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Are you one of the rich and holy?

Jesus ate with bad guys and women, but he also ate with the good guys of society. And sometime's a dinner's just a dinner, with time to talk, laugh, maybe heal someone, tell a story... So, welcome to the table!


(70) Eating with the rich and holy Jesus doesn’t run away from those who might challenge him. He doesn’t stick to his own sort of people. Instead he accepts invitations, invites questions, offers lessons tailored to his audience, and even makes people laugh!—a friend, not an enemy. In today’s passage he goes for a meal with a ruler of the Pharisees. Read Luke 14:1-6. The meal probably takes place in the courtyard of a great house, open to envious passers-by, and a sick man is in the crowd. Does Jesus bring the sick man with him, or does the sick man come to Jesus? (Some interpreters say the Pharisees brought him, but that would be very strange in their culture.) 1.What’s the difference between causing offense and refusing to avoid causing offense? Which does Jesus do? 2.I…

Are you expecting the unexpected?

It's so easy to convince ourselves that if just this one thing is fixed, everything will fall into place. The broken world will be mended. Authorities will rule correctly. All will be well. Back around the year 30AD, lots of people were convinced that if only the Messiah would come... But perhaps they, and we, should have spent more time expecting the unexpected.


(68) Expect the Unexpected The Messiah was expected to unify the state of Israel, kick out the Romans, and institute a perfect world, where everyone was ruled by God and the good guys always won. While we may not expect a perfect world in our lifetime, where do we look for improvements? What leaders do we expect/look for today? Which leaders do we put our trust in? In reality, Christ brought division, trouble and anxiety – Read Luke 12:49-53. 1.Do we expect God to destroy the earth or to save it? What does the world think we expect? What impression do we give the world? 2.Do we expect God to save us from trouble, or to lead…

What should we worry about?

Beware of hypocrisy. Don't worry. And danger is coming... This week we find Jesus continuing to teach the disciples, this time helping them see what they should really worry about. He's probably still in Jerusalem, probably still preaching as a rabbi to his chosen crowd. So of course, someone asks him a question--a worried person perhaps, but someone who's worried about the wrong things...


(67) So What Should We Worry About? Last week we saw Jesus reminding his disciples to beware of many things, and not to worry—do you remember what we should beware of? What might being wary about the right things look like? What right things do we worry about? Jesus tells some familiar stories to help us understand what’s important. Read Luke 12:13-21 1.Read verse 13. The question’s not entirely out of context – rabbi’s/teachers really did help arbitrate family disagreements. Do we ask similar questions in prayer? Should we? 2.Read verse 14. Is Jesus saying something about himself, about t…

Are you afraid yet?

A new year brings lots of new possibilities, not all of them good. And if we think our world is dangerous, it might be good to reminded of how dangerous the world of Jesus and his disciples was. Plus, of course, there's the approaching danger of Jesus' arrest to keep the disciples afraid. This week's study is filled with reminders of fear, why we should or shouldn't be afraid... and of our value to God.


(66) Approaching Danger News of last week’s lively discussion with the lawyers and Pharisees would spread quickly among the crowds in Jerusalem. After all, Jesus is a seriously newsworthy figure, and gossip is the biggest source of news. Read Luke 12:1-3 1.How is hypocrisy like leaven? 2.How is hypocrisy like trying to keep things hidden? 3.What might Jesus have said in “private” that is now public knowledge? 4.What might the disciples be tempted to say that will bring them into danger? 5.What might the crowds say that will cause danger for them too, given the presence of Ro…

Feeling Distracted this New Year?

From Hanukkah to Passover--it's not so long a period. In our timeline of Jesus' ministry, Mary and Martha will entertain Jesus and the disciples just after Hanukkah and again just before Passover. Let's join them...


(65)Distractions Bethany is not far from Jerusalem (or from Bethlehem). Mary and Martha and their brother Lazarus lived there, and were clearly friends of Jesus (as explained in John11:1-2). If Jesus spent his earliest years in Bethlehem, perhaps they were childhood friends. Or the family may have become friends when Jesus was baptized at the start of his ministry.
Now, toward the end of Jesus’ ministry, we find him (and possibly his disciples) staying at Martha and Mary’s house. Read Luke 10:38-42.
1.How do you picture the scene? Where is Jesus? Who is listening to him—family? neighbors? What might Jesus be talking about? 2.Where is Martha? Can she hear Jesus? Can she be heard? 3.Did you remember that Lazarus isn’t mentioned in this story? Where might he be? 4.Wha…

Of Gods and Men at Hanukah

The New Year is beginning, and the Bible Study is continuing. We took our Christmas break and now we return to find Jesus (the Son of God) celebrating Hanukkah (with men) in Jerusalem. Of course, the timeline's complicated and hard to figure out. But this is the timeline we've chosen to follow. We're heading into those final months before Passover and Easter, and we're following Jesus in his final months of teaching. Join us!
(64) Of Gods and Men It’s hard to work out an accurate timeline in the Bible. But let’s assume Jesus visited Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall of his final year’s ministry. Then he returned to Galilee before traveling back through Samaria to Jerusalem in winter, for the Feast of Dedication, which is where we return to the Gospel of John. Read John 10:22-30 1.Read John 10:24 Do you remember the earlier arguments (John 7:25, 8:13, 8:25, 9:35-37, 10:21)at the Feast of Tabernacles, not so long ago? Do you think the crowds remembered? a.

More about Easter than Christmas, but who is my neighbor?

Okay, it's not a Christmassy Bible study, but our Coffee Break group is clearly in the runup to Easter by now. Our timeline might seem a little odd, but we're trying to follow days and years while the Gospel writers were following ideas. And here's where we find ourselves, just after last week's study where Jesus promised Fire and Brimstone for cities that he loved.


(63) Samaritan Tales Remember John 8:48. “Samaritan” was the ultimate insult. But Jesus is planning to return to Jerusalem (perhaps for the Feast of Dedication—John 10:22—inwinter); Samaria lies on the shortest route. It’s also the most local “bad place” and Jesus has just been talking about the dire fate in store for “good places” that reject him. Read Luke 9:51-56 1.Read Luke 9:53 Why didn’t the Samaritans want Jesus in their village? Was it just that Jesus was a Jew, or is something more going on? (After all, they liked him earlier—John 4:40.) 2.Read Luke 9:54 Why might James and John react so strongly? (I…