Signs for the Saints

Today we begin studying what is often called the Olivet Discourse, which Jesus spoke on Tuesday of Holy Week, the pharisees had just passed their final judgement on Jesus, and now he offers a prophetic teaching of the final days and future glory. This section of Scripture will help us explore and understand the relationship of the destruction of the temple to the second coming, the nature of the future Kingdom, the signs of His second coming, and of the end of the age.  Our study over the next couple of weeks should compel each of us to be prepared, alert, and actively serving the Lord with anticipation of His coming.



Section 139a | Setting of the Discourse

From the temple to the Mount of Olives
[one_third last=”no” class=”” id=””]Matthew 24:1-3 
Jesus went out from the temple,1  and was going on his way. His disciples came to him to show him the buildings of the temple. 2 But he answered them,“You see all of these things, don’t you? Most certainly I tell you, there will not be left here one stone on another, that will not be thrown down.”2 As he sat on the Mount of Olives,3 the disciples4 came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? What is the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?” [/one_third]
[one_third last=”no” class=”” id=””]Mark 13:1-4 
1 As he went out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Teacher, see what kind of stones5 and what kind of buildings!” 2 Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone on another, which will not be thrown down.” 3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple,6 Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately,7 “Tell us, when will these things be? What is the sign that these things are all about to be fulfilled?” [/one_third]
[one_third last=”yes” class=”” id=””]Luke 21:5-7 
5 As some were talking about the temple and how it was decorated with beautiful stones and gifts, he said, “As for these things which you see, the days will come, in which there will not be left here one stone on another that will not be thrown down.”8 

7 They asked him, “Teacher, so when will these things be? What is the sign that these things are about to happen?”9 [/one_third]

Section 139b | Beginning of Birth Pains

Mount of Olives
[one_third last=”no” class=”” id=””]Matthew 24:4-14 
Jesus answered them, “Be careful that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will lead many astray.10 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars.11  See that you aren’t troubled, for all this must happen, but the end is not yet.12 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be famines, plagues, and earthquakes in various places. But all these things are the beginning of birth pains.13       

9 Then they will deliver you up to oppression, and will kill you. You will be hated by all of the nations for my name’s sake. 10 Then many will stumble, and will deliver up one another, and will hate one another.







11 Many false prophets will arise, and will lead many astray. 12 Because iniquity will be multiplied, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end will be saved. 14 This Good News of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. [/one_third]
[one_third last=”no” class=”” id=””]Mark 13:5-13 
Jesus, answering, began to tell them, “Be careful that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and will lead many astray. 7 “When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, don’t be troubled. For those must happen, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places. There will be famines and troubles. These things are the beginning of birth pains.

But watch yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils. You will be beaten in synagogues. You will stand before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony to them.

10 The Good News must first be preached to all the nations. 11 When they lead you away and deliver you up, don’t be anxious beforehand, or premeditate what you will say, but say whatever will be given you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 “Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child. Children will rise up against parents, and cause them to be put to death. 13 You will be hated by all men for my name’s sake,


but he who endures to the end will be saved.[/one_third]
[one_third last=”yes” class=”” id=””]Luke 21:8-19 
He said, “Watch out that you don’t get led astray, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is at hand.’ Therefore don’t follow them. When you hear of wars and disturbances, don’t be terrified, for these things must happen first, but the end won’t come immediately.” 10 Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines, and plagues in various places. There will be terrors and great signs from heaven. 12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you up to synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for my name’s sake. 13 It will turn out as a testimony for you. 

14 Settle it therefore in your hearts not to meditate beforehand how to answer, 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to withstand or to contradict. 16 You will be handed over even by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends. They will cause some of you to be put to death. 17 You will be hated by all men for my name’s sake. 18 And not a hair of your head will perish. 19 “By your endurance you will win your lives.[/one_third]

Group Dialogue

  1. What answers did Jesus offer to the three questions the disciples were asking?
  2. Jesus says that his disciples then and now will face various forms of deception. How would you define deception? How can each of us as individuals, a small group, a church prepare ourselves so that we don’t fall prey to these deceptions?
  3. Why and how do we grow apart from the Lord when we first express such love and claim such devotion? Why is it that we begin to place our trust elsewhere? What are the effects of the change?
  4. How can (should) our trust in God’s plan, and faith in Jesus affect our daily actions, emotions and decisions?
  5. Do you think you place more trust in Christ and the Scriptures or in things or circumstances that surely won’t last? What are some of those temporal things?; good things (family, home, job); religious things (clergy, buildings, programs, traditions, doctrine) that you think you need to realign?
  6. Are you ready for whatever may come in your life, in our nation, and in the world?
  7. What work does Jesus say we His disciples must be about? Does this commandment remind you of other Scripture passages?


5d Five Uncategorized

We Want To See Jesus

Today we will be studying part 2 of 2 on Holy Monday, the events of which are only found in John’s Gospel account. The lesson is of utmost importance, and especially to people on the fence, those who have not fully engaged with the Gospel message, or allowed their lives to be transformed by a Gospel-centered world view.

Holy Week Mini-Series Podcast:

60 min Podcast: Coming soon

Section 130a | The Request of some Greeks to see Jesus

John 12:20-36a
20 Now1 there were certain Greeks2 among those that went up to worship at the feast.3 21 These, therefore, came to Philip,4 who was from Bethsaida of Galilee,5 and asked him, saying, “Sir, we want to see Jesus.”6  22 Philip came and told Andrew,7 and in turn, Andrew came with Philip, and they told Jesus. 23 Jesus answered8 them, “The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Most certainly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat9 falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit.10 25 He who loves his life will lose it.11 He who hates his life12 in this world will keep it to eternal life. 26  If anyone serves me, let him follow me. Where I am, there my servant will also be. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.13   27 “Now my soul is troubled. What shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this time?’ But I came to this time for this cause.14  28 Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came out of the sky, saying, “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”15  29 Therefore the multitude who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”16  30 Jesus answered, “This voice hasn’t come for my sake, but for your sakes.17  31 Now is the judgment of this world.18 Now the prince of this world will be cast out.19 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”20 33 But he said this, signifying by what kind of death he should die. 34 The multitude answered him, “We have heard out of the law that the Christ remains forever. 21How do you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up?’ Who is this Son of Man?” 35 Jesus therefore said to them, “Yet a little while the light is with you.22 Walk while you have the light, that darkness doesn’t overtake you. He who walks in the darkness doesn’t know where he is going. 36a While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become children of light.”

Section 130b | Different Responses to Jesus and His response to the Crowds

John 12:36b-50
36b Jesus said these things, and he departed and hid himself from them. 37 But though he had done so many signs before them, yet they didn’t believe in him, 38 that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke,“Lord, who has believed our report? To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39 For this cause they couldn’t believe, for Isaiah said again, 40 “He has blinded their eyes and he hardened their heart, lest they should see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, and would turn, and I would heal them.” 41 Isaiah said these things when he saw his glory, and spoke of him. 42 Nevertheless even many of the rulers believed in him, but because of the Pharisees they didn’t confess it, so that they wouldn’t be put out of the synagogue, 43 for they loved men’s praise more than God’s praise. 44 Jesus cried out and said,“Whoever believes in me, believes not in me, but in him who sent me. 45 He who sees me sees him who sent me. 46 I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in the darkness. 47 If anyone listens to my sayings, and doesn’t believe, I don’t judge him. For I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 He who rejects me, and doesn’t receive my sayings, has one who judges him. The word that I spoke will judge him in the last day. 49 For I spoke not from myself, but the Father who sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. 50 I know that his commandment is eternal life. The things therefore which I speak, even as the Father has said to me, so I speak.”

Group Dialog:

  1. As in the Sorites paradox you must admit the presence of a heap sooner or later, so when do you truly become a follower of Christ?
  2. What is it that you value most in life? What would utterly change the meaning of your life if you possessed it?
  3. Failing to practice self denial can cost you plenty: your legacy, as well your own well being and that of others.  What ways have you denied yourself pleasures and gained a greater blessing or spared yourself and other pain, and death?
  4. Having eternal life (salvation through faith) is not the end all goal – It is a new beginning. How does one continue to grow spiritually and gain life that is more abundant (John 10:10)? What godly work began after you became a disciple? What else had to transpire before you were prepared for that service?


We would see Jesus Author: Anna Bartlett Warner (1852); Tune: “Consolation” (Mendelssohn)
(verses 1,2 used in our closing prayer)  


Lectionary Series Uncategorized Year A

Fourth Sunday of Advent (A)

Advent 4-animationThis Sunday’s gospel reading comes from Mt 1:18-25 found in Phase 1, Section 9 of the Harmony of the Gospels1. The story recorded by the Apostle Matthew, probably while he was in Antioch was written with special concern for those steeped in Hebrew tradition. Today, we believe it speaks loudest to those who are law-bound and legalistic – battling with their reasoning, their desire to do what’s right, and the reality of their own thoughts and actions. Today’s message is tells the story of Joseph in the throws of such a battle in which mercy and ascent to a higher purpose win and many prophesies fulfilled.2

urify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Parsing the Collect, by Fr. Rob Eaton, Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Hemet, CA (Coming Soon)

Section 9 | Circumstances of Jesus’ Birth Explained to Joseph

Matthew 1:18-25
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ3 was like this: After his mother, Mary, was engaged to Joseph, before they came together, she was found pregnant4 by the Holy Spirit.5 19 Joseph, her husband, being a righteous man, and not willing to make her a public example, intended to put her away secretly. 20 But when he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take to yourself Mary, your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 She shall give birth to a son. You shall call his name Jesus, for it is he who shall save his people from their sins.” 22 Now all this has happened, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall give birth to a son. They shall call his name Immanuel;” which is, being interpreted, “God with us.” 24 Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took his wife to himself;6 25 and didn’t know her sexually until she had given birth to her firstborn son. He named him Jesus.

RCL Readings: Isaiah 7:10-16; Psalm 80:1-7, 16-18; Matthew 1:18-25; Romans 1:1-7

Group Dialog:

  1. Look over the notes in Veracity and Virtue. What singular aspect of this story is most astounding to you?
  2. What did Joseph’s immediate obedience to the angel’s message in his dream indicate about his beliefs and his relationship with God?
  3. As the son of Mary Jesus was fully human. Read Heb 2:18; 4:15 and talk about how Jesus’ life, teaching and choices relate to your own struggles.
  4. In what ways was Jesus the opposite of Adam? Consider the significance of Jesus’ divine nature: being Eternal; his power over disease; command over nature; authority over sin and control over death – even His own.
  5. Consider God’s law, the laws of your State and this nation, and your family rules – Seventeen verses in the New Testament describe Jesus as the “son of David.” Why would this have been important to the Hebrew people to whom Mathew wrote?
  6. What are some everyday decisions or life changing decisions in which we need to relinquish control and obey God?
  7. Can you trust the Scriptures and God in areas that we do not fully understand, like the incarnation? If not how might your unbelief affect your perception of God’s ability in the ordinary things in which we wish he would come to our aid?
  8. What does the incarnation of Jesus – Immanuel, (God coming to dwell with us) tell us about the  extent of God’s intent and desire for our reconciliation and redemption?
  9. Read the Gospel once more and also the other readings, then discuss what are the keys to having a “stable faith“?

Prayers of the People:

  • Lives of the ChurchSet us free, Lord, from the confinements of our own reasoning. Let us expand our understanding with the wisdom that comes by faith and trust fully in your very nature, Word, and purpose for us. 
  • LocalLord, embolden us to leave the comfort of our own creation and activities, to go with confidence in the power of your Spirit at work within us in and beyond our neighborhood, to be the light of Christ, to do good works, and share the Good News in the ministry of reconciliation.
  • GlobalOh God, your power and thoughts are so much greater than our own – vast and incomprehensible! Lift our eyes, our soul letting us see the greater plan, knit our souls desires to your very own, and help us embrace and empower every good work that you are doing to reach and reconcile the world to you in this very moment.



Of Foxes and Lions

Today’s reading marks the close of a particular day in the life of Jesus, but more assuredly the end of Herod’s leniency and tolerance towards Jesus’ growing ministry and fame. While Herod determines to be rid of Jesus once and for all, Jesus sets his sights on the purpose for which he came – to seek and save the lost, knowing even that it will cost him his very life. Sometimes self-sacrifice is the only path to success.

Podcast: coming soon

Section 113b | Anticipation of Jesus’ coming Death and His Sorrow over Jerusalem

Luke 13:31-35
31 On that same day,1  some Pharisees2  came, saying to him, “Get out of here, and go away, for Herod3 wants to kill you.” 32 He said to them, “Go and tell that fox,4 ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow,5 and the third day I complete my mission.6 33 Nevertheless I must go on my way7 today and tomorrow and the next day, for it can’t be that a prophet would perish outside of Jerusalem.’ 8   34 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem,9 you who kills the prophets10  and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, like a hen gathers her own brood under her wings, and you refused!11 35 Behold, your house is left to you desolate.12 I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed13 is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”14  

Group Dialogue:

  1. What does Jesus say must be accomplished in verse 33?
  2. What is your reaction to Jesus’ determination and willingness to do whatever it takes?
  3. Over what circumstance or situations have you been in lament?
  4. Consider your circle of friends, family and acquaintances – what feelings do you have about their spiritual, emotional and physical well-being? What actions has that prompted you to take over the last three years?
  5. Are you certain of your calling? What have you had to sacrifice to give yourself fully to that purpose?
  6. What obstacles and threats have hindered you in ministry? Did you overcome? What did you learn in the process?
  7. Talk about God’s mercy and compassion toward us. How does His mercy affect His judgment of people? And our own judgement of people?

Learning Objectives: courage, divine purpose, God’s mercy, sacrifice and servant leadership



Jesus the Healer and his Miracles

There are 20 specific stories of Jesus healing people and in several of these instances we also read that Jesus went on and healed “all those who came” “many others” and “everyone”.  

This table is designed to help you jump to each passage in the Harmony of the Gospels so that you can study each healing and miracle in harmony, context, and chronological order.








Healing the official’s son at Capernaum



John 4:46-54

Healing a possessed man



Mark 1:23-26

Healing Peter’s mother-in-law



Matt. 8:14-15

Mark 1:30-31

Luke 4:38-39

Healing a paralyzed man



Matt. 9:2-7

Mark 2:3-12

Luke 5:18-25

Healing the man at the pool of Bethesda



John 5:1-9

Healing a man with a withered hand



Matt. 12:10-13

Mark 3:1-5

Luke 6:6-10

Healing the centurion’s servant



Matt. 8:5-13

Luke 7:1-10

Raising the widow of Nain’s son from the dead



Luke 7:11-15

Healing a blind and dumb man



Matt. 12:22

Luke 11:14

Healing a leper



Matt. 8:2-3

Mark 1:40-42

Luke 5:12-13

Healing the one/two Gadarenes



Matt. 8:28-34

Mark 5:1-13

Luke 8:27-33

Healing a woman with a hemorrhage



Matt. 9:20-22

Mark 5:25-29

Luke 8:43-48

Healing two blind men



Matt. 9:27-31

Healing a dumb man



Matt. 9:32-33

Healing the Canaanite woman’s daughter



Matt. 15:21-28

Mark 7:24-30

Healing a deaf and dumb man



Mark 7:31-37

Healing the blind man at Bethsaid



Mark 8:22-26

Healing a boy with epilepsy



Matt. 17:14-18

Mark 9:17-29

Luke 9:38-43

Healing the man born blind



John 9:1-7

Healing the woman bent double



Luke 13:11-13

Healing a man with dropsy



Luke 14:1-4

Healing the ten lepers



Luke 17:11-19

Healing of Bartimaeus



Matt. 20:29-34

Mark 10:46-52

Luke 18:35-43

Healing Malchus’ ear



Luke 22:50-51

We’ve listed each resurrection miracle in the list of the following miracles performed by Christ:








Turning water to wine



John 2:1-11

The catch of fish



Luke 5:1-11

Calming the storm



Matt. 8:23-27

Mark 4:37-41

Luke 8:22-25

Raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead *



Matt. 9:18-25

Mark 5:22-42

Luke 8:41-56

Feeding the 5,000



Matt. 14:15-21

Mark 6:35-44

Luke 9:12-17

John 6:5-13

Walking on the water



Matt. 14:25

Mark 6:48-51

John 6:19-21

The boat immediately reaching shore



John 6:21

Feeding the 4,000



Matt. 15:32-38

Mark 8:1-9

Finding of the coin in the fish’s mouth



Matt. 17:24-27

Raising Lazarus from the dead



John 11:17-44

The withered fig tree



Matt. 21:18-22

Mark 11:20-26

A catch of fish



John 21:1-11

Jesus’ Resurrection *



Matt. 28:2-8

Mark 16:2-6

Luke 24:1-8

John 20:1

* Jesus’ resurrection is a miracle attributed to the Trinity and so to himself. This is integral to the Gospel, his identity, and our own victory and worship (Sursum corda).  See these two articles ( / CARM) for more thoughts and passages about the activity of the Trinity.

We suppose that the post-Resurrection appearances  could also be considered miraculous. These can be found in phase 5d – Post Resurrection Appearances.

To these miracles could be added four post-Ascension appearances including: Jesus’ Appearance to Saul Acts 9:1-9; and three other occurrences as told by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8: Jesus appeared to over 500 men; Jesus appeared to James, Jesus’ brother; Jesus’ appearance to ‘all the apostles’.

Healings: 5% (1 instance is in Phase 2; 15% (3 instances in Phase 3); 10% (2 instances in Phase 4); 40% (8 instances in Phase 5a); and 25% (5 instances in Phase 5b);  5% (1 instance in Phase 5c); and the final 15% (3 instances in Phase 5d)  


Onward and Upward

Week 81 | Sections 93, 94, 95

The journey to one’s destiny calls for unfeigned courage, humility, and encouragement where it might be found, for the road is not often easy.  In our reading today Jesus makes his journey onward and upward, traveling southward from Capernaum to Jerusalem.


Section 93 | Complete Commitment Required of Followers

[one_half last=”no”]Matthew 8:19-22
19 A scribe came,1 and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” 20 Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”2 21 Another of his disciples said to him, “Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father.” 22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”[/one_half]
[one_half last=”yes”]Luke 9:57-62
57 As they went on the way, a certain man said to him, “I want to follow you wherever you go, Lord.” 58 Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” 59 He said to another, “Follow me!” But he said, “Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father.” 60 But Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead, but you go and announce God’s Kingdom.” 61 Another also said, “I want to follow you, Lord, but first allow me to say good-bye to those who are at my house.” 62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for God’s Kingdom.”[/one_half]

Section 94 | Ridicule by Jesus’ Half Brothers

John 7:2-9
2 Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was at hand. 3 His brothers therefore said to him, “Depart from here and go into Judea, that your disciples also may see your works which you do. 4 For no one does anything in secret while he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, reveal yourself to the world.” 5 For even his brothers didn’t believe in him. 6 Jesus therefore said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready. 7 The world can’t hate you, but it hates me, because I testify about it, that its works are evil. 8 You go up to the feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, because my time is not yet fulfilled.” 9 Having said these things to them, he stayed in Galilee.

Section 95 | Journey through Samaria

[one_half last=”no”]Luke 9:51-56
51 It came to pass, when the days were near that he should be taken up, he intently set his face to go to Jerusalem.3    52 and sent messengers before his face. They went and entered into a village of the Samaritans, so as to prepare for him. 53 They didn’t receive him, because he was traveling with his face set towards Jerusalem. 54 When his disciples, James and John, saw this, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from the sky, and destroy them, just as Elijah did?” 55 But he turned and rebuked them, “You don’t know of what kind of spirit you are. 56 For the Son of Man didn’t come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” They went to another village. [/one_half]
[one_half last=”yes”]John 7:10
10 But when his brothers had gone up to the feast,

then he also went up, not publicly, but as it were in secret.[/one_half]

Small Group Dialog:

  1. What has it meant, taken, and cost you to find and follow Jesus?

Learning Objectives:



Study Notes:


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