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The Nature and Source of Community Wisdom • The main body of James is introduced by a vision of life amid tribulation and difficulties. • Central to this vision is the routine experience of “trials of any kind” (1:2). • These experiences test our faith in God (1:3). • Joy is still possible when considered against the horizon of the coming age when …
 
Introduction to James (1:1) • The Letter of James presents a multifaceted picture of the way wisdom walks. • Those who follow the path of wisdom is one who demonstrates their faith through actions. • James is widely prized because its teachings is so practical. • James has some affinities to the Wisdom literature in the Old Testament, like Proverbs…
 
Vulnerable Courage ± While the pain in our lives shapes us, it doesn’t have to define us. ° As difficult as they are, pain and suffering help us grow into our God-given belovedness. ° If we can come to a place where we realize how loved we are, we will be able to step into the challenges of life with courage. ± Jesus shows us what it is like to ste…
 
Why Suffering? ± Why God, why? ° This may be the most repeated prayer in history. ° Most people have said it at one point or another. ± In the world there is a lot of suffering causing us to wonder if God is in control. ° There are no easy or simple answers to the problem of evil and the suffering it produces. ° Life will send you suffering, but Go…
 
Human … Like Jesus? ± “I’m only human”. ° We say this to comfort ourselves when we have failed at something, hurt someone or experienced challenging circumstances. ° It might come out as a sort of apology or an expression of exasperation. ± Rather than an anthem of resignation, what if it is an expression of recognition? ° Rather than being apologe…
 
To Touch or Not to Touch ± There is an interesting dynamic in the Gospel of John when Jesus appears to Mary and later to Thomas (John 20:17, 27). ° Mary is not to hold on to Jesus. ° Thomas is invited to touch the wounds of Jesus. ± In the healing work of Jesus, there is a time to listen and there is a time to touch. Pondering the Wounds of Christ …
 
THE WOUNDED HEALER ± A concept of a “wounded healer” has been known and pondered by human beings for thousands of years. ° In the biblical narrative it is a part of the suffering servant songs (Isaiah 53:3-5) ° We could also say that it is a divine concept which found its ultimate and greatest expression in the passion of Jesus Christ during that o…
 
Purim and the Longing for a Better World § The holiday of Purim is relevant to the Jewish people because it illustrates how to combat the cause of anti-Semitism and the suffering in the world. While most people think of Purim primarily as a celebration of deliverance, chockful of food, drinking and costumes, perhaps there is more. If the deeper mea…
 
Esther’s Moral Character § One the challenging features alongside the absence of any mention of God is the moral and ethical practices of the main characters. § Esther has been wholeheartedly praised and roundly criticized by various scholars. § She is mostly portrayed as heroic saving the nation of Israel from destruction. § From the other side, s…
 
God Lets His Children Tell the Story · When dealing with theological difficulties raised in the text, we must remember the writers told the story from their point of view, with their limitations, within the cultural context in which they wrote. o What are some of the story telling points in the book of Esther? o What purposes do they serve in their…
 
Genocidal Decrees § There are two competing decrees in the book both issued with the permission of the king. § In Esther chapter 3 we are introduced to Haman – the villain of the story who is referred to as the son of Hammedatha the Agagite. § When he feels slighted of honor by Mordecai, he convinces the King to exterminate all the Jews on a date d…
 
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