Jesus raises Lazarus from the Dead
What do you remember about the location of Bethany in relation to Jerusalem? Why do you then think the disciples were concerned about going to visit Mary, Martha & Lazarus? What do you make of Thomas’s remarks in v16?
What do you believe about life after death? How does this passage help and/or inform your view? Do you think Jesus means resurrection physically or just spiritually? What do you think happened eventually to Lazarus? And then what?
Do you relate best to Mary or Martha in this passage? How do their actions compare to the other well-known story of Jesus interacting with the sisters in their home? (Luke 10:38-42)
Take a sneak peek into vv45-47. What are the positive and negative results of this miracle? How do your people of peace react to the concept of life after death? What might you say to help them?
The lost Son
Why do you think Jesus tells a third parable about something that was lost? What differences and similarities can you notice?
Who do you think the father is in this parable? Why? Who do you think the older brother is? Why? Who do you think the younger brother is? Why?
Why do you think the younger brother wants to go his own way? What is so significant about asking for his share of the father’s estate? How much would that leave? How would it make the father feel? How would that make the older brother feel?
What do you see as significant in the younger brother ending up feeding pigs? What does this represent in terms of his heritage?
How would you describe the father’s attitude toward his lost son? What does this tell us about God’s attitude toward sinners?
How would you describe the father’s attitude toward his eldest son? What does this tell us about God’s attitude towards people already in the Kingdom?
Given all three parables above, what can we say about: God; Jesus; People in the Kingdom; People outside the Kingdom? As people who follow (try to imitate) Jesus, what do you think God is saying to us? What are we going to do about it?
The lost Sheep and the lost Coin
Why do you think the “tax-collectors and sinners” were gathering around to hear from Jesus? What stories from the gospels support your theory? Does Jesus think sin is a problem or not? Why or why not?
Why is Jesus’ welcome for sinners a problem for “the Pharisees and teachers of the law”? What passages from the bible support the Pharisees view?
What do these two parables tell us about sin? What do these two parables tell us about sinners? What does “finding” (what was lost) represent in relation to sin?
What do these two parables tell us about God’s stance towards sinners? What action has God taken towards all sinners?
If you were to place yourself in one of these two parables, where would it be? What should you do now? What should our church do to “find” the lost?
Jesus claims to be God’s son
Which parts of the bible to you find hardest to believe? Why? What would it take for you to be really convinced about them?
What do you find hardest to believe about this passage? Why?
Why do you think Jesus’ opponents were having such trouble believing in him? Is that something that worries you? Why or why not?
What is Jesus’ defence against the blasphemy charges? Does that defence convince you? Compare with Jesus’ response to John the Baptist’s query. What are the similarities?
What would you say to people who say that Jesus never claimed to be God?
What would you say to someone who denies that Jesus was God? How might you convince them? How can we know that what we read in the bible is accurate? Do you think that’s enough to convince some people? How does this passage illustrate that problem?
What do you think the next step is for people who don’t believe Jesus is God? In what ways can we help that process?
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?