At the baptism of Jesus, the Father proclaimed that Jesus was his “beloved son” with whom he was “well pleased.” The favor of God was further confirmed by the manifestation of the Holy Spirit resting on Jesus. After this event, the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness where he was tempted by Satan. Why was Jesus tempted, and what can we learn from it?
Throughout the Old Testament, Israel observed these appointed days while they looked forward to the arrival of the Messiah. The seventh and final feast is a holy day known as the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths (Sukkot). Historically, this is a memorial to Israel's time living in simple shelters in the wilderness after escaping from Egypt. It is also a prophetic picture of God’s millennial (1000 year) kingdom where Jesus will dwell with his people and rule in righteousness.
After Joseph hears the heart of his brother Judah, and see how much his brothers have changed over the years, he can no longer keep his identity hidden. Joseph orders everyone to leave the room so he can reveal his true identity to his brothers. In this study we see a very practical guide for forgiveness and reconciliation our own relationships, while also learning about Jesus' relationship with Israel and His Church.
When Joseph was sold into slavery he found himself working in the house of an important Egyptian leader. God was with Joseph and "the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake." Joseph's master recognized that Joseph's God was with him. This leader grew to trust Joseph and gave him authority over his entire house.
When God instructs Abraham to send out Hagar and Ishmael, it was hard for Abraham to obey. Once Abraham realized that God had a better plan for Ishmael than Abraham could provide, he did not delay in sending them out. Although Abraham was very wealthy, he only sent Hagar and Ishmael out with a small about of bread and water. He knew that God would take care of them. As they also represented the life of the Law and the works for the flesh (Galatians 3, 4), Abraham needed to cut away His relationship with them and commit them completely to God.
After many years of waiting, God blesses Abraham and Sarah with the child of promise - Isaac. Sarah originally laughed at God in unbelief when God said she would have a child in her old age (Genesis 18:14-15), but once God delivered on His promise, Sarah's laughter became a joyous response and a testimony to others who hear about what God has done.
Following the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham moved from the place where he had camped for more than a decade and began to explore the land that God had promised him.
On his way, Abraham began to fear the local inhabitants. Instead of turning to God and trusting in God's protection, he reverted to an old tactic to protect himself. Unfortunately, this approach put his wife and future child at risk and prevented Abraham from growing in faith and relationship with God.
When God created Adam and Eve, they were naked and unashamed (Gen. 2:25). They were comfortable with each other and innocent before God. Once they gave in to temptation, they became ashamed of their nakedness and tried to cover themselves and hide from God.
God created a garden paradise on Earth and placed man in midst of it. But what was life like in the center of God's abundant blessing? In this section of scripture, we learn about God's grace, His provision, His expectation for obedience, and we are introduced to His eternal promise to maintain relationship with His beloved creation.
Paul wants us to know that we have fallen from such heights, and we are so far separated from God’s righteous standard, that our condition is truly hopeless. Because He is just, God must judge all sin, but because He is merciful, He has made a way for those who trust in Jesus to escape from His judgment. That’s the good news. That’s the gospel.
Paul emphatically said: "I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes." Paul was consistent as he shared with the early churches in Rome, Corinth and Ephesus, and we can use the same approach in the Church today.
Immediately after the Church was established, God gave us a model for how to grow as individuals and have unity among the believers. This simple "formula" is just as important for our growth and unity today.
A large number of crippled people gathered at a pool near the temple in a desperate and superstitious hope for healing. After many years, one man had lost hope and didn't see how he could ever be healed. His life changed when Jesus asked Him a simple yet profound question.
Jesus, tired and weary in His flesh, finds His satisfaction in doing the will of His Father. His interactions with the woman at the well and the nobleman in Galilee lead not only to their salvation, but also the salvation of those who hear their testimony. Jesus uses illustrations about food and the harvest to teach larger spiritual truths.
Jesus broke through generations of social and cultural barriers to engage in a discussion with a Samaritan woman. By asking Her for water, Jesus showed He was willing to have communion with her despite her social status or her sinful past. Jesus also used her physical thirst to reveal a deeper spiritual thirst and offered "Living Water" to all who would ask it of Him.
Perhaps the most famous verse in all of scripture, John 3:16 includes a mini version of the gospel message. God's love has motivated Him to make the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf in order to save us out of our sinful condition and bring us into everlasting life. Unfortunately, there are some who are lost in darkness and will not come to the light.
Jesus discussion with the great spiritual leader Nicodemus revealed Nicodemus' lack of understanding of spiritual things. But Jesus showed him that faith is required to activate the spirit and pointed back to a key event in Israel's history where the people were saved by a simple act of faith.
Following His first miracle changing water into wine, Jesus heads to Jerusalem where he finds the temple has become a marketplace, with the religious leadership taking advantage of the people who earnestly desire to worship God.
After recruiting His first disciples, Jesus and His followers are invited to a wedding in the community of Cana. Weddings were common ceremonial events in the Jewish community, but extraordinary things can happen with you invite God into the ordinary.
In this passage Jesus invites the first five disciples to follow him. He asks a simple yet profound question, "What are you seeking?" As we see His disciples come to Him, we can learn some important principles for how we follow Jesus today.