BSF Study Questions John Lesson 11, Day 3: John 7:14-39

Summary of passage:  Still at the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus preaches.  All were impressed by his learning and Jesus says it comes from God and if you work for God it is truth, not honor for yourself.  Jesus says the people are trying to kill him, which they deny and say he is demon-possessed.  Jesus points out their hypocrisy, saying circumcision can be performed on the Sabbath but not his healing of a man who could not walk.

There are many who doubt he is the Christ, especially since they know Jesus and where he came from.  Jesus says he is from God.  Many try to seize him but they can’t because it is not Jesus’ time yet.  Some believed in him.  The Pharisees sent guards to arrest him.  Jesus says how he is only here for a short time and where he goes, they cannot come.  No one understood he was speaking of his death and resurrection.

Jesus continues speaking and on the last day of the Feast repeats his call for those thirsty to come to him and receive streams of living water or the Spirit.

Questions:

5)  Those who speak on his own do so to gain honor for himself but those who work for God speak the truth.  Those working for God will know his teaching is from God.

6a)  Healed the man who could not walk.  Keeping the Sabbath holy and doing no work.

b)  That they are hypocrites and do not follow the law of Moses and basically interpret it however they want.

7a)  God’s.  They didn’t know him because they don’t know God.  Men are of the devil, the darkness, corrupt, and blind to Him.  Their hearts are not His.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  All the difference.  I am inept on my own.  With him anything is possible.

Conclusions:  I love how Jesus points out man’s hypocrisy over and over again and points out their hearts to them.  If you don’t know God, you won’t know Jesus.  If you don’t know Jesus, you won’t know God.  And the Holy Spirit will never come either.  Love it!

End Notes:  The Jewish leaders questions Jesus’ credentials since they cannot question his content.  Jesus had never been the disciple of a recognized Jewish teacher.  Jesus never says he’s self-taught.  He’s God taught.  Just reading the words won’t cut it.  You have to obey God and the words will infiltrate your heart.

“The Jews” are distinct from “the crowds” (verse 12)–all of which are Jews.  “The Jews” usually refer to the leadership.

In this Gospel, only God is spoken of as “being” and Jesus (here).

Jesus tells them how he always keeps the law and none of them do.  Yet he is the one they are trying to kill when they are the guilty ones.

The “crowd” didn’t know Jesus was being sought for his healing of the man by the well so they thought he was crazy thinking he was wanted. They weren’t the leadership or those who knew of the plot.  The accusation of “demon-possessed” seems to have been a popular one back in the day as it shows up again in John in 8:48-52; 10:20-21)

Circumcision can be major surgery if one is older.  Jesus is saying you are cutting people on the Sabbath and I am making them whole.  Appearances can be deceptive (hence Justice wears a blindfold).

He cites the law of circumcision (Leviticus 12:3; Exodus 12:44) to show that work was done on the Sabbath, necessary work, which deeds of mercy fall into.  This law actually went back to Abraham (Genesis 17:10-12).  His point was that the leadership did not understand what the Sabbath meant.

The people from Jerusalem know Jesus is a wanted man and are wondering why he is still preaching.

Doubt of the Messiah again is routed in the Bible but twisted with man’s preconceived ideas of the Word.  Malachi 3:1 says that God’s messenger will come suddenly to the temple.  This was the kind of saying that made them think the Messiah would come out of nowhere to show Himself to Israel.  That he would just appear and be a magical being.  Even though God’s Word never says this this is the idea the Jews have built up in their minds.

Jesus is probably being sarcastic in verse 28.  “You know me; yet, you doubt!”  Jesus repeats he is from God.

Jesus could not be arrested until his time had come.  Till then he was protected by God. (John 7:46)

Many believed.  After all, who could do as much as Jesus has already done?

Jesus assures the temple guards he will go away–at the appointed time.

The people did not understand Jesus was speaking of heaven so they guessed the Greeks.  From the time of the exile, many jews lived outside the Holy Land and could be found in most cities throughout the Roman Empire.

The Feast of Tabernacles lasted eight days.  During the  first seven days water from the Pool of Siloam was carried in a golden pitcher and poured out at the altar to remind everyone of the water God miraculously provided for a thirsty Israel in the wilderness.  Most probably on the eighth day there was no pouring of water – only prayers for water – to remind them that they came into the Promised Land.

On the eighth day the people ceased to dwell in the tabernacles and was probably no feasting. Philo says it was a solemn conclusion.

This was the last feast-time Jesus would spend in Jerusalem before the Passover of His death. This was the last day of the last feast; the last time He would speak to many of them before His crucifixion.

Notice Jesus said IN A LOUD VOICE.  This was the most important thing he said the entire time so you’d better listen (personally, I can’t picture Jesus screaming so this must have been a sight!).  Also, teachers usually sat so Jesus standing was to draw attention.

The celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles emphasized how God provided water to Israel in the wilderness on their way to Canaan. Jesus boldly called people to Himself to drink and satisfy their deepest thirst, their spiritual thirst.

Anyone is invited.  Since there is no water being poured out on the 8th day of the feast, this was an impressive statement indeed.  Jesus is the water.

Drinking is a common act.  All of us can drink.  But do we drink of the right stuff?

If you trust in Jesus, living water will flow from your heart and into your life and the life of those around you. Revelation 22:1 (which was not written yet at this time) speaks of waters flowing after the End Times perpetually.  What a picture!

The Greek is “out of the belly”.

Zechariah that one day a fountain would be open to the house of David, and living waters would go out from Jerusalem (Zechariah 13:1, 14:8); and of Isaiah that God would pour water upon the thirsty (Isaiah 44:3, 55:1).

The Spirit is not yet given until after the Ascension and Pentecost (Acts 2)

“Given” was added.  The true meaning is “it was not yet spirit”.  It is more a sense of “working” and “dispensation”.

“Glorified” is Jesus’ exaltation, crucifixion, and resurrection.  The fullness of the Spirit’s work depends on Jesus’ prior work of salvation.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 11, Day 4: Joel 2:28-3:21

Summary of passage:  Joel 2:28-32: After the people repent, God will pour out His Spirit on them.  He will show wonders in heaven and earth and everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Joel 3:1-21:  God will gather all nations and judge them.  The Lord will take vengeance on those who have done wrong against His people Israel.  He will sell their sons and daughters to the people of Judah like their enemies did to the Israelites.  God will dwell with His people in Zion and Jerusalem while other places will be desolate.

Questions:

10a)  Peter repeated the fact that all believers will receive the Holy Spirit indwelt “in the last days.”

b)  It serves as a sign to those of us here on earth that the Second Coming is upon us.  It also is a sign to non-believers that this is your last chance to come to Him.

11a)  After Jesus, the Holy Spirit now leads all believers.  Hence, any Christian throughout history could be said to have made an impact in some way.  I’m thinking of Joan of Arc, all the Popes, all of England’s kings and queens, the Crusades, other holy wars (think Protestants versus Catholics), Constantine, etc.

Genesis tells us the Holy Spirit created the world.  John tells the Spirit will give access to the kingdom of God to believers and lead us to truth.  2 Peter 1 tells us the Holy Sprit allows us to hear prophecy.  Now that Jesus is gone, God works through people; people make history according to God’s plan through the power of the Holy Spirit.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It prompts me to write.  To work for Him and His goals.  To teach my children about him.  To be more like Jesus.  Whatever you are doing for God is powered by and driven by the Holy Spirit.

12a)  Part personal question.  My answer:  Those who call on the name of the Lord will be saved, delivered, and be among the survivors.  It means I don’t have to worry about the future for I will be saved.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We’ve had this question before.  In order to be comforted, you have to be distressed or grieved, troubled or worried.  I’m just not when it comes to the End Times.  Never have been.  Hence, Joel doesn’t comfort me.

Conclusions:  I just did a recent poll on my sidebar, asking if you were afraid of the End Times.  53% of you said “No, not at all.”  Another 21 % said “a little” and only 8 % said “yes, a lot.”

I live my life day to day.  Sure, I plan for the future.  But I don’t worry about it.  God is there, and He will always be there.  I’m wondering if people do worry about the end of the world.  I just don’t.  If it happens, there won’t be anything you can do about it.  Philippians 4:6-7 is my mantra: “Do not be anxious about anything…and the peace of God…will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

End Notes:  Joel’s greatest contribution is 2:28.  This prophecy is quoted in Acts 2:14-21 by Peter in his sermon on Pentecost after Jesus rose from the dead.  This was the first time the Spirit was predicted to be upon all believers.  Under the Old Covenant, the Spirit would come upon people to help them serve God (Judges 6:34; 1 Sam 16:13) for specific tasks only:  Joseph (Genesis 41:38), craftsmen (Exodus 31:3), Joshua (Numbers 27:18), Othniel (Judges 3:10), Gideon (Judges 6:34), Jephthah (Judges 11:29) Samson (Judges 13:5, 14:6, 14:19, 15:14), Saul (1 Samuel 10:9-10), and David (1 Samuel 16:13).

Under the New Covenant, we all have the Spirit.  Peter uses Joel’s prophecy to explain to all (and especially to those who thought the 120 were drunk after having received the Holy Spirit–Acts 2:13) that things are different now.  Both Joel and Peter say to repent first.  Then Peter says the Holy Spirit will come (Acts 2:38).

It is important to remember:  Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled, but not CONSUMMATED.  Pentecost ushered in the last days, which we are in.  We must now continue to watch for signs (like the wonders in heaven and earth and the sun and moon).

EVERYONE who calls on the Lord will be saved.  This includes the Gentiles.  God will not turn His back on anyone who calls on Him.  He wants us all.  The more you know God, trust God, and rely on God, the more He’ll know you and your ailments and be able to help you.

Joel 3:  Joel is talking about the Last Days here, continuing from the end of Joel 2, which began at the Ascension of Jesus and the birth of the church at Pentecost.  We are in the Last Days and remember God’s “day” is not our day for it’s been almost 2000 years since that time.

Verses 1-3 were fulfilled at the return of the exiles from Babylon.  The Babylonians did seize captives, divided them up by lots, and then traded them for prostitutes and wine.  Here, God will revenge this.  This passage has an immediate fulfillment and an End-Times fulfillment.

There is no “Valley of Jehoshaphat”.  Jehoshaphat must be figurative then which means “The Lord judges”.  This prophecy is foreshadowing the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:12-16) where all nations will gather for the final showdown with God.

The nations have mistreated His people, Israel, and the Church.  Here, God says He will avenge us.  Jesus says this will be a criteria for judgment  (Matthew 25:31-46).

God basically challenges the nations who come against Him, saying He will retaliate.  The Roman emperors beginning with Nero who persecuted Christians all were murdered or died horrible deaths.  Everyone who comes against Him will be crushed in judgment despite their preparations (Revelation 16:12-16).  God will laugh (Psalm 2:1-6).

“The winepress is full.”  Revelation 14:14-20 also uses this image of the winepress of the wrath of God to describe Jesus’ judgment on the nations at Armageddon.

“The valley of decision” is where God will decide man’s ultimate fate.  We decide to believe in Jesus and God decides the rest.

After God’s final victory, there will be abundance with water flowing (Ezekiel 47; Zechariah 14:8).

The valley of acacias (or valley of Shittim) saw both failure and victory in the Bible.  It’s located on the eastern side of the Jordan River to the north of the Dead Sea.  Here the King of Moab sent his young women to the men of Israel to seduce them into idolatry and sexual immorality (Numbers 25:1-3).  Here the armies of Israel set out against Jericho and Canaan (Joshua 2:1 and 3:1).

The idea is when water from the house of the LORD flows down to the valley of acacias, then God’s grace, mercy, and provision covers our past sins.

Joel begins with judgment (the locusts) and ends with redemption (The Lord dwells in Zion–the Holy Spirit).  Ezekiel ends the same way (The Lord is there).  How amazing!  It all ends by God’s side!

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 11, Day 3: Matthew 10:5-16

Summary of passage:  Jesus sends out his 12 disciples, telling them to go to the lost sheep of Israel and not the Gentiles and preach that Heaven is near.  They are to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse and drive out demons freely.    They are to take no gold for they will find shelter amongst the people.  Stay with worthy people and forget those who do not heed your message.  It will be like sheep among wolves so be shrewd and innocent.

Questions:

5a)  Jesus told the disciples to go to the lost sheep of Israel and to not go to the Gentiles or any in the town of the Samaritans.

b)  John 4:22:  The Samaritans worship what they do not know; the Jesus worship what they do know.  Basically, the Jews knew God and Jesus; the Samaritans did not.  Their time has not yet come (verses 21 & 23)

Matthew 28:19-20:  Jesus told them after his death to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all his commands.

Acts 1:8:  It’s all in God’s time for all (Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and all the ends of the earth) will be Jesus’ witnesses and receive the Holy Spirit.

Romans 1:16; 2:9-11:  Jesus came first for the Jews and then the Gentiles.

6a)  To go to Israel first, to preach the kingdom of heaven is near; to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and drive out demons.  To do this freely and rely on the people for your support.

b)  Freely you have received, freely give.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Probably poorly, I’ll admit.  I don’t like to give anything freely, really.  I must admit I have a heavy negative connotation with the word “free” because nothing is free in this life and it affects my giving.  I am stingy with my time, my kids, my resources, my abilities, my gifts, etc when I shouldn’t be.  Luckily, my husband is better at this so I can learn from him.

I do not have a naturally generous spirit.  Something I definitely need to pray about and work on.

d)  Everyone who believes in him.

7a)  Not to take any money for the journey and to rely on others for their keep.  Stay at the house of worthy people and ignore those who won’t heed the message.  Be shrewd and innocent.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To give more freely since everything I have is His anyways.  Be more serving.  To have a better attitude when I am called to serve.  To be open to His call.  Believe that I can do more than what I am doing; that I do have a bigger impact on others than just one out of billions on this earth.  Shake off the naysayers of this world and follow Him.  For God will deal with those later.

Conclusions:  I don’t understand BSF at times.  Both today and YESTERDAY the verses they sent us to were incomplete in my humble opinion.  If you read before and after, you’d get a deeper sense of what BSF is trying to teach.  In Question 5b, the point is that Jesus came first for the Jews and then for the Gentiles, which explains Jesus’ command in Matthew to not go to the Gentiles just yet.  It is clearer if you read more verses.

Yesterday, the same with the shepherd analogy especially the Jeremiah passage.  We see God as the shepherd and we see the failings of his chosen people (the Levites) to be the shepherds to the people.  But if we read more in the given passages, we’d have a greater understanding of that.

Please see my post on the SENDING OUT OF THE APOSTLES.  This was not mentioned at all by BSF (maybe in the notes) but I deemed it important enough to post a topic on it.

End Notes:  There was a ton of work to be done amongst God’s people first.  Yes, Jesus died for all but we must still remember Israel is God’s chosen people since the beginning of time.  He starts with them.

Jesus’ message is “the kingdom of heaven is near” which must be given freely with no expectation of monetary rewards by those bringing it.  Those who do not receive this message are responsible for their decision so do not worry about it:  shake it off.

Jesus warned they will face persecution; yet, they are to not retaliate and to use their wisdom to survive.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 11, Day 2: Matthew 9:35-10:4

Summary of passage:  After healing the blind and mute, Jesus then continued his ministry, preaching the good news and healing people all through his travels.  He had compassion on the throngs of people and realized he needed help so he told the disciples to pray for this.

Jesus gave his disciples the authority to drive out evil spirits and heal the sick.  The 12 disciples are:  Simon/Peter and Andrew, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew, James and Thaddaeus, Simon and Judas Iscariot.

Questions:

3a)  Because they were “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

b)  Psalm 23:1-3:  God provides all that we need.  He restores us and guides us in righteousness.

Isaiah 53:6; 1 Peter 2:24-25:  God takes away our iniquity for Himself, forgiven our sins, and allowed us to live for righteousness with Him.

Jeremiah 50:6,17:  Shepherds have led God’s people astray and Assyria and Babylon have devoured them. God will punish them for this and restore His people (read verses 18-20)

Ezekiel 34:5-16:  The Lord will be the people’s shepherd, searching for them and looking after them, rescue them and gather them and bring them unto their own land.  God will feed them and tend them, heal the injured, strengthen the weak, and bring back the lost.  He will be just.  God will punish the selfish shepherds who have disregarded His flock.  They will be punished and held accountable for their actions.

John 10:11-15:  Jesus is the good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep.  He knows his sheep and they know him.  He brings other sheep that are not his to him as well.  He lays down his life for the sake of his sheep.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This would be everyone who does not know and accept Jesus. It’s hard to say amongst acquaintances if this is the case but I do have family members that don’t know Jesus.  I would say the best bet is to have compassion on everyone just like Jesus did.  That way, you’ll never lose.

4a)  “Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field.”  We are to pray for God to send out evangelists for Him.

b)  “Authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness”

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We are all given a purpose from God in life and I believe we follow Him when we act on this purpose.  For me, I try to follow His call.  I feel I have a lot of calls on my life at the moment so it is becoming increasingly difficult to decide which to focus on.  So I pray a lot and listen and go with what I feel is Him and what is most important to Him.

Conclusions:  Important follow up to why Jesus heals:  not because he has to prove anything but because he feels our needs and desires and heals for our sake, not his.  Most of us are not gifted to heal others physically but we can show compassion to all and pray for healing, for God to perform a miracle.  For He hears.

End Notes:  God as shepherd is a favorite image that spoke to an agricultural society such as God’s people in ancient times.  We see this imagery from Jacob in Genesis 48:15 all the way to Revelation 7:17 and all in-between.

The religious leaders of that time were poor shepherds like Ezekiel described.  They were selfish, only caring for themselves, neglecting the flock, especially those injured, diseased, sick, or lost.  They plundered the people for their own gain and for that they will pay.

Jesus has come to set things right and be the caring shepherd the people desperately need.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 11, Day 4: Genesis 12:4-9 & Hebrews 11:1, 8-10, 15

Summary of passages:  Genesis 12:4-9:  Abram obeyed God and set out for Canaan at the age of 75 with his wife, Sarai, his nephew, Lot, and all the possessions and people they had acquired in Haran.

At the tree of Moreh at Shechem the Lord appeared to Abram and told him he will give Abram’s offspring this land (which was currently occupied by the Canaanites).  Abram built an altar there for the Lord.

Abram continued on his journey, stopping at Bethel to build an altar to the Lord and call upon his name and then continuing towards Negev.

Hebrews 11:1, 8-10, 15:  Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  Abraham had faith when he answered God’s call and traveled to Canaan to receive his inheritance even though he had no idea where he was going.  He moved to a strange land, lived in tents, and raised his family–all while looking forward to the city of God.  He was looking for God’s heavenly country and not a country on Earth.

Questions:

7a)  FAITH

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I think we all have experiences if we follow God most days of our lives.  For God is in the little things just as much as He is in the big things such as moving.  God wants all of us all the time.

I have been praying and praying about my husband’s job for he will be moved across country again.  I have been praying and praying about what God wants me to do with this talent I have.  The key is to respond in faith and live faith every day of your lives.  I homeschool my kids cause I believe that is God’s calling for me.  I write this blog every day as I believe that as well.  I write my heart into the stories I write and weave God into them through faith in Him and what He wants me to do with this life.

c)  “Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.”

8a)  Verse 4 (“So Abram left) and verse 5 (“took…all the possessions they had and the people.”

b)  God, Sarai, Lot, other people from Haran

9a)  “To your offspring I will give this land.”  So not only to Abram but to his kids as well.

b)  He built an altar and presumably worshiped God and offered sacrifices

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Through all my husband’s layoffs, we have been provided for.  All the moves have been in His plan.  Right now, I am doing my work in Faith.

10a)  He moved on to Bethel and built an altar to the Lord and called on His name and then he continued toward the Negev.  In essence, he continued following God’s plan for him.

b)  Colossians 1:23:  Continue your life in faith and not moved from the hope Jesus gave us.  Verse 22 adds we are reconciled to God through Christ if we continue in faith.

Colossians 2:6-7:  Continue to live in Christ Jesus, rooted in him, strong faith in him, and overflowing thankfulness in him.

Hebrews 6:1:  Continue to mature in Christ, continue faith in God and repenting from acts that lead to death

Hebrews 10:35-38:  Persevere in God’s will for your life so you will receive what He has promised and live by faith.  Have confidence in what God is doing with you.

1 Peter 2:2:  Continue to grow in God’s goodness (verse 3) and in your confidence in your salvation by craving God’s goodness and purity

Conclusions:  BSF should subtitle the Study of Genesis as the Study of Hebrews.

If you haven’t gotten it yet, Abram was FAITHFUL.

However, IMPORTANT NOTE:  Abram did not obey God fully.  The Lord says in verse 1 “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household”.  Abram did not do this.  He brought Lot and other people from Haran with him.  We will soon see how Lot turned out.  Like the rest of us, Abram is human, too.

Also, a big deal is made in Hebrews about tents.  Even today people who live in tents are travelers, not permanent settlers.  Like when you go camping.  You pitch a temporary home.  The writer of Hebrews is trying to drill that point home.  Abraham lived in tents because he was looking forward to his permanent home in God’s kingdom, heaven.  He could have built a house once he settled but he didn’t.  He was just passing through this world.

End Note:  Map of Negev HERE.  The Negev is a desert region in Israel where Abram was headed.  It still is called the Negev today.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 11, Day 3: Genesis 12:1-3

Summary of passage:  God calls Abram to leave his country (Mesopotamia) for the land He will show Him (Canaan).  God promises Abram to make him into a great nation and He will bless him.  He will bless those who bless him and curse those who curse him. ALL people on earth will be blessed through Abram.

Questions:

5a)  I (I being God) will:

1) Make you into a great nation.  This is the Jewish People and the Old Testament chronicles this through Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and down to Christ. Genesis 13:16

2)  Bless you.  Philippians 4:19  “God will meet all your needs…in Christ Jesus.”

3)  Make your name great.  Abram is honored by Jews, Muslims, and Christians.  I would wager most people know who he is.

4)  You will be a blessing.  Matthew 28:19-20.  I think the biggest blessing we can be is to tell others about Jesus.

5)  Bless those who bless you.  Matthew 16:19

6)  Curse those who curse you.  I see this in God’s punishment of the nations who are against Israel (Babylon, Assyria, etc) as attested throughout the Bible, history, and today.

7)  All peoples on earth will be blessed through you.  Through Jesus and our faith the Gentiles are children of Abraham. Galatians 3: 7-9, 14-18,29, Genesis 22:18, Acts 3:25-26

b) I’m using Genesis 17 for all of these, where God re-affirms His covenant with Abram (ham) and gives him the sign of circumcision to seal the covenant.  Joshua 21:43-45 confirms Israel took the land and that “every one (promise) was fulfilled.”

6a)  Ephesians 1:3:  Every spiritual blessing

b)  Ephesians 1:18:  Know the hope He has called us to and the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints

c)  Ephesians 2:6-7:  Raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realm; Shows us the incomparable riches of His grace

d)  1 Corinthians 2:9-10: We receive His Spirit so we may know what God has prepared for those who love Him (us)

e)  Psalm 16:5-6, 11:  We have an assigned portion that is secure and pleasant which is a delightful inheritance.  Know the path of life, the joy in your presence, eternal pleasures

Conclusions:  A lot of looking up and researching with the challenge question.  Writing out God’s promises is a powerful reminder that God is for us–not against us (Romans 8:31).  He is our greatest cheerleader and our greatest protector against the enemy.  God is good despite all the bad that sometimes surrounds us.

With these promises, He expects us to be a blessing.  We must show God’s love.  Always.