Daily Bible Readings – Friday, February 28, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 141

Prayer Point. While external threats exist, our most dangerous enemy is the one within. The psalmist prays for protection in three areas: his mouth, his heart and his pride. Are any of these areas a problem for you? Pray today that God will protect you from your own sinful nature.

John 12:9-19

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.  There are two important events that loom large in today’s reading.  First, Jesus has just raised Lazarus from the dead after he had been in the tomb for four days. Second, the Feast of the Passover is approaching which celebrated God’s rescue of Israel from 450 years of slavery.  The expectation was that God was going to send a new king, a Messiah, who would lead Israel again to freedom and establish God’s kingdom on earth.  If Jesus can raise the dead, he might just be the Messiah that Israel has been waiting for.

Jesus’ sudden rise in popularity is threatening to the chief priests who were given their positions by the Romans in exchange for keeping the peace.  They were afraid that the people might revolt and attempt to put Jesus on the throne.  This would bring swift and brutal force from the Roman army resulting in loss of life and the chief priests’ loss of positions.

Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a young donkey which was the royal mount in times of peace.  Had Jesus come to declare war, he would have ridden in on a horse.

Pay close attention to …

  • The depth of the chief priests’ unbelief and what they were willing to do to Lazarus.
  • What drove the crowd to follow Jesus to Jerusalem and what encouraged the people in Jerusalem to come out and greet him.
  • The song the people sing and what it says about Jesus.

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.

Philemon

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. Philemon is a personal letter from Paul to a wealthy slave owner named Philemon, hence the name. Slavery was pervasive in Roman society, and the church was slowly coming to grips with the implications of Christ’s teaching and the institution of slavery. Philemon was a Christian, but he was also a slave owner.

Paul writes on behalf of Philemon’s runaway slave, Onesimus, who has become a Christian through Paul. As a runaway, Onesimus was in serious legal trouble, but under Paul’s guidance, he agrees to return to his master. Paul is not condoning slavery, but is practicing the Christian idea of “submissive subversion”. Just as Christ took down Rome, and the power behind Rome (death), by submitting to death on the cross, so also Christians were called to bring down injustice, not through armed revolution, but by submitting to it. See 1 Corinthians 7:21-24; Ephesians 6:5-9.

Notice that Paul could order Philemon as to what he should do, how does Paul appeal to him instead? How does Paul refer to Onesimus? Does he consider Onesimus to be property or something else? How does Paul want Philemon to consider Onesimus from this point forward?

How does Onesimus’ new identity in Jesus undo his status as a slave? Why do you think Paul and Onesimus decided to ask Philemon for Onesimus’ freedom rather than demand it?

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.

Proverbs 8:1-21

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?

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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