BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 27, Day 5: Matthew 27:11-31; Luke 23:1-12

Summary of passages:  Matthew 27:11-31:  Pilate now questions Jesus and lays out the charges against him.  Jesus only answers one questions, acknowledging he is the king of the Jews.  Following custom, Pilate allows the crowd to release one prisoner at Passover.  Pilate’s wife warns him to not to have anything to do with Jesus because she had a bad dream about him.  But the Sanhedrin convinces the crowd to release Barabbas instead of Jesus.  Pilate asks why because Jesus is innocent but the crowd is insistent.  So Pilate washes his hands of the crime and the people take responsibility.  He then flogs Jesus.

Pilate’s soldiers stripped Jesus and put a scarlet robe upon him and a crown of thorns on his head.  They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him.  They spit on him and hit him over the head with the staff.  Then they removed the robe and put his won clothes back on him.  Then they led him away to be crucified.

Luke 23:1-12:  The Sanhedrin marches Jesus off to Pilate, saying he is subverting the nation by opposing paying taxes to Caesar and claiming to be the Messiah.  Jesus admits to being the king of the Jews.  Pilate admits there are no crimes against him.  The crowd insisted.  Pilate learns he is a Galilean so Pilate hands him over to Herod to deal with.  Herod was eager to question Jesus since he had heard so much about him and was hoping to see a miracle but Jesus refused to answer.

Finally, Herod ridicules and mocks Jesus.  They dress him in a robe and send him back to Pilate. Pilate and Herod become friends.

Questions:

11a)  Herod wanted Jesus to perform a miracle.  Jesus said nothing to Herod.

b)  Herod killed John the Baptist.

c)  He was curious.  He believed Jesus performed miracles and he wanted to know more.  That’s why he kept John the Baptist alive as well.  He was intrigued by their teachings of God and Jesus.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  If you come to Jesus just seeking a miracle for the sake of seeing a miracle, you won’t get it.  If you come to Jesus asking for a miracle when you don’t believe or accept him, you won’t get it either.  Jesus won’t answer you if your heart is wrong.

12a)  Pilate says so:  Luke 23:4:  “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”

He repeats his conclusions in Luke 23:13:  “I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him.  Neither has Herod…He has done nothing to deserve death.  Therefore, I will punish him and then release him.”

Luke 23:20:  “Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them [the people] again.”

Luke 23:22:  “For the third time, he [Pilate] spoke to the them [the people] ‘I have found no grounds for the death penalty.'”

Matthew 27:23:  Pilate says to the crowd who calls for his crucifixion “Why?  What crime has he committed?”

Matthew 27:24:  Pilate washes his hands in front of the crowd and says “I am innocent of this man’s blood.  It is your responsibility.”

Pilate’s wife believed him innocent as well.  Matthew 27:19:  “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man.”

John 18:38:  Pilate says “I find on basis for a charge against him.”

John 19:4:  Pilate says again “I find no basis for a charge against him.

John 19:12:  “From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting.”

Mark 15:14:  Pilate asks the crowd who wants Jesus crucified, “Why?  What crime has he committed?”

b) Out of envy Matthew 27:18 & Mark 15:10

c)  Because if Jesus was a king, he would be opposing Caesar and that was a crime justifying death.  Mark says specifically that Pilate only hands over Jesus for execution to please the crowd (Mark 15:15).

In my opinion from reading all the passages, I would say Pilate executed Jesus to please the crowds.  During Passover, there were thousands of Jews in Jerusalem–more than the number of Roman soldiers.  The crowd could have easily turned into a rebellion and overpowered the soldiers.

He was probably also tired of trying to reason with crowd mentality where reason does not exist.  So he gave in in order to prevent violence.  I actually did a post on how Jesus was killed by crowd mentality a while back.  You can read that HERE

The fact of the matter is no one person killed Jesus.  We did.  With our sins.  He had to die to save us.  We are all responsible.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The amazing love God has for us to send his son to die for us sinners so He can be with us.  Jesus was innocent.  We are the guilty ones.  Yet now we can live.  Amazing!

Conclusions:  Not for sure why BSF did not have us finish reading the whole Luke passage of Jesus with Pilate especially in light of question 12a where we see Pilate 3 times beg for Jesus’ life but the people were insistent.  Ironic how a lot of people believe it was Pilate and the Romans that killed Jesus when in reality it was the Jews and the very people Jesus came to save.

Jesus actually appeared before Pilate 2 times.  BSF here had us read the first time Jesus appeared before Pilate in Luke.  Keep reading Luke and you will read the second time he appears before Pilate which is what Matthew records.  Matthew records the 2nd time only and not the first.  Hence why BSF has us comparing the first with the second is baffling to me instead of the second with the second.  Read all of Luke and you’ll get the full picture.

Not for sue why BSF did not have us read Mark’s version either of these events especially in light of question 12c where Mark’s reasoning is different than John’s.  I would recommend reading it (Mark 15:1-20).

I can imagine this is only a tiny bit of what happened on that day that is recorded.  I’d love to have more details, wouldn’t you?

We killed Jesus.  With our sins.  I think if we truly absorbed that fact into our souls we’d all be better people.

To this day, our sins sadden God.  He wants so much for us.  So much He’d kill his only Son.  We should all meditate on that fact, absorb its meaning, and be more like Jesus.  For God’s sake if not for our own.

End Notes:  Let’s remember how Pilate first sees Jesus:  beaten and bloodied (Matthew 26:67)–nothing like a king that the Jews are accusing him of being.  Pilate probably thought the Sanhedrin was wasting his time and had hoped to be done with this quickly.

Instead the governor was amazed that Jesus would stood in defied silence.  Whereas most people facing death would defend themselves and do anything to save their lives, Jesus stood.  God was Jesus’ defense.

I can only imagine the presence Jesus had.  I’m sure when he walked into a room, all eyes would land upon him.  There had to be something about him, something majestic and holy, that would draw you to him.  Would have been a sight to see!

Telling the power of the Sanhedrin when they convince the people to release Barabbas who is a revolutionist murderer who tried to overthrow Rome (Mark 15:7).  That was the power of the religious rulers of that day (and the power of false prophets then and now).  Why we should all be thankful that we live in a democracy (those of us that do).  So that innocent people aren’t executed without cause.

Can you imagine Pilate’s wife’s dream?  It must have been powerful for her to send a message to her husband.  This was God’s mercy in play, trying to spare Pilate eternal hell.  He rejected it as so many do.

The fact that the Jews themselves would chose crucifixion (a Roman invention the Jews absolutely hated) speaks to the evilness of man.

The name Barabbas means “the son of the father” in Hebrew (Good Bible references on Barabbas HERE.  Note “abba” in his name.).  The people were fooled and chose the wrong Son.  Like so many do today.  And they will when they embrace the anti-Christ in the future.  Jesus took the cross for Barabbas.  And us.

In the end, Pilate was a coward who denied Jesus justice.  He kowtowed to the rabble and thus went down in infamy.  He washed his hands but not his soul.  He alone held the power to save Jesus as the representative of Rome and he turned away.  How God’s heart must have broke at that moment.

Ironic how the crowd asked for Jesus’ blood–which is what we all must ask for to be saved.  They were saving themselves and didn’t even know it.  Only God can work in such ways.

This same crowd had hailed Jesus only a few days before and cried “Hosanna!” (Save) is now crying “Crucify!” (Die).  If only they had known….

Notes on Scourging:  In Bill O’Reilly’s book Killing Jesus this is described in depth (as well as crucifixion).  The NIV calls this flogging but this was beyond normal flogging.  The Romans scourged every one except women and Roman citizens who were sentenced to die on the cross. This entailed a whip with multiple strips of leather that had bone shards or metal at the end. These cut into the skin and muscle and caused massive blood loss, weakening the prisoner and causing death in some cases.  The goal was to extract a confession.  When the confession was gained, the blows would lessen and stop.  Jesus, having nothing to confess, remained silent. Hence, his beating never lessened.

Picture of Scouraging HERE

Picture of Crucifixion HERE

Description and Pictures of Praetorium HERE

Life of Pilate HERE and HERE

On Lesson 27, Day 2 we were asked how Jesus was humiliated.  I answered just by his disciples forsaking him.  Here, is where the real humiliation took place (Matthew 27:27-31).  The whole company of soldiers watched as Jesus was stripped naked.  This is a culture where everyone wore a lot of clothes.  Skin was hardly shown.  Most wore robes to the ground and had sleeves.  Most were in layers.  To expose body parts was considered indecent.  So stripping Jesus when he would have been used to being fully clothed all the time would have been devastating.

Scarlet was the color reserved for royalty and the elite.  In Rome, only the emperor could wear purple because it was the most expensive color cloth at the time.  Scarlet as well was a deep red, again, an expensive color to make.  This was meant to mock Jesus as well.

Most rulers wore crowns.  The crown of thorns would have bloodied Jesus immediately.

Most rulers carried ornate, intricately-carved scepters as a symbol of their power.  Here, Jesus is handed a reed, a stiff grass similar to bamboo.  Then the soldiers beat him with the reed.  They stripped him again and led him away.  Does man get any crueler than this?  To literally spit in God’s face, humiliate Him, and beat Him.  Should bring us all to our knees…

Side Note:  How did Matthew hear of this scene anyways when it was only observed by the Roman soldiers?  Had to have been from one of the soldiers himself.  Makes one wonder if Matthew did interviews for his book like they do today or if a Roman soldier, having witnessed this, came to Christ.  Another question for heaven!

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BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 27, Day 4: Matthew 26:69-27:10; Luke 22:59-62; John 18:12-27

Summary of passages:  Matthew 26:69-27:10:  Peter was sitting outside Jesus’ trial when a servant girl came up and asked him if he were with Jesus of Galilee.  He denied it.  He went to the gateway where another girl told others Peter was with Jesus of Nazareth.  He denied it again with an oath this time.  The people came up to him after a bit and said that he must be with Jesus because of his accent.  Peter cursed himself and swore for a third time he did not know Jesus.  A rooster crowed and Peter then realized what he had done and Jesus had been right.  He then wept bitterly at his own sin.

In the morning, the Sanhedrin meets to officially proclaim Jesus guilty of blasphemy and sentence him to death.  They hand him over to Pilate who must agree as anyone executed must be approved by the Romans.

Judas was seized with remorse when he saw Jesus was going to be killed.  He returned the 30 silver coins and admitted he betrayed innocent blood.  They didn’t care and Judas threw the coins into the temple.  Then he hung himself.  The chief priests could not use the money since it was blood money so they bought a potter’s field with the money for burial of foreigners.  That is why it is called the Field of Blood.  This fulfilled prophecy by Jeremiah.

Luke 22:59-62:  Luke describes the scene as Peter is sitting nearby Jesus and denies him in his presence.  Peter denies Jesus 3 times and on the third time the rooster crows.  Jesus turned and looked straight at Peter.  Peter then remembered Jesus’ words.  Peter then fled and wept.

John 18:12-27:  Jesus was taken to Annas first.  Peter and another disciple followed Jesus.  The other disciple was known to the high priest and was allowed to enter the high priest’s courtyard with Jesus but Peter had to wait outside.  The other disciple gained permission for Peter to enter.  Peter denies the Lord when asked and all are huddled around a fire as it was cold.

Jesus was enduring questioning at the time and told them to ask those who heard him these questions.  Jesus was struck for his suggestion and sent to Caiaphas next.  Peter then denied Jesus 2 more times and the crow crowed.

Questions:

8a)  Peter was asked by a servant girl if he were with Jesus.  Peter denied this. (Matthew 26: 69-70).

Another girl saw Peter and told others that he was with Jesus.  Peter denied this with an oath (Matthew 26:71-72).

People went up to Peter and said he had to be one of those with Jesus because of his accent.  Peter’s denial escalated.  He called down curses on himself and swore he did not know Jesus (Matthew 26:73-74).

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To me, Peter’s denial increases and so does his passion.  Man is like this today.  You get so caught up in the lies and the deception that they perpetuate themselves until it reaches a breaking point like it did with Peter when the crow rang and Peter was hit with Jesus’ prophecy.  It starts out with a small lie or denial but to cover that lie you have to lie again and even bigger and then to cover that lie you lie some more until you may actually believe your lies.

Then you usually fall and the fall is so big you weep.  We must all stay true to God and ourselves to avoid what happened to Peter.

9a)  Peter sinned mainly due to ignorance and out of fear.  Judas sinned for greed and personal aggrandizement.  Note how Peter cried:  this is a sign of repentance.  Note how Judas threw his coins and stomped off like a two-year old being denied a treat at the store.  This is anger at the reaction from the Sanhedrin, not anger at his own actions or a desire to amend.

Peter learned from his sins and grew to do the Lord’s will.  Peter accepted his sins and God’s forgiveness for them.  Judas was too overcome with guilt that he took the easy way out and killed himself.  He didn’t go to God afterwards.  He couldn’t forgive himself like God can.

b)  By taking Jesus’ work and extending it.  By founding the church along with others and God and growing the spread of Christianity.

c)  Definition of repentance according to Webster’s Dictionary is “to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life; to feel regret or contrition for”.  The definition of sorry from Webster’s Dictionary is “feeling sorrow, regret, or penitence; mournful, sad”.  Judas felt sad about what he did but he didn’t turn from his sins and dedicate his life to Christ afterwards.  To repent is to want to do better and be better and change your ways.  To be sorry is just a temporary feeling of regret but no changes are made in behavior or attitude.

d)  We are all responsible for our sins.  We are all granted Free Will.  No one makes us choose to sin or turn from God.  That is our choice given to us by God.  We must choose Him and His ways.  If we don’t, that is our fault.

10)  The biggest contrast is not the questioning itself for in both cases the questioning escalated but in the handling of the questioning.  Jesus exhibited grace, calm, and love at all times.  He let man’s accusations fall off.  He spoke only when necessary and did not fire back.  Peter became more and more agitated and it showed up to the point he had denied Jesus three times before it dawned on him what had happened.  Peter let fear for his own life supercede his love for Christ.  He doubted God’s protection.  Self became more important.  A warning to us all.

Conclusions:  Loved this lesson!  Such a warning to us about staying true to God.  Staying true to ourselves.  Letting God take our fears and anxieties.  Answering out of love and compassion and not self-righteousness or anger.  And in the end trusting in God’s plan as Jesus did–even if it’s not what we’d choose.

Did not like question 9d.  Reflects what’s wrong with American society today:  it’s never my fault, it’s someone else’s.  Of course Judas is responsible for his sin.  To suggest otherwise is ludicrous.  But people today are always looking for an out.  Some medical condition or what-have-you that makes you sin and is a crutch to lean on.

I did like the flippancy in the Sanhedrin’s response to Judas.  Judas was seeking some kind of consolation for his mistake but was denied.  Too often today people are coddled when they sin instead of reprimanded.  Our society would be better off if more of us took the Sanhedrin’s approach to sin:  “That’s your responsibility.”  Not that we shouldn’t help others overcome.  But that we must ensure proper acceptance and repentance before healing can take place.

I loved Luke’s nugget of how Jesus turned and looked straight at Peter after his third denial.  Can you imagine?  You deny Jesus in his presence???  I cannot imagine the shame and grief Peter experienced.  Although I think I’d be a better person if I knew Jesus were in the room with me at all times.

End Notes:  If you are cursing yourself, I would say you are so agitated and so out of control that you don’t know what you are doing.  Yet Peter was granted two gifts from God here:  the love, forgiveness, and encouragement in Jesus’ face as he met Peter’s and the memory of Jesus’ words, which shocked him into repentance.  We know how to be better.  Sometimes we have to remember how to be so.

Like I said, this was the real trial in the daylight and Pilate, the Roman governor, was the only one who had the authority to execute men.  Pilate’s normal residence was on the coast of Caesarea but he was required to be in Jerusalem for Passover to show  his support for the Jewish people.  Bill O’Reilly’s book, Killing Jesus, has much more detail on this.  Pilate (as we’ll see) was not an easy sell:  he did believe Jesus innocent and recognized the trumped up charges but he bowed to the will of the people (Matthew 27:17-19).

The biggest irony that gets me is Jesus is condemned by the people whom he came to save and had only shown mercy and love to.  Who amongst us would do that?

Judas was sorry for the result of his sin, not sorry for the actual sin itself.  He didn’t want Jesus to die; but, he would have sold him out again if given the chance.

By throwing the money at the priests, Judas was saying they were guilty as well.  The priests would not touch the money now even though it was theirs to begin with (hypocrisy, anyone?).

A burial ground was considered unclean.  Hence, it suited the priests to use the money for that purpose.

Some scholars say the fact Judas hung himself is a contradiction of Acts 1:18-19 where Judas fell headlong and his body burst open.  If Judas hung himself, his body would not be defiled so it wouldn’t have been touched.  Hence, it might have been thrown into the field and left to rot and spill open.

There is also controversy about the quote at the end of the passage attributed to Jeremiah because it appears in the book of Zechariah 11:12-13 instead.  Some say this was just a clerical error when copying of the Bible took place.  Some say Zechariah was the one who recorded Jeremiah’s words.  Some think both the books of Jeremiah and Zechariah were recorded at the same time and thus appeared in one book, so Matthew was referring to the same book when he wrote his.

To me, this is a detail I can wait to discover.  God said it all so which prophet said it or recorded it is no big deal in my book.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 27, Day 3: Matthew 26:57-68; 27:1-2; John 18:12-14, 19-24

Summary of passages: Matthew 26:57-68; 27:1-2: Jesus was taken before Caiaphas, the high priest and other teachers of the law and elders. Peter followed Jesus to see the outcome. They were looking for false evidence against Jesus so they could kill him but they did not find any despite the false witnesses. Two said Jesus had claimed he could destroy the temple and rebuild it in 3 days. Jesus refused to answer these charges.

Caiaphas asked him if he was the Christ, the Son of God. To this, Jesus did reply and said he would be sitting at the right hand of God and coming on clouds of heaven. Caiaphas tore his clothes and accused Jesus of blasphemy. The Sanhedrin agreed and they spit in his face and slapped him. Then they led him to Pilate.

John 18:12-14; 19-24: Jesus was arrested and brought first to Anna, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest, who was the one who wanted someone to die for the people.

Jesus, weary of being questioned, told Annas that he has always spoken openly and to ask those who heard him these tedious questions. Jesus was struck in the face for his flippant remarks and asked why for he told nothing untrue. Annas sent him to Caiaphas.

Questions:

5a) Annas

b)  Annas was Caiaphas’ father-in-law and an ex-high priest.

6a) Phase 1: The chief priests and Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus (Matthew 26:59-60) but they could not find any.

Phase 2: Two witnesses testified that Jesus had said he could destroy the temple and then have it rebuilt in 3 days. Here Jesus refused to reply. (Matthew 26:61-62)  The Sanhedrin were trying to get Jesus on a charge of trying to destroy the temple–a crime that would result in death.  However, John points out Jesus is speaking about the body (John 2:21) and by Jesus refusing to answer this, the Sanhedrin cannot prove anything.

Phase 3: Jesus was asked if he was the Son of God. He answered in the affirmative and was declared guilty of blasphemy here (even though Jesus was innocent since he is the Son of God), sentenced to death, and smacked around.  (Matthew 26:64-67)

b)  All of the chief priests and elders (the Sanhedrin) met officially to confirm the verdict from last night.  They came to the consensus to put Jesus to death and they bound him and brought him to Pilate. [Read Luke 22:66-71 for details on this trial].

7a) He quoted Daniel 7, saying in the future they would see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven.

b)  Jesus admits he is the Son of God but also says he will be the final judge when he sits at God’s right hand.  The roles will be reversed and he in the end will judge them for all of eternity.

c)  Blasphemy according to Webster’s Dictionary is “the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God; the act of claiming attributes of a deity; irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable.”  Thus, what Jesus was was true:  he is the Son of God and can therefore justly claim attributes of God and in no way be showing contempt for God.

Conclusions:  It’s like Jesus, knowing his destiny was set in motion and he was heading for death, was eager to get it over with.  He answered no questions and told them to ask others instead.  He wearied of watching the sins of man as they tried (and failed miserably) to justify killing him.

End Notes:  Annas was a previous high priest so the text can be confusing in John.  It is Annas who questions Jesus as well before Caiaphas and Annas is also still called the high priest.  Just like we call former governors of states still governors and Presidents still President, etc.  He kept his title for life.

Hence, Jesus was questioned several times that night.  By Annas.  By Caiaphas who gathered some Sanhedrin at his house.  And in Luke 22:66-71 the Sanhedrin officially assemble.

Everything about this trial broke Jewish law:  a nighttime trial, a trial during Passover, false witnesses who escaped punishment, presumption of innocence, waiting a day after a guilty verdict, etc.  This shows how desperate the high priests were to get rid of Jesus.

They ask Jesus about his threat to destroy the temple.  Jesus is silent.  John tells us Jesus was referring to his body (John 2:21).

Jesus’ silence and refusal to defend himself (although he could very well have with calling all the people he healed and others to testify to his miracles) frustrates Caiaphas to the point he called on Jesus to answer in the name of God.  Jesus did, simply, but followed by a warning:  I will be judging you in the future.

Finally, the get Jesus to admit he is the Son of God, which is blasphemy (the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God) if it had been false.

They spit in Jesus’ face and slapped him.  Imagine God’s reaction in heaven.  It had to take some might to not send angels down and wipe the Sanhedrin off the face of the earth.  As parents, I’m sure we all can relate.

Man is born God’s enemy (Romans 5:10, Colossians 1:21).  So we shouldn’t be shocked that they’d treat Jesus this way because probably in their hearts they knew Jesus was God’s Son.

Jesus protects his disciples to the end, not answering questions about them when asked.  Peter follows Jesus, determined to show he won’t be the one to deny him.  Still naive, huh Peter?

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 27, Day 2: Matthew 26:47-56; John 18:1-11

Summary of passages:  Matthew 26:47-56:  Judas arrives as Jesus is with the other disciples in Gethsemane.  There is a large crowd armed with swords and clubs with him.  Judas kissed Jesus, his sign to the guards as to which one was Jesus.  Jesus was seized and one of the disciples cut off a servant’s ear.  Jesus chastised him, saying to put his sword back for all who draw the sword die by the sword.  Jesus said he could easily escape if he wanted to but instead must fulfill Scripture.

Jesus spoke to the crowd, wondering why they are armed.  The disciples all abandoned Jesus.

John 18:1-11:  Jesus left the Kidron Valley and went over to an olive grove.  Judas familiar with the place came and brought soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees.  They were carrying torches, lanterns, and weapons.

Jesus met them and asked who they were seeking.  They answered, “Jesus of Nazarth.”  Jesus said, “I am he” and they drew back and fell to the ground.  He asked they let his disciples go.  Simon Peter drew his sword and cut off Malchus’s, the servant of the high priest, ear.  Jesus told him to put his sword away so he could drink the cup the Father has given him.

Questions:

3a)  Simon Peter

b)  The soldiers could have attacked and killed all of them including Jesus who would then not have been able to die on the cross for our sins as well as killing the disciples who spread the Good News to the world.

c)  He still didn’t understand that this was Jesus’ destiny and God’s plan because he tried to prevent it.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I can’t answer this.  I’m not for sure.  I believe all things have a purpose and in my adult life I believe I have been following God.  Even if it’s turns out to be wrong because I misinterpreted Him or heard wrongly, it is still His purpose for my life.

4a)  Matthew 26:56:  “Then all the disciples deserted him.”

Mark 14:50:  “Then everyone deserted him and fled.”

[Side Note:  Several sources I read said Jesus was humiliated by his arrest.  As I note below, Jesus willingly gave himself up to the soldiers.  I don't see  how he would be humiliated because of this.  However, I believe the fact that his brothers in arms (the disciples) fled would have brought shame and grief to Jesus' soul more so than being tied up and led to his destiny.]

b)  John 18:6:  “When Jesus said, ‘I am he,’ they drew back and fell to the ground.”

c)  He tells them immediately who he is and asks for his disciples to be freed (John 18:8).

Luke 22:51:  “No more of this!” and Jesus touched the man’s ear and healed him.

d)  John 18:9:  “This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled:  ‘I have not lost one of those you gave me’”.

John 18:11:  “Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

Matthew 26:54:  “But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way?”

Matthew 26:56:  “But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.”

Mark 14:49:  “But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.”

Luke 22:53:  “But this is your hour–when darkness reigns.”

Conclusions:  Loved this lesson except for the personal question that was a bit of a stretch as it assumes we know God’s mind in our lives.  Loved how we read all the passages of this scene in the Bible.  Great comparison study!

End Notes:  Again, it’s important to note that Jesus did not hide from Judas.  He could have gone somewhere Judas would not have known where to find him; but, instead, it was not God’s plan.

We never think of the disciples as carrying swords but at various times (as shown here) they did.  Probably for personal safety especially while traveling to ward off robbers and thieves.  Most men owned and knew how to use a sword in first century AD.

The number of soldiers in a legion varied over time.  This could have been anywhere between 5400 to 6000 fighting men.  Imagine 12 of these legions of angels, fighting for Jesus.  What an awesome sight to behold!

How quickly do the disciples abandon Jesus after saying they never would at the Last Supper.  Yet Jesus knew (Matthew 26:31).  Imagine his heart-break, seeing his staunchest believers blanch in the face of cowardice.

Arrested is not the right verb here.  Jesus willingly gave himself up.  The verb here is describing the actions of man, not of God.

Map of Garden of Gethsemane:  HERE

Curiosity:  Anyone else wonder how Gethsemane became a “garden”?  Matthew and Mark just describe it as a “place.”  Luke describes it as the place Jesus customarily went on the Mount of Olives.  John describes it as “across the Kidron Valley in an olive grove”.  Somehow it is now known as the “Garden of Gethsemane” where Jesus was arrested.  Probably lost in translation somewhere along down the line.  Either way it’s a secluded place, calm and peaceful, where Jesus retreated and was arrested that fateful night.

Scholars say it was in fact a garden as it is the second time God fights for mankind with the devil.  The first was in the Garden of Eden.  The second is here–in the Garden of Gethsemane.

If you visit Israel today, you can visit a place where scholars believe may have been the Garden of Gethsemane.   Click HERE to visit the official tourist website.  The garden and the olive trees were destroyed by the Romans in the siege of 70 AD but scholars believe these trees today are descendants of those original ones.  Click on the picture to enlarge the olive trees and you’ll get a sense of where Jesus stood.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 27, Day 5: Genesis 40

Summary of passage:  Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker offended him so he threw them in jail.  Potiphar assigned them to Joseph.  After some time, both men had a dream and Joseph noticed they were downcast about it.  So he asked them why they were gloom and they said because they had a dream they did not understand.  Joseph asked them to tell him his dreams because God can interpret them.

The chief cupbearer dreamed of a vine with three branches.  Grapes bloomed on the branches and the cupbearer squeezed the grapes into Pharaoh’s cup and gave him the cup. Joseph said in three days time the cupbearer will be restored to his position as cupbearer.  He asked him to remember him and mention him to Pharaoh so that Joseph may be released.

The chief baker dreamed of three baskets on his head of which the first baskets contained baked goods for the Pharaoh but birds were eating all the food.  Joseph said in three days Pharaoh will remove his head and hang him on a tree while the birds eat his flesh.

In three days time, it was Pharaoh’s birthday and he gave a feast for all of his officials. Just like Joseph had said, the chief cupbearer was restored and the chief baker was hanged (or impaled).  The chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph.

Questions:

11a)  To remember him and show him kindness and to mention him to Pharaoh to get him out of this prison.

b)  It is not recorded if the cupbearer agreed or didn’t agree to mention Joseph to Pharaoh.  All we know is that the cupbearer did not; he promptly forgot about Joseph.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I think Joseph was discouraged at times and did lose heart.  Those times are just not recorded.  Joseph was human.  What happened to Joseph would make anyone cry.  It was deplorable, unimaginable conditions and Joseph must have lamented his lot.  However, Joseph never forgot he had God.  God was with him. Joseph had outward signs of this due to how others saw God in him and put him in charge of all the prison and all that was done there.

Joseph never let his circumstances dictate his actions.  He probably was bummed for a while but then would pray and be cheered.

I’m sure Joseph was disappointed the cupbearer forgot him for Joseph was pinning his hopes on this for release.  But Joseph knew God was still with him.  And the time was just not right.

13)  Jesus is saying that if a kernel of wheat remains on the stalk, nothing happens.  But when the kernel falls to the ground it “dies” meaning it is no longer a seed but it grows anew, into a plant that is useful and will feed people and eventually produce many more seeds.

Joseph “died” to who he was.  He was given a new name by Pharaoh (Genesis 41:45), Zaphenath-Paneah, married an Egyptian woman, and became Egyptian for all purposes. He dressed like one.  He led an Egyptian life.  But out of this life, he fed people and produced many more seeds (including the seed for Jesus when he saved his family) through the saving of these people as they survived and had children.  But Joseph had to “die” first.

This is the literal meaning.  Spiritually, Jesus had to die in order to give life to many. Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 15:36-38; 42-44 that you must die first in order to be raised from the dead and have eternal life.  You plant the seed and God gives it a body, which is perishable, weak, natural, and in dishonor.  But then God raises the body in glory, honor, power, and spiritualness.

Conclusions:  We must remember that the cupbearer and the baker were in prison for the sole reason of meeting Joseph and having their dreams interpreted.  God sent them their dream and gifted Joseph to interpret them all to get the attention of Pharaoh (whom God sent dreams as well).  God is everywhere in our circumstances and the story of Joseph in particular is a great example of God’s hand in every facet of our lives.

Question 13 nailed the lesson on the head:  you must die to who you were in order to become who you were meant to be.  Die to self in order to live forever.

The moment Joseph’s life changed forever and he died to self is recorded powerfully in Scripture–when his brothers sold him to slavery.  He ceased being Joseph and became God’s instead–living, trusting, and doing God’s work.

Great lesson for Easter.  Jesus died so that we may live.  Something we cannot praise God enough for.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 27, Day 4: Genesis 40

Summary of passage:  Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker offended him so he threw them in jail.  Potiphar assigned them to Joseph.  After some time, both men had a dream and Joseph noticed they were downcast about it.  So he asked them why they were gloom and they said because they had a dream they did not understand.  Joseph asked them to tell him his dreams because God can interpret them.

The chief cupbearer dreamed of a vine with three branches.  Grapes bloomed on the branches and the cupbearer squeezed the grapes into Pharaoh’s cup and gave him the cup. Joseph said in three days time the cupbearer will be restored to his position as cupbearer.  He asked him to remember him and mention him to Pharaoh so that Joseph may be released.

The chief baker dreamed of three baskets on his head of which the first baskets contained baked goods for the Pharaoh but birds were eating all the food. Joseph said in three days Pharaoh will remove his head and hang him on a tree while the birds eat his flesh.

In three days time, it was Pharaoh’s birthday and he gave a feast for all of his officials. Just like Joseph had said, the chief cupbearer was restored and the chief baker was hanged (or impaled).  The chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph.

Questions:

8a)  He asked them why they appeared so gloom.  So he had to have noticed a change in them, meaning he had to have been monitoring their condition.  He offered to help through dream interpretation and give them hope by mentioning God.

b)  Several opportunities.  On a personal level he was able to lift one man’s spirits with good news and warn the other man to cherish his last days before his life was taken.  He had the chance to prove that God was with him and that God was interpreting dreams correctly–so to show God’s powers.  It gave him a chance to tell them about God and perhaps convert them before their death.

And it gave Joseph an opportunity to get out of jail if the cupbearer mentioned him to Pharaoh.  It gave Joseph hope that he may still be free.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Take note of people.  See when they are down.  Ask them about it.  Encourage them with the Word.  Tell them of God and His strength to lift them up.  Pray over them.

9a)  Omnipotent, omniscient, control the future, blesses those who belong to Him and believe in Him.  God is good, faithful, and just.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Acknowledgment from others.  That the cupbearer forgot him.  That he may languish in prison for the rest of his life.  I don’t think he ever doubted God.  But we all get depressed and down by our circumstances.  And I’m sure Joseph did as well.  He was probably disappointed he had to wait another two years in prison.  But he trusted.  And that made all the difference.

10)  Leadership, trustworthiness, caring, empathy, dream interpretation, desire to help others, patience, kindness, trusting in God, honesty

Conclusions:  I liked how Joseph approached the cupbearer and baker.  That they did not come to him.  That Joseph took the initiative and noticed they were down.  If Joseph hadn’t of said anything, Pharaoh would have never of known of his abilities.  Joseph took concrete action about his circumstances.  He still had a heart when many would have lost it long ago.

Note Joseph never abused his power.  “He attended them” (Genesis 40:4).  He served. He cared about others.  Just like Jesus.

God notes our good deeds even when others do not.  God remembers us even when others do not.  God rewards us even when others do not.  God promotes us and demotes us–all according to His will–not our own.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 27, Day 3: Genesis 39

Summary of passage:  Joseph was taken to Egypt and purchased by Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s guard.  Because the Lord was with Joseph, he became Potiphar’s attendant and then put in charge of his household and everything in it.  Because of Joseph’s presence, the Lord blessed Potiphar and everything in his house and in his fields.

Potiphar’s wife tried to get Joseph to sleep with her but Joseph refused, saying he is to care for everything that is his master’s and he cannot sin against God committing adultery.  She tried daily and he avoided her.

One day Joseph was alone with Potiphar’s wife and she grabbed him by his cloak.  He slipped out of his cloak and ran outside.  She told her servants that he had come to her to try to sleep with her and had left his cloak behind.  She told Potiphar who put Joseph in prison.

Still, the Lord was with Joseph so Joseph was put in charge of all the prisoners and all the happenings there and had success in whatever he did.

Questions:

6a)  He refused, telling her it would be a sin against God and a wicked thing to betray his master’s trust. He avoided her the best he could.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Same.  Try to avoid whatever is causing the sin.  Pray to God for strength to overcome.

7a)  He gained experience running a household that I imagined was quite large.  He had to delegate tasks.  He had to learn about both the farming and the domestic aspects.  He then ran a prison, which probably entailed much of the same tasks but some new ones.  All throughout God was building Joseph’s trust in Him, which is the most important skill Joseph would need to lead others.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I don’t know.  Honestly.  Not sure where I’m supposed to be.

Conclusions:  Yesterday I was mixed.  Today I’m just disappointed.  There was a lot of history in this chapter that was just glossed over.  I would have liked to have seen more emphasis on how these events could only have happened because of God.  A Hebrew (foreign) slave running a household?  Never.  Running a prison?  Doubtful.

BSF usually sends us to other places in the Bible when we discuss a topic such as temptation.  This lesson they did not.  I would have liked to have read more on that.

Not all of us are called to be leaders.  We just can’t be.  Then we’d all be butting heads for decision making.  I’m just not for sure I’m being trained for leadership for God and how (or if) my present circumstances are contributing to that.