Prayer Psalm: 119:145-176
Prayer Point: We easily fall into sin when we are stressed, angry and afraid. Take note of what the author of Psalm 119 does with his anxiety, anger and fear and pray for the faith to respond in the same way.
The Old Testament is full of events and images that are given their full meaning in the life and ministry of Jesus. The story of God’s rescue of Israel from slavery in Egypt (memorialized by the Passover Feast) and God feeding Israel daily with manna (daily bread) in the wilderness loom large in John chapter 6.
Why does Jesus put the responsibility of feeding the crowd on Philip and the other disciples?
The people exclaim after witnessing this miracle that Jesus must be: “the Prophet who is come into the world.” This is an allusion to the words of Moses:
The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers. You must listen to him. (Deuteronomy 18:15)
When Jesus miraculously feeds 5000 people his popularity soars not only because hungry people were fed, but because the people saw Jesus as a second Moses. Moses had led Israel out of slavery in Egypt. In the desert God fed the people through Moses with manna, bread from heaven. With Jesus also performing a miracle feeding, the people began to wonder if he was the prophet that Moses spoke of. If Moses led Israel out of slavery, maybe Jesus will lead them out of Roman oppression. But Jesus has something else in mind and in the end many of his disciples will desert him.
Who arrives on the scene once news gets back to Jerusalem that the Samaritans are beginning to follow Jesus? Philip baptized the Samaritans who believed his message. What did these new believers receive when Peter and John arrived? How did they receive it?
Simon the Sorcerer witnesses the giving of the Holy Spirit and wants that power for himself. What does he offer for the ability to give the Holy Spirit? What according to Peter and John is the only way to receive the Holy Spirit?
There is an important difference between magic and the power of the Holy Spirit. Magic is an attempt to manipulate a god into doing what I want. The Holy Spirit came upon the apostles to accomplish what God wanted. It is the same with the gospel. We don’t live for God to manipulate him into giving us what we want. In gratitude we live for God because he has already given us everything in Jesus Christ.
This story concludes with Peter and John preaching in the Samaritan towns. Who took the initiative in this chapter in the first place? What does this tell you about the nature of the early church?
Judges 18:16-31 – The “kidnapping” of the “priest”
What do these armed and menacing men do to Micah’s personal property? (They remove the household gods, idols and the ephod.)
What do they do to the Levite when he protests what these thugs are doing? (They tell him to be quiet and to go with them to be their priest.)
What was the logic of the Danites to the Levite to go with them? (“Isn’t it better that you serve a tribe and clan in Israel as priest rather than just one man’s household?” (Judges 18:19 NIV))
It appears that the priest has a change of heart and willingly goes with this band of marauders. What does Micah do? How wise was he in doing it? (Micah and his neighbors pursue the Danites and overtake them. Then the Danites threaten to kill Micah and his whole family if he didn’t return home in peace.)
Once the Danites get to Laish they slaughter the inhabitants – “a peaceful and unsuspecting people”. There was no one to help the inhabitants of the city. Remember: “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.” (Judges 17:6 NIV) We can see that the people are losing their moral compass.
What do the Danites do once they conquer the city of Laish? (They re-name the city “Dan” after their forefather a son of Israel (Jacob).)
At last we find out who this Levite is. Who is he and who is his famous forefather? (The Levite’s name is Jonathan and his forefather is Moses. The tragedy here is that this apostasy has even reached into the family of Moses. (ESV Study Bible Notes p. 469) It must be obvious that the reading of the Law had been discontinued for some time.)