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Lesson 8: The Intensity of His Walk *

Introduction: Serious Christians view life as a progression. They steadily (or maybe unsteadily) make progress towards holiness. Their desire is to become more trusting, more obedient, more of a true servant of God. Whenever I've thought about this or read about it, I always considered it a walk. No one told me that I should be jogging, or worse, sprinting towards holiness. In my case sprinting would be a bad idea because I'm constantly seeking to find the right direction. I hate to go backwards, fast. It reminds me of the days when we owned a motorhome. It averaged about 6.6 miles to the gallon. When we were lost, my solution was to drive until I found the answer. My wise wife wanted me to pull over, shut off the engine and figure out where we were. She could not stand paying for 6.6 miles to the gallon going the wrong way! This week our lesson is about the "intensity" of Jesus' walk. Let's dive into our study of the Bible and find out what that means!

  1. Temple Teaching


    1. Read Luke 2:40-42. Was attending Passover with Jesus an old custom? (Jesus' parents went every year, but children were not required to attend.)


      1. Put yourself in the place of Joseph and Mary, would you bring Jesus with you when He was nine years-old? How about ten years-old? (The natural thing would be to take your children with you. On the other hand, Nazareth was 70 miles from Jerusalem. It might be more fun just to go with your spouse. The Bible is not clear whether Jesus had gone with them before.)


    2. Read Exodus 23:17. At what age do you become a man? (Around twelve years of age a boy was making the transition to manhood. Since Jesus was twelve, it is possible that this was His first trip to Jerusalem for Passover.)


    3. Read Luke 2:43-44. Are Mary and Joseph "bad parents" in your opinion? (The fact that they left Jesus in Jerusalem makes me think this was not Jesus' first Passover trip. Surely, if Jesus had never done this before, they would have been sure He was with them. But, if this was a familiar trip to Him, then it is understandable that His parents would assume He was with the Nazareth crowd.)


    4. Read Luke 2:45. Tell me all the thoughts that have gone through Mary's mind?


      1. Read Luke 1:31-33. How does that impact on Mary's thinking? (An angel told her that her son would be King (or even higher) and now she has lost Him!)


      2. What if Mary understood the conflict between good and evil, and Jesus' role in that conflict? (Satan would want to kill Jesus and she was letting Him get lost among strangers!)


    5. Read Luke 2:46-47. Would Jesus' parents have expected to find Him in the temple with the teachers? (We are told in Luke 2:28 that His parents were "astonished.")


      1. What does this tell us about the "intensity" of Jesus' spiritual walk? (The teachers in the temple were like peers for this 12 year-old! He had gone far fast.)


      2. Remember in the introduction I was concerned about going in the right direction rather than going fast. What formula do you find in these verses for walking in the right direction? (Notice the sequence of these verses. Jesus listens, asks questions and then gives answers. This sequence is a good life policy. I used to have a member of my class who would walk in late. As soon as he sat down, his hand would come up. I used to wonder "How can you have an answer when you have not been present for the discussion?")


    6. Read Luke 2:48-50. What would you have said to Jesus if you were Mary?


      1. What was Jesus saying to His parents? (He was explaining that He had progressed a lot faster than his parents had expected.)


      2. Was Jesus being disrespectful?


    7. Read Luke 2:51. Why does the text tell us that Jesus was an obedient Son? (I think it is to dispel the idea that He was being disrespectful in the temple conversation. The point in Luke is that the parents did not yet grasp the full extent of Jesus' mission - and that it had already started to some degree when He was 12!)


  2. The Wilderness


    1. Read Matthew 4:1-2. Jesus has just been baptized and He is "led by the Spirit" to be tempted. He then fasts 40 days. Pretend you have never read these verses before. Does it make any sense to you to face Satan after not eating for 40 days?


      1. Why would the Holy Spirit lead Jesus into temptation?


      2. When you think of "spiritual highs" in your life, where would you place the day of your baptism?


      3. What is the point of the fasting? (Read Esther 4:15-16. Esther agreed to be the champion of her people to try to defeat Haman, who wanted to kill the Jews. To prepare for this pivotal meeting with the King, she fasts.)


      4. If you were a battle commander, would you choose the place of battle or would you let your opponent choose it? (I think these questions lead us to the explanation for the odd statement that the Spirit led Jesus into temptation. Braced by baptism and fasting, Jesus is led by the Spirit into combat with Satan. The Spirit picks the time, place and circumstances for the battle.)


    2. Read Matthew 4:3-4. Assume you are Satan and you want to cause Jesus to sin. How much time and thought would you put into crafting your opening temptation?


      1. Do you think that Satan is caught unprepared for this battle? (Yes. They are now on Jesus' ground. Satan uses what is there - hunger - to test Jesus on pride and trust in God. It is hard to believe turning stones into bread would be Satan's best approach.)


    3. Read Matthew 4:5-6. What do you think about the likelihood of this question being taken from Satan's advance battle plan? (Jesus' answer to the bread temptation is to refer to the Bible. Satan's next temptation relies on the Bible. Satan seems to be playing off Jesus' prior answer, and not making his move based on his advanced planning.)


    4. Read Matthew 4:8-10. How serious a temptation do you think this was for Jesus?


      1. Let's go through this. First, what kind of temptation is this? (It suggests that Jesus should violate the first and second of the Ten Commandments. Exodus 20:1-4.)


      2. I don't know about you, but when I've got to memorize a list, I generally do better with the first few. Jesus certainly knows the right answer to this temptation. Why would Satan give Jesus such an obvious temptation?


      3. Read Revelation 21:2-3. What is the final destination for the redeemed? (Earth! I'm currently reading a book by Randy Alcorn named "Heaven." Although I do not agree with all of his theology (his error on soul-sleep forces him to invent the idea of pre-resurrection temporary bodies), this is a very worth-while book. One of the grandest things about it is that it focuses our minds on our return to this earth. He suggests that just as the saints will be a new improved version of who they were on earth, so the earth will be a new, improved version of what it was. I live in Virginia now and I can live in New Virginia in the earth made new!)


      4. If earth is our final destination, why would Jesus "fall" for this offer? (There is no trick in this. Satan is giving Jesus a shortcut to the final resolution of the conflict between good and evil. Jesus can avoid the suffering. The only difference is, "Who will be in charge?")


        1. Is it really a shortcut? (Read Revelation 20:10. The proper ending eliminates Satan from that leadership role! To fall for this temptation would be to perpetuate sin, not end it.)


      5. How about you? Are you ready to go straight from baptism, to fasting, to personal combat with Satan? (We can see that Jesus has a very intense "walk." Fortunately, Satan is not omnipresent, thus very few of us will ever be directly tempted by Satan.)


  3. The Lesson


    1. Read 1 John 2:3-6. What lesson for our life can we draw from these "intense" experiences in Jesus' life? What can we learn for our walk? (At 12 years of age, Jesus shows an extra-ordinary knowledge and understanding of the Bible. When the Holy Spirit directs Jesus into combat with Satan, Jesus defeats Satan with His knowledge and understanding of the Bible. Without knowing what God requires of us, it is hard to obey.)


    2. Friend, I'll bet that you are more than 12 years of age. What is the extent of your knowledge of the Bible? If you are behind, are you willing to "pick up the pace" of your Christian walk by spending more time in the Bible? Why not commit to that today?


  4. Next week: The Tenderness of His Love.
* Copr. 2008, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2014 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
Website by Blake Cameron, M.D.
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