Adult Sunday School

Current Lesson:

John 2:12-25 The Authority of Jesus

1. How can Jesus, who is elsewhere described as being gentle (Matthew 11:29, 2 Corinthians 10:1, Matthew 12:20), take these actions in the temple?

 

2. How does verse 18 relate to Jesus turning water into wine in verses 1-11?

 

3.  What is the sign that Jesus promises them here? 

 

4. What does it mean for Jesus to know all people?


Lesson Archive:

2 Kings 5:1-19a "I thought that he would..."

1.  What background information are we given about Naaman? 

 

2. Describe the attitude of the servant girl.  How did she come to live with Naaman and his wife?  How has this affected her relationship with God?  Is her attitude what you would expect it to be in light of her life circumstances?

 

3. How does Joram, King of Israel respond the request he received from the King of Aram?  How would you have responded if you were in a similar situation?  Also, what do we learn about Joram in 2 Kings 3:1-3?  Does Joram respond in the way you would expect having read 2 Kings 3:2?

 

4. When Naaman is given instructions by Elisha’s servant Gehazi, how does he respond (and why does he respond this way)?

 

5. How is Naaman convinced to dip in the Jordan? 

 

6. What is Naaman’s reaction after being healed? 

 

7. Why does Elisha refuse any reward for Naaman’s healing?


2 Kings 5:1-19a "I thought that he would..." (with answers)

1.  What background information are we given about Naaman? 

He had leprosy (a contagious skin disease).

Biblically leprosy is a type/representation/symbol of sin.

 

He was a soldier.

The Lord had given him victory (even though he didn’t know or follow the Lord).

He was successful and powerful.

He was highly regarded by his king.

He was not a Jew (he was from Aram).

 

He did not know God or believe in Him until he was healed.

  

2. Describe the attitude of the servant girl.  How did she come to live with Naaman and his wife?  How has this affected her relationship with God?  Is her attitude what you would expect it to be in light of her life circumstances?

 

She was captured by the soldiers of Aram.

She was now a servant/slave.

She believed in God.  She had faith.

Her circumstances did not change her confidence in the Lord.

She was not angry or bitter.

She was humble.

She showed kindness to Naaman.

 

She knew about God and about the prophet Elisha.

When we find ourselves in a situation we don’t want to be in, we should still show kindness to others, and do all things as unto the Lord, and we should still share the Good News.

 

3. How does Joram, King of Israel respond the request he received from the King of Aram?  How would you have responded if you were in a similar situation?  Also, what do we learn about Joram in 2 Kings 3:1-3?  Does Joram respond in the way you would expect having read 2 Kings 3:2?

 

He was indignant (how dare you?).

He was confused (he was asked to do the impossible).

He knew that he was not God and could not heal people.

He was stressed.

He was angry.

He was scared/frightened (he thought the king of Aram was trying to start a war).

He was suspicious.

This response shows that he lacked faith… he was relying only on his own strength.

 

He did not keep Elisha near.  He did not actively seek God’s leading or want God to be close to him.

 

He wanted to worship God without having to obey Him.

  

4. When Naaman is given instructions by Elisha’s servant Gehazi, how does he respond (and why does he respond this way)?

 

He believes Elisha is not understanding how important he is.

He expected Elisha to be impressed by his money and gifts (and power).

He thought he could buy his healing.

He got defensive (of his pride).

He was angry.

His expectations for what would happen had not been met.

He did not have faith in God, yet.

What he has been asked to do sounds silly (it doesn’t make sense from a human perspective).

 

The Gospel also leads to unmet expectations, and ignores wealth and power, and seems silly or doesn’t make sense.

  

Why might Elisha not have gone out to Naaman?

To show that it is God who heals, not Elisha.

 

5. How is Naaman convinced to dip in the Jordan? 

 

His servant convinces him (he listens to his servant).

The servant reasons with him (using logic).

 

6. What is Naaman’s reaction after being healed?  

 

He was joyful.

He was very grateful.

He doesn’t understand completely, but he does know that he has been healed by God (like the man born blind who was healed by Jesus).

All the credit goes to God, not to Elisha.

He decides to follow God.

He doesn’t magically understand all the things of God, but he decides to follow Him to the best of his understanding.

He recognizes that he will have to compromise as part of his job, and he seeks forgiveness for this.

 

 7. Why does Elisha refuse any reward for Naaman’s healing?

 

He is humble.

He lived out his faith rather than relying on money.

Elisha knew that he would be in trouble with God if he accepted the gift.

He doesn’t need silver and gold, he trusts the Lord to provide him.

He is not for hire (like Baalam was in Numbers 22).

He is making the statement that he didn’t heal Naaman, God did.

Elisha didn’t earn the money.

He is trying to teach Naaman about what God values (and it’s not what Naaman expected God to value).

You can’t buy what God has given freely.


Image of gold bars.

2 Kings 5:19b-27 "I will… get something from him"

1. What motivated Gehazi to trick Naaman this way?

 

2. In verse 25 Elisha asks Gehazi a question instead of simply confronting him right away.  Why might he do this?  Can you think of any similar questions that were asked in the Bible?

 

3. The penalty/punishment/consequences that Gehazi receives are quite severe.  Is this penalty just?  Consider other harsh penalties imposed by God: Genesis 3 (Adam and Eve), Number 20 (Moses and Aaron), Joshua 7 (Achan), Mark 11 (a fig tree), Acts 5 (Ananias and Saphira).  In each of these situations, why did God act so harshly?

 

4.  Matthew 10:28 (Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.) puts each of these punishments into perspective.  In light of this, why might God have been willing to respond so harshly in some situations?

 

5.  Why doesn’t God always act this severely is a question asked by Job in Job 21:7, and by Jeremiah in Jeremiah 12:1?  What might be the answer to this question?


2 Kings 5:19b-27 "I will… get something from him" (with answers)

1. What motivated Gehazi to trick Naaman this way?

 

He was tempted.

He was greedy.

He didn’t care about Naaman or Elisha.

He felt Elisha was too easy on Naaman.  He may have prejudiced against (because he was an Aramean or because he was wealthy).

He forgot that he was supposed to serve the Lord/represent the Lord (he only saw himself as Elisha’s servant).

He justified to himself that was OK to lie.  “The ends justify the means.”

Unlike Elisha who maintained his love for God above his love for himself.

 

2. In verse 25 Elisha asks Gehazi a question instead of simply confronting him right away.  Why might he do this?  Can you think of any similar questions that were asked in the Bible?

 

This gives Gehazi a chance to “come clean” and repent.

He gave him the chance to be honest.

 

Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:9,11)

Motivation: Knowledge.

                   Being like God.

                   It looked tasty.

                   They justified what they were doing before they acted.

Response: Adam blamed Eve.

                Eve blamed the Serpant.

 

Cain (Genesis 4:9)

Motivation: Jealousy.

                   He wanted his way instead of God’s.

Response: he lied

 

Saphira (Acts 5:8)

Motivation: Greed.

                   Loyalty to her husband above God.

                   Wanted to be seen by people and well thought of.

                   They probably justified it as being “mostly true” or “kind of true.”  “It’s not hurting

                   anyone.”

Response: she lied

 

 

3. The penalty/punishment/consequences that Gehazi receives are quite severe.  Is this penalty just?  Consider other harsh penalties imposed by God: Genesis 3 (Adam and Eve), Number 20 (Moses and Aaron), Joshua 7 (Achan), Mark 11 (a fig tree), Acts 5 (Ananias and Saphira).  In each of these situations, why did God act so harshly?

 

Gehazi gets a disease.

Gehazi will be an outcast for the rest of his life.

Gehazi’s family also gets a disease and will be outcasts.

Elisha loses a servant.

 

Yes, this is just.

Gehazi has dishonored and misrepresented God.

It could have mislead Naaman about the nature of God, and all the other Asyrians that Naaman would talk to.

 

4.  Matthew 10:28 (Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.) puts each of these punishments into perspective.  In light of this, why might God have been willing to respond so harshly in some situations?

 

God hates sin (but we’re all sinners).

God needed to make an example out of this situation.

Most of these examples are at the beginning of some thing that God was doing, so it was particularly important to set an example.

The most severe consequence on Earth is nothing compared to spending eternity in Hell.  From God’s perspective, leprosy and even death are not anywhere near the most dire consequences.

 

5.  Why doesn’t God always act this severely is a question Asked by Job in Job 21:7, and by Jeremiah in Jeremiah 12:1?  What might be the answer to this question?

2 Peter 3:10 “not wanting anyone to perish”

God wants to see everyone saved.  He does give everyone the opportunity.

God does not supernaturally intervene in every situation in life (he created a universe and it can run without Him intervening in everything).

He wants us to have free will (so that we can freely choose Him).

God has an eternal perspective, and waiting before judging is OK for Him to do.

If He punished each of our sins right away, there would be no sinners (people) left.

God is forgiving and merciful.

Psalm 86:5, Psalm 86:15, Jonah 4:2, Exodus 34:6 and Psalm 145:8  - God is slow to anger and abounding in love.

Romans 5:8 and Romans 5:10 – While we were God’s enemies and sinning against Him, Christ died for us.

Romans 6:23 – the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.


He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD

2 Kings 18:1-12 "In the Eyes of the Lord"

1. There is a tendency to blame or credit a father for the character and actions of his son.  What kind of a King was Ahaz (and how did he influence his son)?

  

2. Verse 3 says that Hezekiah “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.”  What specifically did Hezekiah do?  What have you done (that is, could this phrase be applied to you)?

  

3.  What is the bronze snake referred to in verse 4?  Why did Hezekiah need to destroy something that was created by Moses in obedience to the Lord?  What lesson can we take away from this?

 

4.  In spite of the high praise given to Hezekiah in this passage, he was not perfect.  What are some examples of how Hezekiah failed?  What lesson can we learn from these failures?

  

5.  In verses 9-12 we see Hezekiah and Judah contrasted with Hoshea and Israel/Samaria.  How do their actions and attitudes compare?  What was the end result for Hezekiah, and what was the end result for Hoshea and Israel? 

2 Kings 18:1-12 "In the Eyes of the Lord" (with answers)

1. There is a tendency to blame or credit a father for the character and actions of his son.  What kind of a King was Ahaz (and how did he influence his son)?

 

From Chapter 16 (and 2 Chronicles 28):

Ahaz did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord.

He copied the Kings of Israel in their idolatry.

He sacrificed his son in the fire.

He burned incense at the high places and under every spreading tree (as if he was seeking the favor of any god he could find).

He closed the temple (and took away the furnishings).

He was unfaithful to the Lord (and became increasingly unfaithful throughout his reign).

He sacrificed to the gods of Damascus who had defeated him.

He made idols for worshiping the Baals.

He prompted wickedness in Judah.


Ahaz was an example of what not to do.

  

2. Verse 3 says that Hezekiah “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.”  What specifically did Hezekiah do?  What have you done (that is, could this phrase be applied to you)?

From 2 Kings 18-20 and 2 Chronicles 29-32 and Isaiah 36-39:

He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles.

He broke the bronze serpent that Moses made because the people were worshipping it.

He reopened the Temple.

He trusted the Lord.

He followed the Lord (and did not cease to follow Him).

He obeyed the Lord.

He kept the commands given through Moses (that is, he followed what was written in God’s Word).

He offered sacrifices to the Lord (from his personal treasury… these were true sacrifices).

He rebelled against/ refused to serve the king of Assyria.

He fought against and was victorious against the Philistines.

He prayed to the Lord.

He invited all Israel (both kingdoms) to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem.

He commissioned the Levites to again serve in the Temple.

He had other acts of devotion.

 

He was successful in whatever he undertook because the Lord was with him.

 

3.  What is the bronze snake referred to in verse 4?  Why did Hezekiah need to destroy something that was created by Moses in obedience to the Lord?  What lesson can we take away from this?

 

The snake was a symbol for the Israelites to look to and be healed (Numbers 21:4-9).

God had sent snakes as a punishment, but looking to the bronze snake lifted that punishment.

It was an act of faith to look at the snake.

It was a reminder not to complain.

It was a reminder of God’s power.

 

It is also used as a symbol to represent Jesus (that He must be lifted up, and that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life).

 

It had become an idol.  It took their worship from God.

It was easier to look to the snake than it was to look to God.

It was something tangible.

It may have become an object of superstition.

The people had gotten away from God’s Word.

 

Many traditions become this thing that we serve and they lose their original meaning.

 

4.  In spite of the high praise given to Hezekiah in this passage, he was not perfect.  What are some examples of how Hezekiah failed?  What lesson can we learn from these failures?

 

He tried to make up with the King of Assyria after rebelling against him.

He tried to bribe the King of Assyria with the gold from the Temple (lack of faith).

He showed off to God’s enemies (emissaries from Babylon).

 

Beware of fear.

Beware of pride.

We need to trust God instead of walking in our own strength.

We should not trust God’s enemies (that is, we should not trust the world).

 

Despite these failings, we are still told the Hezekiah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, like no one else had.  We should not dismiss the accomplishments of godly people just because they stumble.  And we should not dismiss the people themselves either.

  

5.  In verses 9-12 we see Hezekiah and Judah contrasted with Hoshea and Israel/Samaria.  How do their actions and attitudes compare?  What was the end result for Hezekiah, and what was the end result for Hoshea and Israel?

 

The people of Samaria did the complete opposite of Hezekiah.

They did not obey the commands of the Lord.

They violated the covenant.

They worshipped idols (both to false gods and idols that supposedly represented God).


Psalm 16 "I Have Set the LORD Always Before Me"

1.  Consider verses 1,2,5,7,8,10 and 11.  What does this Psalm say about the LORD? 

 

2.  What does this Psalm say about David?  How should this encourage and inspire us in our walk with Him?

 

3.  Peter quotes verses 8-11 in Acts 2:22-33.  In what context is Peter giving these remarks?  What point is he trying to make?

 

4. Paul quotes verse 10b in Acts 13:32-39.  In what context is Paul giving these remarks?  What point is he trying to make?


Psalm 16 "I Have Set the LORD Always Before Me" (with answers)

1.     Consider verses 1,2,5,7,8,10 and 11.  What does this Psalm say about the LORD?

(vs 1) He is a Protector, as safe place, a refuge, a safe harbor, and He is trustworthy.

(vs 2) He is a personal God (my Lord).

(vs 2) He is the Giver of everything that is good.

(vs 2) He is inherently good.

(vs 3) God has people/saints who belong to Him.

(vs4)There are consequences for believing in other Gods/ not trusting in God.

(vs 5) He is sovereign.  He is in charge.

(vs 5) He is a Provider.

(vs 6) He is our inheritance, reserved in Heaven for us.

(vs 7) He counsels us.  He is a Wonderful Counselor.  He opens His Word to us.  He comforts us.

(vs 7) God has written His Word in our hearts, so we can be instructed even at night.

(vs 7) He is worthy of praise.

(vs 8) He is at David’s right hand and can be at our right hand.

(vs 8) He takes away fear.  In many Psalms we see David expressing at the beginning how shaken he can be, but by the end he has his eyes back on God, and the fear is gone. 

(vs 8) God is near to us.

(vs 9) We can rest in Him.

(vs10) He will not abandon us to the grave.

(vs 10) He is Holy.

(vs10,11) God provides eternal life for us.

(vs 11)He has given us His Word.

(vs 11) He is eternal.

(vs 11) He guides us.

(vs 11) He is the source of our joy.

 

2.  What does this Psalm say about David?  How should this encourage and inspire us in our walk with Him?

David is persecuted (so we, too, can expect persecution).

David is full of faith.  He believes.  He knows.  He trusts (and so should we).

He knows the LORD (YHWH), and he recognizes that He is his Lord.

David understands his own sinfulness (my goodness is nothing apart from you).  Any goodness that comes from us has only an earthly value, not an eternal value.

He expects God to answer his prayers.

He puts his trust in God… not in his mighty men, not in his own strength or power.

He will worship the Lord.  He chooses the LORD.

He makes a deliberate act of his will, deciding ahead of time how he will respond in hard times.

He will not worship other gods.

He recognizes the consequences for choosing other gods. 

He does not seek the favor of those who are not followers of God.

He has a relationship with others who know and follow the Lord.  He delights in other believers.

The Gospel reaches across geographic, political, racial, economic, etc. barriers.

David knows that God has assigned certain things for him, and that they cannot be taken away. (1 Peter 1:3-4)

George Whitfield: We are immortal until the work on Earth is done.

 

3. Peter quotes verses 8-11 in Acts 2:22-33.  In what context is Peter giving these remarks?  What point is he trying to make?

Peter is speaking to the crowd on Pentecost.

He is saying that Jesus alive.  And that this was prophesied.

He proves that Jesus is Messiah.

David’s body is still in the ground, but Jesus is not (His body did not see corruption).

There is joy and life in following Jesus.

David was a prophet.

David knew what God would do.

Jesus has poured out the Holy Spirit on us.

 

4. Paul quotes verse 10b in Acts 13:32-39.  In what context is Paul giving these remarks?  What point is he trying to make?

This is part of Paul’s first missionary journey.

He is speaking in the synagogue (and he was welcome to do so).

Paul is speaking boldly of the Gospel.

The forgiveness of sins is possible through Jesus.

Eternal life is available through Jesus alone.

God is faithful to keep His promises.  He does not change.

This is the same Gospel that Peter shared in Acts 2.

Paul is affirming that Peter spoke the Truth. 

He is speaking to Jews, so he quotes three different Psalms.


Psalm 22   "Eloi Eloi Lama Sabachthani" (2022)

1. Since we, in 21st Century America, do not know what the tune of “Doe of the Morning” sounds like, why might this heading be included in God’s Word?

  

2.  What do we learn about God from verses 4,5,9 and 28?

  

3.  The opening words of this Psalm were quoted by Jesus while he was being crucified (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34).  Why might He have chosen these words to say at that time?

  

4.  Although it was written by King David, this Psalm is clearly about the Messiah and the suffering that He would endure.  What details from this Psalm do you see fulfilled in Jesus and in His crucifixion?

  

5.  The Messiah’s enemies are compared to several types of animals in this Psalm.  What animals are mentioned in this Psalm, and what symbolism might be implied by these types of animals?

  

6.  Verse 22 is quoted by in Hebrews 2:12.  What point is the author of Hebrews trying to make in Hebrews 2:11-18?

Psalm 22   "Eloi Eloi Lama Sabachthani" (with 2022 answers) 

1.  What do we learn about God from verses 3,4,5,9 and 28?

We can have a personal relationship with Him.  He is personal.  He is relational.

He hears.

He is enthroned as the Holy One.

1.  What do we learn about God from verses 3,4,5,9 and 28?

We can have a personal relationship with Him.  He is personal.  He is relational.

He hears.

He is enthroned as the Holy One.

He is the Praise of Israel.

He has always been.  He is eternal.

He is the First Cause.

He is self-existent.

He is trustworthy.

He is able to rescue.  He helps.

He is faithful.

He never fails.

He is our Savior.

He is sovereign.  He is the ruler over all the nations.

 

2.  The opening words of this Psalm were quoted by Jesus while he was being crucified (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34).  Why might He have chosen these words to say at that time?

The Father has turned away from Him, because Jesus became sin for us. 

Jesus was feeling the separation from the Father.  He knew He was alone, and separated from the Father.

It says that He is the One the Scripture spoke of.  That He is the fullfillment of this prophetic Psalm.  He is the One that David wrote about (David wrote about this, even though crucifixion had not been invented when he wrote it).

This also ties in with Isaiah 53.

  

3.  Although it was written by King David, this Psalm is clearly about the Messiah and the suffering that He would endure.  What details from this Psalm do you see fulfilled in Jesus and in His crucifixion?

Jesus is the Holy One of God.  He is the praise of Israel (Palm Sunday).

The Father delights in him.

The Father did hide His face from Jesus while Jesus became sin for us.

God did not despise or disdain Him.

The Psalm was written, but it was ultimately fulfilled by the Son of David

They cast lots for his clothing and divided his garments.

He was mocked and insulted.

             “He trusts in the Lord, let the Lord rescue him.”

He was despised by the people.

None of his bones were broken (he could count all his bones).

His mouth was dry… Jesus said “I thirst”

They pierced his hands and his feet.

Jesus is praised from the great assembly, and from a people who were not yet born.

Verses 29-31

  

4.  The Messiah’s enemies are compared to several types of animals in this Psalm.  What animals are mentioned in this Psalm, and what symbolism might be implied by these types of animals?

Bulls – strong and powerful.  They also can be quite stubborn.  And aggressive.

Wild oxen – they have horns to gore.  They are wild.  They are strong.

Dogs – come in packs that surround their prey.  They bare their teeth.  Dogs make a lot of noise to scare thir victims.  They were unclean.  Dogs can be trained.

Lion – Loud.  Strong.  They attack and devour their prey.

  

5.  Verse 22 is quoted by in Hebrews 2:12.  What point is the author of Hebrews trying to make in Hebrews 2:11-18?

Jesus became a man like us, not an Angel.


Psalm 22   "Eloi Eloi Lama Sabachthani" (2021)

1.  What do we learn about God from verses 4,5,9 and 28?

  

2.  The opening words of this Psalm were quoted by Jesus while he was being crucified (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34).  Why might He have chosen these words to say at that time?

  

3.  Although it was written by King David, this Psalm is clearly about the Messiah and the suffering that He would endure.  What details from this Psalm do you see fulfilled in Jesus and in His crucifixion?

  

4.  The Messiah’s enemies are compared to several types of animals in this Psalm.  What animals are mentioned in this Psalm, and what symbolism might be implied by these types of animals?

  

5.  Verse 22 is quoted by in Hebrews 2:12.  What point is the author of Hebrews trying to make in Hebrews 2:11-18?


Psalm 22   "Eloi Eloi Lama Sabachthani" (with 2021 answers)  

1.  What do we learn about God from verses 3,4,5,9 and 28?

We can have a personal relationship with Him.  He is personal.  He is relational.

He hears.

He is enthroned as the Holy One.

He is the Praise of Israel.

He has always been.  He is eternal.

He is the First Cause.

He is self-existent.

He is trustworthy.

He is able to rescue.  He helps.

He is faithful.

He never fails.

He is our Savior.

He is sovereign.  He is the ruler over all the nations.

 

2.  The opening words of this Psalm were quoted by Jesus while he was being crucified (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34).  Why might He have chosen these words to say at that time?

The Father has turned away from Him, because Jesus became sin for us. 

Jesus was feeling the separation from the Father.  He knew He was alone, and separated from the Father.

It says that He is the One the Scripture spoke of.  That He is the fulfillment of this prophetic Psalm.  He is the One that David wrote about (David wrote about this, even though crucifixion had not been invented when he wrote it).

This also ties in with Isaiah 53.

  

3.  Although it was written by King David, this Psalm is clearly about the Messiah and the suffering that He would endure.  What details from this Psalm do you see fulfilled in Jesus and in His crucifixion?

Jesus is the Holy One of God. 

Jesus trusted in the Father from His mother’s womb.

He is the praise of Israel (The Triumphal Entry – Matthew 21:4-11, Matthew 21:14-16, Mark 11:8-11, Luke 19:37-40, John 12:12-19).

The Father delights in him (Matthew 3:16-17, Matthew 17:5, Mark 1: 9-11, Mark 9:7, Luke 3:21-22).

The Father did hide His face from Jesus while Jesus became sin for us (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34). 

God did not despise or disdain Him (Acts 2:33).

The Psalm was written by David, but it was ultimately fulfilled by the Son of David (Matthew 21:30-31, Matthew 21:9, Mark 10:47-48, Luke 19:38-39, Acts 2:30).

They cast lots for his clothing and divided his garments (Matthew 27:35, Mark 15:24, Luke 22:34b, John 19:23-24).

He was mocked and insulted (Matthew 27:27-31, Mark 15:16-21, Mark 15:29-32, Luke 23:35-37, Luke 23:39).

             “He trusts in the Lord, let the Lord rescue him.” (Matthew 27:41-44).

He was despised by the people (Luke 23:23, John 19:15).

He is surrounded by His enemies (the bulls, dogs, lions, wild oxen from this psalm) at his crucifixion.

None of his bones were broken (he could count all his bones – John 19:31-37).

His mouth was dry… Jesus said “I thirst” (John 19:28)

They pierced his hands and his feet (John 19:37b, John 20:24-29).

Jesus is praised from the great assembly, and from a people who were not yet born.

Verses 29-31 (Revelation 6:13).

  

4.  The Messiah’s enemies are compared to several types of animals in this Psalm.  What animals are mentioned in this Psalm, and what symbolism might be implied by these types of animals?

Bulls – strong and powerful.  They also can be quite stubborn.  And aggressive.

Wild oxen – they have horns to gore.  They are wild.  They are strong.

Dogs – come in packs that surround their prey.  They bare their teeth.  Dogs make a lot of noise to scare their victims.  They were unclean.  Dogs can be trained.

Lion – Loud.  Strong.  They attack and devour their prey.

  

5.  Verse 22 is quoted by in Hebrews 2:12.  What point is the author of Hebrews trying to make in Hebrews 2:11-18?

Jesus became a man like us, not an Angel.

By becoming human, He was able to die in our place.

By becoming human, He is able to serve as our High Priest.

Proverbs 30:1-9 "Every Word of God"

1. Who is Agur son of Jakeh?  Why is it significant that we know his name?

 

2. Why does Agur speak so poorly of himself in verses 2 and 3?

 

3.  What is the answer to the questions posed in verse 4?

 

4. What does it mean to say that God’s words are flawless?  Are there examples of people adding to God’s words (and what was the result)?

 

5. Explain each of the pitfalls Agur writes about in verses 8-9.

Proverbs 30:1-9 "Every Word of God" (with answers)

1. Who is Agur son of Jakeh?  Why is it significant that we know his name?

 

He was a Prophet.

He saw himself as ignorant and stupid.

He was a man.

 

He was a Gentile (at least he and his father have Gentile names).

 

God chose him by name.

God cares for him (and for you) by name.

God cares about Gentiles (and they have always been a part of His plan).

 

2. Why does Agur speak so poorly of himself in verses 2 and 3?

Because, in himself, he did not have knowledge of God, the Holy One.  And each of us was like this at one time.

He is not perfect (and neither are we).

He knows himself, that’s why he speaks so poorly of himself.  He is acutely aware of his own sins and shortcomings.

He has the humility to share this with others.

When trying to compare yourself to God, there is no comparison.  His focus is on God, not other people.

 

Exodus 20:19 – the Israelites are aware that they are not worthy of speaking to God (so they ask Moses to speak to God on their behalf)

Isaiah 6:5 – we have unclean lips we have no right to see a Holy God.

Isaiah 64:6 - our righteousness is like filthy rags… we are sinners

Isaiah 55:8-9 – God’s ways and thoughts are higher than ours (as much higher as the heavens are above the earth)

1 Timothy 1:15 – Paul refers to himself as the “Chief of Sinners” as he is acutely aware of his own sins

 

3.  What is the answer to the questions posed in verse 4?

 

The answer to these questions is not a simple human being.

God (the Creator, the Sustainer,…).

His Son is Jesus.

 

4. What does it mean to say that God’s words are flawless?  Are there examples of people adding to God’s words (and what was the result)?

 

God doesn’t make mistakes.

 

His Word is Truth (also, Jesus said that He is the Truth).

Jesus also referred to Himself as the Word (and Jesus was flawless/perfect).

His Word is for our benefit (His Words will have their effect and not be empty).

God’s Word is complete (nothing needs to be added to it).

His words are perfect.

 

In Revelation we are warned not to add to God’s Word (or to subtract from it).

To add or subtract from God’s word it makes it so the result is no longer flawless, perfect, or absolutely true.

 

Many people ignore certain parts of God’s word, or even literally cut them out of the Bible like Thomas Jefferson did (he did not want to be confronted by the parts that disagree with his views).

 

Jehovah’s Witnesses have changed certain words in the Bible (The New World “Translation”).

The Mormons have added additional books (The Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, etc.).

Christian Science Practitioners have added an additional book (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures)

Muslims have added another book which supersedes the Bible in their religion (the Quran)

 

The Catholic Church adds an Apocrypha to the Bible.  They also consider certain statements by the Pope to be as authoritative as Scripture.

 

We add our own traditions.

 

Adding to God’s Word distorts the Truth.

Confusion. 

Compartmentalization.  A separation of Faith from thinking.

It can lead to falling away if a person finds the error they may think it is all error, which can then cause others to stumble.

 

This should lead to conviction, and returning to Truth.

  

5. Explain each of the pitfalls Agur writes about in verses 8-9.

 

He does not want to become a thief (which is a sin).

Your reputation reflects on God if it is known that you are a believer.

It would dishonor God.

 

He is worried about pride.  This can quickly go from having plenty and not needing anything  to not needing God either. 

It can take our focus off of the Lord.

 

We want to daily trust and depend on the Lord’s provisions, and not stuff.

He doesn’t want to be influenced by lies (because God is Truth).


Image of praying hands.

Jonah 2:1-9   "I Called to the Lord"

1.  In verses 3 and 4, Jonah acknowledges that it was God who brought Jonah to the predicament mentioned in verse 1.  Does God sometimes punish/discipline you?  What is the purpose of the punishment/discipline experienced by Jonah? When bad things happen to someone, is it always a sign that God is punishing that person? 

 

2.  Do you ever feel like you have been banished from God’s sight?  Is it possible to run away or to hide from God?  Is it possible to be overlooked by God?

 

3. In verse 7, how did Jonah respond when his life was ebbing away?  How does this change his perspective?

 

4.  Why does Jonah speak of those who cling to idols in verse 8? 

 

5.  Under what circumstances does Jonah utter the joyful words of verse 9?  Have his circumstances changed since verse 1?  Why does Jonah speak of grateful praise and of salvation? 

Jonah 2:1-9   "I Called to the Lord" (with answers)

1.  In verses 3 and 4, Jonah acknowledges that it was God who brought Jonah to the predicament mentioned in verse 1.  Does God sometimes punish/discipline you?  What is the purpose of the punishment/discipline/pruning experienced by Jonah? When bad/difficult things happen to someone, is it always a sign that God is punishing that person? 

 

David was afflicted by God after having affair and committing murder.

Hebrews 12:4-11

Proverbs 3:11-12

 

God does not desert him, even though he is being disciplined (similar to how God did not desert the man in 1 Corinthians 5:5 who was expelled from the church).

Repentance.

Restoration.

To know God in a way we did not before (Psalm 119:67).

To share God’s holiness (Hebrews 12:11).

Discipline gives us the chance to respond to that discipline.

We are trained by discipline.

To accomplish God’s purpose.

God reveals Himself through discipline (Jonah 1:16).

God works through discipline so that others may come to know Him.

 

Note: God gives Jonah a second chance.  Our God is a God of second chances.

 

Note: God uses difficulties/discipline/hard times to help us grow.

 

Note: Job went through very hard times, but it was not a sign of God’s displeasure or of Job’s disobedience.

 

John 9:3 – difficulties and hard times can be used to reveal God’s glory

 

In fact, all of us are messed up sinners, but God still uses us.  And most of the people in the Bible even have some of their sins and flaws and shortcomings recorded.

 

2.  Do you ever feel like you have been banished from God’s sight?  Is it possible to run away or to hide from God?  Is it possible to be overlooked by God?

 

He will never leave us or forsake us.  We cannot (successfully) run or hide from Him.

 

You cannot hide from the One who created you and our entire universe.  He does not overlook anyone.

 

Note: God did not overlook the people of Nineveh.  In fact, He loved them enough to send a prophet (Jonah) so that they might repent.

 

Psalm 139:1-13

Matthew 10:29-31

 

3. In verse 7, how did Jonah respond when his life was ebbing away?  How does this change his perspective?

 

He prays.

 

He remembers the LORD.

 

He meditates on God’s Word (there are allusions to many Psalms in this prayer).

 

He recognizes that God, not Jonah, is responsible for salvation, and God gets to choose who He will save (verse 9).

 

Repentance from disobedience (but he still begrudges God’s choice to offer repentance to the people of Nineveh).

 

He allows himself to be used by God.

 

4.  Why does Jonah speak of those who cling to idols in verse 8? 

 

The people of Nineveh worship idols.  If they cling to them, then they will forfeit the grace that could be theirs.

 

The people of Nineveh do not know God.

 

Not all idols are visible things/ statues.

 

Jonah may be comparing himself to an idolater because he turned away from God’s command.

 

He had forgotten who God is.

 

5.  Under what circumstances does Jonah utter the joyful words of verse 9?  Have his circumstances changed since verse 1?  Why does Jonah speak of grateful praise and of salvation?

 

He is still inside the fish/whale/ sea creature.

He still has a relationship with God.  He has realized again what that means.

His circumstances have not changed (except that three days have passed), but he has changed in the midst of those circumstances.

He has been reminded of God’s power.

God has saved the ship from wrecking, He has saved Jonah from drowning, and so he can trust that He can save him from the fish.  He can save the people of Nineveh.

He has changed direction.  Instead of sailing to Tarshish, he is now planning to return to Nineveh.  He has repented, and vowed to obey the Lord.


Picture of a U-Turn sign.

Jonah 3 "Repentance and Mercy"

1. How does Jonah 3:1-3a compare to Jonah 1:1-3?  What do these verses tell us about God?

 

2. What is the message that God gives Jonah?  How would you expect the Ninevites to respond to this message?  How would you respond to this message?  How would your fellow Americans respond to this message?

 

3. How do the people respond to this message?  How does the king respond? 

 

4. How does God respond to their repentance?  How does God respond to our repentance?

 

5. John the Baptist is given a similar message to deliver to the people of Israel in Matthew 3:1-2, 5-10.  What are the responses of John, the people, the religious leaders and God in this account, and how do they compare to Jonah 3? 

Jonah 3   "Repentance and Mercy (with answers)

1. How does Jonah 3:1-3a compare to Jonah 1:1-3?  What do these verses tell us about God?

 

God is sovereign.  He chooses us.  He chose those people.

God has a message for people.

God gives people the opportunity to repent.

God wants people to repent.  He is a God of Mercy.

God does not change His mind.  He told Jonah to go once, and now He tells him to go a second time.

God is a God of second chances. God gives Jonah a second chance, and he gives the people a second chance.

 

2. What is the message that God gives Jonah?  How would you expect the Ninevites to respond to this message?  How would you respond to this message?  How would your fellow Americans respond to this message?

“40 more days and Nineveh will be overturned.”

People have a choice to either believe the message or not believe the message.

By believing the message, they know the only thing they can do is ask God for Mercy.

It is unexpected that they would listen to Jonah.

Most Americans today are not believers, so we would not expect them to respond to the message and repent.  But, that was the case in Nineveh, too.  So we need to continue to share the Gospel with those around us.

People have given similar messages (with time frames) in America, they get a small following,  but are largely ignored or ridiculed (and deservedly so).

 

3. How do the people respond to this message?  How does the king respond? 

This pagan people who had not previously followed God recognized that Jonah really was from God.

They believe God (interestingly, it does not say that the believed Jonah, but rather, they believed God).

They recognized that God had the power to destroy their city.

The recognized that their ways were evil and violent.

They turned from their evil ways.  They repented.

They fasted (and prayed).  Since everyone (including the animals) was fasting, this likely resulted in many businesses being closed.

They put on sackcloth.  From the least to greatest, including the animals.  This was a symbol of mourning.

The people heard first, and then the king also responded.

The king leaves his throne and sits in the dust (this acknowledges that God is really the one in charge).

A proclamation is made (this encourages the people to respond even more).  These are not just empty words.

Cry out to God every night. 

Turn from violence.

 

4. How does God respond to their repentance?  How does God respond to our repentance?

He relented (and the people recognized that He spared them).

He did not destroy the city.

He showed them mercy.

 

5. John the Baptist is given a similar message to deliver to the people of Israel in Matthew 3:1-2, 5-10.  What are the responses of John, the people, the religious leaders and God in this account, and how do they compare to Jonah 3?

 

Jonah and John were both chosen by God, and both were given a ministry to bring people to salvation.  Also, both are Old Testament prophets.

Jonah ran away, but John embraced his calling.

John wanted the people to repent, Jonah only spoke of God’s wrath.

Jonah was called to speak to Gentiles, John was speaking to Jews.

 

While the King and Nobles of Nineveh lead the repentance, the Pharisees and Sadducees thought being physical descendants of Abraham was good enough.  They thought that they did not have anything to repent of.

They clung to the Law instead of embracing repentance and seeking God’s mercy.

Others among the people repented, and became true sons of Abraham.

Jonah went to the people, the people went to John.

In both cases, word spread quickly of what these prophets had to say.

 

In both cases, God is sovereign in how the message is delivered.

In both cases God leaves them waiting for eternal salvation.

In both cases we see God’s mercy (in saving them).

In both cases we see God’s grace in sending a prophet to them and giving them the opportunity to repent.

In both cases we see God’s power.


Jonah 4 "Slow to Anger, and Abounding in Love"

1. Why is Jonah angry in verses 1 through 3?  Has God ever done anything that seemed wrong to you?  What do these verses tell us about God?

  

2. How does Jonah respond to God’s question in verse 4?

 

3.  Why does Jonah decide to watch the city?  What is God’s purpose in providing the plant and the worm?  Was it right for Jonah to be angry?

Jonah 4 "Slow to Anger, and Abounding in Love" (with answers)

1.    Why is Jonah angry in verses 1 through 3?  Has God ever done anything that seemed wrong to you?  What do these verses tell us about God?  What do they tell us about ourselves?

Jonah did not believe the people were worthy of being spared.

Jonah believed that they deserved to die (and he was right… but so do we).

Jonah believed that it was not fair/ just.

He might have been worried about his reputation (he said they would be destroyed, and they were not).

He may have been focused himself, or he may have been focused on his people (but neither is the right focus).

He may have been worried about his people (the Ninevites were enemies of Israel).

There is no barrier to God’s love (For God so loved the world).

God is a God of Mercy.

He is slow to anger.

He abounds in love.

He relents from sending calamity.

God has revealed Himself (Jonah’s words show a familiarity with how God revealed Himself in Exodus).

God is immutable (unchanging).

God has given knowledge to all of Creation that He is God (Romans 1 beginning in verse 18).

 

We are sinful (and He is Holy).

We are prideful/ arrogant.

 

 

2. How does Jonah respond to God’s question in verse 4?

He did not respond.

He storms off (and sits down).  Like a pouting child.

 

He knows that he has no excuse.

 

 

3.  Why does Jonah decide to watch the city?  What is God’s purpose in providing the plant and the worm?  Was it right for Jonah to be angry?

He wants to see the city destroyed.  He is still hoping the city will be destroyed by God.

He should be rejoining that many sinners have come to repentance.

 

The plant is provided to show that Jonah’s priorities are out of order (that he is more worried about a plant than he is about people).  Remember: people are made in God’s image.

The plant does show that God cares for Jonah.

The plant shows that God has Power.

It shows that all life is in God’s hands (the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away - Job 1:21).

 

It shows us that we should have compassion (even for the unsaved), just as He did.

God shows us his love for the people (and reminds us that we also should love people)

 

God is sovereign.  God can do whatever He chooses with the plant that He owns and created. Jonah has no rights to this plant; he has simply enjoyed it.  So Jonah does not have a right to be angry.

We definitely see this same attitude today (I have a right to be angry) in America among the “woke.”

Jonah appears to feel entitled to the plant.  The idea is that God owes me (or “the world” owes me).  There is a spiritual blindness (or perhaps a spiritual blindfold that is willingly worn).


Malachi 1:6-14 Honor and Respect for God

1. How should a son honor his father?  How, then, should we honor our Heavenly Father?

 

2. How should a servant show respect for his master?  How should we respect our Master, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings?

 

3. Who is this passage written to?  How have these people displeased God?  How does this passage apply to us today?

 

4. Why reasons are given for these kind of sacrifices being offered? 

 

5.  Why does God care so much about this? 


Malachi 1:6-14 Honor and Respect for God (with answers)

1. How should a son honor his father?  How, then, should we honor our Heavenly Father?

Obedience.

Love.

Kindness.

He should make his father proud (consider Job).

He should respect his father.

Humility.

A son represents his father. His actions reflect on his parents.

A son should trust his Father.

He should lean on his father for help and guidance.

 

A servant’s conduct reflects on their master.

You can see the master’s character through employees.

We should always obey those in authority (even if they are bad).  How much more should we obey God who is truly good).

It is important for a servant to have a good attitude (1 Peter 2:18-21).

The master is the provider (an employer provides the paycheck).

 

 

2. How should a servant show respect for his master?  How should we respect our Master, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings?

He is the Lord of Host/ Lord of Armies.  He has more authority than any father or master or boss.

The parable of the laborers (Matthew 20:1-16).

 

3. Who is this passage written to?  How have these people displeased God?  How does this passage apply to us today?

 

Israelites.

More specifically, it is written to the priests.

 

As priests, their behavior is being modeled to the people.

“Who cares?” is not a good attitude to model.

They are also robbing God.  God doesn’t need their sacrifices, but that doesn’t change the fact they he deserves them and had commanded that they give them.

What they are doing seems OK.  Not that bad.  But it is disobeying God.

It’s about attitude.  God wants all of us.  The sacrifices were symbolic of giving ourselves to Him.

This is disrespectful (and in a culture that claims to value respect very highly, this is a very willful act of disrespect).

The sacrifices were designed to point us to our need of a Savior and to Jesus’s coming sacrifice.  Devaluing the sacrifices devalues God’s plan.

 

Today we take communion.  We are to do this in remembrance of Him.

It’s not about just going through the motions.  It’s important to continue to seek God through the Scriptures and through prayer (genuinely speaking to God and genuinely listening to Him).

We are still to offer/sacrifice our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  All of who we are (Mark 12:30, Romans 12:1, 1 Peter 2:5)

Being under grace should motivate us to give even more than those who were under the Law.

We are called priests by Him (1 Peter 2:9, Revelation 1:6, Revelation 5:10).

Our focus should be on God, not on ourselves.

 

4. Why reasons are given for these kind of sacrifices being offered? 

Not really believing in God.  Or at least not believing that He is active in our world and cares about us and what we do.  Seeing God as distant.

Not really believing the sacrifice is important (these sacrifices are supposed to point to Jesus and the Sacrifice He will make).

They may not see the importance, but God sees a bigger picture.

We are called to holiness.

It is tempting to do things on the cheap (this dishonors God, and it can get in the way of effective ministry).

They may have had other plans for the things the things that were the best (this elevates things above God).

This is often a creeping thing, not a conscious decision to put ourselves above God (when did this happen?  How did I get here?).

 

 

5.  Why does God care so much about this? 

The sacrifices point to our sin nature and need for forgiveness.

They point to Jesus and His Sacrifice.

They honor God (and He deserves to be honored as the Creator, He is personal, He is our Savior and Redeemer)

Obedience is important.  It is tied closely to faith and trust (Think of Gideon and how he started with a lack of trust, and then God called Him to even greater trust) (think of Saul and his lack of faith and trust… he trusted a medium and he trusted Samuel, who was dead, more than he trusted God Himself).

 


Picture of a whale.

Matthew 12:38-40   "The Sign of Jonah"

1. What is wrong with asking to see a miraculous sign from Jesus?  Have you ever wanted to see a miraculous sign?


2.  Although he rebukes the Pharisees for making this request, he grants them a sign anyway: the Sign of Jonah.  What is the sign of Jonah and how does this compare to Jesus response to a similar question in John 2?


3.  Were Jesus words about the sign of Jonah and about raising “this temple” understood by those who heard them?


4. What was the purpose of this sign?  What difference does it make?


Matthew 12:38-40   "The Sign of Jonah" (with answers)

1. What is wrong with asking to see a miraculous sign from Jesus?  Have you ever wanted to see a miraculous sign?

We are surrounded by miracles if we choose to believe that they are miracles.

They were expecting signs to show that He was from God, but they were not accepting the signs and miracles that He did. 

They were unwilling to grow.  They kept wanting more signs.

There is a purpose for signs.  God has bigger plans (and He cares for us).

They may have wanted to see one specific sign (like the end of Roman oppression)… that is, they may have wanted to tell God how He should go about things.

They wanted to be in control.

They wanted a show; a performance.

They had already decided not to believe Him, so they may have been looking for an excuse to justify their decision.

  

2.  Although he rebukes the Pharisees for making this request, he grants them a sign anyway: the Sign of Jonah.  What is the sign of Jonah and how does this compare to Jesus response to a similar question in John 2?

The sign of Jonah is that Jesus would die, stay dead for three days, and then rise again.

The sign of Jonah is intended as proof of Jesus’ authority.

It was intended to show His victory over death.

This would be a clear sign… not something that could ever happen by natural means.

  

John 2:18-19

18 Then the Jews demanded of him, “What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”

19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

This is a similar answer in that it speaks (metaphorically) of Jesus being dead for three days.

In John 2 we don’t see the same rebuke.  Maybe the first time they asked for a sign it was OK to ask.

 

3.  Were Jesus words about the sign of Jonah and about raising “this temple” understood by those who heard them?

The people claimed not to understand.  The disciples did not understand.

 

John 2:20-22

20 They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

 

Matthew 27:62-66

62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”

65 “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

  

4. What was the purpose of this sign?  What difference does it make?

Jesus told us ahead of time what He would do.

It’s interesting that the Pharisees understood before the disciples did.  More than understanding is needed.

After the Disciples saw Him rise from the dead, these words would be a comfort to them (and they needed comfort because they were feeling hopeless, lost and scared).

It shows that Jesus is trustworthy.

It shows that Jesus knew what was going to happen.

It shows that Jesus was willing to do this for us (He could have run the other way as Jonah did), and out of obedience to the Father.

It is related to His power to lay down His life and to take it up again.

 

Matthew 17:22-23

 

Luke 24:4-8

4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words.

 

Romans 8;34

34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

 

 

1 Corinthians 15:20-23

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.


Matthew 13:1-23 "The Parable of the Sower"

1.  Who is the soil along the path?  That is, what does it mean to not understand the message?

 

2.  Who is the rocky ground?  That is, what does it mean to have no root?  Also, how else could a person respond to trouble and persecution (and how have you responded to trouble and persecution)?

 

3. Who is the thorny soil?  That is, what are the worries of this life?

 

4.  Who is the good soil?

 

5.  What does it mean to be fruitful?

 

6. Why did Jesus say that he told this story as a parable?  Does this explanation surprise you?


Matthew 13:1-23 "The Parable of the Sower" (with answers)

1.  Who is the soil along the path?  That is, what does it mean to not understand the message?

They heard God’s Word.  They had an opportunity to hear Truth, and they did actually hear the Truth.

They have the choice to reject or receive what they heard.

Someone too busy to try to understand.

Someone who is just not interested.

Someone who treats the Word of God casually.

These may be similar to the excuses made in the parable about those invited to the wedding.

 

Question: Is it possible to become a different type of soil?  Yes.  This happens through the work of the Holy Spirit in God’s time.

 

Question:  How many people in the crowd he addressed that day from the boat belonged to each type of soil?  The same is true in this church gathering today.

 

Note: Everyone has heard or seen some of God’s Truth.

 

2.  Who is the rocky ground?  That is, what does it mean to have no root?  Also, how else could a person respond to trouble and persecution (and how have you responded to trouble and persecution)?

To have no root: to focus on God’s love, and an eternity in Heaven, but not to prepare themselves by learning deeper truths about how Christians will be persecuted.

 

Someone who takes up any doctrine that they like the sound of, not wanting to embrace the hard things that the Bible teaches.  They want to agree with everyone.  A people pleaser.

 

Maybe someone who relies entirely on human logic and not on Faith.

 

Someone who does not understand the importance of God’s Truth.  They do not know how to prioritize the things that they should get rid of when trouble comes.

 

When we are persecuted, we need to cling to our Root/ go to the Rock.  He can and will strengthen and encourage us.  We also can be encouraged by other Christians.

 

3. Who is the thorny soil?  That is, what are the worries of this life?

The weeds and the good plants grow together.  That is, their spiritual life is growing together with these other things.

The weeds may look lie wheat, but they are counterfeit.  They have no eternal value, and should be thrown away.

Things that are materialistic.  New cars, retirement, putting kids through college. 

 

Striving to accomplish things in your own power rather than depending on God.

 

Knows the Word, but focuses on Earthly things.  They still keep up with the Joneses.  They wind up looking like the ungodly around them.

 

These are not fruitful Christians.

 

4.  Who is the good soil?

The receptive.

Those who are open to letting God cultivate them.

Those who seek first the Kingdom of God.

The fruitful.

Those who surrender and are fully committed.

They take the Word to heart.

Someone who is prepared to grow (it is God who prepares the soil and does the work in the heart).

Continual growth.  Endurance.  Perseverance. 

Obedient.

 

5.  What does it mean to be fruitful?

You have to prepare yourself to be fruitful.

It involves recognizing our blessings, and what we can use and share with others.

It involves commitment.

It involves growth.

It can involve sacrifice. 

You started with a seed.

It involves change.

It involves action.

To pass along the seed.

 

 

6. Why did Jesus say that he told this story as a parable?  Does this explanation surprise you?

Isaiah prophesied that He would speak in parables (Isaiah 6:9-10).

If the soil is fertile, if the heart is prepared (by God) to receive the Word, then there is a desire for more.  For those who do not want to know; they will not search out the meaning.

To teach His disciples.

Those with hard/dull hearts will only hear a story, not the lesson behind it.

They are able to suppress/hold down the Truth that they do not want to hear.

God’s grace.


Matthew 28   "Therefore Go"

1. The word angel can be translated as messenger.  What message does this angel bring to these two women?

 

2. How do the women respond to the angel’s message?

 

3. How to the guards respond to the angel’s message?  How do the chief priests respond to the guards’ report?

  

4. The four Gospel writers each record these events slightly differently (for instance, Luke mentions two angels instead of one.  Mark and John mention Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalene in the garden, while Matthew mentions Jesus appearing to the women on their way to tell the disciples, etc.).  Why might these details differ between the four accounts?  Can these accounts be reconciled? 

 

5. In verse 9 we see that the women worshiped Him, and in verse 17 we see that the eleven also worshiped Him.  Why is Jesus worthy of their worship (and ours)?

 

6. Verses 19 and 20 are often referred to as “the Great Commission.” How does this commission affect us? 

Matthew 28   "Therefore Go" (with answers)

1.    The word angel can be translated as messenger.  What message does this angel bring to these two women?

 

Do not be afraid!

Jesus has risen!

He is no longer in the tomb.

They were invited to look in the tomb and to confirm the message.

It is a message of hope.

This happened just as He said.  God is in control.  And He is faithful.

They are to tell the other disciples.

To go with the disciples to Galilee.

  

2.    How do the women respond to the angel’s message?

 

They were afraid.

An angel is a supernatural being.  He is intimidating.  It is unusual, and unusual can be scary.

Typically when someone tells you not to be afraid, there is a reason to be afraid.

Being reminded of death and tombs can be fear inducing.

They were also afraid because the stone was rolled away, and there was an earthquake.  And fear does not leave us quickly.

They may have been aware of their own sin in the presence of an angel.

 

Their fear did not keep them from obeying quickly.  This is bravery.

They were filled with joy even though they were experiencing fear.

 

Most of the angel’s message has to be repeated by Jesus, Himself.

 

3.    How to the guards respond to the angel’s message?  How do the chief priests respond to the guards’ report?

 

They were afraid (they are sinful and the angel is holy; the angel was somehow awe inspiring, he didn’t just look like a regular person; there was an earthquake, they saw the stone rolled away, a dead man that the Roman army had killed had come to life… they may have feared retribution).

 

They reported the message, but then lied about it (and people were deceived by them).

They cared more about money than about what had happened (more than they cared about the supernatural even that had terrified them and filled them with awe, and more than they cared about their duty as soldiers).

 

The chief priests stayed on message (the body might be stolen… the body had been stolen).

They covered up and lied about what God had done.

 

4.    The four Gospel writers each record these events slightly differently (for instance, Luke mentions two angels instead of one.  Mark and John mention Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalene in the garden, while Matthew mentions Jesus appearing to the women on their way to tell the disciples, the other Gospels make it clear that the stone war rolled away before the women arrived, etc.).  Why might these details differ between the four accounts?  Can these accounts be reconciled? 

 

Matthew may have felt that the number of angels was not that important, just the angel’s message.

 

They see things differently from one another.

They were each inspired by God in their writing.

It gives us four accounts, not just one.

Different writers are writing to a different audience, and they have a different focus (Jesus as King, Jesus as God, Jesus as Servant).

Yes, the accounts can be reconciled.

 

5.    In verse 9 we see that the women worshiped Him, and in verse 17 we see that the eleven also worshiped Him.  Why is Jesus worthy of their worship (and ours)?

 

Worship is adoration and love.

 

Jesus is God.

He is Holy and Sovereign.

He is our Creator.

He chose us.

He died for us.  He is our Redeemer.  He is our Savior.

 

Worship should be continual, not just confined to a Worship Service or Worship Songs.

 

6.    Verses 19 and 20 are often referred to as “the Great Commission.” How does this commission affect us?

 

 

Elsewhere He says that the Gospel must be preached to every people before he returns (so we need to continue to try to reach the lost, and to pray for and support those who are doing the work of evangelism).

We are to put our talents to work to share the Gospel.

We should share God’s Word wherever we are.

We are to teach people to obey Jesus’ commands.

He encourages us by promising to be with us until the end of the age (the Great Commission is that we go and do while He is with us).


Mark 4:35-41 "Calm in the Storm"

1. Verse 35 states that this event did not take place in a vacuum.  How is this passage related to what the disciples had already seen and heard that day?

  

2. How could Jesus sleep during a storm like this?

  

3. In verse 39 Jesus shows that he has power over the storm.  What does this reveal about Him?  That is, what is the answer to the disciples’ question in verse 41?

  

4.In verse 40 Jesus rebukes His disciples.  What did they do wrong in this situation? 

  

5. What storms have you experienced in your life, or are you experiencing in your life right now?


Mark 4:35-41 "Calm in the Storm" (with answers"

1.  Verse 35 states that this event did not take place in a vacuum.  How is this passage related to what the disciples had already seen and heard that day?

This has been a day of teaching (about growth, about sowing, about faith, about using the gifts that they are given, about how God is in control…)

This was a day where they heard many parables.

Jesus spent the day preaching from this boat.

They were under the impression that ministry was done for the day, and it was now time for them to do what they knew about (boating).

They had heard teaching on faith, now they had the opportunity to put that faith into action.

  

2.  How could Jesus sleep during a storm like this?

He knew His destination, and He knew what would happen to Him.

He knew the storm was coming, and He knew that they would get through it.

He was completely centered in God’s will.

He can use this to show them that they also can sleep through a storm.

He could sleep because He was fully human (He was like us in every way except without sin).

He was tired (ministry can make you tired).

 

3. In verse 39 Jesus shows that he has power over the storm.  What does this reveal about Him?  That is, what is the answer to the disciples’ question in verse 41?

He has faith.

Jesus is powerful.

He is not just a person.  Humanity is weak, but He is strong.

Nature is obedient to Him.

Jesus is the creator.  He created nature.

He is the Ruler of everything.

Everything must obey Him (and everything should obey Him).

Jesus is God.

Jesus calmed the storm on His own authority… almost casually.

 

 4.In verse 40 Jesus rebukes His disciples.  What did they do wrong in this situation? 

That doubted that Jesus cared for them.

That lacked faith in the Father and in Jesus.

They let fear crowd out their faith (fear is the opposite of faith).

Storms happen all the time, but in this storm they forgot that God is in control.

Their focus was on themselves, not on God.

The more you focus on yourself, the less you focus on Jesus (or His Word).

This is a similar lesson to what Peter will learn when he tries to walk to Jesus on the water, but takes his eyes off of Him, and becomes afraid.

  

5. What storms have you experienced in your life, or are you experiencing in your life right now?

Are you discouraged?  Are you having dark thoughts?  Thinking “Is this storm ever going to end.”

This reminds us of almost everyone we prayed for in Sunday School this morning.

There is a lesson to be learned in many storms… and often the calm will come when you learn that lesson.

Sometimes we won’t understand for a year or two (or even longer).

We can hope for the day when there will be no more storms.


Luke 9:18-27 "The Crowd, the Disciples, and the Christ"

1.  Why might the crowds have thought that Jesus was John the Baptist?  Elijah?  One of the Prophets?

 

2. Who do the crowds say that Jesus is today?

 

3. What does it mean to be the Christ of God?

 

4.  Why might Jesus have commanded the Disciples to not tell anyone about this?

 

5.  Did Jesus fulfill the prophecy from verse 22?

 

6. What does it mean to take up your cross daily?

 

7. What is meant by “losing his life” or by saving it?

 

8. In what way did some who were standing there see the Kingdom of God?


Luke 9:18-27 "The Crowd, the Disciples, and the Christ" (with answers)


1.  Why might the crowds have thought that Jesus was John the Baptist?  Elijah?  One of the Prophets?

 John had recently been beheaded.

Jesus had a similar message to John.  They both spoke very powerfully.

Reincarnation?  Jesus was doing miracles?

This was clearly not a logical thought since they had seen John baptize Jesus.

They were not listening to who John said he was, or who John said Jesus was, or who Jesus said He was (they were more interested in the spectacle than the man).

Jesus didn’t physically look the part of a King or a Messiah (they judge on outward appearances).

They had not accepted Jesus as being the Messiah, so they were still looking for someone else.

 

Elijah went up to Heaven and did not die (and he was expected to return).

 

They were looking to the Old Testament because they had not hear anything new from God in a long time (except from John).  They tried to fit Jesus into what they already had instead of accepting that God was doing something new.

 

They didn’t understand.

 

2. Who do the crowds say that Jesus is today?

A Teacher.  Possibly a wise teacher.

A radical (and that He was executed for that).

A Good man.

A prophet.

 A myth or fairy tale.

There are those who say He did not die on the cross.

 That He was a fake (that the Disciples stole the body), that he just died on the cross.

 

There are many who say He was God in the flesh, but his message is what they want it to be.  They make Jesus in their own image.  They put the words in His mouth that they want to hear.

They do not want to change, so they change their idea of who God is and who Jesus is.

 

There are those who intellectually can say He is the Son of God, but do not think it matters or impacts their lives.

 

There are those that just don’t think about Him at all.

 

The crowds today still try to fit Jesus into their own culture and expectations, and don’t know about the Bible.

 

3. What does it mean to be the Christ of God?

 Christ means Savior or Liberator (of the world).

Christ is the Greek word for Messiah (which is a Hebrew word).

 

It means He came to reconcile us to God, and to give us eternal life, and to save us from death (and it implies that we are in need of a Savior).

 This also implies that Jesus comes from God.

 

NOTE: Matthew 16:17 makes it clear that the Holy Spirit revealed this to Peter.

 

4.  Why might Jesus have commanded the Disciples to not tell anyone about this?

 People would have just thought they were crazy (until he had been resurrected to prove His identity).

It would have been more difficulty to continue His ministry (there would be those attacking Him, and those pushing Him to overthrow Rome quickly).

This is about timing (He still had work to do before being tried and going to the cross).

This is an emotionally, religiously, and politically charged title, and He does not want people acting on those emotions, etc. in their human way.  He also was not interested in fulfilling the expectations that men had added to God’s Word regarding the Messiah.

He wants the people to know Him first, and then they can learn about titles like this.

 

Jesus knew who He was, and did not need to prove who He was (and perhaps did not want to have an intellectual debate about His identity, as that would be unproductive).  The time would come to prove who He was, as He did on the Emmaus road.

The Disciples would not have been able to influence anyone to become a believer through this message.

 

The Disciples did not yet understand what this meant.

 

5.  Did Jesus fulfill the prophecy from verse 22?

YES.  All of it (and He also fulfilled a great many other prophecies).

 

6. What does it mean to take up your cross daily?

It starts with Belief.

It is public, we are to live like we know the Lord and to share His Word.

Obedience.

Stay filled with the Spirit (and produce fruit).

We are to daily put to death the flesh, and surrender/submit to Him.

A cross is a burden.

It is a narrow road that we are called to follow.

 

This is an ongoing/daily struggle (of course living life in the flesh is a bigger struggle… even though it may seem easier).

Living according to the Spirit is hard, but living life in the flesh is ultimately harder.

We can actually have peace while carrying our cross.

  

7. What is meant by “losing his life” or by saving it?

 The sacrificial system from the Old Testament could not save you.  We are saved by Faith.

If someone tried to save their life by conforming to the patter of this world then they could lose their soul.

 

A willingness to give up all that you have.

To lose my life means to deny myself (denying yourself could even mean literally losing your physical life).  Failing to deny self means gaining the world’s approval, but losing God’s approval. 

To seek the world’s approval means ultimately being destroyed/lost/separated from God.

 

Without Him, you really have nothing.

 

8. In what way did some who were standing there see the Kingdom of God?

 If they have seen Jesus and heard His Word and been part of His Church, then they have seen the Kingdom of God in some sense.

Seeing Jesus’ glory is seeing the Kingdom (because He is the King).

Peter, John and James got a glimpse of something special at the Transfiguration.


Luke 11:37-54 "Woe to You"

1. What was the purpose of washing before meals, and why might Jesus not have washed before this meal?


2. Jesus has three woes and another criticism for the Pharisees.  Who are the Pharisees?  What point is Jesus making with each of these statements?

 

Cleaning cups and dishes (verses 39-41).


Tithing (verse 42).

 

Important seats (verse 43).

 

Unmarked graves (verse 44).


3. Why does the Expert in the Law object in the way that he does?


4. How does Jesus respond to this Expert in the Law?


Loading people down with burdens. (verse 46)


Building tombs for the prophets that their ancestors/forefathers killed (verses 47-51).


Taking away the key of knowledge and not entering themselves (verse52).


5. How do the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law respond to this criticism (verse 53)?  How else could they have responded?


Luke 11:37-46 "Woe to You" (with answers)

1. What was the purpose of washing before meals, and why might Jesus not have washed before this meal?

This ceremonial washing was a tradition (as was the traditional foot washing which Jesus rebuked Simon for neglecting in Luke 7:44)).  See Mark 7:1-8 for a more detailed explanation of this tradition.

It was more than what the Old Testament Law required.

It was not necessarily a bad tradition.

Similar to people saying Grace before they eat.

 

Jesus had a point to make.  He wanted to have a conversation about this.

He wanted to point out that serving God and loving Him is not about conformity or tradition.

Jesus was clean in a way that no other person can be (see John 13:10 for context).

 

2. Jesus has three woes and another criticism for the Pharisees.  Who are the Pharisees?  What point is Jesus making with each of these statements?

 

Pharisees were Jews.

They were in a position of spiritual authority, and they felt that way about themselves.

They believed they could get to Heaven by keeping the Law.

They tended toward legalism.

They tended toward self-righteousness.

They believed (or at least wanted to believe) that they were doing what God wanted them to do.

Image was important to them.  Pride.

They were good at going through the motions.

Somewhat like the older brother in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

 

Who are the equivalent of the Pharisees today?  People who are in church, and studying the Bible, and even teaching others.

 

Cleaning cups and dishes (verses 39-41).

Ceremonial cleaning only cleans the outside, it doesn’t actually do the job of cleaning your heart or mind (just like baptism as a wonderful symbol but does not actually save us).

If it’s not accompanied by washing on the inside, it’s of no value.

We need to inspect our hearts, to look at who we are before God, and not just go through motions.  We also need to invite God to look into our hearts and point out to us of the dirt that is there.

Isaiah pointed out that our best righteousness was just filthy rags.  That is, we cannot clean ourselves.  We can only be clean through Jesus’ righteousness.

 

We are to be generous to the poor (possibly in time or in money). 

We are to care about the poor.

 

Tithing (verse 42).

Giving 10% is called tithing.

 

They thought there were doing what they were supposed to by just doing enough to satisfy the letter of the law (in fact, they  learned the lesson from Malachi 3:6-12 and were not robbing God… of their money).

It is all about motivation.  The right reason to tithe is for the love of God, not simply to keep a rule.

“I already gave at the office” is similar to this attitude, meaning it’s somebody else’ turn to be generous.

1 Corinthians 13.

 

Important seats (verse 43).

 

This may be related to the love of money.

It is also about power.

This is about being seen, and letting others know how important you are.

It’s superficial.  About being shown the proper respect.

It is about caring more about how people talk about you than about how God talks about you. (Matthew 5:11-12)

It sees others as tools/opportunities instead of as God’s creation.

Application: claiming as seat at church as your own (going “ahem” if a visitor sits in it).  Or claiming a good parking spot.

If you have to remind people how important you are, maybe you’re not that important.

See Luke 14.

 

 

The last will be first and the first will be last. (Matthew 20:16)

 

Unmarked graves (verse 44).

It implies that they are spiritually dead.

What’s inside them is unclean.

They are hypocrites.

They are not as important as they think they are.  In fact, they should be avoided.

They are unknown to God.

 

 

3. Why does the Expert in the Law object in the way that he does?

They felt like if they followed the Law and had all their ducks in a row, they would be close to God.  They felt like they were better than everybody else (self-righteousness).  They felt righteous even when compared to the Pharisees.

Pride.

They practiced the same things as the Pharisees.

 

Consider the “three monkeys”: hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.

 

He may have felt convicted or rebuked, but he said he had been insulted/reproached.

 

Us… all of us… humanist that has experienced/embraced/insensitivity greed and hypocrisy.

Today we find it easy to find the faults/sins in the culture, not too hard to find the faults and shortcomings of the Church in America, and much harder to look at the faults/shortcomings/traditions in our own local church and our own lives.

The reality is that nobody keeps God’s Law perfectly

 

4. How does Jesus respond to this Expert in the Law?

Jesus removes any doubt that His comments were supposed to apply to them as well.

 

Loading people down with burdens. (verse 46)

Jesus came to fulfill the Law.  He would do everything for those who could not lift their own burden.

It is easier to point out others shortcomings, and what they need change.  It is much harder to help them through that process.  It requires a relationship and it requires time.

 

Building tombs for the prophets that their ancestors/forefathers killed (verses 47-51).

The prophets and apostles were God’s messengers and they were speaking His truth, and they did not want to hear the Truth.

They try to absolve themselves of guilt by building these monuments.

Building tombs was an outward way of showing respect for these prophets, while persecuting them is the exact opposite of respect.

They align themselves with the prophets when the prophets are gone and no longer delivering God’s message.

Jesus is speaking of how they will treat Him.

Love of country that outweighs their love of God or the Truth.

 

 

Taking away the key of knowledge and not entering themselves (verse52).

 

They weren’t sharing what they knew about God.  They were sharing the unimportant things, like these rituals and traditions that they had made up, but they weren’t sharing what was important.

They focused on the things you have to do instead of the attitude of the heart and a right relationship with God.

For us today: we should talk about God’s Word instead of just Christian books.

They were hypocrites.

For us today: we must not mislead or hinder others.

It’s easy to take advantage of someone if you know the law better than they do.

Selfish pride/ silly human pride/ ego in know the law better than others.

They keep the religious focus on themselves instead of God.

Focus on their traditions (like shiny beads) instead of God and His Law.

Looking at the Law as supreme instead of God as Supreme.

They missed the point of the Law (Romans 3:20).

 

5. How do the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law respond to this criticism (verse 53)?  How else could they have responded?

They didn’t like it.

They respond out of their flesh.  It’s human nature to be defensive when you are criticized.

They attack Him.  They oppose Him fiercely. 

They start trying to trap Him (woman caught in adultery, paying taxes to Caesar).

They do not search their hearts to see if these things are true.  They do not search the Scriptures to if these things are true.  They do not try to learn or repent from his message.


Luke 17:1-5   "Sin and Forgiveness"

1. The words of verse two sound pretty extreme.  What is meant by Jesus’ words here? 

  

2.  Verse three transitions from focusing on the sinner, to focusing on the one who is wronged.  How do verses 3 and 4 compare to Matthew 18:21-22:

  

3.  How does David’s attitude in Psalm 51:4 compare to verses 3 and 4?

  

4.  Why do the apostles respond to Jesus statement by asking for increased faith?  That is, how is faith related to sin and to forgiveness? 

Luke 17:1-5   "Sin and Forgiveness" (with answers)

1. The words of verse two sound pretty extreme.  What is meant by Jesus’ words here? 

We are all sinners.

Often people do not realize that they are sinning.  Perhaps something is culturally acceptable or culturally expected, but they may still be sin.  And perpetuating these sins is serious enough to warrant our thinking about and questioning these cultural norms and actions.

Sin is serious, and causing others to sin is possibly even more serious.

Even though we can be forgiven, there are still consequences for sin.

One sin is too many. If we have broken any one law, then we are law breakers.

As a Christian, sin (and causing others to sin) can hurt your credibility.

For a Christian, physical death is not the end.

 

2.  Verse three transitions from focusing on the sinner, to focusing on the one who is wronged.  How do verses 3 and 4 compare to Matthew 18:21-22:

God calls us to be merciful (seven times in a day, or seventy-seven times, or seventy times seven times).

The number of times doesn’t matter… we should forgive.

In Matthew 18 we are told to forgive… with no mention of repentance being required first.

We are to be longsuffering.

 

3.  How does David’s attitude in Psalm 51:4 compare to verses 3 and 4?

David sinned against Uriah (committed adultery with his wife, murdered him), sinned against Bathsheba (lead her to commit adultery with him), against his army (sacrificed one of their best soldiers as part of the cover-up).  David says that the One he really sinned against is God.

God is the One who sets the standards and makes the rules.  David may have sinned against these people, but he ultimately sinned against the authority of God by breaking His rules/commands/laws.

We do sin against God seven times in a day, and ask forgiveness, and He continues to forgive (but disobedience does lead to consequences).

And we don’t actually ask for forgiveness for each of our sins individually (and thankfully we don’t have to).

 

4.  Why do the apostles respond to Jesus statement by asking for increased faith?  That is, how is faith related to sin and to forgiveness? 

It can be very hard to forgive, depending on what was done to us.

Faith in God leads us to forgive those who wronged or hurt us, just as He forgave us (Jesus, on the cross: Father forgive them for they know not what they do).

The part that we can’t do, God will do.

Faith needs to be increased to meet the needs of the moment.

Faith is total dependence on God.  It is not putting on a show for others.  Faith, like forgiveness, must be genuine.

They may have been asking for more faith so that they would not sin against God (as much), and therefore not need to ask for forgiveness quite as often.

My faith, along with God’s power is what accomplishes forgiveness.

If someone sinned against me, then they also sinned against God (and His forgiveness is the forgiveness that they truly need).


Luke 19:1-10 "To Seek and to Save"

1. Who was Zacchaeus, and what kind of life had he lead up to this point?

 

2. Why did Zacchaeus climb this tree?  What was he looking for, and why?  How did you catch your first glimpse of Jesus?

 

3. How does Jesus react to finding Zacchaeus in the tree?

 

4. Why did the crowd disapprove of Jesus being Zacchaeus guest?  Should we, as Christians, be the “guest of sinners?”  How can one be both holy (set apart) and the guest of a sinner?

  

5. How does Zacchaeus react to this encounter with Jesus? 

Luke 19:1-10 "To Seek and to Save" (with answers)

1. Who was Zacchaeus, and what kind of life had he lead up to this point?

 

He was a tax a chief collector (for the Romans).

He was looked down upon by the other Jews. He was very unpopular.

He was wealthy.

He had apparently cheated people.  He was corrupt.

He was short.

He has perhaps been hungry for a change in His life.  He was aware that his life needed to change.

 

 

2. Why did Zacchaeus climb this tree?  What was he looking for, and why?  How did you catch your first glimpse of Jesus?

 

He wanted to see.

He wanted to see Jesus.

Perhaps he knew he needed a change in his life.

He may have just been curious.

He may have heard that Matthew had changed, and wanted to see why.

He may have been hoping for forgiveness.

He set aside pretense and properness to be an adult who has climbed a tree to see over a crowd.  In this moment he was thinking about Jesus, not about himself.

He was alone in a crowd when he climbed the tree.

He was determined to see Jesus.

 

Zacchaeus may have been inspired by Matthew since Matthew was also a tax collector.


It could be that his mom or others were praying for him. Whose salvation are you praying for?

 

 

3. How does Jesus react to finding Zacchaeus in the tree?

 

He sees him.

He speaks to him.

He tells him to come down.  At once.  With haste.

He doesn’t tell him to clean up his life first.

He does not act surprised.  He was looking for someone like Zacchaeus… someone who needed to be saved.

His purpose was to seek and to save the lost.

Jesus knew that He had a mission in talking to Zacchaeus.  He invited Himself over.

He chose to spend time with Zacchaeus.

Jesus doesn’t worry about what people will think.

Right away Jesus gives Zacchaeus an opportunity to serve Him (literally to serve Him as host).

 

Jesus does not approve of what Zacchaeus has done.  He does not condone what he has done.  He does forgive him.

 

How do we react when someone comes into the church late and sits in the back row?

 

4. Why did the crowd disapprove of Jesus being Zacchaeus’ guest?  Should we, as Christians, be the “guest of sinners?”  How can one be both holy (set apart) and the guest of a sinner?

 

They would rather shun Zacchaeus than try to help him change.

They probably assume he will never change.

They thought of him as a sinner (and forgot that they also are sinners).

They like to dislike him. 

 

They expect Jesus to hang our with the “right people.”  People like them.  People who “deserve” God’s favor.

They don’t understand that Jesus can be with a sinner without becoming like a sinner.  That is, he is there to help Zacchaeus change, not to join him in his sinful lifestyle or to simply fellowship with him in his sinful lifestyle.

 

They feel that Jesus should be set apart from such people.


They see themselves as being better than “sinners” like Zacchaeus.

Humility: rightly recognizing who we are and who God is and our relationship with Him.  The crowd lacks humility.

They see themselves as righteous partly because they look down on tax collectors and sinners (see Luke 18:9-14).

Jealousy (Jesus chose Zacchaeus over any of them… and maybe of them were priests and Levites).


We are to be salt and light… to influence sinners… to share the Gospel with sinners.  You can’t do this without talking to them and spending time with them.

 

We are not called to approve of their actions or lifestyle.


Who do we not like?  Those who take advantage of children?  Abortionists?


It is a hard thing to tell people that they shouldn’t do what they want to do.

We need to be faithful to the Truth… but not to look down on the people.

We can remind people that they always have a choice.

 

We need to make sure we influence them but do not get influenced by them.  Jesus was and is well equipped for this… better equipped than we are.

 

We can and should love people, which means that sometimes we need to point out their sins and not to fellowship with them in their sin.


5. How does Zacchaeus react to this encounter with Jesus? 


He reacts instantly with:

Gratitude.

Humility.

Readiness to change.

Repentance.

Eagerness and desire to help others and make restitution.


A picture of a gold coin (but not a mina).

Luke 19:11-27 "Put this Money to Work"

1.  According to verse 11, why does Jesus tell this parable?  What will happen next when He leaves Zacchaeus’ house?

 

2. In this parable, Jesus compares Himself to a master, to a king, and to a judge.  What do we learn about Jesus through each of these roles?

 

3.  Where is the Master going, and how long will He be gone?

 

4.  What are the servants supposed to do while they wait for their master to return?  What are we supposed to do while we wait for Jesus to return?

 

5. What do the minas represent?  What does it mean to earn a profit?  What would if have looked like if the third servant had put the money in the bank? 


6. Who are those who did not wish to have Jesus as their King?  What is their fate?  Is this a just punishment?


Luke 19:11-27 "Put this Money to Work" (with answers)

1.  According to verse 11, why does Jesus tell this parable?  What will happen next when He leaves Zacchaeus’ house?

His time is coming soon to be crucified.

His time to return as King is not so soon.

It is important to remind people that he is Judge and King and Master before He goes away.

(This parable about money is told at Zacchaeus’ house… someone who worked with money for a living).

 

Jesus will go to Jerusalem next… the Triumphal entry… and then Easter.

  

2. In this parable, Jesus compares Himself to a master, to a king, and to a judge.  What do we learn about Jesus through each of these roles?

Master… He is Lord.  He deserves, and expects, obedience.

        … we are supposed to serve Him.

King… He is King of the universe by right of having made it.

    … He is the Ultimate Authority in the land he rules (which is the universe).

    … there is no higher power in this universe.

    … He is noble.

Judge… He has a right to judge, and a right to forgive.

 

3.  Where is the Master going, and how long will He be gone?

He is going to a distant land.

His authority comes from Heaven to be King on Earth (but Jesus was actually “born King of the Jews” so He doesn’t really need to be made king like the character in the parable does).

Nobody knows how long He will be gone (but He will return). – Matthew 24:36

 

4.  What are the servants supposed to do while they wait for their master to return?  What are we supposed to do while we wait for Jesus to return?

They are supposed to make money for Him using the money he gave to them.

We are supposed to make disciples.  We are supposed to pray.  We are supposed to use the talents/attributes and resources He gave us for His Kingdom.

He wants to see that we are faithful with what we have.

He wants to reward us lavishly for our faithfulness.

 

5. What do the minas represent?  What does it mean to earn a profit?  What would if have looked like if the third servant had put the money in the bank? 

The minas represent talents/attributes/resources.

To earn a profit means to store up treasure in Heaven (Matthew 6:19-21).

To earn a profit here means to make disciples.

 

We are not to hide our talents/gifts.

We are supposed to be bold, not timid.

It is about attitude; it is about our will; He doesn’t need us.

What does putting the money on deposit look like?  What is the minimum we should be doing?  Prayer for others.

We should be kind to others (along with the other fruit of the Spirit).  We should act like Christians.

We can financially support others who are doing the work (like the local church, or Voice of the Martyrs, or Our Daily Bread, or Samaritan's Purse, or any other ministry that is actively sharing the Gospel and making disciples).

 

6. Who are those who did not wish to have Jesus as their King?  What is their fate?  Is this a just punishment?

The Jews who rejected Him are definitely in this category (but so is anyone else who hates Him and rejects Him).

They tried to stop Him from being their King.

 

The fate of those who reject Jesus is eternal death… eternal separation from God.

The punishment is harsh, but it is just.

 

There are consequences for what we do… both good and bad.


Image of a palm branch.

Luke 19:28-40 "Hosanna!"

1.  This passage is often referred to as the “Triumphal Entry,” and it is commemorated by “Palm Sunday.”  What is a triumphal entry?  What triumph might Jesus be celebrating?  What triumph might the people think He is celebrating (see John 12:17-19)?

 

2.  What is the significance of Jesus riding on a colt that had never been ridden?  (see Matthew 21:4-5)

 

3.  What is the significance of each of the following titles of Jesus? (see Psalm 118:21-29 and Mark 12:10-11)

He who comes in the name of the Lord. (Matthew,Mark,John)

The king who comes in the name of the Lord. (Luke)

The King of Israel. (John)

The Son of David. (Matthew)

The prophet from Nazareth in Galilee. (Matthew)

What is the significance of each of these other phrases that the crowd shouts/sings?

Hosanna! (Mark,John)


Hosanna in the highest! (Matthew,Mark)


Peace in heaven and glory in the highest! (Luke)


Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! (Mark)

 

Do the people know who Jesus really is?  Are they right in shouting these things?  (see Luke 22:70-23:3 and John 18:33-37)

 

4.  What is the response to all this shouting and adulation? (see Luke 19:39-40)

  

5.  The modern day equivalent of a triumphal entry might be a ticker tape parade through New York City, followed by being presented with the key to the city.  What would you expect someone to do after such an honor?  What does Jesus do after this entry into Jerusalem?  (see Luke 19:41-44, Mark 11:11, and Luke 19:45-47.)


Luke 19:28-40 "Hosanna!" (with answers)

1.  This passage is often referred to as the “Triumphal Entry,” and it is commemorated by “Palm Sunday.”  What is a triumphal entry?  What triumph might Jesus be celebrating?  What triumph might the people think He is celebrating (see John 12:17-19)?

 

After a victory, Roman armies would ride in triumphantly.

 

Victory over death (He has just raised Lazarus from the dead, and He will soon raise Himself from the dead… and this is all a promise that He will raise us from the dead as well).

Victory over sin (because death is the consequence of sin).

 

The people are celebrating miracles and the possibility of Jesus being King, now, and resotring the nation of Israel.

Some people may be celebrating without really thinking it through or really even knowing why.  Some of these same people shouting Hosanna will, less than a week later, be shouting to crucify Him.

  

2.  What is the significance of Jesus riding on a colt that had never been ridden?  (see Matthew 21:4-5)

Jesus is fulfilling prophecy.

It is a minor miracle to be able to ride an animal that has never been ridden before.

The donkey may well have known the importance of the One who was riding him.

This is not a war horse.  It is not fancy.  A donkey is humble and lowly.