Daily Bible Readings – Monday, April 21, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 66

Prayer Point. Psalm 66 invites us to “shout to joy to God!”  and then proceeds to tell us the reasons why. “Come and see what God has done …” and what follows is the story of God’s rescue of Israel from slavery in Egypt. How has God saved you from a difficult place in your life? Remember what God has done and offer him your own prayer of thanksgiving.

Mark 16:1-8

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. There had not been enough time to properly prepare Jesus’ body because the Sabbath, which started on Friday night, was fast approaching. That Sabbath did not end until Saturday evening, which meant that Sunday morning was the first opportunity these women had to properly prepare Jesus’ body.

Women were so ill-regarded in Jesus’ day that their testimony was not accepted in court. Why do you think Jesus chose these women to be the first witnesses of the resurrection? Who are these women to witness to? What message does this angel have for the disciples and Peter?

Think about this, even if Jesus did overcome the odds and rise from the dead, what chance did the disciples have after they had fallen asleep during his last night with them, deserted him when the soldiers came and Peter denied him three times? Imagine how the disciples would have felt when they heard the news that Jesus was eager to meet with them in Galilee.

Obey. The three steps of Gospel obedience

  • Walk. 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 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.

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

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 is going to give us a summary of the gospel in chapter 15. In begins with the phrase, “… what I received I passed on to you …”

What do you notice about Paul’s description of the gospel? Is it a set of ideas, or a story tied to historical events? What do you think Paul means by his being ‘abnormally born’? See Acts 9:1-19. Why does Paul consider himself to be the least of the Apostles? ‘Apostle’ means ‘one who was sent.’ In this context, an Apostle was someone who was a witness to the resurrected Christ and sent by Christ to spread the news.

Obey. The three steps of Gospel obedience

  • Walk. 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 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.

Exodus 12:14-27

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. “This is a day you are to commemorate…” (Exodus 12:14 NIV)  What “day” is being commemorated?  (The Passover is the day to be commemorated.)

Why is the prohibition against yeast so severe?  (The easy answer is that because the people were to take flight at a moment’s notice, that bread made with leaven would not have time to rise.  It is clear that the LORD himself held this prohibition so highly that he ordered that anyone who disobeyed it would be cut off from Israel.  In time leaven would come to be a metaphor for sin in that it permeates so thoroughly the dough (or the bread).  Interestingly enough this same metaphor is also used for the kingdom of God to permeate throughout the world.  “And again he asked, ‘What shall I compare the kingdom of God to?  It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.’” (Luke 13:20-21 NIV)

This celebration is “bookended” (i.e., begins with and closes) with “a sacred assembly”.   What is this “sacred assembly” likened to?  What is permitted on these days?  (The sacred assembly was to be treated like a Sabbath.  Only food preparation was permitted on these two days.  Since the Passover was to be on the fourteenth day of the first month, it was to be treated as a Sabbath irrespective of whether it landed on the seventh day of the week.  Thus there may have been as many as three Sabbaths during that seven day period.)

What is the point of the “Feast of Unleavened Bread”?  (Verse 12:17 NIV “Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt.”

What is the penalty for violating this prohibition against use of yeast?  (“… for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel.” (12:15 NIV)

Who is bound to observe this celebration?  (“The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘These are the regulations for the Passover meal: No foreigner may eat it.  Any slave you have bought it may eat it after you have circumcised him, but temporary residents or a hired worker may not eat it. … No uncircumcised male may eat it.’” (Exodus 12:43, 48 NIV))

“What does this ceremony mean to you?” (v. 26).  Does this celebration hold any significance for you?  (The sacrificial lamb, the substitutional aspect of the blood of the lamb preserving life.  The Lamb of God.  The celebration of the Passover is easily compared with the institution of the LORD’s Supper (Eucharist) on Maundy Thursday.)

What will happen on this particular night in Egypt?  (The firstborn of all the Egyptians and all livestock will die as the Angel of Death goes among them.)

Obey. The three steps of Gospel obedience

  • Walk. 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 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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