Prayer Psalm: 23
Prayer Point: In a world that deeply fears for its safety, economic security and death, Psalm 23 offers us God. Pray that we might know and believe that God is our shepherd, that he will cause our cup to overflow and that he will be with us in the valley of the shadow of death.
Peter, James and John represented Jesus’ key leaders, his inner circle from among the twelve. They alone have the privilege of seeing a glimpse of Jesus’ true glory. Who do they see appearing with Jesus? How do you think they recognized Moses and Elijah?
Moses was Israel’s giver of the Law and Elijah was considered to be Israel’s greatest prophet. The Law and the Prophets together represented the Old Testament tradition. It would have been inconceivable for a Jewish person to imagine a man being greater than Moses or Elijah unless God explicitly revealed it. God is showing these men that Jesus is not only greater than Moses and Elijah, he is the one they pointed to.
What do they see of God on the mountain? Where is the God the Father? The Son? And the Holy Spirit? What is God the Father’s message to the Peter, James and John?
Compare the disciples’ response to the vision what that of Isaiah’s, who also saw the Glory of God (Isaiah 6:1-5).
Why do you think Jesus warns his disciples to keep this a secret until he rises from the dead? Do you think people would have crucified Jesus if they had seen him as he really is?
It was believed that Elijah would return prior the coming of the Messiah. Jesus affirms this teaching, but identifies John the Baptist as the “second Elijah”. John the Baptist was not Elijah, but ministered in the same spirit as Elijah and he was killed for his troubles.
What was motivating the false teachers to pressure the Galatians to become circumcised?
The Romans were quite tolerant towards religions within their empire provided these religions were ancient. They didn’t like change, because change meant risking offending the gods and upsetting the status quo which allowed them to rule much of the known world. Judaism was ancient and as long as Christianity looked like Judaism, the Christians were safe. But if Christianity became known as a new religion, not only would Christians risk ridicule from their Jewish brothers and sisters, they risked bringing the wrath of the Roman government down on themselves. Therefore many Christians felt it was safer to continue to honor Jewish laws and traditions.
What do those who are circumcised fail to do themselves? What is Paul’s attitude towards the cross and the world by contrast? What matters more to God than circumcision?
Numbers 3:1-13 The Tribe of Levi
What tribe does Moses belong to? (Moses is a Levite. Since Aaron will be chosen as High Priest, and since only Levites can be priests, and since Moses was Aaron’s brother, that makes Moses a Levite.)
How many sons did Aaron have? (Aaron originally had four sons but two of them proved themselves worthless. Nadab, the firstborn, and Abihu after they were anointed priests had desecrated themselves by coming before the Lord in an unworthy fashion – they were drunk! See Leviticus Chapter 10 for more details.)
Since Nadab and Abihu were dead, who was left to serve Aaron the high priest. (Eleazar and Ithamar)
What function was the tribe of Levi to perform? (They are to do the work of the Tabernacle. (v. 7))
What grave warning does the Lord give in verse 10? (“Appoint Aaron and his sons to serve as priests; anyone else who approaches the sanctuary must be put to death.” (Numbers 3:10 NIV)
What do the Levites represent? (They represent the “first male offering of every Israelite woman” (Numbers 3:12 NIV))
Why are the first born (males) so important? (The first born (males) represent all of the first born of Egypt when the Lord went through the land and struck them dead.)