Opinion of John the Baptist (Bible Hub, pg.60)
Why does John ask the question in Mt. 11:2-3? – In the baptism narrative, John seemed pretty sure about Jesus’ role. Now, it seems he has lost that certainty. Perhaps this is due to the failure of events to unfold as he expected, especially now he is in prison. The Kingdom, as he imagined, has not come, Romans still rule Israel, people still suffer and world continues on its old path.
From where or from what does the longing behind John’s question come from in the human psyche?– the anxiety of non-being, urge to wholeness, yearning of the image of God in the human for reunion with that which it images.
Activity: Draw or paint that which is behind this yearning. (your personal response)
What in a word describes what you see in this drawing? (many of these drawings have a central focus, something buried, or radiating outward.)
Jung calls this the ‘Centre’. What might it be like to touch the centre? – enlightening, empowering, energising, revealing
What, in us, wants this centre to be Jesus? – the child looking for parental care, the insecure part looking for outer world assistance, the lazy part looking for an easy way
The passage from the Hebrew Scriptures quoted in Mt. vv.4-5 is from Isaiah 29:18-19; 35:5-6 and 61:1. What part of this is not in Isaiah? – “lepers cleansed” and “dead raised”
Where have you heard this before in our study? – Luke 4:18-19 in the “Now What?” section
What does this suggest about Jesus’ self-image? – sees himself in the line of the prophets
What kind of answer does Jesus give? – ‘you decide, based on what you see and hear’
What is he not saying? – He is not saying he is the ‘One’, the Messiah.
What is he saying? – The Kingdom of God is present, based on the evidence of that which can be seen
What is he saying in Mt. v.6 in your own words? – happy are those who can put aside their preconceptions and accept that which is put before them
List all the possible reasons for Jesus answering in this indirect way. –
- He is the Messiah, but doesn’t want to say;
- he is not the Messiah, but doesn’t want to say;
- he is the Messiah, but not as John understands it;
- he is not any of the messiahs of Jewish expectation and wants others to understand his purpose for themselves)
What do you think is Jesus’ answer for himself at this point? – ‘I am not the One they expect, but I’m not sure yet just who I am.’
Advance the page on the Bible Hub website. What is Jesus’ estimate of John in Mt.11:7-11 and parallel? – he considers John to be the greatest of prophets
What is the significance of the last part? – being the greatest of prophets or the greatest anything is not going to get one into the Kingdom
How does the Kingdom come according to John? – with fire, brought by the Messiah
According to Jesus? – present for anyone who has eyes to see and ears to hear
How does one enter the Kingdom according to John? – repent and believe
According to Jesus? – by doing the will of God
When does the Kingdom come according to John? – with the One who is to come, the agent of God, the Messiah.
According to Jesus? – whenever one chooses to enter it
What is the nature of God according to John? – Judge of the righteous
According to Jesus? – loving, nurturing, accepting, forgiving parent
Who will bring the Kingdom according to John? – the Messiah
According to Jesus? – No one, because it is already present.
Would John think he is in the Kingdom? – no
Do you think Jesus is correct? – yes
Opinion of a Sinner vs. Opinion of a Pharisee (Bible Hub, pg. 64)
In v.36, where is Jesus and what is he doing? – eating at the house of a Pharisee
Who comes v. 37? – a woman ‘of the city’
What sort of sinner might this woman be? – prostitute
What is going on inside of her as she comes to the door? – trepidation, but driven by gratitude, love?
What impresses you most about her? – her gratefulness, courage
What is the attitude of the pharisee toward the woman? – critical, resentful, judgmental, scornful
What is the attitude of Jesus toward the woman? – accepting
What is the point of the parable in vv. 40-43? – love offered is proportional to debt forgiven
What is Jesus not saying at the v. 47? – ‘I forgive your sin’
What is Jesus heard to be saying by the pharisees? – ‘I forgive your sin’
How does Jesus know the woman’s sins are forgiven? – because she is has demonstrated love
When did the woman realise she was forgiven? – at some point before going to the house, for this is what enabled her to overcome her fear.
What is Jesus role in this drama? – the ‘altar’ on which she places her gift
What does Jesus say in v. 50? – ‘your faith has saved you’ (This is the first use of the word ‘faith’ in the Jesus story)
What is Jesus’ definition of faith, based on this story? – the ability to risk in order to love
What is a prostitute, in the most general sense? – one who exchanges self-worth for gain, or in this case, survival
What part of you has prostituted itself? (your personal response)
Activity: Mime the parable.
Opinion of Jesus’ Friends Mk. 3:19b-21
What is the impression of Jesus here? – he is crazy, he’s lost it,
There are no parallel accounts of this passage in Mt. & Lk. How would you explain this? – It is possible (but not probable) this was added by alter editor of Mark;s gospel; however, it’s not the sort of thing that fits well into telling the story of a messiah, which suggests it is more likely Mt. & Lk chose to omit it. Indeed, it is one of the very few verses in Mark they did not copy.
Basis of Real Relationship with Jesus (Bible Hub, pg. 68)
In Mk. 3:33-34 and parallel, what is Jesus’ reaction to being told his family is outside? – ‘Who are my mother and brothers?”
Who is his ‘family’, according to Mk, v. 35 and parallels? – those who do the will of God
What does this say about the real basis of a relationship with Jesus? – those who do the will of God become the sons and daughters of God and, thus, ‘siblings’ of Jesus; i.e. the basis for relationship with Jesus is determined by our actions.
What would have been the impact on his hearers? – given the strong family orientation of the Jews, this probably would have shocked onlookers at first, but after thinking about it, they may have been affirmed by the chance to be brothers and sisters of Jesus.
What, for 2000 years, has the church said was the basis of a relationship with Jesus? – belief in him as Lord and Saviour.
Read Luke 14:26. Why such strong words? – to Jesus, nothing is as important as the Kingdom of God, and so anything that gets in the way of a person’s participation in the Kingdom must take second place. As in other instances, he make use of hyperbole to convey the importance of this message.
What are the pulls from family that keep you from doing the will of God? – families take time and energy; sometimes taking away from the time and energy needed to ‘do the will’. You will have specific distractions in your personal life, and it is helpful to you to have listed them.
What are the guidelines for knowing the will of God? – ‘bearing one’s cross,’ becoming ‘perfect’, i.e. whole/complete, becoming fully conscious