Unsatisfied with our lack of familiarity with God’s Word, a few friends and I went to breakfast a little over a year ago and left as accountability partners. We began reading one book of the Bible per week and agreed to meet up every Friday night to discuss what we learned. Our informal discussions quickly evolved into what is now Crossword Bible Study. Topics are determined the week before each session, but it wouldn’t be Crossword without the relevant and engaging tangents.
Below is the rough outline from our study on Jesus & Justice. We meet every Friday night at 8:30pm. Interested in attending? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for the location address and directions. Any and all are welcome!
Scriptures on Justice
‘Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.
“Cursed is the man who withholds justice from the alien, the fatherless or the widow.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power; in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress.
The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.
Blessed are they who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right.
Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully.
The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.
Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.
“Listen to me, my people; hear me, my nation: The law will go out from me; my justice will become a light to the nations. My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way, and my arm will bring justice to the nations. The islands will look to me and wait in hope for my arm.
I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.
Jesus & Justice
- It’s nearly impossible for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God…
- Jesus instructed him to sell everything and give it to the poor. Are you willing to do that? If not, why?
- If Jesus instructs us NOT to store up earthly treasures (Matt. 6: 19-21), why are we so determined to do so?
Our Justice v. God’s Justice
- The workers didn’t want the latecomer to be paid the same wages because it wasn’t “fair.”
- Is your version of justice influenced by the flesh or the Spirit?
Dealing w/ injustice
- The ULTIMATE injustice
- Jesus was INNOCENT, but the people rioted for Pilate to crucify him and he went through with it.
- Look at what this led to, though. Jesus was exalted to the highest seat possible!
- Side note: we have to be blameless in order to ensure that we don’t bring about our own persecution.
- How can we prepare our hearts for Christian persecution and/or other persecution (race, gender, etc.)?
Matthew 5:21-22 v. Ephesians 4:26
- Don’t be angry v. be angry and sin not
- What’s the difference?
- Don’t be overcome by anger.
- We become more like Christ when we love our enemies. Let’s not forget that Jesus DIED for our sins. Think about that.
- And not only that; we’ll be rewarded for loving our enemies. (v.46) Holla!
It’s All About Action!
- Jesus went IN on the religious leaders!
- In what ways are you like the pharisees?
1 John 3:17-18
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
- How has the world corrupted you? How many times have we not done an act of service because we were too concerned about what people would think?
- Do we buy clothes that were made in sweatshops? Burn too much gas? Waste electricity? Waste water? Throw away food instead of finding a hungry person to give it to?
- Who do you favor? What can you do to get rid of your own prejudices?
- Guess what? We (Americans) are rich! What are we going to do with our resources? God didn’t bless us with our privilege for us to keep it to ourselves.
- How are you going to start utilizing your privilege (money, knowledge, resources) to help others?
- Which one obeyed his father?
- We HAVE to be about it! Knowing the law/His instructions isn’t anywhere near enough. What will it take for you to be the change you wish to see in the world? Consciousness means nothing if you’re not doing anything to combat the issues you’re so aware of.
- The workers are few. Are you one of them? If not, why? When are you planning to come on board?
- Jesus had compassion on the confused crowd instead getting annoyed or condemning them.
- Every time Jesus had compassion on people, he DID something. (Matt. 14:14; 15:32) What is compassion? Feeling v. action
- Ask God to send you a team of workers
How NOT to give to the needy
- How do we balance giving for selfish reasons v. spreading the word in order to get others involved/inspire?
- God knows our hearts. (Luke 16:15)