Program Guides – The Jesus Newscasts

Newscast 11. A King is Born

. . . In this broadcast we hear of the birth of Jesus and the attempt of King Herod to have him destroyed . . .

The Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would bear a son, before she was married, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Joseph and Mary who usually lived in Nazareth in Galilee, had to come to Bethlehem in order to register for taxes since Joseph was a descendant of the house of David, which had always come from Bethlehem. Here Jesus was born in a stable, visited by shepherds and later by some astrologers (‘Wise Men’) who had been guided by a special star.

Herod, old and ailing in Jerusalem, and concerned about who would succeed him as King, was clearly worried by the astrologers’ report about the birth of a King and saw this baby as a future threat. But before the slaughter of the innocents in Bethlehem was carried out, Mary and Joseph were warned by an angel to leave Judaea and go down to Egypt for safety. They later returned to Galilee where Jesus grew up.

Analyzing Herod’s reign, we see the clash of cultures and the tensions between traditional Jewish ways and the Greek-Roman practices that Herod was trying to introduce into Judaea.

Biblical references:
Matthew: Chapters 1 -2;
Luke: Chapters 1 – 2.

Newscast 12. A voice from the wilderness

….. After the death of Herod the Great, the kingdom was split into three different areas — each ruled by one of Herod’s three sons. The area of Judaea was ruled by his son Archelaus, Galilee by Herod Antipas and Gaulanitis by Herod Philip (see map).

However, Archelaus ruled Judaea so incompetently, that after ten years, the Romans removed him and initiated direct rule from Rome though one of their own governors instead.

Pontius Pilate came out from Rome in 26 A.D. as the latest of these governors.

This was a time of fervent expectations that God would act — bringing the Messiah and a new era of sovereignty and peace. Many were disillusioned with the religious establishment in Jerusalem and went to the desert to prepare themselves for the coming of the Messiah. One of these, a prophet from the desert called John the Baptist set up a ministry baptizing in the River Jordan. John announced that he was preparing the way for God to come among the people and it was John who actually baptized Jesus.

Biblical references:
Matthew Chapter 3;
Luke Chapter 3;
Mark Chapter 1 v. 1 – 8;
John Chapter 1 v. 19 – 28.

Newscast 13. Miracle in Capernaum

….. A great problem facing Roman governors ruling in Judaea was how to deal with Jewish beliefs and practices which were difficult for a Roman to comprehend. The new Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, was hardly the right man for the job as the Caesarea incident clearly demonstrates.

Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee, married his brother’s ex-wife, Herodias. They had both divorced their previous partners in order to marry.

John the Baptist denounced this as incestuous under the law. As Herod Antipas had already soured relations with the powerful, neighboring Nabatean Arabs by divorcing the Nabatean princess, he wanted no further trouble — so he had John the Baptist arrested.

Jesus — who was the cousin of John the Baptist — was baptized by him in the River Jordan and for some time had a ministry parallel to John’s in the Jordan valley.

After the arrest of John, Jesus withdrew to the Wilderness to work out what type of ministry he was to have. He then started a new ministry of preaching and healing in Galilee.

Jesus and his family moved to Capernaum where his disciples had lived as fishermen before they were called to follow him. Capernaum became Jesus’ base for his healing and preaching ministry throughout Galilee.

Biblical references:
Luke Chapters 3 & 5;
Mark Chapter 2;
John Chapters 1 & 3.

Newscast 14. A new movement emerges

….. After a period of ministry based in Capernaum, Jesus returned to Nazareth where he’d grown up as an apprentice carpenter to his father.

He met a mixed reception which turned to hostility when he began to make claims which the synagogue congregation felt no carpenter’s son should make.

After their rejection of him, there is no record of his ever visiting Nazareth again.

The teaching of Jesus about money and possessions was disturbing. Money and possessions were not simply, as was generally thought, a sign of God’s favor, but rather they could be a serious obstruction to man’s relationship with God.

Jesus made claims that clearly implied he was the Messiah. However, Jesus was reluctant to use the actual title of Messiah because it had misleading implications. But the impact of his claims created a sensation which placed Jesus in real danger.

Biblical references:
Luke Chapter 4 v. 16 – 30;
Mark Chapter 6 v.1 – 6;
Mark Chapter 4;
Luke Chapter 15;
Mark Chapter 10;
Luke Chapter 6;
Matthew Chapters 5 & 11.

Newscast 15. Rebellion against Rome?

….. Judaea had been under Roman rule since 63 B.C. At first, the Romans ruled indirectly through the Judaean Kings — Herod and his sons.

However, in 6 A.D., Herod’s son, Archelaus, was deposed for incompetence and the Romans initiated direct rule under one of their governors.

The Romans then carried out a census to assess the amount of tribute that should be paid to Rome and hostility broke out. The revolt was led by Judas the Galilean but it was quickly crushed and driven underground. This was the beginnings of the Zealot movement which had its greatest support in Galilee and to some extent accounts for the Galileans striving for a nationalistic leader and focusing their hopes on Jesus.

The feeding of the five thousand was the climax of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee but it was clearly misinterpreted by the crowds who tried to make Jesus King. Jesus then left Galilee.

Although there were a variety of expectations about the nature of Messiah, the most widespread popular belief was that the Messiah would be another King David — a military leader who would defeat the Romans and restore a sovereign Jewish nation under God’s rule. Jesus rejected such an idea of the Messiah as too narrow in outlook and doomed to failure. God’s kingdom, he maintained, is to transcend national boundaries and is to be God’s rule over the lives of men everywhere.

Biblical references:
Luke Chapter 13 v.1 -5;
Mark Chapter 6 v.6 – 46;
Luke Chapter 9 v.1 -17;
John Chapter 6 v.1 -15;
Luke Chapter 4 v.1 – 13.

Newscast 16. The gathering storm

….. The Festival of Tabernacles was one of the three major festivals of the Jewish religious year.

This festival was originally intended as a reminder of the exodus from Egypt. But in New Testament times it had the additional significance of being a time of prayers for rain after the dry summer months. Furthermore, it was probably a time when thoughts and prayers were particularly directed to the coming of the Messiah. Jesus’ statement in the temple must be seen in the light of these Messianic aspirations.

Jesus’ visit to Caesarea Philippi represented an important turning point in Jesus’ ministry. The disciples at last firmly acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah, but he began to explain to them that his Messianic role was completely different from what they had expected — suffering and death were essential to his bringing in God’s kingdom. Jesus rejected the idea of a triumphant military figure, interpreting his mission in the light of the suffering servant of Isaiah Chapter 53 and the son of man in Daniel Chapter 7.

Biblical references:
John Chapter 7 v.37-52;
John Chapter 6 v.66 – 71;
Mark Chapter 3 v.24 — Chapter 9 v. 1;
Mark Chapter 3 v.1 – 6.

Newscast 17. The Clash

….. Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem was an occasion for great excitement for the crowds of pilgrims who were coming up to Jerusalem for the Passover. They clearly still entertained hopes that Jesus would lead the people as a triumphant Messiah.

Although there were a variety of expectations about the nature of the Messiah, the most widespread popular belief was that the Messiah would be another King David — a military leader who would defeat the Romans and restore a sovereign Jewish nation under God’s rule. Jesus rejected such an idea of the Messiah as too narrow in outlook and doomed to failure. God’s kingdom is to transcend national boundaries and is to be God’s rule over the lives of men everywhere.

The hopes that Jesus would lead the people as a triumphant Messiah were increased by the dramatic raising of Lazarus from the dead at Bethany. Jesus’ previous miracles of raising from the dead were in Galilee and would probably have passed largely unnoticed in Jerusalem.

Such excitement surrounding Jesus was a cause of concern to the Sanhedrin. They were afraid of any popular uprising which would lead to sharp Roman reprisals. Indeed, such fears were not unjustified. The revolt of 66-70 A.D. led to the burning of the Jerusalem temple and the complete destruction of the nation by the Romans.

Biblical references:
Mark Chapter 10 v.46— Chapter 11 v.19
John Chapter 11 v. 1 — Chapter 12 v. 19.

Newscast 18. The arrest

….. Our news broadcast opens on the morning following the arrest of Jesus and the night trial before the Sanhedrin. Prior to the arrest, Jesus had had his last gathering with his disciples in an upper room in Jerusalem. They had celebrated their Passover meal together, in the course of which Jesus had introduced a new understanding of their meal, interpreting it in terms of his coming death which would bring a redemption even greater than that of the original Exodus from Egypt.

Jesus was arraigned before the Sanhedrin on purely religious charges. But it was difficult to find an accusation that would stick. Jesus’ teaching had been hostile to the temple. However, he had never actually said that he would be the agent of its destruction. The charges culminated with Caiaphas asking Jesus whether or not he was the Messiah. All the gospels agree that while Jesus accepted the title, he found it misleading. Jesus therefore referred to himself in different terms, using the language of the Book of Daniel which refers to the persecuted servant of God who will in future be vindicated and raised to authority by God.

It was most likely this statement rather than the claim to be Messiah which constituted blasphemy in the eyes of the Sanhedrin. But it was the title of Messiah which had political as well as religious implications and which would constitute the grounds for condemnation by Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor.

Biblical references:
Matthew Chapter 26 v.1 — Chapter 27 v.10;
Mark Chapter 14;
Luke Chapter 22;
Mark Chapter 13 v.1 -2.

Newscast 19. The trial

….. A second trial before Pontius Pilate was necessary for only the Roman governor had the power to carry out a capital sentence.

The Sanhedrin had condemned Jesus on religious grounds. But he was arraigned before Pilate on the political implications of being the Messiah, the one who was expected to bring the Jews victory over the Romans. A purely religious charge would have been of no interest to the Roman, Pilate.

Pilate, however, was reluctant to handle the case and was clearly disturbed and impressed by Jesus. This was an unexpected problem for Caiaphas, the High Priest, who had expected Pilate to ratify the Sanhedrin’s verdict without further ado — most likely on the basis of an agreement reached the previous evening. But all Pilate’s efforts to have Jesus released met with concerted opposition and finally crumbled at the suggestion that his own position might be endangered.

So, in order to avoid any trouble, Pilate gave the order for Jesus to be executed.

Biblical references:
John Chapter 18 v. 28 — Chapter 19 v. 16;
Matthew Chapter 27 v.11 – 26;
Luke Chapter 23 v.1- 25.

Newscast 20. Resurrection

….. The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus are astonishing and profound events whose significance we can only hint at in the broadcast.

Jesus had already privately given his disciples some teaching about the meaning of his death, but it remained for Paul and other New Testament writers in the following years to expound more fully the significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

The disciples were familiar with the idea of ghosts and had seen Jesus himself bring other people back to life. But they were convinced that the resurrection of Jesus was something completely new. Others had been restored to their old mortal lives. Jesus’ resurrected life was transcendent and eternal.

It took some time for the impact of the resurrection to transform the disciples. When Passover was finished, they returned to Galilee and being unsure what to do, resumed their old fishing activities. Here Jesus appeared to them again. When they went up to Jerusalem a few weeks later for the Feast of Pentecost, they had their last meeting with Jesus before his ascension and received their commission to spread the good news of Jesus everywhere.

Biblical references:
Mark Chapter 10 v. 45 — Chapter 14 v. 24;
Matthew Chapter 27 v.27— Chapter 28 v. 15;
Mark Chapter 15 v. 16 — Chapter 16;
Luke Chapter 23 v. 26— Chapter 24;
John Chapter 19 v. 17 — Chapter 20 v. 10;
John Chapter 21.

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