Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, May 31, 2020 | Pentecost | Year A]
GOSPEL: John 7:37-39
- The priests would pour out water from a pitcher on the seven days of the festival, reminiscent of the water coming from the rock (an appeal for rain) and the prophesy of living water flowing from the temple in the last days. Where did Jesus say the rivers of living water would flow from? What (or who) was he referring to when talking about living water?
- Why was the Spirit not yet given? Who is the Source of the Spirit?
- What kind of thirst was Jesus speaking about? What are some examples of how we try to quench our thirst in ways other than with the Spirit?
NEW TESTAMENT: 1 Corinthians 12:3b–13
- What (or who) is necessary for us to recognize and give heed to Jesus as Lord? What is given to us by the Spirit?
- When Paul speaks of the “same Spirit”, he also speaks of “the same _____” and “the same _______”. Who is he talking about, different persons? What is the difference between gifts, ministries, and effects? What is the point Paul is trying to make here?
- Paul calls these gifts, ministries, and effects manifestations of the Spirit. What is the purpose of the Spirit giving these things? How is it possible for these things to not fulfill this purpose? Give an example.
- Who decides which gifts will be distributed to each person? How does this demonstrate the Gift Giver of these gifts has personhood?
- What is the point Paul is making when he talks about many members and one body? Who is the body we are members of? By whom were we baptized into this body? What (or who) are we made to drink of and why is this important?
Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, May 24, 2020 | Ascension Sunday | Year A]
GOSPEL: Luke 24:44–53
- What was Jesus referring to when he spoke of the Law of Moses, the Prophets and Psalms? What was written in this about Jesus? How did Jesus help them to understand what was written? What does this teach us about our study of the Bible and learning more about Jesus Christ?
- What would be proclaimed to all the nations? In whose name would it be proclaimed?
- What were the disciples to be? What are some examples of what this looks like, both then and today?
- What (or who) was Jesus going to send them? What were they to do until he did? Why was it important for them to wait on him to do this? What does this teach us about how we go about sharing the gospel?
- What was the last thing Jesus did before he was parted from them? Who was it meant for? How does this correspond to what the church today does in their worship liturgy?
- What did the disciples do after Jesus left? In what ways do we today as the Body of Christ follow their pattern of fellowship?
GOSPEL: Acts 1:1–11
- What was Luke’s purpose in writing the book of Acts? What was Jesus doing during the time following the resurrection and before his ascension? Why was this important? What does this teach us about our life together as the Body of Christ? What does this teach us about what our life might be like when we are resurrected?
- Where were the disciples to wait for the Father’s gift? What (or who) were they waiting for and why was it important that they wait? How does Jesus use the picture of baptism to help them understand what is going to happen?
- What did the disciples believe Jesus was going to do next? What did Jesus say was going to happen instead? What was the vision he cast for them? How does this apply to what we are to be doing today as God’s people?
- What happened with Jesus after he spoke these words? What did the angels tell the onlookers when Jesus ascended? Where were the disciples to be placing their focus?
Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, May 17, 2020 | 6th Sunday in Easter | Year A]
GOSPEL: John 14:15–21
- How do we live our lives when God’s love is filling our hearts?
- Who did Jesus say he would ask his Father to give us? How is this person different or the same as Jesus? How long would he be with us?
- In what way is the world blind to his presence? How do we come to know him?
- What is the significance of Jesus not leaving us as orphans? How can Jesus be with us when we are unable to see him any longer? How and why do we have real life?
- How do we come to know that Jesus is in the Father, we are in him, and he is in us? What does Jesus mean by this?
- Where does our love for God come from? How is it expressed? What happens when we live in the truth of our belovedness?
Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, May 10, 2020 | 5th Sunday in Easter | Year A]
GOSPEL: Gospel John 14:1–14
- Who are we to believe in? What does this belief do for us?
- What did Jesus mean when he said that there were many dwelling places in his Father’s house? What and where is the place Jesus is preparing for us?
- How do we know the way to our Father’s house? Who did Jesus say his Father was? How does every person have access to the Father? How do we come to know the Father?
- What did Jesus mean by saying, “I am in the Father, and the Father is in me”? How did Jesus do his works of healing, preaching, and casting out demons?
- What was the evidence of the presence of the Father in Jesus? What did Jesus say that believers would do because he was going to the Father? How do believers do these things?
- When Jesus said, “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it,” what did he mean? Does this mean we can ask God for anything and he is committed to doing it?
NEW TESTAMENT: 1 Peter 2:2–10
- How do we grow in respect to salvation? What does it mean to be living stones? What did Paul mean by “a spiritual house for a holy priesthood?” What are these living stones to do?
- Who is the precious corner stone we are to believe in? What happens to those who disbelieve?
- How does God describe believers—who does he say we are? What are we to do because God “has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light”?
Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, May 3, 2020 | 4th Sunday in Easter | Year A]
GOSPEL: John 10:1–10
- Who is the person who enters the sheepfold by a way other than the door? Why does it matter how they get into the sheepfold? Whom is Jesus probably talking about? What was the problem Jesus was addressing?
- Who is the person who enters by the door? What does he do when he enters the sheepfold? Why is this? What happens when he leaves the sheepfold? Who was the shepherd in this parable? Who were the sheep?
- How did the sheep respond to a stranger’s voice in comparison with the shepherd’s voice? Why was this? How did this apply to the point Jesus was trying to make?
- How are we to see Jesus? What should our response to him be? Who should we avoid? Why did Jesus come? How does this apply to our lives now as well as in the life to come?
NEW TESTAMENT: 1 Peter 2:19–25
- When we sin and are harshly treated, how are we to respond? How are we to handle unjust suffering?
- What is the purpose of our calling? What is the example given to us by Jesus Christ? How was Jesus able to do what he did while on earth? What does this teach us about how to endure unjust suffering?
- Read Isaiah 53:6. How does this passage expound on that passage?
- In what ways have you experience unjust suffering? How difficult or easy was it to handle unjust suffering the way Jesus did?
- What does Psalm 23:4 teach us about the paradoxes (suffering in the midst of blessing, sorrow in the midst of joy, and so on) we face in life?
Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, April 26, 2020 | 3rd Sunday in Easter | Year A]
GOSPEL: Luke 24:13–35
- What were the two people walking on the road to Emmaus talking about? If you were one of those two people, what do you think would have been uppermost on your mind and in your conversation?
- Why did they not recognize Jesus when he joined them? Why might Jesus have done this? Does it seem like Jesus enjoyed this conversation?
- What did they believe Jesus was going to do that didn’t happen? How long ago had the crucifixion happened? What was Jesus’ emphatic declaration in response to their disappointment—what were they slow in doing? Why was this so important?
- During the rest of the journey, what did Jesus do? How does this speak to the way Jesus joins us on our journey of life?
- When they reached their destination, Jesus acted as if he would keep going—what did they do? How did they finally recognize Jesus? Why might this have happened? In what ways does your everyday fellowship with Jesus make it easier for you to recognize his presence?
- When Jesus left them, what did the two men do? Why was this? How does what they did when they got to Jerusalem teach us about what we need to be doing as Christians?
Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, April 19, 2020 | 2nd Sunday in Easter | Year A]
GOSPEL: John 20:19–31
- Why were the disciples hiding behind locked doors? How was Jesus able to enter the room without unlocking the door? What greeting did he give them? How was this greeting a fulfillment of his word to them?
- What did Jesus show his disciples? Why was this important to the disciples? Why would this be important to the readers of the apostle John’s gospel? (Hint: What did the Docetists and Gnostics teach about Jesus?)
- When Jesus breathed on them, who did he encourage them to receive? Why was this important? Who in Christ has forgiven all our sins? How does this affect our capacity to forgive others?
- Who wasn’t present the first time Jesus came to them in the upper room? What did he say he needed in order to believe?
- After greeting the disciples the second Sunday Jesus came to them, what did he do? What was Thomas’ response? Who did Jesus say would be especially blessed in believing? What does this tell us about having faith in Jesus?
- Did John record every miracle and sign he saw Jesus do? What was the purpose of writing this gospel? In what way has the gospel of John helped you to believe and keep on believing who Jesus Christ is as Lord and Savior?
Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, April 12, 2020 | Resurrection of the Lord, Easter | Year A]
GOSPEL: Matthew 28:1–10
- How was the stone moved away from the front of the tomb? What effect did this have on the soldiers? Why was it moved?
- How did the women feel about the experience they were having? What did the angel tell the women about Jesus? What were they to do?
- What mixed emotions did the women have as they left the tomb to go report to the disciples what had happened? Who did they meet on the way? What did he tell them to do?
- What does this event tell us about Jesus Christ and our fear of God and death? When we see that Jesus is our resurrected Lord and Savior, what does he want us to do?
- In what ways does God’s perfect love cast out our fear? What can separate us from God’s love?
Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, April 5, 2020 | Palm or Passion Sunday, 6th Sunday in Lent | Year A]
GOSPEL: Matthew 21:1–11
- What was the purpose of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt? What made Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem different than the usual method conquering rulers used? Why was this important for Jesus to do?
- What was the purpose in people placing their garments on the road in front of Jesus? Why did the disciples put theirs on the animal and not on the ground?
- What did the crowd shout as he entered Jerusalem? “Hosanna” means “O, save”—why was the crowd shouting this at Jesus?
- What is the most important question we can ask about Jesus? (Hint: the people in the city were asking this.) What didn’t they understand about Jesus? How does the answer to this question affect the way we approach our relationship with God and with other people? How does it affect the way we handle difficulties in our lives?
Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, March 29, 2020 | 5th Sunday in Lent | Year A]
GOSPEL: John 11:18–45
- What did Jesus do when he heard his friend Lazarus was sick? Did this surprise the disciples? What did the disciples believe would happen to Jesus (and to them) if he went to Bethany? What did Jesus say had happened to Lazarus? Why was Jesus glad this had happened?
- What did Martha say to Jesus when she saw him? Did Martha still believe Jesus could solve the problem? How long had Lazarus been gone?
- What did Jesus tell Martha would happen to her brother? What did Jesus tell her about who he (Jesus) was? What response was asked of her? How did she actually respond?
- What did Mary do when she saw Jesus and what did she say to him? What was Jesus’ response to her grief and the sorrow of those around him? How was this response by Jesus interpreted by the people who were there? What did they believe Jesus could have done? How does this show God’s response to the things in life which happen to us?
- What did Jesus tell the crowd to do next? Why didn’t they want to do it? What did Jesus say would happen if they did do as he asked?
- How did Jesus pray? What was his prayer like? What did it demonstrate about his relationship with his Father? Why was Jesus doing what he was doing?
- What did Jesus tell Lazarus to do? What happened then? What did Jesus tell the people to do? What does this teach us about how Jesus likes to do things, and what he has called us as his people to do?
- What was the ultimate result of what Jesus did? What does this teach us about God and the way he works in this world? What does this parable teach us about death and God’s plan for humanity? How do we participate with God in what he is doing in this world?
Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, March 22, 2020 | 4th Sunday in Lent | Year A]
GOSPEL: John 9:1–41
- How long had the man by the side of the road been blind? What did the disciples assume about why he was blind? What was Jesus’ response and what did he mean by it? Who did Jesus say he was and what did he say he was doing?
- How did Jesus heal the blind man? Why did he have the blind man do what he did in order to be healed?
- What was the crowds’ response to the healing? Did the blind man know who healed him? What day of the week did this healing take place? Why was that important?
- Who did the crowd take the man to see? Did they believe that he had been healed? Why or why not? Who did these men say Jesus was?
- Why did they call the man’s parents forward to testify about the man’s healing? What did they say? Why?
- What was the one thing this man knew and was sure of? What happened when the man told them the truth about his healing and that Jesus was a man of God?
- What did Jesus ask this man when he found him later on? What was his response? What did Jesus say the fundamental problem with the Pharisees was? Who in this story were the ones who were truly blind?
- In what ways are we often guilty of spiritual blindness? What is the ultimate solution to spiritual blindness? How do we participate in our healing from spiritual blindness?