Prayer Psalm: 145
Prayer Point: “One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.” (verse 4) Take some time today to pray for the parents, grandparents, caretakers, teachers and all those who are entrusted with the task of passing the faith on to the next generation. Pray for our children that they will know Jesus from our words and our lives.
Jesus has broken two taboos. He speaks to a woman,who is not only unrelated to him, but is also a Samaritan. Jews considered Samaritans to be religious sell-outs and ethnic half-breeds. It was unfitting in those days for a Jew to socialize with a Samaritan, let alone a Samaritan woman with a soiled reputation. Jesus takes an enormous risk by engaging this woman.
How does Jesus both affirm this woman and confront her in her sin?
The dispute between the Samaritans and the Jews dated back to the reign of King David’s grandson, Rehoboam. Rehoboam was a fool and tyrant and managed to split Israel into two kingdoms: the southern kingdom, Judah, over which he reigned and the northern kingdom whose people were the ancestors of the Samaritans. There was one glitch when the kingdoms split apart. The temple of God was in Jerusalem, the capital of the southern kingdom. Jeroboam, the first king of the northern kingdom feared that his people would desert him if they continued to worship God in Jerusalem, so he built his own temple in the northern kingdom, which violated God’s command. This dispute was very much on the woman’s mind when she asks which mountain was the true place to worship God.
Does Jesus get sucked into the dispute between the Jews and the Samaritans? What radical change in how we worship does Jesus point to?
Why do you think he chooses to reveal himself as Messiah to a Samaritan woman of all people? What does this say about the kingdom of God that Jesus is ushering in?
Peter and John boldly preach Christ just weeks after Peter infamously denied him three times . They are arrested and the Jewish authorities attempt to intimidate them into silence. Why don’t Peter and John back down? What have they just witnessed?
The church cries out to God following Peter and John’s release. This is the first time they faced opposition without Jesus being there to lead them and they are desperate. Where do they get the words for their prayer to God? Check your Bible’s footnotes for verses 25-26. How do they apply the prayer of Psalm 2 to their own situation? What can this teach you about prayer? How does God respond to their prayers?
A very cursory look at this chapter (16) will show you that we will be dealing with a couple of the feasts the Israelites were commanded to observe. The first major feast of the year is, of course, Passover. I say this only because the Israelites are to “Observe the month of Abib and celebrate the Passover of the LORD your God, because in the month of Abib he brought you out of Egypt by night.” (Deuteronomy 16:1 NIV) Abib is the first month of the Jewish calendar. (This corresponds to March – April for us.)
How many weeks are to be counted off until the next feast? (“Count off seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain.” (Deuteronomy 16:9 NIV) This is also called the first fruits because by this time the barley is ready to harvest. “Then celebrate the Feast of Weeks to the LORD your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the LORD your God has given you. And rejoice before the LORD your God…” (Deuteronomy 16:10-11 NIV))
Seven weeks, each week having seven days, brings us to forty-nine days after Passover. The next day become the fiftieth day after Passover. Interestingly enough, fifty in Greek is Pentecost. The only reason the Greek was preferred was because of the use of the version of the scripture known as the Septuagint. Not to belabor the point, but a couple of hundred years before Christ the Old Testament had been translated into Greek by 72 Hebrew scholars. Septuagint is a derivative of the Latin word for “about seventy”. [According to the Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary this “Septuagint” is now “redacted” (no longer used by) Jewish scholars probably because it is not Hebrew enough. The Septuagint was widely used in the early church because Greek was more of a universal language than was Hebrew; thus it would speak to a wider general audience. – j.t.]