John 4:43-54 – Jesus is Worthy of Our Trust

Summary: Everyone trusts in someone, either ourselves or someone else. The question is whether the object of our faith is worthy of our trust. Sometimes our trust in ourselves needs to be crushed before we are open to trusting in Jesus. But when we do, Jesus proves that he is worthy of our trust.

Big Idea: Jesus is worthy of our trust.

Ice-breaker question: Share a time when someone kept a promise that they made to you. (Or share a time when someone did not keep a promise that they made to you.) What difference did that event make in your life?

 Background: In chapter 2 of John’s biography of Jesus, Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding in Cana. Then he went to Jerusalem for the Passover, cleared the temple courts and performed many miraculous signs that moved people to believe in him (see John 2:23). While in Jerusalem, he has a deep conversation with Nicodemus. On the way back to Galilee, Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at a well and their conversation leads to the woman and many in her village believing in Jesus. He stays with the villagers for two days and then travels north to his home area of Galilee. In the village of Cana, Jesus does another miracle, but this one is different from the earlier one he did in that village.

 Read: John 4:43-54

Observation (What does the passage say?)

  1. Why did the royal official come from Capernaum to Cana to see Jesus?
  2. What was the last thing that Jesus said to the royal official?
  3. What did the royal official do?
  4. What happened to his son after that?

Interpretation (What does the passage mean?)

5. The royal official naturally expected that Jesus needed to see his son to heal him, but all Jesus did was say, “Go, your son will live.” The royal official trusted Jesus’ promise and then lived as if that promise was really true. How is this man’s faith different from a “show me and then I’ll believe” kind of faith?

6. Faith is essentially trust in an object. Who is the object of the royal official’s trust? (In other words, in whom is he trusting?) Who is the object of a “show me and then I’ll believe” kind of faith?

7. Was Jesus worthy of the man’s trust? (Did Jesus keep his promise?)

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

8. Who is the object of your trust?

9. Everyone needs evidence of some kind to personally trust in the object of their faith. The purpose of Jesus’ miracles was to provide evidence that would encourage people to shift from trusting in themselves (or some other deity) to trusting in Jesus. What evidence to you have that supports your belief?

10. What are some promises of Jesus that you realize you need to trust in more?

 

This Bible Study focuses on the same passage as the sermon on Jan 7/18 from Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, Langley BC.

Advertisements

Luke 2:21-40 – Bucket List Joy Over Seeing the Saviour

Summary: How does life work? Most people think that if you do the right stuff, good things will come to you. But that is no comfort to those of us who are well-acquainted with our ongoing faults and failures. Even as a baby, Jesus shows us how things really are. Through Jesus, God has prepared salvation for all people. God’s good things are free to us even though they cost Jesus dearly.

Big Idea: Jesus paid the full cost of salvation for all people.

Ice-breaker question: What are some things on your “bucket list,” the things that you want to see or do before you die?

Read: Luke 2:21-40

Observation (What does the passage say?)

  1. Why did Mary and Joseph take Jesus to the temple when he was 40 days old?
  2. What had the Holy Spirit previously revealed to Simeon?
  3. What did Simeon say when he saw Jesus?
  1. In your own words, describe Anna.

Interpretation (What does the passage mean?)

This passage refers to 3 religious rituals which took place during the first few weeks after Jesus was born. The first was Jesus’ circumcision, which was a sign of the special covenantal relationship between God and the descendants of Abraham (see Gen. 17:3-14 for more info). The second was the purification rites for Mary, which every Jewish mother had to do after giving birth (See Lev. 12:2-8 for more info). The third was Jesus, Joseph’s firstborn son, being dedicated to the Lord, which recognized that every firstborn male of the Jews, both human and animal, belonged to the Lord because he saved Israel’s firstborn males from the Plague of Death during the night of the first Passover (see Exodus 13:1-2, 11-13).

5. While still a baby, Jesus was also the Son of the Most High God (Luke 1:32) and the Messiah, the special One sent by God to save His people. Therefore, while God’s people needed the aforementioned rituals, Jesus didn’t. Yet Joseph and Mary did “everything required by the Law of the Lord” (v. 39) for Jesus. How does this make a difference in terms of Jesus being our perfect human representative?

6. The events of this passage take place a mere 40 days after the miraculous appearance of angels led shepherds to visit the newborn Jesus and worship Him in a humble stable. Now, in the Temple, the special location where God lived among His people (see Exodus 25:8-9 which refers to the Tabernacle, the forerunner of the Temple), Simeon recognizes that Jesus is the Messiah. What significance might there be to Jesus being recognized as the special One from God in the place where God dwells?

7. When Simeon said “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace” (v. 29), he was saying that he was now ready to die. What item was he now able to cross off his “bucket list”?

8. The coming of the Messiah also means conflict. Simeon said to Mary, “This child I destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed” (v. 34-35). Why would there be conflict over Jesus, when he came to win salvation for all people?

9. Simeon said to Mary, “…And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” When, in the future, would that happen?

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

10. Anna was widowed and alone for many years, yet she made God’s temple and God’s Word the centre of her life. (A prophet or prophetess was someone who spoke God’s Word to others.) Being able to see the infant Jesus brought joy to her heart and she shared the news about Jesus with others. In what ways does Jesus bring you joy?

This Bible Study focuses on the same passage as the sermon on Dec 31/17 from Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, Langley BC.

Luke 2:1-20 – The Best Gift of Love: The Birth of Our Saviour

Summary: The best gifts are something that you really need given to you when you really need it from someone that you did not expect. Love is what motivates someone to give such a gift. That is what makes the birth of Jesus the best gift of love.

Big Idea: God the Father gave us Jesus as his gift of love to us.

Ice-breaker question: How would you define love?

 Read: Luke 2:1-20

Observation (What does the passage say?)

1.Why did Mary and Joseph have to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem?

2.What happened while they were in Bethlehem?

3.What news did the angel of the Lord give to the shepherds?

4.What did the shepherds do after being given this news?

Interpretation (What does the passage mean?)

5.What prompted God to send us a Saviour? (See John 3:16)

6.Why will the birth of this Saviour be “…good news that will bring great joy to all people”?

7.The angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.” How does God’s favour rest on people?

8.Why did the shepherds tell “…everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child”?

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

9.One way to define love is to say that it is giving your best for the sake of someone else with no expectation of anything in return. How does the birth of our Saviour demonstrate God’s love for us?

10.What has Jesus done for you that is such good news that you cannot keep it to yourself?

 

This Bible Study focuses on the same passage as the sermon on Dec 24/17 from Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, Langley BC. This & other Bible studies based on the Sunday message are available at wglc.org.

 

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.

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.