Showing posts from July, 2020

How do sum up what you believe?

(90) The First Commandment – Summing Up Today we sum up the “testing” of Jesus – kind of like examining the sacrificial lamb for flaws. The Pharisees, Herodians, and Sadducees have found nothing wrong. So now the scribes try. The scribe in question may well be keeping records for the Pharisees, and his question may be honest, though the Pharisees seek to remove any records of what Jesus offers. 1.        Read Mark 12:28, Matthew 22:34-36. What’s the biggest difference between the way the question is asked in Matthew and in Mark? a.        What was Jesus’ emphasis when he talked about commandments? 2.        Read Mark 12:29-30, Matthew 22:37-38, Deuteronomy 6:4-5, 5:6-7 How does the “greatest” commandment differ from the “first” commandment? a.        What does that tell us about God’s priorities? 3.        Read Mark 12:31, Matthew 22:39-40, Leviticus 19:18. Are you surprised to find this is in Leviticus? a.        Given the huge number of laws in Leviticus, how do this an

What if it really is complicated?

(89) A Tale of Seven Brothers - Interpretation The religiously legalistic Pharisees and the securarly comfortable Herodians joined forces to question Jesus but couldn’t trip him up. So now it’s the turn of the aristocratic, worldly, theologically liberal Sadducees. They don’t believe in an afterlife or any kind of resurrection (but they do know their Scriptures, and can argue their positions very well). Just for fun, let’s start by looking at whether the Old Testament scriptures support the Sadducees’ position. Do they have anything to say about resurrection. Read Genesis 5:24, 49:33, Job 14:15, 19:25-27, 1 Samuel 28:3,7-10, 2 Kings 2:10-11, Isaiah 25:8, 26:19, Daniel 12:1-3,13, Psalm 16:10, 49:15, 73:24-25… Then look at: Genesis 3:19, Psalm 88:10, 115:17, 146:4, Job 3:16-19, 14:10-12 1.        Does the Old Testament make a convincing case for life after death? Which was your favorite verse? 2.        Is it possible to know your Bible well and still honestly misunderstand it? W

Ready to ponder a taxing question?

(88) A Taxing Question Jesus has thrown down the gauntlet in Jerusalem. The leaders know they won’t be able to persuade him to join their gang. So now they have to make sure he doesn’t threaten their position. And the best defense, of course, if offense. Can they make Jesus break the Roman law? Or God’s law even? Can they make him lose the people’s favor? Surely something will work. Read Mark 12:13-17, Luke 20:20-26. 1.        Read Matthew 22:15. Do we meet leaders who try to “entangle” or “trap” the opposition? Should they? 2.        Read Matthew 22: 16. Pharisees and Herodians working together? What’s odd about this? a.       Do our leaders (political or spiritual) make strange alliances? Should they? b.       Do our leaders flatter the opposition? Should they? c.        Do they flatter us, and how susceptible are we to flattery? 3.        Read Matthew 22:17. Do our leaders like to phrase things this way—one thing or another and no options in between? Should they? a.

Will you come to the Banquet?

(87) Teaching in Parables In Jesus’ last week, in Jerusalem, when the world is about to change, Jesus had a lot to teach his people. When might you have felt a great pressure to teach, and teach now , about God’s kingdom? What makes us feel that urgency? Read Matthew 21:28-32 Jesus is responding to the leaders’ refusal to acknowledge where John’s authority came from. 1.        Who do you imagine the sons representing—the leaders, the sinners, the Jews, the Gentiles…? 2.        When might you have said “no” and done “yes”—in terms of faith, or just in everyday life? 3.        When might you have said “yes” and done “no”? 4.        What about the disciples. When did they say one thing and then change? 5.        Read Matthew 21:31b-32 What should have made the leaders believe John? Or in Jesus? And what should make people believe now? What’s our part in this? Now Jesus tells the crowd (a very celebratory crowd) about the great celebration to come. Read Matthew 22:1-14 Do y