Tuesday, January 26, 2016

30 Minute Video (or audio) Lesson on Jesus Rejected in his Hometown (Luke 4:11-30)

A 30 minute online Bible study on Jesus being rejected by the people of his home town, Nazareth. Grab a cup of coffee, relax, and learn something for the next 30 minutes.

YouTube video:

Audio Podcast:

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

45 minute video lesson on the Wedding at Cana in John 2:1-11

This audio/video presentation is similar in content to the Bible study on John 2:1-11 except that it contains a great deal more info. If you prefer your information presented to you, this is the resource for you.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Commentary & Bible Study on JOHN 2:1-12 (Horrible typo in main Bible reference in blog. Sorry.)

  1. Do you like weddings? Why or why not?
  2. Read Luke John 2:1-12
  3. CANA: Cana is in the vicinity of Nazareth, Jesus’ home town. While the location of Cana is not definitively known, you can see from the map below that it is no more than about 7 miles from Nazareth, about 2.5 hours walk (close enough that visiting for one day is not unreasonable). 

  4. WEDDINGS: Weddings at this time were huge community affairs. The couple would be betrothed (a legally binding contract) while physical consummation was reserved for the wedding night. On the day/evening of the wedding, the groom would begin at his or his parents’ home and walk through the town to get his bride. Friends and family would be waiting along the way to join him. This would be a loud and joyful party with singing. The groom would get the bride from her home and they would walk back in a procession of ever growing numbers back to the groom’s (or groom’s parents’) home for the wedding ceremony. The couple would have a place of honor under a canopy during the wedding banquet after which they would depart physically consummate their marriage while the party went on. They would return and the party would continue. The wedding feast would last up to 7 days. More distant relatives and friends might leave early, but the close relatives and friends would stay for the entire 7 day feast. It was a great disgrace to not provide full and gracious hospitality during the wedding feast, in some writings likened to thievery.
  5. Read a prophecy about the restoration of Israel in Amos 9:11-15 and note how wine fits into this prophecy.
  6. “THEY HAVE NO WINE” Why does Jesus choose to intervene? Here are three possible forces at play. Which do you think was the strongest? 
    1. The host would be disgraced. 
    2. The feast would end early. 
    3. His mom asked him to.
  7. What do you think of Jesus’ reaction to his mother? (You might want to read Jesus’ Parable of the Two Sons recorded in Matthew 21:28-32).
  8. Mary seems to assume that Jesus will respect her wishes even though he is a 30 year old male rabbi with a cadre of disciples. What does this tell us about Jesus’ relationship with his mother? Does this tell us anything about the commandment to “Honor your father and mother.”?
  9. There may be some symbolism in the six stone jars to be filled with water. Recall that water is the substance over which the Spirit of God hovers in Genesis 1:2 before creation begins. Then, in six days, creation is complete. Wine could be considered a “completed creation” product because a) it requires human involvement in its production, b) it is for enjoyment of man, and c) it is a feast drink, when the work is done. This also fits in with verse 11 of our text, where John writes that this is the “first” of Jesus’ signs. John labels another miracle the “second sign” (see John 4:54). Scholars have speculated that John constructed his Gospel around seven signs to indicate Jesus’ divinity in a literary way. The seven signs (in one view) end with the resurrection of Lazarus. The signs are, in order:
    1. Changing water into wine in John 2:1-11
    2. Healing the royal official's son in Capernaum in John 4:46-54
    3. Healing the paralytic at Bethesda in John 5:1-18
    4. Feeding the 5000 in John 6:5-14
    5. Jesus' walk on water in John 6:16-24
    6. Healing the man born blind in John 9:1-7
    7. Raising of Lazarus in John 11:1-45
  10. The text indicates that the wine Jesus made was consider by the master of the feast (who could certainly discern good wine from bad) to be excellent, the best wine of the feast. What might this teach us about God’s gifts and his desire for us?
  11. MANIFESTED HIS GLORY: “Manifest,” as a verb, means to “display or show (a quality or feeling) by one's acts or appearance; demonstrate.” What does this miracle show to you about Jesus?
  12. What else struck you?
  13. Close with prayer.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Bible Study on Luke 3:15-22

  1. First (if you are doing this study soon after), how was your Christmas? Share a special moment, a surprise, or just something that you enjoyed.
  2. Do you have godparents and how, if at all, are they involved in your life today?
  3. Read Luke 3:15-22
  4. In verse 15, do the people know who they are looking for or understand what they are looking for when they are looking for the Christ?
    1. Note: The word, “Christ,” is a Greek translation of the Hebrew word, “Messiah.” A “messiah” is an anointed one, “a person having sacred oil poured ceremonially on one’s head, and so become a person with special authority and function, with the implication of one having the choice and approval of God”[1] The pouring of oil is secondary to the being called of God for a special purpose. Look up the following verses to see uses of the word, “messiah,” in lower context than the ultimate messiah, Jesus of Nazareth:
    2. Leviticus 4:3, a priest is called the “anointed.” This is the Hebrew word, “messiah”
    3. Isaiah 45:1, the Assyrian king, Cyrus, is called the Lord’s anointed. Again, the Hebrew word here is “messiah.”
    4. Psalm 2:2, apparently a prophecy about the messiah who would rule the world.
    5. Acts 2:36, Christians see Jesus’ resurrection as proof that he is, indeed, the “anointed one,” the One set apart by God for special authority and function.
  5. In verse 16, how would you say John perceived the coming Christ? 
    1. For a more detailed account of Jesus’ baptism, including John’s understanding of his role and how he would identify the messiah, read John 1:19-34.
  6. In verse 16, John says the messiah will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
    1. “Baptism” is a ritual cleansing (with water). What do you think John means by saying the messiah will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire?
  7. What kind of activity is symbolized in verse 17?
    1. Verse 17 uses details that would be very familiar to an average person in Jesus’ day. A “winnowing fork” is basically a pitch fork. A “threshing floor” is “a surface of hard dirt or stone, for beating or trampling grain heads.”[2] Trampling the grain breaks the chaff loose. The chaff is the light outer husk of the grain, similar to the thin outer skin of a peanut. After threshing, the grain is tossed into the air with the winnowing fork. The heavier heads of grain fall back to the floor while the light chaff is blown away.
  8. Verse 18 calls John’s message “good news.” How do you understand baptism with fire and threshing to be good news?
    1. It may be helpful to remember that the Promised Land was, at this point, occupied by the Romans. Also, the central narrative of Jewish life is the Exodus, celebrated every year at Passover.
  9. Verses 19-20 are a flash-forward (as opposed to a “flashback”). The Gospel of Luke was probably composed around AD60. These verses are the Luke’s parenthetical comment about what Herod did later.
  10. In verse 21-22, who is Jesus baptized with? What unique thing happens to Jesus?
  11. What else strikes you in this passage?
  12. Close with prayer.
[1] Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[2] Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.