Showing posts from August, 2020

When does Reasoning give way to Faith?

  (95) When does Reasoning give way to Faith? Read Luke 21:37-38. But what was Jesus teaching in the Temple, in this time between his triumphal entry to Jerusalem and the Last Supper? John’s gospel gives an answer, starting with some Greek who come to Philip. Read John 12:20-26 1.        Why Philip, and what sort of Greeks are these – believers, non-believers, hangers-on? Do they sound sincere? 2.        When did Andrew play an important part in bringing someone to Jesus before this? Read John 1:40-42 3.        How does verse 23 answer the question that they want to “see” Jesus? How often do we want to keep arguing the details and trying to understand instead of moving forward with Christ? 4.        The Greeks probably aren’t farmers, and they probably are familiar with Greek mythology. What would verse 24 mean to them? (Dionysus was torn apart by the Titans with only his heart remaining, which was used to bring him back to life. Adonis “died” each year, spending part of hi

Is it the end of the world when...?

 Is it the end of world when...? (94) The Second Coming Jesus, looking back over Jerusalem in the week before Passover, goes on to say more about the end of the world perhaps, not just the “end of the world as they knew it.” Read Matthew 24:29-31, Mark 13:24-27, Luke 21:25-28 1.        Read Isaiah 13:10-11,   Jeremiah 4:23-24, Joel 2:10, Amos 8:9, Revelation 6:12-14 What physical events cause the sun, moon, and stars to disappear? And what physical events might look like stars falling from the sky? 2.        Is Jesus talking about physical events? (There may well have been earthquakes and eruptions near the time of Jerusalem’s destruction – physical events could have inspired or fulfilled Revelation, or both.) 3.        In Matthew 24:30 what might be the “sign of the son of man”? Could it be something we’ll only know when we see it, like the “abomination” in the earlier passage? 4.        Read Exodus 19:16. In Matthew 24:31, what natural events make a sound like a trumpet, a

Is it the end of the world if...?

 So... is it the end of the world? (93) The Sermon on a Different Mount We’re in the final week before Passover. Jesus and the disciples are staying in Bethany, probably with Martha, Mary and Lazarus. After an emotional scene in the Temple, with Jesus pronouncing seven “woes” on the ruling authorities, he sets off toward Bethany, following the footpath over the Mount of Olives. The view back over the city is spectacular. Read Matthew 24:1-3, Mark 13:1-4, Luke 21:5-7 1.        Why do the disciples want Jesus to “look” at the temple? Do we ever want God to “look” at something we think is wonderful? 2.        Why does Jesus say the temple will be destroyed? Does God ever seem to tell us things we don’t want to hear? 3.        Why do the disciples ask about “the end of the age”? Do we ever think we know what the worst thing will be? Does God ever tell us we’re wrong? Jesus answers a much bigger question—how long will it take to reach “the end of the age”? Read Matthew 24:4-14, Ma

Counting woes

 Not enough woes to go around? (92) Woes Continued Remember Mark 12:38-40, Luke 20:45-47 from last time. Jesus was about to pronounce a list of “woes” against the church leaders. I still think woe might be as much a cry of mourning as of condemnation. But we’ll look at the list in a moment, traditionally 7 of them, in Matthew. But let’s read the Mark and Luke passages first. The woes are listed as: 1.        Teaching about God but not loving God 2.        Preaching a dead religion, so the converts are as dead as they are 3.        False teaching about oaths, nitpicking what was and was not binding 4.        False teaching about the law—neglecting justice, mercy and faithfulness 5.        Appearing clean while being full of sin 6.        Claiming a righteousness they didn’t deserve 7.        And professing they valued the prophets when they were about to murder a prophet. Let’s see if this feels like a good summing up (though I have to confess, I counted 8, not 7):

Feeling woeful in a woe-begotten world?

(91) Woe When Jesus pronounces 7 woes on the scribes and Pharisees, is he condemning them or mourning them? We’re approaching a passage where Jesus says “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees” over and over. But the passage ends with Jesus weeping over Jerusalem, so… what do you think: lament or condemnation? And what about the many woes pronounced on “evil nations” in the Old Testament…? We’ll look at the woes individually next time, but first let’s take an overview: Read Mark 12:38-40, Luke 20:45-47, Matthew 23:1-4 1.        “Sitting in Moses’ seat” probably meant sitting in a high place in the synagogue and claiming the right to teach the assembled masses (who would be sitting on the floor)—Jesus probably sat there when he read from the Scriptures at the starts of his ministry ( Luke 4:16 ). Do we have similar ways of separating people in churches? a.        Do we have, or have Christian churches historically had false teachers in high positions? b.        Can you sum up h