In and around Perea
Jesus continues his journey towards Jerusalem, now passing through the cities and villages of Perea, east of the Jordan.
On the way, Jesus is asked if there will just be a few who will be saved, to which he replies in the same way he did at the
end of the Sermon on the Mount [Matt 7:21–23], emphasising the importance of knowing him. That same day, certain
Pharisees warn Jesus that Herod seeks to kill him, but Jesus is defiant, and in his response foretells his death at Jerusalem
and denounces judgements on that city.
On a Sabbath, Jesus is in one of the chief Pharisees’ house, but the Pharisees continue to try to find fault with him. When
Jesus then heals a man there with dropsy, he is again challenged concerning ‘working’ on the Sabbath, but rebukes his
challengers. A parable is then told by Jesus to certain of the guests, giving a lesson on humility, then to the same people
he speaks of the need for charity. One of those present, inspired by Jesus’ words, says to him, Blessed is he that shall eat
bread in the kingdom of God. To this Jesus responds with a parable telling of the rejection of the Jews, and others, who are
concerned more for the things of the world, and of the acceptance of those who might be considered less worthy.
Later, when a great number of people are with him, Jesus tells them that discipleship cannot be undertaken without serious
consideration of the personal consequences, otherwise it is likely to wane.
When publicans and sinners are drawn to Jesus to hear his words, the Pharisees and scribes murmur against his keeping
company with such people. Jesus responds to their attitude with four parables: the lost sheep, the lost silver, the prodigal
son and the shrewd manager. The Pharisees are offended by Jesus’ words and show contempt for them. Jesus rebukes
them and relates a parable about the fate of the rich man and Lazarus, warning against covetousness and lack of
compassion for the needy, and its consequences.
Jesus turns to his disciples and teaches them the need to take care not to give offence and to readily forgive offences
against them. He also encourages them to keep increasing their faith, and teaches them humility in their service to God.
As Jesus travels on towards Jerusalem, passing through Samaria and Galilee, he cleanses ten lepers, but only one gives
thanks and glorifies God, and he is notably a Samaritan.
Later, following an enquiry from the Pharisees, Jesus turns to his disciples with words concerning the coming of the
kingdom of God, and how it will be at an unexpected time.
Jesus then relates the parable of the persistent widow and the judge, teaching fervency in prayer, followed by the parable
of the Pharisee and the publican, teaching an attitude of humility.
Some little children are brought to Jesus for a blessing, but his disciples seem to think he shouldn’t be troubled by their
presence. Jesus corrects their attitude and blesses the children before continuing on his way.
A rich young man later asks Jesus what he should do to gain eternal life, since he had obeyed the commandments from his
youth, but still felt there to be something lacking. When Jesus suggests he should give up his wealth to follow him he
leaves disappointed, for his possessions are considerable. Jesus tells his disciples how much more difficult it might be for a
rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven if his riches mean so much to him. Peter then enquires what their fate might be
as they had given up everything to follow him. He is told they will be sitting on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of
Israel. Jesus concludes this exchange by saying that anyone who surrenders family or possessions for his sake will receive
much more and inherit eternal life.
Jesus then relates the parable of the workers in the vineyard, telling us that the kingdom of heaven and eternal life are
available even to those who come to him very late in life.
Continuing their journey towards Jerusalem, Jesus again tells his disciples he will be betrayed, is to suffer and be killed, but
will be resurrected on the third day.
James and John’s mother comes to Jesus and asks that her sons should have positions of honour in his kingdom. Jesus
tells her this honour is not for him to give, then reminds his disciples that they, like him, should not expect to be served
but should serve others.
Later, when they are leaving Jericho, two blind men call to Jesus addressing him as the Son of David and asking for mercy.
Jesus has compassion for them, touches their eyes and their sight is immediately restored. They then join the others and
The triumphal entry and events that follow
When they approach Jerusalem and are at Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sends two disciples to a nearby village
to fetch a colt for him. He uses this colt to ride into Jerusalem where many recognise him for who he is, crying out,
Hosanna to the Son of David. As many more gather to hear what the commotion is about, they enquire who he is and are
told he is the prophet spoken of by Moses. Jesus then goes to the temple Court of the Gentiles where he creates havoc
with those selling animals for sacrifice, and overturns the money changers’ tables, telling them, It is written, My house
shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. The blind and lame are then brought to the
temple and are all healed by Jesus. All the while, children repeat the cry of their parents, Hosanna to the Son of David.
This is all to the considerable displeasure of the chief priests and scribes. Jesus then leaves and goes to Bethany where he
stays the night.
The next morning, as they return to the city, Jesus is feeling hungry. He sees a fig tree that has leaves but no fruit, and
says to it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward forever. The tree withers and the disciples, seeing it the next morning,
marvel at how it had withered so quickly. Jesus tells them that they will be able to do much more than this if they ask in
prayer and believe.
Jesus goes to the temple to teach, and while he is teaching he is approached by the chief priests and elders questioning his
authority. He replies with a question concerning the authority of John the Baptist, which they are unable to answer without
entrapping themselves. Jesus then relates the parables of the two sons and of the tenants. They realise he is speaking
about them, and at that point want to deal with him, but are afraid of the reaction of the crowds who would all be for
Jesus. Jesus relates another parable: the parable of the wedding feast. Their reaction to hearing yet another parable that
offends them is to leave and plan how they might entrap him with his own words. They send their own disciples, along with
the Herodians, to question Jesus whether it is lawful to give tribute to Caesar. This attempt fails and is later followed by the
Sadducees attempting to ridicule any idea of a resurrection, since they don’t believe in it. They asked whose wife a woman
would be in the resurrection if seven brothers had married her, one after the other following each one’s death. Jesus tells
them that they don’t understand the scriptures, pointing out that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the God of the
living. The Sadducees and Pharisees then jointly send a lawyer to ask Jesus which is the greatest commandment of the
law, since between them they see conflicts within the law as to which part might be considered to be of greater priority.
Jesus responds with the laws of love for God and their neighbours, telling them that the whole of the law and the prophets
hangs on these two commandments. He then turns to the Pharisees and asks them who they thought Christ might be the
son of, to which they naturally reply the Son of David. Jesus then asks them how it was that David, in the Spirit, referred
to Christ as his Lord (as no man would refer to a son as his lord). This confounds them and they dare not challenge Jesus
again after this exchange.
Jesus then addresses his disciples and the crowds and berates the scribes and Pharisees, giving numerous examples of
their hypocrisy as religious leaders. He concludes this attack on them by prophesying the destruction of the temple and
that they, the Jews, would not see him again until the time they acknowledge him as the Messiah.
Leaving the temple, his disciples remark on its magnificence and Jesus again prophesies its destruction. When Jesus and
his disciples are alone on the Mount of Olives, his disciples ask him what the signs of his second coming will be. Recorded
in what we know as the Olivet Discourse (chapters 24–25), Jesus warns of persecution, predicts the fall of Jerusalem, and
teaches about his second coming, referring to the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet. At this time,
Jesus says, all in Judea must flee to the mountains. He then uses the parable of the fig tree to show that signs will be
recognised, but tells that the hour will not be known. We must be prepared, as demonstrated by the parable of the ten
virgins. Meanwhile, we are required to bear fruit as told by the parable of the talents, for when he returns, there will be a
judgement and a separation of those worthy of eternal life and those who are not.
Jesus then tells his disciples he will be betrayed in two days’ time, at Passover, and will be crucified.
Meanwhile, the chief priests, scribes and elders have assembled before the high priest, Caiaphas, to discuss how they
might kill Jesus, but avoiding doing so on the feast day.
Now Jesus is in Bethany at Simon the leper’s house with his disciples when Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus (who
Jesus had raised from death [Jn 11:1–44]), anoints his feet with nard, a very expensive perfume, and wipes his feet with
her hair. Judas Iscariot objects saying that the perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor, but Jesus
tells them she did it for his burial. Judas then leaves the house and makes an arrangement with the chief priests to deliver
Jesus to them for thirty pieces of silver.
Jesus sends his disciples to prepare a room where they will meet to share the Passover meal. In the evening, while they
are eating, he tells them one of them will betray him. He takes some bread, blesses it and breaks it, offering it to his
disciples telling them it represents his body. He then passes around a cup of wine, saying it represents his blood of the new
covenant, shed for many for the remission of sins, and tells them that they are to do all this in remembrance of him. They
then sing a hymn and leave for the Mount of Olives. It is while they are on the mount that Peter is told he will deny Jesus
three times before the cock crows.
When they get to Gethsemane, Jesus takes Peter, James and John aside and asks them to keep watch while he prays.
Jesus returns to them three times after praying, each time finding them asleep. In these prayer sessions he asks his Father
if there is another way remission of sins can be accomplished, but there is not. Then Judas arrives with armed men from
the chief priests and identifies Jesus with a kiss. The disciples scatter and Jesus is taken to Caiaphas where the scribes and
elders are assembled waiting for him. Peter follows and goes to sit amongst the servants to see what is happening.
Jesus’ trial, death and resurrection
Witnesses are called to testify against Jesus, but no testimony is given sufficient to condemn him. Jesus doesn’t answer
any accusations, so the high priest asks him under oath, which he is bound by law to respond to, whether thou be the
Christ, the Son of God. His admission in front of all those assembled enables them to claim he has blasphemed before
witnesses and can be condemned to death. They then spit on him, buffet him and strike him. It is at this time that Peter is
challenged three times as being one of Jesus’ disciples, each time denying he is; then the cock crows. Peter, remembering
that Jesus had predicted his denials, leaves and weeps bitterly.
Now the Jews’ authority to execute anyone had been taken away by the Romans some years earlier, so they now need to
take Jesus to Pontius Pilate, the Roman procurator of Judea, to be tried. Seeing that Jesus had been condemned, Judas
goes and tells the chief priests and elders he betrayed innocent blood, but they are not interested. He throws the thirty
pieces of silver before them and leaves and hangs himself. Unable to put blood money in the temple treasury, the priests
use it to buy a potter’s field for the burial of strangers.
Jesus is taken before Pilate who is unable to find any reason to condemn him under Roman law. Learning he is a Galilean,
he sends him to Herod who happens to be in Jerusalem at the time. Herod questions Jesus while the chief priests and
scribes vehemently accuse him, but Jesus remains silent. Because he says nothing, Herod’s soldiers take him to be a fool,
mock him, put a robe on him and he is returned to Pilate. Although Pilate is unable to find anything against Jesus according
to Roman law, he fears the mood of the people and, as is the custom, offers them a choice of whom he should release,
Jesus or a notable prisoner called Barabbas. Prompted by the chief priests and elders, the crowd called for Barabbas to be
released and Jesus to be crucified. Pilate publicly washes his hands, declaring his innocence concerning the blood of Jesus,
before handing him over to his soldiers who take him away to be scourged. They then mock Jesus, put a scarlet robe
around him and place a plaited crown of thorns on his head. When they have finished mocking him, they replace the
scarlet robe with his own, then lead him away to be crucified. On the way, a man of Cyrene, called Simon, is made to carry
Jesus’ cross. They reach Golgotha where Jesus is crucified between two thieves. When Jesus gives up his spirit, the temple
veil is torn from top to bottom and the earth quakes.
In the evening, Joseph of Arimathaea, a rich man who is also one of Jesus’ disciples, begs Pilate for Jesus’ body, to which
he agrees. Joseph wraps Jesus in a clean linen cloth, lays him in his own sepulchre and rolls a great stone in front of it.
On the Sunday morning at dawn, Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James) and Salome go to the sepulchre taking
spices to anoint Jesus’ body. An angel had rolled away the stone, so they are able to go in, but Jesus is not there. The
angel tells them that Jesus has risen and they are to tell his disciples and Peter that he will see them in Galilee. They run
and tell the disciples what they have seen; then Peter and John run to the sepulchre to see for themselves.
Now those who had been guarding the tomb go and tell the chief priests what had happened. The chief priests give them
money to say that the disciples had come and stolen the body while they slept, and give them assurances they would
persuade their superiors not to punish them for falling asleep whilst on guard.
That same day, two disciples are making their way to Emmaus when Jesus comes alongside them and asks them why they
are troubled. Not recognising him, they relate all that had happened. Then Jesus explains how the scriptures had foretold
all these events. It wasn’t until they arrive at the village and are all eating together that they realise it is Jesus who has
been talking to them, but he then vanishes from their sight.
They quickly return to Jerusalem and report their experience to the eleven disciples, confirming Jesus has indeed risen. As
they are speaking, Jesus appears to them, eats with them, and then imparts on them an understanding of the scriptures.
In the evening, while the disciples are behind locked doors in fear of the Jews, Jesus again appears to them, but Thomas is
not there and consequently refuses to believe he has risen.
Eight days later, Jesus appears to his disciples while they are again behind locked doors. This time, Thomas is with them
and is invited by Jesus to touch his wounds. Thomas then acknowledges Jesus as his Lord and God.
Later, the eleven disciples go to Galilee where Jesus meets them for the last time. Here he commissions them to go and
teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit before ascending to
30-Day Reading Plan
This is a 30-day reading plan based on an average of 15 minutes per session - a total read time of 7½ hours.
The actual read times vary from 12 to 20 minutes to accommodate for practical read session end points. If the reading
times don’t suit you, then simply go at your own pace and note where you finished.
Please select your reading day below
New Testament History Books -
Old Testament History Books -
New Testament Epistles -
The Prophets -
The Poetry Books -