Monthly Archives: January 2022

Healing on the Sabbath

Sunday Lesson Notes from January 16, 2022

Read Luke 14: 1-6

Where did this story take place?

At the House of a Prominent Pharisee

Who was present and who was absent?

Jesus, the Pharisees, experts in the Law and a man suffering with a medical condition were present. Based on how the Pharisees reacted to Jesus and his eating with “tax collectors and sinners” in other passages, there were most likely no tax collectors, commoners, women or other unclean people present. Non-Jews, or Gentiles, were definitely not present.

What does Jesus say to the Pharisees and what impact did this have in the room?

Jesus asked the Pharisees if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not. He called out the elephant in the room, so the trap backfired on them. The Pharisees must have been shocked that the guy was actually healed.

Jesus was able to point out to the Pharisees that there were exemptions to the rules of the Sabbath and healing people was more important than the rules of the law. 

The Pharisees here are not really concerned about the law, they were more concerned about trapping Jesus and when they were confronted they had nothing to say. 

What does this show you about the nature of God?

God is merciful and humanity is more important to him. God notices our suffering and cares about us and will provide healing. 

One encounter with Jesus changed this man’s life. This man started with an underlying disease that led to swelling, but in an instant he was normal. 

After the healing, Jesus did not brag about his abilities. He was very humble and pointed the Pharisees back to their own law and taught them how to really obey and understand it. He gave them a chance to change and to learn about why they were doing what they were doing. 

Why did the Pharisees remain silent?

Perhaps they were embarrassed, or did not want to be kicked out of the group for agreeing with Jesus?

Jesus continues to teach the Pharisees later on in the chapter, why?

Jesus wanted them to have a deeper understanding of the law they were supposedly upholding. Jesus wanted them to learn how to really honor the Sabbath and to know the reason behind why they did what they were doing.

What Do You Want?

Sunday Sermon Notes from January 9, 2022

Read John 1:35-39

Why did Jesus ask these men what they wanted?

Perhaps Jesus already knew what they wanted, but wanted to see if they, themselves knew what they wanted from him.

Also, since relationships should go both ways, these men needed to say what they wanted out of their own relationship with God. 

It is easy to desire something, but do we really want to put in the work to attain it?

Read John 2:1-11

What did Mary want?

Mary wanted Jesus to turn the water into wine to help out with a problem at the wedding. Mary demonstrated great faith that her son could do something about this situation. She was borrowing from her own experiences of faith when the Holy Spirit came to her and told her she would give birth to Jesus. 

Jesus knew now that Mary had faith in him.

Read John 2: 13-17

What did Jesus want?

Is Worship at churches today like a marketplace or show?

Jesus was indignant and removed all the money changers from the temple since they were disrespecting the house of God. They were also blocking gentiles and others from worshiping God by this set up. This was an example of rampant consumerism. They were making it easier for  the people to make a sacrifice by providing the animals they needed to make their sacrifice.  Therefore, they did not actually have to raise the animal and bring it to the temple, which was really watering down the impact of their sacrifice. 

Many churches today try to make it easier for members to just show up which means it doesn’t cost us anything to go to church. We can just go and receive and not give anything if we so choose. Jesus wants everyone to come and worship him without hindrances. 

Read John 3: 16-21

What does God want?

God wants us to live in the light, to be open and transparent and vulnerable with each other and with him. God wants us to be saved and goes to all ends to save us. God gave us his son Jesus and planned to save us from the laws of the Old Testament that we could not keep. 

What do the people want?

People prefer darkness to light. We like to do what we want to do and not what God wants most of the time. It is quite common that people respond negatively to someone who is trying to do what is right because we do not like to be exposed by our wrongdoing. 

Do you really want what Jesus wants in your life?

Do you go to Jesus to see what he wants in your life?

Do you allow Jesus to shepherd your life? 

What can you do to align your wants with Jesus’s wants?

Remembering God’s Promises, a lesson from Balaam a foreign prophet

Sunday Lesson Notes

Question: When you were a child, do you remember who you wanted to be like and why?

Read Numbers 23: 4-12

Balak was a King that did not like the Israelites. He hired a prophet by the name of Balaam to put curses on Israel for him. However, something happens to Balaam as he tries to curse Israel. Why did Balak want to curse Israel? Was he jealous? Did he want to be like the Israelites, why? 

Balaam could not and did not curse the Israelites. Instead, he only could bless them and recite the promises that God had for them. This made Balak upset. Why? Maybe he was jealous of the Israelites? Maybe he wanted to be like the Israelites but realized he couldn’t? Maybe he was upset because he could not get Balaam to do what he wanted him to do?

What were the blessings that Balaam recited?

  • The Israelites would be numerous
  • They would be set apart and chosen by God
  • They were not to be cursed by God only blessed
  • They could raise a strong army and be rich

Were the Israelites aware of the Great situation they were in? Did God withhold their blessings because they could not see that they were blessed?

It is clear from earlier readings that the Israelites did not realize what a great situation they were in. They were being led in the wilderness by God Himself as a pillar of smoke and still forgot that God was among them. How do we know? They were complaining and grumbling about not having water to drink, meat to eat or a place to settle down and live. They could not perceive the blessings they were receiving from God, but God blessed them anyway. 

The Israelites, with Moses as the leader, had just defeated the Amorites with a small number of fighters. God gave them the victory. Therefore, the Israelites were seen by other surrounding nations as a threat to their existence. This is part of why Balak wanted to curse them. 

(Remember the Amorites, later on in the old testament,  were a people that were to be destroyed completely by Saul, who did not listen and kept their plunder and lost leadership as King as a result)

Read Numbers 23: 13-26

God spoke to Balak through Balaam and told him he was not going to change his mind about blessing Israel. He would always keep his promise to bless that nation. God did this to show Balak that he was a very different GOD, different from all the other gods of the other nations. God’s love for the people did not depend on the actions of the people. God loved and took care of the people despite their actions. 

Balak should have learned that he could not buy his way into getting what he wanted. Sometimes as disciples, we can feel like we need to work our way into God’s blessings and forget God does not change his mind when he makes a promise to us. 

God took the time to personally talk to Balak, why? God is a personal God and takes an interest in our personal lives. Maybe God wanted to let Balak know that he would also have a chance to have a relationship with him too. Or, maybe God wanted to personally correct Balak’s misconception of who HE was. 

Read Numbers 23:27 - Numbers 24:17

Balak here is still mad at Balaam for not being able to curse the Israelites. He is now more blind to the situation than before. However, Balaam is now starting to see that the Israelites were chosen by God and were to be blessed and there was no changing that. He said he could see God’s plans clearly and spoke the truth about God’s promises.

Jesus spent lots of time teaching us how to see God’s promises clearly. Jesus would take the time to teach people how to see the truth and what is real and from God. 

Read Genesis 12: 1-3

In Genesis, God gave promises to Abram. We can see in Numbers where these promises are continuing to be fulfilled.  For example, God promised Abram that his offspring were to be blessed and not cursed, his name would be a great name and whoever cursed him would be cursed.. This is a promise for you in Christ!!

Although Israel was having a hard time perceiving their blessings, they still received them. It took a prophet from outside of Israel to help them to see that they were blessed and chosen by God. 

As disciples we can feel like we need to manipulate God to get what we want. Also, we can lose sight of our blessings in God when we are going through hard times. Jesus is our good shepherd and takes care of us always. He feeds us and clothes us and protects us. It is easy to get frustrated when we want more than what the shepherd provides. 

Read Numbers 24:15-19

This is a prophecy of David or Solomon’s future coming and also a prophecy about the birth and coming of Jesus. It is so encouraging to see we are deep in the Torah and there are prophecies about the coming of Jesus. Remember, don’t let a heathen prophet, ie Balaam, see God’s promises before you!

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