Bible Study week 4

Session 4 – Thursday 27th November

Section 4 – Walking towards the darkness – Chapter 8:27 – 10:52

 

  1. Have you got any comments or questions arising out of the last Session? Did you learn anything new? Have you any insights to share (and can we put them on the website?)
  2. Did you manage to read the section for this week? Did it raise any questions or puzzles for you? Did you see anything that you hadn’t seen or thought of before? Any other comments?
  3. In this section, the story ‘turns a corner’ towards Jerusalem and the Passion and Crucifixion. What has been a ‘secret’ begins to be revealed. But, just as we began to see last week, the ‘seeing’ comes ‘bit by bit’.
  4. The first ‘turn’ is geographical – Jesus has been going about all over the place (see map), but now begins to turn specifically south – except that first he goes north to Caesarea Philippi.

[Caesarea Philippi was located about twenty-five miles north of Bethsaida. The city lay in the territory ruled by Philip (Herod Antipas’s brother, mentioned in Mar_6:17). The influence of Greek and Roman culture was everywhere. The city was primarily non-Jewish, known for its worship of Greek gods and its temples devoted to the ancient god Pan. When Philip became ruler, he rebuilt and renamed the city after Caesar Tiberius and himself.]

  1. Here is the first bit of ‘seeing bit-by-bit’ – Jesus challenges the disciples to say who they believe he is but when Peter makes his great declaration, Jesus moves the conversation on to what this means for him – suffering and death.
  2. The second ‘turn’ is that Jesus begins to focus his teaching on the disciples rather than on the ‘crowd’ – this comes out specifically in 9:30-31 – ‘Jesus tried to avoid all publicity in order to spend more time with the disciples and teach them’
  3. The third ‘turn’ is that in this section Jesus focuses on the meaning of discipleship – especially the cost – ‘upside-down values, suffering and death – he speaks of it three times (8:34-38; 9:30-37; 10:32-45).
  4. As we discovered last week, the disciples are ‘prototypes’ for us – so, how do we feel about the person we have pledged our lives to having to suffer, and what does ‘the cost’ mean for us?
  5. The section includes the story of the Transfiguration – a story full of mystery. But here again, the disciples see but don’t see properly – poor Peter puts his foot in it again! How would we have reacted?
  6. The section also includes: a) the story of the demon-possessed (epileptic?) boy – and we see the struggle to faith of the boy’s father and of the disciples; b) a discussion about marriage – again we see the disciples struggling to understand; c) the rich man’s search for eternal life – and again the disciples struggle to understand. How do we get on with these questions?
  7. Next time . . . . we reach Jerusalem and Jesus comes into real conflict with the authorities – in preparation please read chapters 11:1 – 13:37, especially the ‘sandwich’ story of the fig tree (11:12-25)


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