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July 9, 2006

Matthew Levi the Disciple

Filed under: Bible Studies,Old & New Testament — Adam Osborne @ 4:19 pm

 

 

 

 

Matthew Levi – Finding What’s Valuable*

Central bible truth: Following Christ changes everything.

Focal passage: Matt 9:9-13 (NIV) As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. 10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples.11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” 12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

The bible warns of the dangers of loving money. We often turn on the news and see that a CEO has stolen from his company or a greedy person has been caught in a scandal. Truett Cathy is different. It seems that he has made himself and his company, <Chick-Fil-A>, values something else. Sure, he understands business and money, but keeps it in perspective to his relationships to God, family, and others.

The bible warns of the dangers of loving money. We often turn on the news and see that a CEO has stolen from his company or a greedy person has been caught in a scandal. Truett Cathy is different. It seems that he has made himself and his company, <Chick-Fil-A>, values something else. Sure, he understands business and money, but keeps it in perspective to his relationships to God, family, and others.1 Tim 6:10 (NIV) For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Truett Cathy is the founder and chairman of Chick-Fil-A, Inc. His company is one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. having 1000+ locations in 35+ states. You would think that Mr. Cathy is your average rich CEO but he is not.

Aside from refusing to open his stores on Sunday, he is an extremely generous Christian man. He has given away millions in scholorships, runs 11 foster care homes in the U.S and Brazil, runs Camp WinShape for boys and girls, and has taught a Sunday school class to 13-year olds for over 40 years.

Truett Cathy knows what is of value. It is not money or power, it is relationships with God and others. Matthew Levi, a tax collector that would become one of the disciples, did not understand what was valuable. To understand Matthew, you must first understand tax collectors in the days of Jesus.

Tax collectors: 

     

     

  • Worked for the Roman government even though they were Jews. Rome preferred to have local people working, so they could know who had money. They betrayed the Jews for the Romans.
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  • They made money by getting to keep a percentage of what they took in. Most however, cheated people by taxing them more than they should and keeping the difference.
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  • Most tax collectors were intelligent to be able to keep up with money and wealthy from their lifestyle of cheating. (See Luke 19:8 below)
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  • In scripture they are mentioned along with drunkards, robbers, prostitutes and sinners, showing how they were viewed.

 

So….in summary…..Matthew did NOT understand value. He thought that money was valuable and sacrificed many things to get it. However, Jesus taught Matthew what was truly valuable.

POINT: Matthew was giving up a good lifestyle to follow a man with no home. He willingly gave up a comfortable life for a life of hard work, little earthly reward, and possible martyrdom.

POINT: Actually, Matthew gave up more than most of the other disciples did. He gave up riches. But, if you think about it, he gave up a lot of earthly things that would not last forever and replaced them with things that would last forever.

QUESTION to ponder: When Jesus “chose” Matthew, was their a “motive” behind his appointment to become a disciple? If so, in what way?

(possible answers: Jesus was making a statement that even the most sinful person can find eternal salvation through Christ….and also on the same side the pride and arrogance of the elite Jews, Scribes and Pharisees, they could not get in to heaven by obeying the Law…it still takes Jesus.)

 


 

Matthew found the value of a relationship

 

v9. As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.a) He counted the cost.

b) He left his booth.

b) He left his booth.After examining what Christ had to offer, he counted the cost. He determined that Christ was more valuable than a wealthy lifestyle.

Something to think about…. Matthew “got up and followed him”…. a verb, an “action” statement. Following Christ sometimes requires that we have to “get up” and take action.

QUESTION:

 

     

     

  • Have any of you ever had the opportunity to have great financial gain but chose a different “path” instead? Please explain….discuss…..
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  • What do you think, was this was a hard decision for Matthew?
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  • OR…do you maybe think that Matthew was relieved? After all, don’t you think it was “hard” to be a tax collector? They were traitors, Jewish people working for the Romans, taxing other Jews!

 

v10. Matthew found the value of relationships with others.

10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples.Matthew threw a party so others could meet Jesus. He stopped caring only about himself and began caring about others.

Also, notice that Matthew immediately started sharing his faith. He was no longer ashamed, he had good news and wanted to share it with other “sinners.”

Also, notice that Matthew immediately started sharing his faith. He was no longer ashamed, he had good news and wanted to share it with other “sinners.”What do you think of this quote by Andy Low: “Unless you are prepared to give up something valuable, you will never be able to truly change at all; because you’ll be forever in the control of things you can’t give up.” (discuss)

Why is it that so many people chose things that are “here and now” rather things that are “eternal”? (discuss)

More Matthew Trivia

 

     

     

  • After Christ’s ascension, Matthew spent several years in Palestine. It was during this time that he wrote the Gospel of Matthew in Hebrew.
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  • It is INTERESTING that God used a tax collector and former Jewish traitor to write this Gospel for the Jews.
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  • After this he went south to Egypt and Ethiopia to teach and preach.
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  • He was later killed from a spear by King Hircanus.

 

Verse 9: As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.“Cheating” by tax collectors, this was common:

Luke 19:8 (NIV) But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

Verse 10: Tax collectors used oppressive methods to collect their money. So much so, that the people hated them. For this reason, the Pharisees thought it was out of the ordinary that Jesus would go to a feast with tax collectors. Notice that not only Jesus went to this feast, but other disciples that were already following him.Verse 11: 10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples.The Pharisees were a religious group of professional teachers that believed that righteousness came from following the letter of the law. They fasted every two of five days. They even sewed Old Testament passages into the hem of their garments. When they saw Jesus at this feast with tax collectors and sinners, they wanted to call attention to Jesus’ wrongdoings.

Verses 12-13: 12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Jesus answered them with a profound thought: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor.” Christ never lost focus of his mission: to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10 (NIV) For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”)Jesus further challenged these teachers to go and learn what Hosea 6:6 meant (‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’) The bible teaches that God loves to show us mercy and forgiveness:

Jesus further challenged these teachers to go and learn what Hosea 6:6 meant The bible teaches that God loves to show us mercy and forgiveness: 

     

  • Micah 7:18 (NIV) Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. 

     

       

       

         

         

           

           

        • 1 John 1:9 (NIV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 

           

           

          Another lesson is that we see an example of Christ treating different people in different ways. He showed mercy to the “sinners” at the party, while scolding the self-righteous, prideful Pharisees. The Pharisees thought they were blameless and therefore did not need mercy from God. Jesus taught that we all need His mercy and grace.

    *Original text by The Dirty Dozen – A character study on the twelve disciples. Other comments added by the author.

     

     

    The bible warns of the dangers of loving money. We often turn on the news and see that a CEO has stolen from his company or a greedy person has been caught in a scandal. Truett Cathy is different. It seems that he has made himself and his company, <Chick-Fil-A>, values something else. Sure, he understands business and money, but keeps it in perspective to his relationships to God, family, and others. b) He left his booth. Also, notice that Matthew immediately started sharing his faith. He was no longer ashamed, he had good news and wanted to share it with other “sinners.” Jesus answered them with a profound thought: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor.” Christ never lost focus of his mission: to seek and save the lostJesus further challenged these teachers to go and learn what Hosea 6:6 meant The bible teaches that God loves to show us mercy and forgiveness:

Simon the Zealot

Filed under: Bible Studies,Old & New Testament — Adam Osborne @ 2:56 pm

Simon the Zealot – The Unlikely Disciple*

 

Central Bible Truth: God wants His disciples to be zealous Focal Passage: Romans 12:11 – Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.   

  • What is zeal?
    • Webster’s – Passionate ardor in the pursuit of anything; eagerness in any cause or behalf; earnestness; fervency; enthusiasm.
    • Webster’s definition of Zealot – One who is zealous or full of zeal; one carried away by excess of zeal; a fanatical partisan; one who belonged to the fanatical Judean group, A.D. 6-70, who were consistently opposed to and in rebellion against the Romans, especially in the matter of Roman domination and jurisdiction in Palestine.

Soul searching questions: 

       

     

  • Considering Romans 12:11 above, do you always display a zeal for the Gospel?
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  • What exactly would that look like? How would one act that was always displaying a zeal for the Gospel?
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  • Do you know of “anyone” that fits this description? (discuss….maybe some of the crowd does know someone….)

 


    

The Taliban was unheard of a few years ago, but quickly became a household name. They are religiously fanatical and very zealous. They make many laws and enforce them; they are a clear picture of zeal.

There was a group, somewhat like the Taliban, in Jesus’ day. The “Zealots” were religious and political revolutionaries. Simon, one of the Twelve, was a member of this group. He was an unlikely disciple, due to some of Christ’s teachings. We’ll look at what Christ taught Simon and the kind of zeal we should have.

There was a group, somewhat like the Taliban, in Jesus’ day. The ” were religious and political revolutionaries. Simon, one of the Twelve, was a member of this group. He was an unlikely disciple, due to some of Christ’s teachings. We’ll look at what Christ taught Simon and the kind of zeal we should have.TALIBAN TRIVIA: 

        

     

  • Taliban means “the students” in Arabic.
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  • They gained control of Afghanistan in 1996.
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  • They are zealous Muslims who wanted to force the strictest form of Islam onto the people in Afghanistan.
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  • They began the “Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice” to make sure that the people are living correctly.
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  • They banned the following items: Television; movies; playing cards; lipstick; nail polish; computer disks; musical instruments; cassettes; chessboards; fireworks; statues; fashion catalogs, neckties.

 

 

QUESTIONS: 

QUESTIONS:  

QUESTIONS:  

        

     

  • What would be the hardest item on the list to give up?
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  • Discuss “why” some of the items might have been banned.

 

 

POINT to consider: The Taliban was zealous, but it was also wrong. It serves as an example of zeal focused on the wrong things. Simon the Zealot was similar to this – zealous for all the wrong things.

POINT: Simon is not mentioned often in scripture, but he is always referred to as a Zealot. What exactly does this simple fact tell us about him? (He was a radical with passion that Jesus used)

QUESTION: Why would someone like Simon have followed Jesus? What was it about Jesus that made him want to follow Him?

 

 

        

     

  • Simon, due to his revolutionary thinking, was an unlikely disciple. He might have been attracted to Jesus’ zeal or revolutionary thinking. However, some of the things that Jesus taught would have gone against the practices of the Zealots.

 

 

 

        

     

          

       

    • For example, Jesus taught about PEACE: John 14:27 (NIV) Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.??? 

       

            

         

              

           

        • Another example that the Zealots would not have agreed with. Jesus taught about LOVING YOUR ENEMIES: Matt 5:44 (NIV) But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.??? 

           

                

             

                  

            • Another example that most definitely would have been a problem for the Zealots is Jesus taught about PAYING YOUR TAXES: Mark 12:17 (NIV) Then Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him.??? 
                    

                 

              • Just your opinion: There’s no right or wrong answer with this….but knowing Simon’s revolutionary mindset…. “How do you think Simon responded to Christ’s teachings about the things above”?

               

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              Zeal based in knowledge

               

              Romans 10:2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.Paul was talking about the Zealous people and how they had rejected Christ as the Messiah. They were zealous, but they were wrong! Do we know people (or groups) like that today, people who are zealous but wrong? (Taliban; Muslims; Mormons; Jehovah’s Witnesses; Christian Scientist; etc.)

              Zeal based in purpose

               

              Galatians 4:18 It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you. 

              It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you.  

              It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you.  In this scripture, this was another zealous group, but they denied some important Christian beliefs. It is foolish to be zealous for the wrong cause. 

              In this scripture, this was another zealous group, but they denied some important Christian beliefs. It is foolish to be zealous for the wrong cause. Is this scripture talking just about religious things, or can this scripture fit in other parts of our lives today?

              In this scripture, this was another zealous group, but they denied some important Christian beliefs. It is foolish to be zealous for the wrong cause. Is this scripture talking just about religious things, or can this scripture fit in other parts of our lives today?What kind of things are we “zealous” about today besides the Gospel (outside of the church)? (Our families; our jobs; our material things; our sports).

              So, if this scripture tells us that it is OK to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, how do we know “what is good” and “what isn’t good”?

               

                    

                 

              • If it disagrees with scripture, it’s bad
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              • If it somehow makes your brother stumble, then it’s bad
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              • Do you enjoy or love this thing more than God? That’s bad.
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              • Does this thing take your time away from God? That’s bad.
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              • Does it “enhance” God’s kingdom? It’s good then.
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              • Does it glorify God, if it does, it’s good then.

               

               

              Jesus wants zealous disciples, he called Simon the Zealot, refocused his zeal, and used him to impact the world. Acts 1:13 shows us that he stayed faithful to Christ after his ascension, proving the change Simon had.

              Acts 1:13 (NIV) When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.QUESTION for the group: Name something that “YOU” should be more zealous for (discuss around the room).QUESTION for the group: Name something that “YOU” should be more zealous for (discuss around the room). QUESTION for the group: Name something that “YOU” should be more zealous for (discuss around the room). QUESTION for the group: Name something that “YOU” should be more zealous for (discuss around the room). 

              QUESTION for the group: Name something that “YOU” should be more zealous for (discuss around the room). 

                    

                 

              • Possible answers to discuss:
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                • Seeking the TRUTH in the Word
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                • Sharing your faith / witnessing
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                • Worship
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                • Missions

                 

                 

               

               

              OK, then, what keeps us from “getting there?” (discuss)

              QUESTION for the group: Name something that you feel that the Christian body, as a whole, should be more zealous for (discuss around the room).

               


                  

              ZEALOT History and Trivia:

               

                    

                 

              • Zealots were a political revolutionary group who opposed Roman rule, wanting Israel to have it’s own government.
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              • In A.D. 6 they led a revolt against the Roman census, since the census was used to determine taxes.
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              • They also led other revolts until Rome destroyed Jerusalem and the temple in A.D. 70 (64 years later).

               

               

               

                    

                 

              • In the New Testament there were four Jewish religious sects: the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Essenes, and the Zealots.
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              • The Zealots were more politically natured than the other three.
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              • They wanted immediate political change by overthrowing the Roman control of Israel.
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              • Therefore, they were looking for a kingly, warrior messiah that would overthrow the Romans and create an earthly kingdom.

               

               

              Simon the Zealot – More Trivia

               

                

                

                

                    

                 

              • Not to be confused with Simon Peter
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              • This Simon was called the “Canaanite” and the “Zealot”.
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              • The only times he is mentioned is in the “Lists of Disciples”.

               

               

              Scripture Trivia

              Romans 12:11 “Never be lacing in zeal.” – There are NUMEROUS passages that warn us about doing things half-heartedly and with sloth. The biblical ideal is a passionate, excited, dedicated follower of Christ.

              “Never be lacing in zeal.” – There are NUMEROUS passages that warn us about doing things half-heartedly and with sloth. The biblical ideal is a passionate, excited, dedicated follower of Christ.Romans 10:2 Paul is speaking of a group of Jews that were confusing the Roman Christians. The Jews were still depending on obeying the law to be righteous and, as Christians, we believe that is not possible. It seems that the Christians were attracted to this group’s passion, but Paul was teaching that these passionate people could still be wrong. Unguided zeal can lead to a misunderstanding of the gospel and even heresy.

              “Never be lacing in zeal.” – There are NUMEROUS passages that warn us about doing things half-heartedly and with sloth. The biblical ideal is a passionate, excited, dedicated follower of Christ. Paul is speaking of a group of Jews that were confusing the Roman Christians. The Jews were still depending on obeying the law to be righteous and, as Christians, we believe that is not possible. It seems that the Christians were attracted to this group’s passion, but Paul was teaching that these passionate people could still be wrong. Unguided zeal can lead to a misunderstanding of the gospel and even heresy.Galatians 4:18 The churches in Galatia were facing what is knows as the “Judaizer Controversy.” The group, known as Judaizers, taught that Gentiles could only be saved by following Christ and obeying Jewish law. In effect, they taught that Christ was not enough. Paul was teaching the church that zeal must be based on a correct purpose or it is dangerous.

              “Never be lacing in zeal.” – There are NUMEROUS passages that warn us about doing things half-heartedly and with sloth. The biblical ideal is a passionate, excited, dedicated follower of Christ. Paul is speaking of a group of Jews that were confusing the Roman Christians. The Jews were still depending on obeying the law to be righteous and, as Christians, we believe that is not possible. It seems that the Christians were attracted to this group’s passion, but Paul was teaching that these passionate people could still be wrong. Unguided zeal can lead to a misunderstanding of the gospel and even heresy. The churches in Galatia were facing what is knows as the “Judaizer Controversy.” The group, known as Judaizers, taught that Gentiles could only be saved by following Christ and obeying Jewish law. In effect, they taught that Christ was not enough. Paul was teaching the church that zeal must be based on a correct purpose or it is dangerous. 

              “Never be lacing in zeal.” – There are NUMEROUS passages that warn us about doing things half-heartedly and with sloth. The biblical ideal is a passionate, excited, dedicated follower of Christ. Paul is speaking of a group of Jews that were confusing the Roman Christians. The Jews were still depending on obeying the law to be righteous and, as Christians, we believe that is not possible. It seems that the Christians were attracted to this group’s passion, but Paul was teaching that these passionate people could still be wrong. Unguided zeal can lead to a misunderstanding of the gospel and even heresy. The churches in Galatia were facing what is knows as the “Judaizer Controversy.” The group, known as Judaizers, taught that Gentiles could only be saved by following Christ and obeying Jewish law. In effect, they taught that Christ was not enough. Paul was teaching the church that zeal must be based on a correct purpose or it is dangerous. ?

              *Note:  Original text taken from “The Dirty Dozen” – A character study on the Twelve Disciples.  Other comments added by the author.

July 8, 2006

John: The Youngest Disciple

Filed under: Bible Studies,Old & New Testament — Adam Osborne @ 1:51 pm

 

 

 

 

JOHN – The Youngest Disciple*

 

 

 

 

QUESTION: What can you tell me about John the Disciple? (Inner 3; one of the “son’s of thunder)

 

Central Bible Truth: Even when you are young, you can serve God.

Focal Passage: 1 Tim 4:12 (NIV) Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

QUESTION: Where have you seen this scripture just “hanging around?” (It is our youth groups main scripture….it is on all of their T-shirts that they wear to Youth Events.

Most of the time, people who are young do not think that they can do much for Christ. They think that they have to be older. Often, we older generation people feel the same way. We need to encourage our youth to not wait until later to serve God. Youth will at times make mistakes, just like John did, but God used John in powerful ways.

THINK ABOUT IT: In the public schools we expect the youth of today to learn Algebra, Calculus, and Physics. Why is it we don’t think they can do anything for God?

Young People Trivia

 

 

 

RUTH LAWRENCE began going to Oxford University when she was twelve years old. She is the youngest person ever to do that.

BENJAMIN COHEN started a company called <soJewish.com>, which became the largest free Jewish newspaper in the world. He was a millionaire by the age of sixteen.

ALBERT WONG is a famous pianist. He began to play when he was three, and at age five he beat many teenagers to win first place in a Dallas piano competion. He made his first CD at ten years of age.

John had a desire for position

 

Matt 20:20-23 (NIV) Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. 21 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” 22 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered. 23 Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”  

      

     

  • John was already a part of the “inner three” (James, John, Simon Peter)
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  • He thought he deserved a prestigious place and title in Heaven.
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  • What does the answer “we can” imply?
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    • They were prideful. They didn’t even know what “cup” Jesus was talking about.

     

     

  • What “cup” was Jesus talking about?

 

 

 

      

     

        

       

    • His death: Matt 26:39 (NIV) Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”? 

       

INNER THREE

 

Healing of the dead girl:  

      

  • Mark 5:37-41 (NIV) He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”).? 

    The Transfiguration: 

        

    • Matt 17:1-2 (NIV) After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.

    After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 

    After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.  

    The Garden of Gethsemane 

        

       

    • Matt 26:37-38 (NIV) He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”? 

  • He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her,

    He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her,

He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, OK, so John was one of the “inner three.” How could this fact helped, or hindered, John’s behavior? 

      

     

  • HELPED: More hands-on training from Jesus himself; more exposure to growth type situations.
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  • HINDERED: Might have led to pride because he might have felt that he was more important than others.

 

 

QUESTION to consider: Is it possible that John was one of the “inner three” because of his youth and Jesus needed to train him more?

 

John had a desire for exclusion

 

Luke 9:49-50 (NIV) “Master,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.” 50 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”QUESTION:  

      

     

  • Why was John concerned about this? What was his motivation?
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    • It was his pride. Look at verse 40 It says that the disciples couldn’t drive out demons out of a man. But in verse 49 we see that a non-disciple drove them out in Jesus’ name.

     

     

  • Can you tell me a time when “we”, in today’s society, have a desire for exclusion?

 

John had a desire to be the judge

 

Luke 9:51-55 (NIV) As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 

Here’s what the King James says: Luke 9:55-56 (KJV) But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. 56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.Luke 19:10 (NIV) For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”Why was John acting like this? Why did he want to kill them? (Because they had insulted the Son of God and John was still immature in his Christian growth. He still didn’t understand that Jesus taught “love” not “death”. At this point in his development he had totally missed the point as to why Jesus was here.)This might have been yet another example of John’s temper, which is how he and his brother were named “Sons of Thunder”.Mark 3:17 (NIV) James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder).

Point to notice in the scripture above in Luke! John didn’t ask if Jesus was going to call down fire; he asked if HE himself could call it down. Why is this significant?

Another point to notice: This kind of kills the old saying, “Good Samaritan doesn’t it? It is important to remember that the Samaritans as well as the Jews rejected Jesus.

QUESTION: Can someone give us a background as to why Jewish people and Samaritan people did not get along?

 

      

     

  • Samaritans were half-Jewish, half-Gentile people. They were NOT allowed to worship in Jerusalem.
  •  

     

  • Samaritans and Jews were consistently at odds about religion.
  •  

     

  • Their temple was on Mount Gerizum, but the Jews rejected it, believing that the only true temple was in Jerusalem.
  •  

     

  • For this reason they would often not allow Jews to stay in their towns if they were going to Jerusalem for religious festivals.

 

 

John Grew into a Powerful Force for God 

God has promised that he will help the Christian Youth to grow and mature in Christ. Can someone give me a scripture that might pertain to this promise? 

Philippians 1:6 (NIV) He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.

Psalms 138:8 (NIV) The LORD will fulfill [his purpose] for me; your love, O LORD, endures forever– do not abandon the works of your hands.

1 Thess 5:24 (NIV) The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

1 Peter 5:10 (NIV) And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

 

More John Trivia

  • John and Peter were the two that were selected to prepare the Last Supper.
  •  

     

  • John was the one to whom Jesus entrusted His mother Mary, at the cross.
  •  

     

  • When the first report of the resurrection reached the disciples, John was the first to race to the empty tomb.
  •  

     

  • John was looked up to as one of the leaders among Jesus’ followers and was arrested after healing in Jesus’ name and preaching boldly before the authorities.
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  • The Gospel According to John plus his three letters (1 John, 2 John, 3 John) and the Revelation make him one of the literary greats of history.

*Note:  Original text taken from “The Dirty Dozen, A character study on the Twelve Disciples.”   InQuest Ministries.  Other comments added by author.

 

 

  

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Barnabas: Son of Encouragement

Filed under: Bible Studies,Old & New Testament — Adam Osborne @ 10:49 am

Barnabas “Son of Encouragement”

To be taught on Sunday, 30 July 2006

Who can tell me about Barnabas?  

  • Friend and companion of Paul.
  • Barnabas, was originally named Joseph, he was given his nickname by the disciples.
  • He was a committed Christian who sold the land he owned and gave the money to the Church. 
  • The Christian leaders respected him.
  • Instrumental in bringing the newly converted Saul from Tarsus to Antioch.
  • Influential in having Saul received by the apostles in Jerusalem.
  • Barnabas and Saul (Paul) were commissioned by the church at Antioch to conduct a missionary tour.

 

  • Barnabas was a “developer”.
    • Developers look for “potential”
    • Developers don’t give up.
  • Barnabas was a mentor.
  • What does “Barnabas” actually mean?
    • Son of Encouragement…he lived up to that name.

Acts 4:36-37 (NIV) Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.

  • What can you say about this scripture?  It not only introduces us to Barnabas, but his introduction also gives us an example on how God’s people give to the kingdom of God.   He challenges us with his servanthood and charity for the body of Christ.

 

Acts 11:21-24 (NIV) The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.A little history. The first preachers of the gospel at Antioch, were dispersed from Jerusalem by persecution.  What was meant to hurt the church, was made to work for its good. The wrath of man is made to praise God.  Barnabas was full of faith; full of the grace of faith, and full of the fruits of the faith that works by love.

  • How many of you know someone who obviously the Lord just “uses?”
  • What kinds of personality do they have?  What’s different about them?  Is it always “obvious” to everyone why God is using them, or is it sometimes hidden?
    • How many of you know the Porter family that goes to our church here.  Both Scott & Marissa are these quiet folks, unassuming, but they just keep bringing visitors to this church and those folks keep getting saved.

 Developers look for potential

Acts 9:26-30 (NIV) When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple.
27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him.
30 When the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.QUESTION:  What do you think Barnabas saw in Paul that the others did not? (Barnabas had seen Saul preach…so he saw the Holy Spirit in Barnabas). What a blessing Barnabas was to Paul.  Barnabas was not only helping a future LEADER in God’s church, he was helping a NEW CHRISTIAN. NOTICE:  Barnabas “took him”.  Took is a verb here, an action word.  Men and women of God need to get up off the couch and take action for God’s church.

QUESTION:  Of all the older Christians in this class, how many of you had a Christian man or woman just put their arms around you and help you along in your Christian growth?

This is an example that we all need to remember.  All new Christians need some “older” more mature Christian to help build them up in the faith.

Developers never give up

Acts 15:36-41 (NIV) (When planning for Paul’s and Barnabas’ second missionary journey) Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.”
37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
¼br /> QUESTION:  Who was John Mark? (Barnabas’ cousin).
John Mark had let the disciples down once, but Barnabas gave him a second chance and went with him.  Barnabas recognized John Mark’s potential.Things to see in this scripture. 

  • Paul wanted to go back and check on the brothers in the cities where they had preached. 
  • New Christians need to be checked on.  Left to their own, bad things can possibly happen.  We need to “lead” and “train” our Christian brothers.
  • Notice that Barnabas, the son of encouragement didn’t back down.  Paul wanted to do one thing, Barnabas the other. 

This tells us a couple of things (a) Barnabas knew the John Mark deserved another chance…. and… (b)  Barnabas / Paul were both human.  They argued and couldn’t work things out, so they separated.  However, here’s the important point.  Saints can disagree without being disagreeable.  This could have been disastrous in God’s church.  But fortunately because they let God control their lives, things were totally worked out in the end.  This is a GREAT example for us to follow in God’s church.

QUESTION:  What was the consequence of Barnabas taking John Mark.  How did things work out? 

(Paul writing Timothy) 2 Tim 4:11 (NIV) Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.
¼br /> John Mark went on to help Paul and to write the Gospel of Mark.  By the way, Barnabas and Paul rejoined forces again later.  They remained friends. 

Barnabas Trivia

  • He was a Jew, from the tribe of Levi.  Can anyone tell me what was special about the tribe of Levi?  (Tribe of priests).
  • He was from the island of Cyprus.
  • Even though the scripture said that no one was in need, Barnabas sold some land and gave the money to the disciples.  Can anyone remember another New Testament story about two people who sold land and things didn’t go to well for them?  (Ananias and Sapphira)

Acts 5:1-10 (NIV) Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.
3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.
6 Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. 7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?” “Yes,” she said, “that is the price.” 9 Peter said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.” 10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 

Godly developers want to make others more like Christ.

Heb 10:24-25 (NIV) And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
 

The biblical pattern for mentorship

1 Corinthians 11:1  (NIV) Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

Matt 5:16 (NIV) In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
 

 QUESTIONS:  

  • How many of us can say that we set the example for others, and that we are following the example of Christ?
  • Can someone give me an example of an instance when someone you know claimed to be a Christian, but then set a horrible example at work (or some other place) for others to follow.

One more thing to consider as a mentor

James 3:1 (NIV) Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

Other mentors & leaders who used encouragement like Barnabas

2 Chron 35:1-2 (NIV) Josiah celebrated the Passover to the LORD in Jerusalem, and the Passover lamb was slaughtered on the fourteenth day of the first month. 2 He appointed the priests to their duties and encouraged them in the service of the Lord’s temple. Matt 9:2 (NIV) Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”
 

 Matt 14:27 (NIV) But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”Acts 27:22 (NIV) (Paul speaking) But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.
(Paul speaking) But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.

July 2, 2006

Bartholomew the Disciple

Filed under: Bible Studies — Adam Osborne @ 12:46 pm

Bartholomew Nathanael – Wrestling Through Prejudice

CENTRAL BIBLE TRUTH: Prejudice has no place in a disciple’s life.

“Who was Bartholomew Nathanael”.

  • Bartholomew is a Hebrew surname meaning “son of Tolmai”.
  • Nathanael means “God has Given”.
  • So he is Nathanael, son of Tolmai, or Nathanael Bar-Tolmai.
  • What is prejudice
  • ANSWER: An opinion, judgment, or evaluation, favorable or more often unfavorable, conceived without proof or competent evidence, but based on what seems valid to one’s own mind. A bias against a race, creed, group, or the like.
  • What do you think of when you hear the word prejudice?
    • Possible answers: 1960’s; Martin Luther King’s speeches; civil rights marches; sitting in the back of the bus; different classrooms for white and black; etc.
  • Give me some examples of modern day prejudice.
  • What national problem are we dealing with right now on the news that has prejudicial overtones?
    • Answer: Illegal Immigrants from Mexico.
  • Question, what is STEREOTYPE?
    • A set image or conception held by or applied to members of a certain group.
  • Question, what’s the difference between prejudice and stereotype?
  • Prejudice is more unfavorable. Stereotype doesn’t appear to be so judgmental against a person/culture. Stereotypes usually look only at the surface.

STATISTICS WHICH SOMETIMES REMINDS US OF PREJUDICE:

  • In the US in 2000, there were roughly 195 million whites, 33 million blacks; 35 million Hispanics, 10 million Asian and Pacific Islanders, 2 million American Indians, 1 million Arabs, and 4.6 million who identified with two or more races.
  • 19.5 million people in the US ages 5 and older do not speak English very well.
  • The most common countries of origin for immigrants were: Mexico, the Philippines, Vietnam, the Dominican Republic, and Korea.
  • If current trends continue, almost half of the US population will be non-white by 2050.
  • Over the next 25 years, minority concentrations are projected to increase in all parts of the country, especially in the South, Southwest and West. By 2025 minority groups are expected to account for over 50% of the population in Hawaii, California, New Mexico, Texas and the District of Columbia.

FOCAL PASSAGE: John 1:43-51

John 1:43-51 (NIV) The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote–Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. 47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.” 48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”
49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” 50 Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that.” 51 He then added, “I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

QUESTIONS:

  • Did Jesus know what Nathaniel had said that about him? (Answer: Yes).
  • Knowing that Jesus knew what Nathaniel had already said about him, what do we learn about Christ through this scripture?
    • Answer: He is merciful, he could have been angry with Nathaniel; he knows all things, and even our individual personalities. Also, when Jesus complimented Nathanael, that tells us that Jesus knew that he was an honest and trustworthy person. Also, Jesus knows the potential of man.

LEARNING TOPICS

1. Prejudice can only see the surface

vv 45 – 46 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote–Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip

Question:

  • What was Nathanael saying about Nazareth
    • We can not be certain “for sure” why Nathanael was saying this against Nazareth. It has been suggested that it may have carried a negative reputation because of its close location to a Roman city and the fact that it was on a major trade route. One researcher suggests that people in the town used to throw their garbage in the streets, which may have been what Nathanael was referring to.
  • BY THE WAY: Nathanael was from Cana. Not much better than Nazareth. No one went there, it was off the beaten track, while Nazareth was at least at the crossroads. To travel from the Mediterranean to Galilee, people at least traveled through Nazareth.
  • Nathaniel might have said, “As I read the Old Testament, Micah the prophet says Messiah comes out of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), not Nazareth.
  • Nathaniel might have said, “But Philip, Messiah is identified with Jerusalem, because he is going to reign in Jerusalem.”
  • But instead, the depth of his prejudice comes through when he chose: Can anything good come out of Nazareth.”
  • That was not a rational or biblical objection; it was based on sheer emotion and bigotry.
  • Nathanael’s comment about Nazareth reveals a civic rivalry and prejudice.
  • Prejudice is UGLY. Generalizations based on feelings of superiority, not on fact, can be spiritually debilitating. As a matter of fact, much of the nation of Israel rejected their Messiah because of prejudice. (John 7:52) (Luke 4:22-24, 28-29).

2. Prejudice can blind us from the truth

vv 46 – 47 46
“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.
47
When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.”

  • Nathanael, a mere man like the rest of us, had that sinful tendency. His prejudice caused him at first to be skeptical when Philip told him the Messiah was a Nazarene.
    • The most important aspect of Nathanael’s character is expressed from the lips of Jesus. Jesus knew Nathanael already. So His first words upon seeing Nathanael were a powerful commendation of Nathanael’s character.
    • Jesus’ comment speaks volumes about Nathanael’s character. He was pure-hearted from the beginning. Certainly he was human, he had sinful faults. His mind was tainted by a degree of prejudice.? But his heart was not poisoned by deceit.
    • Jesus knew that Nathanael loved God and that he could teach him the truth.

    Question:

    • What would have happened if Nathanael hadn’t taken Phillip’s advice to go and see for himself
      • Possible answers: He would have not met the Christ; he would have continued with his prejudicial, stereotypical opinions.

    Something to think about: What kind of behavior was Philip demonstrating?

    • Possible answers: faith; trust; non-prejudicial, excitement.


3. Prejudice is confronted when truth is exposed
v 48
“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered,
“I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

A LITTLE HISTORY TRIVIA. A fig tree was a symbol of peace. Jews would sometimes sit under a fig tree to pray.

QUESTION: What do you think it was that Jesus saw in Nathanael that others did not?

  • Possible answers: Jesus knew Nathanael’s heart. He knew that Nathanael was a good man and a future disciple. He knew that Nathanael was “teachable” and would shortly be teaching others.

4. Prejudice crumbles when truth is realized

vv 49-51 49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” 50 Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that.” 51 He then added, “I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

  • Nathanael’s first thought about Jesus was that he could not be everything that Philip thought he was because he came from Nazareth. But he soon learned different.
  • Now, since Jesus told Nathanael this information, Nathanael no longer cared where Jesus was from.
  • Why did Nathanael respond the way he did after Jesus talked to him?
  • QUESTION: Is it always that simple?? Do we learn such important lessons the first time?? Why was Nathanael able to learn not to be prejudice with only one lesson?
  • How do we “know” that Nathanael learned his lesson and no longer was prejudicial toward others?
  • Answer:? He ministered to Jews; Samaritans (John 4); Romans (Luke 7), Greeks (John 12) and even Pharisees who were willing to listen (John 3).

QUESTION: Can you remember any other time when Jesus had to deal with prejudices??

  • Possible answers:? (a) Hanging out with tax collectors and sinners; (b) the Jewish behavior and thoughts about gentiles; etc.

QUESTION:? Christ disproved Nathanael’s prejudice.? How is it mostly that we disprove a preconceived prejudice???

  • Possible answers: (a) after getting to know or work with someone of a different culture.

KEY POINT TO REMEMBER: Christ went on to use Nathanael in big, powerful ways, even though he initially displayed prejudicial behaviors. Christ can do that for us too.

1 Samuel 16:7b The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

1 Kings 8:39-40 (NIV) then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive and act; deal with each man according to all he does, since you know his heart (for you alone know the hearts of all men), 40 so that they will fear you all the time they live in the land you gave our fathers.
br /> Jer 17:10 (NIV)
“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.”
br />

MORE NATHANAEL and/or PREJUDICE TRIVIA

  • He was a native of Cana in Galilee, a neighboring village to Nazareth. This is where Jesus did his first miracle, turning water in to wine.
  • Close companion of Philip.? In each of the synoptic Gospels’ list of the 12 disciples, the names Philip and Bartholomew are linked.? In a lot of church history documents their names are linked as well.?
  • Philip introduced Nathanael to Jesus (John 1:43).
  • After Pentecost, Bartholomew Nathanael was not mentioned again in the Bible.? Tradition says that he went east, possibly as far as India.
  • There he translated the Gospel of Matthew and taught.? Supposedly, a Christian named Pantaenus went to India a hundred years later and some of the people still had a Gospel of Matthew that Nathanael had given them.?
  • One story we have of his death was that he was placed in a sack and thrown into the sea; another is that he was flayed alive and crucified.
  • Verse 45: Philip found Nathanael and explained that Jesus was the one that the prophets had foretold.? We have no way of knowing if the two had ever even met before; he may have even been a stranger.? Philip mentioned Jesus’ name and where He was from, which was a common way of introducing someone in those days.? What Philip said triggered a prejudice that Nathanael had.
  • Verse 46-47.? Nathanael responded with prejudice, not knowing the person, but only the stereotype.? Philip in contrast urged him to come see Jesus for himself.
  • Verse 48-50. Christ’s statement to Nathanael shocked him.? We aren’t sure exactly what Nathanael was doing, but the fact that Christ knew amazed him.? Many suggest that he was looking for peace and praying, and the fact that Jesus knew his prayers proved His divinity.? Astounded by His knowledge, Nathanael proclaimed that Jesus was the Son of God.? Because of this proclamation, he was given the reward of one day seeing greater things.
  • He was one of the disciples to whom our Lord appeared at the Sea of Tiberias after his resurrection John 21:2…. NIV? Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together.
  • He was also a witness of the Ascension (Acts 1:4, 12, 13).??

13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.?

  • He was an “Israelite indeed” (John 1:47).

47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.”

  • Men’s ears are closed to the Gospel by many kinds of prejudice – racial, social, religious, intellectual and temperament.

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