Coming to His hometown, He began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. — Matthew 13:54
The Hope Diamond of the Bible — “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” — John 3:16 A 26-word parade of hope that captures the heart of Jesus’ message. ~ Max Lucado
Welcome to week four of the Jesus Online Bible Study!
A dear friend of mine, whenever you’re in conversation with her, always asks this question… “How’s your heart?”
That’s what it all comes down to. The heart.
All kinds of people encountered Jesus in His day and still do in this day. Geniuses and those of us with average IQs, popular and outcast, rich and disenfranchised, merry and dismayed. Some listened to His brilliant, unparalleled parables and walked away disgruntled or offended; some followed Him even though they didn’t have all the answers or understand everything He said.
Nicodemus was baffled, but chose Him (John 3:1-21). The rich young ruler understood and walked away (Matthew 19:16-22).
What do you do when Jesus doesn’t do what you expect? Take John the Baptist for example. He followed God, proclaimed Jesus, was persecuted and thrown in jail. What is that?! But first, he doubted and questioned Jesus:
Are You the One who is to come, or should we expect someone else? — Matthew 11:3
I mean, come on! John prophesied that One would come who was more powerful than him, One who would clear the wheat and burn up the chaff (Mark 3:11-12). He expected a fiery champion, a soldier, a warrior king… And was left thinking What the heck? Jesus isn’t doing anything I expected! And, yet he followed Him to the end because his heart belonged to Jesus.
The God-Man Himself said He was different than was expected.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted. — Luke 4:18
With these words Jesus declares His mission: preach the Gospel to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, set at liberty those who are oppressed. ~ Max
We discover in God’s Kingdom, He takes us however He finds us. No need to clean up or climb up, we just need to look up. ~ Max
Unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God. — John 3:3
Part of what was so different about Jesus was that He was an unprecedented Teacher. From the time He was twelve years old (Luke 2:41-52), He astounded people with His insight and understanding. He taught counter-culture messages like blessed are the poor, the hungry, the merciful, and those who mourn (Matthew 5 — The Sermon on the Mount). He preached with humor (Matthew 7:3-5) which was not cool in His day! He spoke to women and children in crowds and He taught with Mary at His feet (Matthew 10:38-42) which was certainly not kosher. He preached to everyone who would listen! Because He not only is the great Teacher, He is the One who loves us and welcomes the heart that will follow Him.
He came to bring the Good News.
So, how’s your heart?
This week in your study:
- Watch the video for session four on our study home page and take notes in your study guide on pages 79-84 and then hang around for the discussion questions with our OBS community afterward.
- Go through the study questions with your group or on your own on pages 85-88.
- Read chapters 9-12 in the Jesus book.
- Grab your Bible and enjoy your personal study this week on pages 89-100.
- Join the conversations about the study and get to know fellow participants in our private Facebook group!
Scriptures this Week
Prayer for the Week
Jesus, we love You, Thank You for being our Teacher, our Great Teacher. Even those who don’t follow You acknowledge that there was no Teacher like You! Help us to listen. Help us to have soft hearts and to turn towards You, even when we are confused. Help us to follow You all the way to the end. We love You, Lord. Amen.