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Heavenly Taxes?

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It's our final Coffee Break of the season, so what will you do with your "summer break." I know what we'll be doing after the break - continuing with the final six months of Jesus' life, from Tabernacles to Passover; and I'm very much looking forward to it. During the break I hope to finish my 13th Five-Minute Bible-Story book - John's Joy. It's growing nicely now, and I'm looking forward to its release with IFS books.

But back to this week's study. It starts with a "small" miracle - a fish for the Temple tax - and ends with cooking and maiming - quite a leap. But perhaps we all have to pay some kind of taxes... And a new kingdom is coming...


(51) No Taxation without …? Jesus is bringing in the kingdom, and it’s not at all the kingdom the disciples expect. The time is just a little before the Feast of Tabernacles (final harvest), and by Passover (first fruits) Jesus will be risen from the dead. This lends an urgency to Jesus’ teaching…

What if we're not who we think we are?

Last week's Transfiguration told the disciples something of who Jesus is. But who does that make them? And who are we? I kind of like the next passage where Jesus' followers find out they're not who they wish they were...


(50) So, who are we/they? Peter has declared that Jesus is the Messiah. The Transfiguration has confirmed that declaration. But Jesus, Messiah, great hope of the nation, still insists on saying he’s going to die, which had to be confusing. And then there’s the question of who or what his disciples will be. Do followers of a Messiah become powerful by association? Do we think we are wiser, better able to support (compared, say, with “sending good thoughts”)… just because we know Jesus?
Read Matthew 17:14-16, Mark 9:14-18, Luke 9:37-40 1.How might the disciples have felt at their inability to help? How do we feel when public prayers for someone else don’t seem to be answered? Does that mean we should only pray privately, to avoid embarrassing God?
2.Mark says …

From beginning to end - who is He?

Easter, resurrection, ascension coming soon ... okay, maybe our coffee break study's back on track with the season, as a select group of disciples get to "see" who Jesus is, having just answered who they think he is. We've ended up with a study that will take us all over the Bible from beginning to end, but perhaps that's the point ... the story of who He really is.


(49) Now, who will they say that he is? Jesus has just asked the disciples who people think he is. When Peter declares that Jesus is the Christ/Messiah, Jesus promptly predicts his death, and the sufferings in store for his followers too. But now, perhaps in answer to their confusion, God reveals his answer to the question of who Jesus is. Read Matthew 17:1-2, Mark 9:2-3, Luke 9:28-29 1.What’s the difference between 8 days and 6 days? Read Exodus 24:16 2.What’s special about Jesus’ face shining? Read Exodus 34:29 3.What’s special about white clothes? Read Daniel 7:9, John 20:11-12, Revelation 3:4-5 In Je…

Easter in Peter's Heart?

The timing's a little off isn't it? We've just celebrated Easter, but in our Coffee Break group we're just approaching the Passion. But maybe that's good timing, because Easter isn't just one day a year--Easter is the resurrection life we're supposed to celebrate every day. And the Passion...? This week we read about Peter, just declared (last week) to be the rock on which the church would stand, now proving to be the stumbling block placing himself in Jesus' path. I wonder how often we are that stumbling block...


(48) Get Behind Me, Satan… and take up your cross? Peter has confessed what the disciples are all beginning to accept, that Jesus is the Christ. But then, read Matthew 16:20, Mark 8:30, Luke 9:21 Jesus tells him to tell no one. 1.With the crowds all making their guesses, why doesn’t Jesus want the disciples to speak? Reading on, he seems to tie tell no one to his coming death; can you think how publicizing Peter’s answer might have altered eve…

Risen Indeed

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What threatened us was promise And what we feared was hope. In the grave we laid him Left him then he rose.
Do not fear he whispered. Tell the world he said Love to loveless given Risen from the dead.
Now he gives us promise Hope instead of fear. In the grave our trials Were crushed. The future’s here!
He’s risen indeed!

Who?

We've just celebrated Palm Sunday in church. Jesus' death and resurrection are much on our minds. So perhaps it's fitting that we're just getting to that part of our Bible study where Jesus begins to tell his disciples what's to come. First though, he asks them to put it all in context. Who do they really think he is? ... And who do we think he is?


(47) What’s in a Name? Jesus is back in Galilee at last. Most commentators believe he’s heading south now on his final trip. He knows what’s waiting for him in Jerusalem, but his disciples don’t. We know, but let’s try to read this as if we’re just finding out… First there’s another miracle. Having just asked his disciples why they still don’t understand, Jesus heals a blind man: Read Mark 8:22-26Which recent miracle does it remind you of? (Read Mark 7:33) 1.How are men like trees walking? How does this relate to things science has taught us about restored vision? 2.The Pharisees asked for a sign. The people asked Jesus to…

Time to feed the dogs?

In the last year of Jesus' ministry, he's surely thinking of what's to come. Meanwhile his disciples are frequently confused. And his opponents are determined to distract everyone from following him. So... Jesus escapes into the Gentile world. Will he relax and gather his strength for the ordeal to come? Will he take those uncomprehending disciples to task and teach them what they need to know? Will he rejoice in the absence of conflict... or will there even be an absence of conflict? Matthew and Mark both tell the tale...


(46) Welcome Signs The authorities have followed Jesus from Jerusalem all the way to Galilee and are still causing trouble, asking troubling questions, distracting the disciples from Jesus’ final year of teaching. So perhaps it’s time to move even further from the center of Judaism. But of course, there’s no escaping the crowds. Read Matthew 15:21-22, Mark 7:24-26 1.A Syro-Phoenician Greek Canaanite… The woman was probably quite rich and influential, accu…