Have you wondered what is going on with all those details you read in the Bible? How can you know what the writers really said, since they wrote in Hebrew or Greek and you are reading in English or another modern translation? How is something written almost 2000 years ago or older relevant to me today?
Adult members and guests meet Sundays at 10am in the right rear portable (looking from the main building). We look at the same scriptures that Pastor Rod speaks about at worship service, with emphasis on learning what we can do to improve our own personal studies of scripture.
Last Updated on Sunday, March 18 2012 12:46
Passage studied: Luke 4:31- 37: Possessed
Today's passage shows Jesus teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum where he was interrupted by a demon who challenged him. The demon lost, and the people were amazed at his teaching and the authority with which he taught.
Pastor Rod spoke about the reality of demons, and you'll just have to hear the sermon at Latest sermon on the Woodbury website to learn about what demonic possession really is (it isn't what is popularly thought, but is well-founded on research in the original language).
The class had several questions that we wanted to explore, and I want to present a proposition as to what may have been happening. The questions pertained to
- what was Jesus' message and what impressed the crowd about the authority with which Jesus spoke
- what was with this exchange with the demon - and who was the "us" of which the demon spoke, since there was reportedly only one demon.
Why would Jesus be able to speak with authority on this topic?
Read what the demon said with some attitude. It really was challenging Jesus - come out and fight, if you will. I'm imagining that the demons in the region got together and drew straws to see which one would get to go up against the Holy One - and this one lost. It got some things right - Jesus is the Holy One of God. But Jesus didn't come to destroy the demons, not this time (listen to the sermon); he came to proclaim a different message to the people. And he certainly wasn't about to let some demon take him off message.
We talked about when Jesus wanted to be known as the Son of God, and when he didn't. It seems that he relished in people realizing who he truly was when that was a work of the Holy Spirit in each individual. He did not want crowds to be told that, because any of several things could happen - and none of them would be what he wanted:
- they could oppose him politically
- they could join his movement as sycophants
- they could accuse him of being a blasphemer and openly oppose him
Look back in the previous section in your Bible to see what he read in Nazareth. That is what he came to do - that is his message, and it is concerning that that he refused to give ground to this demon.
Concerning relevance of this message to us, several points were noted:
As with the wilderness temptations, Jesus refused to let anyone else set his agenda. So should we likewise be.
We can speak with authority as did Jesus because we too live in the kingdom of Heaven, we know God and so we can speak from personal experience, not just about something we read in some book.
As we walk with Jesus and are able to discern God's will (see John 14:7-12) we will encounter situations where the appropriate response is to call for God to work in power, and he will.
Last Updated on Monday, March 05 2012 07:44
Passage studied: Luke 4:9 - 13: The Big Question
Today's passage concerns the third temptation of Jesus as reported by Luke, for Jesus to perform a miracle of notoriety by jumping off the highest point of the Temple, expecting God to save him.
Pastor Rod went in an unexpected direction regarding the Big Question – and you’ll have to hear the sermon at Latest sermon to learn about that.
I want to invite your attention in a different direction. Satan has now three times (recorded in Luke and in Matthew) sought to deceive Jesus, taking advantage of his limitedness (see Philippians 2:6-8 ), twice challenging him by calling into doubt whether he was in fact the Son of God (“If you are…”).
Satan quotes a portion of Ps 91 challenging Jesus to do a miracle to prove God’s promise of protection. Jesus parries the challenge, saying, “…Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”
The irony in this is that this Psalm so perfectly describes Jesus, and speaks of his utter confidence that God will protect him physically as well as spiritually. Note that Jesus is about to begin a ministry during which his life will be at peril (see Luke 4:28-30), and he needs God’s protection throughout his ministry. And indeed he has it, all the way until Jesus lays down his own life on the cross (see John 10:17-18).
Again note that Jesus in dealing with temptation relies solely on scripture, the established word of God, to confess and to keep his focus on God. He does not attempt to argue with Satan (though at this point he tells Satan to leave), but he just keeps his focus on God. He knows the power of the Deceiver to deceive and he does not engage him anywhere but on the safe ground of keeping his eyes on God.
In your own battles with temptation, or even in with demons, remember this example by Jesus our Savior and Lord.