Each week we gather on Tuesday morning for Bible study. Until recently we met at the Bistro but this time of quarantine does not permit that for this time. Attached you will find the scriptures according to four different sources. The NRSV and NIV are translations that stick to "just the facts" of the Bible. The Message and The Voice are paraphrased readings that add a modern understanding to the Holy Scripture.
Read the Bible versions first. Then, prayerfully, review the notes that follow here. Pray for each other and the needs of our congregation, our land, and our times. May your study be prayer.
---------------------------------------------------------July 7th, 2020---------------------------------------------------------
Matthew 13:1-23 NRSV
13That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. 5Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly since they had no depth of soil. 6But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. 7Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9Let anyone with ears listen!”
10 Then the disciples came and asked him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 He answered, “To you it has been given to know the secrets[b] of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 13 The reason I speak to them in parables is that ‘seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.’ 14 With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says:
‘You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive.
15 For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing,
and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes,
and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn— and I would heal them.’
16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.
18“Hear then the parable of the sower. 19When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. 20As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21yet such a person has no root but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. 22As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. 23But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
Matthew 13:1-23 The Message (MSG)
A Harvest Story
13 1-3 At about that same time Jesus left the house and sat on the beach. In no time at all a crowd gathered along the shoreline, forcing him to get into a boat. Using the boat as a pulpit, he addressed his congregation, telling stories.
3-8 “What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road, and birds ate it. Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn’t put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled by the weeds. Some fell on good earth and produced a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.
9 “Are you listening to this? Really listening?”
Why Tell Stories?
10 The disciples came up and asked, “Why do you tell stories?”
11-15 He replied, “You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom. You know how it works. Not everybody has this gift, this insight; it hasn’t been given to them. Whenever someone has a ready heart for this, the insights and understandings flow freely. But if there is no readiness, any trace of receptivity soon disappears. That’s why I tell stories: to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight. In their present state they can stare till doomsday and not see it, listen till they’re blue in the face and not get it. I don’t want Isaiah’s forecast repeated all over again:
Your ears are open but you don’t hear a thing. Your eyes are awake but you don’t see a thing.
The people are blockheads! They stick their fingers in their ears so they won’t have to listen;
They screw their eyes shut so they won’t have to look, so they won’t have to deal with me face-to-face
nd let me heal them.
16-17 “But you have God-blessed eyes—eyes that see! And God-blessed ears—ears that hear! A lot of people, prophets and humble believers among them, would have given anything to see what you are seeing, to hear what you are hearing, but never had the chance.
The Meaning of the Harvest Story
18-19 “Study this story of the farmer planting seed. When anyone hears news of the kingdom and doesn’t take it in, it just remains on the surface, and so the Evil One comes along and plucks it right out of that person’s heart. This is the seed the farmer scatters on the road.
20-21 “The seed cast in the gravel—this is the person who hears and instantly responds with enthusiasm. But there is no soil of character, and so when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.
22 “The seed cast in the weeds is the person who hears the kingdom news, but weeds of worry and illusions about getting more and wanting everything under the sun strangles what was heard, and nothing comes of it.
23 “The seed cast on good earth is the person who hears and takes in the News, and then produces a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.”
Pastor'e Notes - Matthew 13:1-9,18-23
The crowd that has come to hear Jesus is so large that he teaches from a boat on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus teaches using the Hebrew method of telling parables. Parables are stories designed to challenge the listener and inspire them to seek further, to pose more insightful questions, and to search out the deeper meaning than what is obvious in the telling. They are more than a story or proverb with only one lesson.
The hillside by the sea makes a natural amphitheater. He tells several parables;
The first one (vs. 3-8) he explains in vv. 18-23, but only partially. People were familiar with Palestinian farming; sometimes seeding preceded ploughing.
The “sower” (v. 3) and the seed are constant; where it lands varies: in three unfruitful places (“on the path”, v. 4, among rocks, v. 5, “among thorns”, v. 7) and in one fruitful place (v. 8). V. 9 lets the crowd know that this is a story with a deeper meaning.
People naturally thought of the sower as God and the various soils as the people of the world.
They probably linked “birds” (v. 4) with evil as several Old Testament stories that link birds with destruction and death. (one example is the baker who was imprisoned with Joseph. Remember his dream?)
Here the sower is anyone who tells the good news, who speaks God's word.
Growth represents receptivity. While Jesus has invited listening (vs 9) understanding is required in order to be fruitful (vs 19-23): reflect on Jesus’ message.
Those who brush off the message are seduced by evil (v. 19).
Vv. 20-21 also speak of lack of understanding: of superficiality, of reflecting insufficiently to withstand “persecution”.
Discipleship is demanding. Then v. 22: following Christ requires undivided loyalty, single-mindedness. The avoidance of distractions is paramount to serving and becoming a disciple.
Finally, only those who adequately reflect, come to understanding, who meet the demands of the faith, and who are truly dedicated are fruitful. The fruit is those who we bring to Christ.
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last. (From the poem by CT Studd)
-------------------------------June 23rd, 2020 -----------------------
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 (NRSV)
16“But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another, 17‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’ 18For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; 19the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
25At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; 26yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:16-30 New International Version (NIV)
“To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:
“‘We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”
At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.
“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:16-30 The Message (MSG)
“How can I account for this generation? The people have been like spoiled children whining to their parents, ‘We wanted to skip rope, and you were always too tired; we wanted to talk, but you were always too busy.’ John came fasting and they called him crazy. I came feasting and they called me a lush, a friend of the riffraff. Opinion polls don’t count for much, do they? The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”
Next Jesus let fly on the cities where he had worked the hardest but whose people had responded the least, shrugging their shoulders and going their own way.
Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: “Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You’ve concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that’s the way you like to work.”
Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. “The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father-Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I’m not keeping it to myself; I’m ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Peter Woods, I am Listening, 2011.
- "The proud and arrogant, those who have all the answers, those who think they are “self-made” will never see and receive what the burdened and heavily laden ones will see and receive."
QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT
1. Have you ever been disappointed in your relationship with Jesus? Most of us want more from Jesus than he apparently delivers to us. Perhaps you just want things to go the way you planned it to go. Perhaps “being Christian” has interrupted your future plans. When these things happen, how do you handle it? Is there a better way to deal with it?
2. Christian humility means recognizing that we are not on the same level as God. How do you recognize true humility? Have you ever put on “public humility” for personal reasons or know someone who has? What were the results?
3. What about trust? Do you really trust God with your future even when you don’t see one?
4. We are called to love others, but we cannot foresee the results of our loving actions. We are called to love our neighbors and so we must demonstrate that love through our actions. We cannot withdraw from human interaction and say we love humanity. How does loving one another demonstrate your love of God?
5. Have you ever stopped to evaluate something God was leading you to do because you were unsure of the cost to you personally? Did you do what God was asking?
-------------------------------June 23rd, 2020 -----------------------
Matthew 10:40-42 Romans 6:12-23
Matthew 10:40-42 NRSV
40“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; 42and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”
Matthew 10:40-42 NIV
“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
Matthew 10:40-42 The Message (MSG)
“We are intimately linked in this harvest work. Anyone who accepts what you do, accepts me, the One who sent you. Anyone who accepts what I do accepts my Father, who sent me. Accepting a messenger of God is as good as being God’s messenger. Accepting someone’s help is as good as giving someone help. This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.”
Pastor’s Notes – This text does not stand alone but is part of the studies of the last several weeks.
Chapter 10 is the mission of the twelve disciples during Jesus’s life
· Jesus places the disciples in pairs. (Why is that important?)
· They are given instruction on the message that they are to take to the communities. It’s not an easy message, but they are also offered the gifts that will allow them to bring healing within communities. (What gifts do you use for healing in our communities?)
· Jesus encourages them to embrace the places where they are made welcome, and to shake the dust from their feet where they are not welcome.
· The world Jesus sends them to with the message is not an easy world. It’s a world where people wage war against one another, and their encounters will sometimes have them fleeing for refuge. There is no equipment for the task, other than the clothes they wear, for they are to rely on the kindness of others.
· This last section of the chapter moves from being addressed to the disciples, and instead is an instruction for those who might welcome disciples. Those who arrive at the door, or into our lives, bringing the presence of Christ are to be offered hospitality. Offering hospitality brings us into the community of Christ, allowing us to become prophet and disciple, and inviting us to participate in the mission.
How do you understand hospitality?
No good deed is too small to be left undone. Pastor Michaele
From Matthew Henry's Commentary.
"Christ does not say that they deserve a reward; for we cannot merit any thing from the hand of God; but they shall receive a reward from the free gift of God."
From the Commentary on the Whole Bible (Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, 1871).
"And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones--...Originally taken from Zec 13:7. The reference is to their lowliness in spirit, their littleness in the eyes of an undiscerning world, while high in Heaven's esteem."
Debra Dean Murphy, Ekklesia Project 2014.
"My neighbor, in all her neediness, is Christ for me." (Want to see Jesus? Look to the needs of others).
Alyce M. McKenzie, Edgy Exegesis, 2014.
- "When we give our lives away for some purpose beyond ourselves, that paradoxically results in a gain. As Christians we would call that the reward of the righteous."
"Life, wrote Kierkegaard, can only be understood backwards. But it must be lived forwards. And that's where the heart finds its pure hour, and its holy day." (Pastor Michaele)
Romans 6:12-23 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
But be warned that anyone who does not accept the grace offered to them through Christ remains under the law and will be judged by that law.
Tuesday Bible (Haile) Study 06/16/20
Tuesday (Haile) Bible Study June 16, 2020 (12th Ordinary Time)
Matthew 10:24-39 NRSV
“A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household! “So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. “Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven. “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
Matthew 10:24-39 New International Version (NIV)
“The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!
“So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn
“‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
Matthew 10:24-39 The Message (MSG)
“A student doesn’t get a better desk than her teacher. A laborer doesn’t make more money than his boss. Be content—pleased, even—when you, my students, my harvest hands, get the same treatment I get. If they call me, the Master, ‘Dungface,’ what can the workers expect?
“Don’t be intimidated. Eventually everything is going to be out in the open, and everyone will know how things really are. So don’t hesitate to go public now.
“Don’t be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands.
“What’s the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries.
“Stand up for me against world opinion and I’ll stand up for you before my Father in heaven. If you turn tail and run, do you think I’ll cover for you?
“Don’t think I’ve come to make life cozy. I’ve come to cut—make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law—cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God. Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me.
“If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.
Matthew 10:24-39 COMMENTARY BASED ON 1996-2016 Chris Haslam
· Jesus continues to prepare the twelve for the continuation of his mission. He is both “teacher” and “master”. His disciples are students. There is so much to learn that they should never set themselves up as authorities independent of him.
· He has been called “Beelzebul”, (v. 25); his disciples will be called worse. Do not be intimidated. At the end of the era, all ungodly and godly behavior, now hidden, will be made known (v. 26).
· Now is the time to proclaim all that Jesus has told his disciples privately (v. 27). Do not fear your persecutors for they can only end your physical life; rather hold God in awe, for he can “destroy” (v. 28) you totally if you do not do his will. God cares for the life of even a sparrow (v. 29, sold as food in the market), so “do not be afraid” (v. 31) of losing the real life.
· Honest and forthright witness – and outright refusal to do so – will have eternal consequences (vv. 32-33). At the Last Day, Jesus will testify to the Father for those who have witnessed faithfully; he will declare those who turn against the gospel unworthy of life in the Kingdom.
· Jesus gives a new interpretation to Micah 7:6, a verse thought to foretell the breakdown of society as the end-times approach (vv. 34-36).
· Spreading the gospel will have unfortunate side-effects. (Truth often is not well-received). There will be tension and division (even within families) between those who accept Jesus’ message, and the demands it makes, and those who oppose his way.
· Christians must put loyalty to him above family loyalties (v. 37). Following Jesus involves the risk of death (“cross”, v. 38).
· Finally, a paradox: if one aims to preserve one’s earthly life, one will lose all (“life”, v. 39), but one who dies for Jesus will find true life, eternal life.
Questions for Meditation
How can the “Prince of Peace” bring a sword into the world? For what purpose? How can “the word of God is as a two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12) help our understanding of these verses?
Are Christians still persecuted today? If so, in what way?
How do you respond when your witness is not received? (particularly within family)
How do you understand Jesus statement “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.?”
Alternative Titles: Baalzebub, Beelzebul (Britannica)
Beelzebub, also called Baalzebub, in the Bible, the prince of the devils. In the Old Testament, in the form Baalzebub, it is the name given to the god of the Philistine city of Ekron (II Kings 1:1–18). Neither name is found elsewhere in the Old Testament, and there is only one reference to it in other Jewish literature.
What does Beelzebub mean in Hebrew? www.behindthename.com › name › beelzebub
From Hebrew בַּעַל זְבוּב (Ba'al Zevuv) meaning "lord of flies", possibly intended as a mocking alteration of בַּעַל זבל (Ba'al Zevul) meaning "Ba'al of the exalted house", one of the Canaanite names for their god BA'AL.
Beelzebub, prince of devils, from Latin. It often referred to the flies found surrounding the dung heap outside the city.
Tuesday Bible (Haile) Study 06/02/2020
Matthew 28:16-20 NRSV
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed
them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and
said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore
and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the
Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded
you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:16-20 NIV
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to
go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to
them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go
and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the
Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:16-20 The Message
Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain
Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some,
though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally.
Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and
commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in
this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy
Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as
you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:16-20 The Voice
The eleven disciples, having spoken to the Marys, headed to Galilee, to the mountain where they were to meet Jesus. When the disciples saw Jesus there, many of them fell down and worshiped, as Mary and the other Mary had done. But a few hung back. They were not sure (and who can blame them?). Jesus came forward and addressed His beloved disciples.
The disciples don’t know what to think or how to act. Nothing like this has ever happened before.
Jesus: I am here speaking with all the authority of God, who has commanded Me to give you this commission: Go out and make disciples in all the nations. Ceremonially wash them through baptism in the name of the triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then disciple them. Form them in the practices and postures that I have taught you, and show them how to follow the commands I have laid down for you. And I will be with you, day after day, to the end of the age.
This year Trinity Sunday comes immediately after Pentecost. The doctrine of the Trinity
is not easily understood, nor can it be, by the human mind. Nevertheless, the Trinity is
an important concept if we are to understand how God deals with the creation from
Genesis through Revelation. All persons of the Trinty are fully involved in every
moment and event. Matthew 28:18-20
The Great Commission Matthew 28:16-20
Jesus was given complete authority in heaven and on earth. ALL authority has been given to Jesus in heaven and on earth. Jesus has complete authority over everything, everywhere. In heaven and on earth tells us of His divinity and is another direct claim to that regard. This statement of authority has a direct correlation to His command to the disciples in the next verses. He has authority over anything or anyone that would oppose the work of the kingdom.
The disciples were to go in this authority. This authority was given to Jesus by the Father and Jesus in turn gives that authority to the disciples to fulfill the mission given to them. The disciples might think this task was too big and impossible. The answer, Jesus has authority over everything. Jesus would be with them. Jesus would help them accomplish it.
The disciples were to make disciples. But the statement is even more than that. It is a reminder that the authority is Jesus’ and not theirs. The disciples might be tempted to go in their own power, but this would be sin. They must go in Christ’s power (1 Thess 1:5, Acts 1:8). They might be tempted to teach their own traditions or opinions, but this would be sin. They must teach under the authority of Christ. They might be tempted to become prideful and take credit for the work that was being accomplished, but this would be sin. The glory goes to the one in charge and Jesus was in charge.
They were to make disciples of all nations. What is the essence of this command? Go. The word in Greek is poreuomai and it has a lot of slightly different meanings: to traverse, travel, depart, go (away, forth, one’s way, up), take a journey, or walk. There is some debate as to if this can mean only “as you are going”. This definition is often given to people in churches to remind them to share the gospel with others wherever they are and that it is not necessary for everyone to go to foreign peoples. But Jesus does tell them to go and make disciples of all nations (ethne), thus acknowledging that not all will remain in one locale. That still leaves the question, is everyone to go? I believe here we enter the idea of being called to a particular ministry in other lands but all can share the Gospel wherever they are.
This making disciples required baptizing. That is a whole lesson of itself. Suffice to say for this point that baptism is obedience, identification as God's child, and an invitation for the Holy Spirit to begin a work in us.
This making disciples required teaching obedience. This obedience was to the same commandments Jesus gave to the disciples. Knowing what to do and not doing it does not demonstrate discipleship nor does it aid in fulfilling the commission Christ gave us.
Jesus would be with them (and us) until the end of the age. This is a promise of comfort, presence, and empowerment. We are not going alone or in our own strength. Yes, we are all in this together – not just with each other by with the Trinity.
Does the Great Commission still apply to us at whatever stage of the journey in which we find ourselves?
05/26/20 Tuesday Bible Study Notes from Pastor Wood
John 7:37-39 NRSV
37On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, 38and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” 39Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
John 7:37-39 The Message (MSG)
37-39 On the final and climactic day of the Feast, Jesus took his stand. He cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let
him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes
in me this way, just as the Scripture says.” (He said this in regard to the Spirit, whom those who believed in
him were about to receive. The Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified.)
Acts 2:1-21 NRSV
2When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
5Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”
14But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 17‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. 19And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. 20The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. 21Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
Acts 2:1-21 The Message (MSG)
2 1-4 When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them.
5-11 There were many Jews staying in Jerusalem just then, devout pilgrims from all over the world. When they heard the sound, they came on the run. Then when they heard, one after another, their own mother tongues being spoken, they were thunderstruck. They couldn’t for the life of them figure out what was going on, and kept saying, “Aren’t these all Galileans? How come we’re hearing them talk in our various mother tongues?
Parthians, Medes, and Elamites; Visitors from Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia,
Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene; Immigrants from Rome, both Jews and proselytes; Even Cretans and Arabs!
“They’re speaking our languages, describing God’s mighty works!”
12 Their heads were spinning; they couldn’t make head or tail of any of it. They talked back and forth, confused: “What’s going on here?”
13 Others joked, “They’re drunk on cheap wine.”
14-21 That’s when Peter stood up and, backed by the other eleven, spoke out with bold urgency: “Fellow Jews, all of you who are visiting Jerusalem, listen carefully and get this story straight. These people aren’t drunk as some of you suspect. They haven’t had time to get drunk—it’s only nine o’clock in the morning. This is what the prophet Joel announced would happen:
“In the Last Days,” God says,
“I will pour out my Spirit on every kind of people:
Your sons will prophesy, also your daughters;
Your young men will see visions, your old men dream dreams.
When the time comes,
I’ll pour out my Spirit
On those who serve me, men and women both, and they’ll prophesy.
I’ll set wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth below,
Blood and fire and billowing smoke, the sun turning black and the moon blood-red,
Before the Day of the Lord arrives, the Day tremendous and marvelous;
And whoever calls out for help to me, God, will be saved.”
From Wesley's Notes.
Acts 2:1-21 (Pentecost C), Matthew L. Skinner, Preaching This Week, WorkingPreacher.org, 2016.
Plenty of Symbolism in this week's reading. What does it all mean?
In the Gospel reading Jesus promises living water to those who come to him through the (Holy) Spirit. This promise is a river of life – water enough to flow out to others, a spiritual life in abundance. In creation the Spirit hovered over the waters of the deep and darkness (KJV), the wind of God blew over all bringing life from nothing and order where there had been chaos, setting the stage for the fullness of creation beginning with light. Genesis 1 “In the beginning when God created[a] the heavens and the earth, 2 the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God[b] swept over the face of the waters.”
Hebrew word translated as wind in KJV means the “breathe, soul, person, psyche.” The Greek similarly means the “breath, spirit” of a person.
In the account of Pentecost we again have the wind blowing over the place where the disciples waited as Jesus instructed them. Just 50 days earlier Jesus had “breathed on them,” and said, “receive the Holy Spirit, ” again reminiscent of Creator God breathing life into Adam in the beginning. Now the wind (breath, Spirit) of God again blows new life into this rag-tag bunch hiding in the upper room. Its not a beach breeze its the strength of a small tornado and loud enough to draw the attention of all Jerusalem.
And what about the Fire? Tongue shaped flames of fire coming from the one center source God – plenty enough for all to receive – a symbol of burning energy of the Spirit in the about to be established church. Psalm 69:9 speaks of the zeal of God consuming the worshiper – the fire of the Spirit is the source – The spirit fans the flames of God's love in the believer to a new level of service and sacrifice.
Speaking in other tongues. Why Tongues? In the Old Testament story of Babel, people had come together to build a tower to heaven. The story leads us to believe that the unity of that misguided purpose was a concern for God who says that it was possible the people would achieve that purpose because they were of one mind. God decides to confuse their languages to stop that building effort. And so people went their way unable to communicate or find unity of purpose. On Pentecost, the disciples speak in languages they did not learn, as the Spirit directed, so that all there understood the message they were preaching. This spiritual language could again bring unity of purpose – but by Spirit's direction.
Not a one-time accurance. The day of Pentecost was just the first on several instances in the Book of Acts where the Holy Spirit demonstrated God's power in such a manner and motivated the church to action. (And it didn't end there if you read the stories of the saints throughout the ages).
We have water, wind, and fire as symbols of the Gift of God – the Holy Spirit who indwells the believer and moves us to action...and we have this treasure in earthen (physical) vessels... no wonder the disciples were overwhelmed by the presence of the indwelling Spirit.
2 Cor 4:7 New International Version
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
Just a few thoughts for your consideration.
5/5/20 Tuesday Bible Study Notes from Pastor Wood
John 14:1-14 NRSV
14“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.
4And you know the way to the place where I am going.” 5Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” 8Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” 9Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.
12Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.
John 14:1-14 The Message (MSG)
14 1-4 “Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking.”
5 Thomas said, “Master, we have no idea where you’re going. How do you expect us to know the road?”
6-7 Jesus said, “I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him. You’ve even seen him!”
8 Philip said, “Master, show us the Father; then we’ll be content.”
9-10 “You’ve been with me all this time, Philip, and you still don’t understand? To see me is to see the Father. So how can you ask, ‘Where is the Father?’ Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you aren’t mere words. I don’t just make them up on my own. The Father who resides in me crafts each word into a divine act.
11-14 “Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do.
From Matthew Henry's Commentary.
"Here are three words, upon any of which stress may be laid. Upon the word troubled. Be not cast down and disquieted. The word heart. Let your heart be kept with full trust in God. The word "your." However others are overwhelmed with the sorrows of this present time, be not you so."
Jesus tells us that since we know him, even if we don't see him, there is no need to be stressed, depressed, or distressed. Nothing should rattle you. Oh, your physical body may act up and your mind may try to make you panic but your spirit knows God is in control. Live by what is spirit and truth and let God's peace rule in your life.
Our hearts need to be fully involved with God, trusting God with our whole selves. There isn't room for all the clutter that we allow into our lives. If you have ever watched the movie,” The Karate Kid” you know the famous saying, “Focus Danielson.” Nothing worked for Daniel until he learned to focus on the instruction that was given. How much more do we need to focus on God and what God's Word is telling us in this uncertain world?
Don't be overwhelmed with sorrow or what trouble you see around you. You are safe in God's loving hands and God will take care of you.
Another main idea of this passage is “Home.”
Jesus says he is going to prepare a place for you – an eternal home. We often read these words at funerals when we need to hear them most. There is a home prepared for you. I have no idea of what that home will look like, this place which Jesus goes to prepare for us.
We spend the majority of our life he on earth establishing a home, building a home, repairing, remodeling, etc. whether it is a brick and morter house or our body that houses our spirit we are always trying to make things better. Homes that we buy or build here have histories of others who may have come before and will bear the marks of the changes we make. Some walls do talk (Haile Plantation) and others really shouldn't with what they have seen. Even if you build a home from scratch the land itself has a story.
But God's house built for us? Its story isn't marked so much by those who have lived there. Today we are reminded that this home is marked and made, shaped, and molded by God's love --- by the builder himself. And this Builder assures us that there is plenty of room in this house ---we won't need to remodel it or add more room- when we arrive, each one of us, we will feel at home.
It is no wonder that these words are often read at funerals --- at that time when we need to hear them most of all. What a gift it is to stand still in the promise that when our time for 'making a home' here is done, a place is waiting for us for us in God's own house.
May the promise that there is another Home waiting for us enable us always to live in hope for what is yet to come.
What is the story of your 'home?' Is it in the design, the architecture, the furnishings, the people? How would you tell the story of your home?
What comes to your mind when Jesus speaks of 'going to prepare a place' or a home for us? What do you picture?
How does this promised future shape your present life now?
Haile Bistro 4/14/20 Tuesday Bible Study Notes from Pastor Wood:
2nd Sunday of Easter
19When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” 24But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
26A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” 30Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name
Acts 2:14-41 (Acts 2:14a, 22-32)
14But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say.
22“You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know— 23this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. 24But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power. 25For David says concerning him, ‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken; 26therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will live in hope. 27For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One experience corruption. 28You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ 29“Fellow Israelites, I may say to you confidently of our ancestor David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would put one of his descendants on his throne. 31Foreseeing this, David spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, saying, ‘He was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh experience corruption.’ 32This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses.
• "He breathed on them - New life and vigour, and saith, as ye receive this breath out of my mouth, so receive ye the Spirit out of my fulness: the Holy Ghost influencing you in a peculiar manner, to fit you for your great embassy. This was an earnest of pentecost."
This scripture always reminds me of the creator breathing life into Adam. Jesus breathes on them. For me, it is the second Adam breathing anew the breath of God into creation and the promise of the fullness of the Holy Spirit not many days further on. Jesus, the second Adam, is restoring what the first Adam had lost. It was His to give
I've always thought Thomas got a bum rap. He wasn't there for whatever reason when Jesus appears to the disciples the first time. They got their first hand experience and Jesus thought it necessary for them to see him. Thomas adds demands to his need to see – he wanted to touch.
When I look at Thomas, I see a man who yearns for a living encounter with God. A man who can not settle for someone else’s experience of resurrection, but sticks around in the hope of having his own. A man who dares to confess uncertainty in the midst of those who are certain. A man who recognizes his Lord in woundedness, not glory. ( D. Thomas)
Thomas had a hard time believing “second hand” accounts. He had to have his personal encounter with Christ just as the other disciples had. He had seen Jesus crucified and buried from the same distance as the other disciples. He needed something tangible. It was a week before Jesus came to Thomas. Imagine how uncertain, how painful that week was for him. Waiting for an answer, trying to decide what to believe, wondering if God cared about him. But Jesus never leaves a soul in pain.
Thomas' doubt really leads him to get a response. Aquestion gets an answer and doubt is often the beginning of faith. History holds that after this Thomas went on to carry the Gospel all the way to India where he was martyred for his faith. His doubt led him to the eternal answer.
This year, this story of hope in the face of fear, peace in the middle of chaos and belief in resurrection despite deadly circumstances resonates loudly and Thomas becomes more relatable than ever.
Are we not in the same situation? We are sequestered alone or with a few family members. We are not certain if it is safe to come out. We have similar concerns. We have dreams that must be put on hold- graduations that may never happen, trips we cannot take. Anxiety levels are higher than ever and we cannot make any plans because we don't know when the world will return to our definition of normal.
Thomas gives us the opportunity to question and to share our anxiety without fear. Jesus knows where we are and will answer us with his peace.
Thomas' surname means twin and yet we have not met his twin in scripture. Perhaps Thomas is the twin to every person who just needs to know God for himself or herself.
Think about it and May Your Study be Prayer.
April 7, 2020
Notes and Teachings
Pastors Notes John 20:1-18 Acts 10:34-43
It was still dark when Mary came to the tomb. The fear, confusion, and despondency following the crucifixion were still there. Imagine the emotions as Mary finds Jesus' body gone and things not quite what they should be. Fear and darkness can be overwhelming.
Three of Jesus' followers come to the tomb. Each has a different reaction to what they see. Mary comes first and is disturbed by what she sees. She tells Peter and John what's happening and they run to the tomb.
John arrives first, sees the wrappings laid aside and the cloth that had covered Jesus' face laying separately. That cloth would have been comparable to the covering men wore during prayer. It would be folded with all respect and laid aside by a good Jewish man at the close of prayer.
(Zechariah 3:1-10 speaks of the vision of Joshua, Jeshua, presenting himself before God in the sight of the accuser or Satan. Many people believe this is the account of the work of the Messiah during the three days his body lay in the tomb and that the prayer cloth was used in that appearance before the Father)
The Gospel says that John saw and believed.
Peter goes into the tomb and sees the same linens etc as John did. There is no record of a response from Peter. Perhaps he was still remembering his denial. All that follows is that he (and John) went home. A grave robber or someone removing the body to hide it elsewhere would not have taken the time to fold the prayer linen and lay it aside and if it had been a Roman soldier he would have had no clue to leave the head wrapping. Had someone moved the body the wrappings would have been gone too. But Peter wasn't certain what had happened.
Mary is heartbroken but she remains at the tomb, perhaps waiting for something more. When the man, who appears to be a gardener comes, she quickly states all the possibilities for the empty tomb – all but resurrection. She recognizes Jesus when he says her name.
Three disciples, three different reactions. Only Mary remains through the darkness waiting for her Lord. Only Mary sees the risen Christ – Christ calls her by name and brings her out of the darkness and confusion, settling for her the question of what happened in the tomb.
Even though the message of the morning reached Mary first she ran to tell the others what had occurred. We are called to do the same. Press through the fear and share the answer God gives.
One part of this story that has been discussed at length over the years is Jesus telling Mary not to hold on to him. Why did he do that? There are several valid viewpoints here.
The first idea is that Mary's tears so disturbed the Lord that he stopped on his way to heaven to present himself, the risen sacrifice to the Father.
A second view is that Jesus, the pure and perfect sacrifice would have been contaminated by her human touch before entering heaven as the sacrifice and high priest of the sacrifice.
I tend to agree with the third idea. Mary could not hold on to Jesus anymore as a man among the people for God was no longer going to deal with us through a physical Jesus limited by time and space. God was now going to deal with and empower God's people through the Holy Spirit which would be sent (proceeds from the Father and the Son...[re: Nicene Creed]) to earth after Jesus return to heaven.
There was much running to and fro on Easter morning but the disciples accomplished little even in their own faith and understanding. With all they had been taught, they still did not put the pieces together.
We learn not to run from fear, confusion, etc even when times seem their darkest. Look for the light in the darkness. Look for Jesus in the circumstances and emotions that strive to overwhelm you. And when you hear him call your name, accept what gifts and wisdom he gives you. Then go and tell others.
*for more on Joshua before God see the following link:
And May your Study be Prayer.
March 31, 2020
Notes and Teachings
"Now Jerusalem is not a large city. And what the authors of the Bible take for granted and fail to mention is that while Jesus is parading in on a donkey through one of the back gates, on the other side of the city Pilate is parading in on a warhorse accompanied by a squadron or two of battle-hardened Roman soldiers. Do you think anyone at Pilate's parade heard about Jesus' parade? Heard what the crowd had shouted? Let's see what unfolds in the week ahead." (Understanding the Bible in its own time and in ours, Matthew 21:1-11, David Ewart, 2011.)
Note also that Jesus rides in on an unbroken colt – never ridden. This colt, by nature, should have refused the rider and thrown him off but the Gospel of Peace brings peace to the spirit of even the wildest among us.
After a great parade, Jesus and His disciples walk into the temple area, and what He sees enrages Him. He sees moneychangers, buying and selling. He sees men sitting on benches, hawking doves to those who have come from the countryside to make a sacrifice. He sees that the salesmen and teachers have turned a sanctuary of worship into a place of spiritual prostitution. This is the place where Jesus came as a boy to sit with the great teachers. It is the place where His Father receives the offerings of His people. It is more than Jesus can take. Can anyone be surprised at this other side of Jesus? He has turned out to be not just a kindly teacher; instead, He is the Anointed One, not to be taken lightly. In the midst of this scene filled with joy and chaos, there are extremes. Some are beginning to understand who this man from Galilee is—the Anointed—but the rulers are having great difficulty with the disruption to their orderly world.
Living as a Christian not only means showing love in a quiet way but also standing for truth that involves confrontation. It is God's love that brings Jesus to earth from the quiet gift of love lying in a manger to the gift of love crucified on a Roman cross.
Palm Sunday invites drama, serious drama. Here is the procession to end all processions. Here is adulation. The creative imagination can place the hearer among the crowd beside the road, reluctant, fully adoring, standing aloof in confusion or alienation, perhaps remembering key events from Jesus' ministry. We share the same drama as we live this life of faith. We aren't always celebrating Christ's coming. Sometimes our praise, our witness, is lacking, etc. but Jesus is always there before us.
It is important to keep this story of Palm Sunday in the context of the time in which Jesus lived. It is not just a triumphal celebration of a conquering king. Matthew and Mark both indicate that this is the fateful entry that will take Jesus to his death.
The ironic thing here is that while the crowd celebrate and welcomes Jesus as they would a king and conquerer this day, Jesus will not be proclaimed King of the Jews until Pilate places the sign on the cross of a condemned man wearing a crown of thorns, declaring “This is Jesus. King of the Jews.” It is on the cross that Jesus conquers sin and death. It is on the cross that the world government declares heaven's representative the ruler of God's people.
The cross is both the end of sins' reign and the beginning of a new life of freedom in Christ.
God was not surprised by any of the coming events. Look how God has planned. A good example of this is the disciples being sent to find the animals. Everything is just as Jesus said even down to the conversation with the owners of the donkey.
As for the crowds of Sunday, they will, in Matthew, call Jesus' blood upon themselves and their children. That will have fateful consequences - according to Matthew in the destruction of the temple and the widespread slaughter of its inhabitants, according to subsequent history in the annals of anti-Semitic hate. People do not always understand what they are saying or what it will cost them in the end.
This The procession scene is full of danger and denseness. John's gospel shows some sensitivity to when he adds the footnote that the disciples did not really understand what was happening or what it meant until after Easter (12:16).
“Jesus was not entering a foreign city, nor entering the city of 'the Jews'. He was a Jew. He was entering the city which symbolized in his faith and his scriptures God's promise to Israel. To confront one's own faith and its traditions is painful. This is part of the drama of the event, both in Matthew's account and in the earlier forms of the story, not least in the event itself.”
(Loader, William. 2020 Mar 30. http://wwwstaff.murdoch.edu.au/~loader/MtPalmSunday.htm )
MARCH 24, 2020 Tuesday Study Scriptures – Haile Bistro Group
We may not be together in person but we can still study the Word.
Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.” After saying this, he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.” The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.” Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.” When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.
John 11:1-45 New International Version (NIV)
11 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”
9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”
11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles[b] from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
The Plot to Kill Jesus
45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.
John 11:1-48 The Message (MSG) The Death of Lazarus
11 1-3 A man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. This was the same Mary who massaged the Lord’s feet with aromatic oils and then wiped them with her hair. It was her brother Lazarus who was sick. So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Master, the one you love so very much is sick.”
4 When Jesus got the message, he said, “This sickness is not fatal. It will become an occasion to show God’s glory by glorifying God’s Son.”
5-7 Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, but oddly, when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed on where he was for two more days. After the two days, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”
8 They said, “Rabbi, you can’t do that. The Jews are out to kill you, and you’re going back?”
9-10 Jesus replied, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in daylight doesn’t stumble because there’s plenty of light from the sun. Walking at night, he might very well stumble because he can’t see where he’s going.”
11 He said these things, and then announced, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep. I’m going to wake him up.”
12-13 The disciples said, “Master, if he’s gone to sleep, he’ll get a good rest and wake up feeling fine.” Jesus was talking about death, while his disciples thought he was talking about taking a nap.
14-15 Then Jesus became explicit: “Lazarus died. And I am glad for your sakes that I wasn’t there. You’re about to be given new grounds for believing. Now let’s go to him.”
16 That’s when Thomas, the one called the Twin, said to his companions, “Come along. We might as well die with him.”
17-20 When Jesus finally got there, he found Lazarus already four days dead. Bethany was near Jerusalem, only a couple of miles away, and many of the Jews were visiting Martha and Mary, sympathizing with them over their brother. Martha heard Jesus was coming and went out to meet him. Mary remained in the house.
21-22 Martha said, “Master, if you’d been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. Even now, I know that whatever you ask God he will give you.”
23 Jesus said, “Your brother will be raised up.”
24 Martha replied, “I know that he will be raised up in the resurrection at the end of time.”
25-26 “You don’t have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. Do you believe this?”
27 “Yes, Master. All along I have believed that you are the Messiah, the Son of God who comes into the world.”
28 After saying this, she went to her sister Mary and whispered in her ear, “The Teacher is here and is asking for you.”
29-32 The moment she heard that, she jumped up and ran out to him. Jesus had not yet entered the town but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When her sympathizing Jewish friends saw Mary run off, they followed her, thinking she was on her way to the tomb to weep there. Mary came to where Jesus was waiting and fell at his feet, saying, “Master, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33-34 When Jesus saw her sobbing and the Jews with her sobbing, a deep anger welled up within him. He said, “Where did you put him?”
34-35 “Master, come and see,” they said. Now Jesus wept.
36 The Jews said, “Look how deeply he loved him.”
37 Others among them said, “Well, if he loved him so much, why didn’t he do something to keep him from dying? After all, he opened the eyes of a blind man.”
38-39 Then Jesus, the anger again welling up within him, arrived at the tomb. It was a simple cave in the hillside with a slab of stone laid against it. Jesus said, “Remove the stone.”
The sister of the dead man, Martha, said, “Master, by this time there’s a stench. He’s been dead four days!”
40 Jesus looked her in the eye. “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
41-42 Then, to the others, “Go ahead, take away the stone.”
They removed the stone. Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and prayed, “Father, I’m grateful that you have listened to me. I know you always do listen, but on account of this crowd standing here I’ve spoken so that they might believe that you sent me.”
43-44 Then he shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And he came out, a cadaver, wrapped from head to toe, and with a kerchief over his face.
Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him loose.”
The Man Who Creates God-Signs
45-48 That was a turnaround for many of the Jews who were with Mary. They saw what Jesus did, and believed in him. But some went back to the Pharisees and told on Jesus. The high priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the Jewish ruling body. “What do we do now?” they asked. “This man keeps on doing things, creating God-signs. If we let him go on, pretty soon everyone will be believing in him and the Romans will come and remove what little power and privilege we still have.”
John 11:1-48- The VOICE
John points to stories where Jesus returns to the issue of faith again and again. The crowds are fickle, believing sometimes and not others. The religious leaders refuse to believe because Jesus doesn’t fit their paradigms. The disciples and close friends constantly face situations that challenge their faith, and this especially happens when Lazarus dies. John is implicitly urging his readers to have faith in Christ, even in difficult times, because He is the source of life and well being.
There was a certain man who was very ill. He was known as Lazarus from Bethany, which is the hometown of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary did a beautiful thing for Jesus. She anointed the Lord with a pleasant-smelling oil and wiped His feet with her hair. Her brother Lazarus became deathly ill, so the sisters immediately sent a message to Jesus which said, “Lord, the one You love is very ill.” Jesus heard the message.
Jesus:His sickness will not end in his death but will bring great glory to God. As these events unfold, the Son of God will be exalted.
Jesus dearly loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. However, after receiving this news, He waited two more days where He was.
Jesus(speaking to the disciples): It is time to return to Judea.
Disciples:Teacher, the last time You were there, some Jews attempted to execute You by crushing You with stones. Why would You go back?
Jesus:There are 12 hours of daylight, correct? If anyone walks in the day, that person does not stumble because he or she sees the light of the world. If anyone walks at night, he will trip and fall because he does not have the light within. (Jesus briefly pauses.) Our friend Lazarus has gone to sleep, so I will go to awaken him.
Disciples:Lord, if he is sleeping, then he will be all right.
Jesus used “sleep” as a metaphor for death, but the disciples took Him literally and did not understand. Then Jesus spoke plainly.
Jesus:Lazarus is dead, and I am grateful for your sakes that I was not there when he died. Now you will see and believe. Gather yourselves, and let’s go to him.
Thomas, the Twin(to the disciples): Let’s go so we can die with Him.
As Jesus was approaching Bethany (which is about two miles east of Jerusalem), He heard that Lazarus had been in the tomb four days. Now many people had come to comfort Mary and Martha as they mourned the loss of their brother. Martha went to meet Jesus when word arrived that He was approaching Bethany, but Mary stayed behind at the house.
Martha:Lord, if You had been with us, my brother would not have died. Even so I still believe that anything You ask of God will be done.
Jesus:Your brother will rise to life.
Martha:I know. He will rise again when everyone is resurrected on the last day.
Jesus:I am the resurrection and the source of all life; those who believe in Me will live even in death. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never truly die. Do you believe this?
Martha:Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Anointed, the Liberating King, God’s own Son who we have heard is coming into the world.
After this Martha ran home to Mary.
Martha(whispering to Mary): Come with me. The Teacher is here, and He has asked for you.
Mary did not waste a minute. She got up and went to the same spot where Martha had found Jesus outside the village. The people gathered in her home offering support and comfort assumed she was going back to the tomb to cry and mourn, so they followed her. Mary approached Jesus, saw Him, and fell at His feet.
Mary:Lord, if only You had been here, my brother would still be alive.
When Jesus saw Mary’s profound grief and the moaning and weeping of her companions, He was deeply moved by their pain in His spirit and was intensely troubled.
Jesus:Where have you laid his body?
Jews:Come and see, Lord.
As they walked,Jesus wept; and everyone noticed how much Jesus must have loved Lazarus. But others were skeptical.
Others:If this man can give sight to the blind, He could have kept him from dying.
They are asking, if Jesus loves Lazarus so much, why didn’t He get here much sooner?
Then Jesus, who was intensely troubled by all of this, approached the tomb—a small cave covered by a massive stone.
Jesus:Remove the stone.
Martha:Lord, he has been dead four days; the stench will be unbearable.
Jesus:Remember, I told you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God.
They removed the stone, and Jesus lifted His eyes toward heaven.
Jesus:Father, I am grateful that You have heard Me. I know that You are always listening, but I proclaim it loudly so that everyone here will believe You have sent Me.
After these words, He called out in a thunderous voice.
Jesus:Lazarus, come out!
Then, the man who was dead walked out of his tomb bound from head to toe in a burial shroud.
Jesus:Untie him, and let him go.
Once again Jesus amazes everyone around Him. How does He raise Lazarus? What kind of man can speak life into death’s darkness? Throughout His time on earth, those around Him are continually surprised by Jesus. He is unique. How does He have power over death? It takes a while, but more and more His followers become convinced this is no ordinary man.
As a result, many of the Jews who had come with Mary saw what happened and believed in Him. But some went to the Pharisees to report what they witnessed Jesus doing. As a result of these reports—and on short notice—the chief priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the high council.
Pharisees:What are we going to do about this man? He is performing many miracles. If we don’t stop this now, every man, woman, and child will believe in Him. You know what will happen next? The Romans will think He’s mounting a revolution and will destroy our temple. It will be the end of our nation.
The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.” So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude. Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act,” says the Lord.