Sunday Sermon Study Questions

Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, October 9, 2022 | Proper 23 | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 17:11–19

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who met Jesus as he entered a village on his way to Jerusalem? Why did these people stand at a distance from Jesus? What did they ask Jesus to do?
  2. Instead of simply doing what they wanted done, what did Jesus tell them to do? Why might he have asked them to do this?
  3. What happened as the people went away and did as Jesus asked? Who returned and thanked Jesus for the miracle he had performed? What was remarkable about this? What did Jesus tell this person about faith?

NEW TESTAMENT: 2 Timothy 2:8–15

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who does the apostle Paul want his readers to remember (v. 8)? Why is this the reason Paul was imprisoned and suffering hardship? What is not imprisoned as Paul was imprisoned?
  2. Why was Paul willing to endure all that he suffered? What does this teach us about our focus as followers of Christ?
  3. Who remains faithful even when we are not faithful? Why? What does this teach us about the trustworthiness of God and our ability to have faith in him?
  4. What is Paul’s admonition regarding wrangling about words? What are we to do with the word of truth instead? Recall some conversations when you participated in either type of conversation: How did they end up?

[Printable order of worship: https://newhope4me.files.wordpress.com/2022/09/olitow2022oct9-year-c-proper-23.pdf ]

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, October 2, 2022 | Proper 22 | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 17:5–10

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What did the apostles ask the Lord to do? Why? (Hint: See the context of the passage by reading what happened shortly before they asked this question.) How would having this help them with their problem?
  2. How much faith is necessary in order to move a tree simply by telling it to move? Where does someone obtain this kind of faith?
  3. In his illustration, Jesus used an example of a slave and his master, a common cultural reality in his day. At that time, would a master have invited a slave to eat and drink first while the master waited on him? Would a master have thanked the slave for doing his or her duty? What was the point Jesus was trying to make?
  4. This passage talks about slavery as though it was a normal practice, and Jesus used these pictures of everyday life as teaching tools. What was Jesus’ real heart towards slaves and slavery? How do we determine this? Why might Jesus have not addressed this particular issue in that day and time?

NEW TESTAMENT: 2 Timothy 1:1–14

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What was Paul’s relationship through Jesus with Timothy? What did Paul do constantly on Timothy’s behalf?
  2. In whom did the sincere faith that lived in Timothy have its roots? What does this teach us about the importance of sharing our faith with others?
  3. What does it mean to “kindle afresh”? What (or Who) is the gift of God which was in Timothy? This gift was not one of timidity, but of what?
  4. Paul said we are not to be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord but are to be willing to do what for Christ’s sake? We weren’t given a holy calling according to our works, but according to what?
  5. What had Paul entrusted to God? How do we guard the treasure of salvation by grace through faith? What does the indwelling of God by the Spirit have to do with our ability to have faith?

[Printable order of service: https://newhope4me.files.wordpress.com/2022/09/ow2022oct2-year-c-proper-22.pdf ]

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, September 25, 2022 | Proper 21 | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 16:19–31

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What is the difference between scripture that is a story or parable, and scripture intended for doctrinal teaching? Why is it important to discern the difference and not confuse the two?
  2. Who are the two main characters in this story or parable? How are they different from one another?
  3. In what way do these two characters reflect the difference between the poor, sick, and needy people who listened to and followed Jesus, and the hostile Jewish leaders of his day?
  4. “Abraham’s bosom” was the Jewish concept of paradise at that time, as was Hades or Sheol being the realm of the dead. Who in this story ended up in “Abraham’s bosom” when he died? Who ended up in a place of torment?
  5. What did the rich man ask Abraham to tell Lazarus to do? What did this reveal about the rich man’s attitude or prejudice towards Lazarus?
  6. To whom did the rich man want Lazarus sent in order to warn them? What did Abraham say they already had which contained a warning within it to repent?
  7. What was the ultimate sign the rich man said would work in warning his family? What was Abraham’s response?
  8. Who did Jesus raise from the dead that was a warning to the Jewish leaders of his day to repent? Instead of repenting, what did these people ultimately do to Jesus?

[Printable order of worship: https://newhope4me.files.wordpress.com/2022/09/ow2022sep25-year-c-proper-21.pdf ]

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, September 18, 2022 | Proper 20 | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 16:1–13

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What was the manager in this story guilty of and what did he have to give the landowner? What did his master the landowner say he was going to do to him?
  2. What did the manager do with the man who owed 100 measures of oil? What did he do with the man who owed 100 measures of wheat? Why did he do this?
  3. What was his master’s response? Why might this be an unexpected response to what the manager did?
  4. What might Jesus have meant by his statement that “the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light”?
  5. What are some ways in which we can make friends for ourselves “by means of the wealth of unrighteousness”? Why is it important to do this?
  6. Why is it important to be faithful, and righteous, “in a very little thing”? What are some examples of how we may do this in how we use what God has given us?
  7. What might Jesus have meant by “the true riches”? How has God entrusted each of us with “the true riches”, with what belongs to him?
  8. Why is it that we are unable to serve both God and wealth? What are some tangible examples of how to serve God rather than “mammon”?

[Printable order of service: https://newhope4me.files.wordpress.com/2022/09/ow2022sep18-year-c-proper-20.pdf ]

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, September 11, 2022 | Proper 19 | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 15:1–10

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What were the Pharisees and scribes grumbling about? How does this resemble the ancient Israelites grumbling against Moses (and God)?
  2. What happened to the one sheep that caused the shepherd to leave the other ninety-nine sheep? What did this one sheep have that he or she could not lose, that the shepherd was bringing him or her back to?
  3. What was the attitude of the shepherd when he found the sheep? Who was the shepherd in this story? How does this reflect God’s attitude toward those who have strayed?
  4. How does the attitude of the shepherd differ from the attitude of the Pharisees and scribes about with whom Jesus was fellowshipping? What was the point Jesus was making?
  5. What did the woman lose and began to frantically search for in her home? Why was it important for her to find it? Why would she light a lamp during the day?
  6. What was her attitude about finding the coin? How does this compare with the attitude of the Pharisees and scribes? How does this compare with God’s attitude towards those who have strayed?
  7. Who is the woman a picture of in this parable? Why might Jesus have used a woman rather than a man for this story?

[Printable order of service: https://newhope4me.files.wordpress.com/2022/08/ow2022sep11-year-c-proper-19.pdf ]

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, September 4, 2022 | Proper 18 | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 14:25–33

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. In this passage, who was following Jesus? What did Jesus do before he began to speak to them? Why would Luke emphasize this action of Jesus’ at this point in the story?
  2. Who does Jesus say can come to him? What does Jesus mean by saying “comes to me”? What needs to happen when a person commits themselves to being Jesus’ disciple? (Note: Eastern hyperbole “hate” means to love much less by comparison.)
  3. What cross is each follower of Jesus to carry? How does this differ from Christ’s cross? What does it mean to “come after” Jesus and how does this apply to our life of discipleship as believers—i.e., who went first and what did he do?
  4. What did Jesus say a person ought to do first who was planning to build a tower? Why is this? In what way does planning ahead in this way apply to our decision to follow Christ?
  5. What did Jesus say a king would do before going into battle against a superior foe? In what way is life in Christ a battle against such an enemy?
  6. How is following Jesus like encountering in him a lord and king who is vastly superior to any other? In what way does our decision to follow Christ involve surrendering to another king’s terms of peace?
  7. When Jesus says following him involves giving away all our own possessions, does he mean literally to do this or is he using hyperbole again to express something completely different which involves surrender and heartfelt obedience? In what way is giving away all our own possessions like surrendering to Christ all our own efforts to save ourselves?

[Printable order of service: https://newhope4me.files.wordpress.com/2022/08/olitow2022sep4-year-c-proper-18.pdf ]

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, August 28, 2022 | Proper 17 | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 14:1, 7–14

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Whose home was Jesus a guest in?
  2. What were the guests of the event busily trying to do as they entered the home? What did Jesus say the guests they should do instead? What was his point?
  3. What did he tell the host about who he should be inviting to his events? What tends to be our normal way of deciding whom to invite? What did Jesus say should be the proper motive for showing hospitality to others?

NEW TESTAMENT: Hebrews 13:1–8, 15–16

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. To whom should we show hospitality? How do we treat those who are prisoners or who are ill-treated? In what way does this reflect Jesus?
  2. In what way are we to regard marriage and the marriage covenant? How does this reflect the nature of God?
  3. What is God’s promise to us when it comes to being content with what we have? Who is our helper and how does knowing this enable us to be free from fear?
  4. What sacrifices are listed here that God is pleased with? Who is ultimately the source of these sacrifices?

[Printable order of service: https://newhope4me.files.wordpress.com/2022/08/olitow2022aug28-year-c-proper-17.pdf ]

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, August 21, 2022 | Proper 16 | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 13:10–17

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What was Jesus doing in the synagogue on the Sabbath? What was wrong with the woman who had been sick for eighteen years?
  2. What did Jesus say to her? Then what did Jesus do?
  3. What was the lady’s response to what Jesus did? What was the synagogue official’s response to what Jesus did? Which response best reflected God’s desire in this situation?
  4. In what way was this woman’s healing like an exorcism? What was more important to Jesus—the religious regulations or the woman’s freedom from disease and suffering?

NEW TESTAMENT: Hebrews 12:18–29

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. For what reason had God gathered the people of Israel together at Mount Sinai? What was the nation of Israel’s and Moses’ response to the presence of God on Mount Sinai? What was the response God would have preferred?
  2. Who is the “mediator of the new covenant”? How was this covenant ratified?
  3. In what way will the “things which can be shaken” be removed and replaced by “those things which cannot be shaken”? What event is this referring to?
  4. What does the author mean by saying “our God is a consuming fire”? What is our appropriate response to God’s baptism of fire by his indwelling presence?

[Printable order of service: https://newhope4me.files.wordpress.com/2022/08/olitow2022aug21-year-c-proper-16.pdf ]

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, August 14, 2022 | Proper 15 | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 12:49–56

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What events were central to Jesus’ mission when he first came to earth as God in human flesh? In what ways do these events resemble baptism?
  2. How might participating in this baptism Jesus was referring to create division within households or family relationships? How have you experienced this in your own walk with Jesus?
  3. What was it about that present time that the spiritual leaders of Jesus day should have recognized and didn’t? What are some ways in which Jesus’ presence is in and with us today and we don’t see or recognize him?

NEW TESTAMENT: Hebrews 11:29–12:2

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. How did the godly people of old participate with God in the great events of biblical history? What is the “better resurrection” mentioned in v. 35, and how does it differ from the resurrections that occurred in the days before Christ?
  2. Does gaining God’s approval by faith guarantee we will receive what we were promised by God? Why or why not? What are some biblical examples of this? What are some examples of this in your own life?
  3. What do we look forward to receiving that is better than receiving the fulfillment of God’s promises in this life? Who are we to fix our eyes upon and why? How does being reminded of what happened to him enable us to endure suffering and shame ourselves?

[Printable order of worship: https://newhope4me.files.wordpress.com/2022/08/olitow2022aug14-year-c-proper-15.pdf ]

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, August 7, 2022 | Proper 14 | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 12:32–40

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What did Jesus say the Father’s attitude was about giving us his kingdom? How does understanding this help us to not be fearful?
  2. What did Jesus encourage his disciples to do with their possessions? On what are we to base our security (or our treasure) on and value most?
  3. In what two ways has Jesus already come to earth? In what way do we expect him yet to come? Why is it so important for Jesus’ followers to always stay alert? How does this apply to our life in the Spirit now?

NEW TESTAMENT: Hebrews 11:1–3, 8–16

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. How does the author of Hebrews define faith? How did the people of old, like Abraham, gain God’s favor or find themselves counted as righteous?
  2. How many of those who died in faith receive the promises of God? What was their approach toward those promises and toward life?
  3. What has God prepared for all these people and for those of us who believe? What are we to keep our focus on?

[Printable order of worship: https://newhope4me.files.wordpress.com/2022/07/olitow2022aug7-year-c-proper-14.pdf ]

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sun., July 31, 2022 | Proper 13 | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 12:13–21
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What was Jesus’ response to the man who wanted him to arbitrate a family inheritance dispute? What did Jesus say the core issue was?
  2. In his parable about the rich farmer, what did the farmer say he was going to do because of his abundant harvest? What did Jesus say would be demanded of the farmer that night?
  3. Where are our ultimate riches to be located?

NEW TESTAMENT: Colossians 3:1–11

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. To where does the apostle Paul say we are raised with Christ? What are we to set our minds on rather than on the things that are on earth?
  2. Where is our true life to be found now that we died with Christ? What does Paul mean by “Christ, who is our life”? When will the full revelation of our true life occur?
  3. What are we to consider ourselves dead to? Why would Paul equate greed with idolatry? What are we to put aside?
  4. How do we “put on the new self” Paul is describing? Whose image are we renewed by Christ to reflect? Where is our true identity or “self” to be found?
  5. What distinctions are removed in Christ? Who is the centre of our existence and our true life?

[Printable order of service: https://newhope4me.files.wordpress.com/2022/07/olitow2022july-31-year-c-proper-13.pdf ]

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sun., July 24, 2022 | Proper 12 | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 11:1–13

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What did the disciples ask Jesus to teach them? What had Jesus been doing that inspired this question? Why would this spiritual discipline have been important for Jesus to practice?
  2. How did Jesus address God in his prayers? Why would he want his followers to do the same? In what way does Jesus’ relationship with God affect our relationship with God?
  3. In what way is the presence of the kingdom of God past, present, and future? What is the significance or importance of asking that God’s kingdom be realized here on earth as it is in heaven?
  4. What might Jesus have meant by “daily bread”? In what ways are we daily dependent upon the living Bread, Jesus Christ?
  5. How is our ability to forgive others dependent upon our receiving God’s forgiveness through Christ’s self-offering? Why is our experiencing God’s forgiveness for ourselves so integral to forgiving others?
  6. If God does not tempt anyone (James 1:13), then why would Jesus have us ask that we not be led into temptation?
  7. In the ancient culture of this story, hospitality was sacred and disturbing the whole family at night was something to be carefully avoided. What was the point Jesus was trying to make in his story about the man waking up his neighbor in the middle of the night?
  8. In what ways did Jesus describe the increasing intensity of our requests? And what is God’s response be to our persistent and passionate appeals? What do we know about God that enables us to be assured he will respond in gracious love to our requests?

[Printable copy: https://newhope4me.files.wordpress.com/2022/07/ow2022july-24-year-c-proper-12.pdf ]

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sun., July 17, 2022 | Proper 11 | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 10:38–42

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What was Martha attempting to do for Jesus? Why was she doing this?
  2. What was Mary doing instead of helping Martha? How did this affect Martha and what did she ask Jesus to do?
  3. There are two ways this passage can be understood: 1) that Martha was trying to do too much, more than was necessary or desired by Jesus, and 2) that Martha was preoccupied with household duties to the exclusion of being discipled by Jesus. What “one thing” did Jesus feel was most necessary in this situation?

NEW TESTAMENT: Colossians 1:15–28

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. From this passage, what do we learn about who Jesus is?
  2. What was the Father’s good pleasure? What has been reconciled with God?
  3. What is the “mystery” the apostle Paul talks about that had been hidden but what was now revealed?What is the goal of pastoral care and teaching? Why is this important?

[Printable copy: https://newhope4me.files.wordpress.com/2022/07/ow2022july-17-year-c-proper-11.pdf ]

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sun., July 10, 2022 | Proper 10 | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 10:25–37

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What question did the lawyer ask Jesus? When Jesus replied asking what he read in the law, what did the lawyer say?
  2. When Jesus told him he had replied correctly, how did the lawyer seek to justify himself? What is the problem with trying to justify ourselves?
  3. In the story Jesus told, what happened to the man who was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho? How does this picture what the Jewish leaders eventually did to Jesus?
  4. When a priest saw him, and later when a Levite saw him, how did they respond? Why might they have responded in the way they did? What did this say about how the teachers of the law and priests were responding to Jesus?
  5. Who actually stopped to care for the wounded traveler? What did he do with the man? In what way is this person like the people who welcomed and followed Christ? Why is this important?
  6. Who did the lawyer say was the neighbor to the wounded traveler? What might have been the reason the lawyer could not bring himself to say the ethnicity of the one who cared for the wounded traveler?
  7. Jesus said in the end, “Go and do the same.” What are some ways we can practice being a neighbor to others? Why is it important to make sure people know they are included in God’s love and care?

[Printable copy: https://newhope4me.files.wordpress.com/2022/06/ow2022july-10-year-c-proper-10.pdf ]

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sun., July 3, 2022 | Proper 9 | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 10:1–11, 16–20

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. How many people did Jesus appoint? Why might he have sent them in pairs?
  2. In what way is working in partnership with others beneficial when sharing the good news and doing ministry?
  3. What did Jesus say we should pray and ask the Father for? Why? Why is doing this an important part of our responsibilities as followers of Christ?
  4. What did Jesus mean when he told his disciples he was sending them “out as lambs in the midst of wolves”? How is this true today about followers of Christ?
  5. Who is “the man of peace” Jesus is referring to? Why is he important, and what role does he play in sharing the gospel with others?
  6. Jesus told his followers not to constantly change where they were staying—what was the point he was trying to make?
  7. Why would Jesus have the disciples wipe off their shoes as they left a town that rejected them? What was the important message that was being given that such a town would have rejected?
  8. When someone rejects the good news a follower of Christ is sharing, who are they really rejecting? What does this teach us about our participation in Christ’s ministry of reconciliation?
  9. What was more important to Jesus than that the disciples had been able to cast out demons? Who has been given all authority in heaven and on earth? Who participates with Jesus in his rulership over the cosmos?

[Printable copy: https://newhope4me.files.wordpress.com/2022/06/ow2022jul3-year-c-proper-9.pdf ]

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sun., June 26, 2022 | Proper 8 | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 9:51–62

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Where were Jesus and the disciples headed when this event happened?
  2. Who refused to receive Jesus and his disciples? Why might they have done this?
  3. What did James and John ask to do because they were rejected? What was Jesus’ response? Why did the Son of man come?
  4. How did Jesus respond to the person who told him they would follow him wherever he went? Why might Jesus have said this?
  5. When Jesus told another person to follow him, what did he ask to do first? What did Jesus tell him he needed to do instead? What does this say about Jesus’ priorities?
  6. What did Jesus tell the person who wanted to first say goodbye to those at home? What did Jesus mean by this?
  7. What does it mean to follow Christ? What is the cost to following Christ? How are we able to pay this price?

[Printable copy: https://newhope4me.files.wordpress.com/2022/06/ow2022june-26-year-c-proper-8.pdf ]

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sun., June 19, 2022 | Proper 7 | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 8:26–39

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who was Jesus met by when he landed in the country of the Gerasenes? What was his ailment? Where had he been living?
  2. What had happened when he was chained up and kept under guard? Why?
  3. What did he say to Jesus? Why?
  4. When Jesus asked him his name, how did he reply?
  5. What did the demons ask Jesus to do? What happened when Jesus allowed them to do it?
  6. What was the response of the people to what Jesus had done? What did they ask Jesus to do?
  7. What did the man who was delivered ask Jesus? What did Jesus instruct him to do instead?
  8. In what way does this man, his deliverance, and his commissioning by Jesus picture our life as followers of Christ

[Printable copy: https://newhope4me.files.wordpress.com/2022/06/ow2022june-19-year-c-proper-7.pdf ]

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sun., June 12, 2022 | Holy Trinity | Year C]

GOSPEL: John 16:12–15

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Why might it have been hard for the disciples to hear the things Jesus had been telling them?
  2. Who is the Spirit of truth? What is the truth he guides us into?
  3. On whose initiative does the Spirit speak? Why is this?
  4. How does the Spirit glorify Jesus? What does Jesus have that the Spirit reveals to us?

NEW TESTAMENT: Romans 5:1–5

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. How are we justified before God and introduced into God’s grace?
  2. How is it possible to exult or rejoice in our tribulations and trials?
  3. How does perseverance result in proven character?

How does proven character result in hope? Who is the source of our hope and our love for God and one another?

[Printable copy: https://newhope4me.files.wordpress.com/2022/05/ow2022june-12-year-c-easter-holy-trinity.pdf ]

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sun., June 5, 2022 | Pentecost | Year C]

GOSPEL: John 14:8–17

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What was Philip wanting Jesus to do? What was Jesus’ response?
  2. What did Jesus mean when he said “I am in the Father, and the Father is in me?”
  3. When Jesus would speak, where did his words come from? When Jesus did acts of mercy and healing, who was doing the works? How?
  4. When speaking of his relationship with his heavenly Father, what did Jesus want his followers to believe?
  5. What did Jesus say would happen with someone who believes in him, because he was going to the Father? Why was his going to the Father an important part of why believers would be able to do this?
  6. When we ask in Jesus’ name, what will he do? For what reason?
  7. What was Jesus going to ask the Father to do? Why was it important that the disciples receive this gift? What did Jesus mean when he said that the world could not receive this gift?
  8. In this passage we see some clear references to the tri-unity of God—can you point them out

[Printable order of worship: https://newhope4me.files.wordpress.com/2022/05/ow2022june-5-year-c-easter-pentecost.pdf ]

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sun., May 29 2022 | Ascension Sunday in Easter | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 24:44–53

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What amazing events had occurred before this conversation between Jesus and his disciples? What did Jesus say about the Scriptures regarding these events?
  2. Of what did Jesus say the disciples were witnesses?
  3. What was Jesus going to send them? Where were they to wait for it?
  4. What does Jesus’ lifting up his hands and giving a blessing remind us of from the Old Testament? How did this comfort and encourage the disciples, filling them with joy?

GOSPEL: John 17:20–26

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. In this prayer to his Father, who was Jesus praying for? What was he desiring for his followers?
  2. What is the glory which the Father gave to Jesus, that he desired to give to his followers?
  3. What is the effect on the world when Jesus’ followers live in unity? Where do we find the source of our unity?
  4. Who knows the Father intimately and makes his name known? How is the Father’s love and the indwelling Christ placed within believers?

[Printable order of service: https://newhope4me.files.wordpress.com/2022/05/ow2022may29-year-c-easter-ascension-or-7th-sunday.pdf ]

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sun., May 22, 2022 | 6th Sunday in Easter | Year C]

GOSPEL: John 14:23–29

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who are those who truly love Jesus? What will they do? What will God do in response?
  2. In what way was God intending to come to abide in Jesus’ followers?
  3. Who gave Jesus the word(s) which he preached? Why was what he was telling them at this moment important for them to hear?
  4. Who would the Father send in Jesus’ name? What was he going to do? Why was this important and necessary for the believers?
  5. What did Jesus leave his disciples? What does he tell them not to do? Why not?
  6. How would Jesus come to his disciples after his death and resurrection? What did Jesus mean when he told them they did not truly love him or they would have rejoiced that he was leaving them?
  7. What did Jesus mean when he said the Father was greater than him? How do we understand this statement in the light of his other statement that he and the Father were one, of the same essence and equal to one another?
  8. Why did Jesus tell them all these things before they happened? How does this fit in with John’s purpose in writing this gospel account of Jesus’ life and ministry?

[Printable order of worship: https://newhope4me.files.wordpress.com/2022/05/ow2022may22-year-c-easter-6th-sunday.pdf ]

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sun., May 15, 2022 | 5th Sunday in Easter | Year C]

GOSPEL: John 13:31–35

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who is the Son of Man? How would he be glorified?
  2. Where was Jesus going? Why weren’t the disciples able to go with him?
  3. What is the new commandment Jesus gave to his disciples? How was it different than what was given before?
  4. How will people know that we are followers of Christ? What are some tangible ways of doing this?

FIRST READING: Acts 11:1–18

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Why did the members in Jerusalem criticize Peter?
  2. What was the vision that Peter was given by God? What was the significance of the number three in the vision?
  3. Where did Peter go and why? What happened when he began preaching?
  4. Who decided that the Gentiles were included in the body of Christ? What does this teach us about how God calls people into relationship with himself?
  5. How are we to respond when God works differently by his Spirit in someone’s life than we expect him to?

[Printable order of service: https://newhope4me.files.wordpress.com/2022/05/ow2022may15-year-c-easter-5th-sunday.pdf ]

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sun., May 8, 2022 | 4th Sunday in Easter | Year C]

GOSPEL: John 21:1–19
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Was Feast of Dedication, today known as Hannukah, one of the required pilgrimage festivals the Jews were to travel to Jerusalem to observe? Did Jesus object to this festival observance? What did Jesus do during the Feast of Dedication?
  2. What can Jesus’ participation in this festival help us to understand about how the Holy Spirit leads and inspires our worship of God?
  3. Why did the Jews want Jesus to tell them plainly if he was the Christ (the Messiah)? Did Jesus answer them directly? Why or why not?
  4. What works did Jesus do in his Father’s name? Why and how did these works testify to who Jesus was?
  5. Why didn’t these Jewish leaders believe? Who truly heard Jesus and followed him? What would Jesus give to those who hear and follow him?
  6. What or who can snatch Jesus’ followers from his hand? Who can snatch them out of the Father’s hand?
  7. What or who ensures our union and communion with God? How?

[Printable order of service: https://newhope4me.files.wordpress.com/2022/04/ow2022may8-year-c-easter-4th-sunday.pdf%5D

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sun., May 1, 2022 | 3rd Sunday in Easter | Year C]

GOSPEL: John 21:1–19    

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What was so important about Jesus manifesting himself after the resurrection that John wrote down these experiences of Jesus appearing?
  2. In this story, what did Peter tell the other disciples he was going to do? Why might he have decided to do this? What did the other disciples decide to do? How well did they succeed at their efforts?
  3. When the sun rose, what did the person they saw on the beach tell them to do? What happened when they did this? How did this enable them to realize who this person was?
  4. When John told Peter who this person was, what did Peter do? In contrast, what did “the disciple whom Jesus loved” do? When the disciples got to shore, how many fish did they appear to have caught?
  5. What was Jesus doing when the disciples came to shore? What did he give them and invite them to do?
  6. After breakfast, who did Jesus talk with? How many times did he ask him whether or not he loved Jesus? Why might Jesus have been doing this?
  7. How did Jesus predict that Peter would die? What command did he give Peter, that he should do no matter what type of death he faced?

[Printable order of service with questions: https://newhope4me.files.wordpress.com/2022/04/ow2022may1-year-c-easter-3rd-sunday.pdf%5D

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sun., April 24, 2022 | 2nd Sunday in Easter | Year C]

GOSPEL: John 20:19–31   

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. On the Sunday night following the resurrection, why were the disciples hiding behind locked doors?
  2. Who entered the room in spite of the locked doors? How did he greet them? What did he show them? What was the disciples’ response?
  3. Jesus was sending his disciples in the same way his Father had sent him—what were they to do?
  4. Jesus breathed on them, saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” In what way does this resemble the events of Genesis 2:7? In what way does this resemble the prophecy in Ezekiel 37:5, 9?
  5. Who is the one who forgives sin? How do we participate with him in forgiving the sins of others?
  6. Who was not with the disciples during that first visit by Jesus following the resurrection? What did this disciple say to the other disciples when they told him they had seen Jesus?
  7. What happened the next Sunday evening when they gathered? What happened when Jesus showed this disciple his hands and his side?
  8. Who did Jesus say was most blessed—those who see him and believed or those who do not see him and believed? What is the difference, and why is this important to God?
  9. Why did the apostle John write this gospel account? What was he hoping his readers would do?

[Printable Order of Service: https://newhope4me.files.wordpress.com/2022/04/ow2022apr24-year-c-easter-resurrection-sunday.pdf%5D

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sun., April 17, 2022 | Resurrection Sunday | Easter | Year C]

GOSPEL: John 20:1–18 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. When did Mary Magdalene come to the tomb? Was she alone? (Read a different witness account: Luke 24:1–12.) What did she see that surprised her?
  2. Who did she run to tell? What was their response and why?
  3. What was significant about the way the graveclothes were arranged? Why?
  4. What was “the other” disciple’s response to what he saw in the tomb? Why was this significant? What does this disciple want his readers (and us today) to do?
  5. What did Mary Magdalene see inside the tomb when the other disciples returned to their homes? What was she told?
  6. Who did Mary Magdalene see next? Why might it have been difficult for her to recognize him at first glance?
  7. What did Jesus tell Mary Magdalene he needed to do next?
  8. Why was it significant that Jesus used the expression “My Father and your Father, My God and your God”? In what way does Jesus provide us with the ability to call God our Father?
  9. What task did Jesus give Mary Magdalene? What did she do instead? Why is it important to talk about and celebrate what Jesus was intending to do?

[Printable Order of Service with Discussion Questions: https://newhope4me.files.wordpress.com/2022/04/ourlifeinthetrinity-april-17-2022-year-c-easter-resurrection-sunday.pdf%5D

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sun., April 10, 2022 | Passion Sunday [Palm Sunday] | Holy Week | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 22:39–54a 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What had occurred previous to this story in Luke 22? Why might it have been Jesus’ custom to go to the Mount of Olives?
  2. What did Jesus tell the disciples to pray about? What was the lesson they needed to learn from him regarding what he was doing in the garden that night?
  3. What did Jesus ask his Father to do? What was Jesus’ ultimate decision about doing his Father’s will?
  4. In what way did Jesus demonstrate the earnestness of his prayer? Who came to strengthen him?
  5. Who led the crowd to Jesus? What did he do when he saw Jesus? Rather than being a sincere act of affection, what was this action supposed to do?
  6. What was the disciples’ response to Judas’ action? What did Jesus tell them about their response?
  7. In the face of betrayal and evil, how did Jesus respond? Whose will did he submit himself to in this moment (see v. 53)? Why?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sun., April 3, 2022 | 5th Sunday | Lent | Year C]

GOSPEL: John 12:1–8 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What were Martha, Mary, Lazarus and the disciples probably celebrating?
  2. What did Mary do to Jesus’ feet? What did Judas Iscariot say she should have done instead? Why did he say this?
  3. What differences do you see between Mary’s and Judas Iscariot’s attitudes and behavior toward Jesus? Which one did Jesus encourage? Why?

NEW TESTAMENT: Philippians 3:4b–14

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What were some ways in which Paul felt he could put confidence in his flesh if he wanted to? What are similar ways we sometimes put our confidence in the flesh as Christians today?
  2. What did Paul value much more than all these things he could have put his confidence in?
  3. Rather than deriving his righteousness from the Law, from where did Paul seek to derive his?
  4. In what ways to we share fellowship with Christ? What does it meant to be “conformed to [Christ’s] death”?
  5. In what way did Paul believe he would attain to the resurrection from the dead? What goal was he pressing on toward and seeking to attain?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, March 27, 2022 | 4th Sunday | Lent | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 15:1–3, 11b–32

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

1. Who were coming near to Jesus to listen to him? Who began to grumble about this? Why?

2. In this parable, who were the main characters? What did the younger son want his father to do? Why was this, in one way, an insult to his father?

3. What did the younger son end up doing with what his father gave him? What was the end result of him doing things his way instead of his father’s way?

4. What did the younger son end up doing in order to survive? Why would this be appalling to Jesus’ listeners? What is the turning point of the story?

5. What did the father do when the son returned home? How does this illustrate God’s heart towards those who were considered sinners and outcast? What is the feast in celebration a picture of?

6. What did the older son say when he heard and saw what was happening? What was the father’s heart toward his older son? How does this picture God’s heart toward the scribes and Pharisees?

7. How did the father describe his younger son’s condition both before and after he had returned home? In what way does this describe our condition in relationship with God?

8. What is necessary in order for a person to be lost or to be dead?

9. In what way was Jesus in his incarnational life, death, resurrection and ascension both the prodigal and the older son?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, March 20, 2022 | 3rd Sunday | Lent | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 13:1–9 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What two tragic events were Jesus and the people in the crowd discussing? Why might the people have believed those who were killed were great sinners?
  2. What did Jesus tell the people their greatest concern needed to be, rather than why the people in those incidents had died?
  3. In the story of the fig tree, who might be the owner of the vineyard? Who might be the vineyard-keeper? In what way did the vineyard-keeper intercede for the fig tree? What was Jesus trying to help them understand?

NEW TESTAMENT: 1 Corinthians 10:1–13      

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. How was the nation of Israel “baptized into Moses”? Who did the nation eat and drink of, and in what way?
  2. What are we to learn from the stories told about the nation of Israel in the Bible?
  3. What is the greatest danger for someone who believes he is standing firm?
  4. What is the difference between temptations and trials? What does God promise to provide a way to escape for—trials or temptations? What is the way of escape God provides?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, March 13, 2022 | 2nd Sunday | Lent | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 13:31–35     

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Why might the Pharisees have been wanting Jesus to leave that area?
  2. Why might Jesus have called Herod a “fox” (it was not a complement)—what attributes might he have been drawing the people’s attention to?
  3. What did Jesus mean when told the crowd “I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I reach my goal”? What goal was he trying to reach?
  4. What was the significance of Jerusalem being the city that killed the prophets that were sent to her? What event (that occurred in 60-70 AD) was Jesus probably prophetically alluding to when he said “your house is left to you desolate”?
  5. What was Jesus’ heart towards the people of Jerusalem? What does this tell us about God’s heart?

NEW TESTAMENT: Philippians 3:17–4:1    

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. In what way does an enemy of the cross of Christ walk? What is the way in which the apostle Paul tells us to walk?
  2. Where is our true citizenship? What does the apostle Paul mean by this? How does this impact our human citizenship in our country of residence?
  3. What will Jesus do to our human body when he returns in glory? How do we stand firm in the Lord?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, March 6, 2022 | 1st Sunday | Lent | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 4:1–13  

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. In what way did Jesus return from the Jordan and was led around the wilderness? Why was this important?
  2. In the first temptation listed in Luke, what did the devil tell Jesus to do? What was he wanting Jesus to prove?
  3. Why was turning the stone(s) into bread a violation of Jesus’ relationship with his heavenly Father? Why was it a violation of his union with all humanity as God in human flesh?
  4. In the second temptation listed in Luke, what did the devil tell him he would do if Jesus were to worship before him? What was Jesus’ response?
  5. In what way did this temptation violate the reason for Jesus’ incarnation, for his coming as God in human flesh? What was the devil trying to prevent Jesus from doing?
  6. In the final temptation listed in Luke, what did the devil suggest Jesus do? How did the devil use scripture in his temptation? In what way did Jesus respond to this temptation?
  7. Why would putting the Lord to the test in the way suggested by Satan be evil and something we shouldn’t do? Can you think of any ways in which you may be tempted to put God to the test? What do we need to do instead of testing God in this way?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, February 27, 2022 | Transfiguration | Epiphany | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 9:28–36 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What did Jesus go up on the mountain to do? What happened to Jesus while he was praying?
  2. Who was talking with Jesus and what were they talking about? Why were these two men important in Israel’s history?
  3. What happened when Peter and his companions awoke from sleep? What was the significance of tabernacles in Israel’s worship liturgy?
  4. What was the cloud that formed and overshadowed them symbolic of? Why would this have made the disciples afraid?
  5. What did the voice from the cloud say? Why was this important for the disciples to hear?

NEW TESTAMENT: 2 Corinthians 3:12–4:2 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Why did Moses put a veil over his face?
  2. What was needed in order for the veil to be lifted for the people of Israel, so their minds would no longer be hardened?
  3. What is present when the Lord, who is the Spirit, is present? What does Paul mean by this?
  4. What is our human glory being transformed into by the Lord, the Spirit?
  5. In what way does it become evident that God’s truth is manifest in us and in our lives?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, February 20, 2022 | 7th Sunday in Epiphany | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 6:27–38

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What did Jesus say we were to do to our enemies, or to those who hate, curse or mistreat us (vv. 27-28)?
  2. What are we to do to someone who injures us or steals from us?
  3. Why is it important that we do good to our enemies, lend money expecting nothing back, and so on? What is Jesus’ point?
  4. In what way does the way we treat others impact how they come to know who God is?
  5. Why does Jesus say we should not judge or condemn others? What is the difference between judging or condemning someone and simply being discerning regarding their actions or attitude? Why does this matter?
  6. Why do we want to be generous in pardoning others? Why do we want to be generous in giving to others?
  7. What did Jesus’ life and ministry teach us about how to treat one another? Whose heart and way of being did Jesus reflect in his life and ministry?
  8. What are the challenges in living out these teachings of Jesus? How is it possible to live them out?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, February 13, 2022 | 6th Sunday in Epiphany | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 6:17–26

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Why had the people from Jerusalem, Judea and the coastal regions come to that place? Why was everyone trying to touch Jesus?
  2. Jesus turned to his disciples and pronounced four blessings and four woes. What Old Testament event or reading does this remind us of?
  3. Who did Jesus say would be blessed because they would inherit the kingdom of God? In what way did the kingdom of God Jesus was describing differ from the kingdom of God commonly expected at that time?
  4. In what way would those who hunger be blessed? In what way would those who weep be blessed? How does living in relationship with God through Christ change the way we handle the difficulties of life?
  5. How are we blessed with a great reward in heaven for Christ’s sake? What are some examples from Scripture where the disciples of Christ experienced this? In what way does our experience as Christians mirror Christ’s experience?
  6. What is the reward of those who are rich in this life? In what way are those who are well-fed in this life rewarded in the life to come? How will those who scornfully laugh in this life be rewarded in the life to come? How is it possible rich, well-fed and full of laughter, but spiritually poverty-stricken, hungry and sorrowful?
  7. How were the prophets of old treated by the people of Israel and Judea? Why do we need to carefully assess what we are teaching when people start praising us? In what way did Jesus experience this in his life and ministry?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, February 6, 2022 | 5th Sunday in Epiphany | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 5:1–11

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What was Jesus doing by the lake of Gennesaret? Why did he get into a boat?
  2. What did Jesus say to Simon when he was done? What had Simon spent all night doing? What things are going on in your life that make you feel the way Simon did about his efforts the night before?
  3. What did Jesus tell Simon to do? What did Simon believe would happen if he obeyed Jesus? What did happen when he obeyed?
  4. What can we learn from this story about trust and obedience in our everyday lives?
  5. How much did the fishermen catch? What does this tell us about God’s desire to bless and help us?
  6. What did Peter do and say to Jesus? What was Jesus’ response?
  7. What did Jesus invite Peter and the other fishermen to do? How did they respond? What does this teach about what our response should be to Jesus’ invitation to each of us?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, January 30, 2022 | 4th Sunday in Epiphany | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 4:21–30

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Why were the people astonished by what Jesus was saying to them? What proverb did Jesus quote to them? Why?
  2. Who did Jesus say Elijah was sent to in a time of great famine? What was remarkable about who she was? Who was the only leper to be healed in the time of Elijah? Why was this remarkable?
  3. What infuriated the people so much they tried to kill Jesus? What was Jesus’ response to their efforts?

NEW TESTAMENT: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What is the result of speaking in tongues without love? What is the result of speaking prophetically, knowing all mysteries and having all knowledge, and having all faith, but having no love? What is the result of doing good deeds and offering oneself to be martyred apart from love?
  2. What are some ways in which love acts? In what way do these things Paul lists describe the life of the Triune God who is love? How are they expressed in the life of Jesus?
  3. What things will ultimately fail? What won’t fail?
  4. What do the limits of human understanding and knowledge resemble? What are we seeking to do as we grow up in Christ?
  5. What three things does Paul say abide? Which is the greatest of the three? Why might this be?

How does this passage apply to Jesus’ experience with the people in his hometown?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, January 23, 2022 | 3rd Sunday in Epiphany | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 4:14–21

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. In what way did Jesus begin his ministry in Galilee? What experience had Jesus just had before his ministry began there? (See Luke 4:1-13.)
  2. What did Jesus do regularly in the synagogues? What was the common people’s response to him?
  3. In what village did Jesus stand up to read in the synagogue? Which scroll did he read from?
  4. What section of the Bible are these scriptures from? Who was the person the people believed these passages were predicting would come?
  5. Who did Jesus say the scriptures were actually speaking about?
  6. What four activities does the passage say the Anointed One would do? In what ways did Jesus fulfill these scriptures? What are some events in Jesus’ life that demonstrate this?
  7. In what ways does the body of Christ today participate in Jesus’ fulfillment of these scriptures?
  8. What or who is essential to our effective participation in Christ’s ministry in the world today?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, January 16, 2022 | 2nd Sunday in Epiphany | Year C]

GOSPEL: John 2:1–11

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What special event did Jesus attend with his disciples? Why was he there?
  2. What did Jesus’ mother do when the host ran out of wine? Why did she ask Jesus for help?
  3. What did Jesus tell the servants to do? What was significant about the jars they used to do this? Why might the apostle John have been emphasizing this point?
  4. What did Jesus do to the water in the stone jars? What was special about what Jesus created? What does this miracle tell us about who Jesus is—who does it reveal him to be?
  5. What did the headwaiter say about the wine he was served? What does this teach us about the Father’s heart towards us?
  6. What was the effect of this miracle upon Jesus’ disciples? In what way does this illustrate the purpose of John’s gospel?
  7. What does this story teach us about facing difficult or embarrassing moments in life? Why is it important to remember who Jesus is when facing them?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, January 9, 2022 | Baptism of the Lord | 1st Sunday in Epiphany | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 3:15–17, 21–22

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. As John was baptizing, who did the people think he might have been? Why was this important to them?
  2. What did John baptize with? What would the Messiah baptize with?
  3. In what way is God’s judgment upon sin like winnowing, gathering up wheat and burning away chaff?
  4. What role did the incarnation of Jesus Christ (the Son of God taking on human flesh) play in God’s judgment upon sin? What role did the atonement of Jesus Christ (his crucifixion and self-offering) play in God’s judgment upon sin?
  5. What role does the Holy Spirit play in God’s judgement upon sin? Why is it important that a person be baptized “with the Holy Spirit and fire”?

NEW TESTAMENT: Acts 8:14–17

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What was the word that the apostles in Jerusalem heard Samaria had received? What type of baptism had these people in Samaria received?
  2. What/Who were they missing that Peter and John prayed they might receive?
  3. How was the experience of these believers different than those described in Acts 2? Why was it important that these believers receive this gift?
  4. How does this passage relate to Luke’s emphasis on being baptized “with the Holy Spirit and fire”?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, January 2, 2022 | 2nd Sunday in Christmas | Christmas | Year C]

GOSPEL: John 1:10–18

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who is John talking about in this passage? What was made through him? Who did not know him?
  2. Who did he come to? How did they receive him? Who did receive him?
  3. What right did he give to those who received him? What special birth did John talk about with regards to those who believe in Jesus’ name?
  4. Who became flesh and dwelt among us? Why is it important to know that he became flesh? What was the glory this person had and where did it come from?
  5. What was given through Moses? What was realized through Jesus Christ?
  6. What is the significance of Jesus Christ being full of grace and truth? Why are both important?
  7. What was John the Baptizer’s testimony regarding this person? What does it mean that “of his fullness we have all received”?
  8. Who has seen God the Father? How do we know what God the Father is like? Why?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, December 26, 2021, Christmas | 1st Sunday of Christmas—Holy Family  | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 2:41–52

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Where did Jesus’ parents go every year and why? Who else went there?
  2. Where was Jesus when his parents found him and what was he doing?
  3. What was the response of the teachers of the law to Jesus’ interaction with them? In what way did this differ from their response to him as an adult?
  4. Why might having these kinds of conversations have been important to him at that point in his life?
  5. What did Jesus mean when he called the temple “My Father’s house?” What did he understand about himself?
  6. Why might Jesus have said what he did to his parents—what did he seem to assume they knew?
  7. What did Jesus do when he returned home with his parents? In what ways might doing this have been difficult for him?
  8. What might we learn from this passage about who Jesus was and what his life was like while on earth as a youth and young adult? How might this inform the way we ourselves are to live as children, teens and young adults?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, December 19, 2021, Advent | 4th Sunday of Advent | Love | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 1:39–45

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. When Mary went to the home of Zacharias and Elizabeth, what happened? Who did Elizabeth say Mary was the mother of? What did Elizabeth’s baby do when Mary said hello?
  2. Elizabeth said Mary was blessed for what reason? How was Mary’s response to the word of the Lord different than that of Elizabeth’s husband’s response? What happened to him because of his response?
  3. Why might Luke be emphasizing Mary’s attitude and behavior towards the word of the Lord in his writing of this gospel to the Gentiles?

NEW TESTAMENT: Hebrews 10:5–10

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Did the offering of sacrifices of bulls and goats take away sins?
  2. What did God prepare to be offered instead? What was God’s will regarding offerings and sacrifices?
  3. What did Jesus do when he offered his body up as a sacrifice? In what way did this supplant the Old Testament offerings and sacrifices?
  4. In what way is the incarnation of Jesus Christ related to his offering of himself in atonement for our sins? Why are both important?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, December 12, 2021, Advent | 3rd  Sunday of Advent | Joy | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 3:7–18

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What were the prophet John and the people doing in this story?
  2. In verse 8, what did the Jewish people place their confidence in? What did John say about their need for repentance?
  3. John described an axe already being laid at the root of a tree—in his metaphor, who was using the axe? Who was tree that wasn’t bearing fruit? What was going to happen to it?
  4. In verse 10, what was the question the people asked John? Why is this an important question to ask in relation to repentance and baptism?
  5. What did John tell the common people they should do? What did John tell the tax collectors to do? What did John tell the soldiers to do? How did following John’s instruction illustrate bearing fruit in each of these cases?
  6. Rather than point the people to himself, who did John point them to? What did he say this person would do that was different than his ministry? Why was this critical to his discussion about bearing fruit?
  7. In what way is baptism with the Spirit and fire an expression of burning up chaff in a fire? How did Jesus purify the minds and hearts of human beings, enabling them to begin to bear good fruit? What needs to happen in order for people to actually participate in the fruit-bearing that comes through Jesus?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, December 5, 2021, Advent | 2nd Sunday of Advent | Peace | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 3:1–6

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What Old Testament prophet did John the Baptizer model his life and ministry after? Why might he have done this?
  2. At what point in his life did John receive the word of God? What did God tell him to do?
  3. How did John fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah the prophet? Why was this an important part of Jesus’ story?

NEW TESTAMENT: Philippians 1:3–11

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What did the apostle Paul say he was always offering God? Why was he able to do so with joy?
  2. What was he confident that God would do about what he had begun in the believers’ lives? How could he be sure of this?
  3. In what way did Paul pray their love would abound? What are these things important? What is the purpose of abounding in these things?
  4. How are we filled with the fruit of righteousness? For what purpose?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, November 28, 2021, Advent | 1st Sunday of Advent | Hope | Year C]

GOSPEL: Luke 21:25–36

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. How did Jesus’ ministry and sacrificial offering fulfill this prophetic word in Joel 2:28-32? How did it not?
  2. In what way does this quote by Jesus from Joel resemble Peter’s sermon in Acts 2:14-36?
  3. What is our normal human response to cataclysmic events or catastrophes? Why is this?
  4. What are the two different responses does Jesus say will occur when he returns in glory? What will be your response? Why?
  5. What did Jesus say was a sign that summer was near? How does this apply to our ability to know the nearness of the kingdom of God?
  6. What events took place in that particular generation that fulfilled these prophetic words by Jesus? Why were they significant?
  7. What was Jesus’ meaning when he said his words would not pass away?
  8. What did Jesus say will be our greatest temptation while we wait for him to return in glory? What are we to be doing while we are waiting?

==================[End Year B]=======================

Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, November 21, 2021, Proper 29 | Christ the King or Reign of Christ | Year B]

GOSPEL: John 18:33–37

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What did Pilate first ask Jesus? How did Jesus respond?
  2. Was Pilate a Jew? Why did the Jews deliver Jesus up to Pilate?
  3. What kingdom did Jesus say his kingdom was not of? What did he mean by this?
  4. Did Jesus admit to being a king? What was the reason Jesus gave for having come into the world? What did he mean by this?
  5. Who are the ones who hear and obey the voice of Jesus?

OLD TESTAMENT: Daniel 7:9–10, 13–14

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Where did this event in his vision take place? Who is the Ancient of Days in Daniel’s vision?
  2. Who were the thousands present with him in that place? What was he going to do?
  3. Who was led into the presence of the Ancient of Days? Who fulfilled this prophetic word?
  4. What was this person given by the Ancient of Days? How long will he reign? Who will worship him?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, November 14, 2021, Proper 28 | After Pentecost | Year B]

GOSPEL: Mark 13:1–8

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What building did Jesus and his disciples talk about? What did Jesus say would happen to it? What might be the reason that this was going to occur?
  2. What are the different ways in which Jesus said his followers might be misled?
  3. What should our response be toward hearing about wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, famines, and other traumatic world or national events? What did Jesus say these were merely the beginning of? What did he mean by this?

NEW TESTAMENT: Hebrews 10:11–14, 19–25

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What is the difference between the offering of an OT Aaronic priest and the offering of Jesus, our high priest?
  2. Where does Jesus sit and reign today? What is he waiting on? What has he done for those who are sanctified?
  3. What is the new and living way by which we enter the holy place in heaven? What is the “veil” we enter through? What role does Jesus’ humanity play in our sanctification or spiritual renewal?
  4. Why is faith important to our spiritual transformation? What is our faith in?
  5. What are some ways in which we stimulate one another to love and good deeds? Why is it important for us to gather together as believers?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, November 7, 2021, Proper 27 | After Pentecost | Year B]

GOSPEL: Mark 12:38–44

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who did Jesus tell the crowds to beware of? What were they doing that would bring God’s condemnation upon them? Why?
  2. Who were putting large sums of money into the treasury? Why might have they been doing this?
  3. Who came and put two small copper coins in the treasury? What did Jesus say about her contribution? Why did he point her out to his disciples as being a positive example of true generosity?

NEW TESTAMENT: Hebrews 9:24–28

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Where did Jesus enter on our behalf? In what way was it like the earthly tabernacle?
  2. What did Jesus offer up to God?
  3. How often did the high priest offer sacrifices to God? How often did Jesus offer himself in sacrifice?
  4. When Jesus appears a second time for salvation, it will be without reference to sin—what did the author of Hebrews mean by this?
  5. In what way did Jesus’ sacrificial offering resemble the offering given by the widow in Mark 12:38–44?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, October 31, 2021, Proper 26 | After Pentecost | Year B]

GOSPEL: Mark 12:28–34

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What did Jesus say was the foremost commandment?
  2. What did he say was the second commandment?
  3. What was the scribe’s response to this? What is more important than offerings and sacrifices? Why?
  4. What did Jesus mean when he said to the man, “You are not far from the kingdom of God”? Why did this silence the scribes?

NEW TESTAMENT: Hebrews 9:11–14

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What is “the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands” that the author of Hebrews is referring to?
  2. How did Jesus enter into the holy place of this tabernacle? What did he obtain?
  3. What did the offering and sprinkling of the blood of goats and bulls in the earthly tabernacle cleanse?
  4. What was offered by Christ without blemish to God as the most perfect offering? What did the blood of Christ cleanse us from?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, October 24, 2021, Proper 25 | After Pentecost | Year B]

GOSPEL: Mark 10:46–52

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who did Jesus and his disciples meet as they left town? What was he asking Jesus for? What was his response to the people trying to silence him? What does this tell us about how we are to approach Jesus when we are in need?
  2. When Jesus called the man to come to him, what did he leave behind? What can this teach us about how we are to act when Jesus calls us to himself?
  3. When Jesus asked the man what he wanted him to do for him, what did he say? What was Jesus’ response and what happened to the man?
  4. How did the man’s honesty about his inability to see and his desire for Jesus to give him sight, compare with the spiritual blindness of the Jewish leaders, and at times, the disciples? What was needed in both situations?

NEW TESTAMENT: Hebrews 5:1–10

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What role did the high priest play in Israel’s worship of God? Who did he represent or go before God on behalf of?
  2. What enabled a human high priest to deal gently with those who are ignorant or misguided? Why did the high priest have to offer sacrifices for sins for himself?
  3. Who decided that Jesus Christ would be our high priest? In what way does Jesus’ priesthood resemble that of Mechizedek?
  4. If Jesus was God’s eternally begotten Son who always lived in obedience to his Father, what obedience did Jesus learn from what he suffered while on earth?
  5. Who is the source of eternal salvation?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, October 17, 2021, Proper 24 | After Pentecost | Year B]

GOSPEL: Mark 10:35–45

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What did James and John want Jesus to do? Why was this important to them?
  2. Why did Jesus say that what they were asking was a difficult thing? What was the “cup” that Jesus would have to drink and baptism that he was going to be baptized with? Did the disciples have to go through this experience as well?
  3. Who did Jesus say decides what roles people will play in the new heavens and earth? How important in Jesus’ eyes is our having a position of authority in the world to come? What is more important to him?
  4. Why were the other disciples indignant about James’ and John’s request?
  5. In what way did Jesus say the Gentile rulers lead the people? What are some examples of people in history who have led in this way?
  6. What kind of leadership did Jesus say that truly great people exercise? Can you think of any examples of people who were leaders in this way?
  7. Why did Jesus say he came? How can we follow Jesus’ example of leadership in our everyday lives?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, October 10, 2021, Proper 23 | After Pentecost | Year B]

GOSPEL: Mark 10:17–31

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What did the man who knelt before Jesus ask him? How did he expect to earn entrance into the kingdom of God? How does Jesus say that we gain entrance into the kingdom of God? (See John 3:16-17.)
  2. How did Jesus respond to this man’s use of the title “Good Teacher”? Jesus was the Son of God present in human flesh—why might he have responded as he did?
  3. What commandments did Jesus list in response to the man’s question? What did these commandments all have in common? What did the man say about keeping them? How did Jesus feel about this man’s devotion to keeping the law?
  4. What did Jesus then ask the man to do? Why was the man unable or unwilling to do it? In what way would obeying Jesus have altered this man’s position or importance in the community?
  5. What did Jesus say would make it difficult for a person to enter the kingdom of God? What exaggerated example (hyperbole) did Jesus use to explain how difficult it is for such a person to enter the kingdom of God?
  6. In what ways can being preoccupied the everyday blessings of our life in this world prevent us from fully entering into and experiencing the kingdom of God and our life in Christ right now?
  7. The disciples said, “Who then can be saved?”—what was Jesus’ response to this statement? Why is it important to remember this when we share the gospel?
  8. What is Jesus’ promise to those who have to leave behind special people and/or belongings for the sake of the gospel? In what way does this apply to us today as followers of Jesus Christ?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, October 3, 2021, Proper 22 | After Pentecost | Year B]

GOSPEL: Mark 10:2–16

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What were the Pharisees intentions when they asked Jesus about whether it was lawful to divorce? What question did he ask in response?
  2. What did Moses permit with regards to divorce? What reason did Jesus give as to why Moses wrote this in the law regarding divorce? How did Israel’s attitude toward marriage and divorce mirror the Pharisees and their attitude toward Jesus?
  3. Jesus brought them back to the beginning (see Genesis 2:18-24)—what is God’s ideal? What does “the two shall become one flesh” mean? Who creates this permanent union between two people?
  4. What is this union between two people in marriage intended to picture (see Eph. 5:21-33)? In what way does divorce violate this imaging of God’s relationship with Israel/the church?
  5. In the Old Testament, God is portrayed as the husband of Israel/Judah. What does Isaiah 50:1 say about their relationship? What does Jeremiah 3:8 say about their relationship? What was the point God was making? What was Jesus’ ultimate response to the unfaithfulness of Israel (see Hosea)?
  6. Jesus used hyperbole or strong language with regards to remarriage following divorce—why? What point might Jesus have been trying to make with regards to remarriage? How would this relate to the covenant relationship between God and Israel/the church?
  7. Why did the disciples prevent the children from coming to Jesus? How did Jesus’ value children? How did he use children as an example for the disciples?
  8. How does God’s ideal with regards to humanity and marriage (see Genesis 2:18-24) vary from our personal experience as flawed humans? What is the difference between God’s ideal and the concessions of Jesus in Matt. 5:31; 19:7-8 and the apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 7:10-14? How does receiving the kingdom of God as a little child relate to Jesus’ discussion about divorce and remarriage?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, September 26, 2021, Proper 21 | After Pentecost | Year B]

GOSPEL: Mark 9:38–50

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. In Mark 9:33-37, what had the disciples been discussing and how had Jesus responded to them about it?
  2. What might have been John’s motive in telling Jesus about the man performing miracles in Christ’s name? How did Jesus respond to his concern?
  3. What does it mean to do a miracle in Jesus’ name? How do believers today do ministry in the name of Jesus?
  4. What is the difference between giving a cup of water to Jesus and giving a cup of water to a follower of Jesus? What is the reward Jesus might be talking about for giving a cup of water to one of his followers?
  5. Who are the “little ones” Jesus might be referring to? Why is it such a bad offense to cause a little one to stumble?
  6. Why would Jesus use the extreme hyperbole (exaggeration) of cutting off hands or feet, or removing an eye when talking about them causing a person to stumble? What was his point?
  7. In Leviticus 2:13 we see that offerings were to be seasoned with salt. What are some essential properties of salt? Why might this be a good illustration of our life in Christ?
  8. What might Jesus have meant when he said, “Everyone will be salted with fire”?
  9. How was Jesus’ statement “Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another” related to his conversation with the disciples about the man doing miracles in Jesus’ name? In what way were the disciples at risk of losing their own saltiness?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, September 19, 2021, Proper 20 | After Pentecost | Year B]

GOSPEL: Mark 9:30–37

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Where was Jesus traveling through at this time? Why might he have not wanted people to know he was there?
  2. What was he telling his disciples that they did not understand? Why would it have been hard for them to understand and been difficult for them to ask him about it?
  3. When they got to Capernaum, what did he ask them? What was their reply?
  4. What paradox of godly leadership did Jesus point out to them? In what way did his using a child as an example illustrate his point?

NEW TESTAMENT: James 3:13–4:3, 4:7–8a

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Where does godly wisdom come from? Describe the attributes of godly wisdom. What is the result of godly wisdom?
  2. What is the source of bitter jealousy and selfish ambition? What is the result of this human wisdom?
  3. What is the source of quarrels and conflicts? Why is it important to pay attention to our motives for what we do?
  4. How do we draw upon God’s wisdom instead of that of Satan? What happens when we make the effort to draw close to God? Why is this important?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, September 12, 2021, Proper 19 | After Pentecost | Year B]

GOSPEL: Mark 8:27–38

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What was Jesus asking his disciples? Who did the people say he was? Why was it difficult for them to decide who Jesus was?
  2. Who did the disciples themselves say Jesus was? Why did Jesus warn them not to tell anyone about who he was? Why is it important for us today to know who Jesus is and why he came?
  3. What did he begin to teach them at this point? How was this different than their expectation of what the Messiah would do?
  4. Who took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him? What was Jesus’ response? What was Peter’s mind set on? What does the apostle Paul in Colossians 3:1-4 tell us to set our mind and heart on? Why?
  5. What did Jesus say a person who wanted to follow him must do? What must a person do to save his or her life? What did Jesus mean by this?
  6. What did Jesus mean when he said “what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” What was Jesus offering in exchange for the soul of every human being? How do we receive the gift that he gave?
  7. Who is the Son of Man Jesus was talking about in v. 38? Why might the Son of Man be ashamed of a person when he comes in glory? Why did Mark emphasize this in his gospel? How might this apply to followers of Christ today?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, September 5, 2021, Proper 18 | After Pentecost | Year B]

GOSPEL: Mark 7:24–37

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. In what area did the events of v. 24 take place? What was Jesus intending to do by being there? Why wasn’t he always able to do this?
  2. Who came to Jesus for help? What was her religious and racial background? In what way might this have impacted her ability to get help from the Jewish leaders of that day?
  3. Why would Jesus have said that the children must be fed first and the pet dogs later? How did the woman respond to this statement?
  4. What can we learn from this woman’s response to Jesus’ initial refusal which might help us know how to talk with God when we don’t agree with how he first answers our prayers? When is it appropriate to openly and honestly disagree with God?
  5. What did Jesus do in response to her request? What did this woman have that the Jewish leaders of that time didn’t have that led to Jesus’ answer to her request?
  6. Where did Jesus go next? Why might he have been avoiding travel through Judea?
  7. Who was brought to him and why? What did Jesus do to the man to show what he was intending to do? Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Ephphatha”—what did this word mean?
  8. What happened with the man who had been deaf and mute? What was the irony regarding the Jewish leaders in comparison with the response of those who saw this man healed? Who were the ones who really needed to have their ears opened and their mouths healed?
  9. What lessons might Jesus have been wanting to teach his disciples during this journey through these Gentile territories?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, August 29, 2021, Proper 17 | After Pentecost | Year B]

GOSPEL: Mark 7:1–8, 14–15, 21–23

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who were gathered around Jesus when he and disciples came from Jerusalem? What did they see Jesus’ disciples doing that they didn’t approve of?
  2. What did Mark say the Pharisees were meticulous about doing? Where did they get these instructions about what to do and not to do?
  3. Whom did Jesus quote when responding to their criticism? What name did Jesus use to describe these Jewish leaders? Why did he say that they worshiped God in vain?
  4. Jesus said “there is nothing outside the man which can defile him”—what did he mean by this? What did he mean when he said that “the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man”?
  5. What kind of things did Jesus describe as defiling a person? Where is the source of these sinful attitudes and behaviors?
  6. In this interaction with the Jewish leaders, what authority did Jesus indicate that he had? Whom did Jesus indicate was the One who had the final word as to what was to be observed and not observed with regards to the law? Why would this have upset the Jewish leaders of his day?
  7. How did Jesus intend to deal with the issue of the human heart while he was on earth? How does a person participate in Jesus’ finished work of healing and transforming the human heart?
  8. Are there any Old Testament religious observances or traditions we hold to that Jesus has made no longer applicable? Are there Christian observations or traditions of our day this passage might apply to? In what ways can our observation of meticulous religious observances actually come between us and God instead of deepening our relationship with him?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, August 22, 2021, Proper 16 | After Pentecost | Year B]

GOSPEL: John 6:56–69

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What did Jesus say a person who ate his flesh and drank his blood would do? What did he mean by this?
  2. What is the bread that came down out of heaven Jesus was referring to? In what way was it different than the manna the ancient Israelites ate?
  3. Why might what Jesus had been saying cause a follower to grumble or even to stumble? When Jesus said he, the Son of man, would ascend to where he was before, what was he indicating?
  4. Who did Jesus say gives life? What does the flesh give? What is it that Jesus has given us that are spirit and life?
  5. What was the deciding factor between those who continued to follow Christ and those who left? Did all of the twelve disciples remain or leave? Why?

NEW TESTAMENT:    Ephesians 6:10–20

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: 

  1. Where do we find our strength? What does it mean to stand firm? What are we standing firm against? What are we not struggling against? Why not?
  2. What are the elements of the armor we are to put on? Who is the source of each of these elements?
  3. What role do the Word of God and the Holy Spirit play in our being able to stand firm?
  4. What does it mean to pray at all times in the Spirit? What is one thing we can do regularly to help those who are sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with the world?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, August 15, 2021, Proper 15 | After Pentecost | Year B]

GOSPEL: John 6:51–58

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who is the bread of life? What did Jesus promise to those who eat of the bread of life?
  2. What did Jesus say he was going to give for the life of the world? What did he mean by this?
  3. What upset the Jews about what Jesus said—why might they have argued with one another? In what way did their cultural and religious perspective prevent them from understanding what Jesus was saying? How does our preconceptions about God or Jesus or the life of faith impact our ability to understand God’s word?
  4. Jesus said that unless they ate his flesh and drank his blood, they had no life in themselves—why would this statement have been offensive to these people? What is the difference between figurative and literal speech or writing? What does this teach us about how we read, interpret, and understand God’s word?
  5. What did Jesus say those who eat his flesh and drink his blood would have? What would happen when the last day came? What is our ultimate hope for eternal life?
  6. During the Passover festival, what would the Jews sacrifice and then eat? How did this apply to what Jesus was saying here? When Jesus said his flesh was true food and his blood was true drink, what was the point he was making?
  7. How do we abide in Christ? Who is the ultimate source of our zōe life because of Christ?
  8. What is the difference between the manna, bread from heaven, the ancient Israelites ate and Jesus, the bread of life? How is it possible to live forever?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, August 8, 2021, Proper 14 | After Pentecost | Year B]

GOSPEL: John 6:35, 41–51

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who said that he was the bread of life? Where did he say he came from? Where did the people say Jesus came from? What is the importance of the difference between the two?
  2. In verse 41, how did the Jews listening to Jesus resemble the Israelites of old? What was Jesus’ response to their behavior? How did this resemble YHWH’s response in the Old Testament? Why would the apostle John emphasize the similarity between the two?
  3. Who did Jesus say draws people to the Messiah? What will happen to those who are drawn to Christ? What role do humans play in being drawn to God?
  4. Who did Jesus say was the only One who has seen the Father?
  5. Can you think of any times in the Old Testament when people saw God? (Hint: Ex. 33:21-23; Gen. 16:13-14; Num. 12:5-8; Judg. 6:11-24; Judg. 13:2-23; Is. 6:1; 1 Kings 22:19; 2 Chron. 18:18; Ez. 1:1-28, etal.) What might Jesus have meant by his statement, “not that anyone has seen the Father”?
  6. How can we know what the Father is really like? (Hint: Heb. 1:3; 2 Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:15.)
  7. What is key to having eternal life? What is the difference between the life manna provides and the life that “the living bread” provides?
  8. What did Jesus say he was going to give for the life of the world? What event in his life was Jesus preparing the people for and how was it related to receiving eternal life?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, August 1, 2021, Proper 13 | After Pentecost | Year B]

GOSPEL: John 6:24–40

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Why were the crowds surprised that Jesus was on the other side of the sea? What did Jesus say they were really looking for?
  2. What did Jesus mean when he said we should not look for the food that perishes but for the food which endures to eternal life? Who is the source of eternal life?
  3. What is the seal the Father set upon Jesus? What does this mean?
  4. When the crowd asked Jesus what works of God they needed to do, what types of works did they expect to hear about? What is the one work of God that Jesus said they needed be doing? What does this teach us about our walk as followers of Christ?
  5. What did the crowd ask Jesus for in order to believe him? What were they wanting Jesus to prove? What was more important to Jesus than simply providing a physical sign like feeding the crowd with loaves and fishes?
  6. Where did the manna come from that the people of ancient Israel ate? Where did Jesus say the “true bread” comes from and what does it give the world?
  7. Who did Jesus say he was—“I am ___ ______ __ ____”? What is the significance of Jesus using “I am” in this way?
  8. What is Jesus calling the people to do? How are coming to Jesus and believing in Jesus two parts of the same thing?
  9. What did Jesus say was the will of the Father? How does this encourage us as followers of Christ?
  10. What does it mean to “behold the Son”? Why would this be an important part of an ongoing faith relationship with Jesus?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, July 25, 2021, Proper 11 | After Pentecost | Year B]

GOSPEL: John 6:1-21  

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Why were the crowds following Jesus? What did Jesus ask Philip? What was his response?
  2. What did Andrew say to Jesus about this? In what way is Andrew’s response to the situation often our response to need or limitations?
  3. What did Jesus tell the disciples to do? Then what did Jesus do?
  4. When did these events happen? How might this time in the Jewish worship calendar be related to who Jesus is, what he did, and why he did it?
  5. What was left over after the crowd had enough to eat? What does this miracle teach us about the way Jesus provides for our needs?
  6. What did the people try to do in response to Jesus’ miracle? In what way was this a temptation Jesus had experienced during his forty days in the wilderness early in his ministry? How did Jesus respond to the crowd’s efforts?
  7. Where did the disciples go while Jesus was dismissing the crowd? What happened to the disciples as they tried to cross the sea? Then what did they see that frightened them? What did Jesus tell the disciples?
  8. Why do we often respond to God or Jesus with fear rather than faith? What happens when we simply trust in Jesus and receive him into our circumstances and into our lives?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, July 18, 2021, Proper 11 | After Pentecost | Year B]

GOSPEL: Mark 6:30–34, 53–56

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What word did Mark use to describe the disciples? What did the disciples report to Jesus when they gathered together with him?
  2. What did Jesus tell them they should do? Why was this important? What does this teach us about doing life and ministry with Jesus?
  3. What happened with Jesus and the disciples sought to get away to a secluded space? How did Jesus respond? What did he think all these people were like, and what did he do to help the situation?
  4. When they moored the boat at Gennesaret, what did the people do? What was the significance of touching Jesus’ prayer shawl? What did this demonstrate?

NEW TESTAMENT: Ephesians 2:11–22

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. How did Paul describe the Gentiles in comparison to those who were part of Israel (Jews)? Why were they excluded from the covenant God had with Israel?
  2. How were the Gentiles “brought near”? How did Jesus make both groups one?
  3. What is the importance of the “new man” which Paul describes in this passage? What kind of peace was Paul describing?
  4. How do all people have access to the Father? If believers are no longer strangers and aliens, what are they?
  5. What is the foundation God’s church and family (household) built upon? Who is the corner stone? What is the significance of the corner stone?
  6. What are all of us as followers of Christ growing into and being built together into? What does this teach us about where and how we are to worship God?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, July 11, 2021, Proper 10 | After Pentecost | Year B]

GOSPEL: Mark 6:14–29

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who did Herod believe Jesus was, because of the miracles he and his disciples were doing? Why did this bother him?
  2. What does this teach us about our response to Jesus when faced with his goodness, his grace, his power, and his love? What is the best way to deal with guilt and shame?
  3. Why did Herod keep John in jail? What was inappropriate about King Herod’s relationship with Herodias? (Hint: See Lev. 18:16; 20:21.)
  4. Why did Herodias hold a grudge against John the Baptizer? Was she justified in doing so?
  5. What are often the results of holding a grudge against another person? What would Jesus have us do instead?
  6. Who came to Herod’s birthday celebration to dance for all the dignitaries? What was unusual about her doing this? What was Herod’s response to her performance?
  7. What did Herodias’ daughter ask for, and why did Herod regret his generosity? Why did Herod end up agreeing to her request?
  8. What were Herod’s greatest priorities? What does this tell us about what our priorities should be as followers of Christ? What can we learn from Herod and John the Baptizer with regards to facing the truth and dealing with the consequences of our own choices?
  9. What was the result of John the Baptizer’s obedience to the will of God and his calling on John’s life as a prophet in this instance?
  10. In what way did this event foreshadow what would happen to Jesus? What can we learn from this story about the cost of discipleship?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, July 4, 2021, Proper 9 | After Pentecost | Year B]

GOSPEL: Mark 6:1–13

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Where did the events in this passage take place? What did the townspeople say about who Jesus was?
  2. What caused the people to be offended by Jesus? What was Jesus’ response?
  3. Why was Jesus unable to do any significant miracles in that town? How does our understanding of who Jesus is affect our ability to trust him?
  4. Where did Jesus and his disciples begin to go after this? What did Jesus give his disciples authority over before he sent them out?
  5. How many disciples were sent out together? Why might have Jesus have done this? How might this be applied to how we do mission or ministry today?
  6. What instructions did Jesus give the disciples regarding what they should take or not take with them? What might he have been trying to teach them? In what ways can we apply this to how we do ministry or mission today?
  7. What were the disciples to do if they came to a place who would not receive them or listen to them? How would we apply this principle today to those who refuse to hear the good news of Jesus Christ?
  8. What did the disciples preach? How did the Holy Spirit affirm the message they were preaching? In what way was this experience a participation in Christ’s own ministry?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, June 27, 2021, Proper 8 | After Pentecost | Year B]

GOSPEL: Mark 5:21–43

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What event happened right before these two miracles and what did it show about Jesus’ authority? Jesus crossed over the sea, but then stayed by the seashore—why?
  2. Who was Jairus? What did he do when he came to Jesus? What does this show us about who Jesus is and how we are to approach him?
  3. What was Jesus’ response to Jairus’ request? What did the crowd around Jesus do? How did this affect Jesus’ ability to respond quickly and effectively to Jairus’ request?
  4. Why did a woman come up behind Jesus and touch his cloak, and why was she hiding from him? According to the religious leaders, how might her disability have affected the consecration of a righteous Jew, i.e. what was the concern with regards to her touching Jesus? Why didn’t this cause Jesus concern?
  5. How was Jesus aware that someone had touched him for healing when so many people around him were touching him? What did he do in response?
  6. What name did Jesus give the woman when she came forward? Why was this important and what did it demonstrate to her? What does this teach us about Jesus’ heart towards those who are socially isolated, rejected or excluded?
  7. What did Jesus say made the woman well? Why was this important for her to know?
  8. What happened while this event with the woman took place? How did Jesus respond to the message that Jairus received? What did he tell Jairus to do?
  9. What was happening at Jairus’ home? What did Jesus say to the people there and why? What was their response? What does this say about our human ideas regarding illness and death? How might such a response affect our ability to trust Jesus in difficult circumstances?
  10. What happened when Jesus spoke to the young girl and told her to get up? Why was this such an amazing miracle to her parents? Why would Jesus want to keep it a secret?
  11. While performing these two miracles, there are two ways in which Jesus ritually defiled himself. What were they? What was the point Jesus was making by doing this, with regards to who he was and why he was there?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, June 20, 2021, Proper 7 | After Pentecost | Year B]

GOSPEL: Mark 4:26–34

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. How did Jesus and his disciples travel in this story? Why might this mode of transportation have been used?
  2. What had Jesus been doing before they left? What was the reason he was asleep?
  3. Why did the disciples wake Jesus up? What did he do about the storm?
  4. What did Jesus say the disciples lacked? What was significant about Jesus’ ability to calm the storm—what did it say about who he was? How does knowing who Jesus is affect our ability to place our faith in him?

NEW TESTAMENT: 2 Corinthians 6:1–13

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who is our partner when we do ministry or care for others? Why is “now” the right time to share the gospel with others?
  2. What are some ways in which we show we are true ministers of God?
  3. How does living in this way—demonstrating we are true ministers of God—reflect the ministry of Jesus Christ?
  4. In what way was the Corinthian church withholding their love from Paul? Why would Paul want them to open their hearts up to him?
  5. What does this passage teach us about our experience as followers of Christ, and what may be our experience of life as believers?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, June 13, 2021, Proper 6 | After Pentecost | Year B]

GOSPEL: Mark 4:26–34

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What was the topic of Jesus’ discussion?
  2. In the first story, seed was cast upon the soil. Who is responsible for making the seed grow? What is the goal of the man casting the seed?
  3. What might the seed be symbolic of? And the soil? And the man sowing?
  4. What role does Jesus play in the fruit-producing process? Why would it have been important for Jesus’ listeners to understand this?
  5. What was the next picture of the kingdom of God Jesus provided? What is significant about this seed? Why is it a good example of what Jesus was going to do?
  6. Considering the initial size of the seed and the size of the resulting plant, what does this tell us about what happens when Jesus is planted in human hearts? What role does the Spirit play in the growth of the kingdom?
  7. Note the different forms of wildlife able to nest under the plant’s branches? What might this be symbolic of? What would this indicate that might have been hard for Jesus’ listeners to accept about the kingdom?
  8. What does Mark say that the response of the people listening to Jesus was? How did Jesus speak to them? How did he speak to his disciples? What was the difference and why?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, June 6, 2021, Proper 5 | After Pentecost | Year B]

GOSPEL: Mark 3:20–35 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Where was Jesus, and what was happening at the beginning of this event? Why would Jesus’ family want to “take custody of him?” How does this reflect the response those close to us may have regarding our devotion to Christ and his mission?
  2. What were the scribes from Jerusalem saying about Jesus? Why would they say this?
  3. In response Jesus said something about Satan’s house being divided—what was Jesus’ point? We can take a warning from these statements about our own homes and the body of Christ—what is consequence of division between people? How does Satan use division in his efforts to destroy?
  4. Jesus also said something about a strong man’s house being plundered—what was this a picture of? What are some ways in which Jesus today is “plundering” Satan’s house?
  5. How were the scribes blaspheming the Holy Spirit? Why is this an “eternal sin?” What does Jesus meant by saying that such a person “never has forgiveness?”
  6. Who came to see Jesus and sent word to him and called him? What question did Jesus ask in response to the news that his family was looking for him? Who are the people who are Jesus’ true family?
  7. In what way is the body of Christ, the Church, Jesus’ true family? How does a person become part of the body of Christ? What role does the Holy Spirit play in this process?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, May 30, 2021, Holy Trinity | Year B]

GOSPEL: John 3:1–17 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who was Nicodemus? What did he say his people believed about Jesus? How did his assessment of who Jesus was correspond with the truth of who Jesus was?
  2. What did Jesus say needed to happen before someone would see the kingdom of God? What did he mean by this? How can this happen?
  3. What image did Jesus use to portray the Spirit and someone who is born of the Spirit? What did he mean by this?
  4. When he testified of heavenly things, what did Jesus talk about? Why would this have been difficult for Nicodemus to understand and believe?
  5. Who is the Son of Man Jesus is speaking of? Where did the Son of Man come from and where was he going? Why was this important?
  6. Why did Jesus bring up the story about the serpent Moses lifted up in the wilderness? (Hint: See Numbers 21:5-9.) What did the people have to do in order to be saved? How did what happened then explain what was going to happen to Jesus in the near future, and what is necessary for salvation?
  7. How does someone have eternal life? What was God’s purpose in sending his Son into the world? How does this show God’s heart towards humanity?
  8. What does this conversation Jesus had with Nicodemus show us about communicating the gospel with those who don’t know Jesus? What is the most essential ingredient for life transformation? How do we participate with Jesus in the process of bringing someone to faith in Jesus?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, May 23, 2021, Day of Pentecost | Year B]

GOSPEL: John 15:26–27, 16:4b–15 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who is the Helper? From whom is he sent? What does this teach us about the Source of the Helper and the Trinity?
  2. What does Jesus mean when he says the disciples would testify about him? Why were they specifically qualified to do this?
  3. Where did Jesus say his was going? What did he mean by this? Why might this make the disciples sorrowful?
  4. Why was Jesus’ going away a good thing? Why was this important?
  5. What does the Helper convict the world of regarding sin? Righteousness? Judgment? [Hint: see the Message translation.]
  6. What would the Spirit guide the followers of Christ into? Whose word does he speak? What else would the Spirit reveal?
  7. In what ways has the Spirit over the thousands of years since Jesus came led the Body of Christ as a whole into “all the truth”?
  8. It is possible to have a personal relationship with the Spirit? Why might this be an important part of our relationship with God? How does the Spirit act as a Helper for believers today?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, May 16, 2021, Ascension Sunday | Easter | Year B]

GOSPEL: John 17:6–19 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Jesus said he manifested his Father’s name to his disciples—who did Jesus say gave him his followers? What does this teach us about how people come to faith in Christ?
  2. What did Jesus say that his disciples had kept and had received? What did the disciples understand and believe about Jesus?
  3. Why did Jesus ask this prayer on behalf of the disciples and not on behalf of the world? What did Jesus mean when he said he was no longer in the world, but the disciples were? How would the world respond these disciples of Jesus Christ? What does this tell us about what we may experience today as followers of Jesus Christ?
  4. Jesus said all things that were his were also the Father’s, and vice versa—what does this show us about the relationship between Jesus and his heavenly Father?
  5. Jesus asked his Father to keep his followers in his name for what purpose? Why is it important that Jesus’ disciples reflect this characteristic of the Trinity?
  6. Why did Judas become the “son of perdition” or “one destined for destruction”? In what way did Judas participate in his own self-destruction? Can you think of any ways in which we ourselves participate in following a path that leads to destruction or death? What is the only way to exit this path?
  7. What was Jesus’ purpose in speaking these things?
  8. What does Jesus ask his Father to do rather than taking his disciples out of the world? Why did Jesus sanctify (“set apart”) himself? What does he ask his Father to sanctify his followers in? What role does God’s word play in sanctifying us?
  9. Where did Jesus send his followers? What does this tell us about what we are to be doing today as followers of Jesus Christ?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, May 9, 2021, 6th Sunday in Easter | Year B]

GOSPEL: John 15:9–17 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. In what way has Jesus loved us? What are we to abide in? How do we do this in the way Jesus did it with his Father? What is the purpose for Jesus speaking these things?
  2. What is Jesus’ commandment to his disciples? According to Jesus, who has the greatest love? What does he say we are when we do what he commands?
  3. What is the difference between a slave and a friend? Why is this important?
  4. Who chooses a follower to be Christ’s disciple? What is a follower of Christ appointed to do?
  5. What might Jesus be referring to when he speaks of fruit? In what way would a follower of Christ’s fruit remain? Why does this enable a follower to ask the Father in the name of Jesus for things?
  6. What is Jesus’ main command in this section of scripture? Why might this be important in how we relate to our culture today?

NEW TESTAMENT: 1 John 5:1–6

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who experiences the reality that they are born of God? What will we do if we love our heavenly Father?
  2. How do God’s adopted children overcome the world? What do they believe?
  3. Who is the Spirit? How does this resonate with who Jesus is? What does this bear witness or testify to?
  4. How do God’s adopted children live this out in a culture that is growing more and more post/anti-Christian?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, May 2, 2021, 5th Sunday in Easter | Year B]

GOSPEL: John 15:1-8    

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. In his teaching, who is Jesus, who is his Father, and what does this make his followers? What is the picture Jesus is wanting to give his followers about God and his people?
  2. How does this correspond with the Old Testament imagery of a vineyard, vines, and a vinedresser? (Hint: Psalm 80:8-18; Ezekiel 19:10-14)
  3. What does the vinedresser do with branches that do not bear fruit? What person in Jesus’ group of disciples would this best describe?
  4. What does God do with those that do bear fruit? What are some examples of ways that God does this in the lives of Christ’s disciples and in us today?
  5. What does the word “abide” mean? How does abiding relate to resting?
  6. How do we abide in Jesus? Why is it important to do this? What happens when we don’t abide in Jesus?
  7. Does it matter what we ask God for in prayer? Why?
  8. What is the difference in how we make requests to God when we abide in Christ? When we abide in Jesus, what are we able to ask God for? What is God’s response to our requests when we abide in Jesus?
  9. Why does Jesus want us to bear much fruit? In what ways do we do this?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, April 25, 2021, 4th Sunday in Easter | Year B]

GOSPEL: John 10:11–18    

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Jesus said he was the good shepherd—who else is Israel’s shepherd? What was Jesus saying by this?
  2. What is the difference between a hired hand and a shepherd? Why is it important?
  3. What does a wolf do to the sheep? What might a shepherd do to protect the sheep? How did Jesus’ description of the sheep and the shepherd refer to the leaders of Israel? Why was this important?
  4. What is the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep? How does this reflect the relationship between the Father and Jesus? How does this reflect God’s relationship with us?
  5. What does a sheep do when it hears the shepherd’s voice? What does this teach us about listening to Jesus’ voice?
  6. What is a reason that the Father loves Jesus? What does this say about how God values us?
  7. Was Jesus forced by his Father to die? What was really the Father’s will regarding his Son’s death?
  8. What was Jesus’ heart about his upcoming crucifixion? What does this teach us about the heart God gives us by the Spirit?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, April 18, 2021, 3rd Sunday in Easter | Year B]

GOSPEL: Luke 24:36b–48    

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What did the disciples think they were seeing? Why? What was Jesus’ response? How did Jesus show them that he wasn’t a spirit?
  2. What did Jesus say about what was written in the law, prophets and psalms? What did he do to help them understand the Scriptures?
  3. What does this teach us about understanding and interpreting what we read in the Bible? What is the central theme of the Old Testament?
  4. What was to be proclaimed in Jesus’ name? Who was it to be preached to? How does this foreshadow what Luke wrote in the book of Acts?
  5. What were the disciples witnesses of? How does this apply to us today?

NEW TESTAMENT: 1 John 3:1–7

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What does God call us as an expression of his love? Why does the world not know us?
  2. What will we be like when we are changed? How do we know this?
  3. Why did Jesus appear? What is unique about Jesus in his humanity?
  4. What does a person do because Jesus is pure? What does a person who abides in Christ not do? What does sin show about us?
  5. How does Jesus view someone who practices righteousness? Why?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, April 11, 2021, 2nd Sunday in Easter | Year B]

GOSPEL: John 20:19–31 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What was unusual about how Jesus entered the locked room? What did Jesus show the disciples? What does this tell us about Jesus’ body and the resurrection?
  2. Jesus emphasized the Jewish greeting of “Shalom” meaning “Peace be with you”—why?
  3. He breathed on them, saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit”—how was this similar to or different than Pentecost? In what way was this like what happened in Genesis 2:7? In what way was this like what was predicted in Ezekiel 37:5, 9-10?
  4. What was meant by Jesus’ statement that those whose sins they forgave were forgiven, and those they retained were retained? (Hint: read this verse in the New Living Translation.)
  5. Who was not present at this gathering? What did he tell the other disciples? What was Jesus’ response to this disciple’s statement? What does this teach us about how God responds to our need for him to help us believe or understand?
  6. Who did Jesus say was especially blessed? How does this apply to us today?
  7. What did the apostle John show clearly about who Jesus was? Why did John write his gospel? How can the book of John be useful in sharing the gospel?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, March 28, 2021, 6th Sunday in Lent | Palm Sunday/Passion Sunday | Year B]

GOSPEL: John 12:12–16

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What did the people who had come to the feast do? What did they shout?
  2. What did Jesus do in response? What scripture did this fulfill?
  3. Why were the disciples unable to understand what had happened until later?

PSALM: Psalm 118:1–2, 19–29

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. In this psalm, we see the phrases “gate of the Lord” and “gates of righteousness.” What might the psalmist originally be referring to? How were these phrases fulfilled in Jesus?
  2. When the psalmist referred to “the chief cornerstone”, what special person was he referring to? How was this fulfilled in Christ?
  3. In 1 Peter 2:4-12, what did the apostle say about “the chief cornerstone”? What other stones did he talk about, and who were they?
  4. What “day which the Lord has made” is the psalmist referring to? Why would we want to be glad and rejoice in it?
  5. Who is the one who came in the name of the Lord? How did God give his people light?
  6. What sacrifice was symbolically bound to the altar in Jesus? Why were bonds not necessary to keep Jesus bound as he was sacrificed?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, March 21, 2021, 5th Sunday in Lent | Lent | Year B]

GOSPEL: John 12:20–33 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who among the people going to worship at the feast told Philip they wanted to see Jesus? Why might John have felt this was an important item to share in his gospel?
  2. When Philip and Andrew came to Jesus with this news, he said, “The hour has come…”—what did he mean by this? What was going to happen to “the Son of Man”?
  3. What was Jesus referring to when he told how a kernel of wheat buried in the ground dies but also bring forth much fruit?
  4. What does Jesus say about losing one’s life and gaining one’s life? What did he mean by this? In what way was he going to demonstrate the truth of this statement?
  5. What must a person do if they want to serve Jesus? What will the Father do with someone who serves Jesus? In what way does this apply to us today?
  6. What emotion was Jesus feeling in that moment? What was his human inclination at the thought of what was coming? What understanding made him remain steadfast in spite of how he felt? How does our participation in Jesus’ life by the Spirit help us handle similar situations?
  7. What did Jesus ask the Father to do? What happened then? For whose sake did this happen? What would have been the benefit in a person having experienced this event?
  8. Jesus said that judgment was now, at that moment, upon the world—who was going to be cast out? How? In what way would Jesus be lifted up? Jesus would draw whom to himself by being lifted up? How does this statement apply to the people who had wanted to see Jesus at the beginning of this passage?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, March 14, 2021, 4th Sunday in Lent | Lent | Year B]

GOSPEL: John 3:14–21 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Why did Moses lift up a serpent in the wilderness? (Hint: See Numbers 21:4–9.) What did God say would happen when the Israelites looked up to the serpent?
  2. What event did Jesus say would be just like the serpent being lifted up? What would be the result of people looking up at him—what would they receive? What is the central thing that each onlooker needed in both cases in order to receive redemption and healing?
  3. What is God’s heart toward the cosmos he created? What did he do because of this? Why?
  4. Did God send Jesus to judge the world? Who is not judged? Who judges themselves? In this passage what is the judgment Jesus is speaking of?
  5. What or who is the Light? Why would a person choose not to come to the Light? What are some ways in which we may choose to avoid the Light, and why would we make that choice?
  6. What does it mean to live and walk in darkness? What is the consequence of doing so? Does God see in the darkness? (Hint: See Psalm 139:7-12.) Can we truly hide any of our deeds from God?
  7. Who would come to the Light and why? What does it mean to walk in the light as opposed to walking in darkness? (Hint: See 1 John 1:5-7; 2:9-11.) Who lives in inapproachable light?
  8. What is the central theme John is touching on with regards to our choices of coming to or avoiding the Light, walking in the light or in the darkness? (i.e., It’s all about ________!)

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, March 7, 2021, 3rd Sunday in Lent | Lent | Year B]

GOSPEL: John 2:13–22 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Which Jewish festival was near? Where did Jesus go and why?
  2. Who did Jesus find in the temple and what were they doing there? What was their purpose in doing these things? How was this a violation of God’s intent for the temple?
  3. What did Jesus make, and what did he use it to do? What did Jesus say to the people doing business in the temple? The disciples realized later this was a fulfillment of what scripture?
  4. What did the Jews then say to Jesus? What was his answer? What temple was Jesus referring to?
  5. How did these events affect the disciples’ ability to trust in Jesus?
  6. Who is the body of Christ today? In what way are baptism and communion a public expression of our participation in Jesus’ death and resurrection? In what other ways does Christ’s body participate today in Jesus’ death and resurrection?
  7. How does Jesus teach us to view our human bodies? How do we individually by the way we live participate in Jesus’ death and resurrection?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, February 28, 2021, 2nd Sunday in Lent | Lent | Year B]

GOSPEL: Mark 8:31–38        

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What did Jesus tell his disciples would soon happen to him? What was Peter’s response to Jesus’ teaching? What temptation in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11) did Peter’s rebuke resemble? Are there ways we too respond to Jesus’ teaching about death and resurrection that aren’t how Christ would want us to respond?
  2. What did Jesus do when Peter spoke to him? How was Peter viewing Jesus’ ministry? Why was it important for Peter to see things correctly?
  3. When and how is it appropriate to speak directly and correctively to someone about something they have said or done? Who else was watching their conversation that Jesus saw needed to hear what he said to Peter? Why would it be important for them to understand the point Jesus was making?
  4. What three things did Jesus tell the crowd that those who wanted to be his disciples needed to do? What would make these things difficult for someone to do? What was the paradox regarding life that Jesus wanted the disciples to understand?
  5. Why were these teachings so important for the disciples and the crowd to understand—what did the teachings explain about Jesus and his ministry? In what ways do these instructions apply to believers today?
  6. What did Jesus mean when he said that those who were ashamed of him in that particular generation, he would be ashamed of when he came in glory?
  7. Who was Mark writing this gospel to that all these teachings would directly apply to and why did they need to hear them? How should we apply these instructions to ourselves today?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, February 21, 2021, 1st Sunday in Lent | Lent | Year B]

GOSPEL: Mark 1:9–15       

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Mark says that Jesus traveled from Nazareth to the Jordan River—what did he do there? Who was present at this event?
  2. Where did Jesus go immediately after this? Who compelled Jesus to go there and why? What does this teach us about our relationship with God and why we may face temptations in this world?
  3. Who cared for Jesus following his temptations? Do they care for other human beings as they cared for him? (Hint: see Heb. 1:14.)
  4. Where did Jesus go following this ordeal? What did he do there?
  5. When we are preparing to share the gospel with others, how might we experience opposition to our efforts? What do we do in the face of such opposition?

NEW TESTAMENT: 1 Peter 3:18–22

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who did Jesus Christ die for? How often did he die? What was the purpose for Jesus’ death and resurrection?
  2. What event in Old Testament history resembles today’s baptism ceremony? Baptism isn’t meant to remove dirt from our flesh, but to do what?
  3. Where did Jesus go after his resurrection? Who is subject to Jesus’ authority?
  4. What does Peter say Jesus did when he was dead? Why was it important that Jesus share in our death?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, February 14, 2021 | Transfiguration Sunday | Epiphany | Year B]

GOSPEL: Mark 9:2–9     

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Why did Jesus choose to take Peter, James and John up the mountain with him rather than taking all of the disciples with him—what was special about these three men?
  2. What happened to Jesus on the mountain? What does this tell us about who Jesus is?
  3. The word for “transfigured” means a transformation in essence as well as form, meaning a deep inner change rather than just a change in external appearance. What is Matthew trying to convey by the use of this word? What were the disciples seeing about the true essence of Jesus Christ?
  4. What other person had a similar experience of glowing skin when he spent time with God?
  5. What two other humans were with Jesus and the disciples on the mountain? Why may these two people have been visible to the disciples? What was unique about how these two men died? What was significant about what each one did or said as God’s prophets with regards to the Messiah to come?
  6. How was the cloud on the mountain like something that happened in Moses’ day? Who spoke to Jesus from the cloud? What did he say? Why was this important?
  7. What is the natural human response to a personal encounter with God? How did Jesus, God in human flesh, do to change this response?
  8. Why did Jesus tell the disciples not to tell anybody what happened to them? If they had told people, what might have happened? How would this have helped or hindered Christ’s ministry?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, February 7, 2021 | 5th Sunday of Epiphany | Year B]

GOSPEL: Mark 1:29–39   

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Where did Jesus and his disciples go after they left the synagogue? What does this tell us about Simon?
  2. Who was sick? What did the disciples do when they realized she was sick? What does this teach us about what we can do when someone we know is sick?
  3. What did the woman do when she was healed? What does this teach us about our response to God’s healing in our hearts and lives?
  4. Why did the people wait until evening to bring their sick people to Simon’s door? What would Jesus have done if they had come sooner?
  5. What did Jesus do when the demons were cast out and why?
  6. Where did Jesus go very early the next morning? Why? What does this tell us about Jesus’ humanity? What can we learn from Jesus about our rhythms of life?

Why were all the people looking for Jesus? Why didn’t Jesus stay in the city? What did he do instead? What does this teach us about following Jesus?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, January 31, 2021 | 4th Sunday of Epiphany | Year B]

GOSPEL: Mark 1:21–28 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Where did Jesus go and teach on the Sabbath? Why was this?
  2. What was the response of those who heard his teaching? How did Jesus teach in comparison to the scribes? Why was his teaching different from the scribes’ teaching?
  3. What name did the man with the unclean spirit call Jesus by? What was the significance of this name? Was he correct in using this name?
  4. Why did Jesus tell the unclean spirit to be quiet (literally, “be muzzled”)? What happened when Jesus told the unclean spirit to come out of the man?
  5. How did the people respond to what Jesus did? What happened in the area of Galilee due to this miracle?

OLD TESTAMENT: Deuteronomy 18:15–20

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What kind of prophet did God say he would raise up? What were the people to do regarding him?
  2. What had the people of Israel asked God to do when he met with them at Mt. Sinai? What was God intending to do in response?
  3. What is God’s response to someone who speaks for God without being sent by him? Why did Moses emphasize God’s aversion to false prophecy?
  4. Who was the fulfillment of the prophet to come that would be like Moses? How did the scribes’ response to Jesus mirror this command regarding false prophets? Why?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, January 24, 2021 | 3rd Sunday of Epiphany | Year B]

GOSPEL: Mark 1:14–20 (NASB)

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. After John the Baptizer was arrested and Jesus came into Galilee, what was Jesus preaching? What were those who heard him to do?
  2. What did Simon and Andrew do for a living? What did Jesus invite them to do?
  3. What did Jesus mean by “fishers of men”? In what way are we today to be “fishers of men”?
  4. Who followed Jesus at his invitation? What did they leave behind? How does this apply to us today as followers of Jesus?

NEW TESTAMENT: 1 Corinthians 7:29–31  (NIV)

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What did the apostle Paul mean by “the time is short”? What does this indicate he believed about when Jesus would return? Was he right?
  2. What did Paul mean when he wrote that married members should act as though they were not married, those who were sad should not grieve, and those who purchased things as though they did not own anything? What was his point?
  3. How does someone use the things of the world without being engrossed in them? What does it mean that the present form of this world is passing away?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, January 17, 2021 | 2nd Sunday of Epiphany | Year B]

GOSPEL: John 1:43–51 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What did Jesus say to Philip? What would Philip have had to do in order to accept Jesus’ invitation? How would this have affected his life?
  2. What city was Philip from? Who else was from this city? What did Philip say he had found? What does Philip’s interaction with those he knew teach us about the way we are to share the good news?
  3. What did Philip say about Nazareth? What was he implying? In what ways did Jesus experience prejudice and ridicule because of where he was from?
  4. What made Nathanael believe Jesus was the Messiah? What “greater things” did Jesus say Nathanael would see? When would they take place?

GOSPEL: 1 Corinthians 6:12–20

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What is the difference between something being lawful and something being profitable? What did Paul mean by this?
  2. How is it possible to be “mastered by” something that we do? Why would God not want this to happen?
  3. What is our body not designed for? What is our body designed for instead? What is God’s desire for each of our bodies?
  4. What are our bodies members of? What will God do to our bodies that he did with Jesus’ body?
  5. Who did God say were “one flesh” in Genesis 1:1? Why would our God, who is love, prefer that we have sexual relationships only between those who are bound together as ‘one flesh’? What did Jesus teach us God’s response was to those who do not honor God’s preference regarding ‘one flesh’ unions?
  6. When we receive Jesus as Lord, how are we bound to him? When someone has sex with someone other than his or her spouse, who is he or she sinning against? Why are we to flee immorality?
  7. Who is present in every relationship, sexual or otherwise, because he is present in us? Who do we belong to? Why?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, January 10, 2021 | Baptism of the Lord | Epiphany | Year B]

GOSPEL: Mark 1:4–11 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What type of baptism was John the Baptizer preaching in the wilderness? Who was going out to him to be baptized?
  2. What were the people doing as they were baptized? Why is it important to do this?
  3. Why was Jesus baptized? Whose sins did Jesus confess when he was baptized?
  4. What did John the Baptizer say about Jesus? How is Jesus’ baptism different than the baptism of John?
  5. What is the result of John’s baptism? What is the result of Jesus’ baptism?
  6. Who was present at Jesus’ baptism? Who was Jesus anointed with and why?
  7. What did the Father say to Jesus when he was baptized? Since we are in Christ, what is the Father’s word to you and me?
  8. How does Grace Communion International practice baptism today? What is the most important baptism we each need to experience? What is the purpose for water baptism?
  9. When someone has been baptized in another church but wants to join our church congregation, do they need to be rebaptized? Why or why not?
  10. Can children be baptized? Why or why not?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, January 3, 2021 | 2nd Sunday in Christmas | Christmas | Year B]

GOSPEL: John 1:10–18 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who is John talking about in this passage? What was made through him? Who did not know him?
  2. Who did he come to? How did they receive him? Who did receive him?
  3. What right did he give to those who received him? What special birth did John talk about with regards to those who believe in Jesus’ name?
  4. Who became flesh and dwelt among us? Why is it important to know that he became flesh? What was the glory this person had and where did it come from?
  5. What was given through Moses? What was realized through Jesus Christ?
  6. What is the significance of Jesus Christ being full of grace and truth? Why are both important?
  7. What was John the Baptizer’s testimony regarding this person? What does it mean that “of his fullness we have all received”?
  8. Who has seen God the Father? How do we know what God the Father is like? Why?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, December 27, 2020 | Holy Family | Christmas | Year B]

GOSPEL: Luke 2:22–40 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Read Lev. 12:1–8. What does it say that an Israelite woman was to do after the birth of her child? What does Joseph and Mary’s offering say about their financial status?
  2. Read Exod. 13:2, 12, 13, 15; Num. 18:16. What was expected of Israelite parents of a firstborn child?
  3. Who in the Old Testament presented her firstborn child to God? Why might Mary and Joseph have followed her example?
  4. Who was Simeon? What was he hoping for? What did he say about Jesus? What did he say about Mary? What can we expect when we follow in Jesus’ footsteps?
  5. Who was Anna? How long had she served at the temple? What did she tell everyone about Jesus? How might Anna’s expectation of what Jesus would do be different than what Jesus actually did?
  6. Where did Luke say Mary and Joseph went when they were done in Jerusalem? In Matthew 1, we are told that they lived in Bethlehem for about two years, and then went to Egypt for a time before moving to Nazareth. What does this tell us about how the gospel writers told Jesus’ story?
  7. What does Luke say about Jesus as he grew up? What does Luke meant by “the grace of God was upon Him”?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, December 20, 2020 | 4th Sunday of Advent—Love | Advent | Year B]

GOSPEL: Luke 1:26–38 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who is Gabriel? What was his mission from God? Think about the other times Gabriel is mentioned in the Bible—what did he do? [Hint: See Daniel 8:16; 9:21; Luke 1:19.]
  2. What was Joseph’s lineage? Why was this important?
  3. What was Mary’s initial response when Gabriel greeted her? Why was she a woman favored by God?
  4. Who would Mary’s child be and what would he be called? What was he to do?
  5. What did Mary ask the angel? How did he respond?
  6. What might the consequences have been in the Jewish culture of her day of Mary’s giving birth to a child without being married? What does us teach us about the possible consequences of our spiritual rebirth?
  7. Who was Elizabeth? What happened to Elizabeth that Mary would have found surprising?
  8. What did the angel say about the word of God? How does this apply to what God says is going to happen next? How does this give us encouragement when facing difficulties?
  9. What is Mary’s final response to Gabriel’s announcement? In what way does this reflect our response to Christ being birthed in us by the Spirit?
  10. How has God favored all people through what Mary did and because of her humble response to Gabriel’s announcement?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, December 13, 2020 | 3rd Sunday of Advent—Joy | Advent | Year B]

GOSPEL: John 1:6–8, 19–28

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who is the Light? Why did John the Baptist come as a witness to the Light?
  2. What did the priests and Levites ask John? Who did he say he wasn’t? Why was it important to them to know who he was?
  3. How did John the Baptizer describe himself? How was his ministry a fulfillment of Old Testament scripture?
  4. What was John doing that the Pharisees were concerned about? Why would calling the Jews to repentance and baptism for the remission of sins be offensive to the Pharisees?

NEW TESTAMENT: 1 Thessalonians 5:16–24

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. When are we to be joyful? How often should we pray? When are we to express gratitude to God? Why would doing these things constantly be God’s will for us in Christ Jesus?
  2. What does Paul say we are not to do to the Spirit? How are we to treat the messages of those whom the Spirit inspires? What does this verse say to us about how we are to act in our relationship with the Holy Spirit?
  3. Why is it important to examine everything carefully? What are we to do with regards to good and evil?
  4. Who sanctifies us or makes us holy? Who keeps us blameless? What ultimately is the way in which we do God’s will?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, December 6, 2020 | 2nd Sunday of Advent—Peace | Advent | Year B]

GOSPEL: Mark 1:1–8

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who does Mark say that Jesus Christ is? What is Mark describing the beginning of?
  2. Read Isaiah 40:3. How does Mark apply this scripture to John the Baptizer? Read Malachi 3:1. How is this scripture applied by Mark to John the Baptizer? What can we learn from Mark about applying Old Testament scriptures to Jesus’ life and ministry?
  3. What kind of baptism was John the Baptizer preaching? Who was being baptized? What did they do when they were being baptized?
  4. What was significant about the clothing John the Baptizer was wearing and the foods he ate? Who did he identify himself with?
  5. Who was he talking about when he said someone was coming whose sandal he was unfit to loosen? What would this person do when he came? Why was this so important for the people of Israel to hear?

NEW TESTAMENT: 2 Peter 3:8–15a

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What is different about the way God sees time from the way we see time? Did the writer intend this statement about days and years to be taken literally?
  2. What does Peter say about God’s failure to immediately bring the end of the age? What is his reason for doing so?
  3. How will we know when the glorious day of the Lord will occur? What should we do since this is the case?
  4. How can we as God’s people hasten the day of his coming? What did Peter mean by this?
  5. When Christ returns in glory, what will happen to heavens and the earth? What is God’s promise to us about this? What are we to do while we wait for him to keep his promise?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, November 29, 2020 | 1st  Sunday of Advent–Hope | Advent | Year B]

GOSPEL: Mark 13:24–37

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What signs in the sky happened when Jesus was crucified—when he suffered and died? What does the word tribulation mean? What are some ways in which people, including the people of God, experience tribulation right now?
  2. Who is the Son of Man? Who will he send forth when he comes in glory? Who will he gather before him and why?
  3. Who are the elect? Where are they gathered from? Who is the Elect One—the Anointed One? What does it mean to be “in Christ”?
  4. What are we to learn from the fig tree? What does it mean that Christ is near, right at the door?
  5. Which generation was Jesus talking about when he said, “this generation will not pass away”? What is going to “pass away” when Jesus returns in glory? What is our assurance that Jesus will return?
  6. Who is the only person who knows when Jesus will return in glory? Why is this?
  7. Who did Jesus say should be on the alert? Why should they be on the alert until Jesus returns in glory?
  8. What are we to be doing in the mean time until Jesus comes in glory?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020 | Christ the King | After Pentecost | Year A]

GOSPEL: Matthew 25:31–46

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who is the Son of Man? What will he do when he comes in glory? Who will he gather before him and why?
  2. What does he do with the sheep and the goats? Why is it important that Matthew uses the name Son of Man rather than the Son of God?
  3. When was the kingdom of God prepared? Who was it prepared for? Why does Jesus include them in his kingdom?
  4. Who are the sheep? What makes them different than the goats?
  5. When was the eternal fire prepared? Who was it originally prepared for? Who does Jesus say will join them there? Why?
  6. In what way did the sheep demonstrate God’s love? Who did Jesus say they were caring for when they did this? Why did he say this?
  7. What are some tangible ways in everyday life in which we demonstrate God’s love?
  8. What makes it difficult to do to share God’s love with everyone? How do we overcome our reluctance and inability to serve and love difficult people?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020 | Proper 28 | Year A]

GOSPEL: Matthew 25:1–13

14“For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. 16Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. 17 In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. 18 But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ 21His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 22Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’ 23His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 24And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. 25And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ 26But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. 27Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival, I would have received my money back with interest. 28Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’ 29For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 30Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Jesus said the kingdom of heaven was like a man going on a journey—what did he do before he left?
  2. What did God entrust to humanity after creating them? What did Jesus entrust his disciples with after the resurrection? With what does God entrust believers and his church?
  3. How did the man distribute the talents to his three servants? What were they to be doing with them while he was gone?
  4. What did the first two servants do with what they were given? How were they rewarded?
  5. What did the third servant do which what he was given? What did he have to give to the man when he returned?
  6. How did the third slave describe his master? Was he correct? In what ways does our stewardship of what we’re given reflect our view of who God is and what his attitude toward us is?
  7. What did the man say the third servant should have done with his money? How is putting to work what we’ve been entrusted with our participation with Jesus in what he is doing in the world?
  8. What was the reward of the third slave? What was done with the money that he had been given? Why was this?
  9. How does faith in Christ enable us to wisely steward what God entrusts to us?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020 | Proper 27 | Year A]

GOSPEL: Matthew 25:1–13

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What did Jesus say ten virgins going to meet a bridegroom was comparable to?
  2. What was in the virgins’ lamps? What made five of these different than the other five? What is the oil symbolic of? [Hint: see verse 12.]
  3. Who fell asleep? How did they know the bridegroom was on his way?
  4. What happened while they were sleeping? What did the prudent virgins tell the others to do? What happened while the foolish virgins were gone?
  5. Did the foolish virgins really need the oil in order to enter the wedding feast? What were they trusting in—their ability to make themselves acceptable or the mercy of the bridegroom?
  6. What happened to the foolish virgins when they attempted to join the wedding feast? What did the bridegroom say the foolish virgins lacked? What was the real difference between the foolish and wise virgins?
  7. How are we to wait for Jesus’ return? What is the most important thing we can be doing while we wait? What are we to put our faith in—our ability to do enough good works to qualify or God’s mercy and compassion demonstrated in Jesus Christ?
  8. What does Jesus say eternal life is? [Hint: see John 17:3.] Is eternal life something we earn by our good works? How do we participate in Jesus’ gift of eternal life both now and in the world to come?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020 | Proper 26 | All Saints | Year A]

GOSPEL: Matthew 23:1–12

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who was Jesus speaking to? How did the scribes and Pharisees get their religious authority?
  2. Were the people to do what the scribes and Pharisees said to do? What did Jesus say the people should not do relation to them? Why?
  3. Why were the scribes and Pharisees so meticulous in their good deeds? Where did they prefer to sit when they were at public events? Why?
  4. In what ways do we become meticulous in our good deeds or seek the places of prominence in the public square? What are some ways we can avoid following the example of the scribes and Pharisess?
  5. How does Jesus’ admonition apply to electing people to offices of leadership? Whom do we know who holds a public office today who behaves like the scribes and Pharisees? How does it affect their ability to lead well? What ultimately is the result of their leadership?
  6. What effect does a humble servant leader have on those he leads? Why?
  7. Who is the Teacher Jesus said is the only one we should be taught by? How are we related to one another? In what way does this apply to leadership within the Church—how does God want his people to lead?
  8. Who is our only true father? Who is our only true leader? How do we address those in our lives who are fathers and leaders?
  9. Who does Jesus say the truly greatest person is? What will happen to those who exalt themselves? What will happen to those who humble themselves? Which of these did the scribes and Pharisees do? Which of these did Jesus do? Which one received the exaltation of God?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020 | Proper 25 | Year A]

GOSPEL: Matthew 22:34–46

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who decided to ask Jesus questions? What role did they play as leaders of the Jews? What was their purpose in asking these questions?
  2. Which is the great commandment in the law? Why did the Jews consider it the greatest and foremost commandment?
  3. Jews recite the Shema in the morning and the evening. This six-word creedal statement (sometimes referred to as a prayer) derives its name from the statement’s first Hebrew word, שְׁמַ֖ע (shema’)—which is the command to “hear”—and is expanded to include all of Deut 6:4–9. How is the Shema related to the greatest commandment?
  4. What commandment did Jesus set as equally important to the greatest commandment? What depends on these two commandments? What did Jesus mean by this?
  5. The Jews believe the Messiah was the son of whom? What is the correct answer to Jesus’ question as to whose son the Messiah is?
  6. What quote did Jesus use to stump the Jewish religious leaders? What did the scripture Jesus quoted really mean? Why would this have created difficulties for the Pharisees?
  7. When the Shema says that “the Lord is one”, it indicates that God is a unity or oneness. What does this teach us about Jesus and his Father? Why would understanding and accepting this be a problem for these Jewish leaders?
  8. How does understanding the true nature of God as one God, Father, Son and Spirit, affect our desire and ability to obey him, i.e. to love him and love others?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, October 18, 2020 | Proper 24 | Year A]

GOSPEL: Matthew 22:15–22

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What were the Pharisees plotting to do? Why? Who came with them to ask him questions?
  2. When these people told Jesus they knew he was truthful and taught the way of God in truth, and deferred to no one, what did they really mean? Why would Jesus call them hypocrites? What was their true motive in questioning him?
  3. What coin was used in the poll-tax? Why was this significant in Jesus’ response to them?
  4. When Jesus answered, he told them to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to give to God what is God’s. What belongs to Caesar? What belongs to God? What does this teach us about paying taxes and giving to God?
  5. What happens when we place our allegiance to our government, our political party, or our nation above our allegiance to God? How do we differentiate between our responsibility to our nation and government, and our responsibility to God?

OLD TESTAMENT: Isaiah 45:1–7

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who is God speaking to through Isaiah the prophet? What role would he play in Israel’s life?
  2. In what way does God intervene in world events and work through world leaders? According to Isaiah’s prophecy to Cyrus, what kind of relationship does a ruler need to have with God in order for God to use them to accomplish his purposes?
  3. What is God’s purpose in working out the deliverance of his people? What is it that he wants human beings to know about him?
  4. What attitude and approach should any human leader have with regarding to rulership, leadership, or stewardship? How does this impact the way we cast our votes during an election?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, October 11, 2020 | Proper 23 | Year A]

GOSPEL: Matthew 22:1–14

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who was Jesus talking to? What was the subject of this parable? How did it apply to the people Jesus was talking to?
  2. Who was the king in this story? Who was the son? Who did God first invite to the wedding feast? What was their response? What does this picture?
  3. When the king sent his slaves again, what happened to them? What was this a picture of? How this apply to the people Jesus was talking to?
  4. Who did the king end up inviting to the wedding feast who actually came? Who was entering into the kingdom of heaven which fit this description?
  5. A guest to a wedding was always given the garments they needed to wear when they were invited—why was one of the guests not in the wedding garments he was given? What is this a picture of? Why is it important to wear the garments God gives us rather than our own?
  6. In what way do the last guests invited qualify to attend the wedding feast? What makes them different from those the king originally invited? What does this say about the Jewish chief priests and Pharisees?
  7. Many people were called to the wedding, but very few attended—what happened to those who refused to attend? What happened to those who sought to attend on their own terms?
  8. Who does God want to attend the wedding feast of his Son? How do we know we are invited? How do we accept God’s invitation and participate even now in the marriage supper?

A helpful article from GCI related to the marriage supper: The Divine Drama

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, October 4, 2020 | Proper 22 | Year A]

OLD TESTAMENT: Isaiah 5:1–7

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who is the beloved in this song about the vineyard? Who is the vineyard? What was the beloved’s hope for the vineyard?
  2. What did the beloved do to the vineyard in the hopes for a good crop? What did the beloved reap from the vineyard?
  3. What was the beloved going to do the vineyard as a result of the harvest? How does this apply to what happened to the people of Israel and Judah?

GOSPEL: Matthew 21:33–46

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. In what way does this parable draw on Isaiah’s prophecy? Why would Jesus use this particular imagery?
  2. In this parable, who is the landowner? Who are the vine-growers? Who are the slaves sent to collect the harvest? Who is the son?
  3. Where was the son killed? How does this picture what Jesus knew would be coming?
  4. See Daniel 2:34-35, 44-45. What does this scripture have to say about the stone which the builders rejected? What would the Jewish leaders have thought Jesus was referring to when he talked about himself in this way? Why would they find this offensive? What was in their hearts with regards to Jesus?
  5. What ultimately did God allow to occur to the Jewish nation following Jesus’ crucifixion? How was this a fulfillment of what was written by Isaiah and spoken by Jesus?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, September 27, 2020 | Proper 21 | Year A]

GOSPEL: Matthew 21:23–32

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who came to Jesus to challenge him? What was the question they asked him? Why might have they asked this question? (Hint: see the context—what happen prior to this in Matthew’s gospel?)
  2. What did these men hope to achieve in questioning Jesus? Did Jesus answer their question directly? Why not? Why didn’t they answer Jesus’ response?
  3. In the parable Jesus told, who was the landowner? Who were the two sons? What was the difference in the way the two sons obeyed their father? Why would these men have found this parable offensive?

NEW TESTAMENT: Philippians 2:1-13

  1. What are the objective or spiritual realities realities Paul states in the first verse of the passage? Who is the Source of all these things? Through whom do we receive them? How do we receive them?
  2. What are we to be doing because these things are true? Whose example do we follow?
  3. Jesus has been highly exalted by the Father—to what extent did Jesus humble himself and become obedient before this? Why is Jesus’ name above every other name?
  4. What is every tongue to confess? What are we to work out with fear and trembling? Where do we find the will to obey? Where do we find the power to obey? How does this relate to the objective or spiritual realities in verse 1?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, September 20, 2020 | Proper 20 | Year A]

GOSPEL: Matthew 20:1-16

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What is Jesus describing with this parable? Who does the landowner represent? Who do the laborers represent? What does the vineyard represent?
  2. When did the landowner hire his workers? What did the landowner agree to pay each laborer? Is this payment based on how many hours they worked during the day?
  3. What did the laborers think the landowner should have done? Were they right? Was the landowner free to do what he wanted with his money? Why? Why would he want to pay the last the same as he did the first?
  4. In Jesus Christ, to whom has God made the kingdom of God available? What does each person receive simply because of Jesus Christ’s life, death, resurrection and ascension? Why does God do it this way?
  5. How does what a person receives today differ from what James, John, or one of the members of the early church received? Why or why not?
  6. What did Jesus mean by saying the first would be last and the last first? In what ways do we often act like the laborers who believed the landowner should have paid them more for having labored longer?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, September 13, 2020 | Proper 19 | Year A]

GOSPEL: Matthew 18:21-35

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. When Peter asked how many times he should forgive someone, what was the answer he was probably hoping to receive? What number did Jesus give him? Why?
  2. What did Jesus compare to a king settling his accounts? What was the king’s purpose in bringing each of his servants to him and having them give him an account? Can this be used as an example for us in how we interact with one another? Why or why not?
  3. One slave owed ten thousand talents and couldn’t pay the king back—his debt was too large. What would normally happen to someone who couldn’t pay their debt? What did the king do instead? How does this picture what God did with humanity in Christ?
  4. The servant was offered grace—did he recognize the great gift he was given? What did he do to the people who owed him money? What might have motivated him to force them to pay him back? Did the servant really know his king and understand his heart towards him? How does this apply to our relationship with the Father?
  5. At first, what was the king’s reason for forgiving the servant’s debt? What does this say about what kind of heart we are to have towards others? What should the servant have done to those who owed him money and why?
  6. In what way is this parable an opportunity to look at our own hearts and consider how we treat those who we feel are indebted to us in some way? Is it right to punish someone who hurts us or errs against un in some way? Why or why not?
  7. In this story the lord or king was moved to anger by the slave’s unforgiving behavior—does God become angry when we are unforgiving? What type of anger does God express towards those who are unforgiving and what purpose does it serve? How is it an expression of his unconditional love?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, September 6, 2020 | Proper 18 | Year A]

GOSPEL: Matthew 18:15–20

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. In what setting is this teaching to be applied? Why is this important to keep in mind?
  2. What are we to do when a brother or sister sins? Why do we tell only that person how they have sinned—why does this matter?
  3. What do we do if the person will not listen to us? Why only two or three witnesses? What are the benefits of doing this?
  4. What are we to do when the person still will not hear us? Why do we put a boundary between us and them?
  5. How are what God’s Spirit-led ministers do and say supposed to be a reflection of God’s binding and loosing in heaven? What is meant by this?
  6. What is the benefit of believers gathering together in unity when they pray? What does their unity demonstrate?

NEW TESTAMENT: Romans 13:8–14

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What is the only thing we are to owe a fellow believer?
  2. What does love never do? What is the fulfillment of the law?
  3. What are we to lay aside? What are we to put on? How does this relate to Paul’s discussion regarding love?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, August 30, 2020 | Proper 17 | Year A]

GOSPEL: Matthew 16:21–28

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What was Jesus beginning to show his disciples at this time? What was Peter’s response? Why might he have said what he did to Jesus?
  2. How did Jesus respond to Peter saying, “God forbid it, Lord”? What was Peter setting his mind on? What were “God’s interests” that Jesus was referring to?
  3. What is a person who wishes to follow Jesus to do? What does it mean to deny oneself? Whose cross are we to take up?
  4. What did Jesus mean by saying “gains the whole world”? What are some examples of this in our lives today?
  5. What did Jesus mean by “forfeits his soul”? What is the price paid for our soul? Is it a price any of us can pay?
  6. What is the name Jesus gave to himself in verse 27? Why is this name important? How is he going to come when he returns to earth again? Who will be with him?
  7. What were some of them going to witness before they died?

NEW TESTAMENT: Romans 13:8–14

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. In Romans 13:8-14 the apostle Paul talks about how the law is fulfilled. What is the fullest expression of the law? What are some ways in which this is expressed?
  2. What are we to put on? How does this relate to Jesus telling his disciples to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow him? What are some ways we are to deny ourselves?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, August 23, 2020 | Proper 16 | Year A]

GOSPEL: Matthew 16:13–20

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What question was Jesus asking his disciples? Who were people saying Jesus was?
  2. Who did Simon say Jesus was? Why was this important for them to understand? Who did Jesus say revealed this info to Simon? How do we come to know who Jesus is and who God is?
  3. What name did Jesus give Simon Barjona? (Note: Jesus spoke Aramaic and would have used the word kepha for rock. Matthew wrote in Greek. There are two words in Greek, the masculine noun petros—meaning a detached boulder, and the feminine noun petra—meaning bedrock. This was a play on words: “…you are petros and on this petra I will build my church…”)
  4. Read 1 Peter 2:4-9. Who is the builder? What does Peter say Jesus is building? Who is the living stone or cornerstone of this building? What does Peter call the people of God? What is our purpose?
  5. What is “the gates of Hades” a synonym for or what does it mean? What was Jesus prophesying was going to occur that would defeat “the gates of Hades”?
  6. The keys of access to a household were given to a steward. In what way after the resurrection did Peter and the apostles enact as stewards of the kingdom of God on earth what was bound and loosed in heaven? (See Acts 2:14-36; Acts 8:14-17; Acts 10)
  7. Why would Jesus not want the disciples to tell anyone who he really was? How would this news getting out have affected his ministry and finishing what he was setting out to do?
  8. Read Romans 12:1-8. What are we to do as living stones in offering ourselves to God? What are we not to be conformed to? How are we to be transformed?
  9. In what way does Paul’s description of the various gifting within the church resemble the picture of the new Jerusalem (Rev. 21:1-2, 14, 18-21) and Peter’s example of living stones?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, August 16, 2020 | Proper 15 | Year A]

GOSPEL: Matthew 15:21–28

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What was unusual about where Jesus was traveling? Why might he have done this? (Hint: See Matthew 15:10–20)
  2. Where was the woman from, who called out to Jesus? What did she ask for? What was wrong with her daughter?
  3. What name did this woman give to Jesus? What was the significance of this name?
  4. How did Jesus initially respond to the woman’s request? When the disciples insisted that Jesus send her away, what did he tell them? Why would this be a significant reason for Jesus not to help her?
  5. How does this fit in with the conversation Jesus had with the Pharisees and scribes earlier in the chapter? (Hint: See Matthew 15:10–20) Who was Jesus initially sent to and what was their response? What does the book of Acts teach us about who responded to the gospel in a greater way than those Jesus was initially sent to?
  6. In a companion passage for this Sunday, Romans 11:1–2a, 29–32, the apostle Paul says God has not rejected his people. Who has God “shut up in disobedience”? Who does God choose to show mercy to?
  7. How did the woman in this story approach Jesus? What example did he give her as a reason not to help her? What did she say in return? (Note: Jesus used the term for wild dogs, while she used the term for little household pet dogs.)
  8. What did Jesus eventually do? What did he say the woman had? How did she demonstrate this? What does this miracle teach us about God’s mercy?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, August 9, 2020 | Proper 14 | Year A]

GOSPEL: Matthew 14:22-33

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What was the event which had occurred right before Jesus’ disciples got into the boat? What was Jesus doing while they were going across the lake? Why was he doing this? What does this teach us about ourselves and our life in Christ?
  2. Where was the boat when Jesus ended his time on the shore? How did Jesus come to them? What did the disciples think he was? What was their emotional response to seeing Jesus in the midst of the storm? How is this often our response to God when we are in the middle of a personal storm in our lives?
  3. What did Jesus first say to the disciples? Why is this so often the first thing the angels tell humans when they have a message for them? What does this tell us about how we should respond to God?
  4. What did Peter say to Jesus? How did Jesus respond? What did Peter do? What happened when Peter began to focus more on the storm than on Jesus? In what ways do we often do what Peter did when life gets difficult?
  5. How is Peter’s cry for help a good illustration of humanity’s need for grace? What is Jesus’ response when someone genuinely cries out for help? What does this tell us about the heart of the Father and what kind of God he is?
  6. What happened when Peter and Jesus got in the boat? What did the disciples do when they saw the wind die down? What is our response to God dissolving the storms in our lives and rescuing us from drowning in sin, evil, and death?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, August 2, 2020 | Proper 13 | Year A]

GOSPEL: Matthew 14:13–21

13“Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities.  14When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick. 15When it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said, “This place is desolate and the hour is already late; so send the crowds away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16But Jesus said to them, ‘They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!’ 17They said to Him, ‘We have here only five loaves and two fish.’ 18And He said, ‘Bring them here to Me. 19Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds, 20and they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets. 21 There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What had happened to John the Baptizer, Jesus’ cousin? (Hint: read Matt. 14:1-12) What was Jesus’ response to this event? Why do you think he did this?
  2. What was Jesus’ response to the people seeking him out? How does this show the heart of the Father?
  3. What did the disciples tell Jesus he should do, since it was so late in the day? What did Jesus tell them they should do? What reason did the disciples give for not being able to do what Jesus wanted them to do? How does this often match up with our own response to those things Jesus asks us to do for other people?
  4. What did Jesus tell the disciples to bring him? What did he do with it? What was the result of the disciples bringing what they had to Jesus? What does this teach us about how to do ministry?
  5. What was left over at the end of the miracle? What do you think the disciples did with what was left? What does this teach us about the extravagant grace of God?

OLD TESTAMENT: Isaiah 55:1-5

1“Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 2Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance. 3Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, according to the faithful mercies shown to David. 4Behold, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. 5Behold, you will call a nation you do not know, and a nation which knows you not will run to you, because of the Lord your God, even the Holy One of Israel; for He has glorified you.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who does Isaiah say should come to the waters? Who should buy and eat? What does the prophet say they are spending their money and wages on?
  2. Where does real nourishment and true abundance come from?
  3. Who was God’s everlasting covenant with? (See Isaiah 52-54.) Who did this prophecy point to—who was David a picture of? Who was the nation God would call through this man?
  4. In what way is this prophecy a hopeful presentation of what God intended to do? How does the idea of food and water without cost help you to understand and appreciate God’s abundant grace?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, July 26, 2020 | Proper 12 | Year A]

GOSPEL: Matthew 13:31–33, 44–52

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What is the central topic of these parables? Why would Jesus use parables to explain this to his disciples and the crowds around him?
  2. In the parable of the mustard seed, who is the sower and who is the seed? What is so significant about the mustard seed starting out very small but ending up large enough to be a place of rest for the birds? What was Jesus describing?
  3. In the parable of the leaven, who is the leaven and who is the woman? What is the flour? What happens to the flour? How does this picture Jesus’ central topic?
  4. In the parable of the merchant seeking pearls, who is the merchant? Who is the pearl of great value? What did the merchant do to purchase this special pearl? How does this picture what Jesus did?
  5. In the parable of the fish, what is the sea? What is the net and when is it thrown into the sea? Who do the different types of fish in the net picture?
  6. Which fish were gathered in the net and brought to shore? What happened to the fish in the net? Where did the “good” fish go? Could the fish live where they were going? Where did the “bad” fish go? Were they able to live there?
  7. Who sorts through the fish and puts them where they are to go? Whom makes the decision about where the fish end up? What is the reason for sorting through the fish?
  8. What happened to the “good” fish? What happens to fish when they are put into containers and stored? How does this picture our participation in Christ? Why is this important?
  9. Why would Jesus say the “bad” fish would experience weeping and gnashing of teeth if those fish actually ended up where they normally live? What was Jesus referring to when he spoke of a furnace of fire—what are other examples in Scripture of divine fire? How does our rejection of Christ resemble the “bad” fish seeking life on their own terms?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, July 19, 2020 | Proper 11 | Year A]

GOSPEL:  Matthew 13:24–30, 36–43

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What did Jesus compare to the man who sowed good seed in his field? What happened when the man was away from his field? What happened to the crop in the field?
  2. When the servants asked the man about gathering up the tares, what did the man say? How and when was the crop to be harvested?
  3. Who is the good seed? What is the field? Who are the crop of the good seed? Who are the crop of tares? What is the enemy? What is the harvest?
  4. Who is sent to gather in the harvest? How does Jesus describe what will happen to those who are the tares when the harvest is gathered in? What will happen to those who are the good seed?

NEW TESTAMENT: Romans 8:12–25

 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What are we obligated to live to? What do we often think we are obligated to live to and what does it result in?
  2. What spirit leads to fear? What spirit have we received instead?
  3. Who are the sons of God? How do we know that we are God’s adopted children? Who are we heirs of and heirs with?
  4. In order to be glorified with Christ, what must we do with him? How does Paul compare the value between these two things?
  5. What is the creation eagerly waiting for? Why? Who is suffering the pains of childbirth? What is meant by this?
  6. Why do we, like creation, groan within ourselves? What is the purpose and benefit of hope?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, July 12, 2020 | Proper 10 | Year A]

GOSPEL: Matthew 13:1–9, 18–23

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who was Jesus talking to? What is a parable? Why did Jesus speak to the people in parables?
  2. What were the different places where the sower sowed seed and what happened to the seed in those places?
  3. Why would Jesus say, “He who has ears, let him hear”?
  4. What is the seed and who is the one who sows it?
  5. What did the seed sown by the side of the road picture? What are some examples of what this looks like when we share the gospel today? How does the manner in which we present the gospel affect a person’s response to it?
  6. What was the seed sown in rocky places a picture of? What would be a good example of this happening today in the life of someone who has heard the gospel? In what ways can we as the church encourage new believers to endure?
  7. What was the seed choked by weeds and thorns a picture of? Today, what are some things which limit or negate our fruitfulness as believers?
  8. What is pictured by the seed which bears fruit? How can we participate with God in bearing good fruit? How is bearing good fruit related to hearing the Word?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, July 5, 2020 | Proper 9 | Year A]

GOSPEL: Matthew 11:16–19, 25–30

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What did the Jewish leaders accuse John the Baptizer of doing? What did they accuse the Son of Man of doing? Who was the Son of Man?
  2. What did Jesus mean when he said “wisdom is shown to be right by its results?” What was more important to Jesus than the opinion of the Jewish leaders?
  3. Who did Jesus address his prayer to? What does this show us about his relationship with God? Who did Jesus say God takes pleasure in revealing his goodness and love to rather than to the Jewish leaders?
  4. Who has God the Father entrusted everything to? Why is this important to understand?
  5. Who truly knows the Father? How do any human beings come to know their heavenly Father? What does this teach us about the centrality of Christ?
  6. Who did Jesus invite to come to him? What were they to expect to find in him? What did Jesus mean by this?
  7. What is Jesus’ yoke? Why is this yoke different and better than that of the Jewish religious leaders of that time?
  8. Why did Jesus say people should allow him to teach them? How was he different as a teacher than the religious leaders? What will people find if they allow Jesus to teach them?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, June 28, 2020 | Proper 7 | Year A]

GOSPEL: Matthew 10:24–39

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Jesus told his disciples that those who received the disciples received him as well—who else would they be receiving? How is this possible?
  2. What does it mean to receive Jesus? How does one receive Jesus by receiving those he has sent? What is the reward in receiving Jesus?
  3. What is the reward for giving a cup of cold water to someone in need? What does it mean to give someone a drink “in the name of a disciple”? What is the point Jesus is trying to make here?

NEW TESTAMENT: Romans 6:12–23

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What are we not allow to reign in us? How are we to be not using the parts of our body? How are we to be using them instead?
  2. What is not to be our master? Why? Does this mean it is okay to sin?
  3. What is the result of presenting ourselves as slaves for obedience? Who are we to be slaves of—sin or obedience? What is the result of being slaves to each one? What did Jesus do for us—what did he make us slaves to?
  4. What is the result of presenting ourselves as slaves to righteousness? Are we genuinely slaves then? What is our true freedom?
  5. What are the wages of sin? What is the free gift of God? Which one have you chosen to participate in and receive?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, June 21, 2020 | Proper 7 | Year A]

GOSPEL: Matthew 10:24–39

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who did Jesus say his disciples were to become like? What did the Jewish leaders call Jesus? How were the disciples to expect to be treated by the leaders of the Jews?
  2. What did Jesus mean when he said that nothing that is concealed would remain that way? What are Jesus disciples to do with what he tells them?
  3. What were the disciples told about fear? What keeps Jesus’ disciples from living in fear?
  4. What are Jesus’ disciples to confess? What would Jesus do if they did this? What would he do if they denied him?
  5. What did Jesus say about bringing peace? What did he mean by this? What would demonstrate that someone is worthy of Jesus? What would demonstrate that someone is not worthy of Jesus?
  6. What are we to lose and what will we find if we lose it? What did Jesus mean by this?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, June 14, 2020 | Proper 6 | Year A]

GOSPEL: Matthew 9:35–10:8               

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What was Jesus doing in the cities he was going through? What did he feel toward the people he encountered? What does this tell us about our response to people we meet during our everyday lives?
  2. What did Jesus mean by God’s “harvest”? What did he tell the disciples to do with regards to it? In what ways does this apply to Jesus’ disciples today?
  3. When Jesus called his disciples to himself, what did he give them? What were they to do with it? Has God given this same thing to believers today?
  4. Who were the original twelve apostles? Who was named first? Who was named last? What do you think might be the reason they are named in pairs—in a series of two people together?
  5. What may be the difference between a disciple (a learner) and an apostle? (Hint: It has to do with what Jesus did in verse 5.) What are some ways in which Christians today are meant to behave as disciples and as apostles?
  6. Where were the apostles to say away from? Why was this? Was there a time when Jesus told them to go to these places? If so, when?
  7. What were the apostles to do on this missionary journey? What were they to say was “at hand”? What would be the evidence that the apostles were sent by God to preach this message?
  8. In what ways are believers today sent by Jesus? What is the evidence that they are God’s representatives in this world?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, June 7, 2020 | Pentecost | Year A]

OLD TESTAMENT: Psalm 8                

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. In what way does the psalmist describe God’s name? How do we know the splendor of God’s name? Who is God Lord over?
  2. What does the psalmist say is amazing about human beings? When the psalmist uses the expression “son of man”, who does this bring to mind? How does the son of man go from being lower than God to being crowned with glory and majesty?
  3. How do we participate in Jesus’ lordship over heaven and earth? How does this affect our relationship with all God has made?

GOSPEL: Matthew 28:16–20                

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Where did Jesus tell the disciples to meet him? What was their reaction to seeing him there?
  2. What may have caused doubt in the minds of some of those who saw him? They were sure of the resurrection—what exactly were they doubting?
  3. What did Jesus say had been given to him? How does this relate to what happened to Jesus during his forty days in the wilderness? (See Matthew 4:8-10).
  4. Because of what Jesus had been given, what are we as Jesus’ disciples or followers to do? How are we to do it? In whose name do we do it? For how long was Jesus commissioning us to keep on doing this?

Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, May 31, 2020 | Pentecost | Year A]

GOSPEL: John 7:37-39                         

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. 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?
  2. Why was the Spirit not yet given? Who is the Source of the Spirit?
  3. 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         

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What (or who) is necessary for us to recognize and give heed to Jesus as Lord? What is given to us by the Spirit?
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. Who decides which gifts will be distributed to each person? How does this demonstrate the Gift Giver of these gifts has personhood?
  5. 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?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, May 24, 2020 | Ascension Sunday | Year A]

GOSPEL: Luke 24:44–53                      

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. 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?
  2. What would be proclaimed to all the nations? In whose name would it be proclaimed?
  3. What were the disciples to be? What are some examples of what this looks like, both then and today?
  4. 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?
  5. 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?
  6. 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                           

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. 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?
  2. 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?
  3. 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?
  4. 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?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, May 17, 2020 | 6th Sunday in Easter | Year A]

GOSPEL: John 14:15–21                      

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. How do we live our lives when God’s love is filling our hearts?
  2. 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?
  3. In what way is the world blind to his presence? How do we come to know him?
  4. 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?
  5. 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?
  6. Where does our love for God come from? How is it expressed? What happens when we live in the truth of our belovedness?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, May 10, 2020 | 5th Sunday in Easter | Year A]

GOSPEL: Gospel John 14:1–14             

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who are we to believe in? What does this belief do for us?
  2. 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?
  3. 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?
  4. 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?
  5. 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?
  6. 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

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. 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?
  2. Who is the precious corner stone we are to believe in? What happens to those who disbelieve?
  3. 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”?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, May 3, 2020 | 4th Sunday in Easter | Year A]

GOSPEL: John 10:1–10                        

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. 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?
  2. 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?
  3. 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?
  4. 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

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. When we sin and are harshly treated, how are we to respond? How are we to handle unjust suffering?
  2. 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?
  3. Read Isaiah 53:6. How does this passage expound on that passage?
  4. In what ways have you experience unjust suffering? How difficult or easy was it to handle unjust suffering the way Jesus did?
  5. 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?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, April 26, 2020 | 3rd Sunday in Easter | Year A]

GOSPEL: Luke 24:13–35                      

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. 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?
  2. Why did they not recognize Jesus when he joined them? Why might Jesus have done this? Does it seem like Jesus enjoyed this conversation?
  3. 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?
  4. 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?
  5. 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?
  6. 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?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, April 19, 2020 | 2nd Sunday in Easter | Year A]

GOSPEL: John 20:19–31                      

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. 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?
  2. 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?)
  3. 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?
  4. 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?
  5. 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?
  6. 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?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, April 12, 2020 | Resurrection of the Lord, Easter | Year A]

GOSPEL: Matthew 28:1–10                  

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. How was the stone moved away from the front of the tomb? What effect did this have on the soldiers? Why was it moved?
  2. 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?
  3. 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?
  4. 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?
  5. In what ways does God’s perfect love cast out our fear? What can separate us from God’s love?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, April 5, 2020 | Palm or Passion Sunday, 6th Sunday in Lent | Year A]

GOSPEL: Matthew 21:1–11                  

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. 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?
  2. 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?
  3. What did the crowd shout as he entered Jerusalem? “Hosanna” means “O, save”—why was the crowd shouting this at Jesus?
  4. 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?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, March 29, 2020 | 5th Sunday in Lent | Year A]

GOSPEL: John 11:18–45

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. 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?
  2. 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?
  3. 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?
  4. 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?
  5. 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?
  6. 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?
  7. 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?
  8. 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?

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Group Discussion: [Reading from Sunday, March 22, 2020 | 4th Sunday in Lent | Year A]

GOSPEL: John 9:1–41

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. 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?
  2. How did Jesus heal the blind man? Why did he have the blind man do what he did in order to be healed?
  3. 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?
  4. 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?
  5. Why did they call the man’s parents forward to testify about the man’s healing? What did they say? Why?
  6. 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?
  7. 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?
  8. 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?