Morning Bible Study
Come out on Thursday nights to the Truth Project where we are learning to
build a healthy, Biblical worldview.
If you can’t make it out on Thursday night, we are webcasting it live on
Ustream, and we have decided to keep the video up until the following
Tuesday. If you missed last week’s, you
can still catch it on our Ustream channel.
Here’s what’s happening this week:
Jesus’ ministry is well under way, and the people have been amazed not just
at the things He’s been teaching, but the things He’s been doing.
13:10-17 Sabbath Healing
:10 Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.
:11 And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen
years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up.
:11 was bent over
This woman has been bent over in two, unable to stand up straight for
eighteen years. It’s because of …
:11 a spirit of infirmity
The word “spirit” could refer to either a demonic spirit, or it could an
“attitude” that kept this woman doubled over.
:12 But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to
her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.”
:12 He called her to Him
This woman didn’t come to Jesus for help, He reached out to her.
:12 you are loosed from your infirmity
you are loosed – apoluo (“away
from” + “loose”) – to let go free, release
Jesus is describing this “infirmity” as something like a post to which the
woman is tied up to with a rope. She is
bound to the infirmity. Jesus is
declaring that she is no longer tied to it.
:13 And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made
straight, and glorified God.
:13 she was made straight, and glorified God
glorified – doxazo – to
praise, magnify; to make glorious, clothe with splendor
I like to think of “glorifying” someone as shining a spotlight on something,
or even putting them in the “credits” at the end of the movie.
Roll the credits
Jesus, God the Son, has performed a miracle in such a way that He brought
glory and attention to God the Father.
Jesus said we ought to do something similar as well:
(Matthew 5:16 NKJV)
your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify
your Father in heaven.
Personally, I prefer to do things in a way that brings attention to … ME.
Corrie Ten Boom used to tell the story about a proud woodpecker who was
tapping away at a dead tree when the sky unexpectedly turned black and the
thunder began to roll. Undaunted, he went right on working. Suddenly a bolt of
lightning struck the old tree, splintering it into hundreds of pieces. Startled but unhurt, the haughty bird flew
off, screeching to his feathered friends, "Hey, everyone, look what I did!
Look what I did!"
God is not thrilled when I draw attention to myself.
Ultimately, people who need help need God, not me.
God is actually looking for people to work through in such a way that when
the work gets done, God gets the credit, not the person.
The Bible says,
(2 Chronicles 16:9
NKJV) For the eyes of the Lord
run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those
whose heart is loyal to Him…
:14 But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus
had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on
which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the
:14 the ruler of the synagogue answered
It was the ruler of the synagogue’ job to line up the readers and teachers
for each gathering.
It was his job to pay attention to what was being said and scrutinize the
doctrines being taught.
It was his job to maintain order, to make sure things proceeded according
The ruler of the synagogue didn’t like what he just saw happen.
:14 not on the Sabbath day
This synagogue ruler is claiming that Jesus has broken the fourth
commandment, which is to do no work on the seventh day (Ex. 20:8-11)
I sure appreciate doctors and the hard work they do so we can be healed.
A new doctor had arrived in town. He could cure anything and anybody. Everyone
was amazed with what he could do - everyone except for old Mr. Thompson, the
Grumpy old Mr. Thompson went to visit this “miracle doctor” to prove that
he wasn’t anybody special. When it was time for his appointment he told the
doctor, “Hey, doc, I’ve lost my sense of taste. I can’t taste nothin’, so what
are ya goin’ to do?”
The doctor scratched his head and mumbled to himself a little, then told
Mr. Thompson, “What you need is jar number 47.”
So the doctor brought the jar out, opened it, and told Mr. Thompson to
taste it. He tasted it and immediately spit it out, “This is gross!” he yelled.
“Looks like I just restored your sense of taste, Mr. Thompson,” said the
doctor. So Mr. Thompson went home...very mad.
One month later, Mr. Thompson decides to go back to the doctor and try once
again to expose him as a fake, by complaining of a new problem. “Doc,” he
started, “I can’t remember anything!”
Thinking he had the doctor stumped now, he waited as the doctor scratched
his head, mumbled to himself a little, and told Mr. Thompson, “What you need is
jar number 47, it’s...”
But before the doctor could finish his sentence, Mr. Thompson was cured and
fled the room!
While our modern doctors need to take a day off, what Jesus was doing did
not break the Sabbath Law.
What He broke was the Jewish traditions that had been handed down over
centuries, not the actual Sabbath Law.
This “ruler” is pointing out that Jesus broke their own little “rules”.
:15 The Lord then answered him and said, “Hypocrite! Does not each one of
you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it
away to water it?
:15 each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox
loose – luo – to loose any person (or thing)
tied or fastened
While those in the audience were sure to “loose” their animals, Jesus
purposely uses the same basic word that was used to describe what He did for
this woman, He “loosed” her.
This was the root of their hypocrisy, caring more for their animals than
the people around them.
Care for the right things
This leader of the synagogue cared more that people followed his rules,
than that people would actually be helped.
I wonder if this doesn’t apply to the tragedy of what happened last week
with the massacre in Orlando, Florida.
There was a horrible clash between two cultures, both of which we disagree with.
The teachings of Islam are not correct when it comes to defining who God is,
how He works, and what He requires of us.
We’re seeing how some of Islam has morphed as certain radical
imams teach their followers to take the ideas of jihad literally, and wage war to kill the infidels.
Those within the LGBT community have another issue to deal with.
Our nation has adopted a worldview in which God is no
longer the one to determine what is right or what is wrong.
We’ve slipped into a system based on “statistical
morality”, or whatever the most people think is right is right.
When you take this worldview and marry it with the notion
that man is basically “good” (which the Bible and historical evidence show us
is false), then you are more likely to agree with Abraham Maslow’s famous
“hierarchy of needs”.
The highest ideal Maslow encourages mankind to reach
toward is “self-actualization” – to live out what you feel inside of you.
Our society has bought this idea of “self-actualization”
We no longer ask questions about whether a thing is right
or wrong, as long as you “feel” like it’s being true to yourself.
If you feel like you’re a girl, then use the girl’s
Listen to where it leads…
Video: Truth Project Tour 3 – Theodore Dalrymple
Dalrymple shared that one man thought he could only be
complete by murdering his wife. As our definition
of morality continues to shift, this won’t seem so far-fetched in the future.
In contrast to self-actualization, Jesus said,
16:24 NKJV) Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after
Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
There are bad things in all of us that don’t need to be
“actualized”, they need to be “denied”.
The latest thing has been our nation applauding
transgender folk because they are only trying to be true to their inner self.
studies show that at some point in their life, 41% of transgender
individuals will attempt suicide, compared to 4.6% of the general public.
Is transgender behavior really something we should promote,
or something we should weep for?
Please don’t misunderstand me.
God grieves at the massacre that happened last week.
God doesn’t hate gay people, but that doesn’t mean that
God approves of what He has called wrong.
God also doesn’t approve of heterosexual sin either. God doesn’t approve of lying. God doesn’t approve of greed.
God loved all sinners so much, He gave His only begotten
Son to die on a cross and pay for our sins.
God’s desire is that sinners “repent”, or turn from their
unhealthy ways and turn to follow Him.
When we do that, we become part of God’s family.
Video: Fatherless to Fatherful
Both the shooter and the victims last week were being held captive or
“bound” to dangerous ideologies.
(2 Timothy 2:24–26
NKJV) —24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all,
able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps
will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that
they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil,
having been taken captive by him to do his will.
Jesus “loosed” the woman from the thing that held her
We too ought to be involved in “loosing” people from their
It doesn’t happen when we hate people.
It happens when we love them with gentleness, patience,
:16 So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has
bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?”
:17 And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame;
and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by
:17 all His adversaries were put to shame
It was obvious to everyone present, including the ruler of the synagogue,
that Jesus had done exactly what was right and proper.
13:18-19 Mustard Tree
:18 Then He said, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I
:18 What is the kingdom of God like?
Jesus is going to give a couple of short parables, lessons which I believe
were meant to illustrate what just happened.
:19 It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and
it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its
:19 like a mustard seed
The type of mustard native to the Middle East is Sinapis alba.
It can grow up to 27.5 inches (70 cm) tall.
Not exactly a “large tree”.
:19 the birds of the air nested in its branches
While some see this short parable to mean that it only takes the small seed
of sharing the gospel to have a big effect, I think it’s actually a bit
Seeds in Jesus’ parables are a picture of God’s Word. The sower threw seeds on the ground (Mat. 13)
representing the spreading of God’s Word.
Mustard seeds are indeed small, but they grow into small bushes, not “great
trees”. There is something bizarre and
abnormal about this kind of growth.
We might tend to think of birds as being cute or harmless, but in
Scripture, not always so.
In Jesus’ parable of the sower and the seeds (Mat. 13), birds were a
picture of Satan, gobbling up the seeds before they had a chance to take root
Some of you might recall our cute little hummingbird who built a nest right
outside our kitchen window.
Let me bring you up to date on the latest.
Here’s a video of the teeny babies, taken about two weeks after they
Not all birds are a nice and cute at hummingbirds.
Our backyard has another regular visitor, a California Scrub jay.
About a week ago I was at my kitchen window when our Scrub Jay came up to
the hummingbird nest, perched on the side, and began pecking violently at
it. The mother hummingbird chased it
away, but when I looked at the nest, one of the babies was gone. About two hours later, I checked on the nest
and the other baby was gone too.
Some birds are just plain evil.
I think Jesus is responding to this ruler of the synagogue and saying
something like this,
In God’s kingdom, there is a kind of growth that can occur where things can
get larger than they might normally get.
An unhealthy growth.
Churches can even grow bigger than they perhaps should because there are
“birds” there that have not been dealt with.
Birds like this legalistic synagogue ruler.
13:20-21 Leavened Bread
:20 And again He said, “To what shall I liken the kingdom of God?
:21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal
till it was all leavened.”
:21 till it was all leavened
I think this parable is exactly like the last one.
Some might think this is saying that it only takes a little bit of the
gospel to permeate an entire community, but that goes against the way the Bible
interprets these things.
Leaven is always a picture of sin or evil in the Scriptures. (1Cor. 5:6)
Jesus is warning the people in the synagogue that it only takes a little
wickedness to permeate and affect an entire group.
This leader of the synagogue had an unhealthy attitude about Jesus healing
this woman. Attitudes like this can be
destructive in a church.
We tend to be aware that certain people are a bad influence on us.
Parents become concerned when their kids start hanging around with kids who
are drinking or doing drugs.
But think of our context – who is the one with the bad influence?
It’s the leader of the synagogue.
His bad influence is that of legalism.
Legalism isn’t bad because of too many rules. God’s ways are “rules”, and they are good.
Legalism is bad because it stretches God’s rules and makes
them something that God didn’t intend.
Hospital regulations require a wheelchair for patients
being discharged. One day a student
nurse found an elderly gentleman—already dressed and sitting on the bed with a suitcase
at his feet—who insisted he didn’t need my help to leave the hospital. After a
chat about rules being rules, he reluctantly let the nurse wheel him to the
elevator. On the way down the nurse
asked him if his wife was meeting him. “I
don’t know,” he said. “She’s still
upstairs in the bathroom changing out of her hospital gown.”
That’s taking the rules too far…
Note that in our current parable, the woman “took” the leaven, and then
“hid” it in her flour.
It’s not just being exposed to bad influences that is the concern, but when
you take it and hide it in your heart and mind that it begins to influence us.
Just as we should be aware of bad influences, there are also good
influences we should pay attention to as well.
We all influence others.
Be a good influence.