Monthly Archives: November 2014

A Week in the Word, November 30 – December 6

Theme: Biographical — New Testament Notables

God has chosen to work through the agency of men.  It certainly isn’t because He is in need of what man provides.  As Paul told the people of Athens, God is not “served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:25). Still, He has sought human engagement and participation.

Consequently, many people have played important roles in the biblical record.  The “Biographical” theme in this year’s reading plan has allowed us to focus attention on several of these.  From the Old Testament we’ve read about Abraham, Moses, and David, as well as some notable kings and great prophets. In the New Testament we spent time with Peter and Paul. This week our attention will focus on several important figures in the New Testament whom God used in significant ways in the work of the kingdom.

 

Readings and Introductory Comments:

Matthew 4:21-22; 20:20-28; Luke 9:51-56; John 13:21-30; 19:23-27; 20:1-10; 21:20-25; Acts 3:1-11; 8:14-25; Revelation 1:1-20

Second only to Peter, John plays a primary leading part in the ministry of Jesus and life of the early church.  He along with his brother James and Peter formed an “inner circle” among the apostles.  They, by the Lord’s invitation, were allowed to witness certain events others did not (transfiguration, raising of Jairus’ daughter, going further into Gethsemane). Even beyond that, John seems to have been even the closest of the apostles to Jesus. He is designated as the disciple whom Jesus loved and the one to whom Jesus committed the care of His own mother.

John also is author of five New Testament books; the Gospel of John, the epistles 1, 2, & 3 John, and the book of Revelation—that is second in number only to Paul.  He also appears to be youngest of the apostles, and according to legend lived to be quite old and was the only apostle not to die a martyr.  It’s believed that his books are among the very last New Testament books penned, some likely even being written in the final decade of the first century.

 

Acts 4:36-37; 9:26-28; 11:19-30; 12:24-25; 13:1-3; 15:1-2, 12, 25-35, 36-41; Galatians 2:1, 7-10

A better Christian than Barnabas would be hard to find. As a matter of fact, so impressive is this man’s Christian character that we know him best by the nickname given him by the apostles—which means son of encouragement–rather than the name given to him by his parents, Joseph. Whenever the apostles sought out someone of unassailable reputation and spiritual maturity it is Barnabas to whom they turned.  In large part it was Barnabas who played such critical role in the transition of Saul, the converted former persecutor, to Paul the respected and tireless preacher of the gospel.  Barnabas has so much to teach us all.

 

Acts 6:1-15; 7:51-60; 18:24-9:7; 1 Corinthians 3:1-6, 21-23; 4:6-7; 16:12; Acts 18:1-4, 18-21; Romans 16:3-5; 1 Corinthians 16:19-20; 2 Timothy 4:19

Several other key individuals rise to the top in the pages of the New Testament, especially during the early days of the church and its spread throughout the world.  Our readings will touch on Stephen, Apollos, and Aquila and Priscilla.

Other names are found frequently as well, especially in connection with Paul’s work. Profitable time could well be spent in also tracing the contributions of Timothy, Silas, Erastus, Aristarchus, Epaphroditus, Tychicus, and others.

 

Study/Thought Questions:

Matthew 4:21-22

  • What was John doing when he was called by Jesus?

Matthew 20:20-28

  • What request did John’s mother make? (v. 21)
  • How did the other apostles feel about this incident? (v. 24)

Luke 9:51-56

  •  What did James and John want to do in response to the inhospitable Samaritans? (v. 54)

 John 13:21-30

  • Where was John situated at the meal in the upper room? (v. 23)
  • Who prompted John to ask Jesus a question? (vv. 24-25)

John 19:23-27

  • Who was standing by the cross of Jesus during His crucifixion? (v. 25)
  • How did Jesus refer to John to His mother? (v. 26)

John 20:1-10

  • Which male disciple reached reached Jesus’ empty tomb first? (v. 4)

John 21:20-25

  • What mistaken idea began to circulate about John? (v. 23)

Acts 3:1-11

  • Where did Peter and John go, and when? (v. 1)
  • What did the lame beggar want from them? (v. 3)

Acts 8:14-25

  • Whom did the apostles send to Samaria? (v. 14)
  • What did they do for the converted Samaritans? (v. 15)

Revelation 1:1-20

  • How did God make known to John what He wanted His servants to know? (v. 1)
  • Where was John when he received his revelation? (v. 9)

Acts 4:36-37

  • Who gave Barnabas his name? (v. 36)

Acts 9:26-28

  • Who introduced Saul of Tarsus to the apostles following his conversion? (v. 27)

Acts 11:19-30

  •  Whom did the church in Jerusalem send to Antioch? (v. 22)
  • Whom did Barnabas recruit to help him in Antioch? (v. 25)

Acts 12:24-25

  • Whom did Barnabas and Saul bring with them when the returned to Jerusalem?

Acts 13:1-3

  • Who identified Barnabas and Saul to singled out for a special work? (v. 2)

Acts 15:1-2, 12

  • Why were Paul and Barnabas sent to Jerusalem? (v. 2)

Acts 15:25-35

  • Who, along with Paul and Barnabas, were selected to deliver the letter from the “council” in Jerusalem? (v. 27)
  • What did Paul and Barnabas do upon returning to Antioch? (v. 35)

Acts 15:36-41

  • Whom did Barnabas want to take when he and Paul decided to revisit the congregations established on the first missionary journey? (v. 37)

Galatians 2:1, 7-10

  • What did Paul receive from James, Cephas, and John? (v. 9)

Acts 6:1-15

  • What were the qualifications of the men to be selected? (v. 3)
  • How is Stephen described? (v. 5)
  • With what was Stephen full and what did he do? (v. 8)
  • How did Stephen’s face appear? (v. 15)

Acts 7:51-60

  • Where did Stephen gaze and what did he see? (v. 55)
  • What request did Stephen make of God? (v. 60).

Acts 18:24-9:7

  • How is Apollos described? (v. 24)
  • Who taught Apollos better? (v. 26)
  • To where did Apollos go from Ephesus? (v. 1)

1 Corinthians 3:1-6

  • Who are Apollos and Paul? (v. 5)

1 Corinthians 4:6-7

  • What were the Corinthians to have learned from Paul and Apollos? (v. 6)

1 Corinthians 16:12

  • How did Apollos respond to Paul’s request?

Acts 18:1-4, 18-21

  • From where were Aquila and Priscilla? (v. 1)
  • What brought Paul together with this couple? (v. 3)
  • Where did Aquila and Priscilla stay after leaving Corinth? (v. 19)

Romans 16:3-5

  • What had Priscilla and Aquila done for Paul? (v. 3)

1 Corinthians 16:19-20

  • Who sent their greetings along with Aquila and Priscilla? (v. 19)

 

Meditation Thoughts:

What position must one hold in order to serve the Lord?

How many locations do we find Aquila and Priscilla? What can we learn from this?

Stephen was such a powerful voice and defender of the faith, what are your thoughts about the fact that God allowed his death during the church’s infancy?

 

Memory Verse:

“When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.  And a great many people were added to the Lord.” (Acts 11:24)

A Week in the Word, November 23-29

 

Theme: Great Bible Themes — Authority

Among the most fundamental of all Bible themes is authority. Though the word doesn’t first appear in the Bible until Genesis 16:19, the principle is very much at play from Scripture’s very first verse. That God created the heavens and earth powerfully proclaims His authority over all things. The very creative process is a demonstration of the same; “God said…and there was…”  That is pure authority.

God’s authority is an outgrowth of His sovereignty. As observed in the earlier reading this year about God as Sovereign Lord, dictionary definitions of sovereignty use words such as authority, absolute, and supreme.

God’s authority as Sovereign Lord is a given premise of Scripture. In other words, the Bible doesn’t really spend time attempting to prove that point. What the Bible does concern itself with is showing that God has given all authority to His Son. Further, that the greatest challenge facing mankind is the willingness to place self under divine authority.  Thus, submission and obedience become requisite. To think of this another way, authority is empowering. To act based on authority is to be empowered to do so. Absence of the same cannot be considered anything less than rebellion and disobedience.

Readings and Introductory Comments:

Mark 1:21-28; Matthew 7:28-29; 8:23-27; 9:1-8; 21:23-27; Luke 7:1-10; John 17:1-2; 19:8-12; Matthew 28:18-20

A key theme in the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ ministry is the demonstration of the authority possessed by Jesus and the consequent recognition of that authority (or failure to do so).  Not only that, but Jesus also makes explicit claim to the authority given to Him by the Father.  There are occasions in which divine authority is readily acknowledged and others in which it is questioned and challenged.  In the overall revelation of Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God, His authority plays a primary role

Acts 2:38; 3:6, 16; 4:10; 8:12, 16; 9:27; 10:48; 16:18; 19:5

Following Jesus’ departure from earth, the disciples commenced to fulfill His commission. This they did on the basis of the authority bestowed upon them by the Son.  Just as in the process of making disciples by “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” so their entire ministries were on the basis of that authority; that is, in the name of Jesus. The repeated occurrence of the phrase “in the name of Jesus,” in various forms, is with good cause. As in the revelation of Jesus within the Gospels, authority plays a primary role in the life of the church.

1 Corinthians 15:24; Ephesians 1:15-23; Colossians 1:16; 2:10, 15; 3:17; 1 Peter 3:21-22; Jude 8, 25

So also in the life of the Christian, authority is critical.  As a matter of fact, successful discipleship demands the recognition of and submission to the authority of Jesus.

Study/Thought Questions: 

Mark 1:21-28

  • What evidence of authority impressed these witnesses? (v. 27)

Matthew 7:28-29

  • What impressed Jesus’ listeners about His teaching?

Matthew 8:23-27

  • Over what did Jesus demonstrate authority?

Matthew 9:1-8

  • Over what two realms did Jesus demonstrate His authority?

Matthew 21:23-27

  • What question did the chief priests and elders have of Jesus? (v. 23)

Luke 7:1-10

  • What background did the sick servant’ master have that allowed him to understand Jesus’ authority? (v. 8)
  • What did Jesus think of this man? (v. 9)

John 17:1-2

  • On what basis did Jesus ask for glory from God?

John 19:8-12

  • From where did Jesus say Pilate received his authority? (v. 11)

Matthew 28:18-20

  • How far does Jesus’ authority extend? (v. 18)

Acts 2:38

  • By what authority is baptism administered for salvation?

Acts 3:6, 16

  • What did Peter command by the authority of Jesus for the lame man to do? (v. 6)
  • What is meant by “by faith in his name”? (v. 16)

Acts 4:10

  • By what means was the lame beggar able to stand?

Acts 8:12, 16

  • What did Philip preach in addition to the name of Jesus? (v. 12)

Acts 9:27

  • What had Saul done in Damascus?

Acts 10:48

  • What did Peter command?

Acts 16:18

  • What did Paul command in the name of Jesus?

1 Corinthians 15:24

  • What will Jesus destroy when He returns?

Ephesians 1:15-23

  • Where did God seat Christ when He raised Him from the dead? (vv. 21-22)

Colossians 1:16

  • What was created through and for Christ?

Colossians 2:10, 15

  • Of what is Jesus head? (v. 10)
  • Over what will Jesus triumph? (v. 15)

Colossians 3:17

  • For the Christian, by what must all things be done?

1 Peter 3:21-22

  • What has been subjected to Christ?

Jude 8, 25

  • What do wicked people do? (v. 8)
  • What is acclaimed to Jesus in addition to glory, majesty, and dominion? (v. 25)

Meditation Thought:

What is the single greatest threat to the authority of Jesus?

What does it mean to do all things in the name of Jesus Christ?

Is an explicit prohibition the only way we can know what is opposed to God’s will?

Memory Verse: 

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18)

A Week in the Word, November 16-22

Theme: Psalms — Trust and Wisdom

This week will mark the start of our last cycle through our six themes (God, Jesus, Christian living, Psalms & Proverbs, Bible Themes, & Biographical).  This will be the final reading under the Psalms & Proverbs theme.  Previously we have read Psalms of praise, historical psalms, laments, restoration, and thanksgiving (readings from Proverbs covered wisdom and the fear of God, and life well lived).  As stated above, our final reading from Psalms focuses on trust and wisdom.

Psalms play a critical role in Scripture.  Their place in the life and faith of the early church is obvious as it is the most frequently quoted Old Testament book in the New Testament. Peter’s great Pentecost sermon is filled with quotations from Psalms.  Our own faith is enriched and deepened through a greater familiarity with this the largest book of the Bible and also the Bible’s premier repository of devotional texts.

The book of Psalms is often categorized along with Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon as “Wisdom Literature.” Though not familiar to our modern world, certainly the ancient, biblical world knew well and appreciated this literary style.  Not surprisingly, many of the Psalms are classified as Wisdom Psalms.

Also not surprising are the Psalms that give strong expression to one’s trust in God.  As He is praised, glorified, thanked, and His great deeds recounted, as the writers of Psalms express their faith in Him, He is worthy of our trust.

 

Readings and Introductory Comments:

Psalms 36, 37, 49, 73, 90, 112, 127, 128, 133

Certain questions appear to be behind wisdom literature as a whole—and of which these Psalms are examples.  These include: How should we live in this world, here and now? How do we make wise decisions in all areas of our lives? How do the lives we live fit into the order and arrangement of God’s created world?  This literature also concerns itself with life’s most challenging questions, such as how are we to understand the evil and troubles that are a part of the world in which we live? These are all viable questions well worth consideration, even today.  These Psalms are dominated by these same themes.

Psalms 11, 16, 27, 62, 63, 91, 121, 125, 131

One of the key elements of faith is trust.  Just as faith involves belief and obedience, it also involves trust.  God can be trusted.  Despite the struggles and challenges and hardships of life; even though our existence can be dominated by the “negatives,” we can still trust in God’s promises, His assurances, His faithfulness, and His sovereignty.  Present opposition, pain, and confusion are not adequate evidence to the contrary.

Study/Thought Questions:

Psalm 36

  • What is the problem with the wicked? (v. 1)
  • What is found in God’s house? (v. 8)

Psalm 37

  •  What will happen to evildoers? (v. 1)
  • What does the Lord love? (v. 28)
  • What is in the righteous man’s heart? (v. 31)

Psalm 49

  • What can no man do? (v. 7)
  • Whom should one not fear?  Why? (vv. 16-20)

Psalm 73

  • What troubled this psalmist? (v. 3)
  • What helped give understanding? (v. 17)

Psalm 90

  • How is human life described? (v. 10)
  • What do we need to be taught, and why? (v. 12)

Psalm 112

  • Who is blessed? (v. 1)
  • For whom does it go well? (v. 5)

Psalm 127

  • What activity is vain? (v. 1)
  • What is a heritage from the Lord? (v. 3)

Psalms 128

  • What is one way God blesses man? (v. 3)

Psalm 133

  • What is “good and pleasant”? (v. 1)

Psalms 11

  • What does the Lord love? (v. 7)

Psalm 16

  • Whose sorrows will multiply? (v. 4)
  • What is found in God’s presence? (v. 11)

Psalm 27

  • What one thing shall I ask of the Lord? (v. 4)
  • What has God said? What shall I do? (v. 8)

Psalm 62

  • In what state does one wait for God? (5)
  • In what should one not set their heart? (v. 10)

Psalm 63

  • What does one behold in God’s sanctuary? (v. 2)
  • When will God be meditated upon? (v. 6)

Psalm 91

  • Where shall one find refuge in God? (v. 4)
  • Whom shall God command to guard your ways? (v. 11)

Psalm 121

  • What will the one who keeps you not do? (v. 3)

Psalm 125

  • What are those who trust in the Lord like? (v. 1)
  • To whom does the Lord do good? (v. 4)

Psalm 131

  • With what does this one not occupy himself? (v. 1)
  • What has he done to his soul? (v. 2)

 

Meditation Thoughts:

From where have you sought refuge instead of God?

How can you show greater trust in God?

Many things have changed since Bible times, but in regard to life and human existence, what has not changed?

What can you do to quiet your soul in the midst of a busy and frantic life?

 

Memory Verse:

“You have said, ‘Seek my face.’ My heart says to you, ‘Your face, Lord, do I seek.’” (Psa. 27:8)

A Week in the Word, November 9-15

 

Theme: Christian Living — Forgiving Others

Earlier this year (February) one of our week’s readings covered sin and forgiveness.  No greater issue exists than the fact of our sin separating us from God and the salvation He provides allowing for reconciliation to Him.  That is, God is willing to forgive us of our sins through His Son.

Beyond that, and very closely connected to it, is the biblical principle that our relationship with God cannot be right if our relationship with others is not right.  So, among other things, this means that as God has forgiven us, we must also be willing to forgive others.  To say it another way our failure to be forgiving stands as a barrier to our receiving God’s forgiveness.

So, forgiving others is of supreme importance.  Even with all that God has done, the great sacrifice offered on our behalf, the efforts of God through the ages to orchestrate the opportunity for our redemption, we can still miss it all if we do not forgive the wrongs of others.

Scripture speaks very explicitly to this point.  Both Jesus’ own words and those of inspired penmen spell out clearly this need and the consequences of our failure to do so.  In addition to these readings, we must also consider the characteristic traits of a Christian that allow for forgiveness.   Further, a well known Old Testament story stands out as one of the great examples of forgiveness in all of Scripture.  Joseph, though sorely mistreated by his own brothers shows us what forgiveness looks like.

 

Readings and Introductory Comments:

Matthew 6:14-15; 18:21-35; Luke 17:3-4; 23:34

Jesus came to bring forgiveness to humanity.  In His words it was “to seek and to save the lost” (Lk. 19:10). That, of course, would be accomplished through His own blood given on the cross. In addition to this is the life we are called to live as His followers. Coming to Christ for salvation is, in one sense, all about experiencing cleansing from sin, but it is also about living self-controlled, upright, and godly lives (Titus 2:12).  This includes forgiveness; not our being forgiven, but our being willing to forgive.  As a matter of fact, Jesus says that our being forgiven is dependent on our being forgiving.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7; 2 Corinthians 2:5-11; Ephesians 4:31-32; Colossians 3:8-10, 12-14; 1 Peter 1:22-23; 4:8

To be able to forgive others we must love them.  Just as we cannot be forgiven by God but because of His love (John 3:16), so neither can we forgive others apart from our love for them.  So love covers a multitude of sins (1 Pet. 4) and it is brotherly love for which we have been saved (1 Pet. 1). Not only so, but the sanctified life of a Christian—one void of features of the flesh but filled with traits of God’s Holy Spirit—is necessary for forgiveness to be possible (Eph. 4; Col. 3).

Paul’s correspondence with the Corinthian church provides an interesting case study in forgiveness.  In the first letter he calls on the church to take disciplinary action in regard to a brother’s sinful life (see 1 Cor. 5:1-13).  Then in the second letter to the same church, the appeal is to forgive this same man who has since repented of his wrong.

Genesis 37:12-36; 42:1-38; 45:1-15; 50:15-21

The Old Testament story of Joseph both challenges and encourages us.  Of the many lessons to be learned from this great patriarch’s life, none is more powerful than that of forgiveness.  Joseph’s brothers sorely mistreated their younger sibling.  Actually, only the strong appeal of one them prevented their killing him.  Of course, we know God was using this entire situation to fulfill the plan He had formerly revealed to Abraham (Gen. 15:13).  As God used Joseph and placed him in a position of great authority and power, these same brothers came before Joseph in search of grain to help alleviate the pains of the great famine.  Now the tables were turned.  Joseph was over these same men who had brought such great sorrow and suffering into his life.  But Joseph, true the depth of his spiritual character, chose to follow the path of forgiveness.

 

Study/Thought Questions:

Matthew 6:14-15

  • On what stipulation will God forgive our trespasses?

Matthew 18:21-35

  • How often should one forgive one who sins against us? (v. 22)
  • What did the master propose be done to the servant who owed 10,000 talents but could not pay? (v. 25)
  • Why did the master forgive the servant his debt? (v. 27)
  • How did the mast describe the first servant who was unwilling to forgive his fellow servant? (v. 32)
  • What should have this servant shown to his fellow servant? (v. 32)

Luke 17:3-4

  • What should one do to the brother who sins?
  • What should be done to the brother who repents of his sin?

Luke 23:34

  • What request did Jesus make of God?
  • What did Jesus say about their actions?

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

  • What four things does love do in regard to “all things? (v. 7)

2 Corinthians 2:5-11

  • In addition to forgiving, what should be done for one who has repented of their sin? (v. 7)
  • If one who has repented does not receive forgiveness, by whom might they be overwhelmed? (v. 7)
  • What is being done for the one who is forgiven and comforted? (v. 8)
  • In this business of forgiveness, what must we guard against? (v. 11)

Ephesians 4:31-32

  • What must be put away from our lives so we can forgive? (v. 31)
  • In addition to forgiving, how else must we treat each other? (v. 32)

Colossians 3:8-10, 12-14

  • What must we put away from our lives? (vv. 8-9)
  • What must we put on? (vv. 12-13)
  • What must we do if we have a complaint against someone? (v. 13)
  • In what way should we forgive others? (v. 13)

1 Peter 1:22-23

  • How have we purified our souls? (v. 22)
  • For what have we purified our souls? (v. 22)
  • Since we have been born again, what should we do? (vv. 22-23)

1 Peter 4:8

  • What does love cover?

Genesis 37:12-36

  • What did Joseph’s brothers want to do to him? (v. 18)
  • Who interceded for Joseph? (v. 21)
  • What did Joseph’s brothers do with him? (vv. 27-28)
  • What did the brothers lead their father to believe about Joseph? (v. 33)

Genesis 42:1-38

  • What position did Joseph hold when his brothers came to Egypt to buy grain? (v. 6)
  • How did Joseph initially treat his brothers? (v. 7)
  • Of what did Joseph accuse them? (v. 9)
  • Whom did Joseph insist be brought to him? (v. 20)
  • Why did the brothers believe this distress had come upon them? (v. 21)
  • How did Joseph respond to his brothers’ discussion among themselves? (v. 24)

Genesis 45:1-15

  • What did Joseph do when he finally revealed himself to his brothers? (v. 2)
  • What did Joseph tell his brothers not to do because of what they’d done to him? (v. 5)
  • Whom did Joseph say was responsible for his being in Egypt? (v. 5) For what purpose?

Genesis 50:15-21

  • What did Joseph’s brothers fear after Jacob died? (v. 15)
  • What request did they make of Joseph? (v. 17)  How did Joseph react?
  • What did Joseph tell his brothers to not do? (vv. 19, 21)

 

Meditation Thoughts:

Can we forgive a person who has not asked for our forgiveness?

What characteristics of love have a direct correlation to forgiveness? (1 Cor. 13:4-7)  How so?

What principles about forgiveness do we learn from Joseph and his brothers?

 

Memory Verse:

“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt. 6:14-15)

A Week in the Word, November 2-8

Theme: Jesus — The Crucifixion

Jesus died on a cross. That fact we know.  People dying on a cross was not an unusual happening in the first century Roman world. Even on the occasion of Jesus’ death, His was but one of three crucifixions that fateful day.  But just as the person of Jesus was unique in human history, so also was His death.

Jesus’ death served a purpose.  Not the silencing of a troubling rabbi, as the authorities intended; not satisfying the insistent demands of those same authorities by even higher authorities; and certainly not the exercise of justice.  Instead, that purpose was far higher than any man could imagine (1 Cor. 1:22-25).  It achieved the greatest need man has.  So integral was that death to the will of God that it had been planned from before the beginning and prophesied centuries prior to Jesus’ arrival on earth.

But the Messiah dying was not on the radar of His followers.  He tried to prepare them for the series of events that no doubt would rattle their confidence and faith.  The Gospels give great details concerning His death and the events leading up to it.  His resurrection, of course, served to restore and solidify the faith of these disciples. (Our next reading under the theme of “Jesus” will focus on the resurrection).

Reading about the crucifixion certainly entails more than simply recounting the events involved. The significance, importance, and meaning of these events would become very important to the preaching in the early church as well as an oft repeated theme in the epistles.

Readings and Introductory Comments:

Isaiah 53:3-6; Luke 24:44-46; Matthew 16:21; 17:12, 22-23; 20:17-19

Luke’s Gospel affirms that all that happened to Jesus, including His death on the cross, was all part of God’s plan foretold in the Old Testament.  Even so Jesus’ disciples were not prepared to comprehend when He began to speak to them about the suffering He would endure at the hands of Jewish authorities.  Though He spoke to them often about it, the apostles failed to understand.  Even in the hours leading up to the critical, unfolding events, He tried to prepare them.

Matthew 26:36-27:66

To read about Jesus’ crucifixion is impossible without also covering the events immediately preceding it.  That begins with the visit to Gethsemane, the betrayal and arrest there, followed by His trial, sentencing, scourging, and finally the actual crucifixion.  The full account can only be gleaned from all four Gospels, yet we’ll read only Matthew’s.

Acts 2:22-23, 36; 3:13-15; 4:10; 5:30; 7:52; 10:39; 13:26-29

After witnessing the resurrected Jesus, the previously fearful and confused apostles became bold and fearless proclaimers of the gospel.  That message, of course, included the fact of their Master’s having been killed on the cross.  So, as would be expected, the preaching of the early church frequently drew attention to the crucifixion.

1 Corinthians 1:17-18, 23; 2:1-2; Galatians 3:1, 13; 5:11; Ephesians 2:14-16; Philippians 2:5-8; Colossians 1:19-20; 2:13-14; Hebrews 2:9; 12:2

In the thinking of the church, the crucifixion of Jesus came to be directly associated with the spiritual benefits of that sacrifice.  The “theology” of the cross flew in the face of other prominent modes of thinking—Judaism and Greek philosophy.  It was nonsense to Greeks for deity to die and a shame to Jews for anyone to be hanged on a cross.  The New Testament makes no effort to alter the clear message of the Bible; salvation is obtained by means of the suffering Servant, particularly His death on the cross in our stead.

 

Study/Thought Questions:

Isaiah 53:3-6

  • What is prophesied about the Messiah reception by man in general? (v. 3)
  • What statements from Isaiah are suggestive of crucifixion?

Luke 24:44-46

  • To what does “the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms” refer? (v. 44)

Matthew 16:21

  • What did Jesus “begin to show His disciples” from that time?
  • How did Peter respond? (see v. 22)

Matthew 17:12, 22-23

  • What event has just happened? (see vv. 1-8)
  • Who was “Elijah” to whom Jesus referred?
  • What did Jesus was about to happen to Him? (v. 22)

Matthew 20:17-19

  • Whom did Jesus say would carry out the actual crucifixion? (v. 19)

Matthew 26:36-27:66

  • What was the condition of Jesus’ “soul” in Gethsemane? (26:38)
  • Under whose authority did the crowd led by Judas act? (26:47)
  • Did Jesus surrender to the force of the mob or voluntarily? (26:53)
  • To whom was Jesus first taken for trial? (26:57)
  • To whom was Jesus taken in the morning? (27:2)
  • Who mocked Jesus? (27:27)
  • What challenge was issued to Jesus on the cross? (27:40-41)
  • What happened beginning the 6th hour? (27:45)
  • What happened after Jesus died? (27:51-53)

Acts 2:22-23, 36

  • Jesus’ crucifixion was according to what? (v. 23)
  • To whom did Peter assign blame for the crucifixion? (v. 36)

Acts 3:13-15

  • Whom did “you” kill? (v. 15)

Acts 4:10

  • How is Jesus identified?

Acts 5:30

  • How had Jesus been killed?

Acts 7:52

  • What two things did Stephen say were done to the “Righteous One”?

Acts 13:26-29

  • What did Paul say that those who crucified Jesus failed to understand? (v. 27)

1 Corinthians 1:17-18, 23

  • What tragic consequence did Paul wish to avoid? (v. 17)
  • What two things might the “word of the cross” be to people? (v. 18)

1 Corinthians 2:1-2

  • What did Paul decide to “know” among the Corinthians?

Galatians 3:1, 13

  • How does Paul describe Jesus crucifixion? (v. 1)
  • What did Jesus accomplish by being “hanged on a tree”? (v. 13)

Galatians 5:11

  • What has been removed?

Ephesians 2:14-16

  • By what means has man been reconciled to God? (v. 16)

Philippians 2:5-8

  • To what extent did Jesus humble Himself? (v. 8)

Colossians 1:19-20

  • What has been made possible by the blood of the cross?

Colossians 2:13-14

  • What was canceled at the cross and how?

Hebrews 2:9

  • Jesus was crowned with glory and honor because of what?

Hebrews 12:2

  • What was Jesus able to do because of the joy set before Him?

 

Meditation Thoughts:

Where did Jesus express the greatest agony, in Gethsemane or on the cross?  How could that be true?

Premillennial doctrine teaches that Jesus’ intent was to set up an earthly kingdom when He came to earth initially but could not because He was rejected.  Why can this not be true?

Why was crucifixion scandalous?

 

Memory Verse:

“And through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross.” (Col. 1:20)