Showing posts from February, 2019

Feeling Hungry?

We're reaching some familiar territory in our gospel Bible studies now, with the feeding of the 5,000. So let's find some coffee and cookies and imagine the scene... Are you feeling hungry? (41) Are you hungry? John places the feeding of the 5,000 in Galilee after Jesus’ second period of teaching in Jerusalem. Matthew, Mark and Luke place it when Jesus retires to a quiet place after the return of the twelve from teaching two by two (and after the death of John the Baptist). John says the miracle took place just before a Passover, perhaps when lots of pilgrims were heading to Jerusalem. We’ll imagine it as after the 2 nd Passover (after the healing at the pool)—maybe near the 3 rd ? As always, we don’t know for sure—we make our best guesses and follow the journey into Jesus’ final year of ministry. Read John 6:1-4, Matthew 14:13-14, Mark 6:30-34, Luke 9:10-11. Where are they? (And why? – see last week’s study) 1.        How does Jesus react to the crowds? How would we

Who was the Girl who Danced?

So here's Jesus, sending his friends out to preach, wandering the countryside--maybe not alone, but without so many beside him. And there's John, in jail. And there's the "evil king" and the "conspiring queen," together with the "innocent daughter"... We know the story don't we? And her name? Who was the girl who danced? But, just maybe, some of the things we know aren't so sure. Maybe some of the details we remember aren't so relevant, and some of the assumptions we make aren't so helpful... in the present as well as in history. This week, our Bible study group's going to read the Biblical story of the death of John the Baptist. Join us! (40) Paying the Ultimate Price Mark—“nothing but the facts”—recounts John’s death straight after the sending out of the twelve. With Luke, he adds the rumors of Jesus being “the resurrected John” (fitting, if John has just died). But Matthew inserts the story of John asking if Jes

Sheep, Wolves, Serpents, Doves and more!

So... Jesus sends out the twelve, and we're wondering, are we the sent or the ones receiving, or both. But we'll pause for a moment to read the instructions to the sent, where we'll find sheep, wolves, snakes even! (39) Hard Harvest Matthew’s second “sermon of Jesus” (1. Sermon on the Mount, 2. Little Commission, 3. Kingdom of Heaven, 4. Church, 5. End Times) is set in the context of Jesus sending out his disciples (possibly two by two, possibly just to the Jews). This is often viewed as the end of the second year/beginning of the third year of Jesus’ ministry: ·          The first year began near Jerusalem with Jesus’ baptism. For the purposes of this study, we’re assuming Jesus ministered in Judea from then until the first Passover is reported in John - the first time Jesus cleanses the Temple. ·          This makes Jesus’ second year of ministry take place mostly in Galilee, stretching from the arrest of John the Baptist to Jesus’ second Passover in Jerusalem,

What's in your comfort zone?

John's gospel's not the only ones with complicated sermons. With John about to describe the feeding of the 5,000, we return to Matthew, Mark and Luke to find another sermon, and the sending out of the twelve, just before that miraculous meal. Matthew gives more details of Jesus' sermon (his second recorded in Matthew, after the Sermon on the Mount), and we'll look more at that next week. Meanwhile today we look at twelve rather ordinary men sent out to do something well outside their comfort zone. What's in your comfort zone? (38) Harvest Time Returning to Matthew’s account at this point, we find Jesus sending out the twelve disciples to preach and teach “in his name,” a nice echo to what we’ve just read in John about Jesus speaking in the Father’s name. When someone preaches a sermon, or teaches through a book we’re reading, or speaks about faith on TV, how do we tell whose name they are speaking in? Read Matthew 9:35-38, Luke 10:1-2 Luke places the “harv