Bible Study

Bible Study: Pentecost 2 (B) – June 2, 2024

June 02, 2024

RCL: Deuteronomy 5:12-15; Psalm 81:1-10; 2 Corinthians 4:5-12; Mark 2:23-3:6

Note: During the 2024 Season after Pentecost, Sermons That Work will use Track 2 readings for sermons and Bible studies. Please consult our archives for many additional Track 1 resources from prior years.

Deuteronomy 5:12-15

How interesting that our collect entreats God to give us profitable things, and God’s wisdom dispensed in this reading is fairly direct: We need to order our lives, at least to the extent that it depends on us, correctly. Keeping the sabbath day holy – ordering it – involves corporate worship and thanksgiving to the God who made us and abstaining from those busy practices that take our attention away from God. And further, we are to allow and encourage others in our charge to rest from labor, too.

Keeping the sabbath, while it may feel strange, is faithfulness; in the process, we slow or stop our consumption and distraction, instead worshipping and trusting God, who has delivered us and our forebears time and time again.

  • Who in your life needs a reminder to rest?
  • What are the obstacles to your rest?

Psalm 81:1-10

Once again, we hear the call to remember God and the proper ordering of our lives. God set us free; God led us through the desert; God so loved us that he sent his only begotten son to show us how to live; God raised Jesus Christ from the dead and opened the way of salvation for all of us.

If this is true – and we believe it is – how then should we live? The psalmist suggests that we sing and shout and make music with joy, that we keep holy the days that are holy, that we call on God in our troubles, and that we trust in God’s power to deliver.

  • How have you experienced God’s faithfulness?
  • What will you do to respond to that faithfulness?

2 Corinthians 4:5-12

Continuing the theme of right ordering, Paul writes to the Corinthians a litany of ways that God’s power works in us – not because we’re particularly great and we’ve won a prize for it, but because God is extraordinarily powerful and extraordinarily good.

Receiving this glorious gift – a gift that prevents crushing, despair, forsakenness, and destruction – compels us to share it with others. It is unique among gifts in that, even though more and more people partake of it, it is never diminished. So – rightly ordering our lives in service of the God who saves us means living in right relationship with our neighbors, too.

  • With whom have you shared God’s power and grace?
  • Who shared God’s power and grace with you?

Mark 2:23-3:6

Finally, in our gospel reading for today, our Lord demonstrates his lordship over all things, including the sabbath itself. Jesus and his disciples disregard the political and religious laws and customs – provocative actions, of course. And perhaps Jesus could have found a more polite way to have the conversation with the Pharisees. But he forces the point, here: faithfulness to the sabbath is not faithfulness to a rule book; rather, it is faithfulness to the  God who institutes the sabbath. Our devotion should always be directed to God, and while that often includes faithfulness to God’s church, we must be wise and discern if and when they are ever at odds.

  • If you were a Pharisee, how do you think you would have responded to Jesus?
  • Where have you seen structures stand in the way of the exercise of love?

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Christopher Sikkema


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