Showing posts from March, 2010

Easter Bible Studies - last week in Lent

Holy Week: Who Does God say that He is? Priest: Mary anointed him with precious oils ( John 12:3 ) as the priest is anointed before offering the sacrifice. Lamb of God: The sacrificial lamb was chosen on the tenth day of the month, and Jesus ( John 1:29 ) became the chosen one as the people cried Hosanna ( John 12:12-15 ). The Way, the Truth and the Life: Jesus called himself the way, not just the revealer of the way ( John 14:6 ). Jesus identified himself with the Father, and his way with the Father’s will ( John 3:33, 5:31, 7:28 ). (And even if John’s gospel was written later than the others, it was still contemporary with people who had known Jesus and they didn’t denounce it.) Jesus had power over life and death, and God raised him from the dead. The Vine: Jesus told parables about vines and vineyards ( Matthew 20:1-16, Mark 12:1-11 ) and compared himself to the vine (John 15:5). The Old Testament often compared Israel to a vineyard ( Isaiah 5:7 ). Light of the World: Je

Easter Bible Studies - Fifth Week in Lent

Who do we say that he is? A King? Satan offered to make Jesus a king ( Matthew 4:8-10 ) and give Jesus the worship of all the kingdoms of the world. But Jesus worked quietly among the people, not demanding human power. The crowds wanted to crown Jesus king ( John 6:15 ) but Jesus slipped away in the crowds. His kingdom would not be well served by their expectations. And Pilate asked Jesus if he really was the King of the Jews ( Mark 15:2 ). Jesus is a King, but his Kingdom is more than we expect. A Prophet? They thought Jesus was a false prophet when they remembered his saying that the temple would be destroyed ( Matthew 24:2 ), but events proved him right. Sometimes they thought he was Elijah returned as promised (in Malachi 4:5 ) to precede the Messiah ( Mark 8:28 ), or else the prophet John the Baptist returned from the dead. The guards taunted Jesus, asking him to prophesy and say who had struck him ( Luke 22:64 ). Sometimes our neighbors “prophesy” who will and who won’t get

Easter Bible Studies - Fourth Week in Lent

Faith and Miracles Jesus has power over natur e : There’s a difference between miracles and magic. Old Testament magicians could copy lots of God’s achievements in Egypt, but couldn’t copy God’s control over nature. In the New Testament, it’s when Jesus controls the wind and the waves that the disciples respond with greatest awe ( Mark 4:35-41 ). Jesus has power over social convention : Social rules can dictate who we do and don’t eat with, or who we allow into our homes, churches and schools. But Jesus broke the social rules and invited everyone ( Matthew 9:11-12, John 4:7-15 ). Jesus has power over need : Jesus recognized the hunger of his followers and provided food, either by directly miraculous means or by equally miraculously causing huge crowds to share, depending on your interpretation. Jesus has power over sickness : Jesus healed people, and his followers healed people ( Acts 5:12-16, 8:6-7 ). After his death, his disciples continued to heal people in his name. People were

Easter Bible Studies - Third Week in Lent

The Beatitudes The Poor in Spirit: Jesus promises the kingdom of heaven to the poor in spirit ( Matthew 5:3 ). When he told the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector ( Luke 18:10-14 ), which one of them was poor in spirit? However rich in blessings we are, we should still recognize that we are sinners. Those who Mourn: Jesus promises comfort those who mourn ( Matthew 5:4 ). When Lazarus died, Martha and Mary must both have mourned (John 11:17-44). Who does Jesus offer more comfort to? Those who acknowledge his current power, or those who condemn his failure to use his power? The Meek: Jesus says the meet will inherit the earth ( Matthew 5:5 ). A centurion asked Jesus to heal his servant ( Matthew 8:5-13 ). He didn’t consider himself worthy to take Jesus out of his way. Instead of demanding, he acknowledged Jesus’ right to demand. Is that meekness? Those who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness: Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled ( Matthew 5:6 )

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

Easter Bible Studies - First Week in Lent

History of Israel – Prophets, Priests and Kings Moses: The Bible says Moses was “grown-up” when he fled from Egypt and 80 when he returned, but it’s possible that the number 40 means a generation, making him around 25 (and hotheaded) and 50 (ready to obey) ( Exodus 2:11, 7:7 ). Historians argue about the timing of the Exodus, but it’s possibly to make the Biblical and historical numbers agree, as long as we assume that all three lists of high priests between Aaron and Solomon’s temple are supposed to agree with each other ( Ezra 7:1-5, 1 Chronicles 6:50-53, 3-13 ). Everyone knows (and frequently argues) about the Red Sea crossing ( Exodus 14:21 ), but the Jordan also ran dry ( Joshua 3:16 ), and both crossings can be scientifically explained, if we accept that God has control over nature. Judges: Once the Israelites entered the Promised Land, they split into separate tribes, ruled by judges. Throughout this period the worship of local gods gets mixed in with the worship of God,

Easter Bible Studies - Ash Wednesday to 1st Sunday in Lent

I guess I'm a bit late posting (and writing) this, but I'll try to catch up... Easter A 7-week Lenten Bible Study in “What IFS ?” Inspired by Faith and Science: What if… you could put the whole Bible back into Easter? What if… it Easter is the most important Christian festival? What if… you can add Bible readings to Lent as well as giving something up? What if… the story is more than words can tell? What is the aim of this study: • To make Easter special with Bible readings for every day from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday • To remind us that all the stories in the Bible belong to one tale. • To provide a companion volume to Easter: Creation to Salvation in 100 words a day Pre-History in the Bible Creation: Genesis 1 tells a story of creation that fits the scientific record – light, then water, then plants, then clearing skies revealing sun moon and stars, then fish and birds, then animals, then man. Although Christians may argue about the length of time between ea