Archive for February, 2010
The text for this lesson is Luke 17:11-19.
- In the same way He healed the men with leprosy, Jesus forgives and heals us from the sickness of sin and death. In faith, we respond with thankful hearts, praising Him for His love for us.
- Law: Sickness and disease are results of sin. Sickness shows me the effects of sin and how powerless I am to overcome it. In my sin, I cry to God for mercy.
- Gospel: Jesus came to heal me from the sickness of sin. God’s Son, Jesus, is the only one who overcame sin, and His victory is mine in faith. God hears my cry of faith and grants me forgiveness, life, and salvation.
1. Jesus’ miracles function as significant demonstrations of His power over all creation, but they also serve another important purpose. According to Luke 7:18–23, what did Jesus’ miracles, such as today’s story about the healing of the ten lepers, confirm for John the Baptist?
2. Samaria was located between Judea and Galilee, so Jesus from time to time did travel through Samaria. However, Jews made it a practice to avoid both Samaria and Samaritans. The Samaritans as a people were notorious for their religious promiscuity. They were known to have worshiped the gods of five other nations. They edited their own version of the Old Testament, known as the Samaritan Pentateuch, and they set up a rival temple on Mount Gerizim. Today’s lesson demonstrates an important point about the Samaritans’ status in Jesus’ eyes—He came for them too. How does this story illustrate the point Paul makes in Galatians 3:26–29?
3. Lepers lived at the bottom of society. One authority in Jesus’ day mandated fifty yards between a leper and a healthy person. They lived without hope, for doctors could not cure their skin diseases. Yet Jesus had great compassion for them. One of the first people Jesus healed was a leper. What is so striking about Jesus’ interaction with the leper in Luke 5:12–16? How does this correspond to the picture of the Messiah that Isaiah gives in Isaiah 53:3–4?
4. When Jesus healed the leper in Luke 5, He both spoke and touched the leper to heal him. Based on Luke 17:14, what seems to be the manner in which Jesus healed the ten lepers? How does Jesus speak in this manner today?
5. The lepers were instructed to go to the temple in Jerusalem in order to show themselves to the priests and perform ceremonial cleansing. At the temple, they would also have given thanks to God for the mercy He had shown to them by healing them. Yet the Samaritan recognized something very important that the other nine lepers did not. Instead of going to give thanks to God at the temple, where did the Samaritan go to give thanks to God? According to John 2:18–22, what would replace the temple in Jerusalem?
6. Most versions of the Bible, including the English Standard Version, have Jesus say to the Samaritan in Luke 17:19, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” While this translation is grammatically possible, a more literal translation would be, “Your faith has saved you.” All ten lepers certainly had faith that Jesus could heal them; they took Him at His Word when they went to show themselves to the priest. But only the Samaritan returned to worship God in the person of Jesus. Only the Samaritan had received true saving faith. What does this lesson teach us about faith? According to Ephesians 2:8–9, what is the true source of faith?
7. Today’s lesson about the ten lepers reminds us that sick and suffering people are all around us, even in the midst of our congregations. One of the responsibilities of pastors is to visit the sick in order to bring them Jesus’ Word and His life-giving body and blood. Yet visiting the sick is one of the good works that Jesus encourages all Christians to do. According to Matthew 25:31–40, what is the significance of visiting the sick? What does this passage teach us about the good works of Christians? How do Romans 14:23b and Ephesians 2:10 help explain this teaching about good works?
8. One of the oldest names that the Church has for the Lord’s Supper is Eucharist. This name comes from the Greek word εύχαριστέω (eucharisteo), which means “to be thankful” or “to give thanks.” When Jesus took the bread and cup at the Last Supper, He “gave thanks” for both of them (Luke 22:17, 19). The Church has often called the Lord’s Supper the Eucharist because Christians come before the altar in thanksgiving of what they are about to receive: Jesus’ true body and blood. In today’s lesson, the Samaritan returns to Jesus “thanking Him,” and in the Greek, the word is εύχαριστέω (eucharisteo). How do the Samaritan’s actions toward Jesus mirror our actions at the Lord’s Supper?
9. Jesus instructed the lepers to go to the priests at the temple in Jerusalem in order to be ceremonially cleansed. Once a person was physically cleansed, he needed spiritual cleansing as well. Leviticus 14:1–32 prescribes the cleansing ritual for a person who had been healed of a skin disease. The Old Testament laws for cleansing were in effect until Jesus fulfilled the Law through His death and resurrection. Instead of the Old Testament cleansing rituals, how does God cleanse us in the Church? Read the following passages and note the ways God cleanses us from sin.
a. Acts 15:5–11
b. 1 John 1:7–9
c. Ephesians 5:25–27
d. Hebrews 9:22
The text for this lesson is Luke 4:1-13.
- Like us, Jesus was tempted by Satan to sin. Yet for us, He overcame all temptation because we cannot.
- Law: God wants me to trust Him and not test His love and care for me.
- Gospel: In spite of my sinful ways that place me in harm, God watches over and protects me with His holy angels.
1. Hebrews 4:15 says that Jesus “in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Though it is possible for us to face a temptation without sinning, to what does the experience of temptation usually lead?
2. We learn in Jesus’ Baptism in Luke 3:21–23 that He is the Son of God. This is reiterated in His genealogy, but Luke 3:38 also calls Him “the son of Adam.” As we reflect on the fact that Jesus was both true God and true Man, what are we tempted to conclude about His temptation by Satan?
3. In this lesson, we see Jesus resist Satan by relying on the Word of God alone. He used no miracles, divine power, or deep theological insights. He overcame the devil by quoting the Book of Deuteronomy three times. What might this tempt us to identify as the main point of the story?
4. According to Matthew 3:13–15, why did Jesus come to be baptized by John? What does Jesus’ obedience under temptation do for us? What does Jesus’ obedience even to death on the cross do for us?
5. We noted above some of the Old Testament themes that appear in the account of Jesus’ temptation. In Genesis 2:16–17, God gave Adam permission to eat from any tree in the Garden of Eden except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. According to Genesis 3:1–3, what did Satan tempt Eve to do? In what way did she fail to respond properly? According to Exodus 17:1–7, how did the children of Israel tempt or test God in the wilderness? What is the significance of the location Massah and Meribah?
6. With regard to the first temptation, we know Jesus had received confirmation of His Sonship at His Baptism. According to Luke 4:3, how does Satan challenge that Sonship? Jesus’ response in Luke 4:4 is a quotation from Deuteronomy 8:1–3. Why could Jesus confidently rely on His Father to provide for Him?
7. With regard to the second temptation, Isaiah 52–53 tells us that Jesus will be the servant of the Lord who will suffer for the people but then be exalted. In Luke 4:5–7, what does Satan tempt Jesus to do? According to Luke 22:39–44, what struggle did Jesus continue to face? Jesus responds to Satan by quoting Deuteronomy 6:13. According to Deuteronomy 6:10–15, what provides the basis for serving the Lord God only?
8. Finally, we see the third temptation. “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose,” wrote Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice (Act 1, scene 3). In Luke 4:9–11, Satan rips Scripture verses out of context and makes himself sound very pious. After forty days of suffering in the wilderness, Jesus could have been aching for an external sign that His Father had not abandoned Him. Yet Jesus knew the background of Deuteronomy 6:16. In this verse, what is the significance of Massah for Jesus’ temptation? (Refer back to question 5.) According to Luke 4:13, what did Satan do after being defeated this time?
9. In Satan’s first temptation of Jesus, he tempts Him to despair of God’s mercy. What is despair, why is it dangerous, and how can it be overcome?
10. In the second temptation, Satan tempts Jesus toward an apparent good. Jesus came into the world to be a ruler, so why not just start now by worshiping the devil? What are some seemingly good things that tempt us? How does Jesus tell good from evil?
11. In the third temptation, Satan tempts Jesus by misusing God’s Word. He quotes out of context. This happens a great deal today. Consider the following paraphrases of Scripture, and provide examples of contemporary misuses of them: “Forgive others”; “Do not judge”; “God is love.” How does Jesus resist this temptation?
12. How does what happens to Jesus after His Baptism relate to our Christian life? According to 1 Peter 5:8–9, what expectation should a new Christian have after Baptism? Whom is Satan most interested in tempting? What is Satan’s ultimate goal? What is our best defense against Satan?
The text for this lesson is Luke 9:28-36.
- On the Mount of Transfiguration, God showed that His Son, Jesus, is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets and declared that we should listen to Jesus, our Savior.
- Law: God established the Law to show and tell me what He expects of me. Because of my sinfulness, I cannot keep the Law of God; God chose prophets to preach sin and repentance. In my sinfulness, I think I can please God and do His will. God tells me to listen to Jesus.
- Gospel: God gave me His Son, who alone could do all that God expects in the Law. God’s prophets pointed to Jesus, the promised Savior who kept the Law for me. God provided His Son, who alone could please God and do His will for me. God provides the Holy Spirit, who works through His Word so I can hear His message of salvation through the ears of faith.
1. In order to set the stage for our study of the transfiguration, read Luke 9:18–27. Based on the prophecy in Isaiah 53 that the Christ would be the Lord’s Suffering Servant, how is the suffering and death of Jesus alluded to in Luke 9:18–20? According to 9:21–22, what is the ultimate mission of the Son of Man? How does 9:23–27 indicate that the Christian life will not consist of a string of unbroken glorious times? How does a Christian take up his cross daily and follow Jesus?
2. The transfiguration story is filled with references and allusions to the Old Testament. Luke 9:29 describes Jesus’ physical transfiguration, when “the appearance of His face was altered, and His clothing became dazzling white.” Read Exodus 34:29–35. Who else’s face shone with divine glory—the glory of God? Where did this person go to meet with God? Luke 9:34–35 describes a cloud overshadowing the group, and the Father’s voice coming from the cloud. Read Exodus 24:12, 15–18. Who is involved in this story, and what does the cloud on the mountain represent? In Luke 1:76–79, how was the bright glory of Jesus foretold in the prophecy of John’s father, Zechariah?
3. Moses and Elijah are the only two Old Testament figures who spoke with God on Mount Sinai. There are similarities between Moses and Elijah and Jesus, but the New Testament is emphatic in portraying Jesus as the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets—one greater than any prophet. In Luke 9:35, Jesus is called “My Son, My Chosen One,” which are words that echo His Baptism in the Jordan. Neither Moses nor Elijah was ever called the “Son of God” or the “Chosen One.” In Luke 9:36, the disciples see that after all the excitement, “Jesus was found alone.” What could this tell us about the importance of Jesus in relation to Moses and Elijah? In John 1:14–17, to what could “we have seen His glory” refer? How does John depict the relationship between Moses and Jesus?
4. As we have noted, the Greek word translated as “departure” in Luke 9:31 is actually exodos or Exodus. According to Psalm 78:51–55, what did God do for His people in the exodus? Based on Exodus 19:1–6, how do you think the exodus provided the basis for all the future promises of God? What do the Old Testament exodus and the New Testament one of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension have in common?
5. We have already noted how the reference to Jesus’ exodus pointed to His passion, death, and resurrection. There are a number of other similarities and contrasts between the transfiguration and Jesus’ crucifixion. Read Luke 23:32–43 and identify some of these similarities and contrasts.
6. In Luke 24:4, the two angels at the empty tomb are there in “dazzling apparel,” using language similar to Jesus’ appearance at the transfiguration. This suggests a connection between the divine glory of Jesus shown in the transfiguration and of His subsequent glorification shown by the resurrection. It also points forward to the glory that we will share with Him when we are raised from the dead on the Last Day. What connection is there between Luke 24:44–47 and the transfiguration account?
7. Have you ever wondered what people talk about in heaven? Based on our lesson today, what do you think they talk about? What does this teach us about our lives here on earth?
8. What do we find Jesus doing in Luke 3:21–22 and 9:18–20? According to Luke 9:28, for what reason did Jesus go up on the mountain? What does this tells us about the transfiguration account? How could Jesus’ example apply to our own lives?
9. In Luke 9:35, the Father declares from heaven, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!” Read Deuteronomy 18:15–19. How does this passage from Moses shed light on the words of the Father at the transfiguration? The last part of the Father’s statement actually could be translated, “Continue always to listen to Him!” According to 2 Peter 1:16–21, who provided an eyewitness account of this event, and how can we continue to listen to Jesus?
The text for this lesson is Luke 5:1-11.
- Jesus chose ordinary, sinful men to follow Him and be His disciples. In Baptism, Jesus chooses us to be His children.
- Law: In my sin, I want to hide from Jesus. Because of sin, I doubt that Jesus is who He says He is. Because of my sin, my work is hard and often unfruitful.
- Gospel: In Jesus’ forgiveness, I find peace and favor with God. Jesus shows His power over sin and makes my work productive, giving forgiveness, new life, and salvation through His Word and Sacraments. God’s Word testifies repeatedly and consistently that Jesus is God’s Son.
1. Read Matthew 4:18–22. Does Matthew refer to the same event as Luke 5:1–11? What are the key differences between these stories? What is the difference between Jesus saying, “I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19) and “From now on you will be catching men” (Luke 5:10)?
2. The people had been astonished by the authority with which Jesus proclaimed the Word (Luke 4:32). Note that in Luke 5:1, the people are gathered around Him to “hear the word of God.” Luke is making it clear that, from Jesus’ time onward, hearing the Word of God is the same as hearing the Word of Jesus. Read Luke 8:21 and 11:28. What does Jesus say about those who receive His Word in faith? How does this message apply to us?
3. Read Isaiah 6:1–7. How was Isaiah’s experience similar to Peter’s? How were Isaiah and Peter both comforted? What do these stories tell us about God?
4. In Luke 5:10, Jesus tells Simon that he will begin catching men. In order to catch fish, you need a net and a boat. To catch men, Peter needed a means of catching people and a way to keep them alive. Read Acts 2:14, 36–42. What net does Peter use to catch people? Where were the people kept alive? How does this fishing expedition continue today?
5. Read Matthew 13:47–50. Though this parable is not a direct parallel to the story in Luke 5, it uses similar fishing imagery. What sobering fact does it teach us about the Church’s catch of men?
6. In today’s story, the fishermen fished with nets, not lines and hooks. Why is the image of a net bringing us into the Church more comforting than a hook?
7. Jesus brought about the miraculous catch of fish by His almighty power. In fact, the Greek does not say that the fishermen caught the fish but that the nets enclosed them. It was not an active accomplishment on the part of the fishermen. What comforting fact does this tell us about the mission of the Church?
8. Why would it not make much sense if every person was a professional fisherman? Why isn’t every Christian specifically called to be a fisher of men in the Office of the Holy Ministry?