The Life Of Jesus:
The Greatest Commandment
Jesus and his disciples travel from Galilee through Samaria and on to Jerusalem, so it makes sense that Samaritans figure prominently in today’s stories. They were religious, political and social enemies of the Jews. Lots of bad blood between them.
The disciples are proud of their accomplishments after they do some serious flexing in the neighboring villages. Jesus warns them to be sure they’re proud they are known by God rather than proud of the things God does thru them. I don’t think the disciples quite get that memo.
A big-shot lawyer asks Jesus a trick question about what it takes to get eternal life. The answer is what we call “the Greatest Commandment,” and Jesus illustrates it with a story about a Samaritan--a Samaritan who has compassion on a Jew.
Matthew 8:18-22; 11:20-30; 18:1-5; 22:34-40
Luke 9:46-62; 10:1-28
God So Loved The World
Discipleship 102 looks a lot like Discipleship 101. Shocking. Jesus clearly teaches the same thing over and over to the disciples. We focus especially on the new material Luke adds here.
The sisters Mary and Martha make their first appearance, but the shocker is when one of the most highly placed Pharisees in Jerusalem sneaks out to find Jesus at night. He’s worried that the religious leaders are getting it wrong. He thinks there’s a good chance Jesus is exactly who he says he is. Jesus talks to him of being born a second time, wind that cannot be seen, the judgment and verdict of God, and…snakes?
Matthew (6:22, 25-34 reprise); 10:29; 12:43
Luke 10:29-42; (11:1-13 reprise); 11:24-28, 33-36; 12:22-34
Take Courage And Help Each Other
Discipleship 102 gets very explicit and more than a little scary at this point. Some of the disciples may be rethinking their positions.
Do they really want to sell all their possessions, be given the responsibility of sharing God’s love to the people, get arrested, get tried, and probably get beaten or killed? Do they really want to be the ones from whom more is expected?
Jesus teaches them what to do when they hurt each other. And he tells a parable to help them remember that when bad things happen to someone it’s not because the people involved are worse than anyone else. Good to know.
Matthew (5:21-26 reprise); 10:19-21,26-34; 18:15-20
Luke 12:1-59; 13:1-9
Show Yourself To The World
Jesus reaches back into the Sermon on the Mount again to talk about going in through the narrow door--but is he really talking about the same thing this time? Once again there are people who miss the path. Jesus says some interesting things about what will happen to them.
Jesus’ life is in serious danger. He’s got to go to Jerusalem for the Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, but he must play it smart. He needs to stick to the big crowds, but his brothers (mocking him) urge him to show himself to the world!
We catch up with him when he finally does surface in Jerusalem. He’s causing all sorts of confusion. Is this the Messiah? It can’t be--he’s just an uneducated country bumpkin from Galilee.
We cover Luke 13:10-30 and John 7.
Before Abraham, I AM
The religious leaders are pulling out all the stops to trap Jesus, bring him up on charges (probably heresy or inciting violence or both), and then sentence him to death.
First they try to get him to choose between compassion or the very clear Law requiring death for adulterers. They catch a woman in the act of adultery, drag her to Jesus and force him to choose. What do you think he chooses?
Jesus completely loses patience with them. The whole rest of the chapter is an “in your face” argument in which Jesus tells the religious leaders that they do not even know God! He winds up telling them, “Before Abraham was born, I AM!” Those are definitely fighting words. They pick up stones to kill him immediately.
We cover John 8.