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Jeremiah 1:4-10 1
4 The word of the LORD came to me, saying, 5 “Before I formed you in the womb Jeremiah in the Sistine Chapel knew] you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” 6 “Ah, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” 7But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD. 9 Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”

image_134Background 2

Jeremiah is one of the prophets of the Hebrew Bible. His writings are put together in the Book of Jeremiah and traditionally, authorship of the Book of Lamentations is ascribed to him. God appointed Jeremiah to confront Judah and Jerusalem for the worship of idols and other violations of the covenant described in Deuteronomy. According to Jeremiah, the LORD declared that the covenant was broken and that God would bring upon Israel and Judah the curses of the covenant. Jeremiah’s job was to explain the reason for the impending disaster (destruction by the Babylonian army and captivity), “And when your people say, ‘Why has the LORD our God done all these things to us?’ you shall say to them, ‘As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your land, so you shall serve foreigners in a land that is not yours.'” The LORD said to Jeremiah:

God’s personal prediction to Jeremiah, “Attack you they will, overcome you they can’t,” was fulfilled many times in the Biblical narrative as Jeremiah warned of destruction of those who continued to refuse repentance and accept more moderate consequences. In return for his adherence to God’s disciplines and speaking God’s words, Jeremiah was attacked by his own brothers, beaten and put into the stocks by a priest and false prophet, imprisoned by the king, threatened with death, thrown into a cistern by Judah’s officials, and opposed by a false prophet. Yet God was faithful to rescue Jeremiah from his enemies. For example, when his prophecies regarding the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem were fulfilled by Nebuchadnezzar’s army in 586 BC, Nebuchadnezzar ordered that Jeremiah be freed from prison and treated well.

Biblical Truths 3

Verse 4. The word of the Lord came unto me] Then I first felt the inspiring influence of the Divine Spirit, not only revealing to me the subjects which he would have me to declare to the people, but also the words which I should use in these declarations.

Verse 5. Before I formed thee] I had destined thee to the prophetic office before thou wert born: I had formed my plan, and appointed thee to be my envoy to his people. St. Paul speaks of his own call to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles in similar terms, Galatians i. 15, 16.

Verse 6. I cannot speak] Being very young, and wholly inexperienced, I am utterly incapable of conceiving aright, or of clothing these Divine subjects in suitable language. Those who are really called of God to the sacred ministry are such as have been brought to a deep acquaintance with themselves, feel their own ignorance, and know their own weakness. They know also the awful responsibility that attaches to the work; and nothing but the authority of God can induce such to undertake it. They whom God never called run, because of worldly honor and emolument: the others hear the call with fear and trembling, and can go only in the strength of Jehovah.

“How ready is the man to go, Whom God hath never sent! How timorous, diffident, and slow, God’s chosen instrument!”

Verse 7. Whatsoever I command thee] It is my words and message, not thine own, that thou shall deliver. I shall teach thee; therefore thy youth and inexperience can be no hinderance.

Verse 8. Be not afraid of their faces] That is, the Jews, whom he knew would persecute him because of the message which he brought. To be fore-warned is to be half armed. He knew what he was to expect from the disobedient and the rebellious, and must now be prepared to meet it.

Verse 10. I have-set thee over the nations] God represents his messengers the prophets as doing what he commanded them to declare should be done. In this sense they rooted up, pulled down, and destroyed-declared God’s judgments, they builder up and planted-declared the promises of his mercy. Thus God says to Isaiah, chap. vi. 10: “Make the heart of this people fat-and shut their eyes.” Show them that they are stupid and blind; and that, because they have shut their eyes and hardened their hearts, God will in his judgments leave them to their hardness and darkness.

Items for Discussion

  • Where you ever given a job that seems overwhelming? One that you did not believe you could handle? What did you do and how did you feel?
  • What is the assurance that God gives Jeremiah? Did this mean he would have a life of easy and peace?
  • How do you think that Jeremiah’s confidence was bolstered by God’s assurances?
  • How can you experience a life of peace when you follow God’s commands?
  • Why is listening to God often hard on a person?
  • Can you follow God without suffering discomfort? Or another way to put it, if you were completely pain free, in want of nothing and comfortable, could you follow God?

 

Luke 4:21-30
21 and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked. 23 Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’ ” 24 “I tell you the truth,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

Background

Luke wrote two books of the New Testament (NT). Luke’s Gospel tells the story of the life and work of Jesus. Luke’s second book, Acts, continues the story after Jesus went back to heaven. The two books amount to a quarter of the NT. This is even more than Paul wrote.

Luke was a doctor (Colossians 4:14). He was often Paul’s companion in his travels. The book of Acts contains passages in which the author includes himself as a companion of Paul (‘we’ in Acts 16:10-17; 20:5-21:18; 27:1-28:16).

Luke shared Paul’s work (Philemon, verse 24). He was a loyal friend. In prison, Paul says, ‘only Luke is with me’ (2 Timothy 4:11).

Luke was a Gentile. He came from Antioch, which was an important town in Syria.

Biblical Truths 4

Verses 22-23 The Jews in Nazareth thought that they knew everything about Jesus. They had seen him grow up. They knew his family. He had been a carpenter (he made wooden objects). They could not believe that he was the Messiah. In the same way, we may not give honour to someone who is very familiar to us. Jesus knew that they wanted him to prove that he was speaking the truth. They wanted Jesus to do something wonderful for them. This demand was like the devil’s third test in the desert.

Verses 25-27 In the past, Jews had not believed the prophets Elijah and Elisha. In the same way Jesus was saying that the Jews of his day would not accept their Messiah.

Verse 28 The idea that Gentiles were better than Jews made the Jews in the synagogue extremely angry. They wanted to kill Jesus.

Verse 29 The Jews intended to push him over a steep hill. If he did not die when he fell, they would throw stones at him.

Verse 30 Jesus remained calm. He walked away through the angry crowd. He never returned to Nazareth. The people there had had their chance.

Items for Discussion

  • In what way does familiarity interfere with one’s assessment of a situation?
  • When a child of yours or one you know becomes an educated adult, why is it difficult to see them differently?
  • How much of the image of a person comes from our own desires of who we want them to be?
  • Jesus says that Gentiles could see who He was easier than the Jew, why was this so?
  • How can people avoid the “trap of familiarity” and see people as they are and for who they are?

Discussion Challenge

  • Familiarity is both good and bad. How can the good points be built upon and the bad points avoided within a congregation of people?
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