BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 11, Day 5: Matthew 10:32-42

Summary of passage:  Jesus says whoever acknowledges me, I will acknowledge in Heaven.  Whoever doesn’t, I will disown him.  I have come to win your love and belief.  You are not worthy of me if you love anyone else more than me.  You must take up your cross and follow me.  You will have life if you lose it for my sake.  Those who help you will be rewarded.

Questions:

11a)  They must acknowledge him before men.  They must love him more than anyone else.  They must take up their cross and follow him and lose their life for his sake.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Love God more than anyone else and acknowledge that everything in my life is from Him and is His.

12a)  Jesus’ primary goal is not to bring world peace but to bring peace to those who choose him.  His goal is to bring those who believe in him to God and that may mean turning from the ways of this world and your relatives to Him.  Thus, since we are first in God’s life, then so must God be first in ours or we are unworthy.

A sword divides.  Here, it is the dividing line between Heaven and Hell.  You choose which side you will be on.  And family members may be on the other side.

b)  There is strife among relatives as to where our hearts should lie.  There is not world peace because each must choose Him and not everyone does according to Free Will.  God is not forcing us to choose Him.  True peace lies within–something we only have when we have Christ.

13)  You must be willing to give up everything, including your life and family and be hated, to follow Jesus.  You can only live when you let go of your life here on Earth and you when you do lose your life (or die), you will then have eternal life.  Paradox?  Yes.  But how God works.

See POST I wrote a while back on this topic.

14)  Half-personal Question.  My answer:  You are rewarded when you do something for a believer whether it be as simple as a glass of water or hosting a believer, prophet, or righteous man.  We are working for God when we help those called by God and those who are doing God’s work (which should be all believers).  What you do for others you do for Jesus as well.  We must extend this to work we do for unbelievers as well as believers.  For God works for them as well.

I have to remember this when dealing with people I don’t want to be dealing with (and now that the holidays are fast approaching, there’s a lot of those people!); remember I am doing it for Jesus as well as for them.  This is a challenge.

It’s encouraging because it makes me feel like even the little things add up because sometimes I feel like I’m not doing anything in this world but taking up space.  I let the guilt and pressure of this society get to me, telling me I’m not doing enough, I’m not successful enough, I’m not enough when in reality I am because God says I am.

Conclusions:  For me, the last question nailed what this lesson was about.  We are enough for God no matter how insignificant we feel at times.  We matter and He knows that and that should be all we care about.  Sometimes I let the world dictate this when I shouldn’t.  I am here, doing God’s will, and the world can kiss it if they don’t like it!

End Notes:  BSF glossed over the “before men” in verse 32.  Jesus called all his disciples publicly.  We are to acknowledge Christ publicly as our Savior.  Hence, why I think baptism is a good thing these days (for other reasons as well) because we declare to the world publicly that we accept Jesus.  We were never meant to be Christians in secret.  Sure, in the beginning, the early Christians had to hide for fear of persecution.  But from their outward lives, you could still tell they were Christians for they lived a Godly-life.

That is our call today.  We should live enough like Jesus that without having to say we are Christ-followers, people know.  Our deeds indeed count in heaven for which we will be rewarded (verses 40-42).  Our light should shine to others and we should have no fear of doing so.

Taking up your cross in Jesus’ day meant you were literally carrying a cross to be crucified.  Ancient people knew it meant death.  Today, the important theme is willing to die when you take up your cross.  Die for Him.

Fun Fact:  This is the first time Matthew mentions the cross.

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BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 11, Day 4: Matthew 10:17-31

Summary of passage:  Jesus is still instructing the disciples and he tells them to be wary of men who will hand them over for their work but do not worry: for the Holy Spirit will instruct you on what to say when you are captured.

Family members will betray one another all because of Jesus but if you stand firm, you will be saved.  Flee to another city, which will need to hear the Good News if you are persecuted.  No one is above another.  Do not be afraid for your soul is saved and God is in charge.  Everything will be revealed in time for you are worth more to me than two sparrows.

Questions:

8a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  “At that time” (verse 19) and “The Spirit of the the Father speaking through you” (verse 20) could be referring to after Pentecost when the disciples and all believers received the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4)

“Witnesses…to the Gentiles” (verse 18) since Jesus has not sent them out to the Gentiles yet.

“You will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes” (verse 23)  Scholars believe this refers to the judgment on Judea in 70 AD when the Romans sacked Jerusalem and burned the temple to the ground and not referring to Jesus’ Second Coming for this would clearly not fulfill prophesy.  Still, this is almost 40 years in the future that Jesus is talking about.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The time after Jesus’ death as chronicled in Acts and Romans where the disciples spread the Good News and establish the early church.  First century AD.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Scholars believe this refers to the judgment on Judea in 70 AD when the Romans sacked Jerusalem and burned the temple to the ground and not referring to Jesus’ Second Coming for this would clearly not fulfill prophesy.  This event did happen BEFORE the gospel came to EVERY city in Israel.

The sacking of Jerusalem was indeed worse than the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah (verse 15).

Others believe this refers to Jesus’ second coming.  Logically, the disciples (all Christians) will not finish their work before Jesus comes again for God’s work is never finished until every person on this planet is converted.  But this is very broad.  If we just consider Israel and just the 12 disciples, then the former interpretation must be correct.

9a)  Betrayal by men who will hand them over to authorities and flog them.  They will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses.  They will be arrested.  They will be hated and persecuted and forced to flee.

b)  Prominently in the Middle East, China, and other Muslim-dominated or communist countries.  Christians face difficulties everywhere in the world just in varying degrees.

c)  Persecution often produces growth in Christianity.  The scattering of Christians leads to them going to areas they normally wouldn’t and converting others in those areas.  Other ethnic groups and cultures are exposed to Jesus and are thus converted.  It’s how any religion spreads.  Persecution draws attention and if unjust, draws sympathizers.

10a)  Verse 19 “…do not worry about what to say or how to say it.  At that time you will be given what to say”

Verse 26 “..do not be afraid” for what is hidden will be exposed and verse 28 “Do not be afraid” of bodily death for the soul will live.  Rather be afraid of  God who has the power to destroy your soul in Hell.

Verse 31 “…don’t be afraid” for you are worth more than many sparrows (two sparrows are worth a penny).

b)  The concealed or hidden things is whether people have earned eternal salvation or eternal damnation which will be revealed at Jesus’ Second Coming where God will judge through Jesus men’s secrets.  We will know all when that day comes.  Jesus as God’s Son was meant to be proclaimed from the roofs.  If you accept Him, you will have eternal life and live with him in glory.

c) Personal Question.  My answer:  Do not worry in general because God will guide me and my husband down the right path.  Be still and know it to be true.  Work towards Him always.

Conclusions:  Admittedly, I was not feeling this lesson.  I didn’t want to do it.  I did half and then stopped when I came to question 10b where I had to look up all those verses.  It was just too much.  To me, these lessons are getting harder and harder and more time consuming.  Maybe I’m the only one…

Lesson for you all:  It’s okay not to finish a lesson for that day.  It’s okay to put it down and come back to it when your mind and heart are right.  It’s even okay not to finish at all and just leave it.  In time, God will speak to you about it.

This lesson was challenging.  I definitely needed a commentary to decipher Jesus’ words today.

I liked the lesson BSF did not focus on:  how a student is not above his teacher nor a servant above his master.  This speaks to our pride and how we are all equal especially in God’s eyes.  No one is better or less.  Thus, we should not expect to be treated better than Jesus was.  It is enough to be like Jesus.  My goal anyways!

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 11, Day 3: Matthew 10:5-16

Summary of passage:  Jesus sends out his 12 disciples, telling them to go to the lost sheep of Israel and not the Gentiles and preach that Heaven is near.  They are to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse and drive out demons freely.    They are to take no gold for they will find shelter amongst the people.  Stay with worthy people and forget those who do not heed your message.  It will be like sheep among wolves so be shrewd and innocent.

Questions:

5a)  Jesus told the disciples to go to the lost sheep of Israel and to not go to the Gentiles or any in the town of the Samaritans.

b)  John 4:22:  The Samaritans worship what they do not know; the Jesus worship what they do know.  Basically, the Jews knew God and Jesus; the Samaritans did not.  Their time has not yet come (verses 21 & 23)

Matthew 28:19-20:  Jesus told them after his death to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all his commands.

Acts 1:8:  It’s all in God’s time for all (Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and all the ends of the earth) will be Jesus’ witnesses and receive the Holy Spirit.

Romans 1:16; 2:9-11:  Jesus came first for the Jews and then the Gentiles.

6a)  To go to Israel first, to preach the kingdom of heaven is near; to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and drive out demons.  To do this freely and rely on the people for your support.

b)  Freely you have received, freely give.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Probably poorly, I’ll admit.  I don’t like to give anything freely, really.  I must admit I have a heavy negative connotation with the word “free” because nothing is free in this life and it affects my giving.  I am stingy with my time, my kids, my resources, my abilities, my gifts, etc when I shouldn’t be.  Luckily, my husband is better at this so I can learn from him.

I do not have a naturally generous spirit.  Something I definitely need to pray about and work on.

d)  Everyone who believes in him.

7a)  Not to take any money for the journey and to rely on others for their keep.  Stay at the house of worthy people and ignore those who won’t heed the message.  Be shrewd and innocent.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To give more freely since everything I have is His anyways.  Be more serving.  To have a better attitude when I am called to serve.  To be open to His call.  Believe that I can do more than what I am doing; that I do have a bigger impact on others than just one out of billions on this earth.  Shake off the naysayers of this world and follow Him.  For God will deal with those later.

Conclusions:  I don’t understand BSF at times.  Both today and YESTERDAY the verses they sent us to were incomplete in my humble opinion.  If you read before and after, you’d get a deeper sense of what BSF is trying to teach.  In Question 5b, the point is that Jesus came first for the Jews and then for the Gentiles, which explains Jesus’ command in Matthew to not go to the Gentiles just yet.  It is clearer if you read more verses.

Yesterday, the same with the shepherd analogy especially the Jeremiah passage.  We see God as the shepherd and we see the failings of his chosen people (the Levites) to be the shepherds to the people.  But if we read more in the given passages, we’d have a greater understanding of that.

Please see my post on the SENDING OUT OF THE APOSTLES.  This was not mentioned at all by BSF (maybe in the notes) but I deemed it important enough to post a topic on it.

End Notes:  There was a ton of work to be done amongst God’s people first.  Yes, Jesus died for all but we must still remember Israel is God’s chosen people since the beginning of time.  He starts with them.

Jesus’ message is “the kingdom of heaven is near” which must be given freely with no expectation of monetary rewards by those bringing it.  Those who do not receive this message are responsible for their decision so do not worry about it:  shake it off.

Jesus warned they will face persecution; yet, they are to not retaliate and to use their wisdom to survive.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 11, Day 2: Matthew 9:35-10:4

Summary of passage:  After healing the blind and mute, Jesus then continued his ministry, preaching the good news and healing people all through his travels.  He had compassion on the throngs of people and realized he needed help so he told the disciples to pray for this.

Jesus gave his disciples the authority to drive out evil spirits and heal the sick.  The 12 disciples are:  Simon/Peter and Andrew, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew, James and Thaddaeus, Simon and Judas Iscariot.

Questions:

3a)  Because they were “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

b)  Psalm 23:1-3:  God provides all that we need.  He restores us and guides us in righteousness.

Isaiah 53:6; 1 Peter 2:24-25:  God takes away our iniquity for Himself, forgiven our sins, and allowed us to live for righteousness with Him.

Jeremiah 50:6,17:  Shepherds have led God’s people astray and Assyria and Babylon have devoured them. God will punish them for this and restore His people (read verses 18-20)

Ezekiel 34:5-16:  The Lord will be the people’s shepherd, searching for them and looking after them, rescue them and gather them and bring them unto their own land.  God will feed them and tend them, heal the injured, strengthen the weak, and bring back the lost.  He will be just.  God will punish the selfish shepherds who have disregarded His flock.  They will be punished and held accountable for their actions.

John 10:11-15:  Jesus is the good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep.  He knows his sheep and they know him.  He brings other sheep that are not his to him as well.  He lays down his life for the sake of his sheep.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This would be everyone who does not know and accept Jesus. It’s hard to say amongst acquaintances if this is the case but I do have family members that don’t know Jesus.  I would say the best bet is to have compassion on everyone just like Jesus did.  That way, you’ll never lose.

4a)  “Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field.”  We are to pray for God to send out evangelists for Him.

b)  “Authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness”

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We are all given a purpose from God in life and I believe we follow Him when we act on this purpose.  For me, I try to follow His call.  I feel I have a lot of calls on my life at the moment so it is becoming increasingly difficult to decide which to focus on.  So I pray a lot and listen and go with what I feel is Him and what is most important to Him.

Conclusions:  Important follow up to why Jesus heals:  not because he has to prove anything but because he feels our needs and desires and heals for our sake, not his.  Most of us are not gifted to heal others physically but we can show compassion to all and pray for healing, for God to perform a miracle.  For He hears.

End Notes:  God as shepherd is a favorite image that spoke to an agricultural society such as God’s people in ancient times.  We see this imagery from Jacob in Genesis 48:15 all the way to Revelation 7:17 and all in-between.

The religious leaders of that time were poor shepherds like Ezekiel described.  They were selfish, only caring for themselves, neglecting the flock, especially those injured, diseased, sick, or lost.  They plundered the people for their own gain and for that they will pay.

Jesus has come to set things right and be the caring shepherd the people desperately need.