Weekly questions and information
Hope for the troubled heart
The disciples are in crisis. Jesus is going to be arrested, tried in a sham trial and murdered on a cross. They are confused disappointed and fearful.
He tells them truths that they and we can tap into when we find ourselves in crisis:
- There is Heaven
- There is a Father who loves us
- There is Prayer
- There is the Holy Spirit
- What stood out to you from the message?
- What comes to mind when you think of heaven?
How does the thought of heaven and what waits for you, help you weather the storms of life?
Can you give an example?
- How does Jesus describe his “Father’s house”?
What does God’s house represent?
How does this statement serve as an anchor of hope for us and the disciples?
Does the thought that there are lots of rooms in heaven give you hope?
How does the idea that there is room for you to dwell with God forever give you peace in your life today?
- Read verses 12-14.
What promise does Jesus make to anyone who has faith?
What do these verses teach about the importance of prayer?
- Read 2 Peter 3:18; 1 Cor. 10:31; 2 Thess 1:11-12.
What is the purpose of Prayer?
Why do we pray “in Jesus’ name”?
- Read vss 16 & 17.
What does Jesus mean when He says “I will send you a helper”?
How does this help us when we are in crisis?
Are you experiencing a crisis?
Are you troubled in heart?
Do you feel the stress and the weight of the world on your shoulders?
Are you tired and feeling beat down by the world?
If so, remember that:
- There is the promise of heaven and Jesus is preparing a place for you;
- He loves you and is coming back to get you;
- You can put your faith completely in him; and
- His Holy Spirit indwells you and is there to defend and protect you.
John 1:19-34 – John the Baptist
John 8:31-37 – The Pharisees
How should we respond to Jesus? That’s the question Randy asked this weekend. He answered the question by contrasting John the Baptist with the Pharisees. John the Baptist endorsed Jesus as the chosen One of God while the Pharisees, on the other hand, resisted Jesus and probed, questioned and challenged Him, with the intent of undermining His ministry.
- What stood out to you from Randy’s message?
- When John the Baptist sees Jesus coming toward him what is his message concerning Jesus?
What would the average Israelite think 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”?
- Read John 3:30. How can we make Jesus greater and our lives lesser?
- Why did the Pharisees resist Jesus?
Why was there no room in their hearts for Jesus?
- The Pharisees added rules for keeping the Sabbath and their rules influence their opinion of Jesus. What does this tell us about how religion can get things, and Jesus, wrong?
- Read Luke 12:1-3. What is Jesus’ point? How does the image of yeast make his point?
Is it possible for you to slip into being a Pharisee? How?
- In Matthew 16:15-17 Jesus turns to Peter and asks the greatest question of life, “Who do you say that I am?”
Peter makes a response that echoes the thoughts of the other disciple: “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.”
- What is your answer to the question, “Who do you say that I am?”
What kind of response does that make in your lives, your thoughts and your behavior?
Jesus hears that his friend Lazarus is sick and dying. Rather than respond immediately he delays four days. He knew he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, yet, He still allowed those he loved to experience the pain and difficulty of death in order to achieve the higher purpose of building faith and glorifying God.
In times of pain and difficulty, know that God is with you in the midst of the trial and that he can use your pain and struggle to build your faith and bring glory to himself.
What stood out to you from this weekend’s sermon?
Read John 11:4. How long did Jesus linger after learning that Lazarus was ill? Does this make sense? Why did Jesus choose not to go immediately to see Lazarus?
What does Jesus tell Martha about himself in verses 25-26? Why is this a significant statement about who Jesus is?
What does the fact that Jesus wept say about him?
How does belief in Jesus change your perspective on life and death? What kind of hope do you have because of your belief in Jesus as the Son of God?
When the stone is rolled away, Lazarus walks out alive. What did Jesus tell those standing by to do? What is that significant?
Jesus claim and promise here are not just for Martha, but for all people at all times. Comparing your spiritual life to the story of Lazarus, where are you right now – Still in the grave? Watching the stone being rolled away? Alive but still in the grave clothes? Alive and unwrapped?
Chap 10 follows on the heels of chap 9 where the man born blind was treated so badly by these same Pharisees Jesus is now speaking to. These Pharisees should have been this man’s good, earthly shepherds and yet they were just the opposite. Jesus uses a metaphor of sheep and the good shepherd to explain his role in the world.
- Who does Jesus say he is in verse 11?
How is God described in the Old Testament?
Read Psalm 23:1- 3; Psalm 80:1; Isaiah 40:11.
What is Jesus saying about himself when he makes this statement?
- If you were to rate animals on their level of intelligence (1 = lowest level of intelligence and 10 the highest level of intelligence), where would you rate sheep?
What does that say about Jesus’ love toward us?
- Why is it significant that Jesus is both the gate and the shepherd?
- In vv.11-18 He explains what it means that he is the “good shepherd.” What does it mean that Jesus is the “good shepherd”?
- If in this passage the Jewish religious authorities are the “robbers,” what are they stealing?
What does the Good Shepherd bring that they cannot or will not offer?
- What is the importance that the shepherd knows the sheep by name?
- Why is it important for the sheep to know the voice of the shepherd?
What can happen when the sheep do not recognize the voice of the shepherd?
- Can you think of some examples of “strange voices” that are calling you away from following the “good shepherd” in your life?
Jesus calls himself “the light of the world”. In chapter 9, He demonstrates the truth of his claim by bringing light physically and spiritually to a man born blind.
- What stood out to you from this week’s sermon?
- What question did the disciples ask Jesus as they passed by the blind man?
Why would they ask this question?
(Hint: It was a common assumption at this time to think God punished sin by causing physical afflictions).
What can blind you to the unfortunate situation of people?
- What does Jesus do when he sees this blind man?
How is this an example of the way that Christ’s followers should respond to people in need?
- Jesus makes mud from spittle and places it upon the man’s eyes.
Could Jesus have healed the man without the mud and washing?
What do we learn from this?
- Read John 9:13-17.
The Pharisees added rules for keeping the Sabbath.
How did these rules influence their opinion about Jesus?
What does this tell us about how religion (i.e., man-made rules) we can get things about Jesus wrong?
- Read John 9:24-25.
When the blind man is brought back before the religious leaders for questioning, what did he know about Jesus?
How much do you need to know about Jesus in order to tell someone about Him?
- Read John 9:18-23.
Why are the healed man’s parents afraid?
What does their response tell us about following Jesus?
(Hint: Sometimes becoming a Christian can make things harder not easier.)
- How did the blind man’s view of Jesus change?
What message does that send to us as we walk with new believers?
The religious leaders seek to entrap Jesus and bring to him a woman caught in the very act of adultery demanding that she be stoned. But Jesus responds with mercy rather than judgment.
Jesus is a Man of compassion and mercy triumphs over judgment.
- Think about a time where you were “caught with your hand in the cookie jar” – when your sin was exposed for others to see.
How did you feel?
What did you want more than anything at that moment?
- Put yourself in this scene.
What would be the emotions of the woman as she is “caught in the act” of adultery?
If you were standing in the crowd what would you be thinking?
- What is the question the Scribes and Pharisees ask Jesus?
Is there a way Jesus can answer the question without giving his accusers additional support for their case against him?
- If Jesus agreed with the Pharisees that the woman should be stoned, how would that answer have given the Pharisees additional charges against him?
- If He suggested that the woman be let go and forgiven, how would that have given the Pharisees additional charges against him?
- Why was Jesus’ response the absolute best response He could have given in this situation?
- Why do you think it’s so natural for people to assume that God is quick to judge and condemn them?
To what extent has that assumption shaped your relationship with God?
- Read Romans 8:1-2 and Matthew 7:3-5.
How does this help you face some of the sins that you struggle with?
- One of the messages we get from this piece of history is that Jesus accepts you just as you are.
Does that free you to change?
Or does it give you license to sin?
- Is there someone in your life that you have trouble forgiving?
How can your small group help you?