Chapter 1: John the Baptist is the primary subject of this chapter, but it also includes Gabriel’s announcement to Mary of the coming baby Jesus. First Gabriel announces to John’s father Zechariah that his wife, though she was “well along in years,” would bear him a son. Then Gabriel was sent to Mary to tell her that she would bear a son, though she was a virgin, whom she should name Jesus. The angel also informs Mary that her cousin Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy, so Mary went to visit Elizabeth. Elizabeth had her baby, and on the eighth day he was given the name John as the angel had instructed Zechariah.
Chapter 2: Jesus now takes the stage through His birth in Bethlehem. On that night, an angel of the Lord appeared to shepherds out in the fields nearby and declared to them the birth of the Messiah; they immediately sought out the child who was lying in a manger. On the eighth day, Mary and Joseph went to the temple to have the child circumcised, and in the temple, Simeon and Anna both beheld the child, rejoicing and prophesying over Him. When the boy had reached twelve, after the Feast of the Passover He stayed behind in the temple courts for three days (unbeknown to His parents), asking and answering questions.
Chapter 3: The narrative returns to John the Baptist, who is now grown and preaching a baptism of repentance in the desert. John declared that One was coming after him who would be far greater than he was. John baptized Jesus along with all the people, but when he had baptized Jesus, heaven opened up and the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus and a voice from heaven expressed God’s love for and pleasure with His Son. Following this event is a record tracing Jesus’ genealogy to God.
Chapter 4: Jesus was led out into the desert by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil, and He refuted the devil, who then left Him until another time. Returning to His hometown, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath and read from Isaiah 61, of which He then claimed to be the fulfillment. He enraged his audience by stating that no prophet is accepted in his hometown. He escaped to Capernaum where he entered the synagogue on the Sabbath and cast out a demon from a man. Afterward he went to Simon’s house, and there He healed many, including Simon’s mother-in-law. He continued to preach in the synagogues of Galilee.
Chapter 5: Jesus recruited Simon, James, and John as permanent followers through a large catch of fish. While He was in a certain town He cured a man of leprosy. On another day, He was teaching and some men lowered a paralytic through the roof down to Him. First He told the man that his sins were forgiven, and then he healed him, proving that He had authority to forgive sins. After this, Jesus attended a banquet at Levi’s house where many tax collectors and “sinners” were gathered, saying that He had come for sinners and not the righteous.
Chapter 6: Jesus staked His claim as Lord of the Sabbath by refuting the Pharisees and by healing on the Sabbath. Having prayed through the night before, He chose twelve whom He called apostles. After this, He was healing people from all over of diseases and evil spirits, and He began to teach His disciples, speaking blessings on those who were downcast and woes upon those enjoying the comforts of earth. He taught them concerning love, judging, bearing fruit (which comes from the heart), and obedience to God.
Chapter 7: After this teaching, Jesus entered Capernaum and healed the servant of a centurion with a word. Then He went to Nain and revived a young man being carried out of the city, restoring him to his mother. John the Baptist, who had been imprisoned by Herod, sent two disciples to inquire of Jesus as to whether He was the Christ or they should expect someone else. He sent them back with the testimony of what their eyes had seen and ears had heard. When they had gone, Jesus spoke to the crowd concerning John, who had come in fulfillment of Malachi 3:1. Next Jesus attended dinner at a Pharisee’s house; while there a sinful woman came and cried at His feet, wiping them with her hair, and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee mentally objected to this activity, Jesus reminded him that she had been hospitable while he had not and that she loved much because she had been forgiven much.
Chapter 8: Jesus continued to travel, and several women whom He had cured provided for Him and His companions. When a large crowd had gathered, He told a parable about the mixed results of proclaiming the word. On another day, He and His disciples set out to cross the Sea of Galilee, and a squall arose. The disciples panicked, but upon their waking Him, Jesus rebuked the wind and the waves. At the shore they were met by a demon-possessed man, and Jesus cast the demons out into a herd of pigs. When Jesus had returned to the other shore, Jairus asked Him to heal his dying daughter. On the way, a woman touched His clothes and was healed of her bleeding. After this, Jesus revived Jairus’s daughter.
Chapter 9: Jesus sent out the Twelve to drive out demons, heal the sick, and preach the kingdom of God. When they returned, Jesus took them to Bethsaida, but a crowd gathered around Him there. As the day waned, He decided to feed the crowd (there were about 5,000 men) with only five loaves and two fish; there were twelve basketfuls left over. Once Jesus asked His disciples who He was and then warned them that He must suffer and that the cost of following Him was great. A week later He was transfigured before Peter, James, and John up on a mountain. The next day Jesus drove out a demon that the disciples could not; then He predicted His betrayal. As they headed for Jerusalem they came upon three men who desired to follow Jesus and yet hold on to their lives as well.
Chapter 10: Jesus sent out seventy-two others in pairs to heal the sick and proclaim the kingdom of God in the places He intended to go. He warned them not to rejoice in their authority but in their future dwelling place. On one day Jesus illustrated the second greatest commandment with the story of the good Samaritan. In His travels, He came to the home of Mary and Martha. Martha worried about many things, but Mary sat at Jesus’ feet.
Chapter 11: One time Jesus taught His disciples about prayer. Another time He refuted those who said that He drove out demons by the prince of demons. He also condemned His generation for looking for a sign when the Queen of the South and the men of Nineveh believed without one. While at the house of a Pharisee, He pronounced woes on the Pharisees and experts in the law.
Chapter 12: Jesus warned His disciples against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, against fearing men, and against greed. He taught them that God knows everyone intimately and He will provide for each one as He does for all His creation. Then He exhorts them to vigilance and faithfulness. He forecasts the division that faith in Him will cause within families, and he admonishes the crowd to settle disputes before coming to the judge.
Chapter 13: Jesus warned the crowd that they would perish apart from repentance and bearing fruit. On a Sabbath Jesus healed a woman who was bent over while teaching in the synagogue. When opposed for this, Jesus compared His work to untying a beast of burden on the Sabbath. Then He taught the people about the kingdom of God, comparing it with a mustard seed and with yeast. He exhorted one inquirer to enter through the narrow gate because many will not be able to. He refused to be disturbed by a threat from Herod; instead, He mourned over Jerusalem.
Chapter 14: At a Pharisee’s home Jesus healed on the Sabbath, having challenged those attending as to whether it was lawful or not to do so. He told a parable to illustrate the virtue of humility and another one to encourage hospitality to the poor. He told a third parable showing that the Jews would be passed by for passing on the kingdom of God. Jesus also warned the large crowds that followed Him that the cost of being His disciple were very great and should be carefully considered first.
Chapter 15: Jesus told three parables to illustrate the joy in heaven of recovering the lost ones of Israel. The first was about a sheep that had gone astray, which the shepherd leaves the flock to find. The second tells of a woman who had lost a silver coin, and she swept the house until she found it. The final story relates the splurging of a young son’s wealth on wild living, his humiliation of trying to survive during an ensuing famine, and his return to his father, who was filled with joy to see him.
Chapter 16: Jesus told His disciples a parable about a rich man’s shrewd steward to show that worldly wealth should be used to gain friends. Good stewardship of worldly things makes one trustworthy for receiving heavenly riches. Jesus then rebuked the Pharisees nearby because they loved money, and He proclaimed that the Law would not pass away and that divorce was like adultery. Next He told of a certain rich man who enjoyed the good life but suffered for eternity and of a poor man, who lived at the rich man’s gates, who suffered during his life but was comforted in the afterlife.
Chapter 17: Jesus warned His disciples not to cause another to sin but to forgive anyone who sins against them but repents. He reminded them of a servant’s attitude of humility. On His journey to Jerusalem, He healed ten lepers, but only one returned to give Him thanks, and that a Samaritan. On a different occasion, He told His disciples about His second coming, comparing it to the days of Noah and the days of Lot. On that day, no one should hold on to the world as Lot’s wife did, for two may be together and one will be taken, the other left behind.
Chapter 18: Jesus told His disciples a parable about a woman who persistently pleaded for justice until she received it to illustrate the virtue of persistence in prayer. He told a parable to those who proudly thought they were righteous, saying that humility justifies a man before God. He also showed His disciples how hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God, because they are even more unwilling to give up the world for eternal life. Jesus explained to His disciples that they were going up to Jerusalem to fulfill His death and resurrection according to the prophets. When they neared Jericho on this journey, Jesus stopped to heal a blind beggar.
Chapter 19: As Jesus and His disciples passed through Jericho, they met Zacchaeus and went to stay at his house. While there Jesus told a parable to illustrate the need for good stewardship until the kingdom of God comes. After this He went up to Jerusalem and entered riding on a colt. While those around Him rejoiced at His coming, He wept over Jerusalem because of its coming destruction. Then He went into the temple and drove out those who were selling there.
Chapter 20: As He taught in the temple, His opponents challenged His authority, but He replied by asking about John the Baptist’s authority. Then He told a parable illustrating Israel’s treatment of the prophets and soon-to-be treatment of the Son. The religious leaders tried to trap Him in His words; they asked whether it was lawful to pay tribute to Caesar or not and whose wife she would be in the resurrection if a woman remarried according to the levarite law. After wisely answering these questions, Jesus asked how David could call his son “Lord.”
Chapter 21: Jesus observed the generosity of a poor widow who gave all she had to the temple. Then He warned His disciples concerning their coming persecution, the destruction of the temple, and the signs of His second coming. There will be signs in the heavens and on the earth and among the nations. He admonished them to watch and pray, that they may be able to stand.
Chapter 22: Judas offered to betray Jesus when no crowd was present because Satan had entered him. Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples, and He instructed them concerning His upcoming sacrifice with the cup and the bread. He told them that humility made one great in His kingdom. He predicted Peter would deny Him, and He warned them that they would need to travel prepared. Then He went to the Mount of Olives to pray, and there He was betrayed by Judas. Peter followed the mob to the courtyard of the high priest where he denied Him three times. Jesus was beaten and mocked and questioned.
Chapter 23: Jesus was brought before Pilate, who found Him unworthy of capital punishment. Pilate nonetheless sent Him to Herod, who questioned Him and then mocked Him, dressing Him in a royal robe. Jesus was returned to Pilate, who then told the crowd that he would punish Him and release Him. The crowd demanded that Pilate crucify Jesus, and he gave in. He was led away with two bandits and crucified. He was mocked, but one crucified with Him was yet admitted into Paradise. Finally Jesus gave up His spirit. His body was taken and laid in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea.
Chapter 24: The women found the tomb empty on the first day of the week, and two angels proclaimed that He had risen! The apostles did not believe the women, but Peter ran to see the tomb. The same day Jesus appeared to two disciples traveling to Emmaus, but they did not recognize Him until He broke bread with them. They raced back to Jerusalem to tell the others, and while they were still speaking, Jesus appeared among them. He taught them what the Scriptures said about Him and instructed them to stay in Jerusalem until they were clothed with power from on high. Finally, He ascended into heaven.