Weekly questions and information
John writes not randomly but with a purpose. He had several miracles to choose from but chose only 7. In chapter 2 Jesus changes water to wine at a wedding feast and then drives the money changers out of the temple. Why these 2? What’s the connection with a wedding party and the temple? To show us we need to slow down and clean out our cluttered lives and hearts. We tend to neglect solitude. It’s not a part of our culture. Were busy cluttered noisy people which causes us not to grow deeply. In neglecting solitude we are sabotaging our faith journey. This week’s LifeGroup questions will revolve around slowing down and taking time to nurture and feed our spiritual lives.
- What struck you from this week’s message?
- Jesus could have done other things for His first miracle than change water into wine at a wedding party. Why at a party? Why was he not out preaching the gospel? What did John want us to know from this miracle?
- What does it show about Jesus that the wine He made from the water was superior to the wine already provided?
- The ones who filled the water pots with water and saw it changed to wine were the servants. Respond to this statement: “Some have never seen God work or experienced joy because they’ve never served.”
- Why did Jesus over turn the money changers tables? Why was he angry?
- After turning over the money changers tables in the temple, The Jewish leaders asked,“What sign do you show us for doing these things?” or “By what authority do you do these things?” Do we, the followers of Jesus ask the same question of Jesus? How?
- Read 1 Corinthians 6:19. If Jesus came into your temple what would he find?
- Is silence and quietness a part of your daily routine? Why or why not?
The quality of our lives can be pictured as a wagon wheel. The rim represents our world. The spokes the things that make up our world; family, work, friends, activities, hobbies, etc. But they are connected to the hub. It supports it all. If the hub collapses then the wheel collapses. Our spiritual life is like the hub of the wheel. It all comes crashing down of it is not tended to. We need time to nurture and support the hub, by prayer, meditation, silence and as Dallas Willard says, “Ruthlessly eliminating hurry from our lives”. The same Jesus that cleansed the temple is the same Jesus who unclutters your life because He loves you too much to leave you the same.
VV 1-18-Incarnation of the Word
Vv 9-34-Introduction of John the Baptist
VV 35-51-Invitation by the Disciples
I) Incarnation of the Word
1) What was the biggest takeaways from this weekend’s sermon on John 1?
2) Why do you think John chose to call Jesus “the Word?” What did he want us to know by that?
3) According to verses 1:14-18, God became a man, and that man was Jesus. Why do you think God decided to become a man? Why is it a big deal that God decided to do this?
4) John describes Jesus as full of grace. In vs 16 John says we have all received “grace upon grace” What is grace?
5) Bill says we “minimize grace and exploit works.” What is your response to that statement. Have you ever done that? How?
II) The Introduction of John the Baptist
6) What would the average Israelite think about when John called Jesus the “Lamb of God”? Was John being intentional about the life and purpose of Jesus by calling him the “Lamb of God ? What does the title “Lamb of God” tells us about Jesus? What does that tell us about ourselves? How does it reveal our deepest need?
III) The Invitation of the Disciples
7) Simon’s life changed when he met Jesus. He even got a new name. Whats the significance of that? How is your life different because of knowing Jesus
8) Bill said, “To the degree that you know him is the degree to which you want him to be known.” Respond to that statement. How alive is he in you? When was the last time you said “Come and see Jesus”
9) When a person chooses to follow Jesus, he doesn’t remain stationary. There is movement toward growth and maturity. Bill said some Christians are still at the place they were at 20 years ago when they first came to Christ. Is that true of you? Why or Why not?
John chapter 1 to John Chapter 11
In his Gospel John, spends the first 11 chapters presenting 7 signs or miracles, each of which, communicates some truth or aspect of Jesus’s character.
The focus of this week’s discussion will be upon each of the 7 miracles, their meaning, and how they apply to our lives personally.
The seven signs are:
- Changing water into wine at Cana John 2:1-11
- Healing of the official’s son John 4: 46-54
- Healing the paralytic at Bethesda in John 5:1-15
- Feeding the 5000 in John 6:5-14
- Jesus walking on water in John 6:16-24
- Healing the man blind from birth in John 9:1-7
- The raising of Lazarus in John 11:1-45
Each sign revealed an aspect of Jesus’ character:
- He turns ceremonial religion into Joy.
- Jesus is concerned with our kids as much as we are.
- He allows the paralyzed to walk in freedom.
- What is little in our hands is much in God’s.
- The solution to our problems and issues is to let Jesus inside our boat. He wants in.
- He opens blind eyes to truths about Jesus He wants us to see.
- What is dead in your life He can resurrect
Which of these spoke to you? How? And how will it change your relationship with Christ?
Read this excerpt (at least the highlighted parts) from Max Lucado’s book, “God Came Near”:
Many of the names in the Bible that refer to our Lord are nothing less than palatial and august: Son of God, The Lamb of God, The Light of the World, The Resurrection and the Life, The Bright and Morning Star, He that Should Come, Alpha and Omega.
They are phrases that stretch the boundaries of human language in an effort to capture the uncapturable, the grandeur of God. And try as they might to draw as near as they may, they always fall short. Hearing them is somewhat like hearing a Salvation Army Christmas band on the street corner play Handel’s Messiah. Good try, but it doesn’t work. The message is too majestic for the medium. And such it is with language.
The phrase “There are no words to express…” is really the only one that can honestly be applied to God. No names do Him justice.
But there is one name which recalls a quality of the Master that bewildered and compelled those who knew Him. It reveals a side of Him that, when recognized, is enough to make you fall on your face.
It is not too small, nor is it too grand. It is a name that fits like the shoe fit Cinderella’s foot.
In the gospels it’s His most common name — used almost six hundred times. And a common name it was. Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua, Jeshua, and Jehoshua — all familiar Old Testament names. There were at least five high priests known as Jesus. The writings of the historian Josephus refer to about twenty people called Jesus. The New Testament speaks of Jesus Justus, the friend of Paul,(1) and the sorcerer of Paphos is called Bar-Jesus.(2) Some manuscripts give Jesus as the first name of Barabbas. “Which would you like me to release to you — Jesus Barabbas or Jesus called the Messiah?”(3)
What’s the point? Jesus could have been a “Joe.”
If Jesus came today, His name might have been John or Bob or Jim.
Were He here today, it is doubtful He would distance Himself with a lofty name like Reverend Holiness Angelic Divinity III. No, when God chose the name His Son would carry, He chose a human name.(4) He chose a name so typical that it would appear two or three times on any given class roll.
“The Word became flesh,” John said, in other words.
He was touchable, approachable, reachable. And, what’s more, He was ordinary. If He were here today, you probably wouldn’t notice Him as He walked through a shopping mall. He wouldn’t turn heads by the clothes He wore or the jewelry He flashed.
“Just call me Jesus,” you can almost hear Him say.
He was the kind of fellow you’d invite to watch the Rams-Giants game at your house. He’d wrestle on the floor with your kids, doze on your couch, and cook steaks on your grill. He’d laugh at your jokes and tell a few of His own. And when you spoke, He’d listen to you as if He had all the time in eternity.
And one thing’s for sure, you’d invite Him back.
It is worth noting that those who knew Him best remembered Him as Jesus. The titles Jesus Christ and Lord Jesus are seen only six times. Those who walked with Him remembered Him not with a title or designation, but with a name — Jesus.
Think about the implications. When God chose to reveal Himself to mankind, what medium did He use? A book? No, that was secondary. A church? No. That was consequential. A moral code? No. To limit God’s revelation to a cold list of dos and don’ts is as tragic as looking at a Colorado road map and saying that you’d seen the Rockies.
When God chose to reveal Himself, He did so (surprise of surprises) through a human body. The tongue that called forth the dead was a human one. The hand that touched the leper had dirt under its nails. The feet upon which the woman wept were calloused and dusty. And His tears… oh, don’t miss the tears… they came from a heart as broken as yours or mine ever has been.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses. — Hebrews 4:15
So, people came to Him. My, how they came to Him! They came at night; they touched Him as He walked down the street; they followed Him around the sea; they invited Him into their homes and placed their children at His feet. Why? Because He refused to be a statue in a cathedral or a priest in an elevated pulpit. He chose instead to be Jesus.
There is not a hint of one person who was afraid to draw near Him. There were those who mocked Him. There were those who were envious of Him. There were those who misunderstood Him. There were those who revered Him. But there was not one person who considered Him too holy, too divine, or too celestial to touch. There was not one person who was reluctant to approach Him for fear of being rejected.
Remember that the next time you find yourself amazed at your own failures.
Or the next time acidic accusations burn holes in your soul.
Or the next time you see a cold cathedral or hear a lifeless liturgy.
Remember. It is man who creates the distance. It is Jesus who builds the bridge.
“Just call me Jesus.”
- Colossians 4:11
- Acts 13:6
- Matthew 27:17; William Barclay, Jesus As They Saw Him (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans).
- Matthew 1:21
On this first Sunday after after Easter Randy asked the question “why did the death and resurrection of Christ have to take place?” There are many reasons but one, is because of the compassionate, gracious and merciful nature of God.
We have a gracious and compassionate God, Who is loving and merciful, patient and kind. He is willing to extend His arms of love and forgiveness to all Who will trust in Jesus — He is not willing that any should be condemned but that all come to a saving knowledge of the Lord.This verse sums God’s gracious character. The compassionate nature of God is illustrated in the book of Jonah. That will be the focus of this weeks questions
- How did God challenge you through the study of Jonah?
- Who would you be if God simply left you to ourselves and stopped running after you?
- Why did Jonah run from God the first time he was told to go to Nineveh? What does Jonah believe about God? (Chapter 4:2). How doses this apply to why Jesus had to die to the cross?
- Who would you consider the modern day ‘Ninevites’? Do you long for God to show them grace and forgive them? What does your response to that question reveal about you?
- Like Jonah, we all want to receive God’s forgiveness, but we are not always willing to give forgiveness. Why do we struggle with giving forgiveness more than receiving forgiveness? What are some reasons (or excuses) we use for not forgiving?
- How can we develop a compassion that reflects the heart of God? Here are some ideas. Discuss what they mean and how we can apply them:
- Develop a kingdom mindset —
Look at people from an eternal perspective
- Remember who you are — Romans 5:10
We say, “They are the enemies of God!” Guess what? We are all the enemies of God!
- Imitate the compassion of Christ — Luke 19:41–42
- Develop a kingdom mindset —
God tear out our hearts of stone and replace them with hearts of flesh that beat in love for the miserable and guilty.
Summary“Christian selfhood is not defined in terms of who we are in and of ourselves. It’s defined in terms of what God does to us and the relationship he creates with us and the destiny he appoints for us. God made us who we are so we could make known who he is. Our identity is for the sake of making known his identity.”—John Piper
What we learnedIf we’re honest with ourselves, we often feel insecure. When we put our faith in Christ, we receive a new identity. The problem is without Christ we look for our value in our own abilities or accomplishments. We are driven to continue to perform so that we can feel that we have worth. Without Christ, we will be separated from God and on our own to find our acceptance, security, and significance.
- What is your initial reaction to Bobby’s sermon? What jumped out at you?
- What are some of the things you have allowed to define you? Why?
- What are the dangers of only allowing our achievements or other’s opinions define us?
- Read 2 Corinthians 5:17. What does it mean that we become “new creations” in Christ?
- How does it affect your life if you’re a follower of Jesus but don’t believe the truths of your new identity like those we’ve looked at?
- Read Ephesians 1:4. What does it mean to you to know that you are a child of God? How does that help you answer the question, “Who am I?”
- How should we live our lives in light of our identity in Christ?
End with group Prayer
LifeGroup Discussion – April 7
A woman with an issue of blood was healed of her condition when she touched the hem of his garment. Jesus teaches her that the healing was a result of her faith, not magic, or as she may have believed, superstitiously touching a holy object.
What We learned
Faith is an essential aspect of Christianity. God is the author and finisher of faith. We come to him with what little faith we have—as imperfect as it may be, and God responds positively and builds from there.
- What things did the lady in our story have going against her?
- Do you think she was superstitious about touching Jesus’ clothes? How would you assess the quality of her faith?
- Why did Jesus stop? Do you think there was an actual transfer or flow of power?
- Why do you think Jesus caused her the embarrassment of having to tell her story openly; For His sake or for her sake? Explain.
- Few people have had the gumption and nerve to push their way to Jesus the way this woman did. Why is this so? Why do many fail to receive answers to their prayers?
- How does this passage help you deal with issues like sickness and death in your own life, or in the lives of others? In other words, what can we learn from this passage that helps us handle the realities of sickness and death in this life?