Jesus heals a blind man
Can you list the seven “I am” sayings from John’s Gospel? (Eg “I am the Light of the World” from this passage.)
Where else do you remember the phrase “I am” from in the bible? (Hint: early in Exodus)
What do you think John is trying to communicate by using this phrase? How does this passage help that goal?
How is Jesus using the images of light and dark? Describe how the man was in the dark then in the light? (Literally and metaphorically/spiritually) Compare and contrast with the Pharisees?
What do you think was blinding the Pharisees? Have you ever been blind to the work of God? What opened your eyes? How can we help open the eyes of the spiritually blind today?
Jesus heals a crippled woman
When you read about evil spirits or hear people talking about demons, what is your first reaction?
C.S Lewis once said, “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.” Which way would you lean, do you think?
How does Jesus deal with this particular spirit? What is the immediate response? What does that suggest to you about who has ultimate power over people’s lives?
Refer to John 10:10 (NIV) 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. Compare Satan’s purpose to Jesus’. Have you had any experience dealing with the demonic? What are some of the characteristics of people oppressed by demons? How do the words “bound”/”free” resonate?
Have you ever yourself (or know someone who has) been set free from something which bound you? How did that happen? What is Jesus ultimate goal for us all (Refer also John 8:34-36)?
Jesus visits Mary & Martha
What are your first thoughts as you read/hear this passage? Do you take one “side” or the other? Which one?
Why might Martha have been so concerned with the preparations? When is it right to concentrate on preparations? How easy do you find it to waste time, as it were, just listening to Jesus?
Why might Mary have been so avidly attentive to the words of Jesus? How do you “sit at the lord’s feet”? How do you make sure the necessary things still get done?
What else do we know about Mary & Martha (& Lazarus)? What picture do we get of the relationship between Jesus and this family?
Is Jesus a friend to your family? How might you nurture that?
What do you think is meant by the phrase “opened her home to him”? How might that be different in Middle Eastern culture to say, Australian culture? Who do you naturally open your home to? What would it take to open your home to someone who wasn’t a family member?
Go and sin no more
Why is there a text note (in your bibles) about this passage? How should we treat it? Does it “ring true?” (Compare with Mark 16:9-20 – does that ring true? How should we treat it?) How do we normally decide if a text is reliable or not?
Which laws from the Old Testament are the Pharisees and teachers of the law talking about? Why do you think the punishment was so harsh? Why do you think Moses handed down that law?
Why do you think the woman (and not the man) was brought to Jesus? What does that tell you about 1st Century Jewish culture?
Take a look back at John 7:25 onwards. Why do you think the Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus? What do you think John is trying to tell us in this passage?
Why do you think Jesus didn’t condemn the woman? What exactly does he say to her? How should we treat this passage in relation to other sin in people’s lives? What about the sin in our own lives?
What do you think Jesus would say / is saying to you?
Who is the greatest?
Have you ever met anybody famous? What happened? How did you feel? What makes that particular person so famous?
What do you know of the social status of children in 1st Century Palestine? Why do you think Jesus chose a child as his living illustration?
In what ways should we be like children? In what ways shouldn’t we be like children?
In verse 5, do you think Jesus is still talking about children? Why/Why not? What should our posture be towards children? What should our posture be to ones like children? How is it that we can be welcoming Jesus when we welcome them?
(Ref: vv6-8) What kind of language/literary device is Jesus using in these verses? Should it therefore be taken literally? What then did Jesus actually mean?
(Ref Chapter 17:22-23) How does Jesus exemplify “greatness”? How can we emulate him?
Jesus feeds 5000 plus
Why was Jesus in a “solitary place”? What does this tell you about Jesus? How might that inform your own response to grief?
What were the people thinking by coming out to Jesus without provision? What would cause you to do that? What does that tell you about their character? What does it tell you about Jesus’ character?
Compare what you think the disciples were thinking before the miracle with what they must have been thinking afterwards?
What in your/our ministry seems just too big to imagine? Is there any way in which we are sending people off to have their needs met elsewhere? What might Jesus be saying to you/us about providing for our needs?
The Good Samaritan
What would you say if someone asked you how they could be guaranteed living forever? Why would someone want to live forever?
What do you think the religious expert meant by eternal life? If Jesus says it is correct and life-giving to love God and neighbour, in what way does Jesus himself play a role in our eternal life?
What do you know of the relationship between Jews and Samaritans? What did they have in common? How did they differ? What is so startling about a Samaritan helping a Jew?
List the various ways in which the Samaritan helps the injured Jew. Which part could you see yourself undertaking?
When you read Jesus saying, “Go and do likewise”, does that thrill you or chill you? Why? If you were being brutally honest, what’s the “worst kind” of person you would struggle to help?
In what ways might you/we be called to “have mercy”?
Jesus is transfigured
Why do you think that Matthew (and Luke & Mark) includes this episode from Jesus’ life and ministry? What happens in this episode that doesn’t happen in others? What does – and what is the link?
What do you think is the significance of Moses and Elijah in this event?
Why do you think the disciples were terrified when they heard the voice of God? Have you ever heard God’s voice? What did it sound like to you? Did it terrify you or calm you or something else?
Why do you think the discussion about Elijah & John the Baptist takes place (ref: Malachi 4) Why do you think Matthew includes it?
Why do you think Jesus would want what was seen to be kept secret until after his resurrection?
What is it about Jesus that you would love to tell your “people of peace” (friends/family, etc)? What do you think might be strange about Jesus to them? How might you explain why he’s so real to you?
Jesus Walks on Water
Here we are on the boat again with Jesus! (why does it always have to be water?!) The context for this reading is that Matthew has just retold the story of the feeding of the five thousand. And Jesus has gone up to the mountain to pray by himself.
Why do you think Jesus chose to go away by himself from time to time? What does it tell you about his personality/ humanity?
Don’t you love the way Matthew casually remarks, “Jesus went out to them walking on the lake”? What does that tell you about what Matthew thinks about Jesus? Why do you think the story continues here to include the part with Peter? Why not stop at the miraculous walking on water?
What does this passage tell us about Peter? Do you think he was wise? Stupid? Adventurous? Faith-filled? Naive? Crazy?
What do you think the other disciples were thinking as they watched this all unfold? Do you see yourself more as a Peter or a James & John or an Andrew or one of the others?
If you drew this episode as a picture, where would you draw yourself, in terms of your faith in who Jesus was/is? What would it take to make you get out of the boat? What aspect of your faith/life/ministry might Jesus be asking you to “get out of the boat” for?