Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Discussion for Tonight

I thought we could build off of our movie night and discuss what we watched together. These hard hitting questions should spark some heated debate / spiritual breakthrough.
1. Who is cooler, Gandalf the Grey or Gandalf the White?
2. What exactly is longweed and why is Gandalf always smoking a long ol' pipe of it?
3. If you were a talking tree, what would your name be? And would you have a nickname?
4. In your own life, who is your Gandalf? And who is your Sam?

Just kidding guys. The real questions are below in the next post. Much love!

Jesus Before Pilate

John 18:28-40

1. Why would the Jews be considered ‘unclean’ if they entered the palace?
2. What is the significance of the ‘charges’ against Jesus in v. 30?
3. The religious leaders say, “But we have no right to execute anyone…” What do you think about this? Historical / legal background? Irony of the statement in this situation?
4. Jesus speaks about his Kingdom when being questioned by Pilate. What are your observations on this profound scene, with two leaders of two kingdoms standing face to face?
5. Pilate asks, “What is truth?” Good question. What do you think?
6. “Now Barabbas had taken part in a rebellion.” What strikes you about this one sentence biography?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Arrest, Questioning, Denial

Arrest, Questioning, Denial...
Sounds like a daily occurrence from my experience at the police department. I have to say it happens all too often. Even in a small town next to the "holy city" the level of brokenness exceeds anything I would ever expect.

Anyway, today we're going to be diving into John 18:12-27. If at all possible, I encourage you to read the passage before coming and bring questions and observations to discuss. I've even put the passage here in case you just have a few minutes. -

John 18:12-27 12 Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him
13 and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year.
14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it would be good if one man died for the people.
15 Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest's courtyard,
16 but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the girl on duty there and brought Peter in.
17 "You are not one of his disciples, are you?" the girl at the door asked Peter. He replied, "I am not."
18 It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.
19 Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.
20 "I have spoken openly to the world," Jesus replied. "I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret.
21 Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said."
22 When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby struck him in the face. "Is this the way you answer the high priest?" he demanded.
23 "If I said something wrong," Jesus replied, "testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?"
24 Then Annas sent him, still bound, to Caiaphas the high priest.
25 As Simon Peter stood warming himself, he was asked, "You are not one of his disciples, are you?" He denied it, saying, "I am not."
26 One of the high priest's servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, "Didn't I see you with him in the olive grove?"
27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.

Here are just a few of my initial questions and observations -
  • Why Annas? What is significance of Jesus being taken to him?
  • Did the high priest know that John was a disciple?
  • Why did Peter deny being a disciple? Was it just to fulfill Jesus' prophetic words? What factors might have been playing into his denial?
  • I think it a bit ironic Jesus is punched in the face for improperly addressing the high priest.
  • Possibly the most difficult question within the context of this passage - was Peter's denial sinful? How do we understand soteriology in relation to the disciples?
Lord, I pray that you will guide our study and conversation so that it may be fruitful to our understanding of your work in the world and in our lives. Holy Spirit we welcome your presence among us, especially today as we gather together!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

John 18:1-11

Here you go fellas:

1. In the first few verses, though the NIV states Olive Grove, John does not call Jesus being in an Olive Grove, but a Garden. Is John making a connection between the Passion and Resurrection account (Salvation) and the Garden of Eden (Fall)?
Also, I find it interesting and pleasing that Christ, during a time as such as this, brought His disciples to a place of familiarity, a place of meaning and significance.

2. In verse 3, those coming to arrest/confront Jesus can be divided into three people groups: 1. Roman Soldiers, 2. Jewish Servants, and 3. an Runaway Apostle. Is there any significance or connection between these diverse people groups and the Passion narrative?

3. In verses 4 and 7, Jesus states, “Who do you want”? Interestingly, this is the same question Jesus asks in John 1:38. Is this just a coincidence, or is it significant?

4. Compare Jesus’ struggle in the Garden of Gethsemane, with His comment in John 8:11. What could be John’s reason for this comparison? What does this tell us about the nature and relationship between Jesus and Man, Son and Father, and vice versa?

Interesting Observation/Find: Peter does not go after the solider or one of the Jewish force, but the slave of the high priest (I am not for sure if this is a genius or cowardly act). Interestingly, John mentions the slave’s name, Malchus. Since John knew the high priest and his household (John 18:16) and Malchus’ family (John 18:26), one has to wonder emotionally how John felt during what seemed to be a time of confusion and utter chaos.

(side note) This passage also answers the question that Peter was not a pacifist.