Confirmation Question Responses 9-22-13

Some more good questions came up both in confirmation class as well as through sermon notes last Sunday. I’ll do my best to address them here.

In class we talked about the Bible and the books that are included in the canon (or are considered to be “scripture”). We also discussed that the Catholic Bible is longer than the Protestant Bible and that the extra books in the Catholic Bible are called the Apocrypha. The question was, how many books are in the Apocrypha. The answer to that question is 16, which include the following: Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, Epistle of Jeremiah, Prayer of Azariah, Susanna, Bel, Maccabees 1-4, Esdras 1 and 4 (we don’t know what happened to 2-3), and the Prayer of Manasseh.  In addition, there are other writings that we have, particularly from the New Testament era that are not included in either the Bible or the Apocrypha. These include many different gospel accounts and epistles (letters).

The sermon, which you can read/hear here came from Luke 16:1-13, the parable of the dishonest manager. It raised the following questions from sermon notes:

-Why did Jesus teach the parable if no one understands it?
Great question, and one that many different Bible scholars have tried to answer. Different people make different interpretations of this passage, but it seems that everyone (at least everyone that I have read) agrees that it is very difficult to know what Jesus is really trying to accomplish with this parable.  That being said, we have other examples of parables that were unclear, and the audience asked for clarification. Matthew chapter 13 is a good example of this, and it also addresses why Jesus taught in parables. He used examples that people could understand, because he was relating the kingdom of God to everyday life. But since the kingdom of God goes way beyond our understanding, sometimes the audience still can’t grasp it and asked Jesus for clarification.  That could be what happened here as well and Luke simply doesn’t tell the rest of the story, or he doesn’t include Jesus’ explanation. Remember that the gospels give us a glimpse into the life of Jesus, but we don’t get every single detail.

-Why does God tell us to do one thing but then turn around and do another?
I’ll admit, I’m at a bit of a loss to answer this question, because I’m not quite sure what it is referring to. The context of the question would be helpful. But I guess if I was to fire from the hip on it I would say that God does some things that humanity is instructed not to simply because we are not God. God is the creator of everything and some of what God must do goes beyond what we are to do.  Admittedly, not the best answer, but that’s what I can offer.

-What was Jesus a teacher of?
In a nutshell, Jesus taught about God and God’s kingdom that was to come. I realize that might not really answer the question, and so I turn to John chapter 3, particularly verses 31-34. Jesus came teaching…or in this case testifying…about God and Heaven and he can do so truthfully because he has seen it. Find those verses in your Bible and read them. I think they sum it up pretty well.

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