Key Text: John 2:13-25
(Giving attention to hearing what God is wanting to do.)
Jesus lived so in tune with his Father that he heard from God about what was to come. Jesus, being fully human did not naturally know everything as he had left this attribute behind when becoming fully human. As He spends time with God, many things are revealed to Him which he shares with his listeners. Many times he does this in a marked way that only made sense once the event had happened.
In today’s Church we call this the gift of ‘prophesy’. Before Jesus, we had Prophets with a big P, in Jesus we see a new form of prophesy that is then talked about by Paul in his letters. The gift of prophecy is listed alongside evangelism, teaching ministry, being a pastor and an apostle.
1 Corinthians 14:1-3 reads…
“Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort”.
The gift of prophecy is there to encourage, strengthen and comfort.
BACK TO JESUS
Jesus not only fulfilled prophecy in His own life, He Himself predicted events that were to come to pass sometime in the future. One of the ministries of Jesus was that of a prophet. As has been true with prophecies fulfilled in His own life, His prophetic words have been literally and marvellously fulfilled.
Jesus prophesied that…
Jesus gave attention to God to hear what he had to say so that he would know what was to happen. Jesus had no magical information point, he had relinquished all ‘God’ knowledge to become human. All that he knew was because he listened to God.
In this study we are going to look at Jesus’ use of the gift first and then think about ourselves and what God might have for us in it.
“When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews then responded to Him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken. Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust Himself to them, for he knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.
Note: This passage speaks about three kinds of prophecy or the prophetic.
What jumps out at you?
What questions do you have?
Q. Here we see Jesus using the OT to speak prophetically. He is speaking about the temple while also speaking about Himself. How do the disciples interpret this at the time of and then after Jesus’ death?
Q. In this passage we see the use of time in interpreting the prophecy. What is the danger of only interpreting a prophecy at the time it is given?
Q. In this passage there are those who can’t understand what Jesus is saying and those who don’t. The difference is those who are in tune with God not only in the giving of the prophecy but also in the receiving and understanding. There was a danger of reading into what Jesus says with a personal interpretation that wasn’t intended. How do we make sure we interpret a prophecy with Gods meaning not our meaning?
Note: We would recommend answers being around: confirmation by otherwise Christians, seeing a pattern through multiple prophecies, seeing fruit from the prophecy and a common conviction of the prophecy by the Church Elders.
Q. Jesus prophecy’s about his death, his resurrection and the planting of churches to Peter (Matt 16 “The gates of hades will not stop us”. Have you ever heard God speak to you prophetically? What was it? How did you know it was His voice?
Q. On the day of Pentecost, Peter declared that unlike the more limited exercise of prophecy during the time of the OT, God would pour out his Spirit “on all people” (Acts 2:17). Peter said the result would be a fulfilment of God words: “Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy” (Acts 2:17–18). Do you think the gift of prophecy to every member is a good idea? Bad idea?
Q. As helpful as prophecy is to the church, Christians are not to gullibly embrace all who claim to speak on behalf of God. Rather, the church must “test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). What’s your view on how we should test the prophet and their prophesies?
Q. We are told in Acts 2:17 that God would “pour out his Spirit on ALL people”, and with this comes the gift of prophecy. If we interpret this as God pouring out His Spirit so that we might hear Him in our daily lives, how much do you desire this?
1 Corinthians 12:31 tells us to “eagerly desire the Spiritual gifts”. – We should want it.
As a small group take some time to give the gift a go.
There are a few ways of doing this with the group:
CONSIDERATION– Many churches have a good and helpful guideline that we don’t share ‘births, deaths or marriages” with people. If someone senses something around this area, then it should be shared with the leadership for discernment. Do share this with the group.
Hand out paper and pens for those who would draw an image or write down. Encourage the group to have some time quietly listening to God. Start by praying and inviting God to speak. It is helpful to confess and clear any blockage with God so we can hear well. Take time and invite people to write down what they sense God say. We then share openly, being willing to be wrong at all times.
If anyone would like to read a little more on this gift then there is a great blog post on Desiring God…