Thoughts: Mr. Pierce was old and grim, but he could explain geometry theorems with precision and clarity. Miss Merrilees was faded and squeaky, but she knew ingenious ways to help her students memorize the symbols for elements.
They taught with authority. Apparently, the scribes in the synagogue did not. We don’t know whether they didn’t know their material, or whether their teaching was dull and uninspired. But when Jesus taught in the Capernaum synagogue, the people were “astonished at his doctrine.” They went home for lunch saying, “Now I understand -“ and “I never realized that-“ and “I hope Jesus teaches again soon.”
Discussion: What topics do we need to teach with authority?
Activity: Pick a character in the Bible who is unfamiliar to you. Learn his/her history. You will be pleasantly surprised by the light this sheds on other Biblical characters and events.
Salome (dishing up potatoes): You’re late.
Zebedee: Well, you can thank your precious sons for that.
Salome: Where are Jimmy and Johnny? Didn’t they come home with you?
Zebedee: No, they did not come home with me. Your sister’s oldest boy – O what’s his name?
Salome: Zebedee, you know his name is Jesus. When the angel Gabriel told Mary she would give birth to our Messiah –
Zebedee: Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard that story way too often. Anyway, this Jesus came by the boat this afternoon.
Salome: Mary must be so glad he’s home.
Zebedee: Not a word to me, mind you. No “How are you, Uncle Zebedee?” No “Fishing good today?” Oh, no. Just called to the boyus to come with him. And they were gone like a couple of jackrabbits.
Salome: I’m sure they’ll be home soon.
Zebedee: Left the hired men and me with all the fish to sort and pack, all the nets to fold, all the -
Discussion: What did Zebedee think Jesus should have said?
Activity: Is Jesus calling you to help at coffee hour? To be a greeter? To send a get well card?
Thoughts: Can you reel off the names of the twelve disciples? They are listed four times in the New Testament, in each of the synoptic gospels and again in Acts.
Although the gospel of John never lists the disciples, John tells us how Jesus came to Philip and to Nathaniel and asked them to follow him.
Philip lived in Bethsaida in Galilee. When Jesus found Philip, he said simply, “Follow me.” Philip’s answer was not recorded, but he found his friend Nathaniel and told him he had found the promised Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.
Nathaniel lived in Cana in Galilee, a large and centrally located town. By contrast, Nazareth was considered a frontier town, isolated and provincial.
Nathaniel’s answer to Philip was so human – so timeless. “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” he scoffed.
In his ensuing conversation with Jesus, Nathaniel was convinced that indeed, something very good could come out of Nazareth. Philip and Nathaniel (sometimes called Bartholomew) became two of Jesus’ twelve disciples. And the other ten?
Discussion: What qualities did Jesus perceive in Philip and in Nathaniel that appealed to him?
Activity: Commit the names of the twelve disciples to memory. If Jesus chose them to be his closest companions, they deserve to be remembered.
Thoughts: “Dove” rhymes with “love” and often does in bad poetry. At some (expensive) weddings, doves are released to flutter over the wedding party.
Doves coo. They do not squawk or chirp. Doves are small and white, with little nembs and dainty feet. They do not have hooked beaks and fierce talons.
Doves symbolize peace. When Noah released a dove from the ark, it returned to him with a green leaf in its beak – a welcome sign that the flood waters were receding.
Doves also symbolize sacrifice. When Joseph and mary took Jesus to the temple for his ritual circumcision, Mary presented two doves for the required sacrifice after the birth of a child.
All four gospels tell the story of Jesus’ baptism. All four tell us that after his baptism, the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove.
Discussion: What characteristics of doves should we emulate?
Activity: Endeavor to bring green leaves to those who wait.
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