A Brief Overview of the Gospels: A Bible Study - Part 2

In our last study, we did a brief comparison of the four Gospels. Now we will take a look at Jesus"s early life, His baptism, and His temptation.


The early life of the Savior is all but nonexistent in the Scriptures. There is nothing mentioned in the book of Mark of Jesus birth and early years. As a matter of fact, the first thing mentioned of Jesus in Mark is that of His baptism at the age of thirty.

Both Matthew and Luke give a lengthy genealogy of the Savior. John’s genealogy as already mentioned goes back to eternity past. His childhood years however, are not mentioned in any great detail.

Matthew’s Gospel gives the story of the enunciation in chapter 1 and follows with the story of the wise men in chapter 2. These wise men were truly wise because they had studied the Scriptures and were familiar with them enough to know that the Savior had been born according to the mouth of Balaam in Numbers 24:17, “I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel.”

After the wise men had left we see Joseph, Mary, and the baby Jesus traveling to Egypt to avoid the wrath of Herod in Matthew 2:13 and 14. "And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there untiI I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:”

After Herod died Jesus returned to Galilee with His human parents and took up residence in Nazareth. Matthew 2:19-23 gives the information. “But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.” Notice, He is a Nazarene, not a Nazarite.

Chapter 3 of Matthew goes right into the baptism of Jesus. Luke’s Gospel adds to the pre-ministry days of Christ with few other details. Luke 1:26-35 give the details of the enunciation. Luke 2:1-18 tells of the birth of the Savior and the coming of the shepherds.

We see the circumcision of Jesus according to Jewish law in Luke 2:21. Later after Mary’s purification according to the law of Moses the baby Jesus comes in contact with Simeon, “And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should no see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”

The scene shifts to Jesus at the age of twelve in Luke 2:42-49. Jesus’ parents leave Jerusalem believing Jesus to be in the company. He is not and for three days He is at the temple “. . . being about His Father’s business.” “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). Jesus grew in the application of knowledge (wisdom). He grew physically (stature). He grew in favor with man (socially) and in favor with God (spiritually). We know nothing of His life from the age of twelve until He begins His ministry at the age of 30.

From Christ’s early childhood the Gospels move ahead some 18 years. Even though this part of His life is not recorded we can assume that He was continuing to grow in areas of wisdom, physical, spiritual and social areas.

Christ's Baptism

From Christ’s early childhood the Gospels move ahead some 18 years. Even though this part of His life is not recorded we can assume that He was continuing to grow in areas of wisdom, physical, spiritual and social areas.

The first recorded event of Christ’s ministry was that of His baptism. Luke 3:21 gives us the first time Jesus prayed in the Gospels. It was at the occasion of His baptism. “Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him,6 and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.”

The entire Godhead was present. Of course, Jesus being in body was present as well as a voice from Heaven, the voice of God the Father, and the Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove. The ministry of the Holy Spirit would follow Him His entire ministry. Here is a partial list of the workings of the Holy Spirit in the life of Christ: 1.) Christ was begotten by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35); 2.) He was anointed by the Spirit (Matthew 3:16); 3.) He preached in the power of the Spirit (Luke 4:18); 4.) He was sealed by the Spirit (John 6:27); 5.) He sorrowed in the Spirit (John 11:33); 6.) He was led by the Spirit (Matthew 4:1); 7.) He was filled with the Spirit (John 3:34, Luke 4:1).

The Temptation

From His Baptism, Christ goes to the wilderness to pray and fast

for 40 days. The account is given in Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13. These two Gospels go into much more detail, but the temptation is also recorded in Mark 1:12, 13. In Mark’s account it is noticed that Jesus was with the wild beasts during His 40 day fast.

After His fast ends, satan makes his way into the picture to tempt the Christ. His first temptation, to turn the stones into bread was an attempt to have Christ fill His own stomach forcing Him to depend upon His own resources. Jesus combats this temptation and all others by using Scripture. In this case in Matthew 4:4 He compares it to Deuteronomy 8:3.

Secondly, satan tempts Christ to jump off the pinnacle of the temple. In this case, Christ would be forcing God’s hand for protection. God expects us likewise to be reasonable in our approach to life. Christ answers the devil with a quote from Deuteronomy 6:16 in Matthew 4:7).

Thirdly, satan tempts Christ by taking Him to a high mountain and showing Him the kingdoms of the world. Had Jesus accepted satan’s temptation, He would have bypassed Calvary, thus satan’s plan would have been complete. Christ counters the devil with Deuteronomy 6:13.

Now the question comes up, Were the kingdoms of the world really satan’s to offer? According to John 14:30 and Revelation 13:7, the world was put in the hands of satan. He is its prince and the ruler of the earth - for now. The day is coming quickly that Jesus will take back His position of the King.

Another question might be asked. Is this the only time satan tempted Christ? Absolutely not! In Luke 4:13 we are told that the devil departed for a season. Matthew 16:23 gives us further insight. “But he turned, and said unto Peter, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me…” If the devil does not stop working on you, he certainly would have had to spend more time working on Christ.

We might also ask, Could Christ have sinned during His time of temptation? No, He could not have sinned. II Corinthians 5:21 tells us that Christ knew no sin. I Peter 2:22 says that He did no sin. I John 3:5 and Hebrews 4:15 declare that Christ had no sin. As part of the attributes of God, He is sinless and cannot sin.

What then was the purpose of the temptations? It was not to see if He would sin, but to show that He could not sin. The purpose was to provide the believer with an experienced high priest (Hebrews 2:18; 4:15).

We will continue our study shortly.

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Comments 16 comments

Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

Very good. It makes me think of many Christians or so they claim to be (and even bible scholars) who want to say Jesus married and possibly had children and you just have to wonder how little people have to do. Jesus came here for one reason and there is nothing to make us think He would have a wife and/or children to leave behind. I believe Jesus used all His time from childhood up to His time studying and praying when not working. I can imagine Him in prayer and Spirit even while working.

If we all let the Spirit lead us, following Christ would be a much easier thing to do and more fruitful.

You were fast, I am not done with the other study yet! lol


JThomp42 3 years ago

Yes, Jesus Christ came to this world to spread his word and to die for all's sin. Awesome Hub again my friend!


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Good Morning Jackie,

It's amazing the foolishness of some people! They look for everything but the Truth. Of course the Truth would make them free. Instead they remain in bondage to the idol of "intellect" and their own sin. I agree that Jesus no doubt lived His earthly life in prayer and the Spirit.

Speaking of truth, you said it all, "If we all let the Spirit lead us, following Christ would be a much easier thing to do and more fruitful."

Thanks for the visit, Sister!


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

And Jeff my friend,

You're absolutely right. The only reason Christ came was to seek and to save (Luke 19:10). He's still doing that today for those that truly want and seek Him. Thanks for stopping by!


glynch1 profile image

glynch1 3 years ago

Since no one wants and seeks for God on their own, Christ must seek and draw them to Himself first.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

glynch1 ,

Yes. You're you're spot on. Thanks for adding to the conversation.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean

Thanks for this well presented overview of the gospels. The missing facts of Christ's childhood may not be essential, but we're sure that the facts of His ministry are. Very good job!


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Yes MsDora,

We know what we need to know You're absolutely right. Thanks for stopping by.


shofarcall profile image

shofarcall 3 years ago

Good morning Bill!

I am so thankful that the Father sought and drew me to His son. John 6:44 "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day."

Much insight gained here and loved the way you laid out some of the workings of the Holy Spirit and God in Christ's ministry as well as the presence and involvement of angels in His earthly minstry. What a mighty Lord we serve.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi Karen,

Thanks for checking in. Yes, we certainly do serve a mighty God. I was thinking in my prayer time yesterday how amazing it is that we, as sinful humans, can communicate directly with the God of Heaven. What a privilege! Thanks again for the visit.


kellyteam profile image

kellyteam 3 years ago from Michigan

hi Lifegate: Truly enjoying the Bible Study. Just a little concerned about one thing in this study though. In answering if the world was Satan's to offer, you seem to be indicating that it was. My understanding is yes satan is the prince of this world but Jesus is the king and always in control. Satan is allowed to do his deeds. I Cor. 10:26 the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. Can you help me understand your answer. Thank you much for sharing this study with us all to gain an understanding of the Word of God.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi KT,

I probably didn't explain all that needed to be explained. You're right on target, so I'm sorry to confuse you. Have a great weekend!


kellyteam profile image

kellyteam 3 years ago from Michigan

Thank you sir. Appreciate you responding. I plan to continue in the bible study to get a better understanding of The Word of God.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

You're quite welcome KT!


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 3 years ago from Southern Minnesota

I have always been curious about Jesus growing up years I guess as you say we just trust and understand that He developed as He was supposed to and if the events were significant to us in some way God would have shared that with us.

I loved the observation that Jesus first recorded prayer was at His baptism.

I also enjoyed the list of Holy Spirit and Father events. When they are laid out like this it really gives us a well rounded picture of how the Holy Spirit and the Father work.

Good stuff!


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

TJ,

Glad you were able to stop by. I guess as far as Jesus' growing up years - Silence is golden. What really matters is the way He finished, and finish He did! Thanks for checking in and adding to the conversation.

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