Week 2 Responses

Luke 4:1-13 and parallels

What is a wilderness? (uncivilised, unpopulated, where one is alone)

With what kind of issues does Jesus grapple? (major choices for life, popular images of the Messiah)

What is Jesus’ response?  (No, there is more to life than these)

What is the relationship of the Spirit to Satan? (Satan ia a tool of Spirit, similar to the relationship between God & the Serpent in the Garden of Eden)

What is the relationship of this incident to last week’s, the Tree/Fruit? (The knowledge gained from eating the ‘forbidden’ fruit is put to use here, allowing Jesus to discern the best path)

What is this encounter pushing for?  What was the serpent pushing for? (enlightenment, judgment, discernment, consciousness of possibilities, choice)

Matthew 12:22-45 and parallels

Who were the Scribes? (preservers of law and tradition)

What are they saying about Beelzebub in relation to Jesus?  (source of Jesus’ apparent power to cast out demons is, itself demonic)

How does Jesus respond (v.25-29)? (with a logical argument pointing out the absurdity of the scribes’ suggestion)

What is Jesus’ source? (the Spirit of God)

What is it the Scribes are doing as implied by Jesus in v. 31? (blaspheming the Holy Spirit)

What is the consequence?  (puts the scribes outside the possibility of forgiveness)

What are the Scribes doing that cannot be forgiven? (Failing to discern good from evil, did not recognise that wholeness is required, i.e. that which they call ‘evil’ must be taken with what they call ‘good’.)

What is it to be without forgiveness? (lose ability to discriminate; therefore, unable to choose life)

Luke 12:1-12

What is the situation described?  (judgment by outer authorities)

What is the possibility given? (loss of one’s soul, loss of eternal life)

Sistine Chapel

How do these pictures affect you? (harsh, generate fear)

What has happened to enable us to deal with it? (Adam and Eve ‘ate the fruit’, resulting in discernment)

Rodin’s “Gates of Hell”

How does this affect you? (easier to look at, easier to identify with human reality

What do you see? (people suffering, struggling)

What are the differences between this and the pictures of judgment you saw before?  (no judgmental God, no Christ, no evil beings) 

What is the role of Adam and Eve?  (They, along with the ‘Thinker’ at the top, suggest there is choice involved, both in the decisions that land people at the Gates and in escaping from them.)

What does the Prodigal add? (an example of one whose decisions landed him at the Gates, but who repents and chooses a different path, and is welcomed home by the Father.)

What does Lk. 12:57 add? (judgment is our choice)

Matthew 11:2-30

What is the question brought to Jesus by John’s disciples (v.3)? (Are you the One?)

What does this question come out of? (confusion, yearning, disappointment, lack of discernment, John’s situation in prison, i.e. it is not working out as he expected)

What are the people longing for? (someone to fix their lives)

What are the images that describe the messianic expectation? (political power, economic abundance, miraculous acts of God)

How does Jesus respond? (Tell John what you have seen, go your way)

Where do the Old Testament words come from? (Isaiah, but note this is not a messianic prophecy; it is all about the return from exile, not distant future)

What do you make of Jesus response?  Put it your own words (Use your own eyes and ears and decide)

Restate the last part of v. 6 so that it makes sense to you. (Don’t get caught up in me, i.e. don’t allow me to be a stumbling block; don’t let your search for One who is to come distract you from finding your own way. I am the finger pointing to the moon, not the moon.)  See also Mt. 13:13

With reference to ‘Portals of Judgment’, what might be said about finding occasions of stumbling in Jesus?  (they can lead us to the ‘Gates of Hell’, it can become a judgment against us, it leads us away from the path to life)

Mark 8:27-30

What is Jesus’ question to the disciples? (Who do men say that I am?)

What is the response? (John, Elijah, other prophet)

What are they not saying? (he is Messiah)

And then what does Jesus ask? (Who do you say I am?)

Why might Jesus be asking them? (he isn’t sure himself; he wants them to think for themselves; he wants to judge the effectiveness of his teaching; he is worried about this issue being a stumbling block to them or for himself)

What would Jesus answer for himself? (he might go back to the words he heard at his baptism, i.e. a son of God; he might deflect the issue as he does often in the Gospels, he might just say, “I don’t know” or “It’s the wrong question”; he might say he is the Messiah, but not the kind that is popularly imagined.)

What is Peter’s answer?  (you are the Christ/Messiah)

What might he mean by that? (God’s agent come to save the people from the Romans or restore Israel’s prosperity)

What are his hopes? (he wants someone to make a difference, someone to fix the ills of the country, someone to give him hope for a better future)

Where in the psyche does this come from? (the drive to be more than we are, to have more from life)

Put your hands on your body where the longing comes from.

What does it feel like?

What does it do to have your hands there?

What does Jesus say in v.30? (don’t tell anyone)

Why? (he doesn’t want it widely known or it isn’t true)

Why does he not deny it? (he is not sure, it is not a ‘yes or no’ issue)

Why does he not affirm it? (same as above)

What is happening here with regard to Jesus’ relationship with the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? (he is struggling to discern the truth)

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