Jacob, on his deathbed, calls in his twelve sons and tells each one what will happen to his descendants in days to come. To his fourth son, Judah, he utters one of the most detailed and explicit prophecies about Jesus in all the Bible. Early Christian writers such as Justin Martyr used this prophecy as powerful evidence to convince unbelievers of the faith. In this faith-building lesson we explore facets of this prophecy about the “Lion of the Tribe of Judah”: his reign, divinity, death, resurrection; and that the Gentiles would look to Him. This lesson includes insights from Christians in earlier ages that will equip us to prove the faith to unbelievers today.
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In John 2 we read two stories: Jesus performing his first miracle at a wedding in Cana and Jesus clearing out the temple. Jesus would go on to perform many miracles; why did He begin with turning water into wine? We also look at whether Christians should drink alcohol, and how we should relate to disciples who have different convictions on this. In the second story, we are challenged to imitate the zeal Jesus had for his Father's house, as well as the zeal of other heroes of faith in the Scriptures. Finally, we see Jesus proclaiming to skeptics that there would be one sign of His authority: His resurrection from the dead on the third day, the foundation of the Christian faith.
In John chapter 5 Jesus told his critics that the Old Testament Scriptures testified about him. He pointed specifically to Moses and said, “If you believed in Moses you would believe in me, for he wrote about me”. Where did Moses actually write about Jesus, the Messiah? In this lesson, we examine one of the most detailed and faith-building prophecies in all of the Old Testament, from Moses. Ironically, this is a prophecy that is largely ignored or unappreciated by most modern Christians. This lesson will carry particular significance for those reaching out to friends from Muslim or Jewish backgrounds.
This talk was given on November 18, 2017 at a meeting of Society for the Two Tasks, a graduate student Christian apologetics group that meets on the Harvard University campus.
John the Baptist was asked three questions: “Are you the Christ?”, “Are you Elijah?” and “Are you the Prophet?” John said he was not Elijah (whose return was prophesied in Malachi); however, Jesus said John was the Elijah to come. How do we resolve this apparent contradiction? Also, what is this reference to “the Prophet” all about? Does this refer to Mohammad, as claimed by 1.8 billion Muslims? In this lesson we use the Scriptures to answer that question, and dismantle one of the central claims of Islam in the process.
As we continue in the first chapter of John, we continue our deep dive into the identity of Christ, his divinity, and his appearances in the Old Testament. We are also introduced to John the Baptist, an important character in the beginning of all four Gospels. John was asked three questions: are you the Christ, are you Elijah, and are you the Prophet? We tackle the first of these (are you the Christ?) - a study that not only builds our own faith but also prepares us to give an answer to questions posed by Jews and Muslims.
In Genesis 21 we find another disturbing story: Abraham casting out his own son Ishmael and his maidservant Hagar, who both nearly die in the desert. While it would be easy to pass over this story, there are significant lessons here, some which Paul explains....
In Genesis 17, God gives Abraham and God's people the "everlasting covenant" of circumcision. What is this covenant? Does circumcision have anything to do with Christians today? Why should we care? This lesson is packed with the heart of God....
In Genesis 5 we are introduced to Noah, "a righteous man, who was perfect in his generation and well-pleasing to God", yet lived during a time of great wickedness. We look at whether the story of the flood is merely a fable, or instead the greatest disaster in human history....
Genesis 1 covers the creation of the world. The chapter raises many significant questions:
- What does the creation account reveal about who God is?
- How should we understand the creation of the world? What is reasonable?
- Why do so many smart people reject God as the Creator of the universe?
- How did Paul argue God as Creator of the universe to help intelligent people....