BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 15, Day 4: Matthew 14:22-36; Mark 6:45-56

Summary of passages:  Matthew 14:22-36:  After feeding the 5000, Jesus made the disciples go ahead of him in a boat while he dismissed the crowds.  Then he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.  The boat was a distance away from shore so Jesus walked on the water to get to the boat.  The disciples thought Jesus a ghost and were afraid.  Peter decides to ask the ghost to allow him to walk on water if the ghost is really Jesus.  So Peter does.  But Peter becomes afraid, loses faith, and starts sinking.  Jesus then grabs him and reprimands him for his lack of faith.

Then the disciples worshipped Jesus and declared him the Son of God.  They reached Gennesaret on the other side of the Sea of Galilee where the people recognized Jesus and brought him their sick, which he healed.

Mark 6:45-56:  Mark reveals that the disciples were straining against the oars so Jesus was about to walk by them when they were all terrified.  Jesus told them to not be afraid and he climbed in their boat.  They were amazed for they had not understood about the loaves and had hardened hearts.  All throughout the region people came and the sick were healed.

Questions:

10a)  He went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.

b)  Mark says that after the feeding of the 5000 miracle, the crowds began to believe him to be the Prophet so Jesus, knowing they intended to come and force him to be king, withdrew to a mountain by himself.

11a)  Jesus preached to a huge crowd in Bethesaida and fed them all and healed them all.

b)  Both just as we are to do.

c)  He prayed probably for strength in his ministry and to commune with the Father.  He probably thanked him for the strength and healing powers he had, the ability to do his Father’s will, and for his needs being fulfilled.  He probably asked for more people to heal and for more strength to persevere to the end.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Thank God for everything:  my needs being met and my desires; for all my blessings. I will ask for the ability to continue in His work and pray for others and their needs as well.

Conclusions:  I’m wondering why we didn’t read John’s take on the walking on water (John 6:16-24) but we read John’s reasoning for Jesus’ seeking solitude.  I’m confused especially since we read all the passages in the previous days.

John’s is significantly different than Matthew and Mark’s.  Would have liked to have explored that instead of questions on prayer that although helpful for new believers are intuitive for believers who are close to God.

[Note:  We read John's take tomorrow; however, in my opinion, the passage is still left thoroughly unexplored.]

End Notes:  John just mentions this passingly but this is extremely important:  after the miracle of feeding the 5000, the crowd was probably in an uproar, excited and agitated for what was to come.  Jesus just provided bread as God had done, the first sign many of these people had of him.  Think of mob mentality and how easy it is to get caught up in the emotion of the moment.  Jesus and his disciples had to escape before it got out of hand.  It was not yet time to reveal himself as the Messiah and Jesus still had much work to do.  He couldn’t afford to get derailed here.

The fourth watch of the night would have been somewhere between 3 and 6 am.  We can assume Jesus was praying that entire time.

Peter’s walk is a picture of faith.  He believes in Jesus and follows him but the moment he began to doubt Jesus and his ability to save him, Peter began to sink.  But Peter called out to Jesus for rescue and protection and Jesus answered.  So it is with us as well.  Even if we are sinking, salvation is there, waiting for us to take it by the hand.

We can learn from Jesus when he asks Peter, “Why did you doubt?”  We should ask ourselves the same question for our doubt is often ill-founded.  We must examine ourselves so the next time we trust instead of doubt.  For with God, there is NO reason to doubt.

John tells us that as soon as Jesus got in the boat, “immediately the boat reached the shore”.

So did Jesus land in Gennesaret as Matthew and Mark say or Capernaum as John says?  It’s hard to say.  Gennesaret was also a region as well as a town in Jesus’ day.  Scholars don’t really know mainly because they don’t really know the exact location of these towns and the borders of the regions.  Here’s two sites I found helpful but ambiguous in answering the question:

http://www.welcometohosanna.com/LIFE_OF_JESUS/026_Ministry6Capernaum.htm

http://dqhall59.com/walking_on_water.htm

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BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 15, Day 4: Genesis 17:1-8

Summary of passage:  God appeared to Abram when he was 99 and said He was going to confirm His covenant with him.  Abram fell face down and God told him he would be the father of many nations.  God renamed Abram Abraham, which means father of many. God will make Abraham fruitful and kings will come from him.

This covenant will be between Abraham, God, and all of Abraham’s descendants and God will give Abraham and his descendants Canaan forever and God will be our God.

Questions:

9a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  No.  I think it means to be blameless/perfect before God, which we achieve when we repent of our sins and God forgives us.  We are then righteous in His eyes through Jesus Christ our Savior and the Holy Spirit.

One commentary said the word blameless here means “whole” so God wanted all of Abram, a total commitment to Him like God was giving to Abram (and to us).

b)  Walk before God, which means to know God and who He is.

10a)  Abraham will be the father of many nations; he will be fruitful; kings will come from him.  God gives Abraham the whole land of Canaan to him and to his descendants and this covenant God makes with Abraham’s descendants as well.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God clarifies by saying in verse 8, “The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession…”  This would be the land Abram is occupying now and possession is something you hold physically.

c)  Forever

Conclusions:  I’m not sure what to conclude nor am I sure what to get out of this besides God confirming His covenant YET AGAIN with Abraham.  I guess this speaks to man’s unending wavering, self-doubt, low self-esteem, and need for confirmation and affirmation.

Sometimes I just wish God would have created us a bit stronger.

Yet it had been 13 years since God had spoken to Abram so at times he surely must have thought God had forgotten so here God is again giving a powerful reminder with a new name.

I’m still waiting for my reminder…

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 15, Day 4: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12; 5:12-28

Summary of passages:  1 Thessalonians 4:1-12:  We (Paul and his followers) have instructed you how to live to please God and we urge you to do this more and more.  It is God’s will that:  you should be sanctified; avoid sexual immorality; learn to control your own body in a holy way and not lustfully; and no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him.

The Lord will punish for such sins since God has called you to live a holy life.  You reject God himself if you reject His instruction.

Love your brothers and do so more and more.

Lead a quiet life, mind your own business, and work with your hands so you will be respected by non-believers and independent.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-28:  We (Paul speaking again) ask you to respect authority, those over you and who admonish you.  Love them.  [I see this as an extension of God who admonishes us].  Live in peace with each other.  Warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, and be patient with everyone.  Don’t seek revenge and be kind to one another.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will.  Test everything (including prophecies) and hold on to the good and reject the evil.  Do not extinguish the Spirit’s fire that burns in you and others.

May God sanctify you and you be kept blameless as we wait the coming of Jesus.  Pray for us.  Grace be with you.

Questions:

10a)  You should be santified; avoid sexual immorality; control your own body that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the non-believers; no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him.  Live a holy life.  Love each other more and more.  Lead a quiet life, minding your own business and work with your hands so you will not be dependent on others.

b)  Sexual immorality is approved of and almost glorified by reality TV and celebrities.  Porn is everywhere.  People do take advantage of one another.  Loving each other in discouraged.  Everyone is in everyone else’s business, especially with the Internet.  Working hard with your hands (earning an honest living) is a hard concept to find these days where the younger generations expect everything to be given to them by Mommy and Daddy.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Live a more holy life and love more.

11a) All in my opinion.  We often resent our bosses and those who admonish us.  Respect is usually the furthest word from our minds.  Live in peace (how many wars are going on all around us?).  Encouraging words are not as frequent as harsh words.  Patient is not something commonly found in our society.  Being kind when we’re not in the mood.

Hardest:  being joyful always, praying continually, giving thanks.  I know I need to work on this.

Avoiding evil when it’s everywhere and holding onto the good is always difficult.

b)  God helps us by traversing our paths at our side faithfully.  He sanctifies us with the Holy Spirit, which helps us in times of our greatest need.  But we must pray, be joyful, and be grateful always in all circumstances to God and what He gives and does for us.  We must constantly remember His grace, mercy, and presence in our lives if we are to have any hope of keeping His will for us.

Conclusions:  Another great lesson on how to live a Godly life.  I think most people don’t know where to start.  Or life gets so cumbersome that they fall into the ways of the crowd. Here are some great passages on what to do in life, which should be intuitive but often is not.

I need constant reminder of these things.  Be patient.  Be joyful.  Be grateful.  Pray.  Love and encourage one another.  Words for my bathroom mirror.

Life is too full of distractions these days so we must be vigilant and grounded in the simple truths of life if we are to have any hope of becoming more Christ-like.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 15, Day 4 Isaiah 37:21-38

Summary of passage:  Isaiah reveals God’s response to Hezekiah after his prayer to the Lord to rescue them from the King of Assyria, Sennacherib.  It is because Hezekiah prayed that the Lord responds.  The Lord challenges the King of Assyria by asking if he knows who he is dealing with?  The Holy One of Israel!  Sennacherib insults and blasphemed the Lord when it was through the Lord that Assyria owes its success.  The Lord himself reached the remotest places and dried up the streams of Egypt.  Long ago, the Lord ordained Assyria’s success.  But because Sennacherib rages against the Lord, the Lord will “put a hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth, and I will make you return the way you came.”  This is exactly how Assyria treated its prisoners.  The Lord will give a sign to Hezekiah:  the year you will eat what grows by itself; the second year what springs from that; the third year you will sow and reap vineyards.  This will show a remnant will remain from Judah and Jerusalem.  The Lord says:  the king of Assyria will not enter Jerusalem.  He will defend it for His sake and for David’s.  So, an angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers, resulting in Sennacherib’s forced withdraw.  Later, Sennacherib will be assassinated by his two sons.

Questions:

10)  God answers because Hezekiah prayed so that encourages me to pray.  God explains that long ago He planned Assyria’s invasions and successes and He allowed it.  Because Assyria rages against God and throw him insults, the King will be punished in the same cruel way.  Nothing happens without God’s hand so we can trust in God, who is Holy and faithful, to answer our prayers and petitions and punish evil-doers and work His light in our life.

11)  This year you will eat what grows by itself, second year what springs from that, third year what you sow and reap from vineyards.  This points to how Judah and Jerusalem will have a remnant.

12)  The King would not enter Jerusalem.  An angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrian troops so Sennacherib withdrew to Ninevah.  But the King never admitted defeat and was eventually assassinated by his own sons.

Conclusions:  This shows the power of prayer and the power of the Holy One.  He will not tolerate injustices to his chosen people and will punish those who mock Him.  Hezekiah kept the faith and God kept his promises but interestingly, not for Hezekiah’s sake but for His glory and for David’s sake.

End Note:

Map of land of Ararat:  http://bibleatlas.org/regional/ararat.htm