(Mt. 22:15-22, Mk. 12:13-17, Lk. 20:20-26)
Pharisees and Herodians tested the Lord Jesus Christ, asking whether it was lawful to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not. According to Mosaic Law, it was not allowed to pay a tax to an idolatrous king. If Christ answered: yes, it is lawful to pay the tax, He would be against the Law, while if He opposed the idea of paying the tax, He would be handed over to the Roman prefect as someone who opposed the Emperor.
(Mt. 22:1-14, Lk. 14:7-24)
Jesus instructs those invited to feasts not to pick the places of honor, but to show humility. He also commands not to invite relatives and the rich to lunch or dinner, but to invite the poor and strangers.
The second part of this episode presents the Parable of the Wedding Feast. Those who had beforehand agreed to take part in the celebration refused to do so on the wedding day.
We are also invited by the Lord to sit at the table in the Kingdom of Heaven. How do we react to and prepare for this invitation?
(Mf. 21:28-32, 21:33-46; Mk. 12:1-12; Lk. 20:9-19)
The first part of this episode reflects on the Parable of the Two Sons. In the parable, the first son promises to go and work in the garden, but does not go; while the second son first refuses, but finally, regretting, goes and works.
The second parable presented is that of the wicked husbandmen. They rented a garden, a winepress and a tower. They had to give part of the fruits to the owner of the vineyard, but refused to do so and even killed the only son of the owner.
At the end of the parable, Christ identifies Himself with the stone that had been rejected by all the builders, whereas it was the stone to become the cornerstone for the entire building.
(Mt. 21:23-27; Mk. 11:27-33; Lk. 20:1-8)
Shortly after the Lord Jesus Christ overthrew the tables of the dove sellers and money changers and preached in the Temple, He was asked about His authority. He did not answer it, but asked another question: "Was John's baptism from humans or from heaven?" If the Pharisees had answered that it was from heaven, Jesus would ask: "Then why didn't you believe him?" While if they said it was from humans, they were afraid of the people, because the latter considered John a prophet.
(Mt. 21:18-22, Mk. 11:13-14, 20-25)
This episode presents the story of the barren fig tree. The fig tree had a magnificent view and lush leaves, but had no fruits. Christ was hungry and did not find any fruit on the fig tree. And because of this the fig tree dried up. The fig tree symbolized a whole nation, that is, the Jewish people. But this example concerns each of us personally. Every Christian should look at the example of the fig tree and in order to bear fruit, should take the first step — to forgive all who have sinned against him or her.
(Mt. 21:9-17, Mk. 11:15-19, Lk. 19:45-48)
After entering Jerusalem, the Lord Jesus Christ came to the Temple and drove out the money changers and dove sellers. Citing the words of Isaiah 56:7, Jesus said that the Lord's house must be a house of prayer, not a den of robbers.
After that, the blind and lame came to Jesus, and the Lord healed them. The children blessed the Lord with the words, "Blessed is the Son of David." Through these words, the prophecy of Psalm 8:3 was fulfilled.
(Mt. 21:1-11, Mk. 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-40)
The final week of Jesus' life begins with His entry into Jerusalem. Our Lord entered Jerusalem as a king bringing the tidings of love and peace. Contrary to the expectations of the crowd, Christ the Messiah did not become a military figure who would raise the Jews to power, but humbly came to Jerusalem to sacrifice Himself for the salvation of mankind.
(Mt. 20:29-34, Mk. 10:46-52, Lk. 18:35-43)
This episode tells the story of the two blind men who begged near Jericho. Mark and Luke, however, speak of one blind man. This blind man or these blind men turned to Jesus with faith and were immediately healed. After the restoration of their sight, they went after Jesus, becoming His followers.
(Mt. 20:17-19, Mk. 10:32-34, Lk. 18: 31-34, Mt. 20:20-28, Mk. 10:35-45)
On the way to Jerusalem, Christ predicted his betrayal, sufferings, death, and resurrection for the third time. Immediately after that, the mother of the frightened and surprised apostles John and James asked Christ that her sons sit with Him in the Kingdom of Heaven, one on His right side, the other on His left. Christ answered and presented the true Christian understanding of service — in order to be first, one needs to be last, and in order to become a master, one needs to be a servant.
Through the parable of the workers, the Lord Jesus Christ presents the spiritual truth that all Christians must consider. Workers who were hired for work at different hours of the day were paid equally. And those who worked hard but received as much as those who worked little rebelled. But the owner of the vineyard objected to them, saying that he did not deprive them of anything; he gave them as much as he had promised, and that he can do with his property whatever he wants.
(Mt. 19:27-30, Mk. 10:28-31, Lk. 18:28-30)
The Apostle Peter asks Jesus Christ: "Behold, we have forsaken all and followed You; what shall we have?" Christ answers that whoever has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for Christ's sake will receive the hundredfold in this life and much more in the life to come.
(Mt. 19:23-26, Mk. 10: 23-27, Lk. 18:24-27)
After the conversation with the rich young man, Christ says that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. The apostles ask in surprise: "Who can be saved then?" And the Teacher answers that what is impossible for humans is possible for God.
(Mt. 19:16-22, Mk. 10:17-22, Lk. 18:18-23)
A rich young man asked Jesus what he must do to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. Since he had observed all the commandments since his childhood, Jesus advised him to sell all his possessions and give the money to the poor.
This episode of the program touches upon topics related to various degrees of salvation, to kindness of God and humans, and to temptation.
(Mt. 19:13-15, Mk. 10: 13-16, Lk. 18:15-17)
This episode touches upon the topic of the spiritual education of children and presents its two extremes: 1) the complete absence of spiritual education; and 2) the compulsory spiritual education.
The episode also presents the golden mean, which is expressed in three ways: 1) by one's own example, 2) by taking children to church with oneself, and 3) by telling the Bible stories to children in a comprehensible language.
(Mt. 19:1-12, Mk. 10:1-12)
The Pharisees asked Jesus about the divorce letter and sending the wife away. Their question was based on Deut. 24:1, which tells about the possibility of divorce in case a disgracing circumstance has been found in the wife. Christ clearly rejects divorce, citing the words of the Book of Genesis that a man should leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and the two will be one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.
To answer the Apostle Peter's question on the forgiveness of friends, the Lord Jesus Christ tells this parable, which is preserved only in the Gospel of Matthew. The parable tells about a servant with a huge debt, which his master graciously cancels, but the servant himself doesn't cancel the little debt that his friend owes to him. The parable teaches us to be merciful toward our brothers and sisters and to remember always that we must forgive them because the Lord has unselfishly forgiven us our great debts.
This episode covers three main topics. The first is about forgiving the brother who has sinned against us and, generally, about forgiveness. Jesus teaches to rebuke directly the brother who has sinned against us, and separately from others; if he does not listen, then in the presence of two or three witnesses, and only after that to present the problem in the congregation of believers. The second topic is about the binding and loosing of sins on the earth. And the third is about the joint prayer of two or three believers. Our Lord also says that where two or three gather in His name, He is there among them.
(Mt. 18:12-14; Lk. 15:3-7)
The Evangelists Matthew and Luke present the parable of the Lord Jesus Christ about the lost sheep. The Jews considered finding the missing sheep, in whatever condition it might be, and its presentation before the community an issue of honor. The brave and true shepherd was obliged, even at the cost of his life, to find the missing sheep. The Gospel says that for one lost and found sheep and one repenting believer will be more joy in heaven than for the 99 righteous people who do not need to be found because they are already in the Church.
(Mt. 17:21-22, 18:1-11, Mk. 9:29-31, 9: 32-36, Lk. 9: 44b-45, 9:46-48, 17:1-2)
The episode presents the Lord's warning that one should beware of temptations and not become a cause of stumbling for any child.
It also tells about the tax that was paid to the Temple. The Pharisees asked the Lord's disciples if their Master was going to pay this tax, to which Jesus answered and asked Peter if kings collect taxes from their sons. But in order not to tempt anyone, Jesus sends Peter to catch a fish in whose mouth Peter would find a silver and pay for himself and for Jesus.
(Mt. 17:21-22, 18:1-11, Mk. 9:29-31, 9: 32-36, Lk. 9: 44b-45, 9:46-48, 17:1-2)
The Lord Jesus Christ foretells His death and resurrection, though the apostles, according to the Evangelist Matthew, were very sad because of this and, according to Mark, they were even afraid of this.
This episode of the program also presents the quarrel about who is great in the Kingdom of Heaven that arose between the disciples of Jesus as they walked along the road. Our Lord says that in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, it is necessary to be like children. Children are not vindictive, have perfect trust in their parents and are innocent. We must be the same to become worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven.
(Mt. 17:14-20, Mk. 9:13-28, Lk. 9:37-44)
Immediately after the Transfiguration, the Synoptic Evangelists present the episode where Jesus heals a lunatic boy. What was lunatism? Was it the disease that is called somnambulism today? Why weren't the disciples able to heal the child and set him free from the unclean spirit? How are such demons cast out, and what did the father of the demon-possessed child ask, saying, "I believe, help my unbelief!"
(Mt. 17:1-13, Mk. 9: 2-12, Lk. 9:28-36)
This episode is dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Lord Jesus Christ. Why did Jesus withdraw to a mountain for transfiguration, and what is the spiritual meaning of the Transfiguration? Why were the apostles Peter, James and John given the honor to see the transfiguration of Jesus? What did the arrival of the prophets Elijah and Moses and their communication with the Lord Jesus Christ mean? You will find the answers to these and other similar questions in today's episode of the program.
(Mt. 16:21-28, Mk. 8: 31-39, Lk. 9:22-27)
Jesus' prediction of His suffering, death and resurrection was not easily accepted by the Apostle Peter. That is why Peter opposed Christ and the latter rebuked him, calling him "Satan."
What is the way of Christian life; what principles should a Christian follow in order to achieve salvation; what is the most important rule of following Christ, whereby a person can find and liberate himself or herself? These and other similar questions are discussed in this episode.
All three Synoptic Evangelists present the episode about the true confession of Jesus. When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He first asked His disciples what people thought of Him, who He was, and then asked the apostles' opinion about the same. Of the Synoptic Evangelists, only Matthew presents in this episode the Apostle Peter as the rock on which Christ built His Church and to which the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven were given.