Showing posts from January, 2019

Faith, Judgement, and Change?

We're still in John's gospel, and it's a very different place to be. But don't worry; we'll be back in Galilee with Matthew, Mark and Luke soon. Still, it's intriguing to see Jesus' famous discourses in the context of a ministry spanning miles and years, rather than one spanning pages in a book. (37)Life and Judgement Jesus has just healed on the Sabbath AND claimed to be the Son of God. The authorities’ heresy radar is bristling. They want to “judge” rightly and determine whether or not Jesus is the Messiah, but it’s difficult. What makes it hard for us to be both faithful and impartial in judging what others say or do? Read John 5:24-30 What is your first impression of what you’ve just read? Which verse are you still thinking about? 1.        Verse 24 Can you paraphrase this? Is Jesus talking to people who might casually say “Sure, I believe it,” or to people for whom belief is central to their lives? What might “crossed over” from death to li

What have amazed and offended got to do with faith and love?

Now we get to be amazed and/or offended all over again. Is expecting an angel to "stir the waters" and heal you Biblical, pagan, heretical, traditional, just a thought, just a story...? Or maybe just an event in the world's most amazing life... Last week we left off just as Jesus was reaching Jerusalem after (maybe) a year of ministry in Galilee. (36) Faith and Love Tradition has Jesus making three visits to Jerusalem in his three-year-ministry, with this as the second one. Read John 2:13, 5:1 This visit is imagined to take place: 1.        At Pentecost just a few weeks after the first (Passover) visit. 2.        At the Feast of Tabernacles, in the fall after the first visit. 3.        At Pentecost the following year… Which timing makes more sense to you? And does it matter? Read John 5:2-7. Remains of a pool have been found, which may or may not be the pool in question. But the pool is mentioned in the Dead Sea scrolls, which adds credence to the story. 1

Are you amazed or offended?

How easily do you go from amazed to offended? How much influence does "the crowd" hold over your opinions... your faith... your trust? And how do you balance trusting with testing? This week's study invites us to stand in the crowd watching a miracle. Will we believe it, question it, reject or accept the possibility? Will we follow the healer? (35)   Belief and Unbelief How do we react to the “unlikely”?   If we see something that doesn’t seem possible, do we: 1.        Ask everyone else what they think happened? 2.        Go away to think and research privately? 3.        Tell yourself you were mistaken? 4.        Tell everyone else they must have been mistaken? Read Matthew 9:27-31 1.        Why two ? The number has symbolic meaning, but does it have human implications too? 2.        What makes us more or less likely to say “Yes, I believe”? 3.        Would you find it easy or hard to keep quiet? Why? Read Matthew 9:32-34 1.        Do

Where does faith fit in?

2019! A New Year and a continuing Bible study... continuing prayer perhaps, continued hope, continued healing... May God bless you in the coming year, and may you grow in faith. (34) Continuing in Miracles Matthew’s gospel, well organized in sections, collects a list of Jesus’ miracles—leprosy, centurion’s servant, Peter’s mother-in-law, calming the storm (which we read last time), Gadarene demoniac(s) (also last time), paralyzed man… then the calling of Matthew, rules about fasting (wonder why they come in between)… then raising a dead girl and healing a sick woman, following by healing the blind and mute. Mark and Luke go straight from the Gadarene demoniac to the raising of a dead girl on the Jewish side of the Sea, so we’re following their timeline, reading another miracle that had to be viewed as more than just the magic of medicine (Luke’s domain) and wisdom (Matthew’s perhaps). Read Matthew 9:18-19, Mark 5:21-24, Luke 8:40-42 1.        Some translations of Matthew say