The Girl Who Drank the Moon

The Girl Who Drank the Moon

This Newbery Medal award-winning book is sure to leave you spell-bound and yearning for more.  The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill introduces us to a world of witches, a dragon, a monster, and a baby girl.  The witch named Xan rescues babies who have been left in the woods to die.  She feeds them starlight on her journey to the Free Cities where she places them in a loving home.

One year, so spellbound by a child with a crescent moon birthmark, Xan accidentally feeds the baby girl moonlight instead.  She is enmagicked and her powers grow.  However, she cannot control them.  Hence, Xan places a temporary hold on the girl’s powers until she turns 13.  But as a consequence, her powers will wane and she will die as a result.

The town that leaves the babies to die, the Protectorate, is run by a Sister Ignacia who is really a witch herself who feeds off of sorrow.  A cloud hangs over the place fueled by the ritual of leaving the babies to die.  One young man named Antain starts to question how things are run.

As Luna, the girl who drank the moonlight, approaches 13, both worlds start to collide.  Her powers start to grow inside her and she had no idea she is special.  Antain leaves the Protectorate to stop the witch once and for all.  Sister Ignacia attempts to stop him.  Glerk, the swamp monster who has been around since the beginning of time and Fyrian, a very small dragon who begins to grow all go off to find Xan who is headed to rescue another baby.

Their worlds collide, mysteries will be resolved, and light will return–all while a volcano is about to explode!

A novel insanely hard to put down with all the twists and turns.  Very cute with endearing characters.  Glerk is lovable.  Fyrian is naively happy.  Xan is the protective parent.  Luna is the rebellious child.  A great storyline of challenging the status quo, questioning authority, following your heart and your gut, and doing anything for love lies underneath the surface.  Great read.  Worthy of the 2017 Newbery.  Enjoy!

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BSF Study Questions John Lesson 26, Day 5: John 28-30

Summary of passage:  Jesus was given a drink of wine before he pronounced, “It is finished” and died.

Questions:

11)  His last thought and words of this world is for us, saying his work is finished for us to be with God.  Awesome!

12a)  His asking for the drink and acceptance of it show it is done.  He was at peace and he willingly gave up his spirit when all was done.  What we don’t see is God laying upon Jesus’ shoulders our guilt and sins and wrath and Jesus accepting it for us in our place and paying the penalty or consequences of it–death.  When this is satisfied, Jesus speaks.

b)  The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.  This is the curtain separating God from His people that only the High Priest was allowed to enter.  Now we are all allowed to be with God since the blood of Jesus has cleansed us of our sins.  We can enter into a personal relationship with God with no barriers, physical or spiritual before us.

13)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  It means Jesus’ work to die for our sins so we are forgiven, justifying us before God, being righteous, so we can be with God, is finished.  It means eternal life and life with the Holy Spirit.  It has given me peace and confidence to go forth and do God’s work despite opposition and the world’s ways.  God has and will bless me.

Conclusions:  Good lesson on the meaning of Jesus’ death.

End Notes:  Being thirsty is a real torture and Jesus needed to wet his throat in order to make his last pronouncement.  This is not a drugged wine.  It’s the wine of those standing around waiting for the crucified to die.  It’s the common drink all drank in Ancient Times.  Hence, we all thirst for God in our deepest and darkest moments.

This is one word in the ancient Greek (tetelestai), announcing our debt paid and our peace made with God, His wrath against man satisfied.  This is a triumphant, victory cry.  The power of Satan, sin, and death is overcome.

One word changes everything–the most important word ever spoken in all of history for mankind. It’s like “Yes” to a marriage proposal.  “Good-bye” to someone.  “Guilty” in a court of law.  Nothing can compare.

Bowing his head is Jesus at peace.

Jesus willingly gave up his spirit.  No one took it from him.

Jesus’ last week of life takes up 1/3 of the Gospels.  All are writing with hindsight and understand his death. Can you imagine how it would read otherwise?  At this point, understanding if far, far away.  The Son of God die?  Impossible!  Jesus will live again.  The Holy Spirit will come.  All will be clear.  For now, only John stands by his side.  And women.  Women who loved him despite any danger to their lives.

Jesus experienced anything we can ever experience:  trivial irritations in life, hard work, poverty, pain, fear, rejection, humiliation, defeat, despair, and death.  How can we not fall in love with him?

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 26, Day 4: John 25-27

Summary of passage:  At the cross was Mary, Jesus’ mother, his mother’s sister, Mary, Mary Magdalene, and John.  Jesus tells his mother John is her son and tells John his mother is his now. John cares for Jesus’ mother from here on out.

Questions:

8 )  John’s focus is on the more personal and how Jesus’ death affects those closest to him.  He shows how even at death Jesus is thinking of others as he commissions John to care for his mother.  John is focusing on individuals.

9)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus honored his Father and obeyed his Father to the cross, accepting the physical pain of death out of love for us.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I would grow closer to God and my life would be more joyful and fulfilling.

Conclusions:  Would have liked to focus more on the women at Jesus’ feet and the disciple rather than on myself.  And on how Jesus gave his mother into John’s care.  How awesome!

End Notes:  Mary must have been suffering almost as much as Jesus to see her son dying before her eyes.  She had to have been weeping and calling out to God herself.  All these women were there to support Mary.

This was the author John’s humble way to refer to himself in the story, as he does four times in his Gospel (John 13:23, 19:26, 21:7, 21:20). John told us that he was at Jesus’ crucifixion and saw these things with his own eyes (John 19:35).

Jesus never once thought of himself.  It was always about us.

Jesus did not call Mary mother probably to spare her more pain.  He also didn’t need to be specific.  Both Mary and John knew what Jesus was asking of them.

We know Mary had other children with Joseph who could have cared for her into old age (Matthew 12:46-47, 13:55-56, John 2:12 and 7:3-10).  Instead, Jesus chose John for the job.  What an honor!  Scholars speculate reasons for this:  Jesus knew John would outlive his siblings.  His siblings were not yet believers and Jesus wanted her with a believer.  He did this to honor John who was the only disciple to stand at the cross of Jesus.  He did this to show you can care for others outside of blood bonds.  Who knows?  It could be all of these reasons.

Great summary of who was at the cross with biblical references to try and reconcile the different accounts in the Gospels HERE

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 26, Day 3: John 19:23-24

Summary of passage:  The soldiers divided up Jesus’ clothes, fulfilling prophecy.

Questions:

6)  He was humiliated by being crucified naked.

7a)  Jesus took all of our sins to make us righteous so that once again we can stand before God as Adam and Eve did, sinless, with no shame or fear.

b)  Personal question.  My answer:  We are completely forgiven, able to stand before God once again, justified and righteous and rich in God.  I am overwhelmed.

Conclusions:  Jesus’ death and our faith in him as the Savior justifies us.  Jesus being stripped is merely a symbol of us taking on a new life in Christ when we accept what he did for us.

End Notes:  Like cops today, Roman soldiers hung around after Jesus was crucified to keep the peace and ensure Jesus died.  Normally, people were crucified naked.  In Jewish custom, those stoned were afforded a loin cloth.  These soldiers either stripped Jesus while he was on the cross or took his clothes when he was stripped ahead of time.  This shows us Jesus let go of everything so he could be poor and us rich (2 Corinthians 8:9).

Jesus’ main tunic was well made and the soldiers did not want to tear it.  They would probably sell it later and divide the proceeds.  This shows Jesus as a high priest.  Exodus 28:31-32 has the High Priest wearing a seamless garment.  This fulfilled Psalm 22:18.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 26, Day 2: John 19:18-22

Summary of passage:  Jesus was crucified between 2 criminals.  A sign reading “Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews” hung above Jesus.  It was written in Latin, Greek and Aramaic.

Questions:

3)  “Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews”.  Because he wasn’t the King of the Jews according to the religious leaders and it felt like Pilate was mocking the Jews.

4)  Psalm 72:1, 8, 11, 17:  Jesus bring justice, righteousness, rule over earth, all will bow down to him, and his name will endure forever.

Matthew 2:1-2, 6:  Jesus was born king of the Jews to shepherd Israel.

John 4:42:  Jesus is the savior of the world.

John 6:51:  Jesus gives eternal life with his death.

John 11:51-52:  Jesus died for all to bring them together and make them one.

Revelation 5:9:  Jesus saved all with his blood.

Jesus is King over all and it was written in all the possible languages anyone who witnesses his death would know so all would know he had come to save all of them.  Jesus’ death is meant to save all.

5)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus took away our sins with his death, forgiving us, and giving us eternal life with God.  There is nothing else in this world more important.  It gives me meaning and purpose to do His will.

Conclusions:  Jesus died for all our sins.  Painfully and sacrificially. He has always been and will always be our king.

End Notes:  Crucifixion:  The Persians invented crucifixion, but one could say that the Romans perfected it and made it an institution. It was practiced by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Macedonians, and the Egyptians as well.  It was the form of execution reserved for the worst criminals and the lowest classes. It was so dreaded in the pre-Chrisitian era that the cares and troubles of life were often compared to a cross.  Crucifixion was designed to make the victim die publically, slowly, with great pain and humiliation. This was the form of death God ordained for Jesus to die, and the death that He submitted to in the will of God.

Crucifixion was so awful and degrading that polite Romans wouldn’t talk about it in public. The Roman statesman Cicero said of crucifixion: “It is a crime to bind a Roman citizen; to scourge him is an act of wickedness; to execute him is almost murder: What shall I say of crucifying him? An act so abominable it is impossible to find any word adequately to express.” The Roman historian Tacitus called crucifixion “A torture fit only for slaves.”

In Ancient Times everyone knew how tortuous crucifixion was.  John and the other Gospel writers did not have to spell it out for us so they didn’t.  Plus, they wanted to convey the facts and not get bogged down in the emotions of the moment.  Plus, Jesus suffered both spiritually and physically so describing the physicality of crucifixion would take away from the much more important spiritual aspect.  Roman citizens were exempt from crucifixion.

According to Dr. William Edwards in the Journal of the American Medical Association, death from crucifixion could come from many sources: acute shock from blood loss, being too exhausted to breathe any longer, dehydration, stress-induced heart attack, or congestive heart failure leading to a cardiac rupture.  When a person is suspended by two hands, the blood sinks rapidly into the lower extremities.  Blood pressure drops and heart rate speeds up.  If the victim did not die quickly enough, the legs were broken, and the victim was soon unable to breathe and died of suffocation.  However, this usually took 2-3 days to die.  The body was usually left as a deterrent to criminals.  It would decompose and be eaten by animals.

Constantine outlawed the practice in 337 AD out of veneration for Christ.  However, the Japanese adopted it in the 1500’s and it is still legal in some countries today as a method of capital punishment.  The word excruciating comes from the Latin word for crucify.

Jesus was crucified alongside other sinners.  One was saved, the other lost.  So it goes throughout all of time.

A placard  was according to Roman custom. The crime was written out and the title hung around the victim’s neck as he carried his cross to the place of death.  The title was then placed at the top of the cross so all would know the reason for the crucifixion and be warned what happens to criminals.  The execution took place outside of city walls and probably along a popular road so the max amount of people would see it.

Jesus’ crime was who he was.  He didn’t do anything.

Aramaic was for the common folk and Jews.  Latin was for the learned.  Greek was for the Greeks.  The three languages in use at the time and place of Jesus’ death.  This would serve as a model that all are intended for Jesus’ message, death, and salvation.

The religious leaders objected because they didn’t believe Jesus was the king of the Jews and if he was, it was insulting to the Jewish people.  Pilate stood by his pronouncement and once the sentence had been pronounced, it was against Roman law to change it.  John recording this shows Jesus kingship is final and unalterable.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 25, Day 5: John 19:13-17

Summary of passage:  So Pilate brings Jesus out, placing him on the judgment seat, and the people demand he die so Pilate reneges. Jesus carries his cross to Golgotha.

Questions:

12)  God’s judgment is just; Pilate’s is unjust.

13)  God’s people are to sacrifice a lamb to commemorate God’s judgment on the Egyptians and their gods and their rescue out of Egypt.  Jesus will take away the sin of the world as the Sacrificial Lamb.  It will be the ultimate judgment on unbelievers and the ultimate salvation and justification with God.

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  There are no words.  Worshipful.  In awe.  Eternally grateful.

Conclusions:  I think there is so much more to this we could have dived into.

End Notes:  Pilate caves to political pressure.  He sits Jesus on the judgment seat who is about to judge all of mankind.  The Lamb of God is ready for sacrifice on Passover. Pilate is the one actually on trial. He refuses to free an innocent man and condemns him to death based on the crowd.

Mark and John disagree on the time here. It is possible it’s a copyist error or John may have been using Roman time, which means Jesus was before Pilate at 6 am and crucified at 9 am.

Again, it was Roman custom to carry the crosspiece to the place of execution.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 25, Day 4: John 18:38-19:17

Summary of passage:  Pilate declares Jesus innocent and offers to release him as is the Jewish custom of Passover.  The Jews instead demand a rebel, Barabbas.  So Jesus was flogged and beaten and mocked.  Pilate again says Jesus is innocent.  The Jews again demand to crucify him and accuse him of disobeying their law.  Afraid of an uprising, Pilate questions Jesus again, probably looking for more reasons to set him free.  Jesus refuses to answer, saying all the power Pilate has over him is from God.

Still, Pilate tried to set Jesus free but the Jews kept insisting he die.  Finally, the Jews said Jesus is violating Roman law by claiming to be a king over Caesar.  So Pilate brings Jesus out and the people demand he die so Pilate reneges.  Jesus carries his cross to Golgotha.

Questions:

9)  Pilate ignores the truth in front of him.  Jesus explains how God is the one who has given him power over him.  Pilate chose instead to look out for himself.  He was afraid he’d lose his position.

10)  He ultimately condemns a man he knows to be innocent to death.  He’s afraid of a Jewish uprising.  He’s afraid he’ll lose his position.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Many.  Unquestioningly.

Conclusions:  Not the best questions.  We all know Pilate was a coward and caved to political pressure.  Obeying God is our job.

End Notes:  Knowing Jesus was innocent, Pilate offers to release him, calling Jesus the King of the Jews in hopes of appealing to them.  The crowd condemns Jesus as Matthew tells us at the prompting of the religious leaders (Matthew 27:20; Mark 15:11).  The name Barabbas sounds like son of the father.  The people chose the antichrist instead, a choice that is still being made every day when Jesus is rejected.

Barabbas was probably involved in the local resistance movement against the Romans and would have been viewed as a hero.  He was accused of at least three crimes: Theft (John 18:40), insurrection (Mark 15:7), and murder (Mark 15:7).

Pilate ordered Jesus to be scourged.  Most think Pilate was trying to help Jesus–that this act would satisfy the crowd.  Scourging like crucifixion was a Roman practice.  It involved a whip (picture HERE) with many leather strands, each having sharp pieces of bone or metal at the ends, pummeling the back, redoing it to raw flesh.  Many died from its use.

Scourging had three purposes. It was used to punish prisoners, and to gain confessions of crimes from prisoners. Also, in cases of crucifixion scourging was used to weaken the victim so he would die more quickly on the cross.

Jesus was humiliated and mocked.  The crown of thorns cut into his head and purple was reserved only for royalty.

As a judge Pilate had both reason and responsibility to set Jesus free with no punishment instead of the humiliation and brutality that He endured.  Pilate made five attempts to release Jesus (Luke 23:4, 15, 20, 22; John 19:4, 12, 13).

Whatever pity the crowd might have had was drowned out when the religious leaders shouted:  “Crucify!”  Pure hatred this was plain and simple.

The Jews finally admitted they wanted Jesus dead because he claimed to be God.  Pilate was afraid because he did see something in Jesus.  The Romans believed their gods came to earth in human guise all the time.  Pilate probably did believe Jesus was some sort of divine being.

Pilate questions Jesus more, hoping for something to set him free.  Unfortunately, he asks Jesus the same questions he already answers so Jesus says nothing more.

Pilate is angry Jesus won’t beg for his life or answer someone as important as him.  Pilate claims to have power but he’s at the mercy of the religious leaders and the crowd.  Jesus tells him God is in charge and there are others more guilty than you.  These are Jesus’ last words to Pilate.

Pilate panics.  His wife had told him she dreamed Jesus should be set free (Matthew 27:19-20); yet he caves to the crowd.  Pilate was a weak, unremarkable man who only had his position because he married the granddaughter of the emperor. He was scared his position would suffer if he set Jesus free.

The Lamb of God is ready for sacrifice on Passover.  Pilate is the one actually on trial.  He refuses to free an innocent man and condemns him to death.

Mark and John disagree on the time here.  It is possible it’s a copyist error or John may have been using Roman time, which means Jesus was before Pilate at 6 am and crucified at 9 am.

Again, it was Roman custom to carry the crosspiece to the place of execution.