Daily Bible Readings – Sunday March 25, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 145 “Praying for your Six”
Prayer Point: Psalm 145 is call for us to tell the world of the greatness of God. We are commanded to declare his grace, compassion, patience, power, mighty actions in the world and his willingness to save all those who call on him. Think of six people in your life that need to hear the good news described in Psalm 145 and pray for an opportunity to share God with them.

John 8:46-59

How does Jesus explain the accusations and unbelief of his hearers? Jesus’ explanation further infuriates the crowd. Remember that they believed that they were “all set” because of their status as biological descendants of Abraham. They believed that pagans like the Romans, prostitutes, and tax collectors were the real sinners. But Jesus goes after these religious and moral people and boldly says, “No, the enemy lies within.” That’s why the wild charges start flying. “You are a Samaritan [fighting words for a Jew in those days] and demon-possessed.”

How does Jesus answer the charge of being demon-possessed? What is his mission? What motivates him?

“Are you greater than our father Abraham?” That indeed is the central question. If the answer is “yes” then Jesus is indeed God and must be followed and obeyed. If your answer is “no” then Jesus was either a lunatic or a bold-faced liar. As GK Chesterton and CS Lewis pointed out, there is no middle ground. There is no possibility that he was just a nice teacher. Jesus’ life and ministry does not leave open that possibility. Does Jesus see himself greater than Abraham?

The phrase “I am” was one of the sacred names of God. What is Jesus claiming when he says, “before Abraham was, I am!”?  The penalty under the Law of Moses for blasphemy (claiming to be God when you are not is a good example) was death by stoning. How did the crowds interpret what Jesus claimed? How does Jesus get away?

Romans 12:1-21 

After having spent the first eleven chapters of Romans describing the love and grace of God given to us in Jesus Christ, Paul now describes the life of love we are to live in response to God’s love.

What does it mean for us to worship in response to what God has done for us in Christ? What pattern don’t we conform to anymore? How do we live this new life?

In what ways are we called to see ourselves differently? Note that being humble does not mean that you see yourself as worthless. True humility is about seeing yourself correctly, as God has made and gifted you, “with the measure of faith God has given you.” This ‘measure of faith’ refers to the spiritual gifts God has given us. While it is wrong to say, “I am the greatest,” it is also wrong to say, “I am worthless,” for that is to spurn the spiritual gifts God has given you.

How is the church like a human body? Where do we, as individuals, fit into that picture? How is this a change from the way we normally see ourselves?  What determines our role in the church or as Paul describes it, “the body of Christ”?

If you boiled down the way of life Jesus taught you would be left with two commands:  love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. If you reduced it to one word, that word would be ‘love’. Paul in these verses fleshes out Jesus’ vision of love.  What does love look like within the church (verses 9-13)? How are we to express love to those outside the church. (verse 14-21)? Which challenges you more?

Exodus 3:16-4:12       God’s Plan for the Israelites in Egypt

What does the Lord predict about the Israelites and what does he predict about Pharaoh?
[The LORD predicts that the Israelites will listen to Moses and that Pharaoh will not.]

So Pharaoh will not let the people go.  What plans does the Lord have in store for Pharaoh?
[“So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them.  After that, he will let you go.” (Exodus 3:20 NIV)]

Moses launches yet another objection to his qualifications to do the job.  What is Moses’ complaint this time?
[“Moses answered, ‘What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, “The Lord did not appear to you”’” (Exodus 4:1NIV)]

The LORD then demonstrates (on a small scale) his power and the power he will give to Moses when he goes into Egypt to liberate the Jews.  What three demonstrations of power does the LORD show Moses?
[God made a staff turn into a serpent; he made Moses’ hand leprous and then cleansed it; he promised to turn the water in the Nile to blood.]

What is Moses’ last objection to him as a choice to do this work?
[Moses complains that he is not eloquent.  But “the Lord said to him, ‘Who gave man his mouth?  Who makes him deaf or mute?  Who gives him sight or makes him blind?  Is it not I, the Lord?  Now go; I will help you speak and will teach what to say.’” (Exodus 4:11-12 NIV)]

We will see how Moses and the Lord will come together to achieve the goal, i.e., to get the Hebrews out of Egypt.

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