Christmas Card 2013
3 years ago
An amateur Bible study leader shares thoughts, resources and studies, in hopes of getting to be a better teacher.
|by smithadri @ Flickr|
Matthew 24:36-44“No one knows when that day or hour will come. Even the angels in heaven and the Son don’t know. Only the Father knows. When the Son of Man comes again, it will be exactly like the days of Noah. In the days before the flood, people were eating, drinking, and getting married until the day that Noah went into the ship. They were not aware of what was happening until the flood came and swept all of them away. That is how it will be when the Son of Man comes again.
“At that time two men will be working in the field. One will be taken, and the other one will be left. Two women will be working at a mill. One will be taken, and the other one will be left.
“Therefore, be alert, because you don’t know on what day your Lord will return. You realize that if a homeowner had known at what time of the night a thief was coming, he would have stayed awake. He would not have let the thief break into his house. Therefore, you, too, must be ready because the Son of Man will return when you least expect him.”
Acts 7:54-60 As council members listened to Stephen, they became noticeably furious. But Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit. He looked into heaven, saw God’s glory, and Jesus in the position of authority that God gives. So Stephen said, “Look, I see heaven opened and the Son of Man in the position of authority that God has given him!” But the council members shouted and refused to listen. Then they rushed at Stephen with one purpose in mind, and after they had thrown him out of the city, they began to stone him to death. The witnesses left their coats with a young man named Saul. While council members were executing Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, welcome my spirit.” 60Then he knelt down and shouted, “Lord, don’t hold this sin against them.” After he had said this, he died.
Matthew 28:11-20 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city. They told the chief priests everything that had happened. The chief priests gathered together with the leaders and agreed on a plan. They gave the soldiers a large amount of money and told them to say that Jesus’ disciples had come at night and had stolen his body while they were sleeping. They added, “If the governor hears about it, we’ll take care of it, and you’ll have nothing to worry about.” The soldiers took the money and did as they were told. Their story has been spread among the Jewish people to this day.
The eleven disciples went to the mountain in Galilee where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they bowed down in worship, though some had doubts. When Jesus came near, he spoke to them. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. So wherever you go, make disciples of all nations: Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to do everything I have commanded you. “And remember that I am always with you until the end of time.”
All the tax collectors and sinners came to listen to Jesus. But the Pharisees and the scribes complained, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
Jesus spoke to them using this illustration: “Suppose a man has 100 sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the 99 sheep grazing in the pasture and look for the lost sheep until he finds it? When he finds it, he’s happy. He puts that sheep on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says to them, ‘Let’s celebrate! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ I can guarantee that there will be more happiness in heaven over one person who turns to God and changes the way he thinks and acts than over 99 people who already have turned to God and have his approval.”
The Lord is my shepherd. I am never in need.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside peaceful waters.
He renews my soul.
He guides me along the paths of righteousness for the sake of his name.
Even though I walk through the dark valley of death, because you are with me, I fear no harm.
Your rod and your staff give me courage.
You prepare a banquet for me while my enemies watch.
You anoint my head with oil.
My cup overflows.
Certainly, goodness and mercy will stay close to me all the days of my life, and I will remain in the Lord’s house for days without end.
Isaiah 44:28 [The Lord] says about Cyrus, “He is my shepherd. He will do everything I want him to do. He says about Jerusalem, “It will be rebuilt. He says about the temple, “Your foundation will be laid.”
Psalm 78:70-72 He chose his servant David. He took him from the sheep pens. He brought him from tending the ewes that had lambs so that David could be the shepherd of the people of Jacob, of Israel, the people who belonged to the LORD. With unselfish devotion David became their shepherd. With skill he guided them.
[Jesus speaking] “When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all his angels are with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. The people of every nation will be gathered in front of him. He will separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right but the goats on his left.”
|Shepherd outside Kabul, Afghanistan, 2008|
Very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb. They were carrying the spices that they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb. When they went in, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were puzzled about this, two men in clothes that were as bright as lightning suddenly stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed to the ground.
The men asked the women, “Why are you looking among the dead for the living one? He’s not here. He has been brought back to life! Remember what he told you while he was still in Galilee. He said, ‘The Son of Man must be handed over to sinful people, be crucified, and come back to life on the third day.’ ” Then the women remembered what Jesus had told them.
The women left the tomb and went back to the city. They told everything to the eleven apostles and all the others. The women were Mary from Magdala, Joanna, and Mary (the mother of James). There were also other women with them. They told the apostles everything. The apostles thought that the women’s story didn’t make any sense, and they didn’t believe them.
But Peter got up and ran to the tomb. He bent down to look inside and saw only the strips of linen. Then he went away, wondering what had happened.
Jesus Appears to Disciples on a Road to Emmaus
On the same day, two of Jesus’ disciples were going to a village called Emmaus. It was about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking to each other about everything that had happened. While they were talking, Jesus approached them and began walking with them. Although they saw him, they didn’t recognize him. He asked them, “What are you discussing?”
They stopped and looked very sad. One of them, Cleopas, replied, “Are you the only one in Jerusalem who doesn’t know what has happened recently?”
“What happened?” he asked. They said to him, “We were discussing what happened to Jesus from Nazareth. He was a powerful prophet in what he did and said in the sight of God and all the people. Our chief priests and rulers had him condemned to death and crucified. We were hoping that he was the one who would free Israel. What’s more, this is now the third day since everything happened. Some of the women from our group startled us. They went to the tomb early this morning and didn’t find his body. They told us that they had seen angels who said that he’s alive. Some of our men went to the tomb and found it empty, as the women had said, but they didn’t see him.”
Then Jesus said to them, “How foolish you are! You’re so slow to believe everything the prophets said! Didn’t the Messiah have to suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then he began with Moses’ Teachings and the Prophets to explain to them what was said about him throughout the Scriptures. When they came near the village where they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. They urged him, “Stay with us! It’s getting late, and the day is almost over.” So he went to stay with them.
While he was at the table with them, he took bread and blessed it. He broke the bread and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. But he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Weren’t we excited when he talked with us on the road and opened up the meaning of the Scriptures for us?” That same hour they went back to Jerusalem. They found the eleven apostles and those who were with them gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has really come back to life and has appeared to Simon.”
Then the two disciples told what had happened on the road and how they had recognized Jesus when he broke the bread.