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Jeremiah 26:1-3 1
1 Early in the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, this word came from the Lord: 2 “This is what the Lord says: Stand in the courtyard of the Lord’s house and speak to all the people of the towns of Judah who come to worship in the house of the Lord. Tell them everything I command you; do not omit a word. 3 Perhaps they will listen and each will turn from their evil ways. Then I will relent and not inflict on them the disaster I was planning because of the evil they have done.

img214Background 2

Jeremiah was by birth a priest, and lived in Anathoth, a village in the tribe of Benjamin, about three miles north of Jerusalem. His call to the prophetic office came in the 13th year of Josiah. It was a time when danger was once again gathering around the little kingdom of Judah, and to Jeremiah was assigned a more directly political position than to any other of the prophets.

Chapter 26 of Jeremiah, the Prophet, contains: The destruction of the temple and city foretold. (1-6) Jeremiah’s life is threatened. (7-15) He is defended by the elders. (16-24).

Biblical Truths

If we are to be God’s ambassadors, we must not seek to please men, or to save ourselves from harm. Our God is gracious and waits for us. Jeremiah is telling the Israelites that if they continue in their disobedience, it will ruin their city and temple.

Items for Discussion

  • Why do you think that God tells Jeremiah to go to the “House of the Lord” and tell those who he finds about what God commands? Why not everyone?
  • What types of extra expectations does God place on those who proclaim Him as their God?
  • What do you think about God’s statement that He inflicts disaster in response to evil behavior?
  • Can you speculate what the evil ways were at that time in history and whether those types of behavior still exist today?
  • What is the key puzzle piece in this story? What should we learn today from it?

 

Matthew 12:38-41
38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.” 39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here.

Background

Matthew wrote his Gospel specifically for the Jewish people. This book contains much of what Jesus taught. So the early Christians gave Matthew’s name to the whole book. Matthew collected taxes, but he became one of Jesus’ 12 special friends (Matthew 9:9). It is not the first book written about Jesus’ life. Mark’s Gospel was first and Matthew uses much of what Mark wrote. Matthew’s Gospel is first because Matthew often refers to the Old Testament.

Bible Truth 3

See Luke 11:16, Luke 11:29-32. A “sign” commonly signifies a miracle – that is, a sign that God was with the person or had sent them. Luke adds that this was done “tempting him;” that is, trying him, doubting if he had the power to do it. If these persons had been present with Him for any considerable time, they had already seen sufficient proofs that He was what who He claimed to be. They might have been, however, those who had recently come to know Jesus, and then the emphasis must be laid on “we” – we, as well as the others, would see proof that you are the Christ. In either case it was a temptation. If they had not seen him work a miracle, they still should have believed it by the testimony of others.

Items for Discussion

  • How would you tell if you saw a miracle?
  • The Jews wanted dramatic signs – What is the problem with always wanting to see God in these dramatic ways?
  • Should we believe that “literally, Jonah spent three days in the belly of a whale?
  • Luke describes this event differently, he is not referencing Jonah in a whale but the fact that Jesus will be in the belly of the earth. Jesus was buried only for two days, not three like Jonah. So what could Jesus have meant by His comparison to the sign being Jonah? 4
  • How should we respond to Jesus being our “miracle or sign?”

Discussion Challenge

  • What is our role in helping those around us understand that it is “Christ” who we should be observing to understand our God and that we cannot leave Him out?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. http://www.christnotes.org/commentary.php?com=mhc&b=24&c=26
  3. http://www.studylight.org/com/bnb/view.cgi?bk=39&ch=12
  4. Jonah was the sign to the Israelites and “Jesus is God’s sign” to the world now – William Barclay
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