Kingdom – On His Way to Jerusalem


This part of the study on Jesus’ Kingdom is going to appear to be rough in its style and appearance, because it is my study format:)

I am looking at Jesus’ movements loosely after the feeding of the 5000.  I want Matthew to be my reference point but Luke and John add interesting movements and stories that need to be added.  I will try to join them as best as I can.  That means I will start in John about five months before Jesus’ Passion.

  1. John 10: 22 has Jesus in Jerusalemat the Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah.  He makes the Jews made so He “escapes”.
  2. Jesus goes to where John baptized on the east bank of the Jordan. John 10: 40.
  3. Bethanyis Jesus’ next destination to raise Lazarus from the dead. John 11: 17
  4. Because of a plot to kill Him He goes to a village called Ephraim that is in the desert.  John 11: 54 We would call it wilderness – English and Hebrew ideas on this topic are opposites of each other. 
  5. Capernaum– dealing with the Temple tax. Matthew 17: 24
  6. Samaria and Galilee border – healed ten lepers. Luke 17: 11
  7. Crosses the Jordan Riverto be on the east bank. Matthew 19: 1
  8. Crosses back to west bank and goes to Jericho.
  9. Goes to Bethany/Bethphage and the Mount of Olivesfor the “Triumphal Entry”. Matthew 21: 1, Luke19: 28

From Capernaum to Jerusalem is about eighty miles. I believe all of this walking was for a reason.  Jesus went to the east bank in order to cross the Jordan, like Joshua, “conquer Jericho” and then proceed to Passover.  Yes, it is out of order from what Joshua did but I still see the symbolism in the travels. 

My Study on Jesus’ Kingdom


This study is going to go on for a while!  I hope to use this page to list links to the post as they are written.  Several TV programs on Christian networks prompted my study, especially one show on the Sid Roth program.  As usual I started with my concordance, dictionaries, and the Bible Gateway app.  I found that Matthew has the most references to the kingdom and Luke is second.  An argument over kingdom of heaven or God had been a big deal.  But since the same stories in different gospels use different terms it hopefully has settled that they are talking about the same thing. 

Much of my study will revolve around the Gospel of Matthew.  Here are my reasons for that decision. 

  • Matthew has the most references/usages of the word kingdom.
  • Matthew was an eye-witness for much of Jesus’ ministry.  So was John and for some of the three years, Mark was there.  The Holy Spirit uses Luke to tell a story from what he had gleaned by talking with other eye-witnesses for a Greek believer; I find story placement in Luke very valuable.  
  • Matthew uses the term kingdom of heaven for his Jewish readers and sprinkles in Kingdom of God at specific times.  The Kingdom of God is used by the other writers, for the most part (it is more of a Greek term).

In reading Matthew and focusing on the word kingdom, I circled the word by using Bible Gateway as an aid, it seemed that there were three sections of teaching on the kingdom. 

  1. The first is Matthew 3: 2 to 8: 12.  
  2. The second is 9: 35 to 13: 52. 
  3. The third block of teachings is 13: 53 to the end of the gospel.  

The first two blocks of teachings start with messages about John the Baptist and Repent.  The third one begins with Jesus going home (Nazareth) and being rejected by the town.

This third block contains the feeding of the 5000, which is in all four Gospels, and covers Holy Week. I will use these two events to frame this third block.  Comparing and injecting teaching/parables and events from the other Gospels that occur during this time is proving interesting. Themes and ideas are repeated but they get more intense with each block.  My next post will be about Joseph of Arimathea (from Luke).  I am starting with the third block because of Holy Week, Passover/Easter, and Pentecost.  I will list and link them from this page.

Joseph of Arimathea – Easter 2019 

The Thief – Easter 2019, On His Way to Jerusalem

The Thief – Easter 2019


Psalm 42: 10 – My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?” (NIV)

The fulfillment of this verse is in Mark 15:32 and Matthew 27:44 when Jesus hung on the cross and the Pharisees and the two thieves heaped insults on Him.  John 19: 32 adds to the story of the thieves when their legs were broken so they would die faster.  

Luke 23: 39 – 42 are the verses, about the thieves, that I am interested in for this post!  Here one thief is insulting Jesus and the other is asking to be remembered when Jesus comes into His kingdom.  The thief that switched is the one we will talk about. Why the switch in behavior?  Did Jesus even know his name?  Had the thief seen Jesus before this day?  Had he heard of Jesus before this day?  I will get to these later, first I want to focus on the “threes” Jesus had before the crucifixion and some of the “shadows” that go with this day.

  • Isaac as a type of Jesus.  The story is in Genesis 22.  The fire, the wood, and the burnt offering (sacrifice) are the three elements in this story.  The wood for the fire was on Isaac, this symbolizes the cross.  Abraham, the father of the faithful, had the fire (judgement) and God was going to supply the ram (offering).
  • Nehustan – Numbers 21 is the story of the copper snake that Moses made to save the people if they were bitten by serpents.  Moses lifted it up on a pole (cross).  I think of it hanging between the living and the dead.  Just like Jesus hung between the thief who would live again and the one who went to hell.  2 Kings 18:3 tells of the abuse of the symbol and its destruction.
  • The Transfiguration – 1. Again, I put Jesus at the center (or in-between) of the disciples and Moses (the Law) and Elijah (the prophets).  The Law and the prophets were “dying” and the disciples were about to be saved by grace.  2.If we view this “three” a little differently, Jesus was in-between Moses and Elijah with the disciples looking on.  A thought here is that Moses had died while Elijah had not.  Jesus was between the living and the dead, or the Law was now “finished” and the prophets were still “living”. 

Answers to some questions will come only in heaven.  But it would be probably that the one thief had at least heard of Jesus since His fame was spread around the country.  For sure though the thieves saw everything that occurred from when they left the prison. Jesus’ behavior was different!  He was not yelling and cursing.  People were harassing Him about God and Jesus was not answering them back.  Add in the darkness and the other things Jesus did and all of this made the one thief change his mind/words about Jesus.

That one little request by the thief actually carries a lot of deep truth.  First, he acknowledged the divine nature of Jesus by referring to His Kingdom and that He was going there after death.  Second, the thief saw past the military aspect of a Messiah and realized the Kingdom was not limited to the physical earth.  That is really impressive since he did not have the learning of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus.

Was the redeemed thief on Jesus’ left side or on His right? I will give you two verses and let you form your own opinion – Matthew 25: 33states that the sheep will be on the right hand and the goats on the left on the day of judgment.  Ecclesiastes 10: 2states the heart of the wise goes to the right while the heart of the fool goes to the left.

Pic – http://www.freebibleimages.org/illustrations/tis-jesus-cross/

Joseph of Arimathea – Easter 2019


Reports!  Reports are coming in from Galilee!  Someone is telling the people to repent for the kingdom of God is near.  The Baptist is bad enough but he is by the Jordan.  The messages form Galilee also have stories of healings and large crowds.  

These reports produced two responses in the Council in Jerusalem – Fear and Finally:

Fear– Another crazy rabbi stirring the people!  Another revolt against Rome.  He is not part of the Council, Pharisees, or Sadducees.  God stopped doing miracles hundreds of years ago, this cannot be of God. This rabbi will have to be stopped or there will be trouble!  

Finally– The Baptist preached repentance but he had no miracles.  Many people are being healed just as the Prophets said.  Could the Messiah really have arrived?  Were the Magi after the census correct, our king had been born?  We need to see this rabbi and hear his message.

This is the ocean of emotions that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus found themselves in.  We know very little about these two men and their relationship with Jesus, but their ripple in the water is worth noting.  Luke 23: 50and Mark 15: 43 state that Joseph was waiting for the Kingdom of God.  Matthew 27: 57 and John 19: 38 add to Joseph’s story by identifying him as a member of the ruling council, a secret disciple, and one of the two men who asked for Jesus’ body and prepared it for burial.  Nicodemus, the other man, in the Easter story is only found in John 3, 7: 50, and 19: 39.  He realized that those miracles could only come from God.  Jesus explained the born again experienced to him, Nicodemus sought a proper trial for Jesus, and was a secret disciple.  Well, this is until they asked Pilate for, and prepared Jesus’ body for burial. 

Did Joseph and Nicodemus go on the missions, from the Council, to ask Jesus questions?  Were they part of the 120 in the prayer meeting on the day of Pentecost or were they part of the 3000?  How many miracles did they see Jesus do?  What kind of “Kingdom” was Joseph waiting for?  Since I can not answer any of those questions, I will settle for the statement that “Joseph was waiting for the Kingdom of God”.  Because Joseph choose to identify with a dead Jesus, I hope his view of the “kingdom” was more than a military/civil leader to free Israel from the Romans.  (If a military kingdom was what he hoped for, why bother with a dead man?)  I want to/have to believe that Joseph had heard Jesus teach on the kingdom and had grabbed a vision of Jesus’ kingdom.  

So, Joseph may have understood the parables and the “kingdom of heaven is like a____” statements.  I can even believe that he understood when Nicodemus talk to him about the “born again” experience in John 3 (you know he did).   These two learned and powerful men were certainly the exception rather than the rule in Israel!

http://www.freebibleimages.org/illustrations/jesus-crucified-dies/