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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Easter Bible Studies - Second Week in Lent

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, as prophesied by Micah (Micah 5:2). He was born of David’s line, so the kingship of David’s family and the tribe of Judah really does last forever (Genesis 49:10, 1 Kings 2:45). He was born of a virgin, fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy (Isaiah 7:14, though the prophecy, like most prophecies, had a more immediate meaning as well). And his cousin John reminded people of Elijah (Malachi 4:5)

Christ’s Ministry Begins

Baptism:

John dresses like Elijah. He baptizes people in the river Jordan—not such a strange practice, as ritual washing was a part of Jewish life, and other leaders also baptized their followers. Jesus is John’s cousin (Luke 1:36), and when he is baptized, John recognizes that he is different (Matthew 3:11).

40 days in the desert:
Jesus promptly leaves for the desert for forty days (Luke 4:2), a time we remember in the forty days in Lent (Sundays don’t count since they’re meant to be for rejoicing).

Temptation:
God could feed the whole world, just like Jesus could have fed himself by turning stones into bread. But he doesn’t, because there is something more important that we need (Luke 4:4).

God could give us perfect leaders and make us live in peace. Jesus could have proclaimed himself our king and ruled by human power. But he didn’t, because we must not bow down to the power of human institutions, only to God (Luke 4:8).

Jesus could force us to believe in him with stunning miracles. He could have performed his miracles in the most populous public places. But instead, he lived quietly and told those he healed to “tell no one.” It’s not fear of God’s power that should move us, but joy in his love (Luke 4:10-11).

Followers:
Jesus chooses his followers from among the fishermen of Galilee (kind of the “uncouth” north) and the taxmen (the “treacherous” collaborators), and us. Andrew and Simon were originally followers of John the Baptist (John 1:35-42). Philip and Nathaniel (Bartholomew) are probably more highly educated (John 1:43-51). James and John were fellow fishermen with Simon and Andrew (Mark 1:19-20). Levi (Matthew) was a tax collector. Thomas (of doubting fame), James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddeus, Simon (the Cananaean) and Judas are the remaining five.

Nicodemus (a Pharisee) (John 3:1-8, 7:50 & 19:38-41) was never one of the twelve, but must have followed from a distance since he was there at Jesus' burial. Even though Jesus pours scorn on some Pharisee leaders, others must have been among his friends.

The Task:
Jesus sends the twelve disciples out to preach and heal (Mark 6:7-13), and later sends 70 followers (Luke 10:1). Now he sends us.

1 comment:

Lloyd said...

I'm enjoying your bible study. May our Lord continue to work through you in your ministry. God bless, Lloyd