How are you doing? Everyone keeping up? I found myself playing catch-up this week!
My pastor’s sermon on Sunday fit perfectly with where we are in our New Testament readings, and it helped me to think a little differently about Luke 20. Much as I’d like to think of the religious leaders as “the bad guys” and me as the “good girl” who would never do what they do, the message pointed to some areas where I am more like them than I want to admit. I’ll start here with some questions for New Testament reflections prompted by the sermon (though they apply to Old Testament readings as well)…
- In what ways do I attempt to manipulate God? (For example, do I think that I can cause God to love me more by what I do?)
- In what ways do I minimize God—who He is, His authority in my life, and my responsibility toward Him? How have your readings so far contributed to a richer understanding of who God is, His authority and your responsibility toward Him?
A few more reflections on Luke…
- Some scholars point to Luke 19:10 as the key verse, one which provides an outline of the book: “The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.” (1:1-4:13 “The Son of Man came”; 4:14-19:27 “to seek”; 19:28-end “to save that which was lost.”) In this week’s readings, what examples do you see of Jesus “seeking out” those who are lost?
- Why do you think Jesus refers to Himself as “The Son of man”? What does this contribute to the portrait of Christ Luke develops in this gospel?
Old Testament Reflections…
- Judges: The story of the concubine who was abused strikes me as one of the most disturbing stories in Scripture. As you finished up the book of Judges, what emotions were evoked? Were you surprised at the depravity demonstrated throughout Israel as “every man did what was right in his own eyes”? How does this speak to us about our own culture? About us as individuals?
- Be sure to catch these details in the book of Ruth…(That would be easy to do if you were attempting to catch up, as I was!) This takes place “during the time of the judges”: Given your reading of the book of Judges, what do you think the culture was like when Naomi and her husband left for Moab?
- A severe famine had come upon the land: Why did God send famines to Israel? How did Naomi and her husband respond? (Keep in mind that Moab was a pagan nation and Israel’s enemy. You may want to read about Chemosh, the god worshiped by Moabites.
- Naomi feels that God has “raised His fist against me.” What does this suggest about how Naomi interpreted her suffering?
- Note the theme of “full” and “empty” throughout the book (and note Naomi’s comment in 1:21: How do you interpret her comment about leaving full and returning empty?)
- I Samuel: As you read about Saul, what characteristics of the man emerge? Why do you think God chose him to be Israel’s first king?
If you have gotten behind this week, don’t be discouraged! Just catch up as you are able to do so and let’s continue to pray for one another to be consistent in spending time with God as we read together.