Monthly Archives: July 2022

Will You Recognize Jesus?

Sunday Lesson notes, from July 10, 2022

Question: Have you ever been in a conversation where you wanted to change the subject? How were you able to accomplish this?

Possible Answers: Ask another question; Suffer through the conversation; Physically remove yourself from the conversation; Interject humor

Read Matthew 22: 34-46

  • Why do you think the Pharisees and Sadducees (leaders and teachers of the Israelites),  asked Jesus this question about the greatest commandment?
  • Why do you think Jesus asked them, "Who was the Messiah"?
  • Responses to consider:
    • The religious leaders were usually trying to trap Jesus by asking him provoking questions, but Jesus knew how to respond by making them think deeply by the responses he gave them
    • They were Israel’s teachers, yet they could not answer these basic questions about who Jesus was
    • They were looking for a King to come and rule in Jerusalem. They were hoping for a powerful leader who would overthrow the Roman government, although prophecy never indicated that Jesus would come as a future powerful political ruler. Prophecy was always clear that the Messiah was coming to serve and save the people and restore them to a relationship with God.
    • Jesus pointed out to them the most important commandment was to love God and to love their neighbor. How do you think they felt about this answer? Were they loving Jesus at this moment, as their neighbor?
    • Jesus asked them to identify the Messiah immediately after telling them which of the commandments were the greatest. Why do you think he did that? What connection was he hoping they would make by asking them about the Messiah’s identity while discussing the greatest commandments? Why did he quote David’s Psalm 110?
      • The leaders were having a difficult time connecting that Jesus was the Messiah whom God was talking about in all of these prophecies
      • They were erroneously referring to Jesus as the son of David and not the Messiah or God’s Son. Jesus quoted Psalm 110 to help them see the error in their thinking.
      •  David prophesied in his Psalm that the “LORD (referring to Yahweh) would say to his Lord (referring to Jesus), sit down at Yahweh’s right hand to rule”. (fun fact: Yahweh translated in Hebrew is “He will be” or “I am'' and is the personal name for the one true God, in Hebrew. The Israelites decided they would never utter God’s personal name because it was so special to them. They were so careful never to utter this special name that they eventually abbreviated it to the letters “YHWH”. Later they even replaced the abbreviation YHWH and instead said “Adonai” instead of uttering the word Yahweh. Adonai is a Hebrew word for LORD and eventually, to keep Yahweh’s name as special and unspoken, they combined the consonants of YHWH with some vowels from Adonai to make the word- YAHOWAH pronounced JEHOVAH, when referring to the one true GOD. Additionally, the word Lord in Hebrew is (Adon) not (Adoni)- it is the word for a title for a ruler or leader. In this verse, the lower case Lord is referring to Jesus or the Messiah. Unfortunately, the Israelite leaders were not able to make this connection and missed that Jesus was standing right in front of them, the Son of God!

  • If they were able to make the connection that Jesus was the Son of God, they would have been able to listen to what he was saying instead of trying to trap him with their questioning. In Luke 20 you will see that although Jesus directs them to the "Son of David '' Psalm, they do not believe He is the Son of David.  They know that it refers to the Messiah (per 1 Chron 17) but they are unwilling to concede that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of David.  If they admitted that Jesus was the Son of David, they would have had to conclude that He is also Lord.  
      • So the Pharisees and Sadducees have 2 issues:
        • 1) They aren't aware that the Son of David is "Lord" - That is what Jesus is showing them.
        • 2) They don't believe that Jesus is the Son of David. The individuals that call Him the Son of David are then charged with blasphemy and removed from the Synagogue.
      • The Pharisees and Sadducees  became silent when they realized the error in their thinking. Jesus was more than a Son of David, he was the Son of God whom David wrote about and they had a difficult time admitting that truth. 
      • Please see the Bible Project Video explaining YAHWEH’s name:
  • Read John 8:54-58
    • Here again Jesus reminded them of who he was, although they did not like it
    • Jesus reminded them that he was with “I AM” or Yahweh at the beginning of time, but they could not grasp that. They were distracted by his physical body of a thirty year old person
    • Sometimes as Christians, we struggle like the Pharisees and Sadducees did and cannot see or recognize Jesus when he is right in front of us. How do you struggle with recognizing Jesus in your personal day to day life?
    • What instruction did God give to Jesus in Matthew 22: 44?
      • God told Jesus to sit at his right hand and God will take care of the rest
      • Do you sit with God and let him do the heavy lifting in your life?
      • Read Psalm 91- God promises to take care of us
      • Read John 6:57- Jesus reminds us he has come here to let us live and trust in God

Keep your Hope in God

Sunday Lesson Notes from June 26, 2022

Read 1 Peter 1: 1-25

  • Background information: The Christians  at this time were receiving severe persecution from the Romans, under the leadership of Nero. They were being blamed for the political problems of the time. Nero ordered Christians to be burned on poles and used their charred bodies as lanterns to light up the city. They were in desperate need of encouragement!
  • What is meant by “who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God”?
    • This is related to the verses in Micah 5, where God picked a remnant of his people to do his will. God knew from a long time ago there would be people still faithful to his will despite facing hardships. This was a prediction that Jesus was coming
    • We can trust that God will provide what we need to accomplish his will. God is a promise keeper and therefore we do not need to give in to the evil that is so prevalent around us
  • Since we are chosen by God to do his will, why are there obstacles in the way of our spiritual growth? Why do we go through persecution as we are doing God’s will?
    • When we go through difficult times, our faith and true motives are exposed and refined, enabling us to be stronger in our faith
    • Sometimes we go through tough situations because others around us also have free will to make poor choices that negatively impact us. We therefore, have an opportunity to respond the way God wants us to, which is again another opportunity to grown in our faith and trust in God
    • Remember, even Jesus went through hard times and was stronger for it!
    • What are some other reasons we may face daily challenges in our walk with GOD?
      • Perhaps so that we can see our own weaknesses: James 1:2-3 teaches us that hard times builds perseverance, which eventually improves our character
      • So that we can make it to the end of our lives with a proven faith
      • Remember Job, he was being refined, meaning impurities in his life were being removed as he went through hardships and had to put is faith in God
      • So that we can learn to be obedient and prepared to be with God
  • Where is your hope?
    • Are you trusting in perishable things- ie money, homes, jobs? Or are you trusting in imperishable things- ie God’s character, God’s word and promises?
    • Peter reminds us that we should trust in the hope of the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus had already been raised from the dead to an imperishable life. We too, if we persevere, will join with him and our perishable bodies will be discarded and replaced with imperishable existences with God and Jesus
  • Why does Peter remind them to live like foreigners in the land?
    • Peter wanted to remind them they were not at home, their home was in a greater place in Heaven with God and Jesus. If they remembered this promise,  they would put their hope in things above and not in things they could see and touch. They would have the ability to look past people who were bringing them daily harm.
    • Peter reminded them that Jesus’s blood had already saved them, which is similar to the blood that saved the Hebrew Exiles in Egypt when they were escaping Egypt hundreds of years prior. 
    • He reminded them that the Hebrews had prophets that predicted Jesus was coming, but they were living in a time where Jesus had already come, as promised. Jesus had also returned to God to prepare a permanent place for them and therefore, they could put our hope in that promise of a new home. 
  • What are you going through right now in your personal life that you need to be refined from? Are you open with someone in your life about these things? Are you going back to God for help with these things?
  • When you are facing persecution for your faith in God, how do you react? Do you pray and believe in God anyway? Do you give in and get discouraged and hide?
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