God of Miracles – Week Five – Participants’ Guide
VIDEO: Show tonight’s video here: Group Video Week 5
ICEBREAKER: During this series, what image or images has been the most captivating for you? The rogue wave from the sea of Galilee? The Mount of Beatitudes? Peter’s house? Share with your group.
[Q] Briefly discuss the message from Sunday.
[Q] Name one thing that stood out to you from Sunday’s message.
[Q] Is there one question from Sunday’s message that you would like to ask or discuss?
[Q] What distractions do you need to push past to get to Jesus?
[Q] Where do you need courageous faith in your life?
APPLY THE BIBLE:
Background on John 5: 1-15
Jesus has just healed the official’s son in Capernaum (John 4). He’s left Capernaum and is now in Jerusalem. He is at the Sheep Gate which is near the Temple and He is at the pool called Bethesda (House of Mercy). Read through John 5: 1-15 to yourselves quietly. Then have one person in your group read the passage slowly and clearly in a gentle voice out loud.
[Q] How did it feel reading this passage? Did you see or feel anything differently than you normally have? Share with your group.
[Q] Describe the location John details in verses 1-3.
[Q] John is the only one in the entire New Testament to share the detail that Jesus was by the sheep gate. Do you think there is significance to that?
[Q] Why were the multitudes of disabled people there?
[Q] In verse 5, the story focuses on one particular invalid. How long had the man been laying there? What kept him in that place? What status did he have in this culture as an invalid?
[Q] This is one of the few miracles where Jesus actually initiates the healing. Jesus asks him if he wants to be well. Why do you think Jesus asks Him that? What would it mean if he became well?
[Q] If you experienced God healing you, what would have to change about your life? What would living like a healthy person look like?
[Q] Like this man, when we are in pain it is easier to go for relief to other sources rather than Jesus. Share with your group other ways people find relief from pain? What sources do you go to?
[Q] How do you reconcile this man’s lack of faith, and Jesus healing him?
[Q] As asked above, this man was paralyzed in a variety of ways: spiritually, physically and relationally. Can you relate to this man at all? Are you paralyzed in any way in your life right now? Would you share with your Group?
[Q] In the story Jesus commands the man to stand, and in response, he stands up! Is there an area of your life where Jesus is asking you to stand? What keeps you from getting up?
[Q] Read vs. 10-12. What was the objection that the Jews had to the man who had been healed?
[Q] Why do the Jews want to know who told this man to pick up his mat?
[Q] Read verses 13-15. What do you think Jesus means when he says, “Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”
[Q] In his video, Pastor Tim talked about bringing your need to Jesus. How can you bring the need to Jesus holistically? Think about what you feel stuck in? This could be spiritually, relationally, physically or financially?
[Q] If you could share in a tweet what God taught you, challenged you or inspired in this study what would it be?
After you’ve shared the area where you are looking for a healing touch with God, make time to pray for one another. We’ve been talking about taking things to Jesus, here is your chance to actually take it to Christ! In your group, have people break up into pairs so that everyone can receive prayer and care.
CHANCE TO SERVE:
Are you part of our Sunday Dream Team? There are many opportunities for you to get involved every week. Check out the Dream Team page on our Website and encourage one another to use your spiritual gifts to help others draw closer to Jesus Christ!
Jesus is often accused of breaking the Sabbath throughout his ministry. However, we know that Jesus is the sinless Son of God. He did not break the Sabbath, but He honored it with His life. In this section, we are going to look at what a Biblical Sabbath is and how we can practice these principles in our own busy, 21st century lives.
[Q] In Genesis, what do we see God doing after He created the universe?
[Q] In Exodus, how is the 7th day, or Sabbath day to be set apart?
[Q] Deuteronomy is the second reading of the Law of Moses. In many ways it repeats Exodus, but there is a crucial difference in how it explains this command. Why were the Jews to observe the Sabbath?
In the Old Testament, the Sabbath was something that marked God’s people as different then the people of the world. In fact, by them not working all 7 days it declared their radical trust in God’s provision, protection and care. The Sabbath was taken very seriously. However, between the testaments the Rabbi’s started to add more and more laws and rules to it. They wanted to be completely clear that they did not break Sabbath nor lead others to as well. However, these man made laws became sacred and the Pharisees and Jewish leaders put the laws as more important than people.
Read Mark 2: 23-28. Mark is showing us one of Jesus’ many conflicts with the Pharisees (Mark 3:1–6; Luke 13:10–17; John 5:1–18). For Jews in the first century, keeping the Sabbath was a mark of Jewishness. It had become twisted into something that it was never meant to be. For Pharisees the stakes were even higher. If God’s people would keep His laws then God would bring back Messiah. But if they did not keep the laws, then Messiah wouldn’t come. So keeping the Sabbath was linked to their coming Messiah. Yet, it was the true Messiah that was breaking their Sabbath customs trying to show them that He was the fulfillment of the Law.
[Q] In verses 23-24. What do you think the problem the Pharisees had with Jesus’ disciples?
[Q] What do you think Jesus means when He says, “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath….”
[Q] Jesus came to fulfill the law not abolish it. This includes the Sabbath. Some scholars have stated that not keeping the Sabbath is the command we brag about breaking. What do you think are the benefits of keeping biblical Sabbath in your life?
Pastor Pete Scazzero says that there are four parts to a true Biblical Sabbath. He lists them as follows:
- Stop. Sabbath is first and foremost a day when we cease all work — paid and unpaid. On the Sabbath we embrace our limits. We let go of the illusion that we are indispensable to the running of the world. We recognize we will never finish all our goals and projects, and that God is on the throne, managing quite well in ruling the universe without our help.
- Rest. Once we stop, we accept God’s invitation to rest. God rested after his work of creation. Every seventh day, we are to do the same (Genesis 2:1 – 4). We engage in activities that restore and replenish us — from napping, hiking, reading, and eating good food to enjoying hobbies and playing sports.
Resting from unpaid work, however, requires advance planning. If I am to have any hope of enjoying a Sabbath rest, I need to set aside time during the week to attend to the routine tasks of life I won’t do on Sabbath — paying bills, cleaning or fixing something around the house, etc.
- Delight. After finishing his work in creation, God pronounced it “very good” (Genesis 1:31). This was not an anemic afterthought — Oh, well, it’s nice to be done with that — but a joyful recognition and celebration of accomplishment. As part of observing Sabbath, God invites us to join in the celebration, to enjoy and delight in his creation and all the gifts he offers us in it. These innumerable gifts come to us in many forms, including people, places, and things.
As part of preparing to practice the Sabbath, one of the most important questions to consider is, “What gives me joy and delight?” This will differ for each of us, but part of the Sabbath invitation is to enjoy and delight in creation and her gifts. Geri and I both delight in the beauty and grandeur of nature — the ocean, lakes, beaches, mountains, and star-filled skies. Geri is a “foodie,” so tasting, smelling, and savoring the gift of food is a high priority for us. I delight in libraries and bookstores. Geri loves cooking a fresh meal. Through any and every means possible, on Sabbath we seek to feast on the miracle of life with our senses.
- Contemplate. Pondering the love of God is the central focus of our Sabbaths. What makes a Sabbath a biblical Sabbath is that it is “holy to the Lord.” We are not taking time off from God; we are drawing closer to him. Sabbath is an invitation to see the invisible in the visible — to recognize the hidden ways God’s goodness is at work in our lives. It does not mean we necessarily spend the entire day in prayer or studying Scripture, though those activities may be part of a Sabbath day. Instead, contemplation means we are acutely focused on those aspects of God’s love that come to us through so many gifts from his hand. Scripture affirms that all creation declares his glory (see Psalm 19:1). On Sabbath, we intentionally look for his grandeur in everything from people, food, and art to babies, sports, hobbies, and music. In this sense, contemplation is an extension of delight — we are intentional about looking for the evidence of God’s love in all of the things he has given us to enjoy.
[Q] Look at these four parts of Biblical Sabbath. Which of these do you need to implement in your life and why? What are the challenges that would come from this?