THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY
By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.
“THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)
FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.
1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ ISAIAH 42:1-4, 6-7 FIRST READING
(“Here is my servant whom I uphold,”)
l. Fill in the blanks in the following scripture:
“Here is my __________ whom I uphold, my __________ ______
with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my ___________;
he shall bring forth _____________ to the nations.” Isaiah 42:1
2. To whom do the following scriptures refer?
Luke 1:38, 48 _________________, John 12:26 _______________,
Acts 3:13 __________________, Acts 4:29-30 _______________
Personal – Do you see yourself as a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ in your home or at work? Share how you are a servant of him.
3. Who are the chosen ones? Read the following scriptures:
1 Chronicles 16:13 ___________, Tobit 13:11 _______________,
Psalm 89:3-4 __________________, Psalm 106:23 _______________,
Ephesians 1:3-5 __________________
Personal – Do you feel you are among the chosen ones of God?
4. In the following scriptures, who are receiving the Spirit or have the Spirit of God working through them?
2 Samuel 23:1-2 ______________, Matthew 3:16 _____________
John 20:19-22 ________________, Acts 8:14-19 _____________
Personal – Do you have the power of the Holy Spirit working in your life? If not, read Matthew 7:7-8 and see what you have to do to receive this power.
5. In the following scriptures, who brings forth justice to the nations?
Deuteronomy 10:17-18 ______________________________,
Psalm 9:8-9 _______________, Acts 17:31 ___________________
6. In what way was this prophecy in Isaiah 42:1-4 fulfilled? Matthew 12:16-21
7. Whom has God grasped by the hand, formed, and set as a covenant of the people? Isaiah 42:6
8. Whom has he made a light to the nations, and what are we to do? Isaiah 42:6-7
Personal – In what way are you a light to others? Do those in your family, your work, and your environment see the love of Christ shining out of you? If you are yielding to the Spirit of God dwelling in you, others will see the light.
THIRD DAY READ ACTS 10:34-38 SECOND READING
(“I begin to see how true it is that God shows no partiality.”)
1. Who was addressing the people, and what did he say? Acts 10:34
2. In the following scriptures, what does God’s Word say about showing partiality?
Leviticus 19:15 __________________________,
2 Chronicles 19:7 ___________________________,
Wisdom 6:7 ________________________________
3. What must we do to become acceptable to God? Acts 10:35
4. What does it mean to fear God? Daniel 6:27, Isaiah 8:13, Malachi 2:5
5. Through whom is the Good News proclaimed, and who is the Lord of all? Acts 10:36
6. What was reported all over Judea about Jesus, and where did it begin? Acts 10:37-38
7. What was the baptism John preached? Matthew 3:11, Acts 19:4
8. Who anointed Jesus, and with what? Acts 10:38
9. Did God intend for us to be anointed with the Holy Spirit? John 14:14-17
10. What is one of the functions of the Holy Spirit? John 14:25-26
11. What did Jesus go about doing, and who was with him? Acts 10:38
Personal – When you receive the Holy Spirit, do you also receive the power to go about doing good works and healing as Jesus did? Is this evident in your life?
FOURTH DAY READ MATTHEW 3:13-17 GOSPEL
(“…he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove coming upon him.”)
1. From where was Jesus coming, and where did he appear before John? Locate this on your bible map Matthew 3:13
2. Who was John? Luke 1:13-17
3. What was Jesus’ purpose in coming to John at the Jordan? Matthew 3:13
4. What did John try to do, and why did he protest? Matthew 3:14
5. What was Jesus’ answer? Matthew 3:15
Personal – Do you see Jesus as being obedient to his Father in coming to John to be baptized? How are you obedient to the Father in your walk with him?
6. What did John do? Was this a sign of obedience? Matthew 3:15
7. After Jesus was baptized, what happened? Matthew 3:16-17, Mark 1:10-11
8. Read and write out the following: Matthew 17:5
9. In the last two answers, Jesus is referred to by God the Father as his Beloved. What do the following scriptures say?
Romans 11:28, 1 Thessalonians 1:4, 1 John 3:2, Colossians 3:12
Personal – How do you see yourself as beloved of God? Reflect on this.
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 29:1-4, 9-10
(“Give to the Lord the glory due his name;”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 29:1-4, 9-10.
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
ISAIAH 42:1-4, 6-7
This week’s reading from Isaiah comes from a section sometimes called Second Isaiah (Chapters 40-55) and is generally considered to have been written by an unknown poet who prophesied near the end of the Babylonian exile. In 587 B.C. the city of Jerusalem fell, the walls and palaces were destroyed and the sacred temple burned. King Zedikiah and the rest of the population were marched to Babylon in chains.
From these chapters come the great Messianic oracles known as the Song of the Servant. In each song a different viewpoint of the mysterious “servant” is given. The destiny of suffering and glorification is fulfilled in the passion and glorification of Jesus Christ.
Isaiah is calling upon a figure who represents Israel and yet still addresses her. The “servant” is both a single individual and a nation as a collective individual. He talks about the qualities of the past, and he makes his “servant” very much a key figure of the future.
Isaiah points out that the servant’s role is not limited to Israel, but would become universal. He saw his people in chains and exited to Babylonia, which was one thousand miles away from Judah. The need for a messiah was of great importance, and the hope of being restored to their lost homeland was in great danger of being completely demolished. The “servant” is being described as different from other leaders, not relying on military might nor upon treaties with other nations. He will not be a victorious warrior nor king, nor like other prophets shouting out their warnings. What the servant is will speak much louder than his words. The servant will be empowered by the same “Spirit” that rushed upon David when he was anointed king by Samuel (1 Sam. 16:13). Isaiah exhorts the people to look to the servant as God’s chosen one.
In this passage, Peter is preaching to the crowd that God shows absolutely no partiality. We see this truth being reaffirmed constantly in the Old Testament. The Lord shows no partiality, nor does he fear the famous or powerful (Lev. 19:15 and Wis. 6:7). God will have no part of activity like that. Peter challenges his listeners to fear the Lord and act upright, which means to be in reverence and awe of the Lord and to follow his commandments. We are told that fear of the Lord is to hate evil (Prov. 8:13).
Peter tells the crowd that God has sent to all the people of Israel a Messiah, in whom he baptizes people in the power of the Holy Spirit. He preached that Jesus is Lord of all, a message that still is being presented today to a waiting, hungry world. The Good News began when John baptized people in the name of repentance. Jesus was baptized by God in the power of the Holy Spirit.
We have been anointed with the same power and Spirit as Jesus. Jesus went forth doing good works and healing the sick. Peter’s message is very much alive today. We see in our newspapers and television how bribes, fear of the powerful, and partiality to favored people can be very destructive to our society. We are called to go forth in the power of the same Spirit and do good works and heal the sick in the name of Jesus (Acts 1:8). Jesus wants us to carry on through Word and sacrament (Baptism and Confirmation), and to be witnesses to the world that he is alive here and now.
Today’s Gospel tells us about the beginning of Jesus’ Messianic mission. This meant that the whole human race would become eligible to be called sons and daughters of God and heirs of heaven. Jesus would accomplish this with his final act of self-humiliation of being obedient as a slave even to the death on a cross.
Jesus insisted on being baptized by John even though he knew the rite was only for sinners. John had been telling the people that someone greater than himself was coming and they needed to repent and prepare to meet their Messiah. John did not feel qualified to baptize Jesus there at the Jordan River. In fact, he wanted Jesus to baptize him. Jesus was not baptized for repentance because he had never sinned. Jesus was baptized because he was confessing the sin of the nation. He was taking on the sins of the whole world and he paid the ransom in full on Calvary. He was officially beginning his public ministry. He was identifying with the common people, not with the critical Pharisees or the elite and wealthy Sadducees who were there only to watch. He was portraying his coming ministry of death and resurrection. God voiced his approval of his Son as the perfect person who did not need baptism for sin, but accepted baptism in obedient service to the Father.
You might put yourself in John’s shoes as you imagine that your work is going well and people are beginning to really notice you and follow you. You know that your time of preparing is about done and now that Jesus has arrived, the real test of your integrity is about to begin. These questions which were John’s questions are still our questions. Can we, like John, put our egos and profitable work aside in order to point others to Jesus? Are we willing to lose our status so that everyone will benefit? Baptism means to die and then to rise. We can only rise with Christ when we are willing to die with Christ. As you die to yourself, the power of the Holy Spirit will give you the strength to live for others in Christ.
The first reading tells us that God’s chosen people are called to be servants. The second reading reveals people of the Holy Spirit as people of power. The Gospel shows us that Jesus identifies with the common man through baptism.
This week, check out your own ego and see if you draw attention to yourself, or do you do things that are good to enable others to grow? Remember, as you lead others to Christ through humility, that people are looking for someone to give them security in an insecure world. Your role is to point them to Christ and to show that he is the one they seek.