Mark 2

Mark 2, Jesus goes to Capernaum and the crowds followed him.  Some believers lowered a paralyzed man through a hole they cut in the roof where Jesus was teaching so that he might be healed.  Jesus used the opportunity to show his authority and told the man to rise and walk that his sins were forgiven.  This flew all over the Pharisees because they knew he was claiming to be God, but they did not believe it.


Jesus disciples were accused of not fasting and plucking some grain from a field that they were walking through on the Sabbath.  Jesus called Levi and was also questioned as to why he was eating in Levi’s house with many tax collectors and sinners.

The thing with this chapter that needs much consideration today is the fact that the Pharisees were more concerned that Jesus healed on the Sabbath instead of the awesome miracle that Jesus had just head someone who had been blind since birth.  Jesus says at the end of the chapter that “The Sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the Sabbath; NRSV.  Do we have these problems today with our “traditions?”  I really think so.  Some traditions in the various denominations have been around so long you would really cause a great uproar if you tried to change them.  Traditions are not bad and even groups that try to get away from the old traditions end up settling into traditions of their own.  The thing to pay close attention to is when tradition keeping becomes more important that the spirit of the intent of the actions.  As I have been reading the gospels it seems that Jesus places as much or more emphasis on the heart than on the action.

Have a great day,

Published in: on February 27, 2007 at 11:31 am  Comments (1)  

Mark 1

Mark 1, the first chapter of Mark starts quickly by briefly telling about John the Baptist, Jesus baptism, his 40 days of fasting followed by the temptations from Satan.  Jesus called some of his Apostles and was going around proclaiming the Word of God and healing people.

One of the blessings of reading the Gospels and commenting on them in the manner that I have is to see more clearly than I ever how each of the authors of the story of Jesus tells the same story but emphasizes different things.  Each telling only strengthens your understanding of the will of God.

Preparing for NBS and reading 1 Kings about Elijah, I had never known that Elijah was a hairy man.  It seems that John the Baptist came not only in the spirit of Elijah but also had physical characteristics also.

Have a great day,

Published in: on February 26, 2007 at 5:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

NBS – Elijah

 ELIJAH  Read 1 Kings 17-19; 2 Kings 1-2. 

We will be discussing the offerings on Mount Carmel and the raising of the widow of Zarephath’s son and how Elijah’s story shows the power of the true and living God in Israel.  We will also look at Elijah’s translation in 2 Kings.

I found the following about Elijah on my Power Bible CD-ROM.   I look forward to our study.

Have a great day,

 The prophet, a native of Tishbeh in Gilead, 1Ki 17:1. His parentage and early history are unknown. His bold faithfulness provoked the wrath of Ahab and Jezebel, especially when he threatened several years of drought and famine as a punishment for the sins of Israel, B. C. 908. By the divine direction the prophet took refuge on the bank of the brook Cherith, where he was miraculously fed by ravens. Thence he resorted to Zarephath, in Phoenicia; where one miracle provided him with sustenance and another restored to life the child of his hostess. Returning to King Ahab, he procured the great assembling at mount Carmel, where God “answered by fire,” and the prophets of Baal were destroyed. Now too the long and terrible drought was broken, and a plentiful rain descended at the prophet’s prayer. Finding that not even these mighty works of God would bring the nation and its rulers to repentance, Elijah was almost in despair. He fled into the wilderness, and was brought to Horeb, the mount of God, where he was comforted by a vision of God’s power and grace. Again he is sent on a long journey to Damascus to anoint Hazael as king of Syria. Jehu also he anoints to be king of Israel, and Elisha he summons to become a prophet. Six years later he denounces Ahab and Jezebel for their crimes in the matter of Naboth; and afterwards again is seen foretelling the death of king Ahaziah, and calling fire from heaven upon two bands of guards sent to arrest him. Being now forewarned of the approach of his removal from earth, he gives his last instructions to the school of the prophets, crosses the Jordan miraculously, and is borne to heaven in a fiery chariot without tasting death, leaving his mantle and office to Elisha, 1Ki 17:1-19:21; 21:29; 2Ki 1:1-2:18.

His translation occurred about B. C. 896. Previously, it is supposed, he had written the letter which, eight years afterwards, announced to king Jehoram his approaching sickness and death, 2Ch 21:12-19.

Elijah was one of the most eminent and honored of the Hebrew prophets. He was bold, faithful, stern, self-denying, and zealous for the honor of God. His whole character and life are marked by peculiar moral grandeur. He bursts upon our view without previous notice; he disappears by a miracle. He bears the appearance of a supernatural messenger of heaven, who has but one work to do, and whose mind is engrossed in its performance. His history is one of the most extraordinary on record, and is fraught with instruction. It was a high honor granted to Moses and Elijah, that they alone should appear on the mount of Transfiguration, many centuries after they had gone into heaven-to bear witness of its existence, and commune with the Savior concerning his death, Lu 9:28-35.

John the Baptist was foretold under the name of Elias, or Elijah, from his resemblance in character and life to the ancient prophet of Israel, Mal 4:5,6; Mt 17:10-13.

Published in: on February 25, 2007 at 11:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

John 21

John 21, John ends his book by telling the story of Jesus meeting the disciples for a third time after his resurrection.  He meets them by the sea after they had been fishing all night and had caught nothing.  Jesus tells them to cast their nets on the right side of the boat and they caught 153 large fish.  Jesus had them a breakfast cooked of fish and eggs.  After breakfast he asked Peter three times if he loved him.  Peter responded three times yes and the Lord told him to feed my lambs, tend my sheep, and feed my sheep.  Jesus also prophesies Peter’s manner of death.  John ends saying that to tell of everything Jesus did would fill the world with books.

When Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him, I wonder if this had something to do with the fact that Peter denied Jesus three times before the rooster crowed?  Also, what is the three different instructions regarding the flock of God?  Feed my lambs or feed the young or new Christians?  Tend my sheep, govern the older Christians?  Feed my sheep, continue to instruct the older Christians? 

Why was Peter fishing without any clothes on? 

Have a great day,

Published in: on February 25, 2007 at 11:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

NBS Outline

For this next series of Neighborhood Bible Studies, I will be placing the outline here so you will have the opportunity to read the selected passages and to meditate on them in preparation for our discussions. 

This series will be titled “New Testament Lessons from Old Testament Stories.”  The title could have been “New Testament Lessons from Old Testament Characters” because we will be following various characters each week such as Elijah, Elisha, and others.  The children’s class will also be studying the same character each week as the adults.  We may come together for the last few minutes each week and let the children describe the character from their point of view.

I think it is going to be a great series and I hope that making the lesson outline available will allow us to have deeper meaningful discussions.

Have a great day,

Published in: on February 24, 2007 at 3:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

John 20

John 20, before sunlight on Sunday morning, the day after Jesus crucifixion, Mary Magdalene was at the tomb.  When she realized that the body of Jesus was gone she ran and told the apostles.  John and Peter ran to the tomb and went inside.  Mary sees Jesus in the garden and she goes and tells the others what he said to her.  Jesus appears behind locked doors in the apostles’ mist twice giving them instructions and the second time Thomas was there and believed once he saw Jesus hands and side.

Why was it important to let us know that John ran faster to the tomb than Peter?  Where were the soldiers at this time?  Being that Mary arrived before daylight it seems that they should have still been there.  And finally, what is the significance of the head covering being rolled up and placed separate from the linens covering the body?

Have a great day,

Published in: on February 24, 2007 at 3:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

John 19

John 19, Pilate has Jesus flogged and once again states that he has found no case against him but the mob will not settle for anything less than death so he hands Jesus over to them to be crucified.  John list several things that occurred surrounding the crucifixion that fulfilled prophesy about Jesus’ death.  Pilate has a sign made that is placed above Jesus head that declares him King of the Jews.  Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus get Jesus body and prepare it for burial then place it in the new tomb.

I wonder how tall the main shaft of the cross was.  It would seem to have to be at least somewhat high because they had to place the sponge with sour wine on a branch of a tree to get it up to his mouth for him to drink.  Hmmm.

This chapter also highlights the contrast of what is going on.  They break the legs of the thieves beside Jesus so that they can get them off the cross before the evening because it is the preparation day for the Passover.  They spend preparation day by killing Emmanuel and quickly get him down so that the next day they can properly observe the rituals of the Passover where they thank God for delivering them.

Do we have this problem today?  YES!  It seems that organized religion’s #1 priority is to protect the traditions that their group has observed for years.  And then IF they have time they will work on the greatest commandment and the second, Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind and also Love your neighbor as yourself. 

Have a great day,

Published in: on February 23, 2007 at 9:03 am  Leave a Comment  

John 18

John 18, Jesus is in the when Judas shows up with the mob to arrest Jesus. Peter denies Jesus 3 times. Jesus is led through the kangaroo court and at no point is a valid acquisition brought against him. Pilate talks to Jesus and he can find no law that Jesus has broken and tries to return him to the Jews. However, the Jewish law did not have provision to put someone to death so they persuaded Pilate to execute him.

I have never really considered it, but all this happened at the Passover. A time when everyone should have been focused on thanking God for removing them from their slavery and providing for them during their wondering years, however, they were killing God’s son!

When Peter cut off the chief priest servant’s ear, Jesus said, “Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?” Jesus knew what lay ahead for him. I wonder what is in my cup for me to drink.

Have a great day,

Published in: on February 22, 2007 at 12:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

John 17

John 17, this chapter is a prayer from Jesus to the Father!  If you ask about Jesus prayer life, many would go only to “the Lord’s Prayer.”  However, in my readings this year, I am noticing many instances where Jesus is talking/praying to the father.  When we talk to the Father we have many more examples than you might think and most of them could be classified as conversations, conversations between a son and his father.  Isn’t that what our prayer life should be like?  The more we talk to our Father, the more we get to know him, the more our prayer lives will be conversations with someone that we “know.”

This prayer by Jesus is asking the Father to protect and lead the Apostles as his hour is now at hand and he will be leaving them.  However, starting in verse 20 Jesus says that this prayer is not only for the apostles but for those who believe in him through his word.  But more than this, in verse 21 Jesus said that he ask all these things on behalf of those who believe, that we may be as one as the Father and the Son are one, so that the world may believe that the Father sent the Son!  It seems to me that we are the modern day apostles!  The job given to the Apostles directly by the Son has been passed along to us!  I never thought of how important of a work we have been given.

Have a great day,


Published in: on February 14, 2007 at 7:24 am  Comments (1)  

John 16

John 16, Jesus continues this chapter preparing his disciples for his departure.  He foretells his death and resurrection and the fact that their future in The Way will be one of suffering and physical death.

Jesus ends the chapter with this (John 16:33) I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” (NRSV)  This was appropriate for the disciples as they were about to see Jesus death and the sorrow that he said that they would have.  It is also appropriate for us as we have the joy of the resurrection and the life that we have through the power of the resurrection.

Have a great day,

Published in: on February 13, 2007 at 12:46 pm  Leave a Comment