Questions and Key Thoughts
After a week off, we're back into the New Testament and the Gospel according to John. Big questions we'll discuss in class, and that might be fun conversations to have with your kids, "Why is John's Gospel so different from the others?" and "Why does John change the order of things in the story?" John is very particular in his use of language and the additional stories he includes. John's Gospel seeks to address some tricky questions about Jesus' identity. Watch the videos below for a fun and informative introduction to this gospel. John's gospel likely was not written by John, in fact, many scholars believe that it was written by multiple people. It's also the latest of the gospels to be completed and one of the latest in all of the New Testament. It was written for a Gentile community (those who were not Jewish) with the goal of the reader seeing that God is at work in the world through the life of Jesus.
Key Bible Verse:
"Do you not believe that I am in the Father and that the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on your own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works." - John 14:10
This week we dive into the Gospel according to Luke. Check out the videos below to learn more about this gospel. Think about some questions you want to ask your confirmation participant, then start the conversation!
This week, Kim will be leading the discussion about the Gospel of Mark. This follows last week's conversation about the Gospel of Matthew (see previous week's blog post). Mark is considered the earliest gospel writing and shares much of it's content with the other two synoptic gospels. If you want to have a conversation with your child, try asking them to explain the difference between Matthew and his audience, and Mark and his audience. Check last week's post and watch the video on this page to start the conversation.
This week we are learning about the Gospel (Good News!) according to Matthew. You can read this post and then engage your child in a conversation about what they are learning in class!
Matthew writes for a Jewish audience and uses their scriptures to proclaim that Jesus is the Messiah.
There are four Gospels, but they are not just four versions of the same story. There are distinct differences based on the audience and the context in which they were written. Mark is the oldest of the four, and Matthew (and Luke!) borrow heavily from Mark. These (Matthew, Mark, Luke) each also share a source known as "Q" that creates some continuity of stories between the three. Because Matthew's goal is to connect the story of Jesus with the ancient scriptures of the Jewish people, Matthew writes using phrases like "to fulfill" or "so it has been written" or "spoken through the prophet." Matthew's original audience were Jewish Christians, growing in numbers rapidly, that is, Jews who followed Jesus and believe him to be the promised Messiah foretold in the scriptures. Matthew was offering encouragement and assurance for these fledgling followers because these early Jewish Christians had no direct contact with or experience with Jesus. By carefully placing the Jesus story within the history of the Israelites, the author is preserving the story of Jesus.
Jewish people living at the time that the Gospels were written and read have been separated from their ancestors in Genesis and Exodus. A lot has happened to them over the centuries. The Kingdom of Israel has split and both have been conquered and taken into captivity along the way. The Jewish people living in Jerusalem by the time Matthew writes are a remnant who barely controlled their own destiny. The Roman Empire was large and in charge, the local authorities among the Jewish people are only in place because the Romans said they could be. Rome even controlled whether the people could practice their own religion.
Matthew's long genealogy at the beginning of the gospel is on purpose. It serves to connect the Jesus story to the Israelite's (Jewish people) story. Remember how important this is to Matthew? Matthew wants Jews who are Jesus followers to understand that Jesus is the fulfillment of God's covenant promise.