Sunday, December 26, 2010

Bible Study John 12:1-19 Jesus the People's King

We are moving towards the event of the Cross. This was the Passion week. John used about 1/2 of the gospel to record this, showing its importance. It was six days before the Passover and Jesus came to Bethany at the house of Martha, Mary and Lazarus.
(A similar incidence was recorded in Mat 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9 at Bethany in the House of Simon, the unnamed lady anointed Jesus from His head. Some think that this lady was Mary and some think not).

Q1 What did Mary do and why did she do it? What was the meaning?
Martha served, Lazarus was sitting with Jesus as the table (John 12:2). Mary was preparing the perfume to anoint Jesus. The perfume cost about 1 year wage (John 12:5).  She anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair. We can only guess at Mary's intention for the act. It certainly honored Jesus (we use water to watch feet and towels to dry them) and show the love the respect that Mary had for her Lord Jesus. Jesus stated the act was for his burial.

Q2 What did learn about the character of Judah? Do you agree with his proposal of helping the poor? What can you learn from this?
John was very explicit in stating that Judas was a thief and his stealing from the money bag of offering. He also said that giving to the poor was just a plot for him to steal the money so that we need not have any doubts about his lack of intention of helping the poor.

Assuming the proposal did come from Judas, the motive is pure in helping the poor, do you agree that it was a waste of anointing Jesus with 1 year worth of wages perfume ?
Mary had the right to use the money she had saved for whatever she desired. The Holy Spirit had led Mary to it in honor for Jesus. Jesus, the Lord and Savor, deserved all our worship. This was a sign given to show forth the identity of Jesus. This money was set aside for this very purpose. Money for poor can come from other sources.

We need to discern the motivation behind the statements made by people. They are many who did evil in the name of good and even of God. Ten commandments have a specific one prohibiting us to use the Name of the Lord in vain but we had heard often from preachers who boldly preached that God told him to do this or that where in fact it could be just their own desire talking, like Judas. May we be always on our guard, listening to the Holy Spirit, to wisely discern the true intentions behind the seemingly good proposal.

Q3 Would you like to be Lazarus?
Do you wish to be Lazarus, the dead was raised by Jesus, and became the center of attraction? Will you be comfortable to be a testimony for Jesus and at the same time be the death target of the Pharisees? (John 12:10-11). The Bible recorded no spoken word from Lazarus.

Q4  Describe the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.
Read Mat 21:1-11, Mark 11:8-10 to have more information about this event.
Jesus rode the older donkey out of Jerusalem to Mount Olive. He then rode on the younger colt back into Jerusalem to meet the cheering crowd. This incidence it to fulfill the prophecy and to tell all that Jesus was indeed the Messiah they were waiting and looking for. See (Zech 9:9) ​​​​​​​​Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

The raising of Lazarus had contributed much to the popularity of Jesus (12:17-18).
So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 

The increased popularity of Jesus had also increased the anxiety of the Pharisees.

We can compare the common people vs the Pharisees. When there is conflict of interests, truth could be ignored, covered up and distorted. Personal interests tend to override truth. We see it in the Judas incidence above as well. This is the greed and evil of man that we need to be delivered from.

What a contrast.
Contrasting Behaviors of People - Mary's love vs Judas' greed. Common People's honoring Jesus vs Authorities' anxiety and doing away with Him.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bible Study John 11 Raising of Lazarus

Q1 Discuss the relationships among Jesus, Lazarus, Mary and Martha.

Martha was the elder sister of Mary and Lazarus was their younger brother. Martha was well known for her diligence in serving others and at times at the expense of communication (Luke 10:38-41). Martha love language was serving and she was more task oriented. Mary was more people oriented and personal. She spent time with people to build relationship. Mary anointing of Jesus was specifically mentioned here to show her love for Jesus (Will come back to this on John 12:3. It was likely that she was the woman mentioned in Mar 14:3, Mat 26:6-7 since it happened in Bethany but could be different due to different actions recorded).

They were close friends of Jesus at Bethany. This could be seen from Jesus' feeling and action in John 11:5 Jesus loved them, 33 greatly troubled, 35 Jesus wept. This is the shortest verse in the Bible.

Q2 Explain why Jesus waited 2 days longer when he heard Lazarus was ill? What else can you learn from this?

Jesus wanted to make doubly sure that everyone then knew Lazarus was truly dead so that there would not be any argument about the raising of the death. This raising of the death is a true testimony to Jesus' claim of "I am the Resurrection and the Life".  When Jesus arrived at Bethany, Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days.

We also learned that things taking a turn for the worse, from sickness to death, may not be a bad thing in the plan of God.(John 11:15 glad that I was not there so that you may believe). This raising bring great glory to Jesus and also hasten His death.

This incident also shown Jesus had word of knowledge John 11:14 Jesus plainly told them that Lazarus was death even though the report they received was for sickness only.

When there is a call from God, danger was not an obstacle. John 11:8 the Jews were seeking to stone Him in Judea. Paul did the same, went to Jerusalem. despite the warning Act 11:21.

Q3 Compare Martha and Mary sayings to Jesus. What could we infer from that?

Both of them said the same thing “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Their concept of Jesus was just healer and not a life giver!

Jesus engaged Martha with a longer conversation. Hoping to give her greater faith that He was truly the Resurrection and Life and would raise Lazarus from the death. Martha gave the right answers with her mouth "Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” John 11:27, but not with her heart! She later prevented Jesus from taking away the stone that covered the Lazarus tomb (John 11:39).

Mary shown more respect of Jesus, she fell at his feet (John 11:34) and she just keep quiet and trust Jesus to do the right thing. She may or may not had fully understood what Jesus meant, but she just follow Him. When we are unsure, it is better to keep our mouth shut and don't speak out words of doubts.

(For a different interpretation of Martha's response see God-Inspired Delays - Martha shamed Him by saying..)

Q4 Describe how Lazarus of raised.

This incidence was a real event. The facts were:
  1. Lazarus was sick and died and buried in the tomb for 4 days.
  2. They people came to comfort Martha and Mary.
  3. They followed them to the tomb.
  4. The stone was rolled off.
  5. Jesus prayed loudly for all to hear and then cried out loudly to command Lazarus to come out.
  6. Lazarus came out, jumping with feet and hands bound. The embalm was still on him. They had to untie him.
  7. Many who witnessed this believed in Jesus John 11:45.
  8. There was no discussion about whether this incidence was true or false.  It was a real event that triggered a Council meeting to be called and the decision to killed Jesus made. (John 11:47-53)
Q5 Will Jesus shown up at the Passover in Jerusalem?
There was a discussion about whether Jesus will show up. John 11:56. We know Jesus did.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bible Study 3John 3 Types of Believers in a Church

3John is very similar to 2John. 2John was sent to a lady leader telling her how to run a successful home group. 3John as sent to a gentleman leader. John's greatest joy, should be the joy of all leaders, was to see that the people were walking in the truth - the correct doctrine and correct behavior - loving one another and loving fellow workers and strangers. (the missionaries that pass our ways). 
How can we tell the character of a person?
Observe what he did rather than his talk. But we must also discern the true reports and the malicious lies (Diotrephes' spread malicious lies about John v10).

In this short letter of 14 verses, John used 'observed behavior' five times.
  1. 3Jn 1:3 the brethen came and testified of Gaius's walk in the truth.
  2. 3Jn 1:6 the strangers (missionaries) borne witness of Gaius's charity.
  3. 3Jn 1:10 John remembered Diotrephes' deeds - reject him, said malicious words, stop others and cast them out.
  4. 3Jn 1:12 Demetrics had good report of all men.
  5. 3Jn 1:12 We also bear record.
For the evidences, we can see that there are
3 types of Believers in a Church.
  1. Type 1 Gaius -  The True Loving Leaders
    1. Walking in the truth.  (3Jn 1:3)
    2. Always give of his Best to love and support fellow workers and missionaries. (3Jn 1:5-8)
    3. Imitate good and not evil (3Jn 1:11)
    4. Gaius is our model leader. John himself was of course a model leader for us. He has much love and concern for the growth and well being of his members. He prayed for them (3John 1:2 - the famous verse that follows from Mat 6:33 wealth and success comes from righteousness) and wanting to meet them face to face. He was a very personal leader.
  2. Type 2 Diotrephes -  The Self Glorifying Leader 
    1. Likes to put himself first, and does not acknowledge higher authority even John's authority.  (3Jn 1:9)
    2. Talking wicked nonsense against others like John & brothers
    3. Refuses to welcome the brothers from John and
    4. Stops those who want to and  puts them out of the church.  (3Jn 1:10)
    5. Leaders like Diotrephes creates divisions in church - side with those for and useful for me and reject those not-for or no use to me. They are insecure and use people for their benefits.
  3. Type 3 Demetrius -  The faithful Followers - The Future Leaders
    1. a good testimony from everyone
    2. walk in the truth.
    3. John, the Elder, also add his testimony (3Jn 1:12)
    4. Faithful believers like Demetrius are to be groomed for future leaderships.
  1. What are the three types of believers in a church? 
  2. What are the qualities of a good leader? (learn from John and Gaius & Demetrius)
  3. What kind of leader or believer am I? What are the next steps for me?

    Friday, December 3, 2010

    Bible Study 2John Discussion

    We discussed further on Bible Study 2John Exhortation for Leaders.

    Good Leaders do the following:
    1. Practice love one for another: TRUTH=WALK-IN-LOVE=COMMANDMENT
    2. Continue in the Good Work, despite the challenging situations and people at times, to fully realize the potential and rewards that God has planned for us.
    3. Know and Discern the False Doctrines - Doctrines that does not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh (more on this later).
    4. Protect the Fellowship-Group (Cell Group, Home Group, Life Group) against deceivers who bring false doctrines to misled, divide and destroy the group. Keep them out of the group. There are also people who come to the group to cheat the members. Some come to sell their products. Don't let them make your group into a market place too.
    5. Develop personal relationship through face to face meetings. Meet often and with members of other groups. (2 John 1:13)
    What is meaning of Confessing Jesus has/coming In the Flesh?
    The following key points are to be accepted:
    1. Jesus is the WORD of Life in flesh. He was the Son of God, with the Father 1John 1:1, John1:14
    2. Virgin Birth. Born of the Will of God and not of man. John 1:10-13
    3. His death on the Cross. (John 19:30) When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
    4. His resurrection. John 19:17-22. 1 Cor 15:12-20.
    5. His coming again in the flesh. John 14:3, Acts 1:11.
    Differentiate between Seekers and Deceivers
    We are to preach and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone. But we cannot be associated with the Deceivers that preach a different Gospel. ((Gal 1:8) But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.) We must keep them out of fellowship group. Otherwise,we are just bringing confusion and evil into our group. As leaders of the group, we must welcome new members or seekers, but at the same time, we must guard against the wolves that come in to destroy our members.