Family Bible Study lesson for March 6: Jesus - More Than a Prophet : Friday, Feb. 11, 2005
February 11 2005 by John Pond

Family Bible Study lesson for March 6: Jesus - More Than a Prophet : Friday, Feb. 11, 2005
Friday, Feb. 11, 2005

Family Bible Study lesson for March 6: Jesus - More Than a Prophet

By John Pond
Focal Passage: Mark 8:27-30; Acts 3:17-26

Who is Jesus? This question reverberates across the ages and cultures. Encountering the Word, each individual and group responds to this challenging query.

For example, in Burundi, Jesus is referred to as "N'agaheta"- that is "He who is greater than" (taken from the New Testament letter to the Hebrews). Among the Kikuyu in Kenya, Jesus is our "Muthamaki" or "Ideal Elder." Other African tribes see Him as the "Great Ancestor" or the "Liberator." Each response, derived from his or her individual experience with scripture, speaks to that particular culture.

A disciple's testimony

Mark 8:27-30

Caesarea Philippi is located in northern Galilee, bordering Jewish and Gentile land. A city built by Herod Phillip, it was dedicated to Caesar Augustus. The area represents a place of transition for Mark.

The dynamic ministry of Jesus has progressed to this point. Previous to our text, Jesus heals a blind man with what superficially appears as some difficulty (8:22-26). But a point is being made. Similar to the healing, the crowd's understanding of Jesus was also partial, needing a "second touch."

Jesus asked, "Who do people say that I am?" Their answers reveal an incomplete view of the masses (and themselves). They see a prophet and miracle worker. Earlier, the disciples asked, "Who then is this, that even the wind and sea obey Him?" (4:41). "Though in 6:50, Jesus answered, "I am," like the blind man, they could only see partially who He was.

His first question was specifically leading to a more important question: "But you, who do you say that I am?" Speaking for the others, Peter stated, "You are the Messiah (the Christ)!" The disciples had moved from "Who is this?" to "You are the Messiah!"

Now, for the first time since Mark 1:1, Jesus was identified as "Messiah." Their eyes were truly open and they saw clearly! In Matthew 16:17, Jesus responded that Peter's confession was not the result of human logic but from the Father. It was a divine disclosure! Though popular opinion made Jesus a prophet or "the Prophet," Peter affirmed that he was more - He was Messiah, "the Anointed One."

The response was correct, but more understanding was needed (for example, 8:31). Thus, Jesus warned them to tell no one. There was more to tell.

Forgiveness of sin

Acts 3:17-21

With the resurrection of Jesus, the disciples discovered the true significance and validity of Jesus' teachings. From Caesarea Philippi to His betrayal, He had instructed His disciples about the true meaning of Messiah. Utilizing Old Testament scriptures, Jesus taught that the purpose of being Messiah was to redeem mankind.

Standing at Solomon's Portico after a miraculous healing, Peter and John were surrounded by a crowd of Jewish worshippers. Seeing the group, Peter identified the source of that healing as Jesus, God's "Holy and Righteous One" (3:14). Jesus offered an opportunity for hope, "faith in His name."

Peter encouraged the Jewish listeners that though they and their rulers had sinned; they had acted in ignorance and in fulfillment of scripture. Thus, forgiveness was possible and available to one and all, regardless of race and nation!

By a radical change of mind and conduct and a returning again to God, all sin could be wiped away and replaced with spiritual peace and refreshment.

Blessing of fulfilled promises

Acts 3:22-26

Throughout biblical and extra-biblical literature, the messiah is defined in terms of prophet, priest and king. Peter points out to the Jewish listeners that Jesus fulfilled those texts, which spoke of a Prophet (from Moses to Samuel to "those after him") who would come. Once more emphasizing the need to repent, Peter quoted Leviticus 23:29, warning them to heed the Prophet or be "utterly rooted out" (NRSV).

Drawing from Deuteronomy, Leviticus, Genesis and 1-2 Samuel, Peter emphasized the blessings that had been promised and realized through "His Servant." As sons of the prophets and covenant, God's people were called to be a blessing to all the families of the earth. The coming of Jesus, according to Peter, was "to bless you by turning each of you from your evil (wicked) ways." Their repentance could bring blessings for all nations.

2/11/2005 12:00:00 AM by John Pond | with 0 comments

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