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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Entering the Festival

Today was Psalm Sunday, and next week is Easter. It seems a pretty logical time to look at what happened in Jerusalem all those years ago. So here's the second of my "Revisiting the Passion" studies, for our Coffee Break Bible study.

Meanwhile watch out for Galilee's Gift, coming soon--a set of five-minute Bible stories for children (and families and friends) following Jesus during the ministry that led to his Passion.

Revisiting the Passion – Enter the Festival

1.       Last week we looked at Jesus entering Jerusalem, riding on a donkey. Is there any particular significance to the gate Jesus chose to enter by? Read Luke 19:28-31, Ezekiel 44:1-3 If Bethphage was near the Mount of Olives, Jesus would have entered through the Golden Gate, on the East side of the city. Traditionally God’s glory and God’s Messiah would come through that gate, but it was sealed by Muslims in the 1500s. Some Christian traditions say Mary’s parents met under this gate—carrying the spouse over the threshold is supposed to come from this tradition.

2.       Without looking ahead, what things do you remember Jesus doing during his final week in Jerusalem?

3.       When did Jesus weep over Jerusalem, and why? Read Luke 19:41-44, Matthew 23:37-39

4.       When did Jesus curse the fig tree, and why? Read Mark 11:12-14, Joel 1:7

5.       When did Jesus cleanse the temple, and why? Read Matthew 21:12-17. What has “Out of the mouths of babes...” got to do with cleansing the temple? (See Psalm 8:2)

6.       When was Jesus anointed, and why? Read Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-5 (but John 12:1-4 places it earlier).

7.       What were the chief priests and scribes doing during this week?

8.       How does Jesus respond to opposition from the religious authorities? Read Matthew 23:27. What’s the significance of the analogy?

9.       What were the people doing?

10.   How does Jesus respond to them? Read Mark 12:28-37

11.   What do you think the disciples were doing?

12.   How does Jesus respond to them? Read Matthew 24:1-14

13.   How does God respond? Read John 12:27-29

14.   What was Judas doing, and why? Read Matthew 26:14-16, Luke 22:3-6. Can you think of any human explanation for Judas’ behavior? Is it simply betrayal for money, or could Judas have had a “good reason” in human terms? How easy do we find it to follow an important course of action that seems contrary to human wisdom?

15.   On which day does “human wisdom” tell us Jesus died? Read Matthew 26:17, Mark 14:12, Luke 22:7, John 13:1. Which story is different, and what might be the significance? Does it matter that this, and other events, are dated differently in different accounts?

16.   Where did Jesus eat the Passover? Who was there with him?

17.   Did Judas receive communion? Read Matthew 26:25-26, Mark 14:20-22, Luke Luke 22:20-23, John13:30

18.   Did Jesus wash Judas’ feet? Read John 13:1-5

19.   Did Jesus wash Simon’s hands? Read John 13:9-11

20.   When did Jesus predict Judas’ betrayal, and when did he predict Peter’s? What about ours? Do we betray because we think we know better, because we have the wrong priorities, because we’re scared, because we don’t trust God, or why?

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