Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives. The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version. At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture. To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.
Questions & Observations
O. (Matthew 4:12-17): Rob, from this reading, I can better understand what you kept saying in the OT that those directions from God were specifically for the Israelites. Here we see that one prophecy is true. I know you also said we could apply them to our lives, if it fits. But, here we see that the OT prophecies are fulfilled in the NT — just another avenue of validity to the Bible.
Q. (John 4:46-54): This was the second. The first was turning the water into wine at a wedding (John 2:1-12): I do notice that both of these accounts came from John. Is that a pattern?
A. Yes, John uses the miracles in his Gospel to point to the identity of Jesus as God in human form. Because of that, the miracles he includes are very purposeful. He will include 7 miracles, he calls them signs, (not counting the resurrection), which are accompanied by the so-called 7 “I AM” statements of Jesus about who He is, so watch for both of those in John’s Gospel.
Q. (Luke 4:16-30): This is a very revealing sentiment. It does seem like those who you grow up around are not privy to what one is capable of. They tend to be disbelieving and thus walk on their friend’s/family member’s ambition. Is this what Jesus is talking about? Any insight to the reason for oxymoronic tendency?
A. I think when you know someone’s history (as this whole town would have known Jesus’), you tend to, as you say, see what they are capable of — if it is radically different from what your previously thought about that person. The people of Nazareth knew Jesus as a laborer/carpenter, and they knew His earthly father. (Side note: Joseph is not mentioned again as a player in this story, so most scholars assume that he has died before Jesus begins His public ministry.) Because they knew all this about Him (Nazareth was not a big city), it surely was strange to hear Him proclaim Himself as the one that Isaiah spoke of 800 years before Jesus read them.
Q. (Mark 1:16-20): Here Jesus doesn’t mean to throw our jobs away, right? Just maybe if they are jobs that involve sin or maybe aren’t what one is being called to do? This scripture is saying to throw your troubles, treasures and old ways aside and follow him. Don’t hold on to what you are used to — the old ways — and ignore the Savior and righteous way that stands before you. And, more importantly, it is saying that nothing is more important for these men (how about us?) than to bring others to God. We don’t need fish, Jesus is our food. This can serve as a test of faith for all of us, right? I do notice that Jesus is not appealing to anyone (that we know of) to be his disciple who has wives and children at home.
And, we pick up two more disciples: James and John. That makes six (Andrew, Simon Peter, Philip, Nathanael)
A. If you’re asking if God would NEVER ask us to give up our jobs to serve Him, well, He would, and He does. But if you’re asking does He expect us to abandon our lives to follow Him, I would say that is not the standard. Jesus called these men for a particular mission. They would be responsible for learning from Him and changing the world after His resurrection. Fishing would seem a lot less important at that point.
Q. (1:21-28): I would tend to think that drawing this evil spirit out had the purpose of showing that Jesus rules over evil. I know there have been movies about evil spirits, demons and exorcisms, but I have not heard of any real ones in modern times. Maybe there are. But, I would think that the sole purpose of this demon being present would be to help Jesus establish his power and authority.
A. You’ve got the idea, but don’t forget Jesus’ love for the man himself, and the desire to see him freed from his bondage to this demon.
O. (Matthew 8:14-17): We are up to four-plus now: water to wine, heals government official’s son, cast out demons and now heals Simon’s mother-in-law and others that same night.