Tag Archives: Gospel of Luke

Son of Man: In Search of That Missing Prophecy

Is this Jonah being swallowed by the big fish, or is this how I felt at a Bible study the other night when I was stumped by a really good question?

Jonah and the big fish… or small group Bible study leader stumped by a really good question?

So, we had a “mini-crisis” in our small group Bible study recently. We were looking at the question of how Jesus fulfills prophecy in the New Testament. Someone read from Luke 24:45-46:

Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead”(ESV)

Then, the question came: “Does anyone have a reference for this prophecy given in the Old Testament?”

Pages started to rattle. Folks were hunting for a cross-reference. Someone looks around the room for a concordance. Others were pulling out their iPhones to ask the “Almighty All-Knowning Google” for the answer. Whew, boy. I was in trouble.

You see, I’m like, uh, the small group leader. Not only that. I got a seminary degree. Yet, I was completely stumped. All that theological mumbo-jumbo and graduate school $$$  and I was busted.  I tried to mutter something spiritual and intelligent sounding. It was not really working. Folks were looking at me like, “Nice try, no dice, buddy”. I was thinking that Professor Hagner back in seminary was watching, peering over the top of his glasses down at me.  Sweat was pouring down my brow. The room was uncomfortably warm. I was glad I had my day job. Perhaps I could have tried to sneak out the backdoor…. Whoops. That would not have been good…. We were meeting at our house.


OK. I am exaggerating quite a bit. We have a wonderful small group, after all. But it is a great question: Where in the Old Testament do you find the prophecy where Jesus says He will rise again from the dead on the third day? Well, unfortunately, you might be searching a long, long, long time for a specific verse…..
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Contradiction or Difference?

Jesus carried up to a pinnacle of the Temple, by James Tissot , a watercolor between 1886 and 1894. Was Jesus taken up to a pinnacle on the Temple prior to being taken up to a high mountain and shown the kingdoms of the world, or is the order reversed? Does the chronology really matter?

Jesus carried up to a pinnacle of the Temple, by James Tissot, a watercolor between 1886 and 1894. Was Jesus taken up to a pinnacle on the Temple prior to being taken up to a high mountain and shown the kingdoms of the world, or is the order reversed? Does the chronology really matter?

The sermon this past week was on the Temptations of Jesus. I noticed that in comparing Matthew’s version with Luke’s version that there is an apparent discrepancy in the chronology. I asked my small group what they thought of the discrepancy:  “Does this impact how you view the Bible?”

You probably know the story: Early in Jesus’ public ministry, He spends forty days in the wilderness and after being exceedingly hungry, He was tempted by the devil. Mark simply records the basics (Mark 1:12-13). But Matthew and Luke spell out the order of events of the three temptations. Both Matthew (Matthew 4:1-11) and Luke (Luke 4:1-13) start with the first temptation suggesting that Jesus turn the stones to bread. However, the order of the next two temptations between Matthew and Luke are reversed. Matthew’s second temptation is where the devil takes Jesus up to the pinnacle of the temple, urging Him to throw Himself down and trust the angels to catch Him, and the third temptation is where Jesus is taken to a very high place, challenging him to worship the devil in exchange for sharing power. Luke, on the other hand, switches the chronology, putting the “pinnacle of the temple” last, prior to being taken up to a high mountain and shown the kingdoms of the world.
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Luke’s Sources

Why should we trust the Gospel writers and apostles?  Good question.  Most would argue that, with the sole exception of the Apostle John, they all were martyred for their faith, and that men won’t die for something they know to be a lie.  Fair enough.  There are lots of other reasons—extrabiblical historical documentation, bibliographical tests, consistency among the canonical accounts, archaeology, internal evidence, C.S. Lewis’ famous ‘trilemma’ argument, and so on—however the purpose of this particular post is not to defend the reliability of  the Gospels.  (If you are interested in exploring the reliability of the Gospels, there are sources listed at the end of this post.)

Where did the Gospel writers get their information?  After all, two of them (Mark and Luke) weren’t eyewitnesses to the events described in their texts.

Meet Michael Card, a gifted Bible teacher and frequent contributor to Day of Discovery television, who encourages us to “read at the level of our imagination.”  In other words, put the Biblical text in its rightful context and think very carefully about what was going on.

By way of background, Ephesus became home to Luke, the Apostle John (whose tomb is there), and Mary (the mother of Jesus) in the second half of the first century.  Luke was a thorough archivist and did his homework.  His accuracy as a historian is thoroughly documented.  When he recorded Mary’s thoughts, feelings, and song in his Gospel, the obvious source of that information is his neighbor in Ephesus—Mary herself.  Likewise the Apostle John.  (By the way, if I’m reading at the level of my imagination, I’m imagining Mary singing her song for Luke.)

Luke is big on details.  Only Luke mentions Joanna by name, that she supported Jesus’ ministry out of her own means, and that she was the wife of Herod’s household manager.  What a source for information about what was said when Jesus was hauled before Herod!  Likewise, only Luke records that Joanna was one of the women who discovered the empty tomb of Jesus on Easter morning.  These two clips (from this DVD) can give you a taste of reading at the level of your imagination.  (By the way, the background in the Joanna clip will be discussed in a future post in detail—it’s the likely site of Jesus’ trial before Pilate.)

References to explore the reliability of the Gospels:
Is the Bible Reliable as a Historical Document? (Lee Strobel)
Can we trust the New Testament? (CARM)
Dartmouth Apologia
Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts
Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts
Reasons to Believe

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