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 Isaiah Lesson 26, Day 2 Isaiah 58

Summary of passage:  God directs Isaiah to shout out to His people, the house of Jacob, their sins.  Day after day they seek me (God) and are eager to know His ways as if they were a righteous and law-abiding nation.  They ask for just decisions and for God to be near.

Yet the people ask, “Why have we fasted and humbled ourselves if you (God) have not noticed?”

God answers, “You do as you please and exploit your workers.  You quarrel and strike each other.  You cannot fast as you do today and expect to be heard.”  In essence, the people’s hearts were not God’s heart.  They fasted for wrong reasons and with evil hearts.

God asks, “Is this the kind of fast I have chosen where you bow your head and lie on sackcloth and ashes?  Is this acceptable to the Lord?”  The answer is No.  God reveals the fast He desires:

“To loose the chains of injustice, set the oppressed free, and break every yoke. To share your food with the hungry and provide the poor with shelter. To clothe the naked and not abandon your relatives.”

Then your light will break forth like the dawn, your healing will appear, you will be righteous with the glory of the Lord at your rear.

Then when you call I will answer: Here am I.  [So when you fast with a heart of God, He will answer.]  Your light will rise in the darkness if you do away with oppression, malicious talk, and satisfy the needs of the oppressed.

The Lord will guide you always and satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and strengthen you.  You will be a well-watered garden whose waters never fail.  You will rebuild and build up things.

If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and doing what you please on God’s holy day then you will find joy in the Lord and He will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and feast on the inheritance of Jacob.

Questions:

3a)  The Israelites fasted, sought God day after day, seemed eager to know His ways, portrayed righteousness and obedience.

b)  They sought to please themselves.  On the day of the fasting, they did as they pleased and exploited all their workers.  They quarreled and hit each other.  They fasted without their heart on God.  They went through the motions of bowing their heads and putting on sackcloth and ashes but still their heart remained aloof.

c)  He did not answer their prayers and He told them what fasting He has chosen:  to see the oppressed free and break every yoke, to share your food with the hungry and provide shelter to the wanderer, to clothe the naked, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood.  Only then will He say:  Here am I.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m working on praising God more in prayer and praying more for others.  When I feel far away from Him, I tend to pray less so I’m working on praying no matter what mood I am in.  Sometimes I do pray and my heart is not in it (mainly because my brain is elsewhere, dwelling on something I should have let go which I haven’t yet or on future events) but I feel it’s better than not praying at all and in time God will turn my mind and heart to Him again as long as I am seeking.

4a)  The purpose was to make atonement to God for your sins and to cleanse yourself of sins so you will be clean before the Lord.  The attitude was strict:  it must be on the tenth day of the seventh month and the people must fast (deny themselves) and not do any work. Everyone had to do this–whether native Israelites or foreigners living amongst them who did not necessarily believe in the Lord.  This was to be the Sabbath, the day of rest and to be a lasting ordinance.

b)  God desires an authentic fast:  one where we obeyed His commands and were eager to know Him.  We are to set the oppressed free, share with others what God has given us, and follow His will, not ours.  We are to do what pleases God, not ourselves.  And only then when we call will He answer.

c)  Donate to the poor or serve in soup kitchens.  Find charities that work with the poor and support them.  Help your relatives when they are on hard times (this could also be members of the church or Christian body as your own flesh and blood since we are all the body of Christ).  Give to your church to help your sisters and brothers who are struggling.  God ultimately wants our heart to lie where His does–which is with those struggling.

Conclusions:  God is so good!  This was EXACTLY what I needed to hear in this time in my life.  “The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.”  So, no matter where I go, I will have no fear or inhibitions because God is guiding me and He will satisfy my needs in that place.  He will build things, which I constantly see in my work.

If I honor God by not doing my own thing or going my own way, then I will be filled with joy in the Lord, ride on the heights of the land, and feast on the inheritance of Jacob.

What better message right now in my life than one of Hope.  I think this is my favorite message in the Bible for I know I can’t live without it.

End note:  We are no longer required to do no work on the Sabbath since we now find rest in Jesus.  This was only required before Jesus died for us.  Hebrews 4 explains it best.  We enter a Sabbath-rest:  “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God.” Hebrews 4:9 which is not necessarily on Sundays.  Or we are free to not technically “rest” at all.  But I think most Christians rest with God through prayer and in His word–essentially in God since His spirit now dwells in us.  See also Colossians 2:16-17 and Galatians 4:9-11