Ready for Paul?

Monday, March 5, 2018

How do you know where to stay and when to leave?

We left last week with Jesus heading for Galilee and being rejected by his hometown of Nazareth. I'm really quite enjoying reading the stories as they're pieced together in a chronology, even if no-one's sure what the real chronology is. I'm also enjoying finding where different stories fit into the ministry - we read these passages in isolation so often. So, where will Jesus stay when he reaches Capernaum?

(14) Where to Stay and When to Leave

Jesus arrives in Capernaum, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. It’s unclear whether he headed straight there from Jerusalem when John was imprisoned, or if he moved on from Nazareth/Cana, but it’s likely that trouble surrounding John is part of what prompted Jesus to go North, to the hometown of those earliest disciples. What sort of thing has God used to prompt you to take action?
1.       Read Matthew 4:12-17, Mark 1:14-15, Isaiah 9:1-2 Why does Matthew quote Isaiah?
2.       How were people in Galilee viewed by the religious authorities? Are there people we view that way?
3.       Read Matthew 4:18-22, Mark 1:16-20 What extra detail does Mark give?
4.       If someone says “Follow me,” do you immediately assume they want you to quit your job? Could they have believed Jesus was just saying “Follow me to the synagogue”? (Fishermen didn’t always attend synagogue—like shepherds, sometimes they had to work instead.)
5.       When has Jesus asked you to “Follow me”? When might he ask?
Perhaps, having heard of Jesus’ problems in Nazareth, the disciples expect to protect him at the synagogue. Do you think Jesus needed protection? Does he need our protection (from questions, misinterpretations, doubts etc) today?
1.       Read Mark 1:21-22, Luke 4:31-32 How would you recognize someone as teaching with authority?
2.       Read Mark 1:23-28, Luke 4:33-37 Do you believe in demons? Does it surprise you to find a demon in a synagogue? Would it surprise you to find someone inspired by Satan in a church?
3.       Do the demons know who Jesus is, or does the demon-possessed man know who he is?
4.       Who does Jesus rebuke and why?
5.       What new teaching is Jesus presenting? How might that still be a new teaching today?
Jesus’ fame spreads throughout the region, which is great. But where will he sleep tonight?
1.       Read Mark 1:29-31, Luke 4:38-39, Matthew 8:14-15 (What did we skip over in Matthew?) Many translations say Jesus rebuked the fever. How might fevers and demons be connected?
2.       Simon’s mother promptly gets up and serves Jesus and his company. Does this mean Jesus healed her just because he wanted his dinner?
3.       Read Mark 1:32-34, Luke 4:40-41, Matthew 8:16-17
a.       What is different about Matthew’s version? Read Isaiah53:4
b.      What is different about Luke’s version? Why might Jesus not want demons to proclaim him Messiah?
c.       If you or a friend were uncomfortable with the concept of demons, how would you present this story to bring someone closer to Jesus (and to reading the Bible) rather than driving them away?
d.      What would truly convince people then, and convince us now, that Jesus is the Messiah the Son of God?
Jesus isn’t going to stay in Capernaum for long.
1.       Read Matthew 4:23-25 Did Jesus stick to Jewish territories?
2.       Read Mark 1:35-39, Luke 4:42-44 How did Jesus decide to move on? If Jesus needed to pray first, how much more do you think we should pray before major decisions?
3.       Read Luke 5:1-11 What might have persuaded the disciples to quit their jobs? Does God want our instant obedience, or our prayerful obedience?

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