Hard Times.

The Jews came back to Jerusalem, and made their home once more in the old places. But that was followed by hard


The powerful Greeks, under Alexander the Great, conquered them, and ruled the Jews in ways not pleasant. Then the mighty Romans invaded Palestine, and set up officers that were hated by the people. All this went on for many, many


But the Jews expected some great man to appear, a Jew, one of their own nation, who would drive out the oppressors, and make the people free and happy. He did not come. Still, the Jews never lost courage and faith. They looked for a King of their own, a Messiah, a Saviour. Something Different.

There were some Jews who did not think that way. They expected a Deliverer, a Leader, but he would not be a King. He would come to bring religion, and work hard to make the people good and noble. There were not many who believed this.

We have a description of one man who looked for a religious Messiah. His name was John the Baptist. A strange, rough man, who wore coarse clothing, lived in the woods, and preached. He had quite a number of disciples. He was called The Baptist because he made every one go down into a stream of water who joined his cause, and then John said, You are converted, and belong to the good people. That was the bap


John was saying to all who went out of the cities to hear him: Repent, repent, the kingdom of God is at hand. Take warning, take warning, or you will be lost. Wonderful things are to happen. Be prepared, be prepared.

A Greater.

We read in the books of the New Testament, which we are now to examine, that about this time a young man went to hear

John preach. Perhaps he had done this many times before. But this day the Preacher from the Wilderness cried to the crowd about him: There comes one greater than myself. I am the Herald, he is the Messenger. I baptize with water, but he will baptize with fire. I must decrease, but he will increase.

Who was this person to whom John turned with such admiration ? Do we know anything about him? All this happened nineteen hundred years ago. Yes! His name was Jesus, of Nazareth. It is about him that the New Testament is written,about what he said and did.

On that day, so long ago, Jesus was baptized by John, the Herald; and soon after Jesus became the Messenger of good news, of salvation, to all the Jews.


But the Jews did not accept him. Jesus went up and down Galilee and Judea, teaching, preaching, healing, helping; but the Jews did not believe he was the Messiah for whom they waited. John, the Herald, was beheaded in prison; and Jesus, the Messenger, after three years of persecution, was put to death upon the cross. And, when he died, there were only a few men

and women left who loved and honored his name.

After a while a Jew named Saul, afterward called Paul, became converted; and he made missionary journeys over water and land, to carry the gospel of Jesus. Paul did more than any one, except Jesus, to spread the gospel of good news. The Seed.

Jesus was like John the Baptist in one way: he said everywhere, Repent, repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand. But Jesus was different in many respects. He did not put on coarse garments; he did not fast so much; he did not live in the woods; he did not talk in the stern, threatening tones John used.

Jesus was kind to all. He loved children, and visited homes. He taught people to believe in a Heavenly Father. He went about doing good. Some of the beautiful things he said we are not to have in these lessons, because they have been put into other lessons.

Growth of the Mustard Seed.

Jesus had a few disciples who went with him everywhere on his travels. They were men of lowly birth, such as fishermen and farmers. Sometimes they could not understand what

The Master, as they called him, said. He was too deep. But they loved him, believed in him, all save one, Judas by name, who betrayed Jesus to his enemies.

A mustard seed is one of the smallest of seeds. Yet, when planted and grown, it comes to a wonderfully large harvest. So was this gospel of Jesus just like a tiny mustard seed. Jesus planted it, Paul cultivated it, and now it is growing all over the wide world.

The Jews do not follow Jesus now. They say he was not the looked-for Messiah. They praise his teachings, but will not accept his leadership: they wait for "another to come." Some Jews expect to go back to Jerusalem, and there have a great kingdom such as Isaiah described.


The name “Christian" did not appear for a long time after Jesus died. His followers were first called Nazarenes, and he was known as The Nazarene Prophet. But in a city called Antioch, where the Apostle Paul was preaching, in fun and mockery Paul and his companions were called Christians. Paul said Jesus was The Christ,- that is, the Anointed, the Chosen, and in ridicule the people cried out, "Behold the Christians!" That is the way the name came which we bear.


1. Interest the class in the character of John the Baptist. Describe his habits.

2. Give the main facts about the early life of Jesus, and show the connection between him and John.

3. Explain the Jewish ideas of the Messiahship. Point out how Jesus was looked at by the pharisees and scribes, and why they hated him.


Who was John the Baptist? Where did he live? What did he say of Jesus? What is baptism? Is it practised now? What river is associated with the baptism of Jesus? Did Jesus have many disciples? Who was Paul? Did he ever see Jesus? What did Paul do? Do the Jews accept Jesus? Why? How is Christianity like a mustard seed? Do the Jews read the

New Testament in their churches?

Lesson XIX.



let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfil. For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you; that ye may be sons of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust. Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

MATTHEW, chapter five.


The Beginning.

You remember what was said about Paul, who became a disciple of the gospel of good news, and began to go everywhere, telling people what he believed to be the truth. was well educated. So he soon wrote letters, "epistles," which were read among the little missionary churches.

These epistles were in the days of no printing. So copies were made by hand, and distributed. Paul wrote very carefully, intending to argue, teach, and encourage. His letters were more like our sermon pamphlets.

What part of the New Testament do you suppose was first written? Not the Gospels, that come first in the Christian Bible, but some of the Epistles. Yes! Paul's letter to the Thessalonians was probably the earliest part of the whole collection.


Paul started a Christian church in Thessalonica. Find it on the map. But he was driven away by enemies. So he wrote the two letters I have mentioned, to the faithful worshippers in that city, to cheer their spirits and to keep them together.

This was over twenty years after Jesus had passed away. After that Paul wrote other letters to other missionary churches, for the same purpose; and they are named after the cities where the churches existed. These are the Epistle to the Galatians, the Epistle to the Ephesians, also Colossians and Philippians. A quarrel would break out in some one of the little societies, and Paul then sent a letter of advice and friendly warning. These Epistles were finally brought together. They were the beginnings of the New Testament. But where were the "Gospels" all this time?

Oral and Written.

Jesus did not write anything, so far as we know. taught by conversation and preaching. After his death the little band of followers repeated his sayings. They quoted from others and used what they had heard. Many of them expected their Master to come back. They so understood some

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