Daily Bible Readings – Friday, January 10, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 138

Prayer Point. Psalm 138 gives us a number of reasons to praise God. Pick one or two that speak to you and use those to offer your own prayer of thanksgiving.

John 10:7-17

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points? You can use the following background to guide you.

Background.  Jesus revealed himself in a series of important “I am” statements that are recorded in the gospel of John (see John 6:35; 6:51; 8:12; 9:5; 10:7, 9; 10:11, 14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1, 5). In today’s reading he is both “the gate for the sheep and the good shepherd.”

The central image is this passage is the village sheep pen that was common in Israel in Jesus’ day. Sheep owned by local shepherds were often kept in common pens during the night for safe keeping. In the morning, the shepherd came and called to his sheep and only the sheep from his flock, who recognized his voice, followed him out the gate and into the pasture.

Shepherding is used throughout the Bible as a metaphor for leadership whether it is religious leaders such as priests, scribes, Sadducees or Pharisees or political leaders such as kings.

Pay close attention to …

  • What is true of the person who enters through Jesus the gate. What is true of those who try to slip over the wall.
  • What sets Jesus apart as a good shepherd as opposed to the others who were thieves, robbers or hired hands.
  • How many sheep pens hold sheep from Jesus’ flock. What do the sheep from the different sheep pens have in common.
  • Why the Father loves his Son, the good shepherd.

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

Repent. How have I failed to obey what God is asking me to do? Confess those failures to God and ask for his forgiveness.

Believe. Which of God’s promises would I need to believe in order to obey and share what I have read?

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

Colossians 2:8-23

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points?You can use the following background to guide you.

Background. Paul’s letter to the Colossian Christians was written in the midst of the first controversy that gripped the early church. The question was: “Do you need to convert to Judaism and become a practicing Jew in order to be a true follower of Jesus?” Those who insisted that Gentiles follow Jewish practices were called ‘Judaizers’. This question had profound implications for the many Gentiles members of the Colossian church. Would they need to be circumcised (a ritual that every Jewish male went through to demonstrate that he had entered God’s family)? Would they need to follow Jewish cultural practices: dietary laws, Sabbaths and festivals (see verse 16)?

Pay close attention to …

  • Where Paul comes down on whether the Gentiles need to follow Jewish laws and customs to be followers of Jesus.
  • Who lives in Jesus (verse 9) and what God has done for the Colossians (and for us) through Christ (10-12)
  • The contrast between circumcision done by men and the circumcision done by Christ and why Jesus’ circumcision renders the old circumcision unnecessary.
  • The connection between the circumcision done by Christ and baptism (verses 12).
  • What Jesus did for the Colossians (verse 13-15) and why they should not see themselves as “second class” Christians (verse 16).
  • The purpose of the old Jewish practices and their relationship to Christ (verse 17)
  • What have the Judaizers lost according to Paul? (verse 19)
  • What are rules and regulations unable to do for us? (verse 23)

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

Repent. How have I failed to obey what God is asking me to do? Confess those failures to God and ask for his forgiveness.

Believe. Which of God’s promises would I need to believe in order to obey and share what I have read?

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

Jeremiah 23:1-8

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points?You can use the following background to guide you.

Background. It is important to know that this passage in Jeremiah takes place before the people are carried away to Babylon.

Who are the shepherds of Israel? I don’t know. I know that the Levites were commissioned to “teach” the people the laws and ordinances of the LORD. Actually, I think that the shepherds of Israel are the leaders both religious and civil. What is the LORD’s complaint in the opening of this chapter?  What are the consequences to the shepherds?  What is the Lord’s solution to the problem of the errant shepherds?  What commitment does the Lord make to the sheep he has gathered?  Who is the supreme shepherd as described in verses 5 and 6? Compare with John 9:11-18.  What name does the Branch have? What does this name mean to you? Verse 7 talks of “the days are coming…” When will this be or has it happened already? [Actually, both. This was partly fulfilled when David’s eternal successor (Jesus) was born and when he returns to restore the earth to where it was before the fall.] Who are these “descendents of Israel”? [We are the children of Abraham – or the descendents of Israel – because of Christ.] This gathering of the Israelites can be seen both in their return from Babylon as well as when the Lord returns a second time to call his own. Why is David so important? See Luke Chapter 1 verses 67-75. [It is from a descendent of David that the Messiah will come.]

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

Repent. How have I failed to obey what God is asking me to do? Confess those failures to God and ask for his forgiveness.

Believe. Which of God’s promises would I need to believe in order to obey and share what I have read?

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

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