Mon 25/3/19

Matthew 27:32-56 … THE CRUCIFIXION, SUFFERING, AND DEATH OF JESUS.

Q.1. Why was Simon made to carry the cross? Did Jesus take the wine they offered? What do you make of disposal of His gown? What was His crime? – (Mt.27:32-37) =

Q.2. With whom was Jesus crucified? What was the ultimate insult of the spectators ? Why was Christ’s suffering shrouded in darkness? What was His greatest suffering? – (Mt.27:38-46) =

Q.3. What did the crowd make of His utterance? How did Jesus die? What miracles attended His death? Which disciples did not forsake Him? – (Mt.27:47-56) =

The Crucifixion

32 As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross. 33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34 they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it.35 And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. 36 Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. 37 And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” 38 Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. 39 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, 42 “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”44 And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.

The Death of Jesus

45 Now from the sixth hour[a] there was darkness over all the land[b] until the ninth hour.[c] 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47 And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” 48 And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. 49 But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son[d] of God!”

55 There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, 56 among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. Why was Simon made to carry the cross? Did Jesus take the wine they offered? What do you make of disposal of His gown? What was His crime? – (Mt.27:32-37) = We learn from the New Testament that Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus (Mk.13:21). Rufus is commended by Paul in Romans 16:13. Simon came from Cyrene in Northern Africa. Cyreneans were again present on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:10) and we are told that they joined the Christians from Cyprus to spread the gospel to non-Jews (Acts 11:20). According to John, Jesus carried the cross most of the way (Jn.19:17) and Simon was made to carry the heavy cross by force (Lk.23:26). The place of crucifixion was called Golgotha signifying that the hill looked like a skull (Mt.27:33). Jesus was unwilling to take the stupefying drink of wine & gall. He would drink the cup of death in full for us! (Mt.27:34). The soldiers callously fulfilled the scriptures in Psalm 22:18 by casting lots for His garments (Mt.27:35-36). Jesus was not controlling their actions. Pilate placed a sign with the charge against Jesus – This is Jesus, the King of the Jews (Mt.27:37). It was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. John tells us that the chief priest disputed with Pilate about the wording. However, Pilate stubbornly refused to change what he knew was the real claim of Jesus and the reason for His rejection (Jn.19-19-22).

Q.2. With whom was Jesus crucified? What was the ultimate insult of the spectators? Why was Christ’s suffering shrouded in darkness? What was His greatest suffering? – (Mt.27:38-46) = Isaiah foretold – … He poured out Himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He bore the sins of many and interceded for the transgressors (Isa.53:12). This remarkable prophecy came to pass when Jesus was crucified between two robbers, and promised one a home in Paradise (Mt.27:38 c.f. Lk.23:33-34, 43). Those passing by dealt Him the ultimate insult by claiming they would believe in Him if He came down from the cross (Mt.27:39-42). Little did they realize that, if He had come down, sinners would have no sin-bearer or substitute to atone for their sins. They saw His claim to be the Son of God as baseless, and that His death was evidence that the Father did not delight in Him (Mt.27:43). The opposite was true! As the end drew near, His greatest suffering was hidden from the view of spectators from midday as – from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour (Mt.27:45). He experienced shocking mistreatment, the agony of the cross, and the insults from those for whom He bled and died. Yet His greatest suffering came when He was alienated from His Father for the first time in time and eternity as – He cried out with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani? That is – My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? (Mt.27:46).

Q.3. What did the crowd make of His utterance? How did Jesus die? What miracles attended His death? Which disciples did not forsake Him? – (Mt.27:47-56) = Pilate had identified Jesus as the King of the Jews in the Roman, Hebrew, and Greek languages (Jn.19:20). Other language groups attended the  Jewish festivals (as occurred at Pentecost – c.f. Acts 2:5-11). Jesus would have read the Scriptures in Hebrew but generally spoke Aramaic. It is possible that some of the crowd misunderstood the cry – Eloi and thought – This man is calling for Elijah (Mt.27:47 c.f. Mal.4:5). But it is more likely that they were mocking Him (Mt.27:49). Jesus had claimed – No one has taken My life away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative … (Jn.10:18). Accordingly – Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit (Mt.27:50). A thick curtain separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place that could only be entered once a year by the high priest, but not without blood (c.f. Heb.9:3-7). This veil was torn in two from top to bottom (Mt.27:51). His death was accompanied by some dramatic signs. There was an earthquake, and a number of saints were resurrected temporarily and appeared to many (Mt.27:51-53). These signs made a significant impact, and it is recorded – the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Mt.27:54). Though He died very much alone, some faithful women, and the apostle John were with Him in His death – 55 Many women were there looking on from a distance. These had followed Jesus from Galilee while ministering to Him. 56 Among them was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee (Mt.27:55-56 c.f. Jn.19:25-27).


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@cityreach.com.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

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Sat 23/3/19

1 Corinthians 16:1-12 … GUIDELINES ON GIVING AND MINISTRY IN THE EARLY CHURCH.

Q.1. What practice was followed regarding giving in the churches? How can we ensure we give responsibly? Where was it to be given? Was it restricted to local use? – (1 Cor.16:1-3 c.f. 1 Cor.9:14) =

Q.2. How did Paul make his plans for ministry? Why was he staying on at Ephesus? How were they to treat Timothy? What message did he relay from Apollos? – (1 Cor.16:4-12) =

The Collection for the Saints

16 Now concerning[a] the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem. If it seems advisable that I should go also, they will accompany me.

Plans for Travel

I will visit you after passing through Macedonia, for I intend to pass through Macedonia, and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter, so that you may help me on my journey, wherever I go. For I do not want to see you now just in passing. I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

10 When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord, as I am. 11 So let no one despise him. Help him on his way in peace, that he may return to me, for I am expecting him with the brothers.

Final Instructions

12 Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to visit you with the other brothers, but it was not at all his will[b] to come now. He will come when he has opportunity.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. What practice was followed regarding giving in the churches? How can we ensure we give responsibly? Where was it to be given? Was it restricted to local use? – (1 Cor.16:1-3 c.f. 1 Cor.9:14) = Paul had already discussed the appropriateness of supporting those involved in preaching the gospel, though he generally supported himself by working as a tent-maker (1 Cor.9:8-14 c.f. 1 Thes.1:9; 2 Thes.3:7-9). Remuneration of God’s servants applied especially to –those who work hard at preaching and teaching (1 Tim.5:17-18). Here Paul explained how such workers could be supported by the gifts of God’s people. He advocated the guidelines followed by all the churches that – On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come (1 Cor.16:2). Giving was not to be spasmodic but weekly, so the offerings could be set aside and stored to meet the demands of the ministry, and the mission of the local church (c.f. Mal.3:10). He gave further insights about giving in his second letter (2 Cor.chpts.8-9). We know from the mouth of Jesus, that it is not so much the amount of the gift. Rather, giving is to be an expression of gratitude for how God has prospered us (1 Cor.16:2 c.f. Lk.21:1-4; 2 Cor.9:6-8). The very fact that Paul spoke about collections for the Jerusalem church makes it clear that gifts were shared with other churches (1 Cor.16:3 c.f. Acts 11:29-30).

Q.2. How did Paul make his plans for ministry? Why was he staying on at Ephesus? How were they to treat Timothy? What message did he relay from Apollos? – (1 Cor.16:4-12) = Paul outlined his movements and expressed his wish to visit the Corinthians. Nevertheless, he first intended to stay in Ephesus until the feast of Pentecost, because – a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries (1 Cor.16:9). Paul found it hard to resist opportunities to share the gospel. However, he sometimes had to change his plans suddenly because of dangerous opposition. Beyond all that, Paul wisely only proceeded – if the Lord permits (1 Cor.16:7). He was aware of Timothy’s timidity, and so tried to forestall any disrespect for the less dynamic servant of God, and asked – 10 if Timothy comes, see that he is with you without cause to be afraid, for he is doing the Lord’s work, as I also am. 11 So let no one despise him. But send him on his way in peace, so that he may come to me (1 Cor.16:10-11). By contrast, Apollos was his own man and, though Paul had encouraged him to visit the Corinthians  (1 Cor.16:12 c.f. Acts 18:24-28). This did not fit into his current plans.


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@oakdenbaptist.org.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

Fri 22/3/19

Isaiah 62:1-12 … GOD HAS RAISED UP WATCHMEN TO INTERCEDE FOR ISRAEL.

Q.1. Should Christian believers pray for the blessing of Zion? What should we pray for Israel? How will such prayers bring blessings to us? – (Isa.62:1-5) =

Q.2. What is a watchman’s role? How should we pray and act? What encouraging message has God given us to pass on to the people of Israel? – (Isa.62:6-12) =

Zion’s Coming Salvation

62 For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
    and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet,
until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,
    and her salvation as a burning torch.
The nations shall see your righteousness,
    and all the kings your glory,
and you shall be called by a new name
    that the mouth of the Lord will give.
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
    and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
You shall no more be termed Forsaken,[a]
    and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,[b]
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,[c]
    and your land Married;[d]
for the Lord delights in you,
    and your land shall be married.
For as a young man marries a young woman,
    so shall your sons marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
    so shall your God rejoice over you.

On your walls, O Jerusalem,
    I have set watchmen;
all the day and all the night
    they shall never be silent.
You who put the Lord in remembrance,
    take no rest,
and give him no rest
    until he establishes Jerusalem
    and makes it a praise in the earth.
The Lord has sworn by his right hand
    and by his mighty arm:
“I will not again give your grain
    to be food for your enemies,
and foreigners shall not drink your wine
    for which you have labored;
but those who garner it shall eat it
    and praise the Lord,
and those who gather it shall drink it
    in the courts of my sanctuary.”[e]

10 Go through, go through the gates;
    prepare the way for the people;
build up, build up the highway;
    clear it of stones;
    lift up a signal over the peoples.
11 Behold, the Lord has proclaimed
    to the end of the earth:
Say to the daughter of Zion,
    “Behold, your salvation comes;
behold, his reward is with him,
    and his recompense before him.”
12 And they shall be called The Holy People,
    The Redeemed of the Lord;
and you shall be called Sought Out,
    A City Not Forsaken.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. Should Christian believers pray for the blessing of Zion? What should we pray for Israel? How will such prayers bring blessings to us? – (Isa.62:1-5) = Isaiah the prophet believed in interceding for the people he had been called to serve. His prayers were very specific – for Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not keep quiet, until her righteousness goes forth like brightness, and her salvation like a torch that is burning (Isa.62:1). This is in keeping with Abraham who prayed for Lot in Sodom, Samuel after Israel sought a king, and Daniel when he understood that Judah’s exile was coming to a close  (c.f. Gen.18:16-33); 1 Sam.12:19-24; Dan.9:1-19). It is in the vein of Paul’s prayers for Israel – 9:1 I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart … 10:1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation (Rom.9.1-2; 10:1). We are to be Christ’s witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the remotest parts of the world (Acts 1:8). The nations consider that Israel is forsaken and desolate (Isa.62:4-5, 12). We should pray earnestly that they will be restored and married once more as promised – so your God will rejoice over you (Isa.62:5 c.f. Isa.62:4-5). Our prayers should continue – 1 … Until her righteousness goes forth like brightness, and her salvation like a torch that is burning. 2 The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; And you will be called by a new name which the mouth of the Lord will designate. 3 You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God (Isa.62:1-3). This will happen at the completion of the Great Tribulation when Christ establishes His Millennial Reign on a re-landscaped Mount Zion, with the twelve tribes of Israel around it (Ezk.chpts.40-48). When that is accomplished, we will reign with Christ (2 Tim.2:10-13; Rev.20:6).

Q.2. What is a watchman’s role? How should we pray and act? What encouraging message has God given us to pass on to the people of Israel? – (Isa.62:6-12) = Isaiah calls for others to join him as watchmen – 6 On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen; All day and all night they will never keep silent. You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves; 7 And give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isa.62:6-7). It is like the request in the Lord’s Prayer – May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Mt.6:10). We are called to be watchmen and to constantly petition the throne of grace . This is so because we are living in the Last Days that require vigilance and perseverance (Lk.21:34-36). Peter urged us – since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God … (2 Pet.3:11-12). We are to enter into God’s plans and not be pre-occupied with our own. The Lord promised that a time will come when Israel will never again be threatened by her enemies (Isa.62:7-9). Israel’s fortunes will be forever changed – 11 Behold, the Lord has proclaimed to the end of the earth, say to the daughter of Zion, “Lo, your salvation comes; Behold His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him.” 12 And they will call them, “the holy people, the redeemed of the Lord”; And you will be called, “Sought out, a city not forsaken.” (Isa.62:11-12). What a wonderful day this will be!


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@oakdenbaptist.org.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

Thurs 21/3/19

Psalm 48:1-14 … PRAISE FOR THE GOD WHO DWELLS IN ZION FOREVER.

Q.1. What made Mount Zion special? To whom is Zion special? What impact does Zion have on the surrounding nations? Why will it always be special? – (Ps.48:1-8) =

Q.2. Why is God to be greatly praised? How did Zion distinguish itself? What is the point of thinking about Zion? Should this include the Gentiles? Why? – (Ps.48:1, 9-14) =

Zion, the City of Our God

A Song. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.

48 Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised
    in the city of our God!
His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation,
    is the joy of all the earth,
Mount Zion, in the far north,
    the city of the great King.
Within her citadels God
    has made himself known as a fortress.

For behold, the kings assembled;
    they came on together.
As soon as they saw it, they were astounded;
    they were in panic; they took to flight.
Trembling took hold of them there,
    anguish as of a woman in labor.
By the east wind you shattered
    the ships of Tarshish.
As we have heard, so have we seen
    in the city of the Lord of hosts,
in the city of our God,
    which God will establish forever. Selah

We have thought on your steadfast love, O God,
    in the midst of your temple.
10 As your name, O God,
    so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth.
Your right hand is filled with righteousness.
11     Let Mount Zion be glad!
Let the daughters of Judah rejoice
    because of your judgments!

12 Walk about Zion, go around her,
    number her towers,
13 consider well her ramparts,
    go through her citadels,
that you may tell the next generation
14     that this is God,
our God forever and ever.
    He will guide us forever.[a]

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. What made Mount Zion special? To whom is Zion special? What impact does Zion have on the surrounding nations? Why will it always be special? – (Ps.48:1-8) = Jerusalem was situated on Mount Zion – the city of God, His holy mountain … the city of the great king (Ps.48:1-2). It is surely not the most beautiful place or the joy of the whole earth today. There are many more beautiful places and cities on earth. But to the Psalmist, one of the sons of Korah, it was tops because of what it represented to them. It was the city of which God had told Solomon – I have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice (2 Chron.7:12 c.f. Dt.12:5). It was the place where David had brought the ark of the covenant – which is called by the Name, the very name of the Lord of hosts who is enthroned above the cherubim (2 Sam.6:2 c.f. Ex.25:22). It was the centre to which Israelites were expected to gather at least at three of the seven festivals (c.f. Ex.23:14-17; Lev.23:1-43). To the surrounding nations, Mount Zion was an impregnable stronghold that could be defended, and caused alarm to Israel’s opponents (Ps.48:3-6). God’s people felt safe since – in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God; God will establish her forever (Ps.48:8). This psalm is prophetic because we know that Mount Zion will be elevated above all the cities on earth forever and will be the place from which King Jesus will teach the nations (c.f. Isa.2:2-5; Mic.4:1-7). Then it will undoubtedly be – beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth … the city of the great King (Ps.48:2).

Q.2. Why is God to be greatly praised? How did Zion distinguish itself? What is the point of thinking about Zion? Should this include the Gentiles? Why? – (Ps.48:1, 9-14) = This psalm is not just a tribute to a city or its temple. It is a song that praises the God Who dwells there. The psalmist notes – Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised … As is Your name, O God, so is Your praise to the ends of the earth; Your right hand is full of righteousness … because of Your judgments (Ps.48:1, 10-11). It is only when God is present that this place is special. During Solomon’s time, the city, palace, and temple were magnificently adorned, until it was later destroyed (Ps.48:12-13 c.f. 1 Kgs.6:1-38; Lk.21:5). Korah did not want this place to be forgotten, and urged people to – … tell it to the next generation. For such is God, our God forever and ever; He will guide us until death (Ps.48:13-14). The plans God has for Mount Zion relate to Israel in this age, and the one to come. The question arises, whether Mount Zion has any relevance for believers? Unlike Israel which has an earthly territory, the Christian’s citizenship is in heaven (Phil.3:20-21). However, the New Testament makes it clear that Israel and the Gentiles are inseparably linked under the eternal plans and purpose of God (Rom.11:11-36; Eph.2:11-22; 3:1-12). We should follow with interest what is happening with Israel, because our future in the Millennial Kingdom will not occur till the Lord has completed His purpose for that nation.


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@cityreach.com.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

Wed 20/3/19

1 Samuel 13:1-23 … SAUL EXCEEDS HIS AUTHORITY AND MADE A BURNT OFFERING.

Q.1. How did the Philistines react to their defeat? What is a garrison? Why was Israel odious to the Philistines? What was the Israeli army’s response? – (1 Sam.13:1-7, 23) =

Q.2. What possessed Saul to make an offering? What kind of a king was God wanting? Why was this essential? What made Israel dependent on the Philistines? – (1 Sam.13:8-22) =

Saul Fights the Philistines

13 Saul lived for one year and then became king, and when he had reigned for two years over Israel,[a] Saul chose three thousand men of Israel. Two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and the hill country of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin. The rest of the people he sent home, every man to his tent. Jonathan defeated the garrison of the Philistines that was at Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, “Let the Hebrews hear.” And all Israel heard it said that Saul had defeated the garrison of the Philistines, and also that Israel had become a stench to the Philistines. And the people were called out to join Saul at Gilgal.

And the Philistines mustered to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots and six thousand horsemen and troops like the sand on the seashore in multitude. They came up and encamped in Michmash, to the east of Beth-aven. When the men of Israel saw that they were in trouble (for the people were hard pressed), the people hid themselves in caves and in holes and in rocks and in tombs and in cisterns, and some Hebrews crossed the fords of the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul was still at Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.

Saul’s Unlawful Sacrifice

He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him. So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. 10 As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him. 11 Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, 12 I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.” 13 And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince[b] over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”15 And Samuel arose and went up from Gilgal. The rest of the people went up after Saul to meet the army; they went up from Gilgal[c] to Gibeah of Benjamin.

And Saul numbered the people who were present with him, about six hundred men. 16 And Saul and Jonathan his son and the people who were present with them stayed in Geba of Benjamin, but the Philistines encamped in Michmash. 17 And raiders came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies. One company turned toward Ophrah, to the land of Shual; 18 another company turned toward Beth-horon; and another company turned toward the border that looks down on the Valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness.

19 Now there was no blacksmith to be found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, “Lest the Hebrews make themselves swords or spears.” 20 But every one of the Israelites went down to the Philistines to sharpen his plowshare, his mattock, his axe, or his sickle,[d]21 and the charge was two-thirds of a shekel[e] for the plowshares and for the mattocks, and a third of a shekel[f] for sharpening the axes and for setting the goads.[g] 22 So on the day of the battle there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people with Saul and Jonathan, but Saul and Jonathan his son had them. 23 And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the pass of Michmash.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. How did the Philistines react to their defeat? What is a garrison? Why was Israel odious to the Philistines? What was the Israeli army’s response? – (1 Sam.13:1-7, 23) = At the close of this chapter, we discover that the Philistines had advanced beyond the Israelites in technology (1 Sam.13:19-23). The victory over a city of the Philistines was therefore surprising, and King Saul used it to galvanize his army – Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. Then Saul blew the trumpet throughout the land, saying, “Let the Hebrews hear.” (1 Sam.13:3). As a result – Israel had become odious to the Philistines (1 Sam.13:4). What was a garrison and why did it destruction bring such a reaction? Some translators see it as a regiment, while others believe it was the city’s banner or ensign, under which the soldiers marched. The Complete Jewish Study Bible renders it – Y’honatan assassinated the governor of the P’lishtim in Geva (1 Sam.13:3). Whether it was a regiment, the flag, or governor, their defeat brought a swift reaction. The Philistines amassed their army in retaliation against Israel, at Michmash where Saul was located (1 Sam.13:2 & 5). The army of Philistia was vastly superior, so – 6 … the people hid themselves in caves, in thickets, in cliffs, in cellars, and in pits. 7 Also some of the Hebrews crossed the Jordan into the land of Gad and Gilead. But as for Saul, he was still in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling (1 Sam.13:6-7). This is the first time we are introduced to the godly son of Saul, Jonathan (1 Sam.13:2-3 & 16).

Q.2. What possessed Saul to make an offering? What kind of a king was God wanting? Why was this essential? What made Israel dependent on the Philistines? – (1 Sam.13:8-22) = As the story unfolds, we find that the prophet Samuel had directed Saul to wait for him (1 Sam.13:8). When he did not come, Saul took matters into his own hands and ordered – … “Bring to me the burnt offering and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering (1 Sam.13:9). This was not his prerogative, since he was not ordained to be a priest. No sooner had he finished, than Samuel arrived and asked – What have you done? (1 Sam.13:11 c.f. Gen.3:13). Saul claimed he took the action to stop his army from fleeing, and to seek for the Lord’s favour (1 Sam.13:11-12). Samuel summed up his sin twice, by reminding him – you have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God (1 Sam.13:13 & 14). Worse was to come as Samuel delivered God’s pronouncement – 13 … the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not endure. The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people … (1 Sam.13:13-14 c.f. Acts 13:22). To this day, the Lord seeks a people who will trust and obey. After all his fleshly schemes, Saul only had 600 men remaining of the 3,000 he had chosen previously (1 Sam.13:2 & 15). We also learn how dependent the Israelites were on the Philistines for their agricultural implements, because they lacked blacksmithing skills (1 Sam.13:19-21). In fact the Philistines withheld the technology from them – otherwise the Hebrews will make swords and spears (1 Sam.13:19). Only Saul and Jonathan had managed to have a sword and spear (1 Sam.13:22). Later David would flee for refuge from Saul, to the Philistines for a year and four months. Achish of Gath gave him the city of Ziglag for his band of raiders and their families (1 Sam.27:1-7). Here David and his men learned the blacksmithing skills the Israelites had previously lacked.


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@oakdenbaptist.org.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

Tues 19/3/19

Exodus 5:1-23 … PHARAOH INCREASES ISRAEL’S LABOUR AFTER THE REQUEST OF MOSES.

Q.1. What request did Moses and Aaron make? For what purpose? How did Pharaoh react? What instruction did he give the taskmasters? How was it enforced? – (Ex.5:1-14) =

Q.2. What did Israel’s foremen do? How did they respond to Moses and Aaron? What did Moses do about the impasse? What was his complaint to God? – (Ex.5:15-23) =

Making Bricks Without Straw

Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.’” But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.” Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God, lest he fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.” But the king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people away from their work? Get back to your burdens.” And Pharaoh said, “Behold, the people of the land are now many,[a] and you make them rest from their burdens!” The same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their foremen, “You shall no longer give the people straw to make bricks, as in the past; let them go and gather straw for themselves. But the number of bricks that they made in the past you shall impose on them, you shall by no means reduce it, for they are idle. Therefore they cry, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifice to our God.’ Let heavier work be laid on the men that they may labor at it and pay no regard to lying words.”

10 So the taskmasters and the foremen of the people went out and said to the people, “Thus says Pharaoh, ‘I will not give you straw. 11 Go and get your straw yourselves wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced in the least.’” 12 So the people were scattered throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. 13 The taskmasters were urgent, saying, “Complete your work, your daily task each day, as when there was straw.” 14 And the foremen of the people of Israel, whom Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten and were asked, “Why have you not done all your task of making bricks today and yesterday, as in the past?”

15 Then the foremen of the people of Israel came and cried to Pharaoh, “Why do you treat your servants like this? 16 No straw is given to your servants, yet they say to us, ‘Make bricks!’ And behold, your servants are beaten; but the fault is in your own people.” 17 But he said, “You are idle, you are idle; that is why you say, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.’ 18 Go now and work. No straw will be given you, but you must still deliver the same number of bricks.” 19 The foremen of the people of Israel saw that they were in trouble when they said, “You shall by no means reduce your number of bricks, your daily task each day.” 20 They met Moses and Aaron, who were waiting for them, as they came out from Pharaoh; 21 and they said to them, “The Lord look on you and judge, because you have made us stink in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants, and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.”

22 Then Moses turned to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me? 23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all.”

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. What request did Moses and Aaron make? For what purpose? How did Pharaoh react? What instruction did he give the taskmasters? How was it enforced? – (Ex.5:1-14) = After the promising start, Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said – … “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, `Let My people go that they may celebrate a feast to Me in the wilderness.'” (Ex.5:1 c.f. Ex.4:31; 3:10; 4:22-23). The Egyptians were polytheists and the Lord wanted His people out of Egypt. They relayed God’s request – … The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God, otherwise He will fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword (Ex.5:3). Pharaoh indicated that their God meant nothing to him (Ex.5:2). He retaliated by accusing them of distracting his labour force and as a consequence, he would increase their workload to teach them a lesson (Ex.3:2, 4-9). Egypt’s taskmasters enforced the new demands while withholding straw to make the bricks. When the people failed, the taskmasters began to beat the foremen (Ex.5:10-14).

Q.2. What did Israel’s foremen do? How did they respond to Moses and Aaron? What did Moses do about the impasse? What was his complaint to God? – (Ex.5:15-23) = The Israeli foremen went to Pharaoh to complain about their unfair treatment (Ex.5:15-16). Their pleas fell on deaf ears, and Pharaoh accused them – … “You are lazy, very lazy; therefore you say, `Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.’ (Ex.5:17). He reinforced the quotas required, without the previous provision of straw (Ex.5:18-19). In their despair, Israel’s taskmasters attacked Moses and Aaron saying – … May the Lord look upon you and judge you, for you have made us odious in Pharaoh’s sight and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us (Ex.5:21). As so often happens, they turned on Moses and Aaron rather than the enemy. To his credit, Moses went straight to God with his complaint – 22 … O Lord, why have You brought harm to this people? Why did You ever send me? 23 Ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done harm to this people, and You have not delivered Your people at all (Ex.5:22-23). Moses was ever the reluctant leader, and opened his heart up to God. This is the best way to go.


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@oakdenbaptist.org.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

Mon 18/3/19

Matthew 27:11-31 … THE JEWS MALIGN AND DEMAND THAT JESUS BE CRUCIFIED.

Q.1. Why did Jesus reply to Pilate but not to the chief priests and elders? What had Pilate concluded about the charges? Why did he offer the release of a prisoner? – (Mt.27:11-18) =

Q.2. Was Pilate wise to ignore the warning of his wife? Who was Barabbas? Why did the crowds want Jesus crucified? How great was their folly? – (Mt.27:19-25) =

Q.3. Did Pilate consider Jesus guilty of any crime? How did he try to distance himself from their determination? How was Jesus treated by Pilate and his soldiers? – (Mt.27:23-31) =

Jesus Before Pilate

11 Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You have said so.” 12 But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer.13 Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?” 14 But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.

The Crowd Chooses Barabbas

15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted. 16 And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. 17 So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up. 19 Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.” 20 Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. 21 The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” 22 Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” 23 And he said, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”

Pilate Delivers Jesus to Be Crucified

24 So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood;[a] see to it yourselves.” 25 And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”26 Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged[b] Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.

Jesus Is Mocked

27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters,[c] and they gathered the whole battalion[d] before him.28 And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. Why did Jesus reply to Pilate but not to the chief priests and elders? What had Pilate concluded about the charges? Why did he offer the release of a prisoner? – (Mt.27:11-18) = Jesus happily responded to the ignorant Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate. He acknowledged to Pilate that He was indeed the promised King of Israel (Mt.27:11-12). He gave no response to the chief priests, because they had no interest in the truth, and blasphemed against the Holy Spirit – an unforgivable sin (Mark 3:28-30). Pilate was amazed that Jesus said nothing to defend Himself against their false charges – For he knew that because of envy they had handed Him over (Mt.27:18). Pilate, instead of exonerating Jesus, gave the Jewish mob an offer of releasing a prisoner. It was his custom to release a criminal on at a Jewish Feast. It may have been a weak attempt to free Jesus.

Q.2. Was Pilate wise to ignore the warning of his wife? Who was Barabbas? Why did the crowds want Jesus crucified? How great was their folly? – (Mt.27:19-25) = While Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat – … his wife sent him a message, saying, “Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him.” (Mt.27:19). But to his everlasting shame, Pilate foolishly rejected her warning. Barabbas was a notorious prisoner and a murderer (Mt.27:16 c.f. Mk.15:7). Pilate’s attempts to free Jesus backfired because the determined leaders had persuaded the crowds to ask for the release of Barabbas, and the crucifixion of Jesus (Mt.27:20-23). The people made a chilling decision for themselves and future generations, and insisted – His blood be on us and on our children! (Mt.27:25). He had healed their sick, and with integrity had taught the ways of God. They rejected their King on what we call ‘Palm Sunday’. Now they callously called for the blood of the only perfect sinless Man to walk on the earth, to fulfil His Word – so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah … whom you murdered between the temple and the altar (Mt.23:35 c.f. Zech.1:1).

Q.3. Did Pilate consider Jesus guilty of any crime? How did he try to distance himself from their determination? How was Jesus treated by Pilate and his soldiers? – (Mt.27:23-31) = Pilate was in no doubt that Jesus was innocent, and told the religious leaders that both Herod and he had found that – He has done nothing to deserve death (c.f. Lk.23:15). Pilate knew that this was manifestly unjust but washed his hands declaring – I am innocent of this Man’s blood (Mt.27:24). No ritual washing could remove the stain from the hands of Pilate. There were many participants guilty of Christ’s death, especially the Jewish leaders and the people. However, the Scriptures leave us in no doubt that Jesus became the sinners substitute and sin-bearer. This included for the faithful women, the frightened disciples, and all who trusted in God before the atonement, and all who have placed their trust in Jesus since the resurrection. We say – Hallelujah, what a Saviour! The scourging of Jesus would have almost killed Him (Mt.27:26). However, they were far from finished with their cruel sport. A battalion of soldiers now stripped Him, pressed the poisonous crown of thorns on His head, bowed in mock worship, beat Him more severely, and spat on Him as a prelude to killing Him in the most painful way possible. None of the ugliness of sin was withheld from the Son of God, for you and me (Mt.27:27-31).


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@oakdenbaptist.org.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009