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Acts 5:27-32

  • First thoughts? 
  • What lasting impact do you think this had?
  • Why do you think Peter and the apostles described Jesus’ manner of death, rather than just saying that he had been killed?

  • What are the references in this Psalm that are quoted in the Gospels? 
  • Why is it a bad idea to trust in men? 
  • What is the Psalmist referring to when he mentions the stone which the builders refused to use?
  • Which verse might indicate that the Psalmist believes in the resurrection? 
  • Thoughts about the words of this scripture?
  • Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. The focus of the Christian community begins and ends with God revealed in Jesus Christ. In John 1:1-5, it states, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”
  • How do these two verses complement each other? What do they both point to?
  • Both of these verses can be hard to wrap your head around. The fact that Jesus defies sequential time and space is difficult for us to understand—he always was He always will be, and He is already ahead of us welcoming us into the Kingdom. He knows where we are going, even before we choose to go there. [Note this is very different than predestination—we do have free will, but the choices of our free will are no surprise to Jesus… Does this blow your mind?  Thoughts?
  • Ultimately what is most important is the fact that Jesus is, was, and always will be Lord and Savior for us all. The Old Testament with its battles, trials, and tribulations points to our need for a Savior, and the promise that would be fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
  • This verse is a celebration of the power of Jesus Christ over death! Verses 5 &6 state: “To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood,  6and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”  We are saved in Christ, but what does this verse suggest our response back should be?
  • What do you think it means to “be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father”
  • These verses in Revelation illustrate how God is so much bigger than our minds can fathom. There are no words to describe God, yet we often try to make God fit into the box of what our minds can understand. What is the danger in this?  

In our Gospel Lesson, we have the story of “Doubting Thomas”.  Often we give Thomas a hard time for doubting the risen Lord, but like us, Thomas needed to be able to understand or make sense of God and what had happened—to put God in that neat box of what our minds can understand. God is much bigger than our little minds… (Thankfully!)

Gospel Lesson “Doubting Thomas” John 20:19-31

  •  Where were the disciples? Why do you think they may have been hiding? Why would they be in danger at this time?
  • How would you feel if you were locked in your house, and then all of a sudden Jesus was standing right next to you? How would you respond? Would you question what you were seeing?
  • What did Jesus say to the disciples? Jesus said “peace be with you” more than once. Why do you think he did this? What did he want them to do?
  • Why did Jesus breathe on them and give them the Holy Spirit? How can the Holy Spirit empower us as well? 
  • What did Thomas say when they told him about Jesus’ visit? If you were in Thomas’ shoes, what would you say? Would you also have doubts?
  • What happened next?
  • Jesus wants us to believe and trust him even when we can’t see him. Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is with us all the time whenever we need him. He never lets us down. When we love and trust in Jesus even though we haven’t physically seen him like Thomas did, we please Jesus. We can depend on Jesus being with  us, even when we don’t physically see.  Have you ever been in a situation on needing to depend on your faith in God and what you couldn’t see? 
  • Have you ever struggled with doubting, like Thomas, wanting “proof” (a sign, confirmation, something concrete) letting you know God is there with you? Thankfully, Jesus’ presence is not dependent on us. Even when we struggle with trust or with doubts, Jesus is with us. What are your thoughts about this?
  •  If we have faith as Jesus describes in John 20:29 “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet come to believe.” we should trust in the promise, although being human it is often difficult for us too. (Lest we be too hard on Thomas!)
  • We want to be able to understand, see, touch, explain, compartmentalize God. We have various images in our mind for God, and we often organize our faith around these images. God is much bigger than that. He defies our explanations. Do you struggle with trying to understand it all, or are you comfortable not understanding it all. Thoughts?
  • Obviously our inability to understand how immense God really is is difficult for all of us as humans. How does John speak to this in verse 30?

Go and Do Challenge:

Share the Living Jesus with another person this week. You can do this with your words or with your actions (or both!)