Day 306 (Nov. 2): Council questions Jesus, Peter denies Jesus three times, Jesus goes before Pilate, Judas hangs himself

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.

Mark 14:53-65

Matthew 26:57-68

Mark 14:66-72

Matthew 26:69-75

Luke 22:54-62

John 18:25-27

Mark 15:1

Matthew 27:1-2

Luke 22:66-71

Matthew 27:3-10

Questions & Observations

O. (Mark 14;53-65): I see several things to comment on here.  1) And what is Peter’s role here.  He seems like a coward.  2) This is the pinnacle of Jesus’s “I Am” response.  3) Here we have Jesus saying He will be at the right hand.  What did we say the right hand signified way back in the OT?  4) It’s amazing the effect on people of crowd mentality.  They become like a mindless mob.  5) V. 65: If they only knew to whom they were jeering, spitting and slapping!

A. 1) Peter is acting like a coward, just as Jesus said he would.  2) This is just one more piece of evidence that Jesus knows what is happening and is prepared to die.  The men who were accusing Him of blasphemy couldn’t get their story straight, and Jewish legal proceedings in this day required two eyewitnesses to bring blasphemy charges.  So if Jesus had just said nothing, or denied being the Messiah, He likely would’ve been freed: there would have been no ground to charge Him.  Instead, He incriminates Himself (if you want to think of it that way) by proclaiming the truth that He is the Messiah.  Without Jesus doing so, there would have been no basis to charge Him.  This passage is fascinating to me for that reason.  3) The right hand was the seat of power for a king or ruler (in this case God the Father): the trusted general or other confidant that acted on the king’s behalf.  Its where we get the term “right hand man” from.  4) I suspect that the crowd was disappointed that Jesus did not conquer the Romans when He entered the city on Sunday, as many expected Him to.  Over the course of the week, it appears that public opinion turned against Jesus.  The mob is fickle indeed.

Q. (Mark 14:66-72): Why a rooster and why would he deny Jesus three times before it crowed twice.  It’s just seems like an odd thing to happen.

A. The rooster crowed at dawn, signifying Peter’s failure during the night.  I don’t know if there is anything else special about the event, except that it is a time marker in a period where there obviously were no watches or other ways to tell time before sunrise: the rooster was it.

Q. (Mark 15:1): Because the Jewish officials took Jesus to Pilate early in the morning, is this why many churches have sunrise services?  Or is it the resurrection?

A. The resurrection, you’ll see when we get to the story.

Q. (Matthew 27:3-10):  Poor Judas!  This just shows that someone can wake up when they realize the consequences of their actions.  So, Judas hangs himself.  This is an aside comment, but isn’t it a sin to take ones life that is a ticket to Satan?  I have been told that, but I don’t think we’ve come across it in the Bible yet.  And lastly, why would the Lord want the Israelites to purchase a potter’s field with the 30 pieces of silver that Judas returned?

A. Suicide is not expressly forbidden in the Bible, but it is surely not something God desires.  It is obviously impossible to know if it is an offense that condemns one to hell, but we have established that through Jesus that no sin outside of blaspheming the Holy Spirit is unforgivable, which presumably includes suicide.  What we don’t know is if Jesus refers to sins that we can seek forgiveness for, which you can’t do in the sense that we are used to if you are dead, so it remains a mystery.  In the end, as with all things, we must trust in God’s grace, and I believe that at least some of the people who tragically commit suicide can still find forgiveness and grace in Christ.  No one is beyond His reach, but not all will seek to take hold of it.

As to the Potter’s field, the story appears to be saying that since the money was blood money, it could not be used in the Temple, so they basically found a way to get rid of the money by buying a field from a potter to make a public cemetery.  What this has to do with the role of a potter is beyond me.

Day 303 (Oct. 30): Jesus predicts Peter’s denial, reach God through Jesus, Jesus tells of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is the true vine,

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 13:31-38

 

Mark 14:27-31

 

Matthew 26:31-35

 

Luke 22:31-38

 

John 14:1-14

John 14:15-31

 

John 15:1-17

Questions & Observations

Q. (John 13:31-38, mark 14:27-31, Matthew 26:31-35, Luke 22:31-38): Why is it important that Peter deny Jesus three times?

A. It shows just how fearful Peter’s heart truly is.  He is not ready for this challenge.

OOOOOO.  (John 14:1-14): My new favorite passage.  Wow, does this bring comfort and joy!!!!!

Q. (John 14:6): This may seem very kindergarten, but I thought you may have a humdinger for an answer.  What does Jesus mean by “the way, the truth and the life”?  I take it as Jesus has shown us the WAY we should live, the TRUTH that means he is the son of God and the LIFE means living eternally.

A. I believe that He is telling us that He is the essence of God in human form, what John has been proclaiming all along: Jesus provides us the way to God in Himself and His sacrifice, He proclaimed the True way not just in teachings, but in His actions, and He shows that to be with God is to live, without Him we die.

Q. (John 14:9-11): So, why do some religions, like Judaism, not believe that Jesus is the Son of God.  Why do they deny the NT?

A. Well, there are lots of reasons, but ultimately they come down to knowing who Jesus is.  Jews, for example, could not reconcile a Messiah as a suffering figure: They see the Messiah as a triumphant figure who will establish an earthly Kingdom.  Since Jesus was defeated in death, they reject Him as Messiah — their Messiah would never die.  So, since the death and resurrection of Jesus is at the heart of the NT, it is little wonder that many Jews deny it, lock, stock, and barrel.  (I would be remiss if I did not point out that many Jews have never read it, and mistakenly assume it is a manual on how to attack the Jewish faith).  Many other religions stumble over Christ’s death and resurrection as well.  Islam sees Jesus as a prophet, but argue that the Messiah could never be defeated and die on a cross — they say he only appeared to die.  They also strongly align themselves with Jews in saying that there is only one God, and therefore Jesus can’t be God in human form.  I think this is a poor representation of the understanding of the Trinity (Christians are often accused of worshipping 3 gods by Jews and Muslims), but it is typically the reason.  Other religions have some important doctrines — such as reincarnation in Hinduism and Buddhism — that do not jive well with the NT, so they go elsewhere as well.  There are lots of critiques of the NT by scholars who seek to take it apart in order to find the “real” Jesus, as opposed to the one the Gospels describe — because He couldn’t possibly be real, dead men don’t come back!  It is little wonder that Paul will talk about the death and resurrection of Jesus as a “stumbling block” to many and “foolishness” to others, but note what he adds: but to those of us who have faith, it is the power of God at work in us.  The resurrection is typically the line in the sand.

Q. (John 14:12-14): How can anyone do greater works than Jesus?  And, what does Jesus mean by ask anything in His name?  When we pray, we are supposed to say “in Jesus name, we pray?”  My hubby says that’s just if you are asking God for something.

A. Because of what Jesus has done on our behalf, which is basically make us children of God via adoption (more on that in Paul’s letters), we are able to boldly approach the throne of God with our requests and make our hearts known to God in prayer.  That is what it means to ask for our prayers in the name of Jesus.  It is Jesus who has opened the door to the throne room that we might approach the King.

Q. (John 14:26): Am I right in saying that all who believe in Jesus are provided with the Holy Spirit which will show us the way?  When I talk to God or Jesus, many times I feel like I am picturing them while I am talking to them.  I have always just talked to Jesus and God though.  I listen to the Holy Spirit, but don’t request things from Him or discuss anything.  Are we supposed to talk to all three the same or differently?

A. Jesus is describing the Holy Spirit as our personal guide to God, and He works to remind us of Jesus’ words and the words of Scripture.  So with that mindset, I would say that addressing the Spirit with praise when He helps you remember a verse, for example, might be a good example of conversing with Him.  The Spirit is just as much God as the Father or Son, and our prayer life should reflect that.  We will see the Spirit really come into power in Acts, so let’s watch for how the Spirit leads then.

Q. (John 14:27): The peace Jesus leaves us with is Him showing us the way to live and that He is powerful and will come back to take us to with Him.  And, He leaves the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit leads us through life, if we let Him.  We talked about the Holy Spirit in the OT, right?  He has always been around, just like Jesus?

A. God, in the three Persons, is eternal, and not bound in time.  The Spirit is surely a big part of the OT: by my count, there were nearly 200 references to the Spirit being at work in the midst of Israel, from Genesis 1:2 and on down.

O&Q. (John 15:1-17): Another awesome passage.  Today’s reading feels like it’s changing my attitude — making me less pessimistic (taking out some of that yucky gray matter) and more filled with love and joy.  I do hope that this Scripture is for all of us and not just the disciples.

A. It is indeed.  John is recording these words that multitudes of people will benefit — wait until you see what Jesus prays for next.

Day 285 (Oct. 12): Jesus heals blind man, Jesus asks who people think He is, Jesus foretells His death, three disciples see Jesus glowing alongside Elijah and Moses

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.

Mark 8:22-30

Matthew 16:13-20

Luke 9:18-20

Mark 8:31-9:1

Matthew 16:21-28

Luke 9:21-27

Mark 9:2-13

Matthew 17:1-13

Luke 9:28-36

Questions & Observations

Q. (Mark 8:26): Why did Jesus tell the healed man to not go back to the village on his way home?

A. It is most likely because it would not have been possible for him to keep his healing a secret, which keeps with our secret Messiah theme of Mark.  Symbolically (something I’m sure not lost on the writer), it can be interpreted as saying, “there is no going back the way you came.”

Q. (Mark 8:27): Why does Jesus keep asking his disciples who others believe He is?

A. Keep?  As far as I know, He only did it once, but it is simply recorded three times.  As to why He is asking, my suspicion is His desire to help His disciples see a crucial issue: it does not matter what the crowd sees and believes, what matters is what YOU believe.

Q. (Matthew 16:15-20): Why is Jesus calling Peter the “Rock” and what is Jesus talking about when He says that the church will be built on him?

A. Well, the most obvious answer is that Peter (Petros in Greek) means “rock” —  it was a new name or nickname Jesus gave to Simon when He called Peter into service.  Peter/Simon will be the true leader of the Apostles after Jesus’ death and resurrection, so it will truly be upon the rock — Peter himself — that the foundations of the new church will be laid.

Roman Catholics go a step further, and make the argument that what Jesus is telling Peter is that he is to be the head of the church for all time, and that he is to pass his power down via succession to men after him.  Since Peter ends up in Rome — more on that later — he is known as the first Bishop of Rome.  Today, that same position goes by a different title, but it is still the same office: Papas or Pope, the single leader of the one billion Catholics worldwide.  The Papal office makes the claim that there is unbroken succession between the man sitting in the Bishop’s seat now, Francis I, and Peter himself, 2000 years ago.  Other branches of Christianity — notably the Orthodox church — reject this position, and the role of the Bishop of Rome has literally divided the Church for more than a thousand years.  Protestants, of course, have their own reasons for rejecting the Papal office, and generally acknowledge Peter as being gifted with only the first, not eternal, leadership of the Church on Earth.

Q. (Mark 8:34): The Israelites wouldn’t know what “take up your cross” means.  Can you explain this?

A. Oh yes they would.  There are several reasons for that.  First, crucifixion was not originally a Roman punishment: it had its origins in the Middle East around the time the Jews were in exile.  The Persians and Medians both practiced a form of crucifixion, and it is likely many Jews died this way.  But it was the Romans who PERFECTED the art of the slow and torturous death upon a cross in the manner we see Jesus crucified in.  But, very sadly, the Romans crucified Jews for centuries before Jesus came onto the scene.  Very often — as Jesus will — the victims were forced to carry their cross as part of a shaming ceremony to the place of their execution.  Around 88 BC (so we’re in the vicinity of Jesus’ lifetime), more than 800 Pharisees were crucified by the Romans.  The execution line stretched for hundreds of yards, and it was surely a gruesome display.  The reason?  A powerful warning to any who would undermine Rome: this can happen to you.  In Jesus’ day, it was a common place punishment for criminals and those who chose to undermine the state.  Know about “taking up a cross”?  It was probably a weekly occurrence.

Q. (Mark 8:36): Name that tune!  V. 36 is a popular song right now on the radio.  Anyone want to find the song and then we’ll see what we can do.  Do the people have any concept of soul?

A. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coHKdhAZ9hU

Here’s the song, good one.  Most Jews in Jesus’ day believed in some sort of state of immortality, and that God would raise them to new life on the last day.

Q. (Matthew 16:27-28): I thought Jesus was our savior and God was our creator.

A. Jesus is our savior, but He is also going to be the Judge of all humanity.  This is one of the most common refrains of the NT: Jesus will come again to judge the living and the dead.

Q. (Luke 9:26): So, we are not to be ashamed of God.  That can be a tough one until you understand the importance of life.  There are a lot of people out there who go to church, but won’t pray.

A. Prayer is certainly important, but ultimately Jesus desires us to be changed by His efforts, and prayer is only one avenue of it (albeit an important one).  The question we have to ask ourselves is “are others capable of seeing the work God is doing in my life, or not?”  If we are making an intentional effort to conceal our faith, well, then I’d say Jesus’ warning is a stern one.

Q. (Mark 9:2-13): Is it important who Jesus revealed His secret too?

A. If you mean is there something significant about Peter, James, and John, then yes.  They are Jesus’ inner inner circle, if that makes sense.  They are the three men, even among His apostles, that are closest to Him, and will most closely share His journey.

O: (Matthew 17:5-6): This is an incredible time.  God has known all along that He was going to sacrifice His son and now after hundreds or thousands of years, he finally has to go through with it.

Q. (Matthew 17:12): Have we read anything about Elijah returning?

A. Yes.  We read about his parents and his birth in Luke 1, John talks about him in John 1, and Jesus is talking about him here.  We addressed who Elijah is — not a reincarnation of the man himself, but the voice of a Prophet — a few days ago, but I can’t remember the reference.