1. This particular passage about how God called Moses into God’s redemptive work upon Israel is from Exodus 3: 1-23 of the Old Testament. First, this passage is directly associated with Judaism. Looking at its historical context, Exodus, the second book of the Torah, shows the account of how Moses led the Hebrews from Egypt into the Mount Sinai. In fact, this is where the Hebrews received the law of God (1280 B.C.E). Judaism absolutely believes that everything that happened to the nation of Israel is only by the power of the Almighty God, and this passage clearly confers to that belief. Moreover, this passage also introduces God’s work of establishing the nation of Israel. Another historical context of this passage is that Egypt, at that time, is the greatest nation having much power over the world. Thus, without God’s power, Israel would never be free from their hands. That is how this passage reflects Judaism; it exalts and glorifies God’s power upon the Hebrews.
The passage also has many implications associated with Christianity. First, in verse 9 of the passage, God looks at the oppression Egypt has upon Israel. This addresses the doctrine of God’s mercy. The mercy of God is His goodness upon those who are suffering. Moreover, this also reflects the Christian belief of salvation, wherein God should first grant His mercy in order to save any sinner. In the process of redemption, God is the one who initiates – not man. Thus, the praise, thanksgiving, and glory belong to God alone. Second, the passage explains the doctrine of ordination. This is seen in verses 10 to 11. God ordains His people; He chooses those who will become the Prophets, Apostles, Pastors, and Teachers. In line with this is the doctrine of preservation, wherein God protects, provides for, and guides those whom He has ordained. This is seen in the passage where God said to Moses, “I will be with you”. Third, the passage reflects on the doctrine of sanctification, wherein His redeemed people will be given new hearts and minds. That is why God expects that Israel will worship Him. Last and foremost, the passage talks about God’s eternity. He told Moses that His name is “I AM”. God didn’t use “I was”. In verse 15 of Exodus chapter 3, God says that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The three of them died, but God remained alive. Thus, “I AM” means He is God from eternity past until eternity future. God never changes and that is why He is worth man’s faith, hope, and trust.
2. This passage is in Leviticus 7:37. As part of the Torah, the book of Leviticus has the Hebrew name Wayiqra, which means “and he called”. The Hebrew name signifies the recognition of the Hebrews; they are the ones who are “called” by God. By its context, Leviticus covers God’s instructions for the people regarding their act of worship and their purity before God. Now concerning the matter raised by Rabba about the use of words in the passage, it is true that anyone who studies the Torah does not necessarily have to actually present those offerings. God, in this passage, is only saying to the Hebrews that the aforementioned instructions are those that they have to observe when presenting their burnt, meal, sin, and guilt offerings. Although presenting those offerings to God is included in the Law as a perpetual thing, this particular passage serves as the guideline – not the offering themselves. God simply stated the detail, asserting His standard of holiness and perfection, so that the Hebrews should have the right attitude when presenting the offerings. Thus, there’s nothing wrong with the passage.
This passage has many implications. In worship, God is not merely looking at the external things that any Christian does. Any individual can give tithes every Sunday, show good-deeds to men, and sing good Christian songs, but still has his or her heart away from God. In Isaiah 1:10-15, God raises His concern against Israel with words saying that their multiple offerings are useless to gain the favor of God. The Apostle Paul says in Romans 12:1 that we present our bodies “a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is our spiritual service of worship”. This is also addressed by Christ Himself in Matthew 15:8. To conclude, this lesson tells us that in worshipping God, He looks at the heart and not merely on our works.
3. This passage is taken from Matthew 16:13-21. Some scholars suggest that this was written as early as A.D. 50, before the destruction of the Jewish temple in A.D. 70. In this particular passage, Christ wants to confirm from His disciples what they believe concerning Him. In verses 16 and 17, Jesus commended Peter for saying that Jesus is the Christ or the Messiah of Israel. In contrast with the books of Mark, Luke, and John, Matthew always portrays Jesus as the awaited Messiah, the King of the Jews. This is the major theme of the passage.
Consequently, this passage has many implications associated with Christianity. By the word itself, Christianity is faith on Jesus Christ as the Savior and Lord. Similar with the passage, people often see Jesus as a mere teacher of the Law. This is because Jesus absolutely knows the Law. But salvation can be granted only if the sinner believes that Jesus is God Himself, and that He has the power to save mankind from their sins. This teaching makes Christianity different from other beliefs. Confucius is a good teacher, but not the savior of the Confucians. Buddha is considered a god, but he cannot save the Buddhists. Thus, this is the first lesson: a person can only be a Christian if he believes that Jesus is both Savior and Lord. Second, God told His disciples not to tell everyone about it. This is for the sake of fulfilling the will of God. Since many seek to quickly destroy Jesus’ ministry at that time, He did not to let it happen. Jesus still had to share God’s message to other people, and to heal more sicknesses and diseases. This addresses God’s sovereignty: He times everything so perfectly. He holds things according to His own time and for the purpose of accomplishing His will and intentions. Truly, He is God.
4. This passage is taken from John 14:1-6. The overall theme of the book of John, which is to be found in chapter 20 and verse 31, is that Jesus is the Son of God. To put it this way, John’s purpose is to let the people, specifically the Jews, know that Jesus is God-incarnate; He is God Himself. There are also other themes like portraying Jesus being the Word and the Messiah. But the first one is the major theme, and this is addressed in the passage.
The following is the implications of the passage. Jesus is telling His disciples in this passage to not let their hearts be troubled. Then He started to tell them what lies ahead of them; He tells them of the heavenly reward prepared for those whom He has chosen. First, He asserts His authority as the Son of God. He wants them to realize who He really is – He is God. Second, He gives them the promise that when someone is saved, he or she becomes a co-heir of God’s riches with Christ in the heavenly places. This is a great promise to everyone who put his or her faith in God. He or she eventually becomes a child of God. Another lesson can be found in the verse where Jesus asserted that He is the way, the truth, and the life. Indeed, because God’s standard is perfection, no man can save himself or herself. Only by the perfect righteousness of the God-incarnate, Jesus Christ, will a sinner be able to stand before God. Jesus is the only truth as well. He has the word of God that speaks of God’s mercy upon sinners and His provision for man to be saved – that is, Jesus’ death on the cross. Moreover, Jesus is the Life. Without Christ, there is no Christianity. Without Christ, no one can be saved. Thus, without Him, everyone will die with their sins. Truly, no one can come to the Father except through Jesus Christ.