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Week 8: Matthew 18:10-35; Luke 10:1–12:12; John 7–10

Sunday (John 7–8:11)

The Feast of Tabernacles

7:1 After this Jesus traveled throughout Galilee. He stayed out of Judea because the Jewish leaders wanted to kill him. 7:2 Now the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near. 7:3 So Jesus’ brothers advised him, “Leave here and go to Judea so your disciples may see your miracles that you are performing. 7:4 For no one who seeks to make a reputation for himself does anything in secret. If you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” 7:5 (For not even his own brothers believed in him.)

7:6 So Jesus replied, “My time has not yet arrived, but you are ready at any opportunity! 7:7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me, because I am testifying about it that its deeds are evil. 7:8 You go up to the feast yourselves. I am not going up to this feast because my time has not yet fully arrived.” 7:9 When he had said this, he remained in Galilee.

7:10 But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, then Jesus himself also went up, not openly but in secret. 7:11 So the Jewish leaders were looking for him at the feast, asking, “Where is he?” 7:12 There was a lot of grumbling about him among the crowds. Some were saying, “He is a good man,” but others, “He deceives the common people.” 7:13 However, no one spoke openly about him for fear of the Jewish leaders.

Teaching in the Temple

7:14 When the feast was half over, Jesus went up to the temple courts and began to teach. 7:15 Then the Jewish leaders were astonished and said, “How does this man know so much when he has never had formal instruction?” 7:16 So Jesus replied, “My teaching is not from me, but from the one who sent me. 7:17 If anyone wants to do God’s will, he will know about my teaching, whether it is from God or whether I speak from my own authority. 7:18 The person who speaks on his own authority desires to receive honor for himself; the one who desires the honor of the one who sent him is a man of integrity, and there is no unrighteousness in him. 7:19 Hasn’t Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law! Why do you want to kill me?”

7:20 The crowd answered, “You’re possessed by a demon! Who is trying to kill you?” 7:21 Jesus replied, “I performed one miracle and you are all amazed. 7:22 However, because Moses gave you the practice of circumcision (not that it came from Moses, but from the forefathers), you circumcise a male child on the Sabbath. 7:23 But if a male child is circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses is not broken, why are you angry with me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath? 7:24 Do not judge according to external appearance, but judge with proper judgment.”

Questions About Jesus’ Identity

7:25 Then some of the residents of Jerusalem began to say, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? 7:26 Yet here he is, speaking publicly, and they are saying nothing to him. Do the rulers really know that this man is the Christ? 7:27 But we know where this man comes from. Whenever the Christ comes, no one will know where he comes from.”

7:28 Then Jesus, while teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “You both know me and know where I come from! And I have not come on my own initiative, but the one who sent me is true. You do not know him, 7:29 but I know him, because I have come from him and he sent me.”

7:30 So then they tried to seize Jesus, but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come. 7:31 Yet many of the crowd believed in him and said, “Whenever the Christ comes, he won’t perform more miraculous signs than this man did, will he?”

7:32 The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring these things about Jesus, so the chief priests and the Pharisees sent officers to arrest him. 7:33 Then Jesus said, “I will be with you for only a little while longer, and then I am going to the one who sent me. 7:34 You will look for me but will not find me, and where I am you cannot come.”

7:35 Then the Jewish leaders said to one another, “Where is he going to go that we cannot find him? He is not going to go to the Jewish people dispersed among the Greeks and teach the Greeks, is he? 7:36 What did he mean by saying, ‘You will look for me but will not find me, and where I am you cannot come’?”

Teaching About the Spirit

7:37 On the last day of the feast, the greatest day, Jesus stood up and shouted out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me, and 7:38 let the one who believes in me drink. Just as the scripture says, ‘From within him will flow rivers of living water.’” 7:39 (Now he said this about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were going to receive, for the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.)

Differing Opinions About Jesus

7:40 When they heard these words, some of the crowd began to say, “This really is the Prophet!” 7:41 Others said, “This is the Christ!” But still others said, “No, for the Christ doesn’t come from Galilee, does he? 7:42 Don’t the scriptures say that the Christ is a descendant of David and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?” 7:43 So there was a division in the crowd because of Jesus. 7:44 Some of them were wanting to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.

Lack of Belief

7:45 Then the officers returned to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why didn’t you bring him back with you?” 7:46 The officers replied, “No one ever spoke like this man!” 7:47 Then the Pharisees answered, “You haven’t been deceived too, have you? 7:48 None of the rulers or the Pharisees have believed in him, have they? 7:49 But this rabble who do not know the law are accursed!”

7:50 Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus before and who was one of the rulers, said, 7:51 “Our law doesn’t condemn a man unless it first hears from him and learns what he is doing, does it?” 7:52 They replied, “You aren’t from Galilee too, are you? Investigate carefully and you will see that no prophet comes from Galilee!”

A Woman Caught in Adultery

7:53 [[And each one departed to his own house.

8:1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 8:2 Early in the morning he came to the temple courts again. All the people came to him, and he sat down and began to teach them. 8:3 The experts in the law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught committing adultery. They made her stand in front of them 8:4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. 8:5 In the law Moses commanded us to stone to death such women. What then do you say?” 8:6 (Now they were asking this in an attempt to trap him, so that they could bring charges against him.) Jesus bent down and wrote on the ground with his finger. 8:7 When they persisted in asking him, he stood up straight and replied, “Whoever among you is guiltless may be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8:8 Then he bent over again and wrote on the ground.

8:9 Now when they heard this, they began to drift away one at a time, starting with the older ones, until Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 8:10 Jesus stood up straight and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 8:11 She replied, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”]]

[See “Scripture in Perspective” note regarding inclusion of 7:53–8:11 text.]

Prayer

Lord, those inclined toward Truth will recognize You and those stiff-necked and resistant to truth will resist You. May I be found seeking Truth, so that You may teach and transform me.

Scripture In Perspective

The brothers of Jesus are chastised by Him for pressuring Him to promote Himself when saying, “If you are doing these things, show yourself to the world” (vs. 4). They had not yet “believed in Him” (John 7:5) or acknowledged His status as the Christ. Jesus replies, “My time has not yet arrived” (vs. 6).

Jesus arrives secretly for the Feast of Tabernacles and halfway through rises to teach. He is challenged by the religious authorities. Jesus’ reply to them includes a clear reference to His divinity: “My teaching is....from the One who sent Me” (7:16). He (Who is without sin) declares it a sinful desire to seek honor for oneself, yet conversely (and righteously) parallels His authority with that of God.

Jesus is challenged by some who apply Old Testament texts to mean that the Messiah will come suddenly from an unknown place. (But they know, or think they know, that He comes from Nazareth.) He corrects them by stating that their simplistic definition of “from” overlooks something more important: His heavenly place of origin — “I have come from Him and He sent me” (7:29) — not His earthly one.

On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus declares Himself the source of “living water” (vs. 38), in reference to His divinity and to the Holy Spirit Whom He will send when He ascends to Heaven. From within Him will flow rivers of living water is an Old Testament quotation (most probably from Isaiah) which refers to the Lord and informs that the Holy Spirit is a part of the Triune Godhead.

When the religious leaders try to have Jesus arrested, the officers sent to seize Him find themselves unable to overcome the sense that He is genuine — “No one ever spoke like this man!” (vs. 46).

[Note: The John 7:53 – 8:11 passage, which tells of the woman caught in adultery, makes for a powerful illustration and great theater. However, the best scholarship has determined that it does not belong in the canonical text and was an improper insertion by a scribe. It may or may not have been an authentic traditional retelling, but there is no support found in the earliest John texts for its inclusion.]

Faith In Action

Consider

Have you noticed that some so-called Christians in the population promote Jesus as though He were a common celebrity or political candidate, not the Son of the Most High God? Do you discern man’s tendency to make everything earth-centric?

Reflect

Do the Gospels texts, at this point in recounting the story of the human person Jesus, make the message clear that He is at the same time a person of the Trinitarian God?

Have you found yourself thinking of Jesus in perhaps too-common a way, so that He ceases to bring to you a sense of awe when you enter into praise and worship?

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of the way Jesus humbled to and past the point of death Himself for us.

Act

Today I will pause to celebrate with another Believer (in song, praise, sacrifice, service) that Jesus came to earth, lived, healed, taught, challenged, tolerated, and saved fallen man.

Be Specific ____________________________________________

Monday (John 8:12-59)

Jesus as the Light of the World

8:12 Then Jesus spoke out again, “I am the light of the world. The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 8:13 So the Pharisees objected, “You testify about yourself; your testimony is not true!” 8:14 Jesus answered, “Even if I testify about myself, my testimony is true, because I know where I came from and where I am going. But you people do not know where I came from or where I am going. 8:15 You people judge by outward appearances; I do not judge anyone. 8:16 But if I judge, my evaluation is accurate, because I am not alone when I judge, but I and the Father who sent me do so to-gether. 8:17 It is written in your law that the testimony of two men is true. 8:18 I testify about myself and the Father who sent me testifies about me.”

8:19 Then they began asking him, “Who is your father?” Jesus answered, “You do not know either me or my Father. If you knew me you would know my Father too.” 8:20 (Jesus spoke these words near the offering box while he was teaching in the temple courts. No one seized him because his time had not yet come.)

Where Jesus Came From and Where He is Going

8:21 Then Jesus said to them again, “I am going away, and you will look for me but will die in your sin. Where I am going you cannot come.” 8:22 So the Jewish leaders began to say, “Perhaps he is going to kill himself, because he says, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’” 8:23 Jesus replied, “You people are from below; I am from above. You people are from this world; I am not from this world. 8:24 Thus I told you that you will die in your sins. For unless you believe that I am he, you will die in your sins.”

8:25 So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus replied, “What I have told you from the beginning. 8:26 I have many things to say and to judge about you, but the Father who sent me is truthful, and the things I have heard from him I speak to the world.” 8:27 (They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father.)

8:28 Then Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and I do nothing on my own initiative, but I speak just what the Father taught me. 8:29 And the one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do those things that please him.” 8:30 While he was saying these things, many people believed in him.

Abraham’s Children and the Devil’s Children

8:31 Then Jesus said to those Judeans who had believed him, “If you continue to follow my teaching, you are really my disciples 8:32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 8:33 “We are descendants of Abraham,” they replied, “and have never been anyone’s slaves! How can you say, ‘You will become free’?” 8:34 Jesus answered them, “I tell you the solemn truth, everyone who practices sin is a slave of sin. 8:35 The slave does not remain in the family forever, but the son remains forever. 8:36 So if the son sets you free, you will be really free. 8:37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. But you want to kill me, because my teaching makes no progress among you. 8:38 I am telling you the things I have seen while with the Father; as for you, practice the things you have heard from the Father!”

8:39 They answered him, “Abraham is our father!” Jesus replied, “If you are Abraham’s children, you would be doing the deeds of Abraham. 8:40 But now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth I heard from God. Abraham did not do this! 8:41 You people are doing the deeds of your father.”

Then they said to Jesus, “We were not born as a result of immorality! We have only one Father, God himself.” 8:42 Jesus replied, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come from God and am now here. I have not come on my own initiative, but he sent me. 8:43 Why don’t you understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot accept my teaching. 8:44 You people are from your father the devil, and you want to do what your father desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies. 8:45 But because I am telling you the truth, you do not believe me. 8:46 Who among you can prove me guilty of any sin? If I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? 8:47 The one who belongs to God listens and responds to God’s words. You don’t listen and respond, because you don’t belong to God.”

8:48 The Judeans replied, “Aren’t we correct in saying that you are a Samaritan and are possessed by a demon?” 8:49 Jesus answered, “I am not possessed by a demon, but I honor my Father – and yet you dishonor me. 8:50 I am not trying to get praise for myself. There is one who demands it, and he also judges. 8:51 I tell you the solemn truth, if anyone obeys my teaching, he will never see death.”

8:52 Then the Judeans responded, “Now we know you’re possessed by a demon! Both Abraham and the prophets died, and yet you say, ‘If anyone obeys my teaching, he will never experience death.’ 8:53 You aren’t greater than our father Abraham who died, are you? And the prophets died too! Who do you claim to be?” 8:54 Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory is worthless. The one who glorifies me is my Father, about whom you people say, ‘He is our God.’ 8:55 Yet you do not know him, but I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him, and I obey his teaching. 8:56 Your father Abraham was overjoyed to see my day, and he saw it and was glad.”

8:57 Then the Judeans replied, “You are not yet fifty years old! Have you seen Abraham?” 8:58 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the solemn truth, before Abraham came into existence, I am!” 8:59 Then they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out from the temple area.

Prayer

Lord, You are the eternal One, pre-existent and forever. May I always stand in awe of Yahweh, the great I AM, so that I am humbled.

Scripture In Perspective

Jesus has a discussion with the Jewish leaders, wherein He once again identifies Himself as the Son of God — “if you knew Me you would know My Father too” (John 8:19) . Many believe in Him as He speaks truth about Himself, yet others continue in their challenges and doubts.

John records Jesus contrasting those who are freed of the eternal consequences of their sin with those who are slaves to it — “everyone who practices sin is a slave of sin” (vs. 34) . Many challenge Him for referring to them as mere slaves, as they had been indoctrinated to believe that their status as Jews, who keep the rituals and traditions, makes them special among men. Jesus points out to them that, rather than being special, “you people are from your father the devil” (vs. 44).

The Judeans, when Jesus says, “if anyone obeys My teaching, he will never see death” (vs. 51), are outraged because they know that “both Abraham and the prophets died” (vs. 52). “Will never see death forever,” as it is transliterated from the Greek, means that although a Christian may die physically he will not remain dead forever—he will be resurrected to eternal life.

Jesus makes the literal and powerful claim to deity, “before Abraham came into existence, I am!” by quoting from the Book of Exodus and applying the same descriptive principle to Himself:

God said to Moses, “I AM that I AM.” And He said, “You must say this to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “You must say this to the Israelites, ‘The Lord – the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob – has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial from generation to generation’” (Exod. 3:14,15).

Faith In Action

Consider

Some believe that if one is born in to a Christian family they are, by default, in the family of God. Jesus clearly negates this. It is not who you are that is important, it is Whose you are.

Do you recall a time when Jesus succeeded in getting your attention, yet you resisted surrendering completely to Him?

Reflect

If my slavery to sin condemns me, why would I resist the only way to find freedom? Is the delusion of independence from God really worth the risk of the loss of eternal life?

Ever realize that you were “chasing after the wind,” as Ecclesiastes describes it, by trying to draw meaning and purpose and value from the mere things of man and a world trapped in addiction and idolatry?

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you where in your heart there is confusion or doubt about God and to bring you clarity and conviction.

Act

Today I will pray, in agreement with another Believer, for someone who is trapped in confusion and doubt due to anti-Christian influences, false or sloppy teaching, or to an arrogant rebellious heart. I will ask the Holy Spirit to place in my heart faith where I have doubt.

Be Specific _____________________________________________

Tuesday (John 9)

Healing a Man Born Blind

9:1 Now as Jesus was passing by, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. 9:2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who committed the sin that caused him to be born blind, this man or his parents?” 9:3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but he was born blind so that the acts of God may be revealed through what happens to him. 9:4 We must perform the deeds of the one who sent me as long as it is daytime. Night is coming when no one can work. 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 9:6 Having said this, he spat on the ground and made some mud with the saliva. He smeared the mud on the blind man’s eyes 9:7 and said to him, “Go wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated “sent”). So the blind man went away and washed, and came back seeing.

9:8 Then the neighbors and the people who had seen him previously as a beggar began saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” 9:9 Some people said, “This is the man!” while others said, “No, but he looks like him.” The man himself kept insisting, “I am the one!” 9:10 So they asked him, “How then were you made to see?” 9:11 He replied, “The man called Jesus made mud, smeared it on my eyes and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and was able to see.” 9:12 They said to him, “Where is that man?” He replied, “I don’t know.”

The Pharisees’ Reaction to the Healing

9:13 They brought the man who used to be blind to the Pharisees. 9:14 (Now the day on which Jesus made the mud and caused him to see was a Sabbath.) 9:15 So the Pharisees asked him again how he had gained his sight. He replied, “He put mud on my eyes and I washed, and now I am able to see.”

9:16 Then some of the Pharisees began to say, “This man is not from God, because he does not observe the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such miraculous signs?” Thus there was a division among them. 9:17 So again they asked the man who used to be blind, “What do you say about him, since he caused you to see?” “He is a prophet,” the man replied.

9:18 Now the Jewish religious leaders refused to believe that he had really been blind and had gained his sight until at last they summoned the parents of the man who had become able to see. 9:19 They asked the parents, “Is this your son, whom you say was born blind? Then how does he now see?” 9:20 So his parents replied, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 9:21 But we do not know how he is now able to see, nor do we know who caused him to see. Ask him, he is a mature adult. He will speak for himself.” 9:22 (His parents said these things because they were afraid of the Jewish religious leaders. For the Jewish leaders had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Christ would be put out of the synagogue. 9:23 For this reason his parents said, “He is a mature adult, ask him.”)

9:24 Then they summoned the man who used to be blind a second time and said to him, “Promise before God to tell the truth. We know that this man is a sinner.” 9:25 He replied, “I do not know whether he is a sinner. I do know one thing – that although I was blind, now I can see.” 9:26 Then they said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he cause you to see?” 9:27 He answered, “I told you already and you didn’t listen. Why do you want to hear it again? You people don’t want to become his disciples too, do you?”

9:28 They heaped insults on him, saying, “You are his disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 9:29 We know that God has spoken to Moses! We do not know where this man comes from!” 9:30 The man replied, “This is a remarkable thing, that you don’t know where he comes from, and yet he caused me to see! 9:31 We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but if anyone is devout and does his will, God listens to him. 9:32 Never before has anyone heard of someone causing a man born blind to see. 9:33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 9:34 They replied, “You were born completely in sinfulness, and yet you presume to teach us?” So they threw him out.

The Man’s Response to Jesus

9:35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, so he found the man and said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 9:36 The man replied, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 9:37 Jesus told him, “You have seen him; he is the one speaking with you.” 9:38 [He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. 9:39 Jesus said,] “For judgment I have come into this world, so that those who do not see may gain their sight, and the ones who see may become blind.”

9:40 Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and asked him, “We are not blind too, are we?” 9:41 Jesus replied, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin, but now because you claim that you can see, your guilt remains.”

Prayer

Lord, You bring light to the places where those who reject You bring only darkness. With Your light shining on me, may I see You more clearly and worship You more dearly.

Scripture In Perspective

Jesus heals a man born blind, and uses it to create a teachable moment. He chooses to address the question, “who committed the sin that caused him to be born blind?” (John 9:2), by explaining that the man had been allowed to be born blind so that God could use his healing for a greater good, to reveal an act of God’s love.

[Note: The qualifier “so that the acts of God may be revealed” (vs. 3) does not imply that God caused his blindness. Also, note that this does not affirm the incorrect religious thinking of that time, which attributed such maladies to the parents or to the man himself; the latter being obviously foolish, since he was born blind. “This is only one example of how, in rabbinic Jewish thought, an unborn child was capable of sinning” (NET sn).]

The religious leaders want to be told who the man is who sinned by healing a man on the Sabbath, in violation of their religious tradition. They find and admonish him to “promise before God to tell the truth” (vs. 24). The man replies that he was blind and now he can see — “If this man [Jesus] were not from God, he could do nothing” (vs. 33).

Jesus finds the man and asks him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” (vs. 35). After exchanging a few words with Him, the man worships Him and says “Lord, I believe” (vs. 38). [Note: The authenticity of the 9:38-39 passage is in doubt by Biblical scholars and therefore may not be included as one of the many decisive texts which testify to the divinity of Jesus. “Nevertheless...the included words may reflect a very early tradition about the blind man’s response to Jesus” (NET sn).]

The Pharisees hear Jesus describe His ministry as bringing sight to the blind and, rhetorically, blindness to those who claim sight. Some of the Pharisees object to this. Jesus reproaches their claim to be able to “see” (vs. 41) — knowledge makes one accountable and irredeemably guilty, unless he acknowledges his spiritual blindness.

Faith In Action

Consider

What God sometimes allows is not necessarily what He prefers or ordains. God is perfect, and everything He creates and does is perfect. God is righteous and anything less is offensive to Him — therefore, He is not the author of unrighteousness.

Have you heard it suggested that a congenital condition is somehow God’s punishment for someone’s specific sin? (Consider reading the bibleseven.com Genesis 1 – 4 Studies for perspective on how the curse of the Fall impacts all of Creation (yesterday, today, and tomorrow).

Reflect

How does the Holy Spirit of God, Who dwells within every Believer, respond to (and lead us to feeling convicted of) our sin?

Do you know someone who has heard of Jesus and claims to know the truth, yet has failed to surrender to His Lordship for salvation?

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you someone for whom He wants you to pray that they will take the final step of complete surrender necessary for their salvation.

Act

Today I will pray for someone who has heard of Jesus and who claims to “see” truth, but who has failed to surrender to His Lordship for salvation. I will remind them that Jesus says knowledge of Truth yet rebellious unbelief seals ones fate.

Be Specific ____________________________________________

Wednesday (Matthew 18:10-35)

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

18:10 “See that you do not disdain one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. 18:11 [[EMPTY]] 18:12 What do you think? If someone owns a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go look for the one that went astray? 18:13 And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 18:14 In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that one of these little ones be lost.

Restoring Christian Relationships

18:15 “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault when the two of you are alone. If he listens to you, you have regained your brother. 18:16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others with you, so that at the testimony of two or three witnesses every matter may be established. 18:17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. If he refuses to listen to the church, treat him like a Gentile or a tax collector.

18:18 “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you release on earth will have been released in heaven. 18:19 Again, I tell you the truth, if two of you on earth agree about whatever you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. 18:20 For where two or three are assembled in my name, I am there among them.”

18:21 Then Peter came to him and said, “Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother who sins against me? As many as seven times?” 18:22 Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, I tell you, but seventy-seven times!

The Parable of the Unforgiving Slave

18:23 “For this reason, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves. 18:24 As he began settling his accounts, a man who owed ten thousand talents was brought to him. 18:25 Because he was not able to repay it, the lord ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, children, and whatever he possessed, and repayment to be made. 18:26 Then the slave threw himself to the ground before him, saying, ‘Be patient with me, and I will repay you everything.’ 18:27 The lord had compassion on that slave and released him, and forgave him the debt. 18:28 After he went out, that same slave found one of his fellow slaves who owed him one hundred silver coins. So he grabbed him by the throat and started to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ 18:29 Then his fellow slave threw himself down and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will repay you.’ 18:30 But he refused. Instead, he went out and threw him in prison until he repaid the debt. 18:31 When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were very upset and went and told their lord everything that had taken place. 18:32 Then his lord called the first slave and said to him, ‘Evil slave! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me! 18:33 Should you not have shown mercy to your fellow slave, just as I showed it to you?’ 18:34 And in anger his lord turned him over to the prison guards to torture him until he repaid all he owed. 18:35 So also my heavenly Father will do to you, if each of you does not forgive your brother from your heart.”

Prayer

Lord, You instruct us to be intentional in avoiding sin, in assisting fellow Believers who struggle with sin, and in forgiving of others. May I be found faithful in following Your commands.

Scripture In Perspective

The Parable of the Lost Sheep communicates the compassion of God, Who is “not willing that one of these little ones be lost” (Matt. 18:14). The term “little ones” has been interpreted in the following ways:

1. Literally, referring only to a special standing before God for young children — this narrow interpretation is not supported by the context.

2. Specifically, referring only to those given to Him by the Father (see John 10:28-29) — this interpretation is also too narrow for the text.

3. Universally, referring to all mankind lost after the Fall and then pursued by God for salvation — this is the broadest, most acceptable interpretation. It is God’s preferential will (not forced on man, but preferred for man), for all men to freely choose salvation; conversely, men have the freewill to not choose to be saved. The Good Shepherd seeks those who are lost and rejoices over those who are found.

Jesus addresses the restoration of damaged relationships between Christians: When one is seen living a sin, they are to be confronted “when the two of you are alone” (Matt. 18:15). If they remain unrepentant, then they are to be brought before others as “witnesses” (vs. 16); and, if still unrepentant, than brought before “the church” (vs. 17), a gathering of Believers. If he still refuses to listen, then the unrepentant one is to be ostracized.

[Note: Setting the tone, the purpose of the confrontation is to regain a fellow Believer; however, ostracism of the unrepentant one is merciful in that it serves as both pressure on the sinner to repent and also as a boundary to keep their rebellion from spreading to others.]

Jesus reminds Believers that He is “there among them” (vs. 20) when they gather, and that they have spiritual and earthly power when they pray in agreement with one another and in harmony with God’s will.

Peter questions the number of times a Believer must forgive a brother: “As many as seven times?” (vs. 21). Jesus replies “seventy times seven” and uses the Parable of the Unforgiving Slave to remind them that God’s forgiveness is predicated upon genuine repentance and to make the rhetorical point that Believers are to extend maximum grace to fellow Believers. In His parable, the unforgiving slave was selfish in accepting forgiveness of his massive obligations, yet failing to forgive another’s relatively small obligation to him.

Faith In Action

Consider

God, despite being rejected and disrespected for thousands of years, continues to desire a loving relationship with His children. Observe how the Biblical confrontation of a fellow Believer with their sin, toward the goal of redemption, is in actuality a gift of love to them.

Reflect

Consider how the power that Jesus shares with His children, when they pray in agreement with Him and with one another, may bring healing among Believers.

Have you experienced the conviction of the Holy Spirit when, after you have been forgiven multiple times for the same offense against a brother or sister in Christ, you are slow to forgive them?

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a brother or sister in Christ for whom He wants you to pray for restored fellowship with.

Act

I will pray with another Christian for a fellow Believer, one who has already been confronted personally, to repent of their sin and turn to God. We will commit to following the Biblical process and, if they remain unrepentant, we will take them before church leadership.

Be Specific ____________________________________________

Thursday (Luke 10)

The Mission of the Seventy-Two

10:1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him two by two into every town and place where he himself was about to go. 10:2 He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest. 10:3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs surrounded by wolves. 10:4 Do not carry a money bag, a traveler’s bag, or sandals, and greet no one on the road. 10:5 Whenever you enter a house, first say, ‘May peace be on this house!’ 10:6 And if a peace-loving person is there, your peace will remain on him, but if not, it will return to you. 10:7 Stay in that same house, eating and drinking what they give you, for the worker deserves his pay. Do not move around from house to house. 10:8 Whenever you enter a town and the people welcome you, eat what is set before you. 10:9 Heal the sick in that town and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come upon you!’ 10:10 But whenever you enter a town and the people do not welcome you, go into its streets and say, 10:11 ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this: The kingdom of God has come.’ 10:12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town!

10:13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 10:14 But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you! 10:15 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be thrown down to Hades!

10:16 “The one who listens to you listens to me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”

10:17 Then the seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name!” 10:18 So he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 10:19 Look, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions and on the full force of the enemy, and nothing will hurt you. 10:20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names stand written in heaven.”

10:21 On that same occasion Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your gracious will. 10:22 All things have been given to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son decides to reveal him.”

10:23 Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! 10:24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

10:25 Now an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 10:26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you understand it?” 10:27 The expert answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” 10:28 Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

10:29 But the expert, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 10:30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him up, and went off, leaving him half dead. 10:31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, but when he saw the injured man he passed by on the other side. 10:32 So too a Levite, when he came up to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 10:33 But a Samaritan who was traveling came to where the injured man was, and when he saw him, he felt compassion for him. 10:34 He went up to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 10:35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever else you spend, I will repay you when I come back this way.’ 10:36 Which of these three do you think became a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 10:37 The expert in religious law said, “The one who showed mercy to him.” So Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”

Jesus and Martha

10:38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him as a guest. 10:39 She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he said. 10:40 But Martha was distracted with all the preparations she had to make, so she came up to him and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work alone? Tell her to help me.” 10:41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things, 10:42 but one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the best part; it will not be taken away from her.”

Prayer

Lord, You send us out to serve in Your power and for Your ministry. May I never forget my role as Your servant and Your instrument.

Scripture In Perspective

The mission of the seventy-two disciples, commissioned and sent by Jesus, parallels His earlier sending of the twelve disciples in many ways. Notable is Jesus’ statement, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18), a rhetorical reference to the Prince of this world’s status challenged by his loss of many demons who now submit to the seventy two in Jesus’ name.

The Parable of the Good Samaritan is primarily a tool Jesus uses to challenge a self-righteous religious leader to live out his claim to love God rather than to merely mouth it. The context is Jesus’ challenge that the “expert in religious law” (vs. 25) will inherit eternal life when he truly practices “love the Lord your God” (vs. 27), and with all that is meant to imply. The parable visualizes putting theory into practice and leaves the religious leader no rational escape from the truth.

Jesus visits the home of Martha and Mary, where the worried Martha challenges Jesus to chastise her sister Mary for not being equally worried about worldly priorities. He responds that, while Martha worries about many things, “Mary has chosen the best part” (vs. 42) — listening to His Truths — and He is blessing her wise choice.

Faith In Action

Consider

Does Satan fall like lightning from Heaven when you go into the world in the name and power of Jesus?

Have you experienced a fellowship of self-identified Christians who have a tendency to ‘talk the talk’ rather than ‘walk the walk’?

Reflect

Do the things of the world often tug at your attention, energy, resources, and time? Do they distract you from the critical priority of knowing, loving, and serving God?

When have you been tempted to displace the priorities of God for the priorities of man. Why did you respond as you did and what resulted?

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal both where you have been faithful and where you may be a better steward of your resources and time.

Act

Today I will reflect, as I go from ‘village to village in the name of the Lord’, on where or if I challenge evil, stand with Christ, and speak God’s truth and light in to the darkness.

I will look for ways to better my usefulness to God’s work by making ruthless assessment of my stewardship of attention, energy, resources, and time. Based on what my assessment reveals, I will commit to make at least one change toward the goal of a better life-style stewardship.

Be Specific ____________________________________________

Friday (Luke 11–12:12)

Instructions on Prayer

11:1 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he stopped, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” 11:2 So he said to them, “When you pray, say:

Father, may your name be honored; may your kingdom come.

11:3 Give us each day our daily bread,

11:4 and forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.

And do not lead us into temptation.”

11:5 Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 11:6 because a friend of mine has stopped here while on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him.’ 11:7 Then he will reply from inside, ‘Do not bother me. The door is already shut, and my children and I are in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 11:8 I tell you, even though the man inside will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of the first man’s sheer persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.

11:9 “So I tell you: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 11:10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 11:11 What father among you, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish? 11:12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 11:13 If you then, although you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Jesus and Beelzebul

11:14 Now he was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the man who had been mute began to speak, and the crowds were amazed. 11:15 But some of them said, “By the power of Beelzebul, the ruler of demons, he casts out demons.” 11:16 Others, to test him, began asking for a sign from heaven. 11:17 But Jesus, realizing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is destroyed, and a divided household falls. 11:18 So if Satan too is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? I ask you this because you claim that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. 11:19 Now if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 11:20 But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has already overtaken you. 11:21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his possessions are safe. 11:22 But when a stronger man attacks and conquers him, he takes away the first man’s armor on which the man relied and divides up his plunder. 11:23 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

Response to Jesus’ Work

11:24 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a person, it passes through waterless places looking for rest but not finding any. Then it says, ‘I will return to the home I left.’ 11:25 When it returns, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 11:26 Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there, so the last state of that person is worse than the first.”

11:27 As he said these things, a woman in the crowd spoke out to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts at which you nursed!” 11:28 But he replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!”

The Sign of Jonah

11:29 As the crowds were increasing, Jesus began to say, “This generation is a wicked generation; it looks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 11:30 For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be a sign to this generation. 11:31 The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon – and now, something greater than Solomon is here! 11:32 The people of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented when Jonah preached to them – and now, something greater than Jonah is here!

Internal Light

11:33 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a hidden place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, so that those who come in can see the light. 11:34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is diseased, your body is full of darkness. 11:35 Therefore see to it that the light in you is not darkness. 11:36 If then your whole body is full of light, with no part in the dark, it will be as full of light as when the light of a lamp shines on you.”

Rebuking the Pharisees and Experts in the Law

11:37 As he spoke, a Pharisee invited Jesus to have a meal with him, so he went in and took his place at the table. 11:38 The Pharisee was astonished when he saw that Jesus did not first wash his hands before the meal. 11:39 But the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 11:40 You fools! Didn’t the one who made the outside make the inside as well? 11:41 But give from your heart to those in need, and then everything will be clean for you.

11:42 “But woe to you Pharisees! You give a tenth of your mint, rue, and every herb, yet you neglect justice and love for God! But you should have done these things without neglecting the others. 11:43 Woe to you Pharisees! You love the best seats in the synagogues and elaborate greetings in the marketplaces! 11:44 Woe to you! You are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without realizing it!”

11:45 One of the experts in religious law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things you insult us too.” 11:46 But Jesus replied, “Woe to you experts in religious law as well! You load people down with burdens difficult to bear, yet you yourselves refuse to touch the burdens with even one of your fingers! 11:47 Woe to you! You build the tombs of the prophets whom your ancestors killed. 11:48 So you testify that you approve of the deeds of your ancestors, because they killed the prophets and you build their tombs! 11:49 For this reason also the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ 11:50 so that this generation may be held accountable for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, 11:51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be charged against this generation. 11:52 Woe to you experts in religious law! You have taken away the key to knowledge! You did not go in yourselves, and you hindered those who were going in.”

11:53 When he went out from there, the experts in the law and the Pharisees began to oppose him bitterly, and to ask him hostile questions about many things, 11:54 plotting against him, to catch him in something he might say.

Fear God, Not People

12:1 Meanwhile, when many thousands of the crowd had gathered so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 12:2 Nothing is hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing is secret that will not be made known. 12:3 So then whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms will be proclaimed from the housetops.

12:4 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more they can do. 12:5 But I will warn you whom you should fear: Fear the one who, after the killing, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! 12:6 Aren’t five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. 12:7 In fact, even the hairs on your head are all numbered. Do not be afraid; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

12:8 “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before God’s angels. 12:9 But the one who denies me before men will be denied before God’s angels. 12:10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the person who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. 12:11 But when they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, do not worry about how you should make your defense or what you should say, 12:12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you must say.”

Prayer

Lord, we are responsible for having integrity in our relationship with You and in our relationship with others. May I be found faithful.

Scripture In Perspective

Jesus is praying, and His disciples ask Him for guidance in their prayer life. He offers a prayer outline, which is traditionally known as The Lords’ Prayer, to illustrate “how they are to approach God, by acknowledging His uniqueness and their need” (NET sn). He encourages them to pray with assertiveness. His words “give him whatever he needs” (Luke 11:8) and “give good gifts to your children” (vs. 13) indicate ones prayer requests must be for the common good of both self and others, as defined by God the Father.

Jesus is accused of fighting His fellow demons by using the power of “the ruler of demons” (11:15). He replies that He overpowers with “the finger of God” (vs. 20), which infers that the Kingdom of God is in Him and present, despite the temporary reality that Satan is the prince of this world. He reminds that there are two sides in spiritual battle: The stronger One is He Who wins over the Enemy and “divides up his plunder” (vs. 22), that which he once relied on and claimed as his.

Merely casting out a demon is insufficient, Jesus cautions, as he will return with more like himself — therefore, one must welcome God in to fill the spiritual vacuum. He clarifies this with instruction on how best to fill the void — “hear the Word of God and obey it” (11:28).

Jesus teaches about wisdom and repentance, reminding that the queen of the South traveled a great distance for God’s wisdom and even Nineveh repented when confronted with truth. He warns that both of their testimonies are in stark contrast to “this generation” (11:31), those who reject Jesus, and that the Ninevites will “stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it” (vs. 32).

Jesus reminds that both physical and spiritual light are to be shared, not hidden “under a basket” (vs. 33), so that others can see the light.

Challenging the “experts in religious law” (vs. 45), those who claim to speak for God yet reject Him, Jesus admonishes that God will hold them accountable for killing and persecuting past prophets. “You have taken away the key to knowledge is another stinging rebuke. They had done the opposite of what they were trying to do” (NET sn).

Jesus warns his disciples to fear God not man — persistent rejection of Jesus, which blasphemes the testimony of the Holy Spirit (He Who convicts that Christ is the Way to gain ones salvation), “will not be forgiven” (12:10) and guarantees an afterlife in Hell.

Jesus encourages His followers to wait on the Holy Spirit to give the strength, wisdom, and words needed “to make your defense” (vs. 11) when they are brought before the authorities or confronted by corrupt religious leaders.

Faith In Action

Consider

Do people consider us persons of prayer, someone whom new or immature Believers would ask for guidance on how to pray? Would we know how to guide them?

Do we pursue truth like the queen of the South and respond in repentance like the people of Nineveh?

Reflect

Do our prayers reflect the content and priorities of Jesus’ instruction on how to approach God in prayer?

Recall a situation wherein someone was freed from spiritual harassment through the prayer of his brother or sister in Christ, but was then not offered follow-up discipleship, so things eventually became worse.

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into a deeper investment from the heart in your prayer life.

Act

Today I will pray as Jesus taught, choosing to make my prayer genuine and exercising maximum faith when God answers, no matter the possible risk I see in responding as He tells me.

Be Specific _____________________________________________

Saturday (John 10)

Jesus as the Good Shepherd

10:1 “I tell you the solemn truth, the one who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. 10:2 The one who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 10:3 The doorkeeper opens the door for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 10:4 When he has brought all his own sheep out, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. 10:5 They will never follow a stranger, but will run away from him, because they do not recognize the stranger’s voice.” 10:6 Jesus told them this parable, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

10:7 So Jesus said to them again, “I tell you the solemn truth, I am the door for the sheep. 10:8 All who came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 10:9 I am the door. If anyone enters through me, he will be saved, and will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.

10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 10:12 The hired hand, who is not a shepherd and does not own sheep, sees the wolf coming and abandons the sheep and runs away. So the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. 10:13 Because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep, he runs away.

10:14 “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me – 10:15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep. 10:16 I have other sheep that do not come from this sheepfold. I must bring them too, and they will listen to my voice, so that there will be one flock and one shepherd. 10:17 This is why the Father loves me – because I lay down my life, so that I may take it back again. 10:18 No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down of my own free will. I have the authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it back again. This commandment I received from my Father.”

10:19 Another sharp division took place among the Jewish people because of these words. 10:20 Many of them were saying, “He is possessed by a demon and has lost his mind! Why do you listen to him?” 10:21 Others said, “These are not the words of someone possessed by a demon. A demon cannot cause the blind to see, can it?”

Jesus at the Feast of Dedication

10:22 Then came the feast of the Dedication in Jerusalem. 10:23 It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple area in Solomon’s Portico. 10:24 The Jewish leaders surrounded him and asked, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 10:25 Jesus replied, “I told you and you do not believe. The deeds I do in my Father’s name testify about me. 10:26 But you refuse to believe because you are not my sheep. 10:27 My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 10:28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; no one will snatch them from my hand. 10:29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can snatch them from my Father’s hand. 10:30 The Father and I are one.”

10:31 The Jewish leaders picked up rocks again to stone him to death. 10:32 Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good deeds from the Father. For which one of them are you going to stone me?” 10:33 The Jewish leaders replied, “We are not going to stone you for a good deed but for blasphemy, because you, a man, are claiming to be God.”

10:34 Jesus answered, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 10:35 If those people to whom the word of God came were called ‘gods’ (and the scripture cannot be broken), 10:36 do you say about the one whom the Father set apart and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 10:37 If I do not perform the deeds of my Father, do not believe me. 10:38 But if I do them, even if you do not believe me, believe the deeds, so that you may come to know and understand that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” 10:39 Then they attempted again to seize him, but he escaped their clutches.

10:40 Jesus went back across the Jordan River again to the place where John had been baptizing at an earlier time, and he stayed there. 10:41 Many came to him and began to say, “John performed no miraculous sign, but everything John said about this man was true!” 10:42 And many believed in Jesus there.

Prayer

Lord, because faith in You is the only way that one may be reconciled to God, may I never forget what You have done for me, and may I seek to be generous in sharing that truth with others.

Scripture In Perspective

Using the image of the Good Shepherd, Jesus illustrates Himself as One Who cares, shares, sacrifices, and defends. He reminds that He has the authority to lay down His life and “take it back again” (10:18). Those whom He will save by sacrificing Himself are not only Jews but also “other sheep that do not come from this sheepfold” (vs. 16).

At the Feast of Dedication the religious leaders challenge Jesus, “if You are the Christ, tell us plainly” (10:24, italics added), laying a trap to convict Him. But Jesus points out that He has already fulfilled many prophesies, done many miracles, and said what needed to be said — all sufficient evidence for Him to be recognized by those open to Truth.

Jesus once again declares His divinity when saying, “The Father and I are One” (vs. 30) — He speaks of not merely being One in intimate fellowship and agreement with, but One in essence with, God. The religious leaders, incited by His claim, take up rocks “to stone Him to death” (vs. 31). Jesus reminds them that religious judges often were treated as “gods” (vs. 34) because they spoke for God in exercising their judgment. And since His deeds prove that He is set apart and sent by God, why would He not be justified in a more elevated title and be known as “the Son of God” (vs. 36)?

The religious leaders attempt to seize Him, but Jesus “escaped their clutches” (vs. 39) and moves on to where John had baptized many. He accepts the worship of many new Believers there — worship, it is important to note, only permitted to be given to or received by God.

Faith In Action

Consider

Jesus challenged the self-importance of the Jews, who imagined themselves the exclusive people of God. He also accepted their worship, again affirming His deity.

Are we as willing to lay down our life for Jesus as He was for us?

Reflect

God, in the person of Jesus, shepherds His sheep. The Good Shepherd cares, shares, protects, sacrifices, and defends us.

When did you, prior to salvation, recognize the legitimacy of Jesus as God and your need for a Savior, yet you still resisted acknowledging and surrendering your life to Him?

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you that He is your Shepherd, and then choose to follow Him in all things, at all times, and in all ways.

Act

Today I choose to take some time to acknowledge the many ways that Jesus has been my Shepherd in caring, protecting, sacrificing, and defending me. I will celebrate these stories with a fellow Believer.

Be Specific _____________________________________________

All Bible text is from the NET unless otherwise indicated - http://bible.org

Note 1: These Studies often rely upon the guidance of the NET Translators from their associated notes. Careful attention has been given to cite that source where it has been quoted directly or closely paraphrased. Feedback is encouraged where credit has not been sufficiently assigned.

Note 2: When NET text is quoted in commentary and discussion all pronouns referring to God are capitalized, though they are lower-case in the original NET text.

Commentary text is from David M. Colburn, D.Min. unless otherwise noted.

Copyright © 2012 by David M. Colburn. This is a BibleSeven Study –”The Chronological Gospels” – “Week 8 of 12” - prepared by David M. Colburn and edited for bible.org in July of 2012. This text may be used for non-profit educational purposes only, with credit; all other usage requires prior written consent of the author.

 

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