“Setting the Stage” Responses

What was the image of God that Jesus, as a Jewish man of his time, would have carried? – God is One; a God who chooses favourites; a God who makes the rules, expects to be obeyed and who punishes those who disobey; a God who gathers his people and provides a placer for them; a God who can be bargained with.

Mime the God of your childhood a loving but stern parent, the old man in the sky,

Mime the God of the Hebrews – a fearsome judge, made me cower.

Be creative now and list some other words for God – creator, father, I am who I am, I will be who I will be, master of the universe, unfolding pattern of the universe, the nothing that wants to become something, 


The age in which Jesus lived was a time of high messianic expectation. What are the unanswered questions at such a  time? – who, when, and how. All that was known was that God would bring it about.

There are different ideas in the Old Testament about what the Messiah would do.  We can identify at least four different strands of expectation:

1)The Political Messiah:  Read Luke 1:67-75 and 1 Sam 2:10

Who/what is being hoped for? Someone to lead nation to victory over oppressors

In Lk 1:74 –Who were the ‘enemies’? What is hoped?  Drive out the Romans. 

What does liberation mean here? – Independence, freedom from political oppression

In Mt.2:3-6  Where does liberation come from? What is being offered? a new king, a la David, from Bethlehem

2) The Milk & Honey Messiah –  Bringer of new life/ giver of blessings

Read: Hos.13:4, Joel 3:18, Amos 13:15 – What is to be brought about? Who will bring it? – economic prosperity and security to be brought about by God (through his agent)

3) Apocalyptic Messiah – an end to world, as in Daniel and Revelation

4) Suffering Servant (Read Isaiah 53)  –What has Christianity done with this image of the Suffering Servant?parts of Christianity have assumed Isaiah was talking about Jesus.

What did Jesus do with it? – Jesus seemed to take it seriously as a role model.


Read Lk.10:25-28 – What is the lawyer saying?What do you hear him asking? – wants to know how to find eternal life.

What other words can you substitute for “eternal life”? Write them down. – nirvana, peace and fulfilment, wholeness and healing, victory over death, heaven, life in the Kingdom of God,

How does Jesus respond?To what does he point the lawyer? referred him to the Law

What was Jesus’ own opinion of his tradition? –  he valued it, it had the answers

What is the lawyer’s response? –love God with all and love neighbour as oneself.

What is the 1st part? What words would you substitute? love God emotionally, mentally, instinctually, physically without holding anything back.

What kind of words are these? – unequivocal, leaving no ‘wiggle room’

Substitute the words for God you wrote down earlier in this commandment? – give over one’s entire being to the unfolding pattern of the universe.

What happens for you? What does it feel like? – complete surrender

Of the ‘all’, what is the hardest to include in loving God? – varies from person to person and day to day

What is the 2nd part? What comes 1st? -Presumption of love for self

What were you taught to put first?– taught to put others first. 

How do you feel about it? it feels selfish..at first…but makes good sense, because it is hard to love others if you don’t love yourself.

How would you love your neighbour differently if you loved yourself? – i would be able to love more effectively, I would have resources with which to love.

Jesus replies?  – “Do this and you will live”

What does the word “do” do?  – Makes it a matter of will and choice, keeping the knowing and doing together.

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