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Lesson 12: More Clothing Imagery *

Introduction: "Man bites dog." "Revenge of the nerds." "Ugly guy marries beautiful girl." These phrases give us unexpected news. Normally dogs bite humans, the smart, good-looking, popular teens seem to prevail, and the handsome guy marries the beautiful girl. What if the Kingdom of God has everything in reverse? Is God leading a kingdom of nerds? Or, is that just what the world thinks? If God has things reversed, why? Is there a blessing in this for the average person? Let's dive into our study of the Bible and find out!

  1. Triumph of the Unclean


    1. Read Mark 5:21-24. Why do you think Jesus went with Jairus? (Jairus had an emergency situation. He had faith. He was a ruler of the synagogue.)


    2. Read Mark 5:25-26. Put yourself in this woman's place. How would you feel? (Frustrated. She spent all of her money looking for a cure, and she was getting worse.)


    3. Read Mark 5:27-28. What kind of a plan is this? (Read Leviticus 15:25-27. She is not supposed to be touching Jesus because she will make Him unclean. That will require Jesus to go through the purification process.)


    4. Read Mark 5:29-34. Is it an accident that this woman was healed? Does Jesus have no control over His own power? (The story sounds like that at first, but we see that her healing is the reward of faith.)


    5. Read Mark 5:35. If Jesus had not been fooling around with the woman, would Jarius' daughter have died?


      1. Put yourself in Jesus' place. You have two people in need: the young daughter of a synagogue ruler who is in an emergency situation, and an unclean woman who has a chronic, non-emergency illness. Which would you see first? (From the point of view of the on-lookers, Jesus decision makes absolutely no sense.)


      2. Can you make any sense of Jesus' decision? (Jesus pays no attention to a person's status. Jesus pays no attention to time. If you continue to read this story, Jesus raises the young girl to life. He makes everything right, just on His own schedule.)


  2. Triumph of the Footwasher


    1. Read John 13:1-8. Why does Peter protest Jesus washing his feet?


    2. Read Mark 14:10-11. Why does Judas betray Jesus?


    3. Read Matthew 20:20-21. Why does the mother of James and John (see Mark 10:35) ask that her sons will have the top spots in Jesus' Kingdom? (All three questions have the same answer. Peter believes that Jesus is about to become King. Judas believes that if he gives Jesus a little nudge, Jesus will show His power and become King. The mother believes Jesus will become King.)


    4. Let's go back to John 13:3-4 and the Passover dinner. What is going through the minds of the disciples? (They want to show that they are the most important. They deserve high places in Jesus' coming kingdom. Therefore, they dare not admit they are inferior by washing the feet of one of their rivals.)


      1. What is going through the mind of Jesus? (Jesus knows that everything has been put under His power!)


      2. How is this related to the Jairus story? (Jesus is modeling a ministry that no one expected. He serves everyone regardless of their station in life or His.)


      3. Does this only work for those who (like Jesus) know they are God? (Two things. First, Jesus had some terrible, humiliating things ahead of Him. Second, our relationship with God should be the source of our confidence - a confidence that allows us to serve.)


  3. Triumph of the Accused


    1. Read Matthew 26:59-61. Assume that you are prosecuting the case against Jesus? What is the problem? (The prosecutors are looking for "false evidence" and they have plenty of willing false witnesses. The problem must be that none of these false witnesses have any credibility.)


      1. Why are the two who finally testified credible? (It sounds like what Jesus actually said in John 2:19.)


      2. Would you put this testimony in the record? (The question is, "So what?" The way the testimony comes out, it sounds like Jesus is crazy, not a criminal.)


    2. Read Matthew 26:62-63. Why do you think Jesus remained silent? (Read Deuteronomy 17:6. Part of God's law is the right to remain silent in a death penalty case. Self-incrimination was prohibited. Jesus could be claiming his right against self incrimination. It could also be that the charge is so ridiculous that Jesus thought it unworthy of an answer.)


    3. Read Matthew 26:63-66 and Leviticus 21:10. Who should be on trial here? (The High Priest. He violates the "two witness" rule in death penalty cases, and he violates the rule against tearing his robe.) In Leviticus 10:6 Aaron is warned that if he violates this rule he will die.)


      1. Why did the High Priest do what he did? (He could. He had the power and authority to do it.)


    4. As Jesus was going through this process, what was coming to an end? (The whole sanctuary system. Not only did the High Priest rip his robe, but the curtain in the sanctuary was ripped from top to bottom ( Mark 15:38-39). The authorities corrupted God's message of the Lamb of God. Power had been substituted for piety.)


  4. Triumph of Humility


    1. Read Matthew 27:27-31. Notice that the symbols of a king were the method of humiliating Jesus. Why would Satan inspire this specific humiliation? What was going through Satan's mind? (Recall that Satan's original sin was wanting to be like God. Isaiah 14:14-15. The original sin of humanity was wanting to be like God. Genesis 3:1-4. Satan believed that if he questioned and mocked Jesus' status as God, Jesus would break.)


    2. How do you like it when people make fun of you? What if they are serious about the fact that they think you have little value?


      1. How do you react when people treat you disrespectfully? What about when the people who are disrespectful come from a "lower station" in life?


    3. Why didn't Jesus break? (Because He was not like Satan and He was not like Eve and He was not like you and me. He was humble. And, His humility was what brought Him through this terrible temptation. "[Jesus], being in the very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped." Philippians 2:6.)


    4. What do these last two stories teach us about the nature of authority? (Satan and his agents used authority, and the lust for power, to promote their kingdom of injustice. Authority will not increase your status with God, but it might increase your vulnerability to Satan.)


  5. Triumph of the Lost Garments


    1. Read John 19:23-24. What is the final humiliation of Jesus? (That He is stripped naked and His clothing given to his killers.)


    2. Read Romans 8:1-4. What did the humiliation of Jesus do for us? (It gave us the opportunity for a glorious eternal life.)


    3. Let's contemplate this series of stories about garments. Jesus (at least for a time) prefers the unclean woman over Jairus, Jesus models the humility of footwashing, Jesus (the ultimate High Priest) is victimized by the corrupt power of the High Priest, Jesus (the King of Kings)is disrespected as a king, Jesus is humiliated at the cross to give us life. What lesson(s) should we draw from this? (If we truly want to be like God (see Eve), then we would put aside our pride. God has reversed the worldly order of things. He elevates humility. He does not consider status. He is motivated by a love that treats all equally.)


    4. Consider our last two lessons. In the prodigal story, the older ("good") brother is in jeopardy of losing heaven, while the younger (bad) son enters eternal life. In the story of the wedding of the king's son, the friends and worthies of the kingdom are rejected, while the Walmart shoppers enter heaven. In this week's lesson we learn that humility is something to be grasped, and authority is a trap. Has Jesus reversed the order of things?


      1. If so, why? Why is the world turned upside down and nothing is as we expected it should be? (Read Micah 6:8. This is the heart of the gospel - to seek justice and mercy and walk humbly with our God who walked humbly.)


      2. Is this good news? (Yes! This path is open to everyone. Even "average" people are qualified. Indeed, they may have an advantage.)


    5. Friend, do you model humility? Do you care about the underdog and the powerless? Or, is your goal in life to seek power and authority? Why not ask the Holy Spirit, right now, to change your heart?


  6. Next week: Clothed in Christ.
* Copr. 2011, 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.

© 2017 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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