A voice in the wilderness shatters the silence of 400 years - "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." A quiet figure comes for baptism, the heavens open and God's voice is heard on earth again. Miracles follow - the sick are healed, the lame walk, the blind see, the dead are raised, and sinners forgiven. Who is this Jesus? What was his vision for his people and the world?
Stories of The Master
The story of Jesus and the stories he told come alive for the modern listener. Jonathan Williams weaves in cultural and historical details that help us understand who Jesus is and why he came to this world.
Expand the collections below and listen again to, Stories of The Master.
A Word in the Wilderness - SM001
The inaugural broadcast of Stories of the Master; a lone figure leaves society and goes into the wilderness to wait for the word of the Lord. The world of Rome and Israel has plunged into deep darkness, but into this world, the light of God's word arises with hope.
The Voice from Heaven - SM002
After many months of preaching and baptizing in the wilderness, John is approached by Jesus of Nazareth who comes for baptism. John, the prophet, does not want to baptize this man. But Jesus insists that it was necessary. Why did John hesitate? Why was it necessary for Jesus to be baptized? And what happened when he did.
The Wanderer in the Wilderness - SM003
Jesus leaves John and walks into the dangerous Judean wilderness - alone. For 40 days he fasts and prays. Loneliness sets in when someone approaches with an offer for satisfaction, power and glory.
First Encounters with Jesus - SM004
Jesus has won the great contest in the wilderness. He has returned to the place where John is baptizing and when John sees him he encourages two of his disciples to follow Jesus. What does Jesus tell them and what do they learn?
The Servants' Secret - SM005
Jesus is now back in Galilee. He and his five companions, Peter, John, Andrew, Philip, and Nathanael accompany him to a wedding in Cana. His mother, Mary, is there also and she discovers that the wedding festivities may come to an embarrassing end because the host is no longer able to provide wine for his guests. What does she tell Jesus? And what will Jesus do?
A Visitor in the Dark - SM006
Jesus has gone to Jerusalem for Passover. He performs miracles although they are not reported in detail in John. Many profess to believe in His name but Jesus doesn't believe in them. He knows their hearts and turns from them. But one night a knock comes on the door - it is a visitor in the dark, a Pharisee, and he is hungry to learn more. The conversation between Jesus and the Pharisee becomes one of the most famous passages in the Bible.
The Humble Prophet - SM007
Returning from Jerusalem, Jesus is now preaching and the crowds that once gathered to hear John are now following Jesus. John still has followers and they tell him, "Rabbi, the One that you baptized, that you said is Messiah, now has more people following him." John's reply to his devoted followers provides us with an in depth look at the heart of this man of God.
The Thirsty Woman Part 1 - SM008
Jesus has left Jerusalem and is making His way north to Galilee. But instead of travelling on the east side of the Jordan River to avoid Samaria, He travels right through the province and at a well near the village of Sychar enters into a discussion with a Samaritan woman that would reveal the depths of her heart and change her life forever.
The Thirsty Woman Part 2 - SM009
The woman of Sychar has never talked with anyone like Jesus, and when their conversation enters a critical moment, He reveals His identity to her. She runs to the village to tell the men that she thinks Messiah has come. The ensuing conversation between Jesus and the villagers becomes a turning point in their history.
The Nobleman's Son - SM010
Jesus is now back in Galilee and has settled in Cana, a few miles north of Nazareth where He grew up. Word spreads that he is back in the area and a royal official comes to him asking that Jesus journey with him to Capernaum to heal his sick son. Jesus says, "You people will not believe unless you see signs and wonders." How did the nobleman respond and what deeper lesson was Jesus seeking to teach him?
A Prophet Without Honor - SM011
Jesus returns to his home town. Everyone is excited to see him. They have heard about his teaching and that miracles have even happened. But the excitement gives way to rage when Jesus reads from Isaiah and claims to be Messiah.
A New Kind of Fisherman - SM012
Peter, Andrew, James, and John are enjoying a break from minisry and go fishing. They work all night and catch ... nothing. Then Jesus comes and tells them to go back out with him. A fishing miracle takes place, but something more important happens in the heart of Peter.
The Leper and the Paralyzed Man - SM013
Defying the ordinance that lepers are to remain outside the city gates, a leper runs to Jesus and asks if He will heal him. The leper has broken the law, but what does Jesus do? On another day Jesus is teaching to a packed house. Four men try to bring their friend, who is paralyzed to Jesus, but they can't get to Him because of the crowds, until they come up with a clever idea.
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner - SM014
Jesus meet Matthew the tax-collector and asks him to follow Him. Matthew has Jesus over to his home as his honored guest where other tax-collectors and sinners gather to meet him. Everything is going well until scribes, Pharisees, and disciples of John ask hard questions of Jesus at the dinner.
Rise Up and Walk - SM015
A man, paralyzed for 38 years meets a man who tells him "rise up and walk." But when he is healed and starts home with his bedroll under his arm, the religious leaders throw a fit because he has broken the Sabbath rules. When they find out that Jesus is the one who told him to take up his bed on the Sabbath, they go on the attack against Jesus.
The Man with the Withered Hand - SM016
Jesus and his disciples enter a synagogue after a morning of controversy with Pharisees about plucking grain on the Sabbath. But the controversy is only starting. A man with a withered hand is in attendance that day. The Pharisees want to know if the Law allows healing on the Sabbath. Jesus tells the man to come forward and then asks some piercing questions.
All Night in Prayer - SM017
The Pharisees have gathered to plot against Jesus and Jesus has withdrawn to the hills with his disciples. While they sleep, Jesus spends the whole night in prayer. The direction he receives that night in prayer will change the world.
The Centurion's Servant and the Widow's Son - SM018
A Roman centurion has befriended the Jewish people. His relationship with them pays off when a favorite servant of his becomes deathly ill. He sends his Jewish friends to Jesus to ask for help and when Jesus comes he marvels at something the centurion says.
The Doubtful Prophet - SM019
John the Prophet has been locked in the prison of Herod Antipas in the fortress of Macherus by the Dead Sea. After months of imprisonment and no word from the Messiah and no evidence of the gift of the Spirit, he sends two of his disciples to Jesus with the question, "Are you really the One, or should we look for another?" When the two arrive in Galilee, Jesus gives them an answer they will never forget!
The Woman Who Wept at Jesus' Feet - SM020
Jesus has gone to the house of Simon the Pharisee, but upon his entrance he is insulted by not being given water for his feet, a customary kiss of greeting, and anointing oil for his head. A woman in the crowd watching the lunch is appalled by this public insult and takes matters into her own hands to give the honor to Jesus that he deserves.
Whose Side Are You On? - SM021
Jesus family is very concerned about Jesus and what he is doing? In fact, they think he has lost his senses. They travel to the Sea of Galilee in order to bring him home. But when they arrive they find him in a controversy over the casting out of an evil spirit. Then, Jesus makes a statement that shocks everyone.
The Farmer, The Seed, and the Soils - SM022
Jesus is teaching by the Sea of Galilee to the crowds, but he uses a new technique. He teaches in parables and explains them only to his disciples. Why does Jesus explain them only to a few?
The Perfect Storm - SM023
Jesus leaves the crowds and tells his disciples to get into the boat. They are going to the other side of the lake. It seems like a great idea until a life-threatening storm comes upon the small boat. But this storm was small compared to another kind of storm on the other side of the lake as a demon-possessed man waited for them.
The Bleeding Woman and the Dying Daughter - SM024
Jesus arrives in a village and the synagogue leader, Jairus, immediately asks him to hurry to his home to heal his daughter who is at the point of death. But on the way, Jesus is stopped by a woman who has been sick for twelve years. As Jesus ministers to the woman, the news comes that the daughter has died. Jesus is too late. Or is he?
The Death of a Prophet - SM025
For months John sat in his cell, the prisoner of Herod Antipas. But one day, during a drunken feast, the wife of Herod manipulated events to bring about the death of John. What did Jesus do and what did the disciples do when they heard this tragic news?
Bread by the Sea of Galilee - SM026
After the death of John, Jesus and his disciples try to get away for some time alone and for rest. But when they arrive at their destination, they are greeted by thousands of men. Will Jesus send them away or will he teach and heal again?
How to Be Clean Before God - SM027
It's meal time and Jesus and his disciples prepare to eat but they fail to do something very important to the religious leaders. They do not ceremonially wash before the meal. The Pharisees reprove Jesus for this oversight but he has a few choice words for them, words that the whole world needs to hear.
Crumbs from the Master's Table - SM028
Again Jesus tries to get away for some time alone and for refreshment. He leaves the borders of Israel and travels to Phoenicia, but even here he cannot escape notice. A woman finds him and loudly cries for help for her daughter who is afflicted with an evil spirit.
Standing by the Gates of Hell - SM029
Jesus asks his disciples, "Who do people say that I am?" After their responses, he then asks them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter makes his great confession of faith and Jesus lays out the plans that will bring down the gates of Hell itself.
A Night of Vision and Glory - SM030
Jesus takes Peter, James, and John with him to the top of a mountain. While they sleep, he prays. Then they awaken to a marvelous sight, Jesus is changed before them. His garments are dazzling white, his face is like the sun, and Moses and Elijah are speaking with him. What did this event mean? What did the disciples do? And what did God say to them?
A Disappointing Day - SM031
After a mountaintop experience in which Jesus shows his glory to three of his disciples, Jesus and his disciples descend the mountain. Jesus finds the other nine disciples in an argument with scribes and unable to cast out an evil spirit from a young boy. The father of the young boy appeals to Jesus for help but Jesus is exasperated with everyone's unbelief.What will he do and say?
The Servant Who Would Not Forgive - SM032
Jesus was in a home teaching his disciples about the kingdom of God - about humility, greatness, love, and forgiveness. To make sure his disciples learned these important lessons he told an unforgettable story about a servant who refused to forgive another.
Jesus at the Feast of Tabernacles - SM033
Jesus' brothers want him to go with them to the Feast of Tabernacles to show himself openly and proclaim his Messiahship but Jesus refuses. Then, after they leave, Jesus goes up by himself. When he teaches in the Temple the authorities try to arrest him but they cannot cope with his words of power. At the Feast, Jesus does make an amazing claim for himself.
Caught in the Act of Sin - SM034
Jesus is teaching in the Temple when the religious leaders bring a woman to him. They have caught her in the act of adultery! They tell Jesus, the great forgiver of sins, that the Law demands that she be put to death for her sin. If he forgives her, he is not following the Law. If he condemns her, he is compromising his message of forgiveness. What will he do?
The Man with Mud in His Eyes - SM035
At the Light Ceremony at the Feast of Tabernacles Jesus makes his greatest claim yet - "I am the light of the world." But the people will not accept it. How can he get his message across? He finds a man who has been blind since birth and performs a miracle to show that he is indeed the light of the world.
The Good Shepherd - SM036
It is the Feast of Dedication where the Jews remembered their military victory over the Greek armies in 165 BC. In their readings of Scripture they meditated on the difference between good shepherds and bad shepherds and during this time Jesus proclaimed something very important about his identity.
The Man Who Was Left for Dead - SM037
Jesus and his disciples are rejoicing. Seventy of them have returned from a preaching tour where they saw great things happen. But then a religious lawyer challenges Jesus with a question. Jesus answers with a story that changes his life and the history of the world.
Calamities in the Kitchen - SM038
Martha has welcomed Jesus into her home and is hoping to serve him and make it a grand occasion. But calamities in the kitchen soon make a mess and Martha loses control and complains. Jesus' response to her is a lesson she will not soon forget!
The Unexpected Guest - SM039
The disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray and Jesus gives them more than they asked for by telling them an unforgettable story that shows God's love for his people.
On Guard Against Greed - SM040
A man in the crowd approaches Jesus and asks him to settle a dispute between him and his brother over their inheritance! Jesus refuses and tells a story that reveals the true heart of this man and of the world.
The Master Who Served His Slaves - SM041
Jesus told the crowds they should not fear or worry, should share their provisions with the poor, and above all else seek the kingdom of God. But what was the kingdom like? In this story, Jesus shocks the people by telling about a master who did the unthinkable.
Slashing Swords, Crashing Buildings - SM042
A group of men came to Jesus and reported what Pilate had done - killed Jewish men in the temple while they were offering their sacrifices to God. It was time for revenge! But Jesus had a different perspective on what his people should be concerned about.
The Crooked Woman - SM043
Jesus is teaching on the Sabbath and a woman walks into the service who has been afflicted with a deformity for 18 years. The synagogue leaders are watching closely to see what Jesus will do. What does Jesus do?
The Great Banquet - SM044
Jesus is at lunch with Pharisees on the Sabbath. They are not happy that he heals a man. This leads to a discussion about the great banquet of God, a story about excuses, and who will be in the kingdom and who will be excluded.
Lost! - SM045
Jesus is hosting a meal for sinners and tax collectors. The Pharisees grumble about this and Jesus replies with two famous stories about valuable commodities that were lost and found.
The Prodigal Son and His Prodigal Father - Part 1 - SM046
After he tells the story of the lost sheep and the lost coin Jesus tells a story about a lost son. But will the religious leaders understand?
The Prodigal Son and His Prodigal Father - Part 2 - SM047
Jesus continues the story, this time about the older son who stayed to work the family farm. But who does this son represent, and is he more lost than the one who ran away?
The Prodigal Son and His Prodigal Father - Part 3 - SM048
The story of the two sons and their loving father presents deep lessons for every person to hear about receiving the forgiveness of God. But will we receive his complete forgiveness?
The Shrewd Servant and the Wealthy Landowner - SM049
Jesus tells a story about a dishonest estate manager who gets himself fired. Yet his quick thinking saves his life, his reputation, and honors the wealthy landowner in one bold move. What did the manager do and how does it become an example for us?
The Beggar at the Gate - SM050
Jesus tries to break through the hard hearts of money-loving religious leaders by telling a story of a rich man and a poor beggar who lay at his gate. It appears one is blessed and one is cursed until they die and discover the truth about what God values the most.
A Night of Stories, A Night of Lessons - SM051
When Jesus finished telling his stories one night, the religious leaders left with anger, but he had one more story to tell for those who remained, and the lessons they learned would revolutionize their life.
The Grieving Sisters of Bethany - SM052
The beloved brother of Martha and Mary is taken ill. The sisters send word to Jesus to come heal him but Jesus arrives late and Lazarus is already dead. What will Jesus do?
The Leper Who Gave Thanks - SM053
Jesus healed ten lepers but only one returned to give thanks. What he learned and the lessons Jesus later told his disciples and the Pharisees reveal a sobering truth about those who will be saved and those who will be judged.
The Widow Who Would Not Be Silenced - SM054
The disciples are filled with great concern and fear. To help them get through this time of trial Jesus tells them an unforgettable story about a widow who didn't have a chance against an unjust judge, yet succeeded anyway.
The Pharisee and the Tax Collector - SM055
Jesus noticed that some around him were trusting in themselves rather than God and looking at others with contempt. This called for a story, the unforgettable story of a man who practiced every part of his religion perfectly, and a man who needed the mercy of God.
The Rich Man, the Camel, and the Kingdom - SM056
On a busy day, Jesus heals and teaches multitudes, answers a question from Pharisees, and blesses little children. Then, a rich, young ruler approaches and asks, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus' answer surprised the ruler, the disciples, and people throughout the ages.
The Wealthy Landowner and the Greedy Workers - SM057
Jesus tells an unforgettable story of grace about a kind and gracious employer who surprises everyone with the wage he gives his workers, but when the disciples start arguing about who is the greatest it shows that the lessons have yet to sink in to their hearts.
The Blind Men of Jericho - SM058
Two blind men lived in Jericho - one blinded by disease, another by prejudice and hatred. Everyone rejoiced when the diseased man saw again, but the reaction was quite different when Jesus touched the man suffering from the sin of others.
The Ten Servant and Their Ten Coins - SM059
Jesus nears Jerusalem and everyone thinks he is going to do something spectacular to inaugurate the kingdom of God and drive out the Romans. But Jesus tells a story that causes the hearers to evaluate their own hearts, and ours, before God, a story that gives his new understanding of the kingdom of God.
Leave Her Alone! - SM060
It is the night before Jesus' final week. He is dining with his disciples in the home of Simon the leper. All goes well until a woman takes a jar of costly perfume worth the wages of a whole year and pours it all on Jesus. The disciples are enraged at this waste, but what does Jesus say about what she did?