Living on the Inside Track with Jesus

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Sunday Sermon Notes from 4/25/2021

Have you ever been on the “inside” of a joke?

Did you feel included and part of the group as a result of being on the inside?

Have you ever been on the “outside” of a joke?

Did you feel excluded or left out?

Read John 1:43-51

  • What was the inside story about Nazareth? Weren’t they looked down on by others?
  • How are the men in the story related to each other?
  • Jesus expressed he knew Nathanael
    • How did Jesus know him? What did Jesus see him doing earlier?
    • Was Nathanael truly a man of “no deceit”
    • Jesus was able to see more than what Nathanael was trying to show off
  • What happened to Nathanael’s heart when Jesus gave him proof?
  • Can we move the hearts of people the way Jesus did?
    • Unlikely, many times, even if we show someone proof they can still doubt
    • Why? Maybe because it is sometimes difficult to see the truth in our lives and accept it and make long lasting changes as a result.
    • Was it easy for Nathanael to change his views about who Jesus was?
      • Not likely easy, it took a huge amount of faith to admit who Jesus was
      • Nathanael was a Jew who did not believe in Jesus, he was at the beginning stages of discovering who the Messiah truly was
  • Jesus had an inside track with Nathaneal and used it to help him come to faith (remember Jesus had seen him by the fig tree earlier)
  • As disciples, we have an inside track with Jesus and by staying close to him he will help our faith to continue to grow
  • Jesus will knock down roadblocks to get to our deepest parts of our heart and who we are so that we can have a relationship with him 
  • Remember the promises that God gave to Abraham, they are for you too!
    • Genesis 28:10-22 and Genesis 12:1-3
    • 7 AMAZING promises from GOD:
      • To make you a great nation
      • To bless you
      • To make your name great
      • To make you a blessing
      • To bless those who bless you
      • To curse those who curse you
      • All the peoples on earth will be blessed through you

You are highly valued by Jesus

Sunday Sermon Notes from 4/11/2021

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt valued and respected? 

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt worthless and disrespected?

Read John 4: 1-42

  • Why did the Samaritans want Jesus to stay with them longer?
  • How do you think Jesus felt when they wanted him to stay with them longer?
    • Jesus demonstrated so much respect for this woman that the town reciprocated the action when she told them all about her interaction with Jesus
    • Jesus took time to speak to a woman which was frowned upon during this time
    • He also taught her as he would teach his disciples, which also was frowned upon during this time
    • They genuinely wanted to spend time with Jesus, not just to get food or miracles, but to hear what he had to say
    • They felt valued by Jesus and the valued him in return
  • Why was it necessary for Jesus to stay for 2 more days
    • They needed to come to their own faith by hearing his words personally
    • Spending time with Jesus personally, helps us to get to know him deeply
    • When we encounter God, we understand ourselves in relationship to God better
    • Jesus brings grace and truth to our lives, not condemnation
  • Why were the disciples questioning Jesus about talking to this woman?
    • Maybe they were surprised he was taking the time to talk to a female during this time period
    • No matter who you are or what troubled past you may have, Jesus died for you and you are highly valued because of this price he paid
    • Spend time with Jesus to remember your value

The Garden of Eden

Sunday Sermon Notes from 4/4/2021

The Garden of Eden held the doorway to life.

“EDEN” in Hebrew is made of three characters:

  • "Ayin"- means to look or to see
  • "Dalet"- means door that swings open
  • "Noon"- means life

EDEN- means "Look, the gateway to life". Jesus is the good shepherd and he shows us the way to life.

Read John 10:9 NIV

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.

Read John 14:6 NIV

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Jesus is the one  and the only way to life.

Read Luke 5:17-27

  • Jesus forgives his sins right away
  • Notice his friends, we need relationships with friends that will bring us to Jesus when we need healing
  • Jesus will fix things in our lives when we go to him, no matter what he is doing
  • Everyone was focused on the paralytics disability, but Jesus was focused on what would take him away from God, his sins, and forgave them
  • Jesus is the gatekeeper and knows how to get us through the gate
  • Why did Jesus resurrect? To prove that he was different from anyone else and could do what he promised
  • We can trust Jesus’s words, he keeps his promises
  • He said he would die and return in 3 days and he did
  • When Jesus says your sins are forgiven, they are forgiven

Getting Closer to Jesus

Sunday Worship Notes from March 28, 2021

What are some things you do to remember Jesus throughout the week?

Here are some ideas we shared with each other during our time together:

Read Deuteronomy 8:17

  • Remembering the Lord and how he brought us out of Egypt to the Promised Land and gives us our abilities
  • Spending time in nature
  • Making crafts for others and praying about that person while making the craft
  • Reading the Scriptures out Loud

Read Isaiah 61:1-2

  • Reading the scriptures the way Jesus would have read it at the time
  • When Jesus quotes passages, return to what was said in the original contexts

Romans 5: 1-11

  • By persevering in life, we get to connect with Jesus
  • Singing spiritual songs
  • When reading scriptures try to see how God or Jesus would feel or think about the experience that is being described
  • Try to learn about the tradition, story or background of the text being read

1 Corinthians 6:19-22

  • Remembering we were bought at a price and Jesus paid that price with his own blood
  • This means we are valuable to God and therefore our actions need to be approved by Him

Other Ideas

  • Studying the bible with someone else helps me to remember who Jesus is
  • Memorizing scriptures to songs
  • Remembering Jesus’s love as we read scriptures, not just as rules to follow
  • Taking time to listen to God in silence 

Examining our Spiritual Dashboards

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Sunday Sermon Notes from March 21, 2021

Read 1 John 2:12

We looked at this letter from John during a previous midweek, it resonated with me because of the literal techniques used in his writing. Let’s explore further:

  • What are some reasons for John’s writing?
    • Because our sins are forgiven
    • Because we known him
    • Because we have overcome satan
    • Because we know Him who is from the beginning
    • John, the Elder, was using positive reinforcement to encourage the readers to continue in their faith
  • What are the three groupings of people addressed in this passage and why?
    • Fathers- leaders of families and raising up children
    • Children-integral parts of family, learning hearts
    • Young Men- carries on the faith and pass on beliefs
    • everyone/every age was included in this encouragement

Read 2 Peter 1:1-15

  • How did Peter see himself with regard to the church?
  • As a “slave” - the literal Hebrew translation is "Doulos", not just a servant, "Diakonos".
  • Jesus even referred to himself as a “slave” not just a servant
  • As disciples were are “slaves” of the Gospel
  • As disciples we will still have our evil desires but we need to allow ourselves to be lead by the spirit
  • God has given us everything we need to live righteously
  • What should we be adding to our faith?
    • Goodness, knowledge, self control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection and love
    • When we desire to grow, God will add these things to our faith and work in us to produce these things

Read Galatians 5:13-25

  • We are instructed to walk by the spirit not  by the flesh
  • When we live by the flesh, we are prevented from inheriting God’s Kingdom
  • When we live by the spirit, we inherit God’s kingdom
  • What does your Spiritual Dashboard look like today?
    • Spiritual Dashboards:not just a list of things to do but having the right state of being
    • The Galatians church was struggling with “works of the Law”. They were trying to follow the Levitical Law, which is a huge burden. When we are lead by the spirit we are not under the Law
    • Gal 5:1- we were set free from the law by Jesus himself
    • We should use our freedom from the law not to indulge in our flesh but to serve each other

Read Revelation 3:14-22

  • Who is the Amen?   In  Hebrew-the letters that make up this word is related to Jesus.
  • Are you hot, cold or lukewarm?
  • Don’t be self deceived, look and examine yourself
  • Lukewarm people send mixed messages to others that are looking for God and misrepresent who God is
  • One recent study showed that humans need 7-8 hours of sleep each night to function properly. There was a group who got only 2 hours and the other got 6 hours. The group that got 6 hours did worse than the group with 2 hours because they were not aware they were sleep deprived. 
  • The way to fix "luke-warmness" is not to get busier but to sit and feast with Jesus on his words
  • Jesus took the opportunity to knock on our door and speak to us, we should, let Him in and feast with Him!

Love God, Love Each Other

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Sunday Sermon Notes from March 14, 2021

Read 1 John, the whole book

  • Who do you think is the author of this letter and why?
    • Likely John the apostle, who walked with Jesus
    • Lots of similarities of the writing style of the writer of the Gospel of John
  • What kind of language is he using in his writing?
    • Terms of endearment like: friend and children
    • How would you feel if the leader of your church sent you a letter like this?
    • Wouldn’t he have to have been close with these people in order to write a letter like this? Otherwise it could come off as fake, right?
    • John experienced and understood Jesus so much that in his writing he communicates this intimacy to us
    • We are able to experience Jesus’s love through this writing
  • This writing was also a clear stance against the thinking of the day where many thought Jesus was not a real human being in the flesh: Docetism
    • When Jesus came back from the dead, he ate with his disciples in flesh and blood
    • Jesus allowed his disciples to touch his wounds
    • When we spend time with each other we can experience what it was like to be with Jesus in the flesh.
    • Some people in John’s time thought that the “flesh” was bad and therefore it doesn’t matter how we live in the flesh since only our belief matters
    • Many were using this thinking to give into fleshly desires of sin
  • 1 John 1: 5-10
    • We actually need to obey God’s word
    • What we DO actually matters
    • What are some examples of living one way, yet believing another?
      • Eg. engaging in living together with a significant other and not being married
      • Not walking in the light, not sharing our sins and getting help to get out of darkness
      • When we confess our sins we can get help and feel close to other believers
  • 1 John 2: 1-14
  • John 13: 34-35
    • What “new” Command is he referring to?
      • To love each other like Jesus loves us- he served us, he died for us, he acted as a slave for us
      • What does it look like to  love another person the way Jesus did?
    • Consider Leviticus 19
      • We are commanded to not hate in our heart but to also love and serve each other
      • We can be honest and open because we are already forgiven
      • Nothing can take us away from the love of God so we can be open and honest with who we are and where we are at

Who is Satan?

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Sunday Sermon Notes from February 28, 2021

WHO IS SATAN?

  • The very name can send chills into our spine. He is the enemy, prowling around looking for someone to devour. 
  • His name is Lucifer- the shiner of light, this was his only job in Heaven before he tried to take over
  • He steals our faith in God and tries to destroy our souls
  • Jesus wants us to be aware of Satan’s schemes and tricks. He attacks us when we are weak. He even went after Jesus when he was fasting for 40 days alone in the desert. 
  • When does Satan attack you?

Read Matthew 6:9-13

  • The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. Don’t be too ashamed to ask for spiritual help. This will help you to overcome Satan. 
  • The word “Pray” in Hebrew has three characters: Pey-Lamed-Lamed
    • “PEY”- means mouth or to speak
    • “LAMED”- means a shepherd's staff, the voice of authority,
    •  “LAMED” is repeated as the third character in the word, meaning the “authority of authorities”
    • God seldom repeats himself, but in one word- PRAY he does
    • This is very important, everytime a word is repeated we need to pay close attention to it
  • When we pray-we are speaking to the authority of authorities, GOD Himself! The Great I AM. The Alpha and the Omega.
  • When we talk to God, the authority of all mankind we should realize what is happening and be respectful of who we are talking too.
  • The first thing Jesus teaches his disciples about praying: know who you are praying to, The Holy One!
  • Jesus also teaches his disciples to pray for help not to be tempted by the evil one because we may not make it back from temptation. The enemy, Satan, is relentless. He will keep coming back over and over again to tempt us. 
  • Do you consider yourself immune from temptation? Or beyond sinning?
  • We need to pray for our spouses, our brothers and sisters daily. We need to remember to confess our sins so they won’t fester and make us weak and unable to fight off Satan. 
  • God gives us prayer as a way to handle Satan and keep us from sin

Read Numbers 22:22

  • Balaam was stopped by the Angel of God  with a drawn sword because Balaam was acting as an adversary toward God. 
  • The Angel of God was there to oppose Balaam. He became an adversary of God. We can become God’s adversary when we are proud. It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 
  • Satan is an adversary toward God and can manifest in many forms: a thing, a situation, any issue that is an adversary toward God. It can be finances or a relationship; anything that makes us lose focus on God.
  • God will oppose, remove or destroy any adversary toward Him. That is why we need to trust God.

Read James 4:7 and 1Cor 6:18

  • We should handle Satan with God’s word
  • Satan flees from God’s word
  • We need to flee from sexual sin and when Satan comes around, don’t play with him

Read Ephesians 6:10-20

  • Sometimes we need to stand firm against the enemy to fight and win
  • We need to be prepared with God’s armor first, in order to take a stand against Satan’s schemes
  • Praying, reading the bible, having christian relationships will keep our faith strong
  • When we are prepared, we have the upper advantage against Satan when he attacks

Read Isaiah 14:12

  • What do you think God thinks of Satan?

Read Revelation 20:7-9

  • Satan will be destroyed in the end
  • The Hebrew word for Satan has three characters:
    • “Sheen”- means God
    • “Tet”- means sin, addiction, snake or entwine
    • “Noon”- means life or activity
  • Therefore, Satan means: God destroys the enemy, then life comes!
  • Anyone or anything can become an adversary of God. God will destroy it to bring life
  • Jesus destroyed the enemy on the cross and brought us to life, to have a relationship with God.
  • Why does Jesus teach us to turn the other cheek instead of destroying our enemies?

Read Romans 12:18-19

  • Leave room for God to act and live at peace with each other
  • When we take revenge, we become an adversary of God 
  • God will even destroy us if we become his adversary
  • Remember the parable of the unmerciful servant

Read Psalm 110

  • God will take care of our enemies,so we can be free of hate
  • It is God’s job to make peace
  • When things become tough in our lives, we need to trust that God will take care of it and submit ourselves to his will

Let us build each other up with Scriptures

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Sermon notes from February 21, 2021

Read 1 Corinthians 14:26

The bible instructs us to build each other up when we come together. Let us take a moment to share with each other how we are connecting with Jesus by sharing scriptures with each other.

Here are some examples of what some of us shared:

  • Hebrews 1: 1-3
    • Jesus is the fullest representation of who God is
    • Jesus is better than all the prophets, all the high priests, and even the promised land etc.
    • Through Jesus we have a relationship with GOD
  • John 2
    • Jesus turned water into wine as the first sign of who he really was
    • His disciples believed in him after this miracle
    • He stayed with his family afterward and included the disciples among them as family too; we tend to think that we need to choose between our physical and spiritual family; Jesus shows us that they aren’t mutually exclusive.
    • Jesus is God’s love letter to us and he shows us what God expects of us as his disciples; God sent Jesus to show us HOW to love like He loves us.
  • John 15
    • What is Jesus and God made of? This was a question from one of the children in our group
    • The answer-pure love, remain in God’s love and obey his commands
    • We should love each other, this will help us to experience God’s love and show the world that we are followers of Jesus.
  • The word “EDEN” in Hebrew is made up of three characters: "Ayin"- to see or know or experience; "Dalat"- door opening or pathway and "Noon"-life
    • EDEN-means "the pathway to life"
    • Resembles who JESUS is-the way to life
    • Read Isaiah 59: our sins separated us from GOD, Jesus took that sin away and now we have a pathway to GOD
  • Colossians 1
    • Through Jesus we have been given the fullness of life
    • Paul tries to explain his fullness and shared experience with Jesus, think about this for a minute

Think of other passages in the BIBLE that bring you close to Jesus and share with others!

Remembering God’s Promises!

Sermon Notes from February 14, 2021

Read 1 Chronicles 17: 1-5

  • How did God feel about David wanting to build a house for him?
  • How did God reward David’s heart for wanting to build a house for him?
  • God allowed David to know His plans to build an everlasting house and legacy for him
  • David’s lineage is fulfilled in Jesus
  • What are some temporary promises in this passage?
  • What are some permanent promises in this passage?
  • For example: Permanent promises- Jesus would descend from the line of David;God would build a house for David. Temporary- the Jews would be scattered.
  • How would you feel if someone promises you that your lineage would be established forever in God as royalty?
  • What is it like to always be in the favor of the almighty God?
    • Perhaps a sense of reassurance and peace
    • This is where we should live as disciples of Jesus
    • Almost like winning the lottery every 10 seconds, what time is it again?

Read 1 Chronicles 17: 16-27

  • What is David’s response to this blessing?
  • Do you see his humility and gratitude?

 Read Isaiah 9: 1-7

  • What are the Temporary Promises here?
    • For example- time of joy and growth
  • What are the Permanent Promises here?
    • For example-A Son will be born, walking in the light, shattering of the yokes
    • Spiritual battles won through Jesus
    • God will be a permanent counselor for us
  • What would your life look like without God’s promises?

Read Isaiah 53: 1-12

  • What are some Temporary Promises here?
    • Jesus growing up in poverty from a low class place
  • What are some Permanent promises here?
    • Jesus is the arm of the Lord revealed by the Holy Spirit
    • Some people see Jesus and others don’t

Read Psalm 16: 7-11 and Acts 2:24-25

  • David is referring to Jesus in this Psalm
  • Peter repeats it to the Church in the crowd in Acts
  • Great examples of permanent promises for us!

Read Psalm 41: 1-3 and John 13:18-19 and 31-32

  • Although David went through a lot of temporary setbacks, God promised to set him in HIs presence forever
  • Jesus referred to this Psalm to remind them of his destiny to die and raise to life again
  • Jesus would be glorified by GOD
  • This was not really an execution but a Coronation of a King, Jesus
  • All of Jesus’ disciples were about to receive the same honor as Jesus
  • When we become Jesus’ followers, our life will change by our association with Jesus, we become glorified too!

Jesus Brings Salvation to All

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Sunday Sermon Notes from 1/31/2021

Read Luke 4:14-22 (NIV)

https://www.bible.com/111/luk.4.14-22.niv

“Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.”

Let’s answer some “W” questions:; Who, What, Where, When, Why?

Who are the main characters in the passage? Jesus and Jews

What is the main activity in the passage? Jesus teaching in synagogues 

Where are the events occurring in the passage? Galilee and, more specifically, in Nazareth

When did the events take place? After being tempted in the desert

Why did these events take place? To begin telling folks in Nazareth about the Good News

Read ‭‭Luke‬ ‭4:23-30‬ ‭(NIV)‬‬

https://www.bible.com/111/luk.4.23-30.niv

“Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’ ” “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.” All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.”

Q. What’s with the proverb Jesus quoted?

Q. Why this change by the crowd in the second half?  Why did the group get so angry at Jesus?

Read Isaiah‬ ‭61:1-11‬ ‭(NIV)‬‬

https://www.bible.com/111/isa.61.1-11.niv

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. And you will be called priests of the Lord, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the Lord has blessed.” I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.”

What is the message in this passage? Who did the Jews in Jesus’ time think this passage was for? Does this aid in your understanding of Jesus’ use of this passage?

Communion

Read ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:1-14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

https://www.bible.com/111/heb.10.1-14.niv

“The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll— I have come to do your will, my God.’ ” First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”

Jesus came to fulfill the Law, to bring it to completion through his life, death, and resurrection. 

Some additional interesting points:

  • Galilee and Nazareth were located in the northern part of Israel. It was very fertile and green and located around the Sea of Galilee-great produce and fish. Jerusalem and Judah are in the south of Israel and very hilly and desert like with no water, but figs and olives grew there.
  • Galilee was very “Hellenized”- this means highly influenced by Greece. It was located near the Decapolis, 10 large Greek influenced cities. They were heavily Greco Roman in culture, following Greek gods and mythology. 
  • People from Nazareth were able to trace their heritage back to David and were very proud of this fact because they knew the prophecy that the messiah would come from the root of David.
  • Important to know these cultural contexts because this is why the Jews there could have been feeling entitled to Jesus. When Jesus pointed out his message was for everyone they became highly offended wanting to throw him off a cliff.
  • The Jews were feeling oppressed by the Romans at this time and thought the message of a Savior was going to be just for them, when they realized Jesus was saying his message was to save everyone, they were unable to perceive and understand this. 
  • They were looking for a different kind of “Saving”
  • The Jews had a certain expectation of what they thought Jesus would come to earth and do for them, God had a different plan for Jesus- he would save the whole world and the Jews were to be the example for us to follow, if they understood it.
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