BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 18, Day 2: Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-10; Luke 9:28-36

Summary of passages:  Matthew 17:1-8:  Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him up on a mountain where he was transfigured before them.  Moses and Elijah appeared, talking with Jesus.  Peter offered to build each a shelter.  God enveloped them in a cloud and said “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.  Listen to him!”  The disciples were terrified.  Moses and Elijah had disappeared.  Only Jesus remained.

Mark 9:2-10:  Same exact story except here BSF has us reading what happens next (which they don’t in Matthew) and we learn that Jesus tells the disciples not to speak of what they have seen on the mountain until he rises from the dead, an expression which baffles the disciples.

Luke 9:28-36:  Same story except Luke says it was 8 days and not 6 days and does not use the word “transfigured”.  Instead, he says how Jesus’ face changed.  Jesus, Moses, and Elijah spoke of Jesus’ departure.  Peter seems to be confused.

Questions:

3a)  A mountainside

b)  Jesus, Peter, John (the brother of James), James, God, Elijah, Moses

c)  He had been teaching his disciples about his death for the people and saying how some of them won’t face death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.

4a)  Jesus was a ball of light and his clothes were the purest white.  He dazzled and sparkled and was probably a most incredible sight.

b)  Peter saw firsthand the majesty of Jesus and God.  He received honor and glory in that moment in the cloud.

c)  Both.  Why else bring the disciples if it was just for Jesus?  The disciples needed to see it as much as Jesus needed to experience it.

5)  Matthew 24:30; 26:62-64:  In the future at the Second Coming, we will all get to see Jesus in his power and glory coming on the clouds in the sky.  He will sit at God’s right hand.

John 1:14:  John says how he has seen Christ’s glory who came from the grace and truth of the Father.

John 17:1-5:  Jesus asks to be glorified in his presence with the glory he had before the world began. I am assuming to become a man then Jesus wasn’t in all of his glory until the transfiguration.

Acts 26:13-14:  Paul recounts how Jesus appeared to him in a light from heaven that was brighter than the sun.

Philippians 2:9-10:  God exalted Jesus to the highest place (like in the Transfiguration) and gave him the name that is above every name so that every knee shall bow.

Revelation 1:13-17:  Jesus is white and his face was shining like the sun in all of its brilliance.  He was dressed in white and his eyes were blazing.

Conclusions and End Notes:  There is a TON here and I will do my best to explain it.

Transfiguration means “a change in form or appearance.”  The term is used specifically in the Bible here to only mean this one occasion.  It was an actual physical change as we read.  It was from the inner soul though and not dropped from heaven.  The radiance had always been there just now it is shining forth, taking on characteristics of the resurrected body.

Why now did the transfiguration occur?  For both Jesus and the disciples.  For Jesus he was encouraged for he was about to go to the cross.  For the disciples it confirmed the necessity of the cross and Jesus’ death.  Here the suffering is linked with the glory.

Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary by J.D. Douglas and Merrill C Tenney says this:  “It was the crowning with glory of the perfect human life of Jesus, God’s stamp of approval on his sinless humanity.  This established his fitness to be our sinbearer on the cross and an entry for Jesus into the glory in which he would reign–a manifestation of the king coming into his kingdom (Matthew 16:28).”

Scholars believe this fulfills Jesus’ prediction in Matthew 16:28 right before this that some of them will see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.  Luke calls this in 9:27 “the kingdom of God”.

Why only John, James, and Peter?  Well, we’ll never know but scholars say either to keep the word from getting out since Jesus tells them to tell no one or because these three needed to be watched.  I would say he chose these 3 out of God’s grace to witness such a moment.

The discrepancy in days is a matter of translation details again.  The Greek word means “about a week” so it was translated as 6 in Matthew and Mark and 8 days in Luke.

Again, the Greek verb for “transfigure” suggests a change in the inmost nature.  Scholars believe Jesus hid his glory until this moment.

Also, we can’t read this chapter without remembering what happened just before.  Scholars say this must fulfill Jesus’s words in 16:28.  When the apostles wrote, it wasn’t broken up in chapters and verse.  This only occurred beginning in the 16th century, a full 1500 years after these words were first written.

Why Moses and Elijah?  Scholars say because Moses embodies the Law as the first great lawgiver and Elijah represents prophecy as the first great prophet.  The Old Testament meeting the New Testament so to speak.

Some say Moses represents those who have died and are going or will go to heaven (Jude 9) and Elijah represents those who won’t face death at the Second Coming but will go to heaven as well (2 Kings 2:11).

Note Elijah and Moses only talk with Jesus, not the apostles.

It is pointed out by Mark and Luke that Peter has no idea what he is saying.  Would you?  You just saw Christ in all his glory.  I’d be dumbfounded as well.  It probably would have been best for Peter to remain silent but as we saw when Jesus walked on water, that wasn’t him.

Yet the effect of Peter’s words put Jesus as equal with Moses and Elijah which as that time was important.  As we all know, he is above them but back then the Jewish people revered Moses and Elijah as right under God.

The cloud is the same as in the Old Testament when God speaks.  This is to shield man who cannot see God’s glory.

Here, God interrupts Peter and rebukes him [can you imagine?  being rebuked not only by Jesus but by God himself?  I'm pretty sure I would have soiled my pants!  Poor Peter!  Not something I want to be remembered for.] once again, saying that Jesus is above Moses and Elijah, above the Law and the Prophets.

Note that God uses the Word here:  Psalm 2:7; Isaiah 42:1; Deuteronomy 18:15.  It’s so cool how God is the Word and has been since the beginning and that is all that is needed.

God says to listen to Jesus.  It’s all about Jesus.

The disciples fell in fear at God’s voice once again.  We are to be in awe of Him and have a healthy fear.

The disciples needed the reassurance of who Jesus was (the Messiah) right after Jesus told them of his forthcoming sufferings for their sake.

Only Jesus remained.  He is sufficient.  He is enough.  He is all we need now.  We have no need of Moses and Elijah.  Jesus is enough.

Fun Fact:  This was the only time Jesus appeared different than a normal human being. He had none of the glory usually associated with God (Exodus 40:34).

Fun Fact:  The title “Son of Man” is used about 90 times in the Gospels for Jesus.  It was first used in Daniel 7:13, which introduced the Messiah who would rule all of history.

About these ads

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 18, Day 2: Genesis 22:1-10

Summary of passage:  God calls Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac as a burnt offering in the mountains of Moriah. So Abraham faithfully takes Isaac to where God calls him, bounds his son, and prepares to kill him.  On the journey, Abraham tells Isaac that God will provide the burnt offering.

Questions:

3a)  God tests everyone but I think God had to be sure Abraham trusted Him after all the wishy-washyness from before.  Abraham does not trust God to provide for him so he flees to Egypt.  He sleeps with his maidservant to have an heir.  And he laughs at God when God says Sarah will have a son.

God has to be sure Abraham finally has faith and trust in Him.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We never know what we will do in a situation until it arises.  We say we will give it all up to follow Jesus but when the time comes, do we?  We say we would lay down our life for another but would we if the situation actually presents itself?

Thus, tests are necessary to grow our faith.  Here, God had to be sure of Abraham’s heart and this was the ultimate test.

4a)  Verse 2  “Take your son, your only son, whom you love”

b)  Verse 1:  Abraham says “Here I am” when called by God.  Remember Adam and Eve hid from God in the garden when called.  Abraham never questions (at least that is recorded like when he did for Sodom).  The very next day (verse 3) early in the morning Abraham sets out for where God said to go.  He follows God’s instructions exactly.  He answers Isaac with faith, saying God will provide the sacrifice in verse 8.  He has the knife, ready to strike, when the angel stops him (verse 10).

5a)  Obeying His voice pleases God more than burnt offerings.  This verse doesn’t say what kinds He rejects for He didn’t reject burnt offerings in the Old Testament; He, in fact, required them.  So not sure about what He rejects except maybe the opposite of obeying:  disobeying Him.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He is asking me to have faith in what my husband is doing with his job.  Personally, not sure.  I got a lot going on right now and my novel has been put on the back-burner once again.  My heart is just not in it right now.  Not sure if that’s God or the devil.  Also, I am really struggling to exercise.  And I haven’t been sleeping really well either.

So I’m trying to support my husband in his job search.  I’m still trying to figure out my novel thing for I still feel it’s God’s work somewhere in there.  And just continue writing in general.

Conclusions:  Great emphasis on testing for we are all tested and most of the time none of us like it because it’s hard.  But everything works together for our good and we must walk through the fire and grow with Him.  Never easy to do.

No one is exempt.  Even though we think people are such as rich people or celebrities we know they are all tested as well just in different ways.  Thankfully, we aren’t asked to sacrifice our kids like Abraham was because that’s one I’m not sure I’d pass.  But each of our tests are just as significant and meaningful and important to God.  We would do well to remember that.

Abraham is trusting even when he doesn’t understand or doesn’t feel like it.  It’s about faith and obeying God and doing it, not how we feel about it.

Abraham believes God will raise his son from the dead once killed.  He is prepared to kill him but he knows anything is possible with God.

It is thought Isaac is in his thirties at this time and he hasn’t had any kids yet.  Isaac is just as trusting in God because he willingly lied down on the altar.  He could have overpowered his elderly father and ran but he didn’t.  He was just as faithful as Abraham here.

This is the difference between trusting in the promise versus trusting in the Promiser (God).  If we trust the Promiser, then the promise will be taken care of.

Map of Moriah:  http://bibleatlas.org/mount_moriah.htm

This same mountain where Abraham takes Isaac later becomes Jerusalem, the place where God provides His only son as a sacrifice for all.

Fun Facts:  This is the first mention of love in the Bible and significantly it’s between a father and son, foreshadowing God’s love for His son.

This is also the first use of the word “worship” in terms of worshipping God.  The Hebrew word here means “to bow down”.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 18, Day 2: 1 Corinthians 1-2

Summary of passage:  Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians:  Paul thanks God for them because through Jesus the Corinthians have been enriched in every way.  They do not lack any spiritual gifts and so will be blameless before the Lord.  However, there are divisions in the church as some are following certain church leaders (Apollos, Peter, and even Paul) instead of Christ.  Paul explains he is merely preaching what Christ did not what anyone else did.  Christ died for their sins not any of these other leaders.

The message of the cross is the power of God.  Christ is the power and wisdom of God.  Man is foolish for man did not know God (which God allowed).  The foolishness of God (which is non-existent) is wider than man’s wisdom.  The weakness of God (which is non-existent) is stronger than man’s strength.  God is that much higher than man.

God chose those deemed foolish by human standards (we’re all foolish in comparison to God) to shame the wise and the weak to shame the strong.  He chose the lowly so that no one will boast before him.  It is because of God that we are in Jesus who had become for us wisdom from God.  So if you boast boast in the Lord.

1 Corinthians 2:  Paul says he came to the people in weakness and fear.  Paul’s message of wise and persuasive words were from the Spirit’s power so your faith could rest on God’s power.

Now, they speak of God’s secret wisdom (Jesus).  One that has been destined since before time began.  God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.  No one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God so we have received the Spirit of God so that we man understand God’s gift (Jesus and grace).  This is the message Paul speaks.

The man without the Spirit does not understand things that come from the Spirit of God. The spiritual man is not subject to man’s judgments.  But we have the mind of Christ.

Questions:

3a)  Utmost confidence.  They have been called to be holy, enriched through Jesus in every way–in speaking and knowledge–with every spiritual gift.  They will remain strong to the end and blameless.

b)  Quarrels and divisions amongst them.  Some are following particular disciples (Paul, Peter, Apollos, etc) instead of Jesus.

c)  Christ ultimately but following Christ.  Accepting and living by and of the Holy Spirit, which encompasses the fruits of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-26:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Here, peace especially.

Note:  Passage reference should be Galatians 5:22-26, not Galatians 6:22-26 which doesn’t exist.

4a)  The foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom.  God has made foolish man’s wisdom when man did not know Him.  God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise–to prove they were foolish.  The Spirit–or God–that indwells in man is what makes him wise.  Otherwise, he’s a fool.

b)  Through the Holy Spirit that indwells man.

c)  Paul came in weakness and fear with much trembling but God gave him the message in wise and persuasive words.  We can only understand God through God’s Spirit so He gives us words taught by the Spirit.

5a)  Pride can blind a man–even a man who has the Spirit within.  Just because we have the Spirit doesn’t mean the Spirit always speaks.  Man and his free will can and often does usurp God and God’s wisdom.  Man boasts before God and that is why God chose the lowly.  But even the lowly is at danger of boasting.

When man gets on his high horse and pontificates that he knows better than God, then divisions arise.  Paul argues that Christ is not divided.  The message (God’s word) is the same.  It does not change.  It is man’s interpretation of God’s words that causes divisions.  But if we (man) allow the Spirit to speak spiritual truths then unity can and will occur.

b)  If we truly understand the message of the cross and the power of salvation through it; that we all have a new life (one born out of Jesus), then divisions should not exist.  Unity should prevail since this is the ultimate message of God and His word.  If we live like Jesus, the pettiness of these squabbles should be apparent.

Alas, they are not.  We take for granted what Jesus has done for us on the cross and we do let pride hinder God’s wisdom, which makes man act foolish.

Conclusions:  Great eye-opening lesson on God’s wisdom versus man’s.  We often think we are wise when so often we are foolish because we are not acting out of the Spirit.  We are blind to the Spirit within due to pride and every other fault/sin of mankind.

Since I was recently church-shopping again I noticed just how many different denominations are out there nowadays.  Most of the beliefs were similar but everyone tweaked it just a bit.  I like this message of unity.  The overarching message is this:  Christ died for our sins.  If you accept Christ, you will be like Christ with an indwelt Holy Spirit and you will be saved. Everything else (all the other variances on the Bible) is a very distant second.

If we can remember the main message and act out of the Holy Spirit’s wisdom, discord and divisions should never exist within the Church.  Of course, this is not reality.  But it’s what Paul’s trying to plead here.

Map of Corinth:  Shows just how strategic Corinth was in relation to the Roman World.

http://www.ccel.org/bible/phillips/CNM21-Pauls3rdJourney.gif

Corinth was second only to Rome with a population of 700,000 in Paul’s time and it was known as a town of sinners much like Las Vegas is today.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 18, Day 2 Isaiah 41:1-4; 44:28-45:1, Ezra 1:1-4

Summary of passages:  Isaiah 41:1-4:  God is speaking to all nations to be silent before Him as they come together and have a chat.  God asks who has stirred up one from the east and called him into righteous service?  Who has done this (handed nations over, subdued kings, turns people to dust by the sword and chaff by the bow, pursues people and moves them) since the beginning of time?  “I, the Lord..I am he,” God answers.

Isaiah 44:28-45:1:  The Lord calls Cyrus (king of Persia) his shepherd and Cyrus will accomplish what the Lord pleases, which is rebuilding Jerusalem and the temple and subduing nations, stripping kings, and opening doors that God chooses.

Ezra 1:1-4:  The Lord commands Cyrus, king of Persia, (unbeknownst to Cyrus) to proclaim:  The Lord has given me all the kingdoms of earth and appointed him to rebuild the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem.  Anyone of God’s people may go to Jerusalem and accomplish this task.  And other nations (peoples) are to provide Judah with silver, gold, livestock, goods, or whatever else they require for this task.

Questions:

3) Who has called up one from the east (either Abraham or Cyrus, the king of Persia) to serve God righteously?  Who has done all of this (subdued kings, routed nations, turned to dust and chaff, and pursued and secured) throughout all the generations since the beginning of time?  “I, the Lord, the first and last–I am he.”

4a) Either Abraham or Cyrus

b) Abraham is the patriarch of Jewish people and the father of the faith.  Scholars believe this may be in reference to him because he is most righteous.  Isaiah 41:22  “Tell us what the former things were, so that we may consider them and know their final outcome.”  Abraham is referencing the “first” in verse 41:4

Cyrus was the king of Persia (directly East of Judah) who defeated the Babylonians and captured Babylon in 539 BC.  Hence, he fulfills that prophecy that Babylon will be punished.  Then, as we read in Ezra, Cyrus allowed God’s exiled people to return to Jerusalem, rebuild the temple of God, and commanded other countries to contribute resources for this project.  Hence, Cyrus fulfills this prophecy of the return of God’s people as well.

I think Cyrus here is whom Isaiah is speaking of.  Cyrus better fits the time period that Isaiah is prophesizing about and he would be more relevant to the people Isaiah is speaking to.  In Ezra, God does move Cyrus’s heart, which made him righteous in relation to God’s chosen people.

But I included Abraham here since everywhere I read this passage, I found his name in addition to Cyrus’s.

5a) God

b) Cyrus, Sennacherib–Persians, Assyrians, Babylonians.  Civil War, Hitler, American Revolution.  All the major battles, you can see God’s hand at work.  In all of history’s mysteries, you know that is God at work. My favorite, the one hardest to explain to my kids: the Dinosaurs.  Why can’t we figure out why they died? Perhaps because God did it.  Snapped his fingers and that was that.  Time for man, His history to begin.

c) God is faithful to his people and will use nations and rulers for His purposes to enact His will.  We belong to Him.

d) When we see God predict the future and it comes true time after time, it strengthens our belief and awe in God.  We know God is controlling present history like He did the past history and we can feel secure and trust in Him.  No other religion has such prophecies fulfilled.  History is tangible.  Most don’t dispute it–recent times at least.  Logically, one cannot dispute God’s word when He knew the history before it occurred.  God is the writer of history.

Conclusions:  Yeah!  More history.  So,we’ve gone from the Assyrians to the Babylonians and now to the Persians.  For me, this is a very weak area in my history knowledge so it’s great to learn all this stuff.

God again is emphasizing that He is the one and only God and He is the one in charge.  He is the unseen hand in history and therefore in all of our lives.  So trust in Him and His word for your future.

End Notes:  In Ezra, Cyrus issues his proclamation “in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.”  This can be found in Jeremiah 29:10-14:  “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place…from captivity…and places where I have banished you…from which I carried you into exile.”

Jeremiah was a prophet who lived after Isaiah, which makes sense since the book of Jeremiah is after the book of Isaiah.  He began his ministry about 60 years after Isaiah’s death. Like Isaiah, he warned the Babylonians were coming for Jerusalem but he was hated for his message and not having the ear of the King (Isaiah had Hezekiah), Jeremiah suffered much.  God even told him not to marry since God knew the future hardship he’d have to endure to follow Him.  Jeremiah also referenced the coming Messiah. Jeremiah lived after Jerusalem fell, which is recorded in the book of Lamentations, believed to have been written by him.  Hence, Jeremiah is known as the Weeping Prophet mainly due to his feelings expressed in Lamentations and the compassion with which he writes.