Rev. Andrew Prin
January 26, 2020

GodSpeak for the Week of January 26

This week we begin getting into the heart of the Epiphany season.  Christmas is over, Lent hasn’t yet arrived – and we now spend the next half dozen Sundays reflecting on how the newborn Lord has so profoundly impacted our lives and world.

This week, our particular focus centers on the last line of our lesson from 1 Corinthians – and how the “…message of the cross is foolishness…”

Day 1…Read Isaiah 9:1

  • Consider this – the Hebrew word for “Zebulun” means “exalted”.
    • And the Hebrew word for “Naphtali” means “wrestling”.
  • Answer this – how do these names for two of the tribes of Israel help us better understand (and appreciate) the promise God offers here through Isaiah?

Day 2…Read Isaiah 9:2-4

  • Consider this – each of the tribes of Israel had been apportioned part of the Holy Land as their “own”.  In v. 3, Isaiah notes that God has “…enlarged the nation and increase their joy…”
  • Answer this – what do you think God had really done there?  What does this part of v. 3 mean and why is it important?
  • Consider this – in v. 4, we’re told: “…as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them…”  The Hebrew word for “Midian” means “strife”.
  • Answer this – in consideration of Midian’s definition in English, how does this promise from God strike you…what the promise He offers here?

Day 3…Read Matthew 4:12-16

  • Answer this – in consideration of what has been learned by reflecting on the Isaiah text, how does Jesus’ literal moving into the Zebulun/Naphtali region fulfill God’s promise?

Day 4…Read Matthew 4:17-25

  • Consider this – over the past couple of weeks (as we’ve heard the story of John the Baptist calling for people to repent and be baptized), we’ve noted that John’s baptism/repentance was the act and will of people doing a 180 degree turnaround and committing themselves back to God.
  • Consider this – in v. 17, Jesus now calls on people to repent.
  • Answer this – how is the repentance Jesus is specifically calling from people similar to John’s…
    • ….but, how is it noticeably different as well?

Day 5…Read 1 Corinthians 1:10-17

  • Consider this – the Greek that Paul uses in v. 10 carries the idea of:
    • …re. “appeal” – Paul is exhorting/calling them to his side of understanding what he’s about to tell them;
    • …re. “agree” – literally, Paul is calling all of them to share the “same speech”.
  • Answer this – think about divisions you have seen and/or heard about in churches.  Why do they exist?  How does – what Paul says here – offer a Godly remedy for divisions in congregations?

Day 6…Read 1 Corinthians 1:18

  • Consider this – as we have talked about multiple times at Bethel over the past few years, there are countless Christians around the world (Iran, China – to name a couple of countries) where Christians are persecuted and/or not allowed to worship freely.
    • Yet, these brothers and sisters will stop at nothing:
      • …to get (and memorize) Bibles;
      • …to assemble for worship;
      • …to travel for miles and days to be trained as leaders in His Church.
  • Answer this – how does v. 18 speak words of support to brothers and sisters, like these?
    • How do these same words offer a challenge to members of the Christian Church in the United States?

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