Prayer Psalm: 47
Prayer Point: Sometimes we need to stop and remember that Jesus is King and in control. “Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.” Take some time today and offer your own praises to Jesus our King.
Why is Jesus rejected in his hometown? Consider this: Jesus probably lived and worked as a carpenter in Nazareth for at least 15 years before he began his public ministry preaching the good news of the kingdom of God. Why does Jesus decide not to perform miracles in Nazareth? You might notice as you read the gospels that Jesus performed miracles as acts of compassion or to confirm someone’s faith, but never to convince someone that he was God. He was to be glorified, not by acts of power, but by submitting himself to the cross and rising from the dead.
Paul’s opponents tried to argue that he lacked the authority of the other Apostles (Peter and James are two that were mentioned) because unlike Paul, the Apostles were taught directly by Christ. Is this true? Did Peter and James teach Paul or did he get his teaching from another source?
Paul’s ministry was controversial because he was one of the first apostles to preach primarily to Gentiles. Most of the Christians at this time were Jewish and many believed that you needed to become a practicing Jew in order to be a true follower of Jesus. This meant that male converts to Christianity needed to be circumcised and all needed to conform to Jewish laws and traditions. Paul taught that circumcision and the Jewish tradition was unnecessary for someone to be a true Christian. This sent shockwaves throughout the church. It is hard enough for churches to change, let alone let go of traditions that were spelled out in the Old Testament.
How did the other apostles feel about Paul’s unique mission to the Gentiles? How did Paul’s ministry complement the different callings of the other apostles? If the Apostles supported Paul’s mission, how did it became controversial again?
Ecclesiastes 2:16-26 Toil, Too, Is Meaningless
Verse 16 concludes what we started yesterday, i.e. “Like the fool, the wise man too must die!”
According to verse 18 why does the Teacher hate all the things he had toiled for? (“… because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool?” (Eccl. 2:18 NIV) Jesus addressed this very issue in Luke Chapter 12 in his parable of the Rich Fool. “Then he [Jesus] said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.’ And he told them this parable: ‘The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, “What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.” Then he said, “This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’” But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.’” (Luke 12:14-21 NIV)) Verses 18-23 paint a similar picture which we find in Luke Chapter 12.
What statement does the Teacher reveal about himself which is very telling? (“So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun. For a man may do his work with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then he must leave all he owns to someone who had not worked for it.” (Eccl. 2:20-21 NIV))
Since both the wise man and the fool meet at the grave, what great irony is delivered in verses 2:24-26? (“A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” (NIV))