with all around them – the centurion related well with the Jewish elders and others.

7. Jesus has power to heal any form of sickness.

ii) 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

1) Jesus has power over death

2) Jesus empathizes with the suffering

3) Acts of love should not be hindered by traditions – Jesus touched the casket even though Jewish traditions forbid it.

4) The Widow of Nain was a gentile. This is a sign that salvation was universal.

5) 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?

iii) 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?

iv) 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

1. The Jews believed that by associating with sinners, one becomes virtually defiled. Jesus however allowed the sinful woman to touch him.

2. 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.

3. 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.

5. 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

1. What role do women play in the church ministry?

2. Narrate the story of the forgiveness of the sinful woman (Lk 7: 36, 8:3)

3. What lessons do you learn from the above story?

4. Describe the story of the raising of the widow’s son at Nain (Lk 7: 11-17)

Answers

Women play many roles in the church ministry. Some of these are:

(i) Carrying out duties of pastors, bishops, and deacons

(ii) Management. Some are heads of the women groups

(iii) Leading in church service

(iv) Participating as church ushers, choir singers, and youth leaders (v) Attending church. Women are part of the congregations