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Sabbath School Lessons on Rebellion and Redemption
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Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 8: Comrades in Arms *
Introduction: Do you separate your work from your religious practice?
Some people think they are separate spheres of life. When I was in
college, I briefly worked in a trailer factory during the summer. My
work crew harassed me about being a "college boy" and about my
religious beliefs. At the end of the summer, the leader of the crew
came to me and apologized for the harassment. He said he was a
"Sunday school teacher" and what he had been saying to me was
inconsistent with his role in church. The Bible teaches us that we
should integrate our work and our faith. Let's plunge into our study
of the Bible to see how we can be "comrades in arms" even in the
- Peter's Professionalism
- Read Luke 5:1-3. Relying on your experience with boats,
would Jesus' idea that He should teach from a boat raise
any problems? (A boat is not a static thing unless you
have a couple of anchors. I suspect Peter was also in the
boat using an oar to keep it in relatively the same
- Read Luke 5:4-5. The assumption is that night is the time
to catch fish. This is something that Peter, a trained
professional, would know. In addition, it seems they had
cleaned up for the day. What do you think Peter thought of
Jesus' suggestion that they let down nets during the day?
(Jesus already had the "teach in a drifting boat" idea
that showed His background was in carpentry ( Mark 6:3),
not fishing. Now, Jesus suggests something else that seems
- Why does Peter do the impractical? (Out of respect
for Jesus - and not His understanding of fishing.)
- Read Luke 5:6-7. What has happened? (A miracle. The nets
are built for the range of normal catches. This is beyond
- Read Luke 5:8-9. What do you think is going through
Peter's mind that he should say this? (First, Peter must
view this as a miracle. It is the result of the
supernatural. Second, I think Peter has been thinking
Jesus is incompetent in matters of boats and fishing. That
makes Peter feel especially guilty.)
- Read Luke 5:10. Re-read Luke 5:8. What does Jesus'
statement, "Don't be afraid," add to our understanding of
what is going through Peter's mind? (More than feeling
guilty, Peter is fearful.)
- "Fear" seems an odd emotion towards someone who was
just sitting in a boat teaching about God. How do you
explain this? (The only thing that makes sense to me
is that Peter concludes that Jesus is divine. Jesus
is the Messiah.)
- What does this story teach us about our work and our
- Read Luke 5:11. Read Matthew 4:18-20. This is an earlier
call from Jesus. How should we understand the statement
"they left everything and followed Him?" Did they just
abandon their business? (Read John 21:1-4. This suggests
that even after Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection Peter
is still earning a living as a fisherman. Mark 1:19-20,
Luke 5:8-10 and Matthew 4:21 suggest this is a family and
friends business. The disciples can leave the business
without abandoning their assets. Of course, after Jesus'
last call the disciples seem to work full-time to advance
- Read Acts 18:2-4, Acts 20:33-34 and Acts 22:2-3. How did
Paul support himself? (As a tentmaker.)
- What is the nature of Paul's education? Is it like
that of Peter? (It is not at all like the education
of Peter. Paul is a trained theologian, yet he makes
tents to support himself.)
- What does this discussion of Peter and Paul teach us about
the nature of Peter's response to Jesus' call to follow?
(The call to follow Jesus does not necessarily means that
we give up our profession. The fact that Jesus did a
miracle regarding Peter's catch, shows that Jesus
prospered him in his profession.)
- How can you be a "comrade in arms" with Jesus in your
- The Storm
- Read Matthew 8:23-25. Who should be expert in boat-handling? (The disciples who were fisherman, not the
- What does this teach us about being disciples and
working in our profession? (That we need to rely on
God. Our career and our discipleship are not two
- Read Matthew 8:26. How would you answer Jesus? (I'm afraid
because I could drown!)
- Why does Jesus criticize their faith? (The central
issue in our life is whether we trust God. Jesus
tells them that as long as He is with them, they need
not fear death.)
- Read Matthew 8:27. Should Peter have been amazed? (You
might think that the miraculous catch of fish was not so
miraculous. But, this is a clear miracle.)
- What does this teach us about our partnership with
God? (We should expect miracles. Jesus controls the
fish, the winds and the waves. What more does a
fisherman need? If Jesus controls all aspects of
your profession, what more do you need? We should put
- Read Matthew 19:27. Peter says they have left everything
to follow Jesus, although we are not completely sure what
that means at this point in time. What does Peter want?
- Read Matthew 19:28. What will the disciples receive?
- Read Matthew 20:20-21, Mark 10:35-37 and Mark 9:33-35.
This follows Jesus' discussion of thrones and judging the
tribes. What is the meaning of "greatest" here? (The
greatest in Jesus' kingdom.)
- Re-read Mark 9:33-35. What does this teach us about
arguing over promotion at work? (Servant leadership. If
you want to be promoted, you need to be willing to serve
all. You need to be willing to do the difficult work.)
- Read Mark 9:36-37. This seems to be an odd switch. Why
would an adult not welcome a child? (The adult has more
important things to do. If you are looking for promotion
and power, a child has no power to share.)
- What do you think Jesus' point is regarding
promotion? (If you want to be promoted, you need to
be willing to do "servants work" and you need to
"welcome" those who can do you no good.)
- Let me ask you a question that relates to this. Do
you know the name of the person who cleans your
office? How do you treat the people you supervise?
How do you treat co-workers who cannot promote you?
- Read Matthew 20:17-19. If you were listening to this, how
serious is this?
- Re-read Matthew 20:20-22. Do you think that these
disciples (James and John)were paying attention to what
Jesus just said?
- If not, why not? (I don't think they were paying
attention, and it is because they were focused on
- If they were not paying attention to the point
about crucifixion, did they understand their
agreement to drink "the cup I am going to
- What does this teach us about promotion? (They were
focused on self, not on the welfare of Jesus. This is
one part of the bigger picture Jesus is painting
about leadership. If you want to lead, you need to be
unselfish about what kind of work you are willing to
do. If you want to lead, you need to be unselfish and
welcome those who cannot help you. If you want to
lead, you need to pay attention to the needs of
others, and not be focused on your own needs.)
- Friend, are you willing to integrating your faith with
your work? I don't think this is mostly about telling
people about Jesus when they don't want to listen. I think
it is about using Biblical principles when doing your job.
These principles are relying on God, trusting God to work
out problems, being willing to do the work others do not
want to do, welcoming co-workers who cannot promote you,
and paying attention to the needs of those around you
rather than focusing on self. Will you determine to follow
these promotion principles?
- Next week: The Great Controversy and the Early Church.
* Copr. 2016, 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.