Hey everyone, I’m Josh Hawkins, welcome to episode 156, the final episode of Opening Up the Gospels. In the summer of 2013, I set out to record a weekly video on the life of Jesus as narrated by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Loosely basing the videos off of Alfred Edersheim’s work, “The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah”, I produced a total of 157 videos up to this point of about 10 minutes each. It’s been an amazing journey through the Gospels as I’ve chronologically walked through the events of the life of Jesus, as I’ve explained and given context to His words, and as I’ve personally grown in my love for Him in the process as I hope you have too. Let me offer a quick summary of the series: The first 10 episodes were introductory – giving several of the reasons why I was motivated to talk about Jesus’ life as well as giving a summary of biblical meditation and an overview of all four of the Gospels. Beginning in Episode 11 all the way through Episode 32, I looked at the events surrounding Jesus’ birth, including the birth of His relative John the Baptist, the story of the two aged Jews, Simeon and Anna, who were eagerly anticipating God to fulfill His promises, the visit of the Magi from the east, and the silent years of Jesus. During that time, I also produced an extended supplemental episode called “Biblical Foundations of Messiah and Christ” that looked at the meaning of those words from the Scriptures. Then, I broke Jesus’ two-year ministry down into six main sections. They were: The Early Judean period – which was covered in episodes 33 through 52, was the period in roughly early 27AD where we looked at Jesus’ baptism, the wedding at Cana, Jesus and Nicodemus, and the first overtly public act in His ministry, the cleansing of the Temple. Then there was: The Early Galilean period – which covered episodes 53 through 60 through where Jesus withdrew to Galilee where many miracles were performed and Jesus went on a circuit around the cities in the northern part of Israel, appealing to them to bear the fruits of repentance. This is the time when Jesus also called His twelve disciples to a formal discipleship relationship. Then, we transitioned to The Mid Galilean period – which spanned from episodes 61 through 72 and covers the time period of the calling of the Twelve through the sending of the Twelve, and included events like the Sermon on the Mount, the healing of the centurion’s servant, the calming of the storm, and many of Jesus’ parables about the kingdom of God. Then, we looked at – The Late Galilean period – which I covered in Episodes 73 through 84. It was during this time that the second Passover of Jesus’ ministry took place. He fed the 5,000 and the 4,000 on separate occasions, made the Pharisees really mad, gave the famous “eat my flesh drink my blood” sermon in the synagogue in Capernaum, and then headed north to Caesarea Phillipi, where Peter’s tested confession of Jesus as the Christ took place and Jesus first predicted his suffering. The transfiguration also took place during that time. And then we looked at: The Late Judean and Perean period – there were many things that took place during this period, which I covered in Episodes 85 through 114. We looked at the Lord’s prayer, Jesus’ visits to the Feast of Tabernacles and the Feast of Dedication, many of Jesus’ parables, including the well-known parable of the prodigal son. We talked about Jesus’ words to the Pharisees and His disciples about the coming of the kingdom, and the parable of the persistent widow. We finished this period with Jesus being anointed in Bethany, which led to the final events of His life in the period many call – Passion Week. I covered all of the events in the final week of Jesus’ life and beyond in Episodes 115 through the end of the last episode, including the Last Supper, the crucifixion, and the resurrection. One thing I hope you’ve been able to see is how much of a summary the Gospels are giving us of Jesus’ life. John writes this in John 20: “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:30–31 ESV) There are so many things we don’t know about, and there will be much to ask Him about when He returns and rules from Jerusalem in the age to come. Now, my goal was not to be comprehensive or offer exhaustive commentary on every verse in the Gospels, but to give you a chronological overview of Jesus’ life in short segments each week. In the very first episode, I talked about a cycle that we intuitively understand from our friendships and relationships – it’s that knowledge of someone leads to an overflowing heart, which in turn stirs us to a desire for more knowledge, such that our heart would overflow even more, etc. I think it’s such a common thing, at least here in the western world, where Christians cry out “God, I want to know you!” but we let the book He’s given us to know Him just sit on our desk or bookshelf and don’t actually pick it up to read it and talk to Him about it. We neglect the “knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” that’s found in the Bible and often times exchange it for experiences or dreams or worship conferences or missions trips, as if those things could somehow really bring us the knowledge of God we’re after. We sing and say we’re desperate to know Him, but we’re led astray and never actually run to the place where we actually know Him from His word. Throughout this series, I’ve sought to give you points for meditation – things for you to ponder and dialogue with Jesus about. If all you’ve come away with is some new information, then I’ve failed in what I set out to do for you. But if, even for just a few minutes, your mind began to ponder and your heart began to overflow with love and a desire to know and imitate Jesus in His manner of life, then the Lord has answered my prayer. I’ve set out to be faithful to tell you His story and bring you into the Jewish world of the first century. I’m sure there’s plenty of things I said that I didn’t have quite right, but I hope that what I did say has encouraged you and strengthened your confidence in everything the God of Israel has said through His word. With 156 episodes, you could watch one per week and finish in exactly three years. In all honesty, I didn’t plan that – it’s pretty cool how it just worked out. When I began this project in 2013, I had no idea how much I would grow and learn personally. The discipline of having to make a weekly episode for you kept me connected to Jesus’ life and story, often times taking 6-8 hours per week to study, write, record, and edit each episode. So much clarity has come to me as I’ve looked at the details of the Gospels. But I’ve also realized I have so much more to learn. Ten minutes a week wasn’t and isn’t enough. John’s words in John 21 are more true to me today than they were when I began these videos in 2013. He writes: “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” (John 21:25 ESV) I may look a little different than I did when I started recording these episodes four years ago, but my heart remains the same as it was when I recorded the very first one in the summer of 2013, and that is for these short episodes to be a launching pad for you to dive into knowing Jesus and His word deeply. I pray this humble contribution to the body of Messiah would help us to marvel at “the unsearchable riches of Christ” , the one “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”. I pray that they help us “eagerly wait” for His return to restore the kingdom to Israel and to rule in Jerusalem.