BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 27, Day 4: Romans 15:7-13

Summary of passage:  Paul is still urging unity and urging the Roman Jews to accept the Gentiles, which were always in God’s plan to believe in Him and Jesus which Paul backs up with Old Testament passages.  This will glorify God and is the reason Christ came.  Paul prays that God fills them with joy and peace as they trust in Him through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Questions:

10)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  It brings praise to God.  It humbles me because none of us deserve acceptance, but if God can do it, I am inspired to as well.

11)  2 Samuel 22:50; Psalm 18:49; Deuteronomy 32:43; Psalm 117:1; Isaiah 11:10.  Everyone (including the Gentiles) will praise God and were all meant to praise Him as part of his plan for humanity.

12a)  It confirms to the Jews that the Gentiles were always part of God’s plan.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God wants all of us despite our differences.  So must we.  Most of our differences are petty.  Have a unity of Spirit.  It’s all for Him.

Conclusions:  Paul brings in the Old Testament to confirm his urgings that the Gentiles are to be accepted as God’s children since they are a part of God’s plan.  In essence, it all comes down to love.  Jesus’s command to love one another as yourself (Matthew 22:39).

End Notes:  We are to give others the grace God has given us fallen humans.  Acceptance and love.  Christ covered our faults and welcomed us; in the same way we do to others.

15:9:  From the beginning, God’s redemptive work in and for Israel had in view the redemption of the Gentiles (Genesis 12:2-3).  They would both see God’s mighty and gracious acts for his people and hear the praises of God’s people as they celebrated what God had done for them (a common theme in Psalms).  Thus they would come to know the true God and glorify him for his mercy.  God greatest and climactic act for Israel’s salvation was the sending of the Messiah to fulfill the promises made to the patriarchs and so to gather in the great harvest of the Gentiles.

We are to unite in Jesus over the common ground of praise to God.  As God blesses us, so we are equipped to live in unity with others.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 26, Day 4: Romans 14:13-18

Summary of passage:  Paul repeats to stop judging others and quit putting stumbling blocks in others’ way.  If someone believes something is unclean, fine.  Let it go.  If  you are having dinner with someone and you are eating something they disapprove of, stop eating it for that meal.  Don’t be a stumbling block.  What matters is serving God and have peace, joy, and righteousness in the Holy Spirit.

Questions:

9)  Stop judging others.  Don’t put stumbling blocks in others’ way or be a stumbling block.  Let things go.

10)  Jesus’s sacrifice eradicated all the old rules so now all foods are clean.  The person’s beliefs himself makes food unclean–no rules do.

11)  By not being thoughtful of the other person.  If you drink alcohol in front of an alcoholic, you are causing him or her to stumble.  Be considerate of others’ struggles.

12)  “Righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.”  God’s kingdom is not concerned with petty arguments.  God is concerned with the heart.

Conclusions:  Straight-forward passage with straight-forward questions.  Rise above the pettiness!

End Notes:  Paul summarizes Chapter 14 so far:  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus helped us to understand that we should not judge others according to a standard that we would not want to have applied to our self.  We still need to and have a responsibility for admonishment (Romans 15:14) or rebuke (2 Timothy 4:2). However, when we admonish or rebuke, we do it over clear Scriptural principles, not over doubtful things. We may offer advice to others about doubtful things, but should never judge them.

We might stumble or cause our brother to fall in two ways. We can discourage or beat them down through our legalism against them, or we can do it by enticing them to sin through an unwise use of our liberty.

Our freedom from Old Testament law is good unless we use it against another brother–then it is evil.

Love is the proper way to settle disputes.

Christ died for both weak and strong Christians.  Surely, we can adjust our behavior accordingly (1 Corinthians 8:11-13; 10:23, 28-29, 32-22).

This passage is another great example of Paul’s concern for the moral and ethical dimension of the Christian life.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 27, Day 4: John 19:38-42

Summary of passage:  Joseph of Arimathea, a secret follower of Jesus, asked Pilate for Jesus’ body.  Along with Nicodemus, the two of them prepared Jesus’ body for burial by wrapping it in strips of linen.  Jesus was laid in a nearby tomb.

Questions:

9)  Joseph of Arimathea was a member of the Council and in good standing.  He was a follower of Jesus.  Nicodemus was also a member of the Jewish ruling council, a Pharisee, who came to Jesus previously to know him better.  He spoke up for Jesus as well.  Both were risking being thrown out of the synagogue by being near Jesus.

10a)  They lost a chance to get to know God’s Son here on earth and be near him.  They lost a chance to be eternally saved (we are never told these men confessed their faith in Jesus).  They gained political power here on earth.  Reputation.  Status.  Wealth.  All by staying quiet about Jesus.

b)  They risked their positions, their lives, their wealth, their status, their family, etc.  They gained the privilege of preparing Jesus’ body.  They showed their love towards Jesus.  They gained status in God’s eyes instead of man’s.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I believe I follow Jesus fully.  Unsure of loved ones.  I’m just not that close to many in my family.

Conclusions:  Love how we see these 2 men come to full circle with Jesus.

End Notes:  God used these men to protect the body of Jesus.  Jewish custom was to bury the body before sundown and the start of the Sabbath.  All indications are that Joseph and Nicodemus did this work themselves instead of slaves.  This must have been difficult to remove the bloody body of Jesus from a hanging cross.  These 2 men who were religious leaders must have known they were fulfilling prophecy.  Can you imagine being in their place?  How awesome!

“One of the customs of the Jews in preparing a body for burial is the requirement to remove all foreign matter from the body and to carefully wash it.  Joseph and Nicodemus examined His entire body and found broken pieces of thorn all over the head. They saw His bloody, matted hair; the terrible bruising of the face, the areas of beard pulled out, the dry and cracked lips. They turned the body over to see His shoulders and arms are riddled with splinters; each one was removed with care. The back, from the shoulders down, was a bloody open wound from the terrible scourging suffered before the crucifixion. His hands and feet were smashed and bloodied. On the front – just beneath the rib cage – there was a gaping wound made from the spear thrust that confirmed His death.”  Taken from Enduring Word.com.  Can you imagine?

Jesus could have risen right then.  But instead he hung dead on the cross.  God’s perfect plan.

The burial of Jesus is so important it’s considered one of the essential components of the gospel itself (1 Corinthians 15:3-4):

· The burial fulfilled the Scripture of Isaiah 53:9 says, “And they made His grave with the wicked”; so that meant the Messiah would be buried in a grave – and He was

· The burial fulfilled the promise, the prediction of Jesus. Jesus said that He, like Jonah, would be buried away for three days (Matthew 12:40), and so it had to be fulfilled

· The burial demonstrated that Jesus was truly dead; it was proof of the glory of the coming resurrection.

· The burial was important because burial spices and preparations protected His holy body from decay; as it was said in Psalm 16:10: You will not allow Your Holy One to see decay

· The burial pushed both Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus to proclaim their relationship with Jesus in public

· The burial and the days of Jesus in the tomb tested the faith and devotion of the disciples; it made them die a certain kind of death for those days they knew Jesus lay in the tomb

· The burial and the days of Jesus in the tomb proved Jesus defeated not only sin, but also death. The burial and the empty tomb show that Jesus conquered sin and death

· The days in the tomb were important because there was important work for Jesus to do during that time in the tomb. 1 Peter 3:18-20 tells us that Jesus went and preached to the spirits in prison; though there isn’t as much explanation on all this as we would like to have, it seems that as the body of Jesus lay lifeless in the tomb, His Spirit went to Hades, the abode of the dead. There He led the faithful dead to heaven, in light of His then-completed work on the cross. He also preached a message of judgment and coming condemnation to the evil spirits that were imprisoned in the depths

· The burial shows he was buried with us, in the humiliation of utter humanness. We are buried with Him – spiritually by faith, ceremonially by baptism. He identified with us; we by faith identify with Him.  [Again, summarized from enduring word.com]

The myrrh and aloes were an extravagant amount of money.

Matthew 27:60 tells us that this tomb belonged to Joseph of Arimathea himself.  A rich man like Joseph would probably have a tomb that was carved into solid rock; this tomb was in a garden near the place of crucifixion.

A typical tomb of this type had a small entrance and perhaps one or more compartments where bodies were laid out after being somewhat mummified with spices, ointments, and linen strips. Customarily, the Jews left these bodies alone for a few years until they decayed down to the bones, then the bones were placed in a small stone box known as an ossuary (picture HERE.) The ossuary remained in the tomb with the remains of other family members.

The door to the tomb was typically made of a heavy, circular shaped stone, running in a groove and settled down into a channel, so it could not be moved except by several strong men. This was done to ensure that no one would disturb the remains.

Adam fell in a Garden.  And so we are redeemed in one.

Spurgeon points out that the tomb was empty so no one could say Jesus’ body had touched the bones of a prophet and so sprung to life.  Every detail recorded was super important to the Jewish people at that time too all would know–Yes, He is King!

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 27, Day 4: Revelation 21:22-27

Summary of passage:  The Holy City will forever be pure, free from evil.  There will be no darkness as God’s glory will be our light.  There will be no temple as God and Jesus will be there to worship.

Questions:

9)  A temple because “the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”  The sun or moon for “the glory of God gives it light and the Lamb is its lamp.”

10a)  1 Kings 8:1-21:  The temple was the place the ark of the covenant which held the stone tablets of the Law given to Moses by God dwelled–in the Most Holy Place.  God (in a cloud) filled the temple of the Lord, the place meant for the Lord to dwell forever.

John 2:19-22:  The temple is our body for Jesus/Holy Spirit dwells there.

1 Corinthians 6:19:  “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God”

b)  Exodus 13:21:  The Lord in a pillar of fire gave the people light to continue on their journey to the Promised Land.

Psalm 119:105:  “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

John 8:12:  Jesus says,”I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

11a)  “The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.”  Never will the gates be shut.  No night will exist.  The glory and honor of the nations will abide there.  Only those saved will dwell there with no evil ever entering the city.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s made it more real.  There will be a city and God will be there.  More hope.  He’s always here.

Conclusions:  Good questions and good study on what is a temple and what is light in the Bible.

End Notes:  In ancient times every city had a temple and most had many, many temples to their many, many gods.  Have a city without a temple would be shocking to the people of the first century.

The temple is everything and every place.  Before Jesus the temple was a prophecy.  Then Solomon built a temple for God to dwell.  Then Christ came and died, gifting believers with the Holy Spirit so we are His temple.  In the Millennium the temple will be a memorial.  Here the temple is everywhere.

Heaven will be pure worship.  We won’t need anything of what we use now.  The physical dwelling of a church is a place for sinful man to meet with God.  With sin gone, we don’t need a place anymore.  Nor do we need an intercessor (Jeremiah 3:16–17; Haggai 2:6–9; Acts 4:11; Ephesians 2:19–20).

Isaiah 60:19 prophesizes God is our light.

Who are the nations?  Some scholars say these are the saints saved during the Millennium because they are the only saints unaccounted for.  Some say they represent all believers.  Isaiah speaks of them as well (Isaiah 60:3,5,11-12).

Who are the kings of the earth?  Weren’t they destroyed at Armageddon?  Well, scholars are unsure but this suggests some kings of the earth do turn and make it to the eternal city.

Conclusions to Revelation 21:  The Bible ends up where it began.  A new earth.  The broken relationship between God and man heals at last and the curse from Genesis 3 is lifted.  The world is as God has always meant it to be.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 27, Day 4: Deuteronomy 29

Summary of passage:  Moses again tells the people to follow the covenant and the people will prosper.  He warns against turning away from God as disaster will follow.  If they worship idols, God will abandon the covenant and curse them.

Questions:

7)  That God is their God and they are His people.

8 )  Not to turn away from God and worship idols.

9a)  The secret things are secret; we don’t know what they are.  It’s the knowledge, wisdom, judgments, and paths of God that we He had not revealed to us.

b)  God’s law

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Sin is inevitable.  Even the best of us sin (Moses).  But God forgives that sin.  That God is faithful.  He is the provider.  He is there always.

Conclusions:  I don’t know about you all, but I’m tired of Moses’s repetition and warnings.  Ok, fine, we get it.  Obey or face God’s wrath.  We all know the Israelites didn’t obey and were punished by God despite Moses’ 10,000 warnings.  At least Moses can say, “I told you so.”  It makes these passages very dull reading.

End Notes:  This is the confirming of the the Covenant with the new generation that Moses had performed back in Exodus 24:7-8 with the old generation.

As we’ve seen, seeing miracles hasn’t changed the hearts of the people.  They need a miracle of the heart.

There is no peace for the sinner for God will turn His back on them.

God’s judgment on His people if they sin will be an example to all nations of what happens with disobedience and an example to all generations as well.

God reveals only what we need to know.  Therefore, we must embrace this knowledge and live it in our lives.  That is His desire for us.  It’s like a parent.  We do things for our kids for reasons they cannot understand at different ages in their lives.  The same with God.  We trust God like we trust our parents.  We love God like we love our parents.  We have faith that they have our best interests in their hearts for us.  Just like God does.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 27, Day 4: Matthew 26:69-27:10; Luke 22:59-62; John 18:12-27

Summary of passages:  Matthew 26:69-27:10:  Peter was sitting outside Jesus’ trial when a servant girl came up and asked him if he were with Jesus of Galilee.  He denied it.  He went to the gateway where another girl told others Peter was with Jesus of Nazareth.  He denied it again with an oath this time.  The people came up to him after a bit and said that he must be with Jesus because of his accent.  Peter cursed himself and swore for a third time he did not know Jesus.  A rooster crowed and Peter then realized what he had done and Jesus had been right.  He then wept bitterly at his own sin.

In the morning, the Sanhedrin meets to officially proclaim Jesus guilty of blasphemy and sentence him to death.  They hand him over to Pilate who must agree as anyone executed must be approved by the Romans.

Judas was seized with remorse when he saw Jesus was going to be killed.  He returned the 30 silver coins and admitted he betrayed innocent blood.  They didn’t care and Judas threw the coins into the temple.  Then he hung himself.  The chief priests could not use the money since it was blood money so they bought a potter’s field with the money for burial of foreigners.  That is why it is called the Field of Blood.  This fulfilled prophecy by Jeremiah.

Luke 22:59-62:  Luke describes the scene as Peter is sitting nearby Jesus and denies him in his presence.  Peter denies Jesus 3 times and on the third time the rooster crows.  Jesus turned and looked straight at Peter.  Peter then remembered Jesus’ words.  Peter then fled and wept.

John 18:12-27:  Jesus was taken to Annas first.  Peter and another disciple followed Jesus.  The other disciple was known to the high priest and was allowed to enter the high priest’s courtyard with Jesus but Peter had to wait outside.  The other disciple gained permission for Peter to enter.  Peter denies the Lord when asked and all are huddled around a fire as it was cold.

Jesus was enduring questioning at the time and told them to ask those who heard him these questions.  Jesus was struck for his suggestion and sent to Caiaphas next.  Peter then denied Jesus 2 more times and the crow crowed.

Questions:

8a)  Peter was asked by a servant girl if he were with Jesus.  Peter denied this. (Matthew 26: 69-70).

Another girl saw Peter and told others that he was with Jesus.  Peter denied this with an oath (Matthew 26:71-72).

People went up to Peter and said he had to be one of those with Jesus because of his accent.  Peter’s denial escalated.  He called down curses on himself and swore he did not know Jesus (Matthew 26:73-74).

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To me, Peter’s denial increases and so does his passion.  Man is like this today.  You get so caught up in the lies and the deception that they perpetuate themselves until it reaches a breaking point like it did with Peter when the crow rang and Peter was hit with Jesus’ prophecy.  It starts out with a small lie or denial but to cover that lie you have to lie again and even bigger and then to cover that lie you lie some more until you may actually believe your lies.

Then you usually fall and the fall is so big you weep.  We must all stay true to God and ourselves to avoid what happened to Peter.

9a)  Peter sinned mainly due to ignorance and out of fear.  Judas sinned for greed and personal aggrandizement.  Note how Peter cried:  this is a sign of repentance.  Note how Judas threw his coins and stomped off like a two-year old being denied a treat at the store.  This is anger at the reaction from the Sanhedrin, not anger at his own actions or a desire to amend.

Peter learned from his sins and grew to do the Lord’s will.  Peter accepted his sins and God’s forgiveness for them.  Judas was too overcome with guilt that he took the easy way out and killed himself.  He didn’t go to God afterwards.  He couldn’t forgive himself like God can.

b)  By taking Jesus’ work and extending it.  By founding the church along with others and God and growing the spread of Christianity.

c)  Definition of repentance according to Webster’s Dictionary is “to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life; to feel regret or contrition for”.  The definition of sorry from Webster’s Dictionary is “feeling sorrow, regret, or penitence; mournful, sad”.  Judas felt sad about what he did but he didn’t turn from his sins and dedicate his life to Christ afterwards.  To repent is to want to do better and be better and change your ways.  To be sorry is just a temporary feeling of regret but no changes are made in behavior or attitude.

d)  We are all responsible for our sins.  We are all granted Free Will.  No one makes us choose to sin or turn from God.  That is our choice given to us by God.  We must choose Him and His ways.  If we don’t, that is our fault.

10)  The biggest contrast is not the questioning itself for in both cases the questioning escalated but in the handling of the questioning.  Jesus exhibited grace, calm, and love at all times.  He let man’s accusations fall off.  He spoke only when necessary and did not fire back.  Peter became more and more agitated and it showed up to the point he had denied Jesus three times before it dawned on him what had happened.  Peter let fear for his own life supercede his love for Christ.  He doubted God’s protection.  Self became more important.  A warning to us all.

Conclusions:  Loved this lesson!  Such a warning to us about staying true to God.  Staying true to ourselves.  Letting God take our fears and anxieties.  Answering out of love and compassion and not self-righteousness or anger.  And in the end trusting in God’s plan as Jesus did–even if it’s not what we’d choose.

Did not like question 9d.  Reflects what’s wrong with American society today:  it’s never my fault, it’s someone else’s.  Of course Judas is responsible for his sin.  To suggest otherwise is ludicrous.  But people today are always looking for an out.  Some medical condition or what-have-you that makes you sin and is a crutch to lean on.

I did like the flippancy in the Sanhedrin’s response to Judas.  Judas was seeking some kind of consolation for his mistake but was denied.  Too often today people are coddled when they sin instead of reprimanded.  Our society would be better off if more of us took the Sanhedrin’s approach to sin:  “That’s your responsibility.”  Not that we shouldn’t help others overcome.  But that we must ensure proper acceptance and repentance before healing can take place.

I loved Luke’s nugget of how Jesus turned and looked straight at Peter after his third denial.  Can you imagine?  You deny Jesus in his presence???  I cannot imagine the shame and grief Peter experienced.  Although I think I’d be a better person if I knew Jesus were in the room with me at all times.

End Notes:  If you are cursing yourself, I would say you are so agitated and so out of control that you don’t know what you are doing.  Yet Peter was granted two gifts from God here:  the love, forgiveness, and encouragement in Jesus’ face as he met Peter’s and the memory of Jesus’ words, which shocked him into repentance.  We know how to be better.  Sometimes we have to remember how to be so.

Like I said, this was the real trial in the daylight and Pilate, the Roman governor, was the only one who had the authority to execute men.  Pilate’s normal residence was on the coast of Caesarea but he was required to be in Jerusalem for Passover to show  his support for the Jewish people.  Bill O’Reilly’s book, Killing Jesus, has much more detail on this.  Pilate (as we’ll see) was not an easy sell:  he did believe Jesus innocent and recognized the trumped up charges but he bowed to the will of the people (Matthew 27:17-19).

The biggest irony that gets me is Jesus is condemned by the people whom he came to save and had only shown mercy and love to.  Who amongst us would do that?

Judas was sorry for the result of his sin, not sorry for the actual sin itself.  He didn’t want Jesus to die; but, he would have sold him out again if given the chance.

By throwing the money at the priests, Judas was saying they were guilty as well.  The priests would not touch the money now even though it was theirs to begin with (hypocrisy, anyone?).

A burial ground was considered unclean.  Hence, it suited the priests to use the money for that purpose.

Some scholars say the fact Judas hung himself is a contradiction of Acts 1:18-19 where Judas fell headlong and his body burst open.  If Judas hung himself, his body would not be defiled so it wouldn’t have been touched.  Hence, it might have been thrown into the field and left to rot and spill open.

There is also controversy about the quote at the end of the passage attributed to Jeremiah because it appears in the book of Zechariah 11:12-13 instead.  Some say this was just a clerical error when copying of the Bible took place.  Some say Zechariah was the one who recorded Jeremiah’s words.  Some think both the books of Jeremiah and Zechariah were recorded at the same time and thus appeared in one book, so Matthew was referring to the same book when he wrote his.

To me, this is a detail I can wait to discover.  God said it all so which prophet said it or recorded it is no big deal in my book.