A podcast dedicated to sharing the audio files of Douglas Jacoby's International Teaching Ministry. Our goal is to help people "think about faith." Douglas Jacoby is an international Bible teacher. After serving as a minister on church staff for 20 years, he continues to work as a freelance teacher and consultant. With degrees from Drew, Harvard, and Duke, Douglas has written 35 books, recorded over 1000 podcasts, and spoken in over 100 universities, and in over 500 cities, in 126 nations. He has engaged in a number of debates with well-known atheists, imams, and rabbis, and also serves as an adjunct professor of theology at Lincoln Christian University, principal teacher in the Athens Institute, and professor of theology at the Rocky Mountain School of Ministry & Theology. Since the 1990s, Douglas has led annual tours to the biblical world. Audio recordings, videos, and articles from Douglas Jacoby's International Teaching Ministry are available online at an extensive website (10,000 pages), https://www.douglasjacoby.com.
CLEAN – podcast 15, Mother & Daughter
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15:28For additional notes and resources check out Douglas’ website.IntroductionSome of those possessed were helpless children, as in this and the next podcast (and possibly the slave girls of Acts 16:16). Today we will zero in on a Canaanite mother & child.Keep in mind the biblical background: in the OT, the Canaanites were the immoral—even criminal—occupants of the Promised Land. Some died in the Conquest (under general Joshua). Far more were driven out of Canaan, or (probably also very common) intermarried with the Israelites. Historically, the Canaanites were trouble!Let’s also consider the context. Jesus has just been criticized for not respecting the purity laws of the Jews—not just the levitical laws, but the traditions of the Pharisees.In this account, Jesus doesn't just dismiss the unbiblical traditions of the Pharisees. He associated with an “unclean” person.Scriptural study: Matt 15:21-28Tyre and Sidon (v.21) are in modern Lebanon. They were once powerful city states. Their ruins are accessible today.“Son of David” (v.22) – she recognizes Jesus’ kingship. Like Rahab (Joshua 2), this foreigner recognized that only Israel followed the true God.How did the demon oppress her? Did it dwell within her, as in the cases of all the other demoniacs we are examining? Or was it an oppression more like that suffered by King Saul, when an evil spirit tormented him?Whatever the case, the oppression was severe. It’s hard to see your children in pain.Chronic illnessPsychological disorderSuffering consequences of poor decisionsThis was clearly an outsider to the Jewish family of faith. She is a foreigner, a Canaanite—and a woman…Why does Jesus ignore her (v.23)? Maybe he just wants her to want it."I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (v.24) fits with Jesus’ overall strategy.Matt 10:23 – Jesus asked his missionaries to focus on the lost tribes of Israel. Matt 28:19-20 – Gentiles were in the larger plan, though not just yet.Having a missionary focus inevitably means, when we’re doing evangelism, that we choose some and don’t choose others. This doesn’t mean an absence of love, but the presence of strategy. In every congregation, church builders must decide whom they’re targeting. Otherwise the church will soon be full of those easiest to reach—with a larger representation of transients, foreigners, persons with psychological issues, and so on.The woman pleads with Jesus a second time (v.25). Notice her posture: kneeling. This is common when people are desperate.Notice also how Jesus interacts with the woman.Playfulness? ("Dogs" may be puppies, or domestic dogs.)Her "great faith" reminds us of the centurions of Matt 8:5-13 and Matt 27:54.Keep in mind that Jesus is outside the land of Israel during this conversation. That is, it's not as though his helping her means less help for the Israelites! (More evidence that he is testing her, not speaking cruelly or even completely literally.)Notice that the oppression is lifted immediately. The demon is gone.Application:God is good. Even though he may not answer our first request / prayer, he hears and responds. We should trust him. (Note: This is not Prosperity Theology or Word-Faith Theology. His purpose isn’t to enrich us materially, or to give us mystical psychic powers.)Having an evangelistic strategy doesn’t mean there won’t be some exceptions, just as involvement in one ministry doesn't mean we never help out in other areas. (Those whose ministry is leadership may still be called upon to help with administration, or to show hospitality.)Let’s ask the Lord to help our children—and not just those who are suffering severely. God is truly concerned about our families, just as he cares for us.When Christ gets involved in our friends’ or family’s lives, radical things happen. People are set free—adults and even children. They start truly living!
CLEAN – podcast 14, the Gerasene Demoniac
15:12For additional notes and resources check out Douglas’ website.Scriptural study: Mark 5:1-18This man's life is totally out of controlHe's highly self-destructive. What self-destructive behaviors characterized us before we were Christians? Are there any such behaviors, still in our lives, that need to be brought into subjection to Christ?Easy to spiritualize the story, and probably that's appropriate in this instance.He seems both attracted to and repelled by Jesus. Love / hate. Contradictory attitude.He also has supernatural knowledge (at least the demons do).When Jesus inquires about his name, the name is a handle. It allows Jesus to confront and cleanse him.Legio (Latin) / Legion (Greek) is a Roman military unit (several thousand soldiers).Political implications: The Romans have "possessed" Israel, but they will not be "drive out" by military might or political strategy. Rather, true freedom is freedom from sin (John 8:34), and it's change at the personal level that the Lord offers.Pigs – it's a Gentile area, not Jewish. Pigs might be offered in sacrifice, or eaten for supper.Jesus permits the demons to enter the pigs. This isn't the same as directly willing the death of the pigs. God permits dictators to ravage their countries—yet without incurring guilt.The man is utterly transformed. Once wild, unable to settle, naked, confused... now he's stable, focused, self-controlled, clothed, thinking straight and spiritually in tune with the Lord.Yet the people aren’t too happy. Their livelihood was threatened (drowned pigs). Maybe they were nervous about the sheer power of the God of Israel, who could change someone so much. The pagan religions did not demand transformation, just rituals. (We help the gods out, and they will help us.)"Legion" preaches! It’s natural to tell friends & family (Acts 10:24).Decapolis = a region of 10 cities, capital Scythopolis (OT Beth Shean).He becomes an evangelist… So does everyone freed from bondage to Satan—including you and me. If we're not preaching, what happened? Have we forgotten we have been cleansed (2 Pet 1:9)?
CLEAN – podcast 13, Mary Magdalene
13:58For additional notes and resources check out Douglas’ website.IntroductionDemons are never explicitly identified in the OT. In the NT, possession appears only in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. (The word "demon" is used in John, but only by the opponents of Christ, who call him a demon.)For greater depth, visit Thoughts on Demon Possession & Exorcism (requires login).For constructive thoughts about escaping addictive behaviors, see IPI's 4-lesson audio CD, ESCAPE (by Steve Brand and Douglas Jacoby).Until today, Mary Magdalene was not a NT character podcast, since there isn't a whole lot to work with! It really comes down to a single verse in Luke.(She is also mentioned in Mark 16:9, a verse in the longer ending Mark's gospel, probably dating to the 2nd century, and merely repeating what Luke said about her.)However, she is frequently mentioned in the pretend-gospels of the Gnostics and others (in the centuries after the NT was written).Scriptural study: Luke 8:1-3There are many Marys in the NT, but only one Magdalene.It seems there are far more questions than answers.Literally 7 (number of perfection)—or perfectly diabolical?How were they exorcized? Through the ministry of Christ? The Jews (see Acts 19; Luke 9)? Or did they leave of their own volition (“gone out”)? But “healed of evil spirits…” (v.2) implies exorcism.How did the demons get into her in the first place? Lack of explanation as to causality of possession in NT, while OT doesn’t even record any possessions, let alone attempt to explain the demonic world.But we can at least rule out some possibilities:Not Jesus’ wifeNo indication that demons correspond to sins (as in 7 different sins).Probably not the sinful woman of Luke 7 – seems odd if true that this woman wasn’t named.Probably:Unmarried or a widowImportant personage in the early church. ( || Simon/Simeon, Alexander, and Rufus. Note: in the podcast I mentioned only Rufus, but Simon had two Christian sons.)For sure:From or had relatives in Magdala. At her synagogue a few weeks agoWitness to the empty tomb and the risen ChristUndergone a radical transition to freedom from the demonic.ConclusionsNo matter how messed up your life is, God can make something beautiful out of it. And no matter how long we may have been stagnating spiritually, the Lord can wipe the slate clean. And once we've been made clean, we're on the path of holiness and mission.If you're a woman, take heart that in Christ there is no male or female. No discrimination!God values women. Eyewitness testimony to the resurrection – not so in Judaism or Islam.No problem is too big for God to handle. Even if you feel last year is best forgotten, God specializes in fresh starts – in new beginnings.
CLEAN – podcast 12A (The Leper of Mark 1)
11:32For additional notes and resources check out Douglas’ website.IntroductionOur text is Mark 1:40-45.A different version of the story has come down to us in Matt 8:1-4.This man will be the first leper healed in the NT.Scriptural study: Mark 1:40-45Unsure whether Jesus is willing? Kneeling, imploring...The Lord is willing!Believe that when we pray.Believe it when we ask him to remove our sin, or to go with us as we share his word.Immediate cleansing.Note that rather than Jesus becoming unclean -- contracting leprosy by touching this man -- it flows the other way.Cleanness flows from Jesus to the leper!Jesus requests silence / discretion.The publicity causes trouble for Jesus (not all publicity is good).This is early in Jesus' ministry -- unlike the situation in Luke 17, when Jesus was going to die in a few days or weeks anyway.Yet, even though the throngs force Jesus outside the inhabited areas, his mission continues unabated.Evidence was to be presented to the priest.Had this ever happened before? Maybe once or twice in the OT, if the people were obeying Leviticus.The priest would then follow the procedure of Lev 14.Imagine the impact on the priest!The man can't help spreading the news. What news?News of his healing?News about the Messiah?Both?ConclusionLike the lepers of both testaments we are in an unpleasant condition. But since our condition is moral—spiritual—and not just physical, our predicament is dire.Think about the leprosy of sin. We are all "lepers."The Lord is willing. Don’t doubt it!You can be clean!
CLEAN – podcast 11 (The 10 Lepers)
10:47For additional notes and resources check out Douglas’ website.IntroductionHealing lepers was an important part of Jesus’ ministry:“Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them” (Matt 11:4-5).His healing of lepers confirmed that Jesus was Messiah.Our text is in Luke 17, though we will need to examine Leviticus 13-14 in order to understand Jesus' response to the lepers.Lev 13:9, 45 require those with serious skin ailments to allow the priests to inspect them.If they were still contagious, they were required to live outside of town, and call out "Unclean, unclean" if any (healthy) person was coming their way.If they were clean, a special ceremony was performed, involving baptizing a bird in water -- water that contained, among other things, the blood of a second bird. Afterwards the bird was released. Here is a picture (though not exact) of baptism.How do the four lepers of Samaria (2 Kings 7) relate to the Samaritan leper (Luke 17)?At the time of 2 Kings 7, Samaritans were simply Israelites from the northern tribes, or else residents of the capital city of Samaria.This is well before 2 Kings 17, which details the origin of the Samaritans proper -- who were of mixed race and heterodox faith.Main scripture: Luke 17:11-19The healing of the lepers takes place in the borderland between Galilee and Samaria.Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem to die (from Luke 9:51 onward). He tells the lepers to walk to Jerusalem -- where they will be able to be reinspected by the priests.The priests should have been impacted by their sharing!Of the 10, only 1 returns to Jesus to say thanks.Notice how expressive he is!Far too many Christians do not conduct themselves in a spirit of gratitude.Outsiders often get it before the insiders…ChallengeEveryone listening who has been cleansed from sin is like the lepers. Sin is like leprosy.We need to feel, and express, gratitude towards the one who has cleansed us!Then we will not struggle too much to share the good news with others!Further:Listen to my Thanksgiving sermon (33 minutes). Click: Luke 17 Sermon..
CLEAN – podcast 10, (The Four Lepers)
10:59For additional notes and resources check out Douglas’ website.IntroductionPrevious studies in Section II (Leprosy) have studied four individual lepers. Today we will consider the lives of four lepers all together.Although these men are not healed of their leprosy, they end up in a positive, victorious place nonetheless.Scriptural study: 2 Kings 6:24-31; 7:3-5, 8-10.Siege conditions in Samaria: famine!Cannibalism was forewarned in Deut 28—and mentioned several times in scripture.This is a desperate situation!The king’s anger is misdirected—towards Elisha—who soon predicts and end to the famine (7:1)We’re skipping the story of the faithless captain, as well as other important parts of the story, as these lie outside the text we are examining.Meet our lepers—four in all (7:3).Notice the role of reason. They have nothing to lose!Instead of encountering the Syrians, the camp has been abandoned -- full of food, supplies, money...A sumptuous feast was just a short walk away! (The Great Banquet is potentially as close to your neighbors as the distance to your home!)Their initial reaction is to horde. Yet, as with the message of Christ, the good news is to be shared!Since others are starving, not sharing would be a culpable, criminal behavior (v.9).They make a reasonable decision: to share.The matter is time sensitive. People are starving. People are dying.They came… and told… (v.10). Like the words of John: “Come… and see…” (1:39,46; 4:29; 11:34)Although these men were not cured of their leprosy, they are still winners:Their lives are saved.They purposed to save the lives of many others, and they saved a city.ApplicationWe are but poor lepers. We have nothing to lose!We are in sin if we are keeping the message to ourselves.People are starving for the truth, for an a authentic relationship with God.Let’s share the good news: “Come and see!”It’s time sensitive!
CLEAN – podcast 9 (The Leprosy of Uzziah)
10:22For additional notes and resources check out Douglas’ website.Scriptural study: 2 Chron 26:15b-21a The highly successful king lets success go to his head (vs.15-16).Pride goes before a fall. Prov 16:18. Deut 8:11-20 (please read Deut 8 if this is unfamiliar to you). The king becomes overconfident.His specific sin:He disobeyed the law of priesthood (he is not a priest, as a king of Judah).He arrogated to himself the priestly prerogative—thus his sin was arrogance.See the courage of Azariah (vs.17-18).His concern is for God’s honor—a strong contrast with Uzziah’s agenda.If the priests had deferred to Uzziah, giving in to fear, how could the people have been expected to challenge their leader--to hold him accountable to the Torah?Though totally outnumbered (80:1), the king will not listen. See Prov 26:16.His response is emotional (v.19). He is defensive. We could say he was "incensed." Yet his anger is misdirected anger.Leprosy breaks out on his forehead (where strict Jews actually tied small boxes containing scripture).This isn’t just a pimple… It’s leprosy!The priests hurriedly escort the king out of the Temple (v.20).Uzziah himself is eager to make his exit—but not so much because he is a humble man. Now the priests’ agenda and his own coincide—that’s all!Excluded from the Temple – not just from serving as a priest, which was never his right, but excluded from going up to the Temple, as any Jew was expected to do at least three times a year.His arrogant behavior affected him from that day till the day of his death!CHALLENGEObey what is written! You are not an exception. The Torah did not allow Uzziah to serve as a priest, to march into the inner Temple—and there are places we are not permitted to go, either.For leaders, especially: Accept input humbly, and seek feedback from those you know will speak candidly.Don’t assume, just because God seems to be smiling on you now (things are going well), that you no longer need to work diligently to be spiritual. The situation could change. Just as we must work out our salvation (Phil 2:12), so we must work to stay humble and open—teachable.Further study: Old Testament Character Podcast 39, on Uzziah.
CLEAN – podcast 8 (The Leprosy of Gehazi)
13:50For additional notes and resources check out Douglas’ website.IntroductionGehazi is the third leper in the Bible.He appears in 2 Kings 4, 5, 8.Chapter 4 gives us insight into the kind of person Gehazi was: not as spiritually aware as Naaman.Scriptural study: 2 Kings 5:15-27Elisha will not be enriched by a Gentile (although now Naaman is within the covenant). Similar to Abraham’s stance in Gen 14.Notice how he is critical of Elisha, his master.In running after Naaman, Gehazi isn't seeking something for Elisha, but for himself alone.A total lie (v.22)! Knowing Naaman’s new-found respect for Yahweh and his prophets, this particular lie was intended to manipulate.He asks for just a small fraction of what Naaman has (only 10% of the silver). This is probably intended to trigger a more generous counteroffer. And it does (v.23).Gehazi secretes his loot on the back side of a hill, out of the line of sight of Elisha.His actions should make us all think: What behaviors do we conceal?What things do we do only when there is no one around to see us? (Forbidden fruit? Sneaking food… or something else that we would be ashamed of reaching for were there witnesses?)Or, on the other side, do we act like Christians only when there are witnesses to our behavior (like praying only when someone is watching)?And he tells another lie (v.25).But Elisha is God’s man, a prophet, and has supernatural insight (v.26).He knows the things Gehazi plans to purchase with his ill-gotten gain (v.27). His materialism is redolent of Ecc 2.And so Gehazi becomes a leper, a divine punishment.This will affect his descendants. (“Forever” normally means without cessation within a particular frame of reference. No lepers today are descended from Gehazi, as far as we know.)ChallengesAm I behaving furtively or sneakily? Is there something I'm hiding?Similar to Miriam and Aaron vis-a-vis Moses, Gehazi has a critical spirit towards his master. Am I harboring a critical spirit?Are there traces of materialism or envy in my heart? (Ecclesiastes 4:4)Is there any deceit in my life? Am I living a double-life in any sense at all?Consider the long-term, lifelong consequences of my actions!Fortunately, it wasn’t the end for Gehazi.We encounter him one last time in the OT in 2 Kings 8.So perhaps, like Naaman’s leprosy, his affliction was lighter than full-blown leprosy; he could still go about his daily work.But that’s not a rationalization for his sin, only recognition that the Lord tempered his punishment of Gehazi, the Bible’s third leper.For more on Gehazi, listen to OT Character Podcast 36.
CLEAN – podcast 7 (The Leprosy of Naaman)
14:53For additional notes and resources check out Douglas’ website.Scriptural study: 2 Kings 5:1-19Note: Naaman is also mentioned in the NT (Luke 4:27).Syria = Aram = Syria, not AssyriaHis qualities:LeadershipCourageAnd the flaw of leprosy (both visible and humiliating).Physical and spiritual health are found in the land of Israel (not Syria, where false gods are worshipped).See how God works through circumstances, through people, through conversations!Naaman is willing to pay! He knows that cleansing is worth it! (Do we?)He proceeds to the king of Israel, to whom this looks like a trap.Elisha finds out what has happened, and invites Naaman to come to him (v.8).Elisha's instructions are humbling. In the presence of Naaman's entourage, to follow the prophet's instructions would have been humiliating.Instead of responding in humility, Naaman has a strong and negative emotional reaction. Furthermore, his reasoning is defective.He received some sound counsel – again, from a servant (v.13). Notice the role servants play, as opposed to the roles of the powerful!The miracle leads to his conversion.It is also a nice prefiguring of baptism, as the early Christians did not fail to notice (Irenaeus of Lyon, fragment 34).He was probably already circumcised so didn’t need to be circumcised again!SeeCircumcision in ancient Syria.Naaman requests a double load of Israelite dirt – so that he may worship "in" the land of Israel.The problem of his accidental bowing when his master enters the temple of the god Rimmon could be a problem, but Elisha tells him to go in peace.ApplicationCleansing comes when we obey God’s message.God’s messengers are often humble persons. Don’t be too proud to listen.When we are cleansed, the proper response is a life of devotion towards God.All of us who are true Christians have been cleansed from spiritual leprosy.