Bible Study Guides – Prejudices of the Jewish People

Bible Study Guide- Week 5

By Gordon Anderson

MEMORY VERSE: “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.” James 2:1.

STUDY HELP: Gospel Workers, 330-336.

INTRODUCTION: “Then as the children of God are one in Christ, how does Jesus look upon caste, upon society distinctions, upon the division of man from his fellow-man, because of color, race, position, wealth, birth, or attainments? The secret of unity is found in the equality of believers in Christ. The reason of all division, discord, and difference is found in separation from Christ. Christ is the center to which all should be attracted; for the nearer we approach the center, the closer we shall come together in feeling, in sympathy, in love, growing into the character and image of Jesus. With God there is no respect of persons.” Review and Herald, December 22, 1891.

How did Paul express the essential brotherhood of all mankind? Acts 17:26.

NOTE: “The Savior longed to unfold to His disciples the truth regarding the breaking down of the `middle wall of partition’ between Israel and the other nations-the truth that `the Gentiles should be fellow heirs’ with the Jews and `partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel.’ Ephesians 2:14; 3:6. This truth was revealed in part at the time when He rewarded the faith of the centurion at Capernaum, and also when He preached the gospel to the inhabitants of Sychar. Still more plainly was it revealed on the occasion of His visit to Phoenicia, when He healed the daughter of the Canaanite woman. These experiences helped the disciples to understand that among those whom many regarded as unworthy of salvation, there were souls hungering for the light of truth. Thus Christ sought to teach the disciples the truth that in God’s kingdom there are no territorial lines, no caste, no aristocracy; that they must go to all nations, bearing to them the message of a Savior’s love. But not until later did they realize in all its fullness that God `hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us.’ Acts 17:26, 27.” Acts of the Apostles, 19, 20.

In what ways did Christ seek to break down the racial prejudices of the Jewish people? Mark 7:24-29.

NOTE: “They saw that their Master treated her with indifference, and they therefore supposed that the prejudice of the Jews against the Canaanites was pleasing to Him. But it was a pitying Saviour to whom the woman made her plea, and in answer to the request of the disciples, Jesus said, `I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ Although this answer appeared to be in accordance with the prejudice of the Jews, it was an implied rebuke to the disciples, which they afterward understood as reminding them of what He had often told them,-that He came to the world to save all who would accept Him.” The Desire of Ages, 400.

How was the truth brought home to Peter? Acts 10:9-16; Acts 10:28; Acts 11:4-9.

NOTE: “How carefully the Lord worked to overcome the prejudice against the Gentiles that had been so firmly fixed in Peter’s mind by his Jewish training! By the vision of the sheet and its contents He sought to divest the apostle’s mind of this prejudice and to teach the important truth that in heaven there is no respect of persons; that Jew and Gentile are alike precious in God’s sight; that through Christ the heathen may be made partakers of the blessings and privileges of the gospel.” Acts of the Apostles, 136.

What story did Jesus tell to show the relations that should exist among all peoples? Luke 10:25-37.

NOTE: “The great difference between the Jews and the Samaritans was a difference in religious belief, a question as to what constitutes true worship. The Pharisees would say nothing good of the Samaritans, but poured their bitterest curses upon them. So strong was the antipathy between the Jews and the Samaritans that to the Samaritan woman it seemed a strange thing for Christ to ask her for a drink. `How is it,’ she said, `that Thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria?’ `For,’ adds the evangelist, `the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.’ John 4:9. And when the Jews were so filled with murderous hatred against Christ that they rose up in the temple to stone Him, they could find no better words by which to express their hatred than, `Say we not well that Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?’ John 8:48. Yet the priest and Levite neglected the very work the Lord had enjoined on them, leaving a hated and despised Samaritan to minister to one of their own countrymen. The Samaritan had fulfilled the command, `Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,’ thus showing that he was more righteous than those by whom he was denounced. Risking his own life, he had treated the wounded man as his brother. This Samaritan represents Christ. Our Savior manifested for us a love that the love of man can never equal. When we were bruised and dying, He had pity upon us. He did not pass us by on the other side, and leave us, helpless and hopeless, to perish. He did not remain in His holy, happy home, where He was beloved by all the heavenly host. He beheld our sore need, He undertook our case, and identified His interests with those of humanity. He died to save His enemies. He prayed for His murderers. Pointing to His own example, He says to His followers, `These things I command you, that ye love one another’; `as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.’ John 15:17; 13:34.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 380, 381.

What example of prejudice was found in the early church? James 2:1-4.

NOTE: “Jesus did not seek the admiration or applause of the world. He commanded no army, He ruled no earthly kingdom. He passed by the wealthy and honored of the world. He did not associate with the leaders of the nation. He dwelt among the lowly of the earth. To all appearances He was merely a humble man, with few friends. Thus He sought to correct the world’s false standard of judging the value of men. He showed that they are not to be estimated by their outward appearance. Their moral worth is not determined by their worldly possessions, their real estate or bank stock. It is the humble, contrite heart that God values. With Him there is no respect of persons. The attributes that He prizes most are purity and love, and these are possessed only by the Christian.” The Southern Work, 10.

How did Jesus condemn, among Christians, the distinctions based on rank? Matthew 23:8-12.

NOTE: “He also reproved the vanity shown in coveting the title of rabbi, or master. Such a title, He declared, belonged not to men, but to Christ. Priests, scribes, and rulers, expounders and administrators of the law, were all brethren, children of one Father. Jesus impressed upon the people that they were to give no man a title of honour indicating his control of their conscience or their faith. If Christ were on earth today, surrounded by those who bear the title of `Reverend’ or `Right Reverend,’ would He not repeat His saying, `Neither be ye called masters: for One is your Master, even Christ’? The Scripture declares of God, `Holy and reverend is His name.’ Psalm 111:9. To what human being is such a title befitting? How little does man reveal of the wisdom and righteousness it indicates! How many of those who assume this title are misrepresenting the name and character of God! Alas, how often have worldly ambition, despotism, and the basest sins been hidden under the broidered garments of a high and holy office! The Savior continued: `But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.’ Again and again Christ had taught that true greatness is measured by moral worth. In the estimation of heaven, greatness of character consists in living for the welfare of our fellow men, in doing works of love and mercy.” The Desire of Ages, 613, 614.

How does Christ condemn those who seek the praise of men? Matthew 23:5-8; Matthew 6:1, 2.

NOTE: “In such plain words the Savior revealed the selfish ambition that was ever reaching for place and power, displaying a mock humility, while the heart was filled with avarice and envy. When persons were invited to a feast, the guests were seated according to their rank, and those who were given the most honorable place received the first attention and special favors. The Pharisees were ever scheming to secure these honors. This practice Jesus rebuked.” The Desire of Ages, 613.

What counsel does Jesus give to His followers? Luke 14:7-10.

NOTE: “In this parable Christ gives a safe precept as to the proper manner of conducting ourselves when so greatly honored as to be invited as a guest to the house of one who is honorable. The word of God not only lays out the great principles that should underlie our actions, but also gives a definite rule with which to regulate our conduct. How perfectly adapted are the lessons of Christ to the regulation of society! The Lord desires that all who claim God as their Father should bring their actions into accordance with heavenly principles. He would have men recognize their obligation to their fellowmen. He would not have His children striving for the highest place. In this parable the Lord shows us that He disapproves of the efforts of men who seek to be thought the greatest. The spirit that urges men to seek the highest place, is accompanied with pride, selfishness, and self-esteem, and the result will be that he who struggles for the highest position will find himself in the lowest. Nothing will make a man really great except to be truly good. But he who is wholly consecrated to God does not have the exaltation of self in view, but the glory of God.” Review and Herald, October 8, 1895.

What spirit must never be found among the followers of Christ? Matthew 20:25-27.

NOTE: There was to be a difference between His kingdom and the kingdoms of the world. `The princes of the Gentiles’ were ambitious, and sought for place and power; but their course in this respect resulted from false ideas of greatness and the pride of the human heart. Among the disciples of Christ an entirely different state of things was to exist. One was not to aspire to dominion over his brethren, and to seek to be lord over God’s heritage.” Signs of the Times, January 15, 1885.

How does God regard those who practice respect of persons? James 2:9.

NOTE: “At the feet of Jesus, the rich and the poor, the learned and the ignorant, meet together, with no thought of caste or worldly pre-eminence. All earthly distinctions are forgotten as we look upon Him whom our sins have pierced. The self-denial, the condescension, the infinite compassion of Him who was highly exalted in heaven, puts to shame human pride, self-esteem, and social caste. Pure, undefiled religion manifests its heaven-born principles in bringing into oneness all who are sanctified through the truth. All meet as blood-bought souls, alike dependent upon Him who has redeemed them to God.” Gospel Workers, 330.

What principle of God’s judgement did Jesus reveal? Luke 14:11.

NOTE: “Let us examine ourselves, and see how many vain thoughts dwell within our hearts, how much we love praise, how selfishness is shown in our manners, how often we misjudge the character and motives of others, or feel contempt for them because their appearance is not prepossessing. Let us think how our words sound in the ears of God, how our selfish thoughts look in His sight, when we judge and condemn others, who may be better in heart and purpose than ourselves. . . . The teachings of Christ give no countenance to a spirit of self-righteousness which would exalt self over others. Vanity is never the result of virtue and true piety. `Every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.'” Signs of the Times, February 19, 1885.