BSF Study Questions John Lesson 24, Day 5: John 18:13-27

Summary of passage: Jesus was arrested and taken to Annas, Caiaphas’ father-in-law. Peter and John followed Jesus. John went with Jesus while Peter waited outside. When asked by a little girl if he was one of the disciples, Peter denies Jesus for the first time.

Annas questions Jesus who is struck by a soldier. He’s shipped off to Caiaphas. Meanwhile, Peter denies Jesus a second and third time. A rooster crows.

Questions:

11)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Fear.  Shame.  In what I accomplish.  I don’t say things are God things when I should and I know they are in front of others.  God does arrange everything. Nothing is coincidence but I omit saying it and am guilty of giving God the credit for it.  A strong faith helps us avoid being like Peter.  Reading the Word more.  Praying. Drawing closer to Jesus.  Like Jesus, pray for my protection more from the devil and his ways and for God’s light more in my life.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m alone in my work as a believer.  I try to impart words of wisdom and fate to my colleagues.

13)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Well, they are happening at the same time so it follows chronologically.  We see Jesus’ trials alongside Peter’s.  We see Jesus strong and Peter weak.  We see Jesus’ faith in God and Peter’s lack of faith in God.  We see Jesus’ love and Peter’s lack of love.  We see Jesus’ sacrifice and Peter’s self-preservation.  By contrasting both, we see how you are supposed to act and what happens when you don’t act like Jesus.

Conclusions:  Good questions.  Convicting on how we need to stand up for Christ and give him the glory and how fear holds us back from doing so.  We must pray for protection in this world for the devil is sneaky and cause us to do things we normally wouldn’t because fear grasps our hearts.

End Notes:  Annas was the power behind the throne in Jerusalem. He himself had been High Priest from AD 6 to 15. Four of his sons had also held the high priesthood and Caiaphas was his son-in-law. His name meant “Yahweh is gracious”. He is still called the high priest in Acts 4:6 when Peter and John are arrested.

One reason John reminds us of what Caiaphas said in John 11:49-52 is to show that the judgment against Jesus was already decided. It would not be a fair trial. He would die for the people.

John who had the connections is the reason they had access to the high priest’s house and the reason we know what went on there.

A mere girl scares Peter enough to deny Christ and then he tries to blend into the crowd and shrink himself by standing around a fire with others. How tragic!

Annas means merciful. Ironic.

Jesus was not going to throw his disciples under the bus. He never mentions them. He asks for evidence in asking for others to testify to his words. This should have been the first step Annas should have taken for one accused of crimes. But there would be no fairness here for Jesus. He was a threat that had to be annihilated.

The first blow is laid upon Jesus be an unnamed official. Jesus calls the man out and having no answer, Annas sends Jesus on, still bound.

Luke 22:61 indicates that Peter could see Jesus and see him being slapped. No doubt his fear increased and he lied twice more. John is also present and Peter lied in front of John. The same question is asked in the same way, using the negative. The questioners expected the answer “No”, not expecting a follower of Jesus amongst them. The questioner is identified differently in all Gospels (Matthew 26:71; Mark 14:69; Luke 22:58).

John would know Malchus’ relative and a relative would be eager to know if this was the man who cut off his relative’s ear. Matthew 26:74 tells us Peter cursed this denial. He was adamant and he was a coward.

The rooster crowing fulfilled what Jesus said in John 13:38, and would have immediately reminded Peter of the prediction Jesus made in the upper room. And I would imagine shame would have flooded Peter.

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BSF Study Questions John Lesson 24, Day 4: John 18:13-27

Summary of passage:  Jesus was arrested and taken to Annas, Caiaphas’ father-in-law. Peter and John followed Jesus. John went with Jesus while Peter waited outside. When asked by a little girl if he was one of the disciples, Peter denies Jesus for the first time.

Annas questions Jesus who is struck by a soldier. He’s shipped off to Caiaphas. Meanwhile, Peter denies Jesus a second and third time. A rooster crows.

Questions:

9)  He just starts questioning Jesus, blatantly disregarding Jewish law and trying to get Jesus to incriminate himself.  He feels he is above the law.  He allows Jesus to be struck.  He doesn’t care about human dignity or abuse. He ships him off to Caiaphas when he’s done with him with not a care in the world about what will happen to Jesus.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He always maintains his composure.  He throws the law into both Caiaphas’ face and the unknown official who struck him.  He protects his disciples by refusing to mention them.  He doesn’t panic.  He submits but always letting his captors know they are in the wrong.

Conclusions:  We all know this trial won’t be fair and it starts here from the beginning.  Jewish law states witnesses must be called forth first, beginning with the defense.  The Talmud states, “Criminal processes can neither commence nor terminate, but during the course of the day. If the person be acquitted, the sentence may be pronounced during that day; but, if he be condemned, the sentence cannot be pronounced till the next day. But no kind of judgment is to be executed, either on the eve of the Sabbath, or the eve of any festival.”  It’s the dead of night here.  People corrupted by power known no bounds and care not for law and order.

End Notes:  Annas was the power behind the throne in Jerusalem. He himself had been High Priest from AD 6 to 15. Four of his sons had also held the high priesthood and Caiaphas was his son-in-law. His name meant “Yahweh is gracious”. He is still called the high priest in Acts 4:6 when Peter and John are arrested.

One reason John reminds us of what Caiaphas said in John 11:49-52 is to show that the judgment against Jesus was already decided. It would not be a fair trial. He would die for the people.

John who had the connections is the reason they had access to the high priest’s house and the reason we know what went on there.

A mere girl scares Peter enough to deny Christ and then he tries to blend into the crowd and shrink himself by standing around a fire with others. How tragic!

Annas means merciful. Ironic.

Jesus was not going to throw his disciples under the bus. He never mentions them. He asks for evidence in asking for others to testify to his words. This should have been the first step Annas should have taken for one accused of crimes. But there would be no fairness here for Jesus. He was a threat that had to be annihilated.

The first blow is laid upon Jesus be an unnamed official. Jesus calls the man out and having no answer, Annas sends Jesus on, still bound.

Luke 22:61 indicates that Peter could see Jesus and see him being slapped. No doubt his fear increased and he lied twice more. John is also present and Peter lied in front of John. The same question is asked in the same way, using the negative. The questioners expected the answer “No”, not expecting a follower of Jesus amongst them. The questioner is identified differently in all Gospels (Matthew 26:71; Mark 14:69; Luke 22:58).

John would know Malchus’ relative and a relative would be eager to know if this was the man who cut off his relative’s ear. Matthew 26:74 tells us Peter cursed this denial. He was adamant and he was a coward.

The rooster crowing fulfilled what Jesus said in John 13:38, and would have immediately reminded Peter of the prediction Jesus made in the upper room. And I would imagine shame would have flooded Peter.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 24, Day 3: Numbers 23-24

Summary of passage:  Numbers 23:  Balaam builds 7 altars and prepares 7 sacrifices.  He speaks with the Lord who puts words in his mouth, blessing the Israelites instead of cursing them.  Again, Balak brings Balaam to a different spot to curse the Israelites.  God again puts words in Balaam’s mouth, saying He is with His people who will devour those who oppose them.  Balak, not giving up his quest to curse the Israelites, drags Balaam to a third location in Peor and builds 7 more altars and offers 7 more sacrifices.

Numbers 24:  Balaam, now at his third location, finally realizes God will not curse his people.  As a result, the Spirit of the Lord comes upon him and he utters more blessings upon Israel:  they will live abundantly, their king and kingdom will be exalted, and they will devour hostile nations.

Balak, angry at the three blessings instead of the three curses, sends Balaam away with no riches.  Balaam reminds Balak that he told him he would only speak God’s words and then he utters a prophecy against Moab, telling Balak that Israel will crush them along with Edom and Seir.  Salaam utters more oracles:  Amalek will be ruined along with the Kenites, assure, and Eber.

Questions:

5)  First Oracle:  Numbers 23:7-10:  God tells Balak that He cannot curse the Israelites for He has set them apart.

Second Oracle:  Numbers 23:18-24:  God tells Balak that He will not change his mind, that He the Lord is with them, that He brought them out of Egypt, and that the people shall rise like a lion and devour their victims.

Third Oracle:  Numbers 24:3-9:  Balaam utters more blessings upon Israel: they will live abundantly, their king and kingdom will be exalted, and they will devour hostile nations.

Fourth Oracle:  Numbers 24:15-19:  Balaam tells Balak that Moab, Edom, and Seir will all be crushed by Israel.

Final Three Oracles:  Numbers 24:20-24:  Balaam says that Amalek, the Kenites, Asshur, and Eber all will come to ruin.

6a)  He is taking Balaam to different places in order to physically see the Israelites and in a vain effort to find a place where God may curse His own people.  Balak strikes me as a man who doesn’t give up easily.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Nothing lately but usually when I do this I don’t like the answer the first person gave me so I go to another person hoping they will give me answer–and it’s usually the answer I want to hear, not a different one.  I haven’t done this in quite some time.  I think I’ve learned my lesson from doing this.  I ask God and my husband.  That’s about it.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Balaam is a pleaser.  He takes the path of less resistance and finally bows to God’s will only because he realizes he is defeated and is out for own self-preservation.

Conclusions:  Surprisingly, I liked this lesson.  It was fun to watch God have fun with Balaam, uttering blessings instead of curses each time.  You can almost see the frustration on Balaam’s face, knowing with each utterance he was getting less and less of an earthly reward.

It was fun to watch Balak be frustrated and to see him moving Balaam from place to place as if that would make God change his mind.  It is very comical, and you can almost see God from up above laughing at them!  I like to think God has a sense of humor like his creation, man, does.

End Notes:  Numbers 23:  Oracle means prophecy.  We tend to think of oracles as false prophets as the word was popularized by the Greeks who uses oracles to tell the future as indeed this is the first definition of the word in Webster’s Dictionary:  “a person (as a priestess of ancient Greece) through whom a deity is believed to speak.”  Another definition:  “an answer or decision given by an oracle.”

Interestingly, this is a latin word meaning “to speak.”  Well, the Greeks didn’t speak Latin so they themselves didn’t use the word “oracle”.  As most Bibles were written down in the Middle Ages which used Latin as the language of writing, this word is not all that old.  In my opinion, this is not a great translation here and prophecy would be better (which by the way is a Greek word meaning “the inspired declaration of divine will and purpose”) which fits here much better as indeed some bible translations use the word prophecy and not oracle.

Here we see God speaking through Balaam, obviously not a godly-man.  But God uses all for His purposes.

Note how Balaam would like “to die the death of the righteous” but not live like the righteous.  He wants the good life but not the work that goes along with the good life.

Both men are exasperated!  Balak wants a curse and Balaam wants money but neither gets what they want for God is in charge here.

God educates Balak about who he is dealing with and who His people are and that Balak has no chance against them.

Wild ox here is translated different ways:  unicorn, ox, rhinoceros, or goat.  The Hebrew word here which occurs 9 times in the Old Testament (twice in our readings–24:8) means one horn.

Balak is frustrated, saying at least don’t bless them if you won’t curse them!  Funny how God works.

Numbers 24:  Three times Balak offered up rams and bulls in an effort to have the Israelites cursed.  This would have been quite the expense at the time.

We see that Balaam did try to evoke sorcery  (24:1) to curse the Israelites, but it didn’t work so seemingly he gave it up.  Hence, Balaam and Balak are cursed by God in the third oracle.

The oracles are progressive:  first, Balak does not receive a curse, next he gets a blessing instead of a curse and finally he himself is cursed.  You’d think he’d learn his lesson!

The fourth oracle is a bonus per se.  Balaam, realizing he won’t get paid, just keeps speaking.  This is about Jesus as he is the start and the scepter and will rule over all nations.  This prophecy was also fulfilled by King David (2 Samuel 8:2,14).

Without the curse, Balak realizes he cannot defeat the Israelites so wisely he does not attack like he wanted to back in Numbers 22.  Instead, he returns home, defeated.

Balaam:  His name possibly means devourer or glutton.  He was evidently a professional magician of a nomadic clan.  He obviously had a reputation of getting gods on his side.  God spoke through him 7 times!  Was Balaam converted to God’s side?  No.  Next we hear of him is Numbers 31:8 where he dies.  He is condemned in 2 Peter 2:15, Jude 11, and Revelation 2:14.  He is credited with suggesting the tactic of using sex to defeat the Israelites, resulting in 24,000 deaths (Numbers 25:9; 31:16).

He has been called by scholars the Judas of the Old Testament as he seems faithful at times but greed turns him to evil.

Seven books of the Bible mention Balaam.  This shows how important these events were in Israelite history.  God uses a pagan and a magician in a land full of pagans and magicians as a warning:  He is coming and He shall win.

Summarized from Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary by J.D. Douglas and Merrill C. Tenney:

Balaam is held up as an example of pernicious influence of hypocritical teachers who attempt to lead God’s people astray.  No bible character is more severely excoriated.

We see three things of God’s rule in the world through the story of Balaam:

1)  God overrules man’s sinful rule and his desire to bring his own purposes to pass.

2)  God’s promises prevail no matter the odds always.

3)  God guards His people from threats even when they are not even aware of them (like Balak who wanted to attack them).

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 24, Day 5 Isaiah 53:7-12

Summary of passage:  The Servant was oppressed and afflicted but he did not open his mouth like a lamb led to the slaughter.  He was taken away by oppression and judgment.  The Servant was cut off from the land of the living (died) for the transgression of his people.  The Servant had done no violence nor deceit (sinless) yet he was to be buried with the sinners.  In the end, he was with the rich in death.

It was the Lord’s will to have Jesus suffer and make him a guilt offering so God could see his offspring and the people will see the light of life.  God will be satisfied through the Servant’s suffering soul in order for the people to be reconciled.  Through bearing the people’s iniquities (sins), the Servant will justify many (absolve of sin). The Servant’s reward for his bearing of the sins of many and being numbered as a transgressor (sinner), he will be given a portion among the great.

Questions:

10a)  When Jesus was accused he gave no answers.  He remained silent and never answered the charges.

b)  Jesus didn’t need to defend himself or lower himself to answer to man.  God was in control the whole time.  Jesus was fulfilling His purpose here on Earth and He knew that.  Jesus willingly gave His life.  It wasn’t taken from Him.  No one had power over Jesus but God.  He was not a helpless victim.  At any time, He could have come down from the cross but it was not God’s will.

11)  Jesus was crucified with 2 robbers and was assigned a common grave with the wicked.  But God sent Joseph of Arimathea to retrieve Jesus’s body and be buried with the rich.  They wrapped his body and anointed it and Jesus was placed in a new tomb.  Thus, Jesus’s body was honored.

12)  Through doing God’s will, sacrificing His own life, and suffering for our sins, God gained victory by reconciling humanity to Himself that was satisfying.  The suffering of the Servant’s soul will be worth it to save us and see the light of life.  Jesus has no regrets.

13)  Justify–to prove or show to be just, right, or reasonable; to absolve; to judge, regard, or treat as righteous and worthy of salvation.  Jesus, through His death, makes man righteous, worthy of salvation, and absolved of sin before God.

Conclusions:  This passage lays out how every detail of Jesus’s death was orchestrated by God for His purposes (to reconcile us to Him).  We can see how painful Jesus’s death was not just for Jesus but to God as well.  Yet, God was satisfied in the end with His work and Jesus was rewarded.

My favorite part of this passage is how Jesus did not engage with man on his level.  He remained silent amidst the horrors He faced.  Often, I am drawn into non-productive arguments just to make a point that in the end seemed like a total waste of time.  I’m trying not to do so but this is very human.  Jesus was above the fracas around Him–a willing and obedient servant.  I pray I can grow in this area as well.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 24, Day 4 Isaiah 53:4-6

Summary of passage:  The Servant took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows yet we (humans) considered him stricken by God (we were unsure why).  But the Servant was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities, punished for us, and we were healed by his wounds.  Like sheep we strayed but the Lord still laid on the Servant the sins of us all.

Questions:

8a) Everyone

b)  Transgression–infringement or violation of the law, command, or duty.  Iniquity–gross injustice, wickedness, vicious act, and sin

9a)  Literally, Jesus’s hands and feet were nailed to the cross and he died by the crushing weight of his body against his lungs.  He didn’t have the strength to hold himself up enough to continue breathing.  Figuratively, through Jesus’s suffering (mocking, scorn, insults, and physical) God delivered us.  He was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our sins that made us whole and through his blood we are healed.

b)  Victory over our sins, salvation of the world.  He takes on pain for others’ sake

c)  Jesus took all of our pain, transgressions, iniquities, and sin and he suffered for us and in place of us.  By his wounds (blood, sacrifice) we are healed (cleansed) and can now meet God.  God laid on Jesus all of our sins.

Conclusions:  Not for sure what BSF is looking for on 9a in relation to Psalm 22.  In Matthew 27:46, Jesus cries out Psalm 22:1 while on the cross.  Psalm parallels Jesus’s suffering.  So I answered literally and figuratively.

It’s always great to remember why Jesus had to suffer and die for us, especially in this Easter Season.

End Note:  Great little article on the medical reasons of Jesus’s death on the cross here and just how torturous crucifixion actually was.  The whole manner of death was designed by the Romans as pure torture to discourage law-breakers.  Fascinating stuff.

http://charlydmiller.com/RA/crucify.html

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 24, Day 2 Isaiah 52:13-15

Summary of passage:  God’s servant will act wisely and be raised up and exalted.  Despite the number of people who were appalled at his appearance which was so disfigured and marred by beatings, he will sprinkle (cleanse) many nations and kings will be silenced.  And the people will see and understand.

Questions:

3)  Because He will sprinkle (cleanse) many nations of sin.  He will act wisely.  He will triumph.

4)  He will appear glorious and exalted yet He will also appear suffering to the point where many were appalled at His appearance because He was beaten so badly.

5a)  His back was beaten, his beard pulled out.  He was mocked and spit upon.  He was beaten so much His appearance was unrecognizable.  They stripped Him, put a scarlet robe on him, a crown of thorns and a staff.  He was insulted and told to save himself if he were indeed God’s son.

b)  Acts 2:32:  God has raised Jesus to life and we are all witnesses

Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9:  Jesus blessed the people and was taken up to Heaven before them, disappearing behind a cloud

Acts 2:33; Philippians 2:9:  God exalted him to the highest place and give him a name above every name. He sits at God’s right hand and has received and poured out the Holy Spirit

Conclusions:  I like the contrasts here between the suffering Jesus endured yet His eternal reward.  Reading all Jesus endured for our sakes is heart-breaking and humbling but seeing His reward is uplifting and reassuring.

It’s comforting to us humans who go through various stages of suffering but know we will have our reward as well.  Most Americans and those in the developed word (and most of the developing world) won’t be physically tortured, paraded through the streets, and crucified.  But some face abuse (physical and sexual).  Just most crimes today are hidden behind closed doors.  Others are paralyzed by the fear of war and death.

The evils of the human heart are innumerable but Jesus saved us from them for all of Eternity.