Luke 1:39-56 – The Key to Peace is Letting Jesus Lift Us Up

Summary: When something or someone we value is threatened, it will steal away any inner peace we may have. But Jesus invites us into a new life where we see, through faith, that he is holding all things in his hands and the good that he gives us will never be taken away from us. Therefore, through faith we have peace.

Big Idea: We have peace when we value the good things that Jesus gives to us and trust that they will never be taken away from us.

Ice-breaker question: Describe what it would be like for a person to have peace in their heart and mind.

Read: Luke 1:39-56

Observation (What does the passage say?)

1.Luke 1:26 tells us that Elizabeth was about six months pregnant at this time. What happened when Mary entered Elizabeth’s home and greeted her?

2. What did Elizabeth say to Mary?

3. Who was Mary glorifying and rejoicing in?

4. As Mary describes the great things that the Mighty One has done, she says that there are two different groups of people and that God is treating them differently. One group God has scattered, brought down and sent away empty. The other group God has lifted up and filled. Who does Mary say is in the first group?

5. Who does Mary say is in the second group?

 Interpretation (What does the passage mean?)

6. Why did Elizabeth consider herself blessed to have Mary visit her?

7. According to Elizabeth, what is the reason that Mary is blessed?

8. What are some reasons why God scatters the proud, brings down rulers and sends the rich away empty?

9. Why does God treat the humble and the hungry differently than the proud, the rulers and the rich?

Application (What does the passage mean to me personally?)

Verse 45 says, Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

10. What are some things that you believe that sometimes cause you to be stirred up in your inner spirit?

11. Are those beliefs true?

12. What would help you to believe the promises that God has given to you?

13. How will believing those promises more fully give you more peace in your spirit?

This Bible Study focuses on the same passage as the sermon on Dec 10/17 from Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, Langley BC.

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John 4:27-42 – Resetting Our Priorities

Summary: Our priorities determine our path. But sometimes our priorities are off-course. Jesus resets our priorities with his love and sets us on a new path of greater joy as we join Jesus in doing our Father’s will and work.

Big Idea: Jesus resets our priorities to give us greater joy over doing greater things with him.

Ice-breaker question: Imagine that you observe two different lives side-by-side. One of those lives is strictly focused on experiencing joy in this life. The other is focused on the joy that will come when experience eternal life in all its fullness. What differences do you think that you would notice between the two lives?

 Read: John 4:27-42

Observation (What does the passage say?)

  1. What did the woman do after talking to Jesus? How did her priorities change after talking to Jesus? Why?
  2. What was Jesus response to the disciples when they urged him to eat?
  3. What is Jesus’ food?
  4. Whose words convinced the Samaritans to believe in Jesus?

Interpretation (What does the passage mean?)

  1. Why would doing his Father’s will and work be more important to Jesus than eating?
  2. Some commentators indicate that, in verse 36, the sower is God the Father and the reaper is Jesus. If Jesus is the reaper, what crop is he harvesting?
  3. Read 1 Timothy 2:4. How is Jesus doing his Father’s will and work by harvesting the crop indicated in verse 36?
  4. Jesus tells his disciples that they will also participate in the harvest. Why is it important that the disciples know that they will be harvesting what others have worked for?

Application (What does the passage mean to me personally?)

  1. Whose words have convinced you to believe in Jesus? What did they say that convinced you?
  2. What do you need to receive from Jesus to make joining him in gathering his harvest a greater priority for you?

John 4:16-26 Jesus’ Love Leads to Worship in Spirit & Truth

Summary: Everyone worships. But who and how we worship makes an eternal difference. Because of Jesus’ love for us, we worship the Father in spirit and in truth.

Big Idea: Because of Jesus’ unconditional love for us, we can be totally transparent and totally vulnerable before God our heavenly Father.

Ice-breaker question: What is the most amazing that anyone (besides Jesus) has ever done for you?

 Read: John 4:16-26

Observation (What does the passage say?)

1. What does Jesus say about the woman’s marital status?

2. What does the woman say to Jesus after she recognizes that he is a prophet?

3. What does Jesus say when he tells us who true worshipers will worship and how they will worship?

4. Both the Samaritans and the Jews had special places designated for worship (Mount Gerizim and Jerusalem respectively). What did Jesus say is going to happen regarding where we worship?

Interpretation (What does the passage mean?)

5. Though the Samaritan woman did not tell Jesus everything about her marital status, she did tell the truth in what she did say to Jesus about this. Why is this significant?

6. What information about her past, or present, might have made it difficult for the woman to be truthful to Jesus?

When the woman recognizes that Jesus is a prophet, she makes a statement about the different locations designated for worship by the Jews and the Samaritans. Having revealed to her one truth (the full story of her marital history), the woman may have been looking for another (which of these two religions, Samaritan and Jewish, is the true one).

Jesus says that Jews know and worship the right “who” to worship. But then he goes beyond that and identifies the right “how” to worship – in spirit and in truth – which is something that can happen anywhere. So the location of worship is no longer as significant.

Worshiping in spirit implies that we are totally open before God, worshiping him directly with our inner being. Worshiping in truth implies that we are totally transparent before God, worshiping with a clear awareness of our sin and a total dependence on God’s grace.

7. How is being open and transparent before God different from the way that people usually worship God?

8. Why do some people not worship God with openness and transparency?

9. What was it about Jesus that moved the woman to be open and transparent before him?

Application (What does the passage mean to me personally?)

10. How can Jesus’ unconditional love help you to be more open and transparent before God?

11. What are some ways you can remind yourself of Jesus’ unconditional love for you?

John 3:10-15 – Everyone Who Believes in Jesus will have Eternal Life

Summary: At times we experience sorrow and suffering in this world. How do we keep moving forward in the face of such challenges? The eternal life that Jesus gives us through faith gives us the hope we need for each day.

Big Idea: Jesus gives us eternal life through faith alone.

Ice-breaker question: What are some examples of things that you don’t understand?

 Read: John 3:10-15

Observation (What does the passage say?)

1.In today’s passage, Jesus is talking to Nicodemus. Jesus said to Nicodemus, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things?” What things did Nicodemus not understand? (Hint: see verses 5-8.)

2. The term “Son of Man” is a nickname that Jesus often used to refer to himself. What two things did Jesus say about himself using this nickname?

3. Jesus refers to Moses lifting up a bronze snake on a pole. To find out what Jesus is referring to, please read Numbers 21:4-9. What were the Israelites doing that moved the Lord to send poisonous snakes among them?

4. What promise the Lord give to the people?

5. What happened to the people who believed the promise?

Interpretation (What does the passage mean?)

6. How does the fact that Jesus came down from heaven give more authority to what he tells us about earthly and heavenly things?

7. When Moses spoke to the people and gave them instructions with a promise, how did he have the authority to make what he said worth believing?

8. Which of the following two possibilities accurately describes what happened:

a. the faith of the Israelites caused them to be healed, or

b. the faith of the Israelites received the healing that the Lord wanted to give to them?

9. In the John passage, what promise is Jesus giving to us?

10. Does our faith in Jesus cause us to have eternal life, or does our faith in Jesus receive the eternal life that he wants to give to us?

11. What did Jesus do so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life? (Hint: see 1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

Application (What does the passage mean to me personally?)

12. Write down one area of your life where you need more faith in Jesus. If you are willing, please share it with others so that they can pray for you. In your personal prayers, ask Jesus for more faith in him.

John 3:1-9 – Abundant Life is a Gift

Summary: Life in God’s world begins when our spirit is brought to life by the Holy Spirit. How that birth happens cannot be explained. But we can be certain that our new life with Jesus is really real and it is a gift given in love.

Core Idea: Being made alive spiritually is a gift from Jesus through the Holy Spirit

Ice-breaker question: If you are willing, share a time when you were given a gift that surprised you.

Read: John 3:1-9

Observation (What does the passage say?)

1. What was the evidence that Nicodemus said indicated that God was with Jesus?

2. What did Jesus say must happen before one can see the kingdom of heaven?

3. Humans can only produce human life. According to Jesus, who produces spiritual life?

  1. Is it possible to explain how people are born of the Spirit?

Interpretation (What does the passage mean?)

  1. What do you think Nicodemus was looking for when he went to talk to Jesus?

6. The kingdom of heaven is the rule and reign of God. It is both a present reality and a future fulfillment. What are some characteristics of the kingdom of heaven that we long for?

7. In the original Greek language in which the New Testament was written, the word behind the phrase “born again” can also mean “born from above.” What did Jesus mean when he said that we must be born again, or born from above, before we can be part of the kingdom of heaven?

8. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit is like the wind. Both are invisible and we can’t explain where they come from and where they are going to go, but we feel their effects when they move. What are some examples of sure signs that the Holy Spirit is working?

Application (What does the passage mean to me personally?)

9. If you are living a new life because of the Holy Spirit, describe what that new life is like?

10. What are some things that we can do to help others to experience this new life?

(This Bible Study is based on the message shared on Oct 15/17 at Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, Langley BC.)

John 2:18-25 – Jesus is Our Connection with God

Summary: Most of us function as self-guided beings most of the time. But all of us face circumstances in life that overwhelm us. Jesus invites us to let him be the ultimate authority in our lives so he can protect and bless us as we go through life together with him.

Big Idea: Jesus’ resurrection shows us that he can turn our lives around.

Read: John 2:18-25

Ice-breaker question: If you are willing, share a time when you found yourself in a battle of wills with someone else. What was the end result of that situation?

Observation (What does the passage say?)

1. What did Jesus say when the Jewish leaders asked him to prove that he had authority to clear the Temple area?

2. What was Jesus referring to when he said “this temple”?

3. What impact did Jesus’ words have on the disciples after Jesus rose from the dead?

4. In verse 23, we read that many people began to trust in Jesus because of the miraculous signs that he did. What was Jesus’ response?

Interpretation (What does the passage mean?)

5. Why did the Jewish leaders demand that Jesus prove that he had authority from God to do what he did?

6. Jesus responds to their demand by pointing to his future resurrection as the miraculous sign that would show that he had authority from God to do what he did. How does Jesus’ resurrection show that he has authority from God?

7. Why is Jesus’ resurrection so important?

8. Why didn’t Jesus trust people, even those who trusted in him?

Application (What does the passage mean to me personally?)

9. What is one area of your life that you need to give to Jesus and let him have authority over it?

John 2:13-17 – Anger Over Restricted Access to God

Summary: We get angry about many things, but usually we are angry because things are not turning out the way we want. The problem is not with our anger. The problem is with our desires. Jesus fought to give us what we really need, free access to God.

Big Idea: Jesus fought to give you free access to God.

Read: John 2:13-17

Ice-breaker question: Think of the last time you were angry. What were you angry about?

Observation (What does the passage say?)

1. What was happening in the Temple area?

2. What did Jesus do when he saw this?

3. What did Jesus say to the merchants?

Interpretation (What does the passage mean?)

The court of the Gentiles was where the merchants had set up shop to sell livestock for sacrifices and to change money into the currency used to pay the Temple tax. This was the only place where Gentiles (non-Jews) could worship the one true God and the Jews had turned it into marketplace. Other descriptions of Jesus clearing this area imply that the merchants were taking advantage of Jewish pilgrims who came to the Temple from far away for one of the three festivals that Jewish men were required to attend. (Passover was one of the three and the other two were Pentecost and Tabernacles.)

4. Why was Jesus so angry? (List as many possible reasons as you can.)

5. In Ephesians 4:26, we read, “In your anger do not sin.” What is the difference between anger that is sin and anger that is not sin?

6. How are the reasons for Jesus’ anger different from the reasons we have for being angry?

7. Why was Jesus so passionate for his Father’s house?

Application (What does the passage mean to me personally?)

8. Did Jesus’ passion for Father’s house result in good things for us? If so, how?

9. Anger is usually a secondary emotion. What emotion(s) is/are under your anger?

10. What aspect of God’s love do you need to receive more of and apply to your areas of emotional concern?