Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Thoughts on Study Questions from Acts Ch 7 on 11/4

My Sunday school class/Life Group is studying the book of Acts. I posted these questions this Monday and encouraged you to jot your thoughts down.
It's Wednesday. This post consists of some comments from the class discussion.

If you’d like a PDF file of the questions, email me at crd.author@gmail.com

Chapter 7 – Vv 54-60
The reaction to Stephen's concluding remarks is severe. Why "gnash teeth"?
Righteous indignation.
Disrespect of and anger with a sinner.

Why didn't they stone Peter?
This is similar to the question we ended with next week. None of us looked ahead. 🙃
If they had, the Gospel would not have gone forward.
They were afraid of Peter.
In the spirit of Gamaliel's comment in Chapter 5 (“Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”), they thought Peter would bury himself eventually.

How does Stephen respond?
56 Look,” he [Stephen] said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
This would have been considered more blasphemy by the Sanhedrin. 

An Aside
Every town with a synagogue had a Sanhedrin. Small synagogues had 21 members. Larger cities had 73 members. All members of any Sanhedrin were Levites. 

What is the final reaction in the Sanhedrin's meeting place?
The act like a bunch of two-year-olds who didn't get their way.
Which group would be "leading the charge" at this time? 
Both Sadducees and Pharisees had a motive. Sadducees had control of the Sanhedrin, so they are the leading candidates.
Stephen's remarks imply resurrection by Jesus. Sadducees did not believe in resurrection.

Who do we meet in v58?
The coats were laid at his feet to ensure no blood got on them. The coats were covered with elaborate hand worked embroidery. They were expensive. Blood stains would render them unclean and the cleansing ritual would have damaged them extensively.

Stephen's final words sound a lot like Who?
On the cross.
This is the opposite response found in 2 Chronicles 24:22 in a time when the Holy Spirit was not active in the lives of people all the time.
King Joash did not remember the kindness Zechariah’s father Jehoiada had shown him but killed his son, who said as he lay dying, “May the Lord see this and call you to account.”
Here's more on this topic from a note in a study Bible

Why do you think that Luke, a doctor, used the term “he fell asleep”?
It was a common term at the time for a peaceful transition from life to death.
It is an appropriate term since Luke believed in the resurrection of the dead at the second coming.
Jesus uses similar terminology in Mark 5:35b-42.
some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”
36 Overhearing[a] what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 But they laughed at him.

After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”).42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 

Somehow we ended up discussing why the scholars in the Sanhedrin missed seeing Jesus as the Messiah. This was the question that was asked.
How to know the Messiah? Was there a set of rules?
Ultimately, we agreed that they were looking for a wrong type of Messiah rather than the One God provided in Jesus.
If you are interested in Messianic prophecies, my blog December 26 is a "fill in the blanks" table for 37 messianic prophecies. On December 27, the blog post provides the answers.
Feel free to spread the word about this.

We got this far this week. 

Friday, This week Expressions of Faith is Why?

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