Sunday, December 29, 2013

Missing graphics

The site that was hosting the graphics shown here was deleted by its owner, so the graphics are (currently) missing. How-some-ever (as Pogo the Possum would say), they will be back soon, prolly this week. If I get some time, I may improve the lot.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Jesus’s birth

This is the outline of the lesson from 2013-12-22. Note that one of the references in the table under “Rant” is incorrect, and I have been too lazy to correct it. There was some discussion about what Mary’s “character” must have been like to submit to God’s command; I found myself in the minority here, but I let it go.


We look at Christmas too sweetly. When we consider the brutality of the whole thing we should be in awe of just how far the creator of the universe stooped to save us.

Why did he do this?

John 1:14 Galatians 4:4–5 Matthew 5:17 Galatians 3:24
1 Timothy 1:15 John 9:39 Matthew 20:28 Mark 10:45
Luke 19:10 1 John 3:5,8 Hebrews 9:26

It was not ultimately about the baby. To paraphrase Fozzy Bear in the Muppet Movie, there’s a hundred babies around. From exaltation of being God the Son in the presence of the God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, he came and was born in a borrowed stable and slept in a hay trough wrapped up in rags.


  • READ Luke 1:26–33
  • SAY In verse 30, the angel describes Mary finding “favor” with God. The word for favor is also the word for grace. This phrase echoes Genesis 6:8: “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” But if it’s grace, then it’s nothing Mary could deserve intrisically, and it’s nothing she could earn. That’s the whole point of grace.
  • Sometimes we concentrate on Mary, or the baby, or even the hardship, or Joseph, or a hundred things. What does the angel concentrate on?
    • The greatness of the Savior
    • The fulfillment of prophecy
  • READ 1:34
  • What is Mary’s point? (As delicately as I know how to say it: This is a natural law she understands.)
  • READ 1:35–38
  • Mary understood the humiliation she was in for, and she somehow decided that she could stand the reproach.
    • We aren’t going to have a new Messiah any time soon. But are we willing to bear the scorn of our neighbors for the sake of Christ?
    • SAY Hebrews 11:24–25: “By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.”
  • ASK Do you consider Mary blessed? Why? (v. 45, what Elizabeth says)


  • READ Luke 1:46–55
  • ASK What phrase shows up over and over in Mary’s song: (He has)
  • ASK What has he done:
    • looked on Mary’s humble situation
    • done great things for her
    • shown strength
    • scattered the proud
    • reversed the situations of the weak and the powerful
    • reversed the situations of the hungry and the full
    • helped his servant Israel.
  • ASK What does Mary think she has done? (Nothing)


  • READ Luke 2:1–7
  • ASK What strikes you here?
    • My main thing: Even though Mary & Josephe lived in the wrong place, God made arrangements for them to be in the right place.
Christ, by highest Heav’n adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord;
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.
Hark, the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn king!”

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The time has (finally) come

This is the outline for the lesson of 2013-12-01. Something weird happened: We actually got through it all.
One disturbing thing: If you look at my previous outlines, you see lots of places where I wrote “ASK,” but there are none of those in this outline. I still managed some questions for the class, but figuring out where I asked them is left as an exercise for the reader. (I’ve always wanted to write that!)


  • Up to now, we have worked our way through most of Jesus’s public ministry. What we will be looking at through February will almost all be contained within a single week. It was a busy week.
  • In chapter 11, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, demonstrating Jesus’s authority over death.
  • But before that, Jesus already said one of the most important things you must understand about his own death. READ John 10:17–18
    • Jesus wasn’t killed by the Romans.
    • Jesus wasn’t killed by the Jews.
    • READ Isaiah 53:10

Annointed for burial

  • READ 12:1–3
  • READ 12:4–8
  • The perfume
    • Factlet: Nard was imported from northern India. The transportation alone increased the price.
    • 300 denarii was roughly equivalent to $20,000. (based on $8.00/hr in a 6 day work week).
      • Trivia: This is about the price of 10 bottles of Clive Christian Number 1.
    • The “pound” John mentions is a Roman pound, i.e., 12 ounces.
  • Judas wasn’t a good guy until Satan entered into him (chapter 13) — he was already bad.
  • Jesus explains why it was okay for Mary to do this.

Entry into Jerusalem

  • READ 12:12–16
  • Just unraveling all the Old Testament quotations and allusions in John’s gospel would take a lifetime.
  • READ Psalm 118:25–26
  • “Hosanna” means “Save now,” so even that is a quote from the psalm.
  • The palm branches were a symbol of the revolution in which Judas Maccabeus kicked the Gentiles out of the temple. This made the Jewish leadership nervous.
  • The reaction of the Pharisees: READ 12:19. And what should happen next?

The time has come

  • The world (i.e., Gentiles) came to Jesus.
  • READ 12:20–21
  • The thing the Gentiles said was written or engraved on the preacher’s side of Charles Spurgeon’s pulpit where he could see it when he preached.
  • It is uncertain whether Jesus’s reply was for Andrew and Philip or for the Greeks. But it was important:
  • READ 12:23
    • Up to now Jesus was concious that his time had “not yet come.”
    • READ John 2:4 (Wedding at Cana)
    • READ John 7:30 (Feast of Tabernacles (or Booths))
    • But now his time has come.
  • READ 12:31–33
    • Jesus has said this “lifted up” thing before (3:14, 8:28). Here, John makes it explicit that Jesus is talking about his own crucifixion.
    • Jesus is also pointing out that this was prophesied. The Jews who knew their O.T. could not miss the reference to READ Isaiah 52:13.
  • Paul understood what Jesus meant about the time being right: READ Romans 5:6
  • Repeat from earlier:
    • Jesus wasn’t killed by the Romans.
    • Jesus wasn’t killed by the Jews.
    • Jesus put down his life himself to pay for our sins.