BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 21, Day 4: Romans 12:2; Galatians 1:3-5; and Ephesians 2:1-2

Summary of passages:  Romans 12:2:  He urges us to not conform to this world but to allow God to renew our mind so that we can know His will for us.

Galatians 1:3-5:  This is part of Paul’s greetings to the church of Galatia where he offers up grace and peace from God and Jesus who sacrificed himself for you to rescue us from our sins and this evil age according to God’s will forever.

Ephesians 2:1-2:  Here Paul reminds the church of Ephesus how they were dead in their transgressions and sins when they lived in the world which is ruled by Satan who is still working in those unsaved by Christ.

Questions:

10)  The world is the world system that contains evil and corruption and is opposed to God and rebels against Him.

11)  Those who love the world are not in God.  The world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does.  The world is temporal.  In my own words, the world is anything opposed to God’s Word and His will.  Anything the devil has a hold of.  Any temptation you face.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The world tries to justify sin.  And it puts a high priority on self.  I fight against selfishness every day and it’s hard not to get caught up in doing what “feels good.”  I’ve found putting God at the center of all you do helps to break the influence of the world and re-focus your attention on Him, His ways, His goals and priorities.

Conclusions:  It’s important to realize the influence of the world on yourself, which has some influence if you interact with anyone at all especially unbelievers.  Satan is sneaky and is always seeking your weaknesses.  Use His weapons (the Word, prayer, etc) against him always.

End NotesRomans 12:2:  So the world system with all its evil and corruption is opposed to God and His ways and is in rebellion.  Paul reminds us we must resist it.

Renewing the mind is the opposite of conforming the world.  The battle takes place in the mind.  Hence, Christians must think differently than non-believers.

Today the world is based on feelings.  Do what you feel is right.  Oh, you don’t want to work today.  Then don’t.  The government will take care of you.  Etc.  Also, the world is based on doings.  Just tell me what to do.

Paul says here we must know what God’s word says in our mind. We cannot blindly follow our whimsical feelings and follow the crowd of doers who are “doing” but accomplishing nothing.

“Transformed”:  This is the ancient Greek word metamorphoo – describing a metamorphosis. The same word is used to describe Jesus in His transfiguration (Mark 9:2-3).

Fun Fact:  The only other place Paul uses this word for transformed is in 2 Corinthians 3:18: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  For Paul, this transformation and renewing of our minds takes place as we behold the face of God, spending time in His glory.  Note this is a process, not a single event.

“Then”:  After the spiritual transformation just described has taken place.

“Test and approve what God’s will is”:  The proof is the live that you live.  What God wants from the believer here and now.

“Good”:  That which leads to the spiritual and moral growth of the Christian.

“Pleasing”:  To God, not necessarily to us.

“Perfect”:  No improvement can be made on the will of God.

In sum, from Chapter 11 Paul writes if we keep in mind the rich mercy of God to you – past, present, and future (by the mercies of God) and as an act of intelligent worship, decide to yield your entire self to Him (present your bodies a living sacrifice) and resist conformity to the thoughts and actions of this world (do not be conformed) by focusing on God’s word and fellowship with Him (be transformed by the renewing of your mind) then our life will be in the will of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.  And others will witness this.

Galatians 1:3-5:  Written by Paul to the churches in Galatia around 50 AD.

“Grace and peace to you”:  This was Paul’s familiar greeting, drawing from the traditional greetings in both Greek culture (grace) and Jewish culture (peace). Paul used this exact phrase five other times in the New Testament.

Fun Fact:  Paul used the word grace more than 100 times in his writings. Among all the other writers of the New Testament, it is only used 55 times. Paul was truly the apostle of grace.

“These two terms, grace and peace, constitute Christianity.” (Martin Luther)

Note the first thing Paul says about Jesus is he gave himself for our sins.  Throughout the epistle Paul points the Galatians to the centrality of the cross. He cannot wait to make this plain, and we find a reference to it in his very first sentence.

Jesus gave. We know from John 3:16 that God the Father so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. Yet God the Father was not the only giver; Jesus also gave. Jesus is a loving, giving God and a loving, giving Savior.

Jesus gave the greatest thing anyone can give–Himself.  There is a sense in which we do not even begin to give until we give ourselves.  Why did Jesus give himself?  For our sins.  If God did not do something to save us, our sins would destroy us. So out of love, Jesus rescues us.

The purpose of Jesus’s sacrifice is to glorify God.  Yes, we are saved.  But it’s for the glory of God.

Ephesians 2:1-2:   Paul ended the last chapter by considering that the ultimate example of God’s power was the resurrection of Jesus. Now Paul considers what the implications of Jesus’ resurrection power are for our life.

Paul is speaking of spiritual death here not physically, mentally, emotionally, etc.  Transgressions is crossing God’s boundaries.  Sins is falling short of God’s standards.

Satan is the ruler of the kingdom of air and is active in those who are disobedient to God.

Once walked is our old self.  We should now feel uncomfortable with sin in our new life.  Satan guided us in the old life.  Now God does.

This is a unique title that speaks to Satan’s authority and realm of influence.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 21, Day 4: 1 John 3:1-4:6

Summary of passage: Believers are children of God and unbelievers do not know us because they don’t know God. When Jesus appears again we shall be like him. Jesus takes away our sin and if we live in him, we do not continue to sin. If you do what’s right, you will be righteous. Jesus appeared to destroy the devil’s work. If you do what’s right, you are children of God. Love your brother. The world hates you because of this love.

Jesus sacrificed his life for us, defining love. Love with actions and truth. If we obey God’s commands and do what pleases him, He will give us anything we ask for. He commands us to believe in his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another. If we obey his commands, He lives in us through the Holy Spirit.

Spirits that acknowledge Jesus is God in the flesh are true; all others are false. God is greater than the devil.

Questions:

9)  Personal Question. My answer: We are God’s children. God has purified us, taking away our sins permanently.

10)  Personal Question. My answer: Love is life. Anyone who loves one another is of God. Jesus defined love by laying down his life for us. So we are to do for others with actions and truth. God commands us to love one another and if we do, the Spirit will guide us and give us all we ask.

11)  Just that: That Jesus is God’s Son in the flesh. That he came down in human form. That he is God. That he took away our sins with his blood. Many religions now and then doubted either Jesus was human or Jesus was God’s Son. To do so is to die eternally. Gnostics, a popular religious movement at the time, taught Jesus was not human. They denied a pure God could take on a physical body, which they believed to be intrinsically evil. This led to immoral living as Gnostics believed they could not be tainted by earthly sins. John is emphasizing this point. Jesus is God in the flesh. Period. Believe it or die.

Conclusions: Wow! A ton here! Good job to BSF for bringing it all out. Love one another is a command from God no matter how hard it is. Love defeats all. Actions speak louder than words. Love with deeds. And believe Jesus is real. If you do these two simple things (believe in Jesus Christ and love one another) we will walk with God by the Holy Spirit, receive whatever we ask, and live forever with Him. Awesome!

End Notes:  John is asking for us to just pause and ponder the great love the Father (God) has for His children (believers).  NOTE:  We have more than Adam ever possessed albeit he walked with God.  It is an error to think of redemption as a restoration of Adam; it’s much more than that!  Christians are strangers to the world and should expect to be treated as Jesus was.  We cannot be like the world no matter how hard we try.

God’s ultimate goal in our lives is to make us like Jesus, and here, John speaks of the fulfillment of that purpose.  We will never succeed in being like Jesus on this side of heaven; this will only be fulfilled when we get there or when Jesus comes.  Those who don’t want to be like Jesus get what they want:  they go to hell.

We will see God!  Can you imagine?  What makes heaven heaven is God’s presence–not our loved ones, the streets paved in gold, or angels.

Our hope is in Him as we strive to be more like Jesus here on earth.

Sin is a disregard for God.  Jesus is here to take away our sin.

Verse 6:  According to the verb tense John uses, “does not sin” means does not live a life style of habitual sin. John has already told us in 1 John 1:8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. In 1 John 1:8, the grammar indicates John is speaking about occasional acts of sin. The grammar of 1 John 3:6 indicates that John is speaking of a settled, continued lifestyle of sin.  John is not teaching here the possibility of sinless perfection, which is impossible.

You don’t know Jesus if you are living a lifestyle of sin.  How do you react when you sin?  Are you repentant?  Or indifferent to where you keep on sinning?  This is a good question to ask ourselves when we sin.

Do not excuse your sin.  Confess it so it won’t be a lifestyle.

Righteous is right standing with God.  Perpetual sinners are of Satan.

1 John 3:5:  Jesus came to take away our sins.

1 John 3:8:  Jesus came to destroy the devil.  If we have Jesus, we have no need to fear the devil.  In fact, the devil fears us because our walk with Jesus destroys the devil’s works.

Here we see where “born again” came from in verse 9.   A change comes over us as we obey Christ and bury sin.

You are either a child of God or a child of the devil.  You either do right and love your brother or you do wrong and hate your brother.  Period.

It’s not just about you.  It’s about your love for others as well.

If you have faith in God, love Christians, and are righteous, you are a true Christian.

What is love?  The ancient Greeks had 4 words for 4 different types of love:

1)Eros was one word for love. It described, as we might guess from the word itself, erotic love. It referred to sexual love.

2) Storge was the second word for love. It referred to family love, the kind of love there is between a parent and child, or between family members in general.

3) Philia is the third word for love. It spoke of a brotherly friendship and affection. It is the love of deep friendship and partnership. Philia love might be described as the highest love that one is capable of without God’s help.

4) Agape is the fourth word for love. It described a love that loves without changing. It is a self-giving love that gives without demanding or expecting re-payment. It is love so great that it can be given to the unlovable or unappealing. It is love that loves even when it is rejected. Agape love gives and loves because it wants to; it does not demand or expect repayment from the love given – it gives because it loves, it does not love in order to receive.

The epitome of love is Jesus’s death on the cross, removing our sins from us.  Loving other Christians in a sacrificial manner is what John is saying here. Say no to your life to let others live.  It’s an action.

This is not one, big sacrificial moment like in Jesus’ case.  For most of us, God calls us to lay down our lives piece by piece, little by little in small, but important ways every day.

When we love others, we are assured and God knows us. We experience answered prayer.  We are so in tune and fellowship with God that we ask for what is on God’s heart, not on ours.  This is when we receive.  Thy will be done.  Those things that please God.  Ask yourself how much do you do to please yourself? How much do you do to please God?  God is glorified when we enjoy His goodness and His good things.

Verse 23 is one commandment:  Believe in Jesus and love Christians.  To believe in the name of Jesus means to trust in Him, rely on Him, and cling to Jesus.  It isn’t about intellectual knowledge or understanding, it is about trust.  John will develop the first part in 4:1-6 and the second part in 4:7-12.

Knowing that Jesus is in us is having the Holy Spirit.  Someone who loves God should act like it.  Period.

John talks much about the devil here in this short letter.  He is called the devil and the evil one.  He has been sinning from the beginning.  He is the instigator of human sin and those who continue to sin belong to him and are his children.  He is in the world and has the whole world of unbelievers under his control.  He cannot lay hold of believers to harm them.  In fact, Christians will overcome him and destroy his work.

1 John 4 starts with a warning:  beware of false prophets and test them.  See if what they say lines up with what God says.  Their words.  Their actions.  God will never contradict Himself, which is His word.

In John’s day, the issue was about if Jesus had truly come in a real body of flesh and blood. Many Gnostic-influenced teachers said that Jesus, being God, could not have actually become a flesh and blood human being, because God could have no partnership with “impure” material stuff.

Docetism also taught that Christ was a spirit.  Cerinthians taught that the divine Christ came upon the human Jesus at his baptism and then left him at the cross so that it was only the man Jesus who died.

Many today deny that Jesus is really God (such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and Muslims). But way back in John’s day, in this time closest to the actual life and ministry of Jesus on this earth, people didn’t have a hard time believing Jesus was God. They had a hard time believing that he was a real man. This false teaching said Jesus was truly God (which is correct), but really a “make-believe” man.

The antichrist both opposes Jesus and comes as a substitute.  He does not want you to believe in the true Jesus.  The Holy Spirit inside of us is greater than Satan and will over come him.  We have nothing to fear.

John uses the simplest language (barely 300 different Greek words) to express the Gospel, using contrasts to help us understand.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 21, Day 4: Exodus 32; 34:4-7

Summary of passages:  Exodus 32:  While Moses was up on the mountain, the people became afraid and asked Aaron to make them new gods to go before them since something probably happened to Moses on the mountain. So Aaron took all the gold earrings from the people and made them into a golden calf as their new god. Aaron made an altar to the calf and made sacrifices to it. Then they had a party.

God told Moses to go down off the mountain as the people have become corrupt. God was so angry He told Moses to leave Him be so that He could destroy them and find a new people. Moses pleaded for the people, saying the Egyptians would only gloat if God killed them. Moses reminded God of His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Israel and to make their descendants as numerous as the stars. So God relented and did not destroy the people.

Moses went down Mount Sinai with the Tablets in his hands. Joshua had waited for Moses on the mountain a bit away and he thought there was a war going on. Moses said it was singing. Moses was so angry when he saw the sin of the people that he threw the tablets down and they broke. He burned the calf and made the Israelites drink the powder it made. Moses asks Aaron how he let the people sin. Aaron tells Moses the story, but blaming it on how evil the people are and how a calf just “came out”.

Moses was not pleased that Aaron had made the Israelites a laughingstock to the world. Moses asks whomever is for God to come to him. The Levites come. God told the Levites to kill everyone else who is not for the Lord and they killed about 3000 that day. They will now be set apart and blessed for their loyalty to God.

Moses goes up to the Lord again to plead for the people’s forgiveness, saying to blot him out of the book if God does not forgive them. God says He will but when the times comes for punishment (judgment), He will punish them and blot them out of His book. He struck them with the plague as punishment (death of 3000).

Exodus 34:4-7:  Moses chiseled out 2 stone tablets and went up to Mount Sinai.  The Lord came down from a cloud and proclaimed His name and passed in front of Moses, proclaiming His compassion, love, forgiveness, and judgements.

Questions:

8a)  God at first wants to kill all the people.  Moses convinces him not to.  He asks for those who will stand for God and all the Levites rallied.  Then the Levites killed 3000 people for not turning back to God.  Moses again asks for forgiveness, which God grants some but He sends a plague upon the people, killing more.  God judges some and spares some.

b)  God relented because Moses asked him to.  Jesus asked God to spare us and he died for our sins and God did.

c)  No.  They all deserved death but only some received it.  God showed mercy.

9)  This is the ultimate show of judgment and mercy.  God is in control and He decides who pays the penalty and who is forgiven and who had turned to Him in their hearts.  God is great.

Conclusions:  We studied Exodus 32 in Lesson 11 last year for one whole week and answered very similar questions on how Moses interceded for the people just like Jesus did/does for us today.  Think this is redundant and unnecessary for a study of the “book of Revelation.”

End Notes:  Exodus 32:  This calf was probably small (only a few inches high) lifted onto a pedestal for the people to see. It was not huge like depicted in the movies.

Some translations say Moses was “delayed”. This was a test for the people and their faith which we failed. This is a lesson for us: how do we handle God’s delays in our life? Do we fall into sin like the Israelites here or do we grow in our faith and strength in Him?

The not knowing drove the people to act. How many times have we acted in the midst of our fear of the unknown?

Scholars say calf is not the best translation here: it is meant to be a bull in the prime of its life–full of strength and vigor.

Aaron was a follower, not a leader. He was weak.

Aaron still remembered the Lord here (verse 5) but God was not sufficient; they needed an image to worship.

Note how the people rose early to worship the calf. Most people only get up early if they have to–work–or if it’s something important to them. What do you rise early to do? Is it to worship God first thing in the morning or do your BSF homework or read God’s Word? You all know I post these things very early in the morning. It’s important for me to meet God early in my day or I will fall into sin. I also get up early to exercise, write books, read books, and have “me” time. I also have “me and God” time. Consider how you spend your early mornings and ask God how He wants you to spend yours.

Revelry here is sexual revelry.

God is disowning His people by calling them Moses’s people. He wanted to start over with Moses.

“Stiff-necked” was a common phrase in Biblical times that refers to ox that won’t move. It references stubbornness in man.

Moses pleaded with the Lord for mercy, grace, His glory, and His promises and goodness.

God knew He wasn’t going to destroy the people. He was developing Moses and His heart for the people as He does often in us.

Joshua is correct: there was a war going on down below–a spiritual war.

It is Moses’s anger that will keep him from the Promised Land (Numbers 20:10-12). It is a problem he has all his life.

Aaron has no idea how great his sin was. He tries to calm Moses down and then lies to Moses about his part. He tries to make it seem as if a miracle produced the calf when it reality it was his hands, his workmanship. Why one would lie to the man closest to God ever is beyond me but Moses doesn’t buy Aaron’s excuse at all.

Even now in sin Aaron is defiant. Little did he know how close to death he was (Deuteronomy 9:20).

Other translations say the people were “unrestrained”. Basically, they had no moral compass and were following whatever made them feel good. Hence, their hearts were hard and they paid the ultimate price.

The Levites were the only group who decided, acted, and separated for God. So we must as well.

Stand for God, or you stand for nothing.

Moses understood the gravity of the people’s sin so asks for forgiveness again, even offering himself as a sacrifice, sensing that an animal’s blood would not suffice. God says no because He knows Jesus is coming. I want such a sacrificial heart. Moses appeals to God’s grace and mercy. Still, God’s punishment is that none of these adults will see the Promised Land.

Exodus 34:4-7:  This description of God became the cornerstone for the Jews as the most profound statement of God’s nature.

As Christians, knowing God as Moses knew God–His character–should be our highest striving.

Fun Fact: Exodus 34:6-7 is the most alluded to passage in the Old Testament.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 21, Day 4: Numbers 16:23-50

Summary of passage:  As punishment for the rebellion against Moses (and God), God opened the earth and swallowed up Korah, Dathan, and Abiram and their families.  Fire consumed the 250 men.  Eleazar son of Aaron was ordered by God to take the censers the 250 men were holding and scatter the coals and hammer out the metal of the censers and lay it upon the altar.  This was to remind the Israelites that no one except Aaron’s descendants could burn incense before the Lord.

Still, the Israelites grumbled so God in His glory appeared at the Tent of Meeting.  He brought a plague upon the people which only stopped after Aaron offered incense and made atonement for the people.  14, 700 people died.

Questions:

7a)  God opened the earth and swallowed up Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and their families. Fire consumed the 250 men.

b)  Moses had seen God’s anger and God’s desire to kill everyone.  He had prayed to God to just punish Korah only.  I would assume God had told Moses His judgment of Korah ahead of time.  Even if not, Moses had a pretty good idea God would punish him.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  A bit of extrapolation but ok.  Pray more.  Read His word more.  Be more like Jesus.  What I do everyday.

8a)  Eleazar son of Aaron was ordered by God to take the censers the 250 men were holding and scatter the coals and hammer out the metal of the censers and lay it upon the altar. This was to remind the Israelites that no one except Aaron’s descendants could burn incense before the Lord.

b)  “Grumbled against Moses and Aaron.”

c)  Atoned for their sins.  Encouraged Moses and Aaron in their leadership role.  Obeyed God.

9a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I sometimes think God gets fed up with us, His creation, and can’t take it anymore.  God cares about how you treat Him and His people.  You will face judgment for it when you stand before Him.

b)  He made atonement for the people to end the plague against them.

c)  We are saved completely through Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins and we are forgiven and justified through him.  He is our intercessor as Aaron was here–only Jesus is permanent.  He stands between the living and the dead.

Conclusions:  I hadn’t realized the amount of grumbling in the Bible until this study. Unbelievable!  I think if I just witnessed God Himself opening up the earth and swallowing a family and then fire-balling 250 men, I’d have a healthy fear and appreciation of God and His servant, Moses.  The personal questions here are lackluster.

End Notes:  Our take away should be to stand away from divisive people as well and those who would cause unneeded trouble.  The Bible speaks to this is numerous places including Titus 3:10-11 and Romans 16:17-18.

The fact the families paid the price as well shows how sin affects not just you but those around you as well.

The coals were scattered because that was not holy as it was unauthorized; only the objects themselves were.

Moses’ heart once again shines through as he attempts to save the people from God’s wrath and judgment.

Incense is prayer (Revelation 8:3-4) and prayer does make a difference as we dramatically see here.  Aaron prayed; killing stopped.

Fun Fact:  The Hebrew Bible begins chapter 17 at Numbers 16:36.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 21, Day 4: Matthew 20:17-34

Summary of passage:  Jesus tells the disciples as they are walking towards Jerusalem that he will be betrayed, handed over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law, mocked, flogged, die by crucifixion, and rise again in 3 days.  The mother of Zedebee’s sons (James and John) comes to Jesus to ask that her sons be elevated to sit by Jesus’ right and left in the kingdom.  Jesus told her she has no idea what she is asking even though she will drink from the cup.  Jesus says that those spots are for God to grant.

When the other disciples heard what the mother of James and John had asked Jesus, they were indignant.  Jesus called them together and said that they are not like the Gentiles whose lord reigns over them.  Instead, if you want to become great, you must serve and be like a slave just like the Son of Man came to serve and die for others.

Jesus grants two blind men sight as they are leaving Jericho.

Questions:

8a)  “The Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law.  They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified.  On the third day he will be raised to life!”

b)  They are still picturing Jesus’ kingdom as earthly and that he will sit on a throne where one of them will sit on his right and his left.  So James and John (or their mother) decide to beat the others to this position of status and ask for it.  The fact that the two asked for it shows they have no idea.  The fact that the others were angry and argued over it shows they didn’t understand.  And Luke tells us that the disciples did not understand because the meaning was hidden from them.

They didn’t understand Jesus’ came to save us from our sins for a heavenly kingdom.

c)  Jesus said he came to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many, showing his greatness.

9a)  The cup symbolizes God’s wrath and when it is poured out is God’s judgment on man.  Keep reading in Isaiah and it says that the Lord will take the cup out of man’s hand and man shall never drink of it again.  Instead it will be put into the hands of man’s tormentors (Isaiah 51:22-23).  Psalm says God’s judges and He pours out His judgement on the earth and the wicked drink it (or receive) His judgement.

b)  He drunk it to save man from God’s judgment, to take upon himself the sins that God would judge.  To serve as a ransom for us.  To die for our sins so that we might live in righteousness and be healed.

c)  First, they both suffered (as all Christians do for their faith).  James was martyred by King Herod and John was banished to the island of Patmos (a hard-labor penal colony) because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.  Second, when they died, they rose to heaven to share in God’s righteousness.

d)  God’s cup, the cup of Jesus, the cup that contains Jesus’ blood that forgives us for our sins

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  First, the man’s acknowledgement of Jesus as king.  Second, the fact the man would not be quiet nor rebuked.  He pursued Jesus with even more passion.  Third, the man asked for exactly what he wanted.  Fourth, that the man’s faith healed him.  Fifth, they followed him.

Me:  I will acknowledge Jesus as Lord in my life.  I will not be quiet about it nor be rebuked.  I will pursue him with even more passion.  I will ask for exactly what I want in my life to happen.  I will have the faith that Jesus will grant my petitions.  I will follow him along the road he leads me on.

Conclusions:  The story of the blind men being healed brings together beautifully all that we have been learning in Matthew.  How we must acknowledge Jesus as Lord in our lives.  How we are not to be rebuked because of our faith.  How we must continue to pursue Jesus with all of our hearts.  How we need to ask Jesus for what we want and believe he will do it.  How we must follow him.  Always.  Great, great little lesson packed in 6 verses!

I find it interesting how the mother came in Matthew’s version to ask for her sons.  How often do we do this for our kids?  One daughter of mine doesn’t like asking adults for things and since she is young, I do it.  Eventually, she must learn to ask for herself what she herself desires.  Here, we have a mother asking for her two grown sons.  Once a mother, always a mother!  Always wanting what’s best for her kids!

This is probably the most glaring example of how the disciples still don’t get it as they jockey for earthly positions.  I find it interesting though why God would hide this knowledge from them.  It’s hard to fault the disciples when the knowledge has not been revealed to them.  Yes, they should have figured it out by now but they have no help it seems from God and definitely no Holy Spirit yet to guide them.

God has His reasons and I’m hoping to get a better glimpse as we get closer and closer to Jesus’ death in Matthew.

I loved the God’s cup study.  I know we discussed this in the study of Isaiah but it has been a few years!  Another great example of my mantra “to keep reading” because the cup is more fully explained in Isaiah than BSF had us read.

End Notes:  Matthew 27:55-56 tells us that the mother of James and John had been following him from Galilee to care for his needs.  Hence, she would have intimate knowledge of Jesus and the disciples and her sons desires.

Note the mother asks but who does Jesus respond to?  “them”  This shows us that James and John are standing beside their mother as she is asking.  She is their voice.  We must remember that Jesus just told them  that the disciples will sit on 12 thrones, judging, during the Second Coming (Matthew 19:28).  So they are probably wanting to sit the closest to him on these thrones.

James was the first martyr and the first to die of the disciples.  John lived the longest and was the only disciple to not be martyred and had to be prepared to receive God’s word that became must of the New Testament.

Mark gives us the phrase “be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with”, which shows us exactly the suffering they would endure.

Jesus said outright how they (disciples) should be different than the Gentiles.  Today, we can say how believers should be different from unbelievers in the same sense.  We are held to a higher standard and Jesus here expected more from his disciples than petty jealously and concern over rank.

Ransom here commonly referred to in ancient times the price paid to free a slave.  Here, Jesus refers to the price he paid as he frees us from the bondage of our sins.

Scholars connect the “many” here with the “many” in Isaiah 53:11 & 12.

Map of Jesus’ Journey to Jerusalem showing Jericho:

http://www.bible-history.com/maps/images/matthew_jesus_comes_to_jerusalem.jpg

Map showing all of First-Century Israel:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3d/First_century_palestine.gif

Final Note:  I love how Jesus knows; yet asks us anyways, “What do you want me to do for you?”  We need to be just as clear about our needs and wants as Jesus is.  He stops to hear us and listen.

“You do not have, because you do not ask God.”  James 4:2

Jesus is passing us by.  Will we sit and be quiet and say nothing or will we shout out to him, get his attention, and ask for our most pressing needs?

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 21, Day 4: Genesis 25:27-34

Summary of passage:  Genesis 25:27-34:  Esau became a hunter while Jacob stayed home.  Isaac loved Esau while Rebekah loved Jacob more.  Esau sold his birthright for a meal, implying he despised his birthright.

Questions:

8a)  Who wouldn’t?  From Question 6 from yesterday, we learn the birthright entails in this case the promise of Abraham which is having nations bow down to you, be lord over your brothers and all your relatives and others, and may those who despise you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed.  Deuteronomy says the firstborn should receive a double share and is the sign of his father’s strength.  Jacob would be the chosen one of God to perpetuate His nation.  Sign me up, too!

b)  As we explored in 7d yesterday as well, we learn Esau does not have a heart for God. He marries Canaanite women (Genesis 26:34–notice not one woman but two which is not what God desires for man).  He despises his birthright (Genesis 25:36) while Jacob embraces it.  And we see that Jacob will do anything (nothing morally right) but anything to receive the blessing.  So he desires it.  And we must assume both Esau and Jacob knew the heavy expectations with this birthright.

It’s like in our day.  Those who persevere and desire something the most usually achieves it.  Although the methods Jacob employed did not sit well with God, God chose Jacob anyways.  Because of his heart.  God chooses.  Not us.

c)  Abraham lacked faith in God’s promise of a son, believing Sarah was incapable of having a child, so he had a child with Hagar.  I’m not quite sure if Jacob ever had unbelief. He believed he had the birthright already and he did what he had to do in order to receive it.  I’m assuming BSF is looking for some answer like this, “Well, if Jacob would have waited God would have given him the birthright anyways.”  True.  But he wouldn’t have received it from Isaac on earth.  And I’m not sure if unbelief was the motivation behind Jacob’s actions.  It’s a stretch in my opinion.

9a)  Our inheritance is to be like Jesus, to live a Godly-life, following God’s laws, and to do His work set before us. Some Christians don’t like having to live up to these higher standards so they follow the world instead of God’s word and God’s will for their life. They think it unfair despite what Jesus did for us on the cross.  So they chose to ignore God and listen to the devil instead.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I do my bible study every day.  I pray.  I try to do God’s will in my life.  I try to be more like Jesus every day.  I take my God-given purpose seriously.  I try to show Him the best I can.

10)  They are adopted as sons of God.  They have divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship, and the promises.  We have Christ indwelt through Jacob’s family and are reckoned with God.

Conclusions:  Seems like this was an expounding of yesterday.  It seems intuitive but a lot of Christians/unbelievers don’t grasp the concept:  Christians are blessed; they are different; they do have a spiritual inheritance and spiritual advantages because of Jesus; and they do have a responsibility once Christ lives inside of them to make this world a better place.

Christians are set apart by God.  They have a God-given purpose for their brief time on earth.  It is our responsibility to act on everything Christ has done for us.  It is our job to save as many people as possible.  And rewards await us when our body gives out.

So what are you doing for Him today?