Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Lent Day 36

BOOK IV - The Words of Intimate Conversation

41 His direct instructions to them in preparation for His leaving them
42 The poignancy of betrayal and of human endings
43 His words concerning the bread and wine
44 Instructions about the employment of worldly goods in the work of the Kingdom
45 The new commandment

Reflect: How does it impact the way you hear these words if you know they were all spoken during Jesus' last hours with his disciples before death? Why do you think Jesus calls the command to love one another a "new commandment"?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Lent Day 35

BOOK IV - The Words of Intimate Conversation

36 A prophecy about the destruction of the Temple
37 Concerning the time of His approaching crucifixion
38 The use of extravagant devotion
39 Instructions about their last meal together
40 Final instruction about servant leadership

Reflect: Imagine Jesus speaking his words in Saying 40 directly to you. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Lent Day 34

BOOK IV - The Words of Intimate Conversation

31 Instructions preparatory to the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
32 His acknowledgment of His popularity
33 About the Holy City
34 The beginning of the days of final judgment
35 Another conversation about faith as a physical agent

Reflect: Look at the title of Saying 35. Read that saying, then consider: what do you think Tickle means by calling faith a "physical agent"? 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Lent 33

BOOK IV - The Words of Intimate Conversation 

26 The raising of Lazarus
27 Children as examples of necessary innocence
28 His second specific prophecy to the twelve of His forthcoming death
29 Concerning the Father’s authority over the Son’s followers
30 The redemption of Zacchaeus

Reflect: Look at the questions Jesus asks throughout the raising of Lazarus. What do you hear in these questions?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lent Day 32

BOOK IV - The Words of Intimate Conversation

21 The power of His name as nonproprietary
22 The use of holy or divine power
23 On proper timing
24 The chastising of Martha
25 His message to Herod concerning His approaching death

Reflect: Jesus' words to Mary and Martha have been heard in a variety of ways. What tone do you hear him saying this in? 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Lent Day 31

BOOK IV - The Words of Intimate Conversation

16 His correcting of Peter
17 His instructions regarding His transfiguration
18 A prophecy of His death and Resurrection
19 The proper conduct of believers in relation to temporal government
20 The definition of greatness in the Kingdom

Reflect: Has anyone else never heard saying 19 before? I know I've read it, but I have no memory of it! You can find the original words in Matthew 17:24-27. What do you think this is all about?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lent Day 30

BOOK IV - The Words of Intimate Conversation

11 His description to the emissaries from John the Baptizer
12 The importance of rest
13 His engagement of Philip in the feeding of the thousands
14 Another demonstration of faith as a primal force in the physical world
15 His claiming of kingship on earth as well as in Heaven

Reflect: Now that we are in the words of intimate conversation, Jesus somehow seems more familiar to me. These are more of the sayings of Jesus I gravitate towards. Why do you think this Jesus might appeal to us more?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Lent Day 29

BOOK IV - The Words of Intimate Conversation

6 The calling of James and John
7 About the correct use of present time
8 The beginning of the public ministry
9 About becoming fishers of men
10 Faith as a force in the physical realm

Reflect: What do you think it was that made the first disciples want to follow Jesus? Was it his actual words? His tone? His body language? How do you imagine these words being spoken?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Lent Day 28

BOOK IV - The Words of Intimate Conversation

1 The first saying
2 First recorded exchange with His cousin, John the Baptizer
3 The desert temptations
4 The calling of Philip and Nathaniel
5 With His mother at a wedding in Cana

Reflect: From these words, what would you imagine Jesus' relationship was like with his cousin, John the Baptist? What would you imagine his relationship was like with his mother, Mary?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Lent Day 27

BOOK III - The Words of Healing Dialogue

16 The healing of the blind man
17 Faith as a linchpin
18 The reason for some instances of human debility
19 His use of two unsolicited healings for Sabbath teaching
20 The role of faith in the healing of the Gentile leper
21 The pivotal efficacy of faith in healing

Reflect: Why do you think Jesus so often told those he healed not to tell anyone?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lent Day 26

BOOK III - The Words of Healing Dialogue

11 The correct interpretation of the Sabbath
12 The compassionate raising of the widow’s child
13 An extended commentary on principalities and powers in the kingdom of Evil
14 His acknowledgment of a Gentile’s faith
15 The healing of the deaf mute

Reflect: Why do you think Jesus chose to heal on the Sabbath rather than waiting for the next day, when it wouldn't have caused such a stir? What do you think led Jesus to raise the widow's child when the widow did not even ask for healing?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Lent Day 25

BOOK III - The Words of Healing Dialogue

Note: the image above is a painting of the scene in which sayings 8 and 9 unfold. It was done by my good friend Elizabeth Melton Bartley.

6 The casting out of an objectively operative demon
7 A direct absolution certified by a concomitant healing miracle
8 The flow of power by proximity and without intention
9 A resuscitation
10 Belief and faith as a measure of efficacy

Reflect: In Saying 6, why do you think Jesus asked the demon his name? In Sayings 8-10, what does the role of faith and believing seem to be in healing encounters with Jesus?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Lent Day 24

BOOK III - The Words of Healing Dialogue

1 The first healing miracle
2 The first healing on a Sabbath and His response to public condemnation by ...
3 The first exorcism
4 First attempt to contain notoriety
5 First healing of a Gentile

Reflect: There are a lot of "firsts" as we begin this new section of Jesus' words, those he uttered in the course of healing someone. What strikes you about these stories that recount the beginning of Jesus' ministry of healing? Do you see any connections between the words he spoke in different settings and circumstances? 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Lent Day 23

BOOK II - The Words of Private Instruction

46 A prophecy about coming ages and the conclusion of temporal creation
47 Concerning the exact time of the end
48 The parable of holy watchfulness in anticipating the Kingdom
49 The description of the final judgment
50 His farewell before crucifixion

Reflect: Remember what Phyllis Tickle said about this collection of 50 sayings: that she believes Jesus "is most self-revelatory and open to us in Book Two in His words of private instruction, or so it seems to me. Talking there with those whom He has chosen and who are to carry forth His Good News after His Ascension, He has great need to reveal who and what and why He is in human form." How would you answer these questions after reading this book: Who is Jesus in human form? Why is Jesus in human form? What is Jesus about in human form?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Lent Day 22

BOOK II - The Words of Private Instruction

41 The restrictive burden of temporal wealth
42 A parable of final judgments
43 About humility and self-effacement
44 A parable about the final judgment and the time of its coming
45 Concerning true devotion

Reflect: Go through these readings and look at the questions Jesus asks, either in conversation with others or in parables. Was he looking for answers, or were these questions simply intended to provoke thought? How might you answer them? What thoughts do they provoke in you?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Lent Day 21

BOOK II - The Words of Private Instruction

36 About the proper approach to social class and status
37 The parable of the banquet
38 The believer’s role as indentured servant
39 About His second coming and the days preceding it
40 On persistence in prayer and belief in its efficacy

Reflect: Why do you think Jesus did so much teaching at or about dinner tables and meals?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Lent Day 20

BOOK II - The Words of Private Instruction

31 The process of disciplining believers
32 On forgiveness
33 Concerning the proper attitude for anticipating His coming
34 On the divisiveness of Kingdom membership
35 Belief as a divine and protected gift

Reflect: Which of these teachings--many of which are about life together in community--do you find hardest to live by? Which one encourages you the most?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Lent Day 19

BOOK II - The Words of Private Instruction

26 A prophecy of His suffering
27 Faith as a physical agency
28 Of the devil and true freedom from his grip
29 Condemnation of those who are portals for sin
30 Concerning angels and their guardianship of individuals

Reflect: Try first reading these sayings without looking at the headings. Then read them again in the context of the headings Phyllis Tickle has chosen. Why do you think she chose these headings? Are there places where you would have named them differently?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Lent Day 18

BOOK II - The Words of Private Instruction

21 The offense, for orthodox Jewish leaders, of the teachings about the Kingdom
22 Exegesis on the defilement teachings
23 The danger of literalness and of religiosity
24 Prophecy of the final judgment
25 The parable of the shrewd overseer

Reflect: What did Jesus seem to find dangerous about the Pharisees? When do we fall into these same traps today?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Lent Day 17

BOOK II - The Words of Private Instruction 

16 Private exegesis on the parable of the sower
17 Similes of the Kingdom
18 Exegesis on the parable of the tares
19 Continuation of similes for comprehending the Kingdom
20 The offense, for His disciples, of the teachings about the Kingdom

Reflect: If you had to use three words to describe God's Kingdom using only what Jesus says in today's readings, what words would you choose? Are you surprised by what words you end up with?

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Lent Day 16

BOOK II - The Words of Private Instruction

11 The cost of membership in His Kingdom
12 The rewards of honoring His Kingdom and its citizens
13 The direct bestowal of personal salvation
14 Mercy as the mediator of all religious law
15 On how understanding increases with understanding

Reflect: What do these teachings seem to say about acts of hospitality and how we treat and welcome one another? Where do you see us doing well with these words of Jesus? Where do you see us not living by these words?

Friday, March 6, 2015

Lent Day 15

BOOK II - The Words of Private Instruction
6 His assertion of the radical nature of His work

7 The first commissioning, of the twelve
8 The second commissioning, of the larger company of the seventy
9 The first graphic and detailed discussion of the interplay between good and evil
10 The prophecies of persecutions to come and of their proper endurance

Reflect: What do you think about the sort of power Jesus gave to the disciples he commissioned? Why do you think he sent out the disciples to do his work even while he was still on earth? What sort of work does Jesus commission us to do today?

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Lent Day 14

BOOK II - The Words of Private Instruction

1 Heaven and earth, spirit and flesh
2 The assertion of His messiahship and of a new way of worship
3 An admonition about greed
4 The utter primacy of devotion over any other necessities
5 His description of those for whom He came

Reflect: Though Phyllis Tickle begins her study of the words of Jesus with his words of public proclamation, she make an important point in the introduction to the book: "It is not [Jesus'] public persona that carries us closest to His center. Rather, He is most self-revelatory and open to us in His words of private instruction, or so it seems to me. Talking there with those whom He has chosen and who are to carry forth His Good News after His Ascension, He has great need to reveal who and what and why He is in human form. As a result, beginning the study of His Sayings with Book Two instead of Book One makes psychological, if not logical, sense, and I would suggest the Private Instructions as the best place to begin." Though we began reading the the Public words, pay special attention to this new section of sayings from Jesus. How does the tone change? Does he seem to present himself any differently, or focus on different things? Keep asking these questions through the next several days of readings.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Lent Day 13

Wednesday, March 4: Words of Public Proclamation 61-66

61 A reprimand to the established clergy
62 Exposing the weakness of arguing from doctrine 
63 Condemnation of the socially righteous 
64 His role as “the stone rejected by the builders” 
65 The eternal life of the worthy 
66 The great paradox

Reflect: You have now read all of Jesus' recorded words of public proclamation. What themes did he seem to come back to over and over again? What (if any) things seem conspicuously absent from these words?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Lent Day 12

Tuesday, March 3: Words of Public Proclamation 56-60
56 The assertion of Now 
57 The definition of prayer that is heard and received 
58 On marriage, divorce, and celibacy 
59 The cleansing of the Temple 
60 The prophecy of the Resurrection

Reflect: What do you think of the title of saying number 56, "The assertion of Now"? What strikes you overall about this set of sayings? Pick one to carry with you through the day. Write it somewhere you will see it.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Lent Day 11

Monday, March 2: Words of Public Proclamation 51-55

51 Prophecy of the Triumphal Entry 
52 The place of government in the believer’s life 
53 The cost of choosing to join the Kingdom 
54 The parable of the prodigal son 
55 The story of the rich man in Hell

Reflect: As Jesus neared the end of his life, he seemed to speak more and more using images and metaphors and stories (parables). Why do you think this might be?