26 January 2015

Holy Land mountains (Creative Commons - SG Dryer)

The Pharisees demand a sign and Jesus predicts his death

Click here to read Matthew 16

Discussion Questions

  • In what way was Jonah a ‘sign’?
  • Are there still people today who insist on seeing a sign of some sort before they will believe? Do you think this is a valid request?
  • Jesus asks his disciples: ‘Who do you say I am?’ What would your answer be today?
  • Did Peter miss the point of Jesus’ death? Did his sorrow blind him to the good news of the Resurrection or was his misunderstanding simply clouded by his genuine concern for Jesus?
  • Do Christians sometimes focus on today while neglecting the promise of what is to come?

Share your thoughts below, or tweet about it with the #boundlessbible hashtag.

Going Deeper from 'Words of Life'

In many parts of the world the trend these days is to ‘follow’ friends on social networking sites. Those who wish to, record details of their movements electronically so that ‘followers’ can track their progress ‘to the doughnut shop and back again’, and leave comments. The triumph of technology and trivia!

It’s all relatively harmless, except that much of the ‘following’ is done remotely, often at a distance of hundreds of miles at the click of a button.

In this account of the journeying of Jesus we see a different type of following. As he walks to Bethsaida those who follow him do so literally, probably at a distance of no more than a few feet, within earshot. They would hang on his every word and intonation, wish him goodnight at day’s end, and (I like to think) joke with him about some of the more absurd moments of ministry on the move.

Following Jesus was, for them, something live and tangible – what Salvation Army officer Commissioner Keith Banks has called ‘the greatest adventure of all’.

Jesus no longer walks the byways of Bethsaida. Followers of Christ in this century do not enjoy the literal privileges of those who strolled and climbed and rested with him during his Incarnation. Our Lord, though, still invites us, by his Spirit, to follow him. He wants to walk the highways of our hearts. Where he leads, we must go. What he says, we must do.


If following Jesus means travelling wherever he calls, what might our response be? Ready, or reluctant? If our pilgrimage includes negotiating unknown pathways, will we trust and obey? When the dust of life irritates, to whom will we turn for cleansing and restoration?

Beverly Ivany
'Mountains' courtesy of SG Dryer used under Creative Commons licence

Tags: Matthew