Presentation on theme: "4 BC: Herod the Great dies. AD 4 – 39: Rule of Herod’s sons: Archelaus, Antipas, Philip AD 1: Anno Domini (not After Death) meaning “Year of our Lord”;"— Presentation transcript:
4 BC: Herod the Great dies. AD 4 – 39: Rule of Herod’s sons: Archelaus, Antipas, Philip AD 1: Anno Domini (not After Death) meaning “Year of our Lord”; B.C. is before Christ; A.D. is after his birth; all of human history is marked by his life. But today B.C.E. (Before Common Era) and C.E. (Common Era) is used to neutralize the Christian influence.
The History of the Christian Church: the First Century
AUGUSTUS (consecrated, holy, sacred) — a title of honor bestowed upon Octavian, the first Roman emperor (27 BC— AD 14). Luke refers to him as “Caesar Augustus” (Luke 2:1). A nephew of Julius Caesar, Octavian was born in 63 BC. In 43 BC, Octavian, Lepidus, and Mark Antony were named as the Second Triumvirate, the three rulers who shared the office of emperor. Octavian eventually became the sole ruler of Rome and reigned as emperor for more than 44 years, until his death in AD14. It was during his reign that Jesus was born (Luke 2:1). Augustus reigned during a time of peace and extensive architectural achievements. After his death, the title “Augustus” was given to all Roman emperors. The “Augustus Caesar” mentioned in Acts 25:21, 25, for instance, is not Octavian but Nero.
Circa AD 5: Paul born AD 6: Judea becomes a Roman province; Jesus visits the temple as a boy. Roman procurators begin to rule.
AD 7: Zealots in Judea rebel against Rome. “The little village of Nazareth overlooked the main highway linking Damascus to the Mediterranean coast and Egypt. News of the world outside Galilee probably reached Nazareth quickly. During His boyhood Jesus probably heard of the revolt led by Judas the Galilean against the Roman authorities. This happened when Judea, to the south, became a Roman province in A. D. 6 and its inhabitants had to pay tribute to Caesar. Jews probably heard also of the severity with which the revolt was crushed” (NNIBD – “Jesus”).
Galilee, the province in which Jesus lived, was ruled by Herod Antipas, youngest son of Herod the Great. So the area where He lived was not directly involved in this revolt. But the sympathies of many Galileans were probably stirred. No doubt the boys of Nazareth discussed this issue, which they heard their elders debating. There is no indication of what Jesus thought about this event at the time. But we do know what he said about it in Jerusalem 24 years later (Mark 12:13–17, about paying taxes to the government as standard practice rather than revolting--WD).
13 Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. 14 They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? 15 Should we pay or shouldn’t we?” But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16 They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. 17 Then Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him (Mark 12).
Sepphoris, about six kilometers (four miles) northwest of Nazareth, had been the center of an anti-Roman revolt during Jesus’ infancy. The village was destroyed by the Romans, but it was soon rebuilt by Herod Antipas. Antipas lived there as tetrarch of Galilee and Perea until he founded a new capital for his principality at Tiberias, on the western shore of the Lake of Galilee ( A. D. 22). Reports of happenings at his court, while he lived in Sepphoris, were probably carried to Nazareth. A royal court formed the setting for several of Jesus’ parables (NNIBD – “Jesus”).
A popular view was that the kingdom of God meant throwing off the oppressive yoke of Rome and establishing an independent state of Israel. J UDAS M ACCABEUS and his brothers and followers had won independence for the Jewish people in the second century B. C. (M ACCABEAN R EVOLT - 164 B.C.) by guerrilla warfare and diplomatic skill (NNIBD, “Jesus”. [They defeated Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the Greek Seleucid ruler of Syria, who mandated Hellenism with its idolatry of Zeus and the sacrifice of a pig in the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. This infuriated the Jews to revolt.—WD] Many of the Jewish people believed that with God’s help, the same thing could happen again.
Other efforts had failed, but the spirit of revolt remained. If Jesus had consented to become the military leader, which the people wanted, many would gladly have followed Him. [WD: “How did the Maccabean Revolt of 164 BC inspire the Jews of Jesus time in AD 30? If the Jews overthrew the Greeks then with Judas Maccabeus’ leadership, then maybe they could overthrow the Romans now with the leadership of the Messiah Jesus!] But in spite of His temptation, Jesus resisted taking this path (NNIBD, “Jesus”).
AD 26: John the Baptist begins his ministry; Pontius Pilate appointed governor (AD 26-36). AD 26/27: Jesus begins His ministry.
ZEALOT (devoted supporter) — a nickname given to Simon, who was given this name probably because he had been a member of a Jewish political party known as the Zealots. A Zealot was a member of a fanatical Jewish sect that militantly opposed the Roman domination of Palestine during the first century A. D. When the Jews rebelled against the Romans in A. D. 66 and tried to gain their independence, the “Zealots” were in the forefront of the revolt (Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary – NNIBD).
Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom of God was accompanied by works of mercy and power, including the healing of the sick, particularly those who were demon-possessed. These works also proclaimed the arrival of the kingdom of God. The demons that caused such distress to men and women were signs of the kingdom of Satan. When they were cast out, this proved the superior strength of the kingdom of God (NNIBD, “Jesus”).
For a time, Jesus’ healing aroused great popular enthusiasm throughout Galilee. But the religious leaders and teachers found much of Jesus’ activity disturbing. He refused to be bound by their religious ideas. He befriended social outcasts. He insisted on understanding and applying the law of God in the light of its original intention, not according to the popular interpretation of the religious establishment. He insisted on healing sick people on the Sabbath day. He believed that healing people did not profane the Sabbath but honored it, because it was established by God for the rest and relief of human beings (Luke 6:6– 11). (NNIBD, “Jesus”)
This attitude brought Jesus into conflict with the scribes, the official teachers of the law. Because of their influence, He was soon barred from preaching in the synagogues. But this was no great inconvenience. He simply gathered larger congregations to listen to Him on the hillside or by the lakeshore. He regularly illustrated the main themes of His preaching by parables. These were simple stories from daily life that would drive home some special point and make it stick in the hearer’s understanding (NNIBD, “Jesus”.
From among the large number of His followers, Jesus selected 12 men to remain in His company for training that would enable them to share His preaching and healing ministry. When He judged the time to be ripe, Jesus sent them out two by two to proclaim the kingdom of God throughout the Jewish districts of Galilee. In many places, they found an enthusiastic hearing (NNIBD, “Jesus”).
At the city of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus decided the time was ripe to encourage the Twelve to state their convictions about His identity and His mission. When Peter declared that He was the Messiah, this showed that He and the other apostles had given up most of the traditional ideas about the kind of person the Messiah would be. But the thought that Jesus would have to suffer and die was something they could not accept (See Matthew 16:13-23). Jesus recognized that He could now make a beginning with the creation of a new community. In this new community of God’s people, the ideals of the kingdom He proclaimed would be realized (NNIBD, “Jesus”).
These ideals that Jesus taught were more revolutionary in many ways than the insurgent spirit that survived the overthrow of Judas the Galilean (Acts 5:37, not the same as Judas Maccabeus who led the Maccabean revolt in 164 B.C.). The Jewish rebels against the rule of Rome developed into a party known as the Zealots. They had no better policy than to counter force with force, which, in Jesus’ view, was like invoking Satan to drive out Satan. The way of nonresistance that He urged upon the people seemed impractical. But it eventually proved to be more effective against the might of Rome than armed rebellion (NNIBD, “Jesus”).
At the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall of A. D. 29, Jesus went to Jerusalem with the Twelve. He apparently spent the next six months in the southern part of Palestine. Jerusalem, like Galilee, needed to hear the message of the kingdom. But Jerusalem was more resistant to it even than Galilee. The spirit of revolt was in the air; Jesus’ way of peace was not accepted. This is why He wept over the city. He realized the way that so many of its citizens preferred was bound to lead to their destruction. Even the magnificent temple, so recently rebuilt by Herod the Great, would be involved in the general overthrow (NNIBD, “Jesus”).
34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 35 Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’ ” (Luke 13).
As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you” (Luke 19).
Why was Jesus weeping over Jerusalem, which means “City of Peace”? They preferred the way of violence and resistance to Rome instead of choosing Himself as the Prince of Peace. His way was the path of peace with God through faith in Himself, but they did not recognize Him as the true Messiah— the liberator from sin. In spite of the fact that many would receive Him with palms and shout “Hosanna!” at His triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday), nevertheless, the religious leaders and the Jewish people as a whole did not accept Him as Messiah. He was crucified soon after that triumphal entry. This would lead to their destruction some 40 years later in AD 70 by the Romans who completely destroyed the newly finished Temple and burned the city. They lost their statehood and did not become an organized governmental nation again until 1948.
During the week before Passover in A. D. 30, Jesus taught each day in the temple area, debating with other teachers of differing beliefs. He was invited to state His opinion on a number of issues, including the question of paying taxes to the Roman emperor. This was a test question with the Zealots. In their eyes, to acknowledge the rule of a pagan king was high treason against God, Israel’s true King (NNIBD, “Jesus”).
Jesus replied that the coinage in which these taxes had to be paid belonged to the Roman emperor because his face and name were stamped on it. Let the emperor have what so obviously belonged to him, Jesus declared; it was more important to make sure that God received what was due Him. This answer disappointed those patriots who followed the Zealot line. Neither did it make Jesus popular with the priestly authorities. They were terrified by the rebellious spirit in the land. Their favored position depended on maintaining good relations with the ruling Romans (NNIBD, “Jesus”).
If revolt broke out, the Romans would hold them responsible for not keeping the people under control. They were afraid that Jesus might provoke an outburst that would bring the heavy hand of Rome upon the city. The enthusiasm of the people when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey alarmed the religious leaders. So did his show of authority when he cleared the temple of traders and moneychangers. This was a “prophetic action” in the tradition of the great prophets of Israel. Its message to the priestly establishment came through loud and clear. The prophets’ vision of the temple—“My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations” (Isaiah 56:7)—was a fine ideal (NNIBD, “Jesus”).
But any attempt to make it measure up to reality would be a threat to the priestly privileges. Jesus’ action was as disturbing as Jeremiah’s speech foretelling the destruction of Solomon’s temple had been to the religious leaders six centuries earlier (Jeremiah 26:1–6). 4 Say to them, ‘This is what the L ORD says: If you do not listen to me and follow my law, which I have set before you, 5 and if you do not listen to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I have sent to you again and again (though you have not listened), 6 then I will make this house like Shiloh and this city an object of cursing among all the nations of the earth’ ” (Jer. 26:4-6). (NNIBD, “Jesus”).
To block the possibility of an uprising among the people, the priestly party decided to arrest Jesus as soon as possible. The opportunity came earlier than they expected when one of the Twelve, Judas Iscariot, offered to deliver Jesus into their power without the risk of a public disturbance. Arrested on Passover Eve, Jesus was brought first before a Jewish court of inquiry, over which the high priest Caiaphas presided (NNIBD, “Jesus”).
The Jewish leaders attempted first to convict Him of being a threat to the temple. Protection of the sanctity of the temple was the one area in which the Romans still allowed the Jewish authorities to exercise authority. But this attempt failed. Then Jesus accepted their charge that He claimed to be the Messiah. This gave the religious leaders an occasion to hand Him over to Pilate on a charge of treason and sedition (NNIBD, “Jesus”).
While “Messiah” was primarily a religious title, it could be translated into political terms as “king of the Jews.” Anyone who claimed to be king of the Jews, as Jesus admitted He did, presented a challenge to the Roman emperor’s rule in Judea. On this charge Pilate, the Roman governor, finally convicted Jesus. This was the charge spelled out in the inscription fixed above His head on the cross. Death by crucifixion was the penalty for sedition by one who was not a Roman citizen (NNIBD, “Jesus”).
With the death and burial of Jesus, the narrative of His earthly career came to an end. But with His resurrection on the third day, He lives and works forever as the exalted Lord. His appearances to His disciples after His resurrection assured them He was “alive after His suffering” (Acts 1:3). These appearances also enabled them to make the transition in their experience from the form in which they had known Him earlier to the new way in which they would be related to Him by the Holy Spirit (NNIBD, “Jesus”).
AD 30: Jesus is crucified, buried, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven; Pentecost and early church beginnings