John 17

Jesus’ prayer falls into three divisions:
(a) verses 1-5, for himself;
(b) verses 6-19, for the immediate circle of disciples;
(c) verses 20-26, for the great company who should afterwards believe.

  1. The hour of Jesus’ supreme has come (verse 1; cf. 2:4; 7:6, 30; 8:20; 13:1). How is this related to the glorifying of the Son and the Father (verses 1-4)?
    Already the glory of God has been seen in Jesus (1:14); how is it seen also in his disciples (verse 22)?
    When will they see the full glory of the Son (verses 5, 24)?
  2. In verses 6-14, note how many things Jesus has already done for his disciples.
  3. What does our Lord pray that the Father will do for those whom he has given him?
    Is this prayer being answered in you?
    Are you ‘truly sanctified’ (verse 19)?

Notes

  1. Verse 2. ‘Authority’, the whole of humanity lies within the sphere of Christ’s commission. Cf. Ps. 2:8; Matt. 28:18,19.
  2. Verse 5. A prayer that the glory, of which for a time he had ‘made himself nothing’ (Phil. 2:6, 7), might be restored to him.
  3. Verses 17, 19. Note the repetition of the word ‘sanctify’. Jesus sanctified himself to the holy Father in fulfillment of his perfect will, particularly in offering himself as the sacrifice for sin. Cf. Heb. 10:5-10. This shows what true sanctification involves.

Luke 16:14-31

For what was the rich man punished?
In what way does this parable reinforce the lesson of verse 9?
What does the parable teach about the reality of future punishment and the means of avoiding it?
What ought men to be doing now?
And why?

Note. Verses 16, 17. The ministry of John the Baptist marked the end of the Jewish prerogative.
Men of every race and kind could from now on come into the kingdom.
Yet the moral law remained unchanged; e.g., verses 18, the sanctity of marriage.

 

Luke 4:31-44

  1. What two facts about Jesus particularly impressed the people in the synagogue?
    Note also the even more discerning testimony of the demons (verses 34, 41).
    Why did Jesus silence this?
  2. This passage illustrates the busyness and urgency of Jesus’ mission (see especially verse 43).
    Why then did he retire to a lonely place (verse 42)?
    Cf., in this Gospel, 5:16; 6:12; 9:18, 28; 11:1; etc.
    What can we learn from this example?

Judges 7:24-8:35

  1. Note
    (a) Gideon’s dealings with the complaints of Ephraim and with the lack of co-operation of the elders of Succoth and Penuel;
    (b) the vigour of his pursuit and capture of Zebah and Zalmunna, and the respect that these princes showed him.
    What various aspects of character are revealed here?
  2. What temptation did Gideon overcome?
    Contrast, however, the frequent references to God’s guidance in the earlier part of the narrative with the entire absence of this in 8:24-27.
    Why did Gideon, who had given such able leadership in the national crisis, fail to give adequate leadership in a time of peace?
    Is it true that we tend to reply on God only when are ‘up against it’?

 

Note. The ephod of the high priest (Exod. 28) was a shoulder garment covering the breast and back, ornamented with gems and gold, and having in front the breastplate containing the Urim and Thummin, which were manipulated to discover God’s will. Gideon’s ephod (8:24-27) may have been an elaborate reproduction, or it may have been some kind of free-standing image. In any case it was used to ascertain God’s answer in a particular situation, but the people came to regard it as a kind of idol.

Judges 4

  1. Why do you think Barak was unwilling to undertake the campaign without Deborah?
    Does this reveal a defect in his faith?
    What insight does this give into God’s willingness to bear with our human frailty?
    Cf. Exod. 4:13-16; Jer. 16-8; 2 Cor. 3:5,6.
  2. Who was the real architect of Israel’s victory?
    Cf. Exod. 14:13; 2 Sam. 8:6, 14; 2 Chr. 20:15-17. What practical has application has this for us today?

Joshua 24

  1. Note the place chosen by Joshua for this occasion. Cf. Gen. 12:6, 7; 33:18, 19; Josh. 8:32-35; Acts 7:16. In what other ways did he seek to make this as impressive and memorable an event as possible?
    Consider verses 2-13; 14, 15; 19, 20; 22, 23; 25-28.
  2. What evidence is there in this chapter, despite all that God had done, of the superficiality and instability of the Israelites’ religious life?
    Cf. Hos. 6:4.

Joshua 3

  1. Work out the order of events, as the people entered the Promised Land.
    Note the parts played by God and by the people.
    What principles for progress in the Christian life are illustrated here?

Map: Click on the map to see the 40kms from Adam to the Arabah (the dead sea.

Map of Israel for the crossing into the promise Land

Map of Israel for the crossing into the promise Land