Chapter 7 Series of Withdrawals
Jesus’ public ministry in Galilee was now finished. John the Baptist was dead and the disciples had returned from their preaching tour. Jesus had also tried to withdraw from public attention. He wanted to be alone with his disciples and finish teaching them the truths of Christianity. He also needed time to prepare himself for his own suffering and death. In the last chapter we ended with Jesus’ first withdrawal. It was in the late spring of A.D. 29 when the crowds pursued him from Bethsaida Julias to Capernaum. Now, between early summer and mid-October he withdrew three more times.
Jesus’ Second Withdrawal 耶稣第二次“撤退”
After his meeting with the Jews who thought they could earn salvation by obeying the Old Testament laws, Jesus tried to withdraw for a second time. But once again he was not able to be alone.
Healing of the Canaanite Woman’s Daughter （Matt. 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30; John 7:1） 医治迦南妇人的女儿（马太福音15:21-28;马可福音7:24-30;约翰福音7:1）
Jesus would have been arrested if he had gone to Judea at this time. So instead he went north and east to the area around the Gentile cities of Tyre and Sidon. Even there his presence soon became known.
There a Gentile woman came to Jesus and begged him to heal her demon-possessed daughter. But Jesus pretended not to be interested or care about her problem. At last, however, the reason for his unusual behavior became clear. He had let the woman exercise her faith, thus making it stronger. Then Jesus gladly healed her daughter.
In the Gospels there are several stories in which Jesus attracted Gentile followers: the Wise Men who followed his star （Matt. 2:1-12）， the Samaritan woman at the well （John 4:4-26）， the centurion at Capernaum （Matt 8:5-13）， and now the Canaanite woman. Nevertheless, during his earthly stay Jesus spent most of his energy working among the Jews. After going back to heaven, Jesus would attract to himself the Gentiles as well （Luke 2:32）。
In general, then, the Gospels show the effect of Jesus’ Word among the Jews, while the rest of the New Testament shows the power of that Word among the Gentiles. Meanwhile, the New Testament as a whole presents Jesus as the only Savior for all mankind.
Jesus’ Third Withdrawal 耶稣第三次“撤退”
Apparently Jesus stayed for only a short time in the region of Tyre and Sidon. We are not told why he left so soon. Perhaps it was because crowds of curious people were again bothering him. Therefore Jesus withdrew for yet a third time.
Healing in Decapolis （Matt. 15:29-31; Mark 7:31-37） 在低加波利的医治（马太福音15:29-31;马可福音7:31-37）
The exact route of Jesus’ third withdrawal is not given in the Scriptures. The master and his disciples probably crossed northern Galilee, then went south to the Sea of Galilee. From there they would have gone on to the partly pagan area of Decapolis （east of the Sea of Galilee）。 During the days of walking and the nights of camping out under the summer skies Jesus taught the disciples many things.
The name of Jesus was big news in Decapolis. Therefore, a large crowd soon gathered, including many sick people, and one deaf and dumb man. Jesus took that man aside, touched his ear with his finger and touched his tongue with saliva from his mouth. At the command ”be opened“ the man’s ears and mouth were restored to their normal use.
Feeding of the Four Thousand （Matt. 15:32-38; Mark 8:1-9） 喂饱4000人（马太福音15:32-38;马可福音8:1-9）
When the crowd saw that Jesus had healed the man, they began to praise the God of Israel （Matt. 15:31）。 For the next three days they followed Jesus in the desert. The Lord knew that the heat of the summer sun and the lack of food would soon weaken the people. So he told the people to sit down, gave thanks, and with a few small fish and seven loaves of bread fed 4000 men, plus many other women and children. There were seven baskets of leftovers collected after the meal.
Return to Galilee （Matt. 15:39-16:4; Mark 8:9-12） 回到加利利（马太福音15:39-16:4;马可福音8:9-12）
Jesus sent the people away after they had eaten. Then, along with the disciples, he got on a boat and set sail for the opposite shore – the area of Magdala.
Somehow the Galileans found out that Jesus was returning. As the boat came to shore, there were Pharisees and Sadducees waiting to meet him.
Normally the Pharisees and Sadducees were enemies. But both groups hated Jesus so much that they now were working together. The Pharisees held to every word of the Old Testament and tried to earn salvation by obeying its laws. The Sadducees used the Old Testament as just a general guide and didn’t even believe in life after death. Both groups, however, agreed that Jesus was not God’s Son or the Messiah. The two groups of Jewish leaders now commanded Jesus to do a miracle to prove that he was the Messiah. Apparently the feeding of the 5000 was not enough proof for them.
Jesus was astonished at their unbelief. They could read the signs of the weather （red sky in the morning, sailor take warning; red sky at night, sailor’s delight）。 But they could not read the signs that Jesus was God （his many miracles in Galilee and his teachings）。
耶稣对他们的不信感到震惊。他们通晓天气变化的征兆（早晨天发红，水手们要小心了；晚上天发红，水手们安枕无忧）。但是他们却读不出耶稣是上帝的征兆（他在加利利所行很多的神迹和他的教导）。 Jesus did not immediately follow their demands. Instead, he promised a final sign to show that he was God – the sign of Jonah. Just like Jonah came back after three days in the whale, Jesus would also rise from the dead.
Jesus’ Fourth Withdrawal 耶稣第四次“撤退”
Jesus’ stay in Galilee was short. After his run in with the Jewish leaders he left Galilee and the cities where he had preached and worked miracles. He headed for Bethsaida Julias, but first he stopped on a mountain in the northern part of Galilee.
Warning Against Pharisees and Sadducees （Matt. 16:4-12; Mark 8:14-21） 警惕法利赛人和撒都该人（马太福音16:5-12;马可福音8:14-21）
Jesus and the disciples got on a boat and sailed north. Although his heart was full of sorrow, he still continued to teach his disciples. He warned them not to become legalistic like the Pharisees or to deny Scripture like the Sadducees. He compared their errors to yeast in bread. And it was a powerful comparison. Just as a little yeast spreads through all the bread dough, any doctrinal error can spread through the whole teaching of salvation. Unfortunately, at this time the disciples missed the point of Jesus’ instruction.
Blind Man at Bethsaida （Mark 8:22-26） 伯赛大的瞎子（马可福音8:22-26）
The boat sailed north until the Lord and his followers got off near Bethsaida Julias. Soon a blind man was led to Jesus. Christ, not wanting to gather a crowd, led the man to a place where they could be more alone. Then Jesus restored the man’s sight.
This time Jesus did not cure the man all at once, but little by little. However, when the man could see clearly Jesus commanded him to keep silent about the miracle. He did not want another crowd to gather.
Peter’s Second Great Confession （Matt. 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-21） 彼得第二次伟大的宣告（马太福音16:13-20;马可福音8:27-30;路加福音9:18-21）
Jesus’ search for privacy and rest took him from Bethsaida Julias to the very northern part of Israel, to the city of Caesarea Philippi. This 30 mile walk was uphill all the way. Jesus carried with him a concern for the spiritual welfare of all mankind – of the disciples in particular. Thus, Jesus asked the disciples, ”Who do people say I am?“ （Mark 8:27）。 Their answer was disappointing. The Jews considered Jesus to be a prophet sent from God, but not God’s Son, the Savior. Jesus faced the disciples and ask, ”Who do you say I am?“（Mark 8:29）。 It was Peter who gave the correct answer. He confessed, ”You are the Christ, the Son of the living God“ （Matt. 16:16）。
While Jesus was happy with Peter’s answer, he quickly added that it was God who had created this faith within Peter. Anyone who makes such a Peter-like confession will gain entry into the Kingdom of God. Upon this truth the church is built. Furthermore, Jesus commanded the believers （the Church） to use God’s Law to tell unrepentant sinners that they will not enter heaven, and to use the Gospel of Jesus Christ （including the Sacraments） to unlock the gates of the kingdom for those who do repent.
Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection （Matt. 16:21-28; Mark 8:31-9:1; Luke 9:22-27） 耶稣预言他的死和复活（马太福音16:21-28;马可福音8:31-9:1;路加福音9:22-27）
Jesus knew from Peter’s confession that the disciples understood he was God’s Son. Yet they still did not understand his plan for saving the world. In order to explain this plan Jesus now began to give them details about his coming death and resurrection. He said that soon they would go to Jerusalem where he would be executed by the Jewish religious leaders. But on the third day he would come to life again.
At least once before Jesus had told about his death （John 3:14）。 This time, however, Peter objected. Pulling Jesus aside, Peter told Jesus he was wrong to speak about dying. Jesus answered, ”Out of my sight, Satan!“ （Mark 8:33）。 These were the same words Jesus had directed toward the devil in the wilderness two and a half years earlier, and for good reason. Both the devil and Peter tried to keep Jesus from fulfilling his saving mission.
Jesus then went on to give a sermon to his disciples. He told them why Peter’s human point of view was wrong. ”What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet lose his own soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for His soul?“ （Mark 8:36-37）。
The Transfiguration （Matt. 17:1-13; Mark 9:2-13; Luke 9:28-36） 登山变像（马太福音17:1-13;马可福音9:2-13;路加福音9:28-36）
Six days later Jesus’ closest disciples （Peter, James, and John） had an unforgettable experience. John later wrote concerning it ”We have seen his [Jesus’] glory… （John 1:14）。 Peter wrote, “We were eyewitnesses of his majesty…” （2 Pet. 1:16）。
As frequently was His custom, Jesus went up on a mountain to pray in the evening. This time he and his three disciples went up the side of a mountain, probably Mt. Hermon. As he climbed Jesus thought about his own sufferings and death were on his mind.
During the night while the disciples slept, Jesus’ divine nature which was usually invisible, suddenly showed itself. Jesus began to glow like a great white light. While he was in this “transfigured” （changed） condition, Moses the lawgiver, and Elijah the greatest prophet joined him. They discussed together Jesus’ death. This event gave Jesus the comfort and strength he needed to continue on toward his death.
While Jesus was transfigured the disciples woke up and saw him. Not knowing what to do or say, Peter suggested that he build little shelters for the glorious trio.
We may wonder why only these three disciples were blessed with this experience, just as they had been singled out once before （Luke 8:51-56）。 Perhaps it was to help prepare them also for their later lives. James would be the first disciple to die for his faith （Acts 12:2）。 The knowledge of Jesus’ resurrection and this vision of glory must have given him strength during his own death! Peter was the most important missionary to the Jews. He also would be put to death by ungodly men. The sight of the glorified Jesus made him bold to confess him as the Messiah （cf 2 Pet. 1:16-18）。 Finally, for John the transfiguration was a proof that Jesus was God （John 1:14）， and it was a source of strength for him as well. He was the last disciple to die. While exiled to an island and separated from fellow believers, he could remember the glory which awaits the faithful, even the glory of Moses and Elijah （Rev. 1:9）。
Healing the Boy with a Demon （Matt. 17:14-20; Mark 9:14-29; Luke 9:37-43） 医治被鬼附的男孩（马太福音17:14-20;马可福音9:14-29;路加福音9:37-43）
The next morning, Jesus and his disciples quietly walked back down the mountain. At the bottom, however, they found a large crowd gathered.
Jesus soon learned that in the crowd was a poor young boy. He could not talk or hear; he had symptoms of epilepsy; and he was demon-possessed. Furthermore, the disciples had not been able to help him.
Jesus was angered by the merciless, miracle seeking crowd. He had mercy on the father and his only son. As usual, Jesus strengthened the faith of the father and cured the boy.
Jesus Again Prophecies His Death and Resurrection （Matt. 17:22-23; Mark 9:30-32; Luke 9:43-45） 耶稣再次预言他的死亡和复活（马太福音17:22-23;马可福音9:30-32;路加福音9:43-45）
As mentioned earlier, the death of John the Baptist was a turning point in Jesus’ life. From then on Jesus became firmly convinced that soon he must suffer and die for the sins of man. Jesus continued to think about his suffering, death, and resurrection. After leaving the crowd and the healed boy behind, Jesus continued to teach the disciples about the sorrowful, yet glorious days ahead.
Paying the Temple Tax （Matt. 17:24-27; Mark 9:33） 交付圣殿税（马太福音17:24-27;马可福音9:33）
Perhaps it was mid-September when Jesus and his disciples left the area of Caesarea Philippi. They traveled along the west side of the Sea of Galilee until they came to Capernaum. There Peter was met by a tax collector.
Every Jewish male over 20 years of age had to pay a tax each year to support the temple in Jerusalem （Exod. 30:12-16）。 While the tax was generally collected during the Passover festival, Peter and Jesus had not yet paid.
Jesus showed how silly the situation was. A king’s subjects, not the king’s children, pay for the upkeep on the palace. The Jerusalem temple was God the Father’s house. Jesus was his Son, yet he was expected to pay the tax. Nevertheless, to obey the law, Jesus produced money for Peter and himself from the mouth of a fish.
Teaching the Disciples （Matt. 18:1-35; Mark 9:33-50; Luke 9:46-50） 教导门徒（马太福音18:1-35;马可福音9:33-50;路加福音9:46-50）
Jesus had withdrawn several times in order to think about his work and death. At the same time he wanted to continue teaching his disciples. Scripture describes some of the issues Jesus discussed with his disciples near the end of his fourth withdrawal.
About who was most important. The disciples debated “which of them would be the greatest” （Luke 9:46）。 The answer: a person becomes great by being humble, not seeking glory for himself.
About true and false teachers. John noted “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us” （Luke 9:49）。 The answer: service in Christ’s name, not a ranking with the apostles, is God-pleasing.
About giving offense. Jesus gave a stern warning about giving offense and causing others to lose their faith. He also showed the foolishness of allowing temptations to continue, temptations which could cause a person to fall from faith.
About the value of the individual. Looking at a little child, Jesus spoke of the value of individual souls. The tiny child is important to God and must not be prevented from coming to him. The lost sheep must be returned to the sheep pen. How far should believers go to return a brother to the flock? Jesus explained the proper steps in disciplining church members.
About forgiveness. Peter asked how often he should forgive someone who sinned against him. Jesus answered: always. Speaking in a parable Christ taught Peter that when the issue of forgiving someone arises he should remember the debt God has forgiven him.