BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 26, Day 3: Matthew 26:17-30

Summary of passage:  Jesus made preparations for the Passover dinner.  He told the disciples to go to Jerusalem to a certain man’s house and tell them the teacher is going to have Passover dinner at your house.  So they did.  So, at Passover, Jesus announces that one of them will betray him in less than 24 hours.  All denied it and Jesus pointed out it would be Judas, who was foolish enough to ask Jesus who told him the truth.  He told him it would be better if he had not been born.  (OUCH!).

Jesus blessed the bread and gave it to his disciples, saying eat this as my body.  He gave them wine and said drink this as my blood of the covenant.  They sung a hymn, presumably finished dinner, and went to the Mount of Olives.

Questions:

6a)  Passover

b)  The Jews celebrate Passover as a festival to remember God’s liberation of His people from Egypt.  The name comes from God’s instruction to the Jews to mark their homes with lambs’ blood so that the angel of the Lord would “passover” their homes during the 10 Plagues God inflicted upon the Egyptian people.  Exodus 11-12 records God’s instructions to Moses regarding the punishment of killing the first-born child of the Egyptians and His command to celebrate this as the Feast of the Unleavened Bread to remember God’s great deeds.

c)  He blessed bread, broke it, and said eat of his body.  He blessed wine, drank it, and said drink of this wine as this is the blood of the covenant.

7a)  Luke 22:19-20:  Bread:  Jesus’ body  Wine:  New Covenant in Jesus’ blood for us

John 6:51-58:  Bread:  Jesus’ flesh and whoever eats of it will live forever.  Wine:  Jesus’ blood and drinking it will give everlasting life.  Feed on Jesus and live.  Bread that came down from heaven.  Manna from Moses does not give everlasting life.  Here Jesus emphasizes the difference.

1 Peter 1:19:  “with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect”

1 Peter 2:24:  Bread would be his body here and our sins.  Wounds would be his blood and represent our healing and righteousness

1 John 1:7: Jesus’ blood purifies us from all sin.

b)  Verse 24:  “Do this in remembrance of me.”  Verse 25:  “Whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”  Verse 26: “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  You are remember Jesus as Lord and Savior and his suffering on the cross for me.  I personally think verse 28 is much more helpful  “a man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.”  Take this seriously, take a moment, confess your sins, ask for forgiveness, and be close to God.  Don’t just go through the motions.

Conclusions:   It is a pet peeve of mine when BSF only puts the required reading at the top but then the first question requires us to read more.  This should be put in the headline.  Hence, this day is deceiving.  It’s just as much work as yesterday was.

Interesting that we didn’t read Mark’s, Luke’s and John’s account of this very important event especially since John, once again, varies widely and adds details no other does.  It is John who tells us Jesus washed the feet of his disciples.  It is him who tells us Judas has been prompted by the devil to betray Jesus and that Jesus sends Judas away to do it quickly.

End Notes:  Once again, John deviates from the others and thus throws a kink into the timing.  Matthew, Mark, and Luke present this event as happening on the Passover.  John says this happened before the Passover (13:1) and Jesus was crucified on the Passover (John 18:28).  Scholars argue that maybe Jesus ate earlier than Jewish custom or Jesus deliberately held this feast sooner so as to have the time with his disciples.  To me, this argument is unimportant with the result of Jesus’ death:  Salvation.  The rest is nice to know but not life-changing.

Jesus was hoping Judas would repent of his sin and this is why Jesus brings up the betrayal.  Jesus knew his betrayal was fixed and would not be changed, but he was hoping Judas could still be saved.  Psalm 41:9 by David “Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.”

Can you imagine how Jesus’ heart broke over this?  How many of us have experienced a similar kind of betrayal by a loved one; yet, thankfully, only our heart breaks and our lives are not threatened.

[Side Note:  Dante’s Divine Comedy has Judas in the lowest place in Hell.  This is suitable for Judas does the opposite of repenting:  he denies it as well and becomes as hypocritical as the chief priests.].

Every disciple was incredulous.  And none of them pointed a finger at others.  All were shocked.

Once again, it is John who throws a wrench in this debate:  Was Judas present at the Lord’s supper or did he leave before hand (John 13:30)?  Again, up for debate.  Most scholars say Judas was not present at the Lord’s supper for the mere fact of what the Lord’s Supper represents.  Another question we’ll have answered when we get to heaven.  There are no 100% answers here.

My Bible does not have New Covenant but New is in some manuscripts.  Hence, Jesus is God when he institutes the covenant as only God can.

For hundreds of years, there has been debate on if the bread and wine becomes actual blood and body of Jesus (transubstantiation and a Roman Catholic belief) or consubstantiation where the bread and wine are the blood and body of Jesus by faith and not transformed (usually propounded by Protestants from Martin Luther and Calvin on).

Whatever you believe, what matters is what your heart believes:  do you accept Jesus as your Savior?

We must take and eat.  We must choose to accept his life.

The Greek word for thanks is “eucharist”.  Hence, the Lord’s supper being known by some as the partaking of the Eucharist.

I’ve missed the fact Jesus sang at the Last Supper until now (Go BSF!).  Can you imagine?  Jesus singing?!!

What did Jesus sing?  It is traditional for Jews to sing Psalm 116-118. Beautiful.

Could you sing before your death?  If you have Jesus, you can do anything!

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BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 26, Day 3: Genesis 37:12-36

Summary of passage:  The brothers (notice Joseph is conspicuously absent) were grazing sheep near Shechem when Jacob/Israel sent Joseph to check up on them and make sure all was well.

When Joseph arrived in Shechem, the brothers had moved on to Dothan.  The brothers saw him coming and plotted to kill him.  The mocked him by calling him dreamer and planned to kill him and throw him in a cistern and tell Jacob that a ferocious animal killed him.

But Reuben tried to rescue Joseph.  He suggested not to shed blood and just to throw him into a cistern and then come back later.  Basically, just to teach Joseph a lesson was his plan.

So the brothers stripped him of his robe and threw him into an empty cistern.  The brothers then sat down to eat their meal when a caravan of Ishmaelites appeared heading to Egypt to sell spices.  Judah (interestingly the fourth born and the one whom Jesus will come from) sees dollar signs so he suggests why don’t they sell their brother to the Ishmaelites?  They will be rid of Joseph AND have money in their pockets.  ALL agreed.

So the brothers pulled Joseph out of the cistern and sold him for 20 shekels of silver (note the obvious reference to Jesus here who was betrayed for 30 pieces of silver) to the Midianites.

Reuben who apparently was not there during all of this but where he went and why is uncertain returns to find Joseph gone.  He tears his clothes (obviously upset) and questions his brothers.

They took Joseph’s coat and spread goat’s blood all over it.  They presented this to Jacob/Israel who concluded a ferocious animal did tear Joseph to pieces.

Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned his son for days.  All tried to comfort him but he refused them.  Jacob wept.

The Midianites sold Jacob in Egypt to Potiphar, the captain of the Pharaoh’s guards.

Questions:

5)  Joseph went to the Valley of Hebron as instructed but not finding his brothers, he inquires of them and is told they went to Dothan.  So Joseph follows them to Dothan.  He is rewarded by being thrown in a cistern and sold as a slave.

6a)  Reuben and Judah

b)  Genesis 42 says that Joseph pleaded for his life.  I imagine he screamed at the top of his lungs.  He probably tried to reason with them, saying he wouldn’t boast any more.  He probably even tried bribes like giving them his precious coat or something.  I’m sure he asked why they were doing this to him.  I’m sure he shed some tears.

c)  This question to me seems to be justifying what happened to Joseph by drawing the parallel.  There is no justification for throwing someone in a pit, plotting their murder, and selling them into slavery.  Joseph did not deserve what happened to him no matter what sins he had committed (which weren’t that bad compared to murder and the like).

Joseph’s crime was boasting.  We suffer the same when pride rules instead of humbleness.  We are often blinded to people and things around us and our lives become self-centered instead of God-centered.

However, I submit that you can’t fault a 17 year-old kid for being prideful and full of hubris.  Especially if you compare to today’s society where 30 somethings never grow up and are the same way.  If anyone is to blame, it’s Jacob and Rachel who spoiled him rotten and created the discord between the brothers.  Joseph did not deserve to suffer.

d)  They were both stripped of their clothing according to the passages and they were watched over and guarded.

7a)  20 sheckels.  30 silver coins.

b)  He had been the favored, the special one, the coddled one, the one chosen to receive the birthright.  And now he’s a slave.  It must have been a huge adjustment.  Imagine your freedom and world gone completely and now you must do hard labor and answer to others.

c)  The same.  When bad things happen, we think God doesn’t care, that He’s turned His back on us and is allowing our suffering.  We often don’t equate it to future good for it is hard in the moment to do so.  We ask “Why is God allowing this to happen in our lives?”  We pray and wait.  That’s all we can do.

8a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I would say both.  There are other ways God could have chosen for Joseph to rise to be the number two guy in Egypt and save the lives of many people–many ways that did not involve suffering.  But Joseph did have to learn some hard lessons about living for others, being grateful, and turning to God always.

I think of Naomi and Ruth who lost everything but still believed in God.  They both had to do back-breaking labor in order to survive but in the end Ruth married Boaz and he provided for them both.  They had to have God at their center before good things happened.

Jacob had to work hard before he was able to return to the Promised Land.  He had to be taught hard lessons the hard way.  Moses killed a man and had to live in Midian for 40 years as a shepherd before God called him.  Job lost everything in a test of faith by God.

The Bible is full of examples where God inflicts us with hardships in order to grow us and our faith–not only for us but for those around us and in Joseph’s case for an entire nation.

b)  Joseph’s dreams were an encouragement for they told Joseph his family and Israel would bow to him.

Conclusions:  What was Reuben doing while the brothers dispatched Joseph?  Most likely he was trying to get them to move on so he could return unknowingly to free Joseph since no one else liked his plan.

Can you imagine the brothers sitting callously by, calmly eating their meal, while Joseph is screaming at the top of his lungs, pleading with them not to harm him and to let him go free?  This just shows the depth of the brothers’ hatred for their little brother, the effect Jacob’s favoritism had on them, and how deep the devil had twisted their hearts.

Also, their is no sign of remorse on the brothers part upon presenting their father with Joseph’s coat.  They are aloof, indifferent, and callous to the core.

How plausible is the excuse to Jacob that wild animals killed him?  What wild animals lived in Canaan during this time that could cause such a bloody death?  Lions, bears, crocodiles, and cheetahs used to roam ancient Israel.  So this is very plausible.

[Side Note:  When we think of lions, we think of the African lions that roar on the plains in Africa.  Few people know that there is actually another lion species, the Asiatic Lion, that used to roam Asia as well.  However, due to the Romans import of wild animals for the Gladiatorial fights, this species was decimated.  Due to man’s penchant for cheap thrills, most of the rest were eradicated with the advent of firearms.  There is now only a tiny population in a pocket in India and some in zoos.  Sad, sad, sad.  Man is capable of such good but he is also capable of such harm.]

[Side Note to the Side Note:  Many people don’t think of gladiatorial fights with wild animals.  But the Romans imported thousands and thousands of wild animals that included lions, elephants, tigers, cheetahs, etc to fight with the gladiators over hundreds of years.  The Romans virtually eliminated some species from the face of the planet. They inflicted so much damage (such as the Asiatic Lion) that these species still have not recovered.  And the people of Rome (not just the leaders) stood by and watched this slaughter week after week and even called for more.  Fascinating study if you ever get the chance.  But incredibly sad at how God commissioned us to care for the animals and instead we kill them off for no other reason than to watch them fall.  Probably some twisted heart within us that says ‘Better them than me.’]

It is tempting to think Jacob kept Joseph back from tending the flock because he wanted to protect him.  But by Jacob sending Joseph out into the desert by himself to check up on his brothers, this idea is proven wrong.  Joseph faced robbers, other men who would do him harm, as well as animals and the elements.  This shows to me that Joseph stayed behind because he wasn’t required to work like his brothers were–another example of favoritism shown.

End Notes:  In Leviticus 27:5, God sets the price of those dedicated to the Lord based on ages and those between the age of 5 and 20 (the age of Joseph) is 20 shekels of silver–the same Joseph is sold for.

Reuben is not the good guy here despite his show of tearing his clothes.  It would only have taken one brother to stand up and say, “This is wrong!” and it wouldn’t have happened.  Reuben complicitly and cowardly agrees in his actions when he left the scene. It usually only takes one person with the courage to stand up for what’s right and man’s inherent morals kick in.  But if no one does, then crowd mentality kicks in and chaos ensues (see this commentary on crowd mentality and Jesus HERE).

God fingerprints are everywhere here.  For example, the cistern was empty.  Normally, it would have been full of water but it wasn’t so Joseph would have been drowned.  That was God.

Hard to believe the Messiah came from Judah when we read Judah’s actions here. However, we are about to see how selling Joseph to the Midianites begins a series of events and circumstances that leads to the most powerful man in the world at that time–the Pharaoh of Egypt.  And only God can weave a web that intricate and create something that impossible.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 26, Day 3: James 1:19-27

Summary of passage:  James offers some practical advice, saying everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger for man’s anger does not bring about righteous life.  Get rid of all moral filth and evil and humbly accept the word planted in you.

Do what the word says.  Anyone who doesn’t is like a man who just looks in a mirror and forgets what he sees.  Anyone who follows the law will be blessed in what he does.  Keep a tight rein on your tongue and look after orphans, widows, and keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Questions:

8a)  Quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger, get rid of all the moral filth and evil and accept the word planted in you.  Do what the word says to do.  Keep a tight rein on your tongue.  Look after orphans and widows and keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I don’t listen very well and I do get angry easily.  I don’t guard my tongue as I should.  All of these I need to work on.

9a)  Well, widows and orphans.  The homeless.  Kids on the streets.  Latchkey kids.  People in nursing homes.

b)  We have a responsibility to all those less fortunate than ourselves.  We can donate to charities that help these people.  We can serve in food kitchens.  Donate to food banks. Visit nursing homes (especially with our kids).  Be vigilant when God puts certain individuals in our way to help.

Conclusions:  Not as meaty as yesterday in terms of personal application but just as important.  Important to heed James’s advice on how to live and to remember we are here to serve others.

My favorite was “to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”  So often these days no one takes responsibility but we are just as responsible for being influenced by the world as the world is.  Probably more so.  We must keep ourselves away from situations where we are more likely to fall, limit what we are exposed to, and live according to the Word.  This goes for our kids as well.

For I believe we cannot help/serve others effectively if we ourselves are “polluted”.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 26, Day 3 Isaiah 58

Summary of passage:  Here.

Questions:

5a)  The Sabbath was a day set aside by God to honor His Creations–Earth and everything upon it.  You shall get all of your work done in 6 days and rest on the 7th.  Thus, the Lord blessed it and made it holy.  The Sabbath was to be the sign of God’s everlasting covenant with His people.  Anyone who desecrated it was to be put to death.  If you delight in the Sabbath and keep it holy by not going your own way or doing as you please, then you will find joy in the Lord and feast on the inheritance of your father, Jacob.

b)  Matthew 12:1-12:  The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.  It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.

Mark 2:27-28; John 5:10:  The Sabbath was made for man so the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.  Jesus healed on the Sabbath and told the man to do work i.e carry his mat.

John 9:14:  Jesus healed a blind man on the Sabbath.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Galatians 4:10 means to me that any day can be the Sabbath and probably should be. Colossians 2:16-17 means to me that you should not be judged by your activities on the Sabbath as in OT times, which were rituals put in place anticipating Jesus’s coming.  Now, the reality is Christ and if you accept Him, no one should judge you except God.  Jesus has put everything right with God for us.

Jesus made God’s law of keeping the Sabbath holy void.  Now, instead, we are to carry our rest in God in our hearts through the gift of the Holy Spirit, which dwells inside each of us.

To answer the question:  I’m not for sure what BSF is getting at here.  In my view, the list of things to do and avoid in Isaiah is now void if we have Jesus in our hearts (the Holy Spirit).  My attitude toward the Sabbath is my attitude every day as listed above:  live my life as Christ-like as possible, seeking God at every opportunity, and listening for prompts to share the Gospel with those around me. That’s not to negate the good works Isaiah says:  share your food, help the poor, etc.  I think those are now just examples of what Christ would do and therefore what we should do–examples of good deeds to help your fellow man.

6)  You will find joy in the Lord.  He will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.  Your light will break forth and your healing. Righteousness and the Lord shall be with you.  Then when you call out to the Lord (with your heart in the right place), He will answer:  Here am I.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The definition of delight:  a high degree of gratification, joy; something that gives great pleasure.

Yes, God gives me great pleasure.  Most days.  Sometimes I feel far away or my mind is caught up in human problems but when I do turn to God in those moments it is a true delight for He will speak to me if I listen and comfort me as I pour my heart out to Him.  Even when I’m doing good in life my time in the mornings with God is life-giving and nurturing and makes my days so much more fulfilling.  I do this daily in the morning when the kids are sleeping.

Conclusions:  I liked how BSF broke this up into what the Old Testament says about the Sabbath versus how this changed when Jesus came in the New Testament.

I wish BSF would have us read the whole passages like this quote below from Mark, which is just below Mark 2:27-28.  It gives the whole picture of the circumstances of Jesus’s healing and I think gives us a greater understanding.  It’s not a whole lot more to read.  My only conclusion is BSF just wants us to answer on those listed verses but if the goal here is to understand the word better I think we need more of the word.

Mark 3:4  “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” Jesus asked the Pharisees.  I think this makes it clear good works on the Sabbath is acceptable.  But more than that, aren’t we called to do good works every day, not just the Sabbath?  Are we ever supposed to do evil or kill (kill unlawfully kill not kill a cow for meat)?

So, I will be curious to see where BSF is taking this one.  If they say everything is acceptable or only good works.  My belief from Day 2 is since God dwells in our hearts every day should be like the Sabbath: we go about our days, living like Jesus did, reading His word and praying, and sharing the Good News with others. Nothing should be condemned solely based on which day of the week this occurs (except of course sin–which is virtually every day).  For me, I sin every day.

I found this article on the Old Testament definition of the Sabbath versus the New Testament definition, curiously as I was researching Day 1:

http://www.gci.org/law/chr-sab3