Know and Understand Jesus: The Life and Instruction of Jesus

Who is Jesus? This question about the identity of Jesus is the defining question of Christianity. It is asked time and again throughout the Gospel accounts. It is asked by the Jewish crowds, by their religious leaders, by Herod Antipas, by Pontius Pilate, by John the Baptist and by Jesus' own disciples. Jesus asked His disciples, "Who do you say I am?" and the question remains relevant through all of history. In fact, it is the most important question each of us will ever ask and answer.

In order that we may answer this question, the Gospel accounts provide a large volume of information on Jesus' identity--much of which comes directly from words that Jesus spoke. What better way to learn about Jesus than to study about His life and instruction, as told by people who knew Him, lived with Him, walked with Him, and were taught by Him. The Gospel accounts and this study are centered around the question about the identity of Jesus.

My previous study of the Old Testament, Understand the Old Testament: The Story Jesus Completes. The Promise Jesus Fulfills, emphasizes how Jesus is revealed in the Old Testament. This study continues to focus on Jesus as revealed in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. This study follows a chronological path through the Gospel accounts. I love how the stories fit together and provide flow and context to enhance our understanding of the message. I believe this kind of study allows us to see a more complete picture. In this study, we get the opportunity to compare and contrast how the different Gospel accounts tell a story. It is also easier to remember what Jesus said and did when it is in the context of the story of His life. You may be surprised how well the Gospel accounts can be synchronized and placed in order. The Gospel accounts use connecting words (then, next, at that time, while, after that) that indicate chronological order. There are also time markers in the Gospel accounts. When we pay attention to these markers, we can see the story as it unfolds.

Another goal of this study is to provide information on the Jewish and Roman cultures in which the accounts take place. When we add context to our study of scripture, we gain a better understanding of its message.

Through our study of the Gospel accounts, we will see how Jesus answered many of our questions.

  • Who is Jesus?
  • How are we to live in relation with God?
  • How are we to live in relation with each other?
  • What is the Kingdom of God?
  • What is God's goal for us?
  • What did Jesus accomplish?
  • What is the New Covenant?
  • Who is the Holy Spirit?

Let's get to know Jesus more deeply. As new believers, we understand that we have invited Jesus into our lives. As we mature, we realize that we are invited to participate in the life of Christ. Let's accept His invitation.

--David Holsted

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