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Biblical Facts from New Testament


The synagogue ruler thought that Jesus was wrong to heal people on the sabbath (Luke 13:14). Keeping the sabbath meant resting from work, and some people thought that healing should be considered work. But there was actually no biblical law against healing on the Sabbath.


Too late for excuses.

Planning a banquet was complicated and expensive. Two invitations were sent. The first required the guest to respond if they were attending so the host could determine how much food to prepare. The second would have gone out on the day of the banquet, announcing that the meal was ready. The ungrateful guests in Luke 14:16–24 made their excuses upon receiving the second notice, after the host had already prepared the meal.


The pods mentioned in Luke 15:16 are most likely carob pods. The pods of the carob tree were used for animal feed, but poor people often ate them as well.


The rich man and Lazarus. Luke emphasizes God’s love for the poor, outcasts, sinners, and the weak. Many of the stories in his Gospel focus on this theme, including Luke 16:19–31.


How difficult it is for a rich person. In Luke 18:18–30, Jesus challenges a rich ruler to give his money to the poor. However, the man refuses because his riches mattered more to him than obeying Jesus. Elsewhere, Jesus warns that it is impossible to serve both God and money (Luke 16:13).


Olivet (Luke 19:29), also known as the Mount of Olives, is a high mountain ridge stretching some 2.5 miles (4 km) in a north-to-south direction just east of Jerusalem. Throughout Israel’s history, it was an ideal location from which to see approaching armies. It is also where Jesus ascended into heaven with the promise to return in the same way (Luke 24:51; Acts 1:11–12; see also Zech. 14:4).


The widow’s offering. There were 13 collection chests for offerings in the temple. The widow’s contribution caught Jesus’ eye not because it was impressive but because she had given sacrificially. The attitude of the giver is more important to God than the size of the gift.


The temple mentioned in the Gospels was the second one. The Babylonians destroyed the first temple, which Solomon had built. The Jews rebuilt it, and Herod the Great fully restored it later. Shortly after Jesus’ prophecy (Luke 21:6), this temple was destroyed, in a.d. 70.


Jesus knows us. Jesus knew that, in his hour of greatest need, Peter would deny him (Luke 22:34). He also knew that Peter would repent and go on to be a great leader in the church (Luke v. 32; see Acts 2:14–41). As Paul declared, “The Lord knows those who are his” (2 Tim. 2:19).


Take this cup from me. Drinking cups were often mentioned in the Bible as symbols of God’s wrath or judgment. For Jesus to figuratively drink from such a cup meant suffering God’s punishment on behalf of sinful people (Luke 22:42). This is what he willingly did when he died on the cross.


The entrance to the tomb where Jesus was buried was probably about 2 feet (0.6 m) wide and 3 feet (0.9 m) tall. It was covered with a stone, perhaps a foot (0.3 m) thick and 4 feet (1.2 m) in diameter. The body would have been placed on a bench until it could be prepared for burial.


Resurrected as real people! After his resurrection, Jesus had a real physical body. He was not just a disembodied spirit. He could eat and be touched (Luke 24:39–43). Christians will also experience real, physical resurrection from the dead (1 Corinthians 15).


All things were made through him. John begins his Gospel in the same way that Genesis begins: with creation (John 1:1–5; Gen. 1:1). He reveals that Jesus, God’s Son, existed eternally with God the Father, and the whole creation was made through him (Col. 1:15–16; compare 1 Cor. 8:6).


Finding their true master. John reports that two of Jesus’ disciples had previously followed John the Baptist (John 1:35–40). One of them was Andrew; the other was probably John himself. They believed John the Baptist’s testimony about Jesus, and became his disciples instead.


The master of the feast (John 2:9) had an important job. He was both the head server and master of ceremonies. His primary responsibility was making sure that the guests had enough to eat and drink. If he did a good job, he might be awarded a wreath at the end of the festivities.


The phrase born-again Christian originally comes from John 3:1–8. Jesus uses the image of a second birth to explain what happens to believers at conversion. The Holy Spirit cleanses them from sin and makes them new in Christ.


The Samaritans. When Israel fell to Assyria in 722 b.c., many of the people were taken into exile but others remained in the land. Assyria brought people from other nations to repopulate Israel, and many of the remaining Israelites intermarried with these Gentiles. In NT times, their descendants were despised, but Jesus brought them the good news of salvation (John 4:1–30).


Jesus and God. In John 5:17–29, Jesus claims to be equal with God (vv. 17–19). He claims to have the ability to give life (v. 21) and to judge (v. 22), and the right to be worshiped (v. 23). His opponents denied these claims, but believers recognize them to be true.


Each of the four Gospels records the feeding of the 5,000. In John, this is Jesus’ fourth sign showing that he is the Son of God (John 6:1–15). Just as God provided manna for Israel, Jesus provided food (see Numbers 11). Jesus wanted people to see that he is the bread of life (John 6:35).


The Dispersion (John 7:35) referred to Jewish people scattered throughout the world. Many Jews were exiled from their homeland in 722 and 586 b.c. Those taken to Babylon in 586 were later allowed to return home, but many stayed in Babylon and others moved west into Greece. After the destruction of the temple in a.d. 70, many Jews were sold into slavery and further scattered abroad.