Day 293 (Oct. 20): Jesus resurrects Lazarus, Caiaphas plots to kill Jesus, 10 healed but only one is grateful, Kingdom of God is coming, persistent prayers get answered

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.

John 11:38-57

Luke 17:11-18:8

Questions & Observations

O. (John 11: 46-48): It would have been much easier if the Pharisees had taken what they had seen for good instead of a threat.  I think they still saw Jesus as a Jew (meaning a “lesser” person) and he was a mere carpenter from Nazareth.  So, this undeserving weakling (to them) was a threat that they needed to squash.  I know I have this same kind of mentality toward some people and some toward me.  I have a friend who is going through all this nutritional cleansing and at first I thought it was just a hoax — but it held my interest because I am always interested in nutrition and have open ears for some of my own medical issues — and then she recently shared how she had woken up the last three days at 6 a.m. with her alarm and she felt bright and ready for the day.  My brain tells me to not believe it, but my heart can’t deny that she does look brighter and I would like to feel awake in the morning.  So, I can see how you can’t see the forest for the trees or whatever that saying is.  Also, I think I’ve said this before that when I told several of my family — even my mom — that I was doing this blog, they seemed to me to kind of shrug at it, like “we’ll see.”  I think dreams are often squashed — not intentionally — by those closest to us.  I don’t know why humans have made affirmation so important, but we need to rise above it, pay attention to our talents and what Jesus has commissioned us to do.  I know this is a little off to what this Scripture is about, but I think it’s an important point that we judge people because we think we know them.  Instead, we should lift them up whole-heartedly!

Q. (John 11:55-57): I can see the drama building.  Jesus is the talk of the crowd and they are wondering — probably wanting — Him to show up, either to see Him for themselves or to see the drama build between Him and the church leaders.

A. It’s not just that.  One of the expectations of the Messiah is that He would arrive in Jerusalem (as described in Zechariah 9) and from there, change everything.  Two things: Jesus will fulfill this prophecy on Palm Sunday, but the crowd will greatly misunderstand what Jesus has come to do.  They expected Him to lead a bloody, violent overthrow of the Roman oppressor, and establish God’s Kingdom that way.  Obviously, we know that Jesus had something else in mind.  But nonetheless, it is no surprise that the people were on tip-toe, so to speak, waiting for Him: they had great expectation that Jesus, if He was the true Messiah, would usher in a new age.  Hold this imagery in your mind for when we read the reactions to Jesus’ entry into the city on Palm Sunday.

O. (Luke 17:19b): I like the footnote version better, “Your faith has saved you.”

Q. (17:31-36): Is this scripture talking about the resurrection or Jesus coming again to judge? Leaving all your possessions — and your loved ones — behind would be very hard.  We have talked about this before.  Since my husband and I are both believers, we’d both be walking toward Jesus.  I think there would be some gathering of children — although, I know Jesus would take care of them.  I think this picture is more of what the end result will look like.  Families will be divided, coworkers staying behind, checkerboard neighborhoods with some gone and some staying behind, etc.

A. This passage and others like it are images of what we call the Rapture: people just disappearing in the midst of their daily lives.  To be honest, I am unsure how to interpret this passage in light of other stories of Christ’s return and the Final Judgment that will be ushered in by Jesus’ return.  It is a mystery of the faith, but it is one we will continue to explore.

Q. (18:1-8): Just believe that God will take care of us.  But, keep believing in Him by praying and praying persistently, which keeps your faith focused on him.

A. I think it serves as a reminder that there is great value in being a person who prays daily with faith in the idea that God is listening and desires to hear from us.  What an amazing thought: God DESIRES our input!

Day 288 (Oct. 15): Unbelieving people warned, Jesus knows Abraham, Jesus charges his disciples, top Commandment, good Samaritan parable, Jesus supports Mary’s choice, prayer model, be persistent

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.

John 8:21-59

Luke 10-11:13

Questions & Observations

Q. (John 8:34): Rob, can you explain further what it means to be a “slave to sin.”

A.  Sure.  I think what He’s saying is fairly simple: when we choose to sin (which is sadly often), we tend to think that we control the outcome of our decision making, and perhaps at first this is true.  But over time the sins that we believe we control inevitably control us.  Think of alcoholism or other addiction.  At first, we might have the ability to say, truthfully, that we can stop.  But after a while, when it really gets a hold of us, those words will become hollow: we cannot break the addiction on our own.  That is what Jesus is talking about: sin is spiritual addiction, and it requires a savior — our own efforts will not do.

O. (8:38): Following earthly fathers is something that the world has struggled with forever — from the Bible to now.  And, that is why it’s so hard to break free from our evil ways is because it’s so engrained in us from our ancestors.

Q. (8:31-59): This is a very heated argument between Jesus and some Israelites listening to Him.  And then he gives them v. 58 where he says “I AM.”  Do you think there is any way he could have convinced them He was the Messiah?  I would say Jesus’s crucifixion is coming quickly.

A. They (the religious establishment) don’t think He’s the Messiah: they think He is either powerfully deluded or possessed by a demon.  Jesus will wander away again at this point in the story, but it will be quite clear His mission when He next returns to Jerusalem.

Q. (Luke 10:30-37): This passage is the answer to the question that a religious law expert asked Jesus.  He is saying that everyone is your neighbor or treat everyone as if they were your next-door neighbor.  Basically, go out and love and care for everyone you come across?

A. It is more specific than everyone: the Samaritan and the Jew in the story would have been enemies, and would NEVER have spoken to each other, much less helped each other out.  Jesus is saying that you should be willing to even show great love and compassion to your enemies.

Q. (Matthew 10:38-42): I am applying this to today in a non-Jesus way just to illustrate the point.  I used to stay up way late getting everything cleaned before having guests the next day.  Then, when they arrived at our house, I was so tired that I didn’t have the energy to talk much … I was worn out.  I have shortened my stress time and cleaning time since then.  And, I’m stressing much less about the whole event.  So, it’s better have a not-so-perfect, unorganized house and enjoy your company, especially when having Jesus for a guest!

A. That, I would say, is what Mary realized, and what Martha needed to learn.

O. (Luke 11:9-10): I’m glad to read this because I have always felt ungrateful to God when I have keep praying for the same thing over and over (and, no, it’s not a fancy shmancy sports car.)  But, here Jesus gives us the green light to do be persistent with the wishes we ask of God through prayer.

Thanks!  Good read!