Jesus is Sovereign

Posted on September 12, 2018 by Karah

PAUSE

A few minutes before you begin today’s study, find a relaxing place to sit. Take a deep breath and ask God to help you focus on being with Him.

“They were astonished at His teaching because His message had authority. … Amazement came over them all, and they kept saying to one another, ‘What is this message? For He commands the unclean spirits with authority and power, and they come out!’” —Luke 4:32,36

Read Luke 4:31-37 in your Bible.

• Highlight the word “authority” throughout the passage. What does it mean that Jesus’ message had authority? Explain.

Circle the name “Holy One of God.” In the Old Testament, God was often called the Holy One. In this passage, the demons’ referring to Jesus as the Holy One of God shows their recognition of Him as the Son of God. The demons asked Jesus if He had come to destroy them; even they recognized His authority over evil and were terrified. Biblical scholars suggest that the demons weren’t just afraid of Jesus’ preaching and purpose, but that they feared His presence.

• Why do you think the demons feared Jesus’ presence? Why is this important?

RESPOND

• What does Jesus’ power over evil mean for you? Jot down a list of prayer requests about your future, your community, and the world that appeal to Jesus’ sovereignty. Pray for those requests each day this week.

• Examine your heart. Do you recognize Jesus’ sovereignty? Have you fully surrendered your life to Him? Journal your thoughts.

• If you have not trusted Jesus as Savior, talk to your parents or one of your camp counselors about what it means to be a Christian

BEHIND THE STORY

The demon in today’s passage testified about belief in God. James 2:19 says, “You believe that God is one; you do well. The demons also believe— and they shudder.” James also said that faith without works is useless (v. 20). Although demons believe in God, their total disobedience and rebellion against Him has separated them from Him forever. Redemption is about reconciliation—it’s not just about knowing that God exists, but about accepting His salvation through faith and living a life surrendered in obedience to Him.

THE POINT

As the Son of God, Jesus is sovereign over everything.


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The Power to Speak

Posted on September 4, 2018 by Karah

PAUSE

Think of one of the names of God (Shepherd, King, Rock of Our Salvation) and dwell on what that means to you.

Now, read Isaiah 35:5-6. The prophet Isaiah told of Jesus’ healings in the Old Testament. Throughout the Book of Isaiah, physical illness was often a metaphor for a spiritual issue. The complete healing indicated in theses passages parallels new life in Christ.

“Just as they were going out, a demon-possessed man who was unable to speak was brought to Him. When the demon had been driven out, the man spoke. And the crowds were amazed, saying, ‘Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel!’ But the Pharisees said, ‘He drives out demons by the ruler of the demons!’”—Matthew 9:32-34

Read Matthew 9:32-24 and complete the following.

• Circle each variation of the word “speak” or “say.” Underline the word “demon” each time it appears.

• Look back at the Scripture in Isaiah. Why is it important that the man spoke? Explain.

• The Pharisees thought Jesus’ authority came from the ruler of demons (v. 34). Read Luke 11:17-19. What was wrong with their theory? Explain.

RESPOND

The Pharisees sought every excuse to believe that Jesus was not from God. He had turned their world upside down by interpreting the Scriptures with authority and performing great signs. Instead of seeking God, they sought to prove they were right.

• When God turns your world upside down, do you struggle to trust Him? Do you have faith that no matter the circumstances He has your best interests in mind? Why or why not? Journal your thoughts.

• List two ways you can trust God’s ultimate authority in your life.

• For further study about God’s purpose and plans for you, read Romans 8.

BEHIND THE STORY

In John 1:1, Jesus was called the Word. He created the universe by speaking, and in many gospel accounts, He drove out demons with a rebuke. In today’s passage, Jesus restored a man’s ability to speak by casting out the oppressive evil spirit that kept him in silent. Jesus’ authority over all creation allows Him to banish evil and fully restore human beings to the image of God.

THE POINT

Because He is God, Jesus has sole authority over evil.


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Authority Affirmed

Posted on August 28, 2018 by Karah

PAUSE

Gather your Bible, journal, and pen. Find a quiet place and relax, preparing your heart and mind to spend time in God’s Word.

The first time the disciples obeyed Jesus and caught an abundance of fish was at the beginning of His earthly ministry. Today’s story is similar, but occurred after Jesus’ resurrection.

“’Cast the net on the right side of the boat,’ He told them, ‘and you’ll find some.’ So they did, and they were unable to haul it in because of the large number of fish. —John 21:6

Read John 21:1-14 in your Bible. Consider these questions:

• How does this story connect to the miracle in Luke 5:1-11? Jot down a few ideas in your journal.

Luke 5:1-11                                                        John 21:1-14

Jesus revealed Himself to His disciples for a third time through this miracle, which was similar to the one He performed when He called Peter and John to be His disciples.

• Notice John and Peter’s reactions in verse seven. Why is this important? Explain.

• When they arrived on shore and sat down to eat breakfast with Jesus, the disciples didn’t have any doubts about who He was. Would you respond the same way? Why or why not?

RESPOND

Each of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances proved the truth of His resurrection, showed that He defeated death, and taught the disciples their mission and emboldened them to do as He commanded. It is also important to note the significance of these events for us today—He is still alive and we have the opportunity to have a personal relationship with Him.

• Think about the first time you heard that Jesus died for your sins. Do you still look at His sacrifice the same way? Why or why not? Record your response in your journal.

• Take a minute and meditate on Jesus’ patience with us and His desire to use us as a part of His plan. How do you see His patience? How do you know He wants you to be a part of His plan? Journal your thoughts.

• For further study on Jesus’ authority, read Ephesians 1:18-23.

BEHIND THE STORY

Today’s Scripture explains the disciples’ third encounter with their risen Lord. Jesus called to His disciples using the word paidia, which the HCSB translates as “men” (v. 5), but is most commonly used as a term of endearment, which indicates the same type of intimacy as between a parent and child.¹

THE POINT

Jesus proved that even death did not diminish His authority.

 

¹Holman Christian Standard Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2010). Acessed via mystudybible.com.


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Step Out of the Boat

Posted on August 14, 2018 by Karah

PAUSE

When Jesus calls you to come, do you immediately think of your fears and doubts? Pray that you would have the courage and faith to respond in obedience when He calls.

“’Lord, if it’s You,’ Peter answered Him, ‘command me to come to You on the water.’ ‘Come!’ He said. And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus.” —Matthew 14:28-29

Read Matthew 14:22-33 in your Bible and consider these questions.

• List the two commands Jesus gave in verses 27 and 29.

• Why do you think it’s important that Jesus told the disciples to have courage? Explain.

• What did Peter do that caused him to sink? Explain.

Peter is often criticized for taking his eyes off Jesus, but notice that Peter did step out of the boat. Jesus’ power and Peter’s faith allowed him to do something that seemed impossible.

• Examine Jesus’ statement in verse 31. How does He indicate the outcome could have been different if Peter would have kept faith?

RESPOND

• Is Jesus calling you to step out in faith? Draw a simple boat in your journal and label it with the area of comfort or safety that applies to you (popularity, laziness, self-centeredness, unbelief). What is holding you back from meeting Jesus where He called you?

• For further study on confident faith in Jesus, read Joel Ortberg’s book If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat (Zondervan, 2014).

BEHIND THE STORY

The phrase “around three in the morning” (v. 25), is translated to “during the fourth watch of the night.”¹ The Romans divided the night into four watches and the fourth hour fell between 3:00 and 6:00 a.m. Matthew’s use of the word ghost emphasizes the fact that the disciples didn’t know exactly what they were seeing—it was late, probably dark, and they were far enough away from
the shore that they couldn’t tell who was standing there.

THE POINT

The life of a Christ follower should be characterized by confident faith in Jesus.

 

¹Holman Christian Standard Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2010). Acessed via mystudybible.com.


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Ordinary and Extraordinary

Posted on May 22, 2018 by Karah

PAUSE

What needs do you have right now? Acknowledge those needs before God and trust that He will provide for you.

“But, so we won’t offend them, go to the sea, cast in a fishhook, and take the first fish that you catch. When you open its mouth you’ll find a coin. Take it and give it to them for Me and you.”
—Matthew 17:27

Read Matthew 17:24-27 in your Bible. Think through the following:

Jesus indicated that He didn’t have to pay the tax because He was God’s Son, and that His followers didn’t have to pay the tax because the king doesn’t tax his sons. This emphasizes the voluntary nature of giving to God, consistently highlighted in the New Testament. This particular tax was collected by the temple; however, we must remember that Jesus also instructed us to obey the laws of the land.

• What is so extraordinary about the way Jesus provided the coin? Explain.

• Would Jesus and Peter experience difficulty paying the tax? Why or why not?

• Peter had to trust Jesus to provide for them, and trust that the first fish he caught would have the coin for the temple tax. If you were in Peter’s position, what would you do? Explain.

RESPOND

• In what ways have you seen God provide for your needs, or the needs of your friends and family? Has He ever provided for you in a way that seemed extraordinary? Using the headings below, list a few ways God has provided for you.

Ordinary                                                                                Extraordinary

 

• Invite God to meet your needs in whatever ways He sees fit, and pray that He gives you the faith to see His care for you no matter what method He uses.

• For further study on God’s provision, read Jeremiah 29:11; Matthew 6:26; and Philippians 4:19.

BEHIND THE STORY

The coin found in the mouth of the fish would have been a stater, which equaled the value of four drachmas—enough to cover the two-drachma tax for both Jesus and Peter. The Jews paid a required tax of one-half-shekel for the upkeep of the temple (Ex. 30:13-14). This was equal to approximately two days’ wages.¹

THE POINT

Sometimes Jesus provides for our everyday needs in extraordinary ways.

 

¹Holman Christian Standard Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2010). Acessed via mystudybible.com.


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