Monday: Nighttime Rendezvous
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Image © Pacific Press from GoodSalt.com

Wealthy, well-positioned, famous people did not intimidate Jesus. Christ neither resented nor revered the social elite. The Savior recognized that financial prosperity could not supply peace, personal contentment, meaningful relationships, or deep-seated purpose. The wealthiest magnate could easily be lonelier, emptier, and angrier than the simplest, poorest, and most humble Christian believer.

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Analyze Jesus’ interaction with Nicodemus (John 3:1-15). Which events probably stimulated Nicodemus’ interest in Jesus’ message? (Hint: review John 2:13-25.) What significance does [...]

Sunday: Richly Blessed
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Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

As fallen human beings, we are subject to jealousy, especially toward those who have more money than we do (regardless of how much money we ourselves might, already, have). The Bible, however, does not unconditionally disparage wealth or the wealthy. As with so much else in life, problems arise not from things themselves but from the way in which we relate to them.

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What counsel regarding wealth does Scripture offer? Deut. 8:17-18; Gen. 13:5-6; 41:41-43; [...]

Sabbath: With the Rich and Famous
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gless08

Read for This Week’s Study: Deut. 8:17-18; Gen. 13:5-6; John 3:1-15; Luke 19:1-10; Mark 4:18-19; Matt. 19:16-26.

Memory Text: For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows (1 Timothy 6:10, NKJV).

People,” it has been said, spend money they don’t have, for things they don’t need, in order to impress people they don’t like.

How much truth that statement contains [...]

Inside Story: The Godfathers’s Son
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Mitia [MEE-tyah] was the son of a crime syndicate godfather. His father was rich and powerful, and Mitia admired him. Mitia quit school and started his own criminal business with his father’s guidance. Soon Mitia was enjoying the riches of crime, just as his father did.

Then two of Mitia’s employees were arrested. They named Mitia, and police went to arrest him. But someone warned Mitia, and he fled before the police arrived. He hid in a neighboring country to wait [...]

Friday: Further Study: Jesus and the Social Outcasts
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studymore

Further Study: Read Ellen G. White, At Jacob’s Well, pp. 183-195; Peace, Be Still, pp. 333-341; Among Snares, pp. 460-462; in The Desire of Ages; and Helping the Tempted, pp. 164-169; Working for the Intemperate, pp. 171-182; Help for the Unemployed and the Homeless, pp. 183-200, in The Ministry of Healing.

“The one class that He would never countenance was those who stood apart in their self-esteem and looked down upon others. . . .

The fallen must be led to feel [...]

Thursday: Publicans and Sinners
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It’s hard to imagine what our world would have been like had not sin intruded. The beauty of nature, even after millennia, still testifies to the majesty and power and goodness of God. Our sin-darkened minds can barely grasp what humanity and human relations would have been like had our world not fallen. One thing we can be sure of is that the class distinctions, prejudices, and cultural and ethnic boundaries that impact every society and culture would not exist.

Wednesday: The Woman at the Well
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Study John 4:5-32, and then answer the following questions.

What social conventions did Jesus break, and why? What should this tell us about social conventions and the way in which they should be regarded when they interfere with witnessing? What social conventions might be hindering your witness to others?

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In what way did Jesus confront the woman about her sinful life? What lessons could we take from His approach?
What does this story reveal about the prejudices [...]

Tuesday: The Lowest of the Low
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Read Mark 5:1-20. Compare this man’s situation with the plight of modern homeless people. Compare his description with that of mentally ill patients. What similarities and differences exist? How does modern society treat people who suffer from mental illness? What explains Christ’s admonition to publicize the event, though He consistently counsels others to maintain secrecy?

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From the perspective of many of us today, it’s hard to imagine someone in such a horrific state, living in [...]

Monday: “In the Very Act”
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Image © Pacific Press from GoodSalt.com

Image © Pacific Press from GoodSalt.com

Read John 8:1-11. What does this text teach us about Jesus and social outcasts?

Having refreshed Himself spiritually at His Mount of Olives retreat, Jesus returned to the temple. Crowds gathered. While Christ taught, the Pharisees dragged an adulterous woman before Him. They questioned Jesus regarding Moses’ legislation concerning adultery, which prescribed execution. Jesus recognized that this questioning was insincere. The purpose was entrapment, not truth-seeking. Capital (death penalty) jurisdiction had been withdrawn from Jewish [...]