BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
BIBLE STUDY LESSON
For the week beginning Sunday February 9, 2014
ASKING QUESTIONS ABOUT JESUS
(Answering difficult questions about JESUS)
After JESUS had taught about HIMSELF being “the bread of life” in the synagogue at Capernaum where most of HIS disciples had deserted HIM, HE dwelled for another six months in HIS homeland of Galilee. HE went from town to town preaching and teaching the Word, all the while staying away from Judea, where the Jewish leaders were plotting to kill HIM.
The time for the “Feast of the Tabernacles” had arrived, and JESUS’ brothers, who didn’t believe that HE was the MESSIAH, scoffed at HIM about going into Jerusalem and attending the feast, instead of hiding HIMSELF in Galilee from the Jewish leaders. “YOU can’t become a public figure if YOU hide like this” they scoffed. If YOU can do such wonderful things, go to Jerusalem and prove it to the world”.
JESUS’ brothers, James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas (Jude), (Matthew 13:55) had no spiritual understanding of their HALF-BROTHER’s mission, or GOD’s plan for the world through HIM. For, they could only see the human logic of this most divine situation. They thought that JESUS should display HIMSELF in the most powerful, physical way that HE could, but GOD’s plan was to show HIM in the humility of the cross.
The, “Feast of the Tabernacles” was called, by the great Jewish historian, Josephus, the Jews holiest and greatest feast. It was called the “feast of ingathering”, and was a time of thanksgiving to GOD for their fall harvest. After JESUS’ brothers left for Jerusalem, HE soon followed, being careful not to be seen by anyone. The Jews, of Judaism’s religious hierarchy, were asking everyone at the festival if they had seen JESUS, and there was a lot of discussion concerning JESUS among the throngs of people who had gathered there. They had mixed opinions about the ONE WHO claimed to be the SON of GOD, and the MESSIAH. Some believed HIM, and some thought that HE was a demon, or a fraud, who, went about deceiving the people. However, because the Jewish leaders had the power to cut any Jewish person off from Israel’s religious and social life, no one dared say anything favorably about JESUS in public (Vs.10-13).
Suddenly, midway through the festival, to everyone’s surprise, JESUS boldly shows up in the temple, and begins to teach. The Jewish leaders, who had made themselves responsible for any advanced theological training, were amazed at JESUS’ deep knowledge of scriptures, and could not even imagine how it was possible for JESUS to have acquired such knowledge without their help and training.
JESUS, however, explains to them that HE was not teaching HIS OWN ideas the way they were, but rather, HE was teaching the ideology of the GOD WHO sent HIM. JESUS further explains, that, anyone wanting to do the will of GOD will recognize the truth in HIS teachings, and that, HIS teachings are truly from GOD. In fact, those who teach their own ideas are seeking only to win praise for themselves and are not interested in honoring GOD. JESUS goes on to tell them, in effect that, in truth, they were not only uninterested in honoring GOD, but they were plotting to kill HIM, WHOM GOD had sent to save the world (Vs. 14-19).
JESUS then shows them one of the flaws in their own religious reasoning by using the example of the religious custom of “circumcision”, which is performed on all Jewish males after they become eight days old. JESUS reminded them of the times when HE came under attack for working on the Sabbath, whenever HE would heal people on that sacred day. However, if the eighth day of a boy’s life fell on the Sabbath, they would indeed, circumcise him anyway, making themselves hypocrites (Vs.20-24).
Many of the people were pretty impressed with JESUS’ bold stand against the religious leaders, despite the fact that they were trying to kill HIM. They were beginning to wonder out loud that maybe the Pharisees knew themselves, that JESUS was indeed the MESSIAH HE claimed to be, and why else, would HE have the nerve to speak this boldly.
However, they were still confused because they had known JESUS and HIS whole family virtually all of HIS life, and they reasoned this fact among themselves (Vs.25-27). JESUS tells them that, even though they have known HIM all of HIS life in the physical earthly sense, they still didn’t know the ONE HE came to represent, which is HIS FATHER GOD in Heaven. At that point the Jewish leaders tried to arrest HIM, but the hand of GOD protected HIM and wouldn’t allow it, because HIS time of crucifixion had not yet come (Vs. 28-30).
Many began to make favorable comments out loud, about JESUS indeed being the promised MESSIAH. When the Pharisees heard these murmurings they again sent temple guards to arrest JESUS, and JESUS said to them that HE would be there just a little while longer. In other words, JESUS seemed to be telling them to come back later and I’ll let you arrest ME as part of MY FATHER’s plan, not the Pharisees plans. JESUS told them that HE would soon return to HIS FATHER, where they would not be able to find HIM, nor come to HIM. And the Jewish leaders were greatly puzzled by HIS saying (Vs. 31-36).
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website