Showing posts from January, 2018

Meet the Disciples

... well, meet a few of them anyway. Our Bible Study group is heading back into John this time, looking at who Jesus met, where and when, and how they ended up following him. How did you end up following him? (9) Friends, Brothers and Fishermen If Jesus’ baptism and time in the desert both take place near Jerusalem, it seems likely that Jesus’ ministry will start there too, but Matthew, Mark and Luke go straight from baptism and temptation to Jesus’ Galilean ministry. If this surprises us, perhaps we’re just being Western geographically minded, instead of Eastern topic-centered. But John’s gospel follows Jesus from Jerusalem to Galilee, and starts with the calling of the first disciples. Read John 1:35-39 1.        What makes this sound like a first-person account? 2.        Where does Jesus find his first disciples, and why does that seem particularly appropriate? Read John 1:40-42 1.        If Simon was fishing in Galilee, that “straight away” or “first thing” must h

What's the desert got to do with temptation?

Last week our Coffee Break group looked at the baptism of Jesus, and were moderately surprised to find it's hardly mentioned in the gospel of John. This week we'll look at what happened next... (8) Temptation Ah, temptation… When does temptation usually hit you most strongly? Why might temptation have come to Jesus straight after his baptism? And what has wandering around in the desert got to do with it? Matthew, Mark and Luke all tell how Jesus went into the desert after his baptism. John jumps straight into Jesus’ ministry, which presumably began on his return. Read Matthew 4:1, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1 1.        Where did Jesus go?  ( Traditionally, the temptations are believed to have taken place on Mount Quarantania, near Jericho. Does that sound plausible? Why a mountain—Matthew 4:8, Luke 4:5? Why a desert? Why near Jericho? ) 2.        What did he plan to do there? Do you ever “plan” to face temptation? Why? What “desert” would you go to? 3.        Can you re

What about those rights and rites?

Last week our Coffee Break group looked at stories of Jesus' childhood. This week we move onto more familiar territory with the beginning of his adult ministry, by which time Jesus is... how old? I'm quite enjoying the shorter studies we're doing now. I hope you are too. (7) Baptism The first thing we know about the adult Jesus is that John the Baptist baptizes him. All four Gospels tell (at least part of) the story, and all four set the scene by describing the ministry of John. Read Matthew 3:1-3, Mark 1;1-3, Luke 3:1-6, Isaiah 40:3-5, Malachi 3:1 1.        How famous was Isaiah? 2.        How old was Jesus when John began his ministry? ( Read Luke 3: 23. Tiberius reigned for two years together with Augustus, so this could be AD 26 or 28. Pilate was procurator from AD 26 to 36, Caiaphas was high priest from AD 18 to 36.) 3.        How old was John? 4.        What did John look like? What did he eat? Where do you think he lived and worked? Read Matt

From Bethlehem to Nazareth

Christmas is over... maybe. I believe in some traditions the Christmas celebration takes place on Jan 6th, so the season can hardly be over there. And in my tradition, I'm too lazy to take all the decorations down yet. They look pretty, and I've other stuff to do (like washing and cleaning). But January Coffee Break restarts tomorrow, so here is our next study from the Gospels, appropriately (for just after Christmas) looking at the childhood of Christ. Enjoy! (6) Childhood Tales The holy family flees to Egypt, fulfilling prophecy ( Read Hosea 11:1) . Who else “fled” to Egypt in the Old Testament? 1.        Read Matthew 2:13-15 Why Egypt? Where in Egypt? And what kind of support might they have found there? 2.        Read Matthew 2:19-23 Why Nazareth? ( Read Luke 1:26, Luke 2:39-40) What kind of support might they have found there? 3.        Why not Bethlehem? Or even, why Bethlehem in the first place? Why didn’t they go straight home after Jesus was born? (And why