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Getting the Most Out of God’s Word For personal devotion or group discussion

A Guide for Reading and Listening to God’s Word

a journey of discovery

Magnolia Baptist Church

WELCOME ALONG I believe there is no greater journey one can engage in life than to know Jesus of Nazareth...the Christ...the Son of God.






DAY TWENTY-SIX: The Young Ruler

DAY TWENTY-SEVEN: Jesus and the Blind Beggar

DAY TWENTY-EIGHT: Zacchaeus’ House

DAY TWENTY-NINE: “Lazarus, Come Out!”

DAY THIRTY: Anointed to Die

Paul, a leader in the early foundations of Christianity, wrote “For me to live is Christ…” (Philippians 1:27). Nothing else was more important to Paul. “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8) I agree with Paul. There is nothing in my life more incredible than knowing Jesus. The words and ways of Jesus guide and enhance every facet of my home with my wife and kids, at work, and in my community. Does that make me perfect? No. I blow it...big time. But it put me in a right relationship with Jesus...being a follower. This guide is a journey of discovery...of knowing Jesus. My hope in putting this together is to help guide you along this journey; to guide you into a personal discovery of Jesus in ways, that perhaps, you haven't thought of before; to introduce you to a very real Jesus who had a family and friends, knew incredible affirmation and suffered painful rejection; who knew hunger and thirst; who lived and died and lives again! Take courage and take the journey to discover Jesus: the Lamb of God who takes away sin, the son of Joseph and Mary, the Christ, the Messiah, the Lion of Judah, the Son of Man, the Son of God. In knowing Jesus more deeply, I hope also that you come to know yourself more clearly. That as you know Him more, you more and more become like Jesus and truly discover not just a person or a moment in history, but that you truly discover life in His name. Blessings, Jeremy K. Bratcher Senior Pastor



TIMELINE of JESUS’ LIFE Jesus visits Jerusalem for a third Passover April, 28 A.D. Bethsaida Heals a Blind Man at Bethsaida (Mk 8:22-26). Caesarea Philippi He Must Go to Jerusalem and Be Killed (Mat 16:21-28; Mk 8:31-38; 9:1; Lk 9:21-27). And He Was Transfigured (Mat 17:1-13; Mk 9:2-13; Lk 9:28-36). And Jesus Rebuked the Demon (Mat 17:14-21; Mk 9:14-29; Lk 9:37-43). Speaks Again of His Death (Mat 17:22, 23; Mk 9:30-32; Lk 9:43-45). Capernaum Miracle of the Coin in the Fish's Mouth (Mat 17:24-27). Which One is the Greatest? (Mat 18:1-35; Mk 9:33-50; Lk 9:46-50). He Who is Not Against Us is On Our Side (Mk 9:38, 39; Lk 9:49, 50). The Feast of Tabernacles Jerusalem Set His Face to Go to Jerusalem (Lk 9:51-62; Jn 7:2-11). The Lord Appointed Seventy Others (Lk 10:1-16). The Ten Lepers (Lk 17:11-19). Teaches in the Temple at the Feast of Tabernacles (Jn 7:14-53; 8:1-59). The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-37). The Report of the Seventy (Lk 10:17-24). Bethany The House of Mary and Martha (Lk 10:38-42). Jesus Teaches His Disciples to Pray (Lk 11:1-13). The Feast of Dedication Jerusalem I Was Blind, Now I See (Jn 9:1-41). My Sheep Hear My Voice (Jn 9:39-41; 10:1-21). They Picked Up Stones To Stone Him (Jn 10:22-39).


part five

Helpful Online Tools for Personal Bible Study Home of the NET Bible and incredible background study resources. The NET Bible is full of notes from some of the best Hebrew and Greek scholars of our day. offers self-paced theological studies, outlines and study guides for each book of the Bible. is key word searchable. Some of the language and presentation of the material is a bit more scholarly than other sites, but it is fairly accessible in understanding. Great website for searching through the Bible. It offers several tools for study (as the name suggests): concordances, language tools, maps, even has an interlinear Bible (that is searchable and provides pronunciations and root word guides for those who desire to know more about Biblical Greek and Hebrew). This is a must link for anyone looking to study the word more. Thousands of dollars in print resources, all free for use here! Created using Google maps, this site offers a satellite view of Bible lands. The map is linked to Bible references and is searchable by book and verse. This site offers a dozens of translations that are searchable by book, chapter and verse. You can even compare various translations here to see how the texts might be handled a bit differently. This site also offers several language translations. A great mobile Bible accessible through Blackberry, iPhone, and Android apps. There is now a windows/mac version of YouVersion available for desktop use. A great tool for anyone looking to keep the Word with them on the go! is an incredible website full of Bible studies, outlines, maps, Greek and Hebrew helps. I have recently added it to this list. It is absolutely worth your time to invest here during your personal Bible study. SonicLight is the personal website of Dr. Tom Constable. Dr. Constable is an incredible Bible scholar with deep insight into God’s word. Working expositionally through the Scripture, Dr. Constable presents a thorough and understandable breakdown of God’s word.

Having revealed his true glory to Peter, James and John, Jesus and his three followers return to the rest of the disciples. There was still work to do. Jesus’ focus over this final year set completely on preparing the disciples for the rest of the mission...the expansion of God’s Kingdom across the Earth! Several unique encounters happen along the way. The next five days focus in on key encounters Jesus had throughout the last year of his life all leading up to his death and resurrection.

DAY TWENTY-SIX: The Young Ruler

Pray: Lord, show me truth in this reading today. Help me see you and your grace in my life. Read: Matthew 19:16-30; Mark 10:17-27; Luke 18:18-27

What do you notice about the young ruler in this passage? “Those who meet Jesus always experience either joy or its opposites, either foretastes of Heaven or foretastes of Hell. Not everyone who meets Jesus is pleased, and not everyone is happy, but everyone is shocked.”

What do you notice about Jesus in this passage?

Read Mark 10:21. How does this make you feel about how Jesus sees you? ― Peter Kreeft, Jesus-Shock

What questions do you still have?


Reflect: This young ruler was confident in his own money and status instead of his allegiance to God. Wondering how he could inherit eternal life, this rich young man came to Jesus wondering what he had to “do” (Mark 10:17). The use of “do” indicates that he thought he could enter God’s kingdom by doing good. However, Jesus does not directly rebuke him for this belief. Rather, Jesus responds by asking the man why he was calling him “good,” for no one is good but God alone (v. 18). Jesus is not denying His own goodness; He is indirectly forcing the man to question his assumption that he knows goodness (and therefore, the Lord). In effect Jesus is saying “no one is good but God, and therefore you cannot rely on your moral behavior to inherit the life of the age to come. Like anyone else, you must follow me.” Shane Claiborne in his book, The Irresistible Revolution writes, “After Jesus’ teaching that you must enter the kingdom like a little kid, a wealthy man comes up and asks Jesus what he needs to do, and Jesus tells him he lacks one little thing. (“Lacks” is an interesting word to use, since the rich man thought he had everything.) And what might that one thing be? You can almost see him get excited. Then Jesus drops the big one: “Sell everything you have and give it to the poor!” The man’s face sinks and he walks away with his riches. I think it broke Jesus’ heart to let the man walk away. The text says that Jesus looks at him and “loves him” as he walks away.” When our status...when our possessions...when our reputations...when our actions aren’t enough to earn heaven, are we willing to look at Jesus ready to follow or do we walk away disheartened and disenchanted by God’s salvation? Yet, even in light of the young man walking away, Jesus looked at the rejecting ruler and loved him still. When have you felt like you could earn God’s favor?

Why do we have such trouble accepting salvation on God’s terms? In other words, why do you think there is a struggle to “do” or to “earn” or “deserve” God’s favor?

If Jesus told you, “Yet, one thing you lack…” what would that one thing be?

Jesus’ was on his way to Jericho. Before he entered the city, a crowd gathered around him. The bustle of the crowd stirred the curiosity of one blind beggar sitting on the roadside. Take a closer look in to the encounter of Jesus and Bartimaeus Pray: Lord, give me courage to call out to you even when I can’t see you. Read: Matthew 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43

DAY TWENTY-SEVEN: Jesus and the Blind Beggar “In the Bible, the opposite of Sin, with a capital 'S,' is not

In Luke the story has a very significant positioning. It falls between two other stories, both about rich people. One was a highly religious man who was not able to accept Jesus’ condition that he share his wealth with the poor before becoming a disciple. The other is about a man who supposedly was anything but religious and yet, after meeting Jesus, gives away a large proportion of his wealth to the poor. Which of these two was truly blind? What to you is significant about the literary location of the blind beggar in Luke?

virtue - it's faith: faith in a God who draws all to himself in his resurrection.” ― Robert Farrar Capon, Between Noon & Three: Romance, Law & the

Why does the crowd “rebuke” the beggar? How does this make you feel?

Outrage of Grace

What does this encounter tell you about Jesus?

What questions do you still have?


Reflect: What did this blind man do to warrant special attention from Jesus? Nothing meritorious. Instead, he merely cried out for help. And when the crowd tried to hush him up, he cried out all the louder. This plea for help, and this persistence, imply a hope – whether faint and desperate, or firm and confident – that Jesus could actually heal him. That cry for help was all the motivation Jesus needed. This truth offers great hope to us today. All that Jesus requires for those who would come to him is to cry out desperately and determinedly for salvation: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me! Son of David, have mercy on me!” This plea holds two contrasting implications. For one, none of us is good enough to be above desperate need for mercy. For the other, any of us who admits the obvious and cries out desperately for mercy will receive it. Jesus responds to the blind man, and through him, to all who cry out for mercy today: “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Notably, the word which the NIV legitimately translates ‘healed’ is actually a double entendre: it also means ‘saved’. Salvation comes to all who recognize their desperate need, and who cry out to Jesus. Maybe you’ve been passed by crowds of others who “see” Jesus’ power and grace in their lives and you’re stuck on the roadside wondering, “What’s going on? What’s all of the commotion about?” All of the commotion is about Jesus. Are you ready to cry out to him? Are you ready for his response, “What do you want me to do for you?” Would you believe Jesus if you “saw” it happen yourself? What keeps you from crying out to Jesus like this blind man?

If Jesus asked you, “What do you want me to do for you?” what would you say?

Pray: Make your answer to the last question a focus of prayer today.

Continuing his journey to Jerusalem, Jesus comes across a large crowd and small man trying to get a closer glimpse... Pray: Lord, help me to seek you catch a closer glimpse of your amazing grace. Read: Luke 19:1-10


Who do you think the “they” in verse 7 is religious leaders or the general crowd? Why do you think this?

Jesus and Zacchaeus

“Jesus is not your accuser. He’s not your prosecutor. He’s not your judge. He’s your friend and your rescuer. Like Zacchaeus, just spend time with Jesus. Don’t hide from him in shame or reject him in self-righteousness. Don’t allow

How does Jesus coming to “for the sick and not the healthy” (Luke 5:31) connect with Jesus, the Savior, going to the sinners house?

the opinions of other people to shape your concept of him. Get to know him for yourself, and let the goodness of God change you from the inside out.” ― Judah Smith, Jesus Is ___


What questions do you still have?

Reflect: In Jesus' day, Jericho was a city of priests, the home of many Sadducees. These Sadducee priests had to remain ceremonially clean for their Temple duties; they had many restrictions to prevent becoming unclean, such as being forbidden from touching a dead (or nearly-dead) body (which explains the priest's behavior in the parable of the Good Samaritan), and being forbidden from touching Roman money since it had images on it. Nevertheless, needing to deal with Roman money but being unable to handle it personally, these priests hired money-handlers who would collect Roman money from the tax payers and then convert it to Jewish money which the Sadducees could handle. These tax-collectors, constantly handling Roman coinage, were therefore constantly unclean, and therefore could not attend Temple, or Synagogue, or hug friends/family, or shake hands with people they met on the street, or be with their wives (unless she too were unclean). They inherited the nickname of "Sinner", or "publican". They were looked down on, because they were always "unclean". They may have been decent, honest, God-fearing people, but because of their role in society, they were social outcasts.* Yet, Jesus declares, “Today, salvation has come to his house.” If we get honest, there’s not one of us who deserves “salvation to come to our house”. Jesus didn’t come to keep people from though. Through Jesus, God came close...even to social outcasts, sinners, like you and me. *Adapted from a sermon on Luke 19 by Ray Vander Laan Has anyone ever called you a “sinner” or some other associated word? How did that make you feel?

How does Zacchaeus’ encounter with Jesus reflect your own Christ encounter?

How does Jesus want you to respond to your salvation through him today?

Jesus is getting closer, both in proximity and in time, to his final visit to Jerusalem. Along the way, he receives terrible news...his best friend Lazarus, Mary and Martha’ brother, became ill and died. Pray: Lord, beyond the faith to see you power, give me the grace to see your glory even in the midst of difficulties. Read: John 11:1-57

DAY TWENTY-NINE: “Lazarus, Come Out!”

“But what had lasting significance were not the miracles themselves but Jesus' love. Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from the dead, and a few years later, Lazarus died again. Jesus healed the sick, but eventually caught some other disease. He fed the ten thousands, and the next day they were hungry again. But we remember his love. It wasn't that Jesus healed a leper but that he touched a leper, because no one touched lepers.” ― Shane Claiborne,

As you read this passage, how does your perception of Jesus advance through the text? In other words, what do you recognize about Jesus through each scene of this encounter?

Why did Jesus not go to Lazarus immediately when he found out that he was sick?

What application can we take from John’s statement in verse 5, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus”? Especially as it regards our own suffering and loss?

The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical Sense out of Life What questions do you still have?


Reflect: “Lord, if you had only been here, my brother wouldn’t have died!” Martha exclaimed. She would go on to affirm her belief in the resurrection...that in the last days, Lazarus, her brother, would live again! What, then, is she looking for from Jesus? What does she mean by the words, “Even now, whatever you ask of God, God will give it to you?” As we listen to this we can see that Martha's faith is placed right where ours often is, in what she thought would happen, not in who Jesus is and whom she is dealing with. How many times have you said to yourself, “I know God has worked in the past, and I know that he will work again in the future, but today, well, this is not the day of miracles?” In the daily grind of life our world seems to be so barren of miracles that we think, Those days have gone. God can't work now. He will work again, though... This is Martha's faith—in the future, at the resurrection of the last day. Her theology is accurate, but she has forgotten that God is right there in the here and now. That is what Jesus brings to her attention. Notice how he shifts the focus back from the situation to himself, in the words, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” Even in the grammar of this passage the focus is on the first word, I, I am the resurrection and the life. Jesus is saying that wherever he is, then anything God ever did or can do can happen! Do you believe this? Read Matthew 19:26. How does the statement and situation of that passage relate to this one?

Are there things in your life that you think are impossible for God? What are they?

Why are they impossible?

What do you sense God wants of these impossible things?

Shortly after the miracle with Lazarus, Jesus and his disciples have a final dinner with Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Mary’s action that night speak significantly about what Jesus was about to face, but they also speak significantly about the one truly devoted to Jesus.


Pray: Lord, help me to live devoted to you in spite of what others might say. Read: John 12:1-8

What is the only thing that can explain Mary’s outpouring of this expensive perfume? Why is this appropriate in light of what Jesus was about to do (vv. 23-24)?

DAY THIRTY: Anointed to Die

“I learned that faith isn’t about knowing all of the right stuff or obeying a list of rules. It’s

What is the fundamental difference between Mary and Judas as revealed by his objection to what she did?

something more, something more costly because it being present and making a sacrifice. Perhaps that’s why Jesus is sometimes called Immanuel “God with us.” I think that’s what God had in mind, for Jesus to be

With whom do you identify more, Mary or Judas? Why?

present, to just be with us. It’s also what He has in mind for us when it comes to other people.” ― Bob Goff, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World


What questions do you still have?

Reflect: In a celebration of life, Jesus had just brought Lazarus back from the grave, is a compelling and passionate scene of death. While reclining at dinner, Mary, Lazarus’ sister, comes to Jesus and begins to massage his feet with nard. The Greek phrasing reads “muru nardu pistacase palotamu.” It is a luxuriously liquid sound that conveys through the sound of the words the character of the ointment. The storytellers loved this phrase. You have to hear it in Greek. The closest we can get in English is "luxurious and luscious." This liquid was imported from India and was the most costly of all oils in the Middle East...and it was being poured all over Jesus’ feet. Not only that, but there was a woman, taking her hair down (a statement of love and affection), while rubbing Jesus’ feet. Quickly, Judas, one of Jesus’ “disciples”, corrects the scene. “Tell her to stop this wasteful activity. She ought to be ashamed. We could’ve used the money from that on the poor or something more important.” Jesus reaction to Judas in verses 7-8 is interesting. Essentially Jesus tells Judas, “If you only knew how devoted she is to me, you wouldn’t correct her. Judas, I care for the poor more than you’ll ever know, but you’re missing the point. The poor will always be in your presence, but I won’t” Sometimes, I’m Judas in this story. Other things...and I mean Christianish things...take priority over Christ in my life. If only my heart could be tuned to Mary-level devotion for Christ. Not one ounce of your devotion to Jesus is ever wasted. Ever single thing that devotion cost is worth it for he alone is worthy! Where in your life have you been more like Judas in this passage?

Where have you been more like Mary?

Use the remaining space to write out a statement or prayer of devotion to Jesus today.

MAGNOLIA BAPTIST CHURCH SEEKS TO EMBODY A: Gospel-centered (I Cor. 15:1-4) Family-redeeming (Acts 16:25-34) City-focused (Jeremiah 29:7) Church Community (I Thess. 2:5-8) We value Gospel Proclamation believing that the 66 books of the Old & New Testament are our highest authority of God’s selfdisclosure and as it is faithfully explained, explored and expressed, the Holy Spirit will elicit a response. We value Gospel Community believing that people were created to explore the Gospel together with honest, vulnerable dialogue about difficult things pursuing depth in friendships to facilitate growth. We value Gospel Mission believing that the Gospel compels us to learn from, interact with, and generously give back to our culture in the way we live our lives.

MAGNOLIA BAPTIST CHURCH CONNECTING PEOPLE to JESUS 720 S. Magnolia Ave Anaheim, CA 92804 714.827.0553 ph

Jesus: A Journey of Discovery Week 6  
Jesus: A Journey of Discovery Week 6