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?
Jesus has power over sickness and death
Jairus asks Jesus to save his dying daughter. As Jesus travels to Jairus’ house, a sick woman touches Jesus’ robe and her faith heals her. Meanwhile, Jairus’ daughter dies. But Jesus is able to bring her back to life because Jesus has power over sickness and death!
What feelings do you think prompted the ruler to approach Jesus? How about the woman?
If you were the woman, how would you feel just before you reached out to touch Jesus? Just afterward?
How was the woman’s faith evident?
Compare the woman and the ruler. What does Jesus’ response to both show about the Kingdom?
What parts does faith play in these healings?
The ruler and the woman were both desperate. What is the relationship between desperation and faith?
What does this story encourage you to do as you face desperate situations?
Who needs healing that you can pray for? Take time to pray for them (it could even be you).
For a time of reflection we suggest that you listen to It is well Kristene DiMarco & Bethel Music. https://youtu.be/YNqo4Un2uZI
Jesus has power to calm the storms
Jesus and his disciples are out in a boat when a fierce storm comes up. Their boat is full of water, and they think they are going to drown. Jesus stops the storm with just a few words. The disciples are in awe that Jesus has power to calm storms
When you were a kid, where did you go to hide in the house when there was a bad storm?
When is a time you’ve felt like your life was stormy, at home, school, work or somewhere else.
What do you think the disciples are feeling as this storm begins? As it whips up?
What do you think Jesus was teaching them by sleeping through the storm? By rebuking it?
How might the disciples feel as they continued across the lake?
When circumstantial clouds darken your life, do you sense the Son still shining? Or does he seem asleep? Why might it feel that way?
What do you learn from Jesus from this story? How does that relate to the times you face evil?
What “storms” seem too much for you to handle right now?
Jesus Describes His True Family
How would you have reacted if you were in the room when Jesus asked “who is my mother, brother and sisters?”.
Why do you believe that Jesus’ family wanted to talk to Him?
What does it mean to for you to be in a family?
What did Jesus say is the basis for a family relationship with him?
When have you had to go against social protocol to help people know they are invited into God’s family?
What does it mean for you to know that you are brothers and sister with Jesus who is also King and Saviour?