Tag: questions

Don’t be like the Pharisees

Don’t be like the Pharisees

Study of Luke 12:1-7

It’s busy. So busy that the crowd are standing on each other’s toes. They have gathered to see and hear Jesus and what does He decide to talk to this very large, eager crowd about? Love? Grace? Forgiveness? Nope. He tells them not the be like the Pharisees, who are hypocrites! Not a nice message to hear – especially if you are a Pharisee!

  1. Why do you think Jesus decided to talk about hypocrisy at this moment? Was it because He knew He could reach lots of people with a lesson important to Him? Maybe it was because He knew there were Pharisees in the crowd who would hear the message too? What do you think?
  2. Why does Jesus tell the people to ‘Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees…’ What does He mean by that?
  3. Jesus starts by talking about hypocrisy, then about fearing the devil and finally, about how much God knows about and cares for us – more than the sparrows. Why do you think Jesus combined these stories in one session?
Is it Easter or Christmas?

Is it Easter or Christmas?

‘While everyone was wondering about all that Jesus did, He said to His followers, “Don’t forget what I tell you now: The Son of Man will be handed over to people.” But the followers did not understand what this meant; the meaning was hidden from them so they could not understand. But they were afraid to ask Jesus about it.’ – Luke 9:43b-45

I am frequently puzzled by the contrast of all the wondrous things I read and hear about Jesus doing, both in the bible and in the world today, and the bad things and the seemingly, unanswered prayers. This must have been how the disciples felt too. They had seen and heard the amazing things that Jesus was doing, but they were held back by their doubts and by their confusion around the things He was saying with regards to His future, and what that meant for them.

I am very curious, and am known to ask more questions than the average 4 year old in a day (my parent are thankful for Alexa for this reason!). I struggle with the not-knowing but God is a God of mystery. Sometimes, because it’s best for us not to understand, sometimes, He uses the mystery to grow our faith, sometimes, we just have to wait and sometimes, it’s too big and complicated for us to understand.

Although we can feel confused and alone in working out what is happening around us, God hasn’t abandoned us, expecting us to struggle with our questions alone. Jesus knew the disciples wouldn’t fully be able to grasp what was about to happen, but He kept giving them clues along the way. To us, these clues can sound really obvious, but that’s only because of what we know. If the disciples had retrospect, I am sure they would understand it too, but that’s not how it works.

Sometimes I hear or read something, and it helps me make sense of a particular situation, or come to terms with not knowing why I can’t find the answer. I believe that this is where God is getting involved by sending clues my way. It’s down to me to accept that, just like the disciples, I might not understand right now but maybe one day, I will. Once Jesus rose from the dead and showed Himself to them, the disciples understood what had happened, but they had to wait for that day to come around.

When he was writing this book, Luke included some of the words that Jesus spoke to His disciples prior to His death and resurrection. These must have recalled by individuals after the event so they could be written down for us to read. I can just imagine Peter turning to Luke and saying, “Oh yeah, there was that time He said He was going to die and come back again, but at the time, I had no idea what He was going on about! Oops.”

It’s okay to be confused by everything that is happening – the good and the bad, and its okay to not know the answers. If you need to know more, ask God, and He will help you make sense of the things you need to know, and settle your mind on things you don’t need to know, at least for the time being. Maybe one day, like the disciples, you will look back and it will all make sense.

Shining white!

Shining white!

The events of Luke 9:28-36 happen just over a week after Jesus told His disciples about His death and resurrection. He had a lot to think about, so He took Peter, James and John, and went up on the mountain to pray. The disciples fell asleep and when they woke up, Jesus was talking about His ‘departure from the earth’ with Moses and Elijah – two of the greatest prophets known to them! They wanted to make them comfortable, and honour them, so Peter suggested they build tents for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. God came in a cloud and spoke to them and Elijah and Moses vanished, leaving just Jesus and the disciples on the mountain. None of them spoke about the occasion again.

  1. This event is referred to as the transfiguration. Why do you think that is?
  2. Just days before this took place Jesus had been speaking to His disciples about His death and resurrection. Do you think the timing is significant here? If so, why?
  3. Jesus only brought three of His disciples with Him to the mountain. Looking back at previous passages, do you think there was a reason that He brought these three specifically?
  4. What is the significance of Jesus meeting with Elijah and Moses?
  5. What is the relevance of this event for us today?  

Who’s who?

Who’s who?

Luke 7:18-35

This passage is not short nor simple. There are alot of topics covered in a short period of time, and it can be hard to make sense of what is going on. Other than when he baptises Jesus, this is the only passage dedicated to John. We are told in the first chapter of the book that he was born to start the work Jesus would complete but now, John is unsure if Jesus really is the Lord, and sends people out to find out the truth (in Matthew’s book, we find out this is because he was in prison and couldn’t go alone).

  1. What do you think has happened to make John start doubting Jesus’ authority, position and power?
  2. When John’s disciples have left, Jesus flips the question they asked him on its head, asking those around Him who they think John is. Why do you think He did this?
  3. The passage finishes one with one line –”But wisdom is proved to be right by what it does.” What does this mean and what does it have to do with the previous conversations?

Lord of the Sabbath

In Luke 6:1-5, we that once again, Jesus and His disciples are being rebellious by being different and doing things that were not permitted. Doing any work on the Sabbath was viewed as wrong by the authorities. Even drawing water from the well or cooking were too much for the people of the day to do on a Sabbath, so when the disciples were picking and crushing grains, they knew they were doing wrong in the eyes of the law.

  1. Remembering Jesus was with them, why do you think the disciples chose to carry out this act? What does it say about their view of the Jewish rules/ rulers of the time?
  2. Why do you think Jesus told the Pharisees ‘The Son of Man is Lord over the Sabbath’? What do you think He meant and how do you think the Pharisees understood it?
  3. What do you think the purpose of the retelling of this event is for us today, and what do you take away from it personally?
Luke writes about Jesus’ life

Luke writes about Jesus’ life

Study of Luke 1:1-4

I don’t know if you do the same, but I often find myself wondering why a particular book or passage has been included in the bible when there were so many others that were not included. When it is simply a list of people’s names or the family tree of a seemingly unimportant person. Sometimes we are given a clue, but we rarely know the full background.

Unlike other authors in the bible, Luke doesn’t leave us hanging! He starts his book by explaining the reason for his writing, and a bit of background and context for it. We are going to take some time today to study the introduction to Luke’s gospel (Luke 1:1-4) by reading the text and answering some questions below to help us dig deeper. Let’s get started!

  1. This book was written with the intended audience of just one person – Theophilus. Why did Luke want to share these stories and experiences with him?
  2. When Luke tells us that ‘many have tried to report on these things’, what is he referring to?
  3. It is possible that Luke wrote this book as an encouragement and book of lessons to Theophilus to help him in a time of doubt with his faith or darkness in his life. Have you experienced a period of darkness in your life or doubted your faith recently? If so, what helped you out of it? Is there someone you can do the same for?
  4. Luke concludes by saying ‘I have arranged it in order to help you know that what you have been taught is true’, referring to the experiences, lessons, and other scripture Theophilus had read and known about Jesus. What do you know in your heart about Jesus?
  5. Although Luke does give us some background information, what else do you wish he told us about his life, time with Jesus or what happened after Jesus’ death and resurrection?

‘After careful research based on many eyewitnesses, Luke wrote his Gospel to show that Jesus is the eternal God who came in human flesh to seek and to save those who are lost. Faith in Jesus Christ is rooted in the accurate historical record that has come down to us in Luke’s Gospel. It is not an optional idea that you might want to consider if it grabs you. It is absolute truth to be believed and handed on to others.’ – Steven J Cole.