Archive for the ‘faith’ tag
The text for this lesson is Genesis 27:41–28:22.
- God revealed the certainty of His presence now and forever to Jacob in his dream. God reveals Himself and His plan of salvation for us in His Word and Sacraments; we respond with praise and worship.
- Law: God wants me to trust His plan for my salvation.
- Gospel: Because of Jesus, I, too, am guaranteed a heavenly home.
- Law: I sin when I think God does not care or has left me alone.
- Gospel: God promises in His Word never to leave me.
- Law: God wants me to worship and praise Him.
- Gospel: God’s good and gracious love and salvation move my heart to worship and praise Him.
- Have you ever had a major falling out with someone in your family? What were the consequences? How did you reconcile?
- Have you ever ventured on a long or difficult journey alone or been separated from your family, friends, or traditional support mechanisms? How did it feel? What did you do to make it through?
- Read the end of chapter 27. See how the cycle of sin continues and worsens after the events that we studied in the last lesson! Read Galatians 5:19–24. How is the cycle of sin broken?
- What did Esau do in 28:6–9? Why do you think he did this? What were his motivations?
- Compare God’s blessing of Jacob in 28:13–15. How is this similar to Isaac’s blessing of him in 28:3–4? How is it different? How is it similar or different from other blessings we have studied previously in Genesis (compare especially with Genesis 12:3)? What does this tell you about God’s plan and providence?
- Read John 1:43–51 in which Jesus alludes to Jacob’s dream. What does it mean to have “heaven open” or to be the “gate of heaven”?
- What does Jacob’s vow tell you about his spiritual condition?
- The cycle of sin went on, yet God’s blessing continued with Jacob. What was the effect of the dream of the ladder on Jacob? Bethel means “house of God.” With this in mind, how does God’s blessing come to us today? How does God break our cycle of sin?
- When does God, surrounded by angels, speak from heaven to us? (Hint: When do we say together “with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven”?) Consider Hebrews 12:22–24 in this light. The singing of the “Holy, holy, holy” is also called the Sanctus, for the Latin word for “holy.”
- Jacob made a vow to the Lord that seemed to be testing God. What are we to make of this? Should we make these kinds of vows to the Lord? Consider Luke 11:9–13. What does this say about “attaching strings” to our prayers?
The text for this lesson is Genesis 25:19-34; 27:1-40.
- God worked through Jacob and Esau, despite their sin, to advance His plan of salvation. In spite of our sinful actions, God accomplishes His will and plan for our lives.
- Law: God does not want me to lie and deceive others.
- Gospel: Because of Jesus, His Son, God forgives all my sins.
- Law: God wants me to follow His ways rather than my own.
- Gospel: Through God’s Word and Sacraments, God reveals His plan for my life.
- Law: God wants me to honor and obey my parents.
- Gospel: In Christ, God forgives me when I disobey my parents and provides for me through them.
- Share some times when parents or other authorities instructed you to do something that you really did not want to do, or something that even seemed to be unwise. How did you react? How does God want us to react?
- How do we view inheritance? What is its significance for us today? How does the way we divide our inheritance demonstrate this significance?
- What does it mean for the Church that Jesus is the heir of God the Father?
- In these accounts of the birthright and blessing, which people acted righteously? Consider Rebekah’s call to Jacob to obey her (27:13–14). Was it right for Jacob to obey her? What other commandments were being broken? By whom? How?
- If none of these were righteous, how could God continue to bless them and bless the whole world through them (27:29; 28:4; compare 22:17–18; 12:1–3)?
- Meditate briefly on the blessings that Isaac gave to Jacob (27:27–29) and to Esau (27:39–40). Name some of the particular blessings mentioned here and, if you remember from other Bible readings, how they were fulfilled. Discuss how the blessing of Jacob differed from the blessing of Esau.
- Look at the prophecy spoken to Rebekah in 25:23. How does “the older shall serve the younger” point to Christ coming after Adam to redeem Adam?
- Esau appeared outwardly to obey his parents, but his heart was not faithful to the Lord, and he married unbelieving women. Consider the Bible’s final verdict on Esau in Amos 1:11 and Hebrews 12:16. Why is Esau condemned and Jacob forgiven, even though they were both disobedient?
- How are we partakers of the inheritance of Jacob? How does this compare to earthly inheritances that may or may not satisfy our earthly needs? In Christ, eternal life and rule with Christ is our birthright!
- Some of those in the account may have had good intentions, yet all ended up breaking God’s commandments by not trusting, by lying, coveting, or disobeying their parents. How does a reverent knowledge of the Law of God and trust in His provision help us in our daily life? What assurance do we have from the blessing of Jacob that God’s forgiveness is greater than any transgressions we commit in our daily life?
- It can seem troubling that the Lord “hated” Esau. But we know that Esau’s condemnation and Jacob’s blessing are the result of God’s Word preached to them. Think about the Word of God we hear in preaching, Absolution, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper. What does this mean for anyone who hears and trusts these words? Even when we don’t understand the election of God, we are assured by the words He does speak to us in the Divine Service that we are forgiven and will inherit all of His blessings.
The text for this lesson is Genesis 21:1–7; 22:1–19.
- As God provided a sacrifice for Abraham and Isaac, so He provides the perfect sacrifice for our sin, His Son, Jesus, the Lamb of God.
- Law: God demands that I trust Him completely.
- Gospel: Because of Christ’s atoning sacrifice, God gives me faith to trust in Him.
- Law: God tests my faith.
- Gospel: Jesus was tested in every way and grants me strength to trust God when my faith is tested.
- Law: God requires a sacrifice (payment) for my sin.
- Gospel: God sacrificed His own Son, Jesus, for me.
- Compare Isaac to our Lord Jesus Christ. There are stark similarities. Yet, there is one crucial difference. What is this difference? How does this difference display our heavenly Father’s sacrificial love for us? Read 1 Corinthians 10:13. What did our heavenly Father put His Son through that He did not ask of Isaac? How did His providing of a ram to Abraham and Isaac foreshadow the Lamb of God, who took our place on the sacrificial wood of the cross?
- Genesis 22:1 describes the sacrifice as a test. Certainly Abraham felt that the desire to protect his son conflicted with his desire to submit to the will of his gracious Father in heaven. This was more of a result of the real test than the test itself. What was the real test?
- Mount Moriah, where the sacrifice of Isaac took place, would later become the location for the temple. See 2 Chronicles 3:1. The ram that took the place of Isaac would be the first of hundreds of thousands of beasts to die for the sins of the Church. Skim Exodus 29:38–46 and Leviticus 5:14–19. Now read Mark 14:53, 64. Where did Jesus receive His death sentence and from whom did He receive it? The lambs and rams of Leviticus 5 were measured out in silver. With what coinage was our sacrificial ram bought?
- God provided a ram as a sign to accompany His Word. From whence did the ram come? Why does God continually bring forth a visible, tangible sign of His promises of mercy for us even as He gave Abraham the ram while He spoke with him from heaven?
- After the test, God reaffirmed His promise concerning the multitude of Abraham’s offspring. God’s promises seem to be conditional based on Abraham’s actions. Read James 2:21–23. How does James not contradict the Christian doctrine of justification before God by faith alone? Was Abraham’s promise granted to him because of his works or his faith?
- Read Job 19:25–27. How does Job’s profession of faith complement Abraham’s
trust in the resurrection of the Redeemer and, consequently, his belief in Isaac’s own rising on the Last Day?
- Moses adds that the mountain is called this to this day (Moses’ day). What does the fact that Abraham named the mountain after God’s work rather than his own signify to the future generations? How does God’s providing on this mountain relate to them now? How does it relate to us?
- Your church is also the place of God’s visitation. In your church, He gives His gifts of forgiveness and salvation through the Word and Sacraments. How does your church name reflect that “Yahweh will provide” in this space?
The text for this lesson is Genesis 15:1–6; 17:1–27
- God gave Abram (Abraham) faith to trust His promises to save His people. God gives us faith in Jesus, our Savior.
- Law: God wants me to believe and trust in Him.
- Gospel: God grants me faith in Jesus, my Savior.
- Law: In my sin, I doubt that God can do what He promises. I do not trust God.
- Gospel: God in His mercy carries out His promises, giving me reason to trust Him in all things and the faith to do so.
- “Fear not, Abram.” Why would Abram fear? He has just vanquished the enemy, rescued Lot, and received the blessing of the priest of the Most High God. What is there to fear?
- Have we felt the fears of Abram?
- How often have we sat, like Abram, in the silence of our corporate Confession considering our own doubts and fears, waiting for these words: “I, as a called and ordained servant of the Word . . . forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”? How often have we yearned for our Shield, Abram’s very great reward, Jesus Christ, to speak His comforting words of clemency to us?
- God speaks over and over again to Abram. Yet, His Word is always the same. He continually tells Abram that He will bless him through his offspring. Contemplate this cycle of fear/promise in the life of Abram. How is this similar to our lives of faith in Christ? Christ crucified is preached every Sunday of the year in our churches. Every Sunday, His resurrection is proclaimed. Why must we be comforted with the same message over and over again as was Abram? What does this message say about our need to go to regular worship services and hear His merciful speaking?
- It is popular these days to give a loved one a paper certifying that a star will be named in one’s honor. Yet, this is only paper. Reread Genesis 15:5. How are we linked with the stars? Look toward heaven, Christian, and number the stars. Each one bears the name of an offspring of Abraham. Read Galatians 3:29. How is this so?
- Genesis 17 is not so much about Abraham as it is about Sarah. This was her promise. Abraham had already received the promise of a son born to him (Genesis 15:4). Believing that the barrenness of Sarah was a barrier, Abraham took matters into his own hands. He had a son, Ishmael, by Hagar. God’s promise to Sarah required even more faith. How is it that she who was infertile could produce a child?
- Note Abram’s reaction in Genesis 17:17. In the midst of God’s speaking, Abram laughed. Seems a bit inappropriate, doesn’t it? Read Psalm 126:1–3. God showers His good gifts on us every Sunday. Felicity follows forgiveness, even if tempered by reverence. God found no fault with Abram’s festive feedback. How was Abram’s laughter a sign of his faith? What else accompanied it? Should we follow Abram with regard to his worship practice?
- What did circumcision signify? Read Exodus 4:24–26. How important was the circumcision covenant to God? Read Colossians 2:10–14. In which watery way are Christians to be circumcised now? Explain how this is tied to Christ’s own keeping of the Law. See Luke 2:21. How important is it to God that we receive the new circumcision without flesh? What is bestowed upon us in this new circumcision?
- John the Baptist declared that God can
make descendants of Abraham out of stones (Matthew 3:9). What does this tell us about how Christians are made? What does this tell us about the hardness of our hearts before we are converted? In a discussion with the Pharisees, Jesus told them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing what Abraham did” (John 8:39). How was Jesus’ thought influenced by Genesis 15:6? What is it that Abraham did?
- Do you ever wonder why Moses wrote this simple sentence in Genesis 15:6? Certainly faith is not seen. We can’t look at someone and see faith written across the forehead. Moses, too, could not see Abram’s faith. See Romans 4:20–25. Why would the Holy Spirit inspire Moses to pen this intimate look into the inner workings of Abraham’s soul?
The text for this lesson is Genesis 12:1-9
- God chose Abram (Abraham) and his descendants in order to carry out His plan of salvation. Christ fulfilled God’s plan for us and all people.
- Law: I am sinful and deserve only eternal death and damnation.
- Gospel: God provided my Savior from sin, Jesus, through Abram (Abraham) and his offspring.
- Think about what pictures form in your mind when you hear the name Abraham. Which events in Abraham’s life stand out?
- Read Joshua 24:2–4. What do we learn about Abram and his faith prior to Genesis 12? In which commandment do we hear about “other gods”? How does the fact that Abram served other gods affect the way we view his calling from God in Genesis 12?
- Read Genesis 11. Who are Abram’s descendants? Many more notable figures who did not forsake the worship of the Lord still lived at the time of Abram’s calling. Were there more suitable people for God to make such a gracious covenant with? Read Matthew 3:9. Since Abram was an offspring of faithful believers, what does Abram’s apostasy speak about the reliance on family ties to church membership? Does our upbringing guarantee that we will remain Christians, or is there another source for our salvation?
- As you read Genesis 12, consider the character of God. He chose one who had forsaken Him and chased after false gods. What one word might sum up the attitude of God toward Abram? How is God’s character seen in Christ, the fulfillment of this promise made to Abram?
- Blessings and curses abound in God’s speech to Abram. Who is responsible for the curses? Who is responsible for the blessings? The answers to these two questions differ. How does this fact affect how we view the faith of Abram? Abram was under the curse of Adam. What part does God’s Word, His promise of blessing in the death and resurrection of His only-begotten Son, play in Abram’s conversion?
- God promised to make Abram a great nation. How would this be received by one who is childless? Abram had one son of promise, Isaac. Isaac had one son of promise, Jacob. Is it a simple thing to believe that out of such meager roots would sprout a great nation? Further, how great a faith is required to believe that the scanty sapling of this great nation would endure through all of the trials of the Old Testament, eventually culminating in the Root of Jesse?
- Further, God promises to bless Abram. Read Luke 2:32. Who did Simeon, a man waiting for the consolation of Israel, declare to be the blessing, or glory, of Israel? Read John 8:56. How did Abram understand the fulfillment of this prophecy? By believing in Christ, the very incarnate Curse crucified for our sin, how did Abram escape the condemnation of his past idolatry and receive blessing instead of curse? What does this mean for us who are the Church, the very offspring of Abram?
- What is the scope of God’s promise to Abram? Abram shall be a blessing. In him, all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Read Matthew 24:14; Mark 13:10. God blesses all families by His Word. What blessings are given to those who hear this Gospel promise of God to Abram and believe? How does this same Word make good on the promise in the Church today?
- In light of the curse of sin and idolatry in our lives, define despair.
- How do you think Abram felt about the prospect of leaving his family, livelihood, and home to journey to an unknown location?
- God speaks to Abram through His Word, and God turns Abram from his sinful ways. He instills in Abram faith. This faith trusts God’s promises even if they do not seem to be the most rational course of action. Was it easy or difficult for Abram to have faith in the promises of God?
The text for this lesson is Acts 2:1–21; John 14:23–31
- At Pentecost, God sent the Holy Spirit to His Church. Through Word and Sacrament, God gives us His Holy Spirit to create and sustain saving faith in Jesus.
- Law: I sin when I think that faith begins with me. I sin when I believe that I can understand and trust in God on my own. I sin when I think that I can by myself do good and please God with my words and deeds.
- Gospel: God, in His love, grants faith in Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit through His Word. Through the power and work of the Holy Spirit, I am able to understand God’s Word and trust in Him. The Holy Spirit grants me faith in Jesus and empowers me to will and do that which is good and God pleasing.
- With the previous discussion in mind, compare John 19:34; 20:20–23 with 1 John 5:6–8. What connections between Jesus’ death and the Holy Spirit can we draw from these passages? How would Jesus later hand over the Holy Spirit to His followers?
- Jesus told His disciples not to leave Jerusalem and start their evangelization of the whole world until they were “clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). They were to wait for the promise of His Father (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4), the Holy Spirit with which they would be baptized (Acts 1:5). Even before Jesus began to teach the disciples, they had been among those who received this teaching of John the Baptist: “I baptize you with water, but He who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Luke 3:16). Even before Jesus’ ministry began, the disciples were being taught to anticipate Pentecost. How does Acts 2:1–4 describe the fulfillment of this prophecy? What does the wind symbolize? What does the fire symbolize? Why is the traditional liturgical color of Pentecost red?
- We are familiar with Peter’s previous failures to confess Jesus. Immediately after confessing that Jesus was the Christ, he denied Jesus His right to be the suffering Messiah (Matthew 16:13–23). Right before Jesus’ death, Peter lied instead of risking the chance of suffering for the sake of our Lord, denying that he even knew Him (Matthew 26:69–75). Yet on Pentecost, we see a different side of Peter. How does Acts 2:14 portray him? What could account for this change? See 2 Timothy 1:6–7.
- In John 14:26, Jesus tells His disciples that “the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” Keeping in mind that John’s Gospel was written several years after Jesus had risen and ascended, how do John 2:18–22 and 12:12–16 illustrate the working out of this promise?
- As we saw in the previous question, the Holy Spirit allowed the disciples to, in retrospect, understand the true meaning of the words or works of Jesus and of the Old Testament. How does the Spirit work to accomplish in our lives what Jesus did for His disciples in Luke 24:44–47? According to 2 Corinthians 3:12–18, why can’t the Jews truly understand the Old Testament? How are Christians enabled to interpret the true meaning of the Old Testament?
- Even though we celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, what we emphasize in our teaching on this day should be governed by the contents of Peter’s sermon in Acts 2. Peter had received the Spirit, and what did the Spirit lead him to proclaim in Acts 2:22–24, 32–33, 36? According to 2 Corinthians 2:1–5, what does Paul say should be the emphasis in our preaching if we want it to make a “demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Corinthians 2:4)?
- “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Since we live “by every word that comes from the mouth of God,” we had better have a dependable source for obtaining that Word. According to 2 Timothy 3:16–17 and 2 Peter 1:21, what role did the Holy Spirit have in leaving the Word of God to the Church? How does the Spirit ensure that the Word continues today?
- Some churches emphasize speaking in tongues as being a spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 12:1, 10). Often the Pentecost account in Acts is pointed to as an example of why speaking in tongues should be done in the Church. But the speaking in tongues of Acts 2 was a unique, one-time gift of the Holy Spirit so that the Galilean apostles could be miraculously understood by people who spoke different languages. The goal in this case was intelligibility, not incomprehensibility, as is so often the case in churches that speak in tongues. Paul also discusses speaking in tongues in 1 Corinthians 14, and much ink has been spilt over precisely what he is discussing in that chapter. We should keep in mind that the church at Corinth was in chaos, so the charismatic outbreaks most likely were aberrations from the norm in the Church. On the whole, Paul’s assessment of speaking in tongues is rather negative, and he makes the point that, “In church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue” (1 Corinthians 14:19). That statement alone should give pause to anyone who advocates speaking in tongues in the Church. Rather than focusing on speaking in tongues as a spiritual gift, perhaps we should contemplate the fruit of the Spirit that Paul describes in Galatians 5:22–26. What does he encourage in this passage?
- It seems to be an oxymoron, but we are truly born dead, as Ephesians 2:1 tells us, “You were dead in . . . trespasses and sins.” What does the Holy Spirit do to give us new life according to John 3:5–6 and Titus 3:4–6?
The text for this lesson is John 10:22–30; Psalm 23
1. The theme of shepherding is important throughout Holy Scripture. Joshua was appointed as Moses’ successor over Israel so that the people would not be “as sheep that have no shepherd” (Numbers 27:17). The great king David had been a shepherd (1 Samuel 17:15). The religious and political rulers of Israel were often referred to as shepherds, although more often than not, the Lord was angry with them for neglecting their duties. And, of course, the Lord is characterized as the Shepherd of Israel (Psalm 23). In John 10, Jesus, the Son of God, presents Himself as the Good Shepherd. There are passages in the Old Testament that had promised to Israel that the Messiah would be like a shepherd. According to Ezekiel 34:15–16 and Isaiah 40:10–11, who would be the shepherd of Israel? Who is the shepherd in Ezekiel 34:23–24? How do these three passages taken together point to Jesus? According to Matthew 2:1–6, who is the fulfillment of all the Old Testament predictions about shepherds of Israel
2. An allegory is a rhetorical or literary device used to express certain truths through symbolic fictional figures. Jesus’ parables are examples of allegories. In John 10, Jesus uses an allegory to depict Himself as the Good Shepherd of Israel. According to John 10:10–18, what is the chief way that the Good Shepherd demonstrates His love for the sheep? How does this passage testify that Jesus is truly God? What is the ultimate goal of the Good Shepherd’s oversight of the flock?
3. Jesus was able to communicate important teachings using very few words. John 10:27 is an example of this, in which He said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” Let us examine each of the three phrases of that verse in detail.
(a) “My sheep hear My voice.” This phrase underscores the importance of being within earshot of the Good Shepherd. If we are so far away from the Shepherd that we cannot hear Him, then we will be lost. According to John 6:68, why is the voice of the Good Shepherd so powerful? According to John 5:24, what is the result of hearing and believing the Word of the Good Shepherd? What does John 10:2–5 say is the way sheep recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd amidst the cries of strangers? What has Jesus done to ensure that His sheep can hear His voice, according to Romans 10:14–17?
(b) “I know My sheep.” Occasionally people ask, “Do you know Jesus?” It is important that we know and confess Him, but in Galatians 4:9, Paul explains what is even more important. How does Paul help us keep first things first? According to John 10:14–15, what is so profound about the Shepherd’s knowledge of the sheep and their knowledge of Him?
(c) “My sheep follow Me.” The result of hearing the Shepherd’s voice and being known by Him is that we follow Him. Following Him only comes about because the Holy Spirit moves us to do so through the Shepherd’s voice. We do not make a decision to follow Him; He knows and chooses us. Jesus promises incredible grace to those who follow Him: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). The light of eternal life is given to those who follow Him. But we also know that following Him is not easy: “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). According to Romans 8:35–36, what often happens to sheep who follow the Good Shepherd? Yet according to Romans 8:37–39, what is the glorious promise of comfort given to His sheep?
4. When Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30), He was emphasizing His divine oneness with the Father. How does John 10:28–29 also emphasize Jesus’ divinity and provide us with a source of comfort? According to John 5:18 and 19:7, how did the Jews respond to Jesus’ teaching that He was the Son of God?
5. In John 10:28, Jesus identifies Himself as the eternal Shepherd, for He says, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” How does Revelation 7:13–17 reiterate the theme of Jesus as the eternal Shepherd?
6. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6). We are sinful sheep in need of a Shepherd to save us. According to 1 Peter 2:21–25, how has the Good Shepherd saved us? Since the Good Shepherd laid down His life for the sheep, what kind of lives should we live?
7. According to 1 Peter 5:1–4, whom did the Good Shepherd give to His Church to be shepherds of God’s flock?
8. In what ways does Jesus, the Good Shepherd, use a rod and staff in caring for us? What instruments has He placed in the hands of His undershepherds, pastors, to use in their flocks?
The text for this lesson is John 6:1–14 .
- In His love, God promises to care for all our physical and spiritual needs and gives us the greatest treasure: His Son and the gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation.
- Law: Like the disciples, I am of little faith, lacking trust in God to give me all good things. In sin, I seek earthly treasure and security. Earthly goods are part of this world of sin; they will pass away.
- Gospel: God promises to provide for all my needs according to His will and riches. God has promised me much more, granting me eternal life in His Son, Jesus. God gives me the greater thing: faith in Jesus and eternal life in heaven with Him.
1. What does John 6 teach us about the difference between seeing miraculous signs and believing Jesus’ words? What can the Church learn from this?
2. In John 6:3, we are told that Jesus “went up on the mountain.” In Matthew 5–7, Jesus also goes up on a mountain to teach. What Old Testament figure was frequently found on a mountain? (See Exodus 19:3–4.) What might this bit of information tell us about how John and Matthew portray Jesus?
3. Read John 6:48–58. How does the preceding discussion concerning the Passover and the manna in the wilderness provide insight into the meaning of this passage?
4. Philip, Andrew, and Moses had much in common when it came to dealing with large-scale hunger problems. What had all three of them failed to see? What do we have in common with Philip, Andrew, and Moses when it comes to dealing with our problems?
5. We read in John 6:4 that the Passover was near, which means that the feeding of the five thousand occurred in the springtime. This is supported by John 6:10, “There was much grass in the place.” Mark 6:39 says that the grass was green. Jesus had the crowd sit down in green fields before He fed them “as much as they wanted” (John 6:11). To what might this scene be an allusion?
6. Compare John 6:11 and Luke 22:19. What might the similarity of these verses teach the Church about the feeding of the five thousand?
7. After seeing Jesus perform the miraculous sign, the people said that Christ was the prophet who had come into the world. Read Deuteronomy 18:15–19. Who would this prophet be like? According to John 1:17, what would be the greatest difference between Jesus the Prophet and the one who came before Him?
The text for this lesson is Luke 17:11-19.
- In the same way He healed the men with leprosy, Jesus forgives and heals us from the sickness of sin and death. In faith, we respond with thankful hearts, praising Him for His love for us.
- Law: Sickness and disease are results of sin. Sickness shows me the effects of sin and how powerless I am to overcome it. In my sin, I cry to God for mercy.
- Gospel: Jesus came to heal me from the sickness of sin. God’s Son, Jesus, is the only one who overcame sin, and His victory is mine in faith. God hears my cry of faith and grants me forgiveness, life, and salvation.
1. Jesus’ miracles function as significant demonstrations of His power over all creation, but they also serve another important purpose. According to Luke 7:18–23, what did Jesus’ miracles, such as today’s story about the healing of the ten lepers, confirm for John the Baptist?
2. Samaria was located between Judea and Galilee, so Jesus from time to time did travel through Samaria. However, Jews made it a practice to avoid both Samaria and Samaritans. The Samaritans as a people were notorious for their religious promiscuity. They were known to have worshiped the gods of five other nations. They edited their own version of the Old Testament, known as the Samaritan Pentateuch, and they set up a rival temple on Mount Gerizim. Today’s lesson demonstrates an important point about the Samaritans’ status in Jesus’ eyes—He came for them too. How does this story illustrate the point Paul makes in Galatians 3:26–29?
3. Lepers lived at the bottom of society. One authority in Jesus’ day mandated fifty yards between a leper and a healthy person. They lived without hope, for doctors could not cure their skin diseases. Yet Jesus had great compassion for them. One of the first people Jesus healed was a leper. What is so striking about Jesus’ interaction with the leper in Luke 5:12–16? How does this correspond to the picture of the Messiah that Isaiah gives in Isaiah 53:3–4?
4. When Jesus healed the leper in Luke 5, He both spoke and touched the leper to heal him. Based on Luke 17:14, what seems to be the manner in which Jesus healed the ten lepers? How does Jesus speak in this manner today?
5. The lepers were instructed to go to the temple in Jerusalem in order to show themselves to the priests and perform ceremonial cleansing. At the temple, they would also have given thanks to God for the mercy He had shown to them by healing them. Yet the Samaritan recognized something very important that the other nine lepers did not. Instead of going to give thanks to God at the temple, where did the Samaritan go to give thanks to God? According to John 2:18–22, what would replace the temple in Jerusalem?
6. Most versions of the Bible, including the English Standard Version, have Jesus say to the Samaritan in Luke 17:19, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” While this translation is grammatically possible, a more literal translation would be, “Your faith has saved you.” All ten lepers certainly had faith that Jesus could heal them; they took Him at His Word when they went to show themselves to the priest. But only the Samaritan returned to worship God in the person of Jesus. Only the Samaritan had received true saving faith. What does this lesson teach us about faith? According to Ephesians 2:8–9, what is the true source of faith?
7. Today’s lesson about the ten lepers reminds us that sick and suffering people are all around us, even in the midst of our congregations. One of the responsibilities of pastors is to visit the sick in order to bring them Jesus’ Word and His life-giving body and blood. Yet visiting the sick is one of the good works that Jesus encourages all Christians to do. According to Matthew 25:31–40, what is the significance of visiting the sick? What does this passage teach us about the good works of Christians? How do Romans 14:23b and Ephesians 2:10 help explain this teaching about good works?
8. One of the oldest names that the Church has for the Lord’s Supper is Eucharist. This name comes from the Greek word εύχαριστέω (eucharisteo), which means “to be thankful” or “to give thanks.” When Jesus took the bread and cup at the Last Supper, He “gave thanks” for both of them (Luke 22:17, 19). The Church has often called the Lord’s Supper the Eucharist because Christians come before the altar in thanksgiving of what they are about to receive: Jesus’ true body and blood. In today’s lesson, the Samaritan returns to Jesus “thanking Him,” and in the Greek, the word is εύχαριστέω (eucharisteo). How do the Samaritan’s actions toward Jesus mirror our actions at the Lord’s Supper?
9. Jesus instructed the lepers to go to the priests at the temple in Jerusalem in order to be ceremonially cleansed. Once a person was physically cleansed, he needed spiritual cleansing as well. Leviticus 14:1–32 prescribes the cleansing ritual for a person who had been healed of a skin disease. The Old Testament laws for cleansing were in effect until Jesus fulfilled the Law through His death and resurrection. Instead of the Old Testament cleansing rituals, how does God cleanse us in the Church? Read the following passages and note the ways God cleanses us from sin.
a. Acts 15:5–11
b. 1 John 1:7–9
c. Ephesians 5:25–27
d. Hebrews 9:22
The text for this lesson is Luke 9:28-36.
- On the Mount of Transfiguration, God showed that His Son, Jesus, is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets and declared that we should listen to Jesus, our Savior.
- Law: God established the Law to show and tell me what He expects of me. Because of my sinfulness, I cannot keep the Law of God; God chose prophets to preach sin and repentance. In my sinfulness, I think I can please God and do His will. God tells me to listen to Jesus.
- Gospel: God gave me His Son, who alone could do all that God expects in the Law. God’s prophets pointed to Jesus, the promised Savior who kept the Law for me. God provided His Son, who alone could please God and do His will for me. God provides the Holy Spirit, who works through His Word so I can hear His message of salvation through the ears of faith.
1. In order to set the stage for our study of the transfiguration, read Luke 9:18–27. Based on the prophecy in Isaiah 53 that the Christ would be the Lord’s Suffering Servant, how is the suffering and death of Jesus alluded to in Luke 9:18–20? According to 9:21–22, what is the ultimate mission of the Son of Man? How does 9:23–27 indicate that the Christian life will not consist of a string of unbroken glorious times? How does a Christian take up his cross daily and follow Jesus?
2. The transfiguration story is filled with references and allusions to the Old Testament. Luke 9:29 describes Jesus’ physical transfiguration, when “the appearance of His face was altered, and His clothing became dazzling white.” Read Exodus 34:29–35. Who else’s face shone with divine glory—the glory of God? Where did this person go to meet with God? Luke 9:34–35 describes a cloud overshadowing the group, and the Father’s voice coming from the cloud. Read Exodus 24:12, 15–18. Who is involved in this story, and what does the cloud on the mountain represent? In Luke 1:76–79, how was the bright glory of Jesus foretold in the prophecy of John’s father, Zechariah?
3. Moses and Elijah are the only two Old Testament figures who spoke with God on Mount Sinai. There are similarities between Moses and Elijah and Jesus, but the New Testament is emphatic in portraying Jesus as the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets—one greater than any prophet. In Luke 9:35, Jesus is called “My Son, My Chosen One,” which are words that echo His Baptism in the Jordan. Neither Moses nor Elijah was ever called the “Son of God” or the “Chosen One.” In Luke 9:36, the disciples see that after all the excitement, “Jesus was found alone.” What could this tell us about the importance of Jesus in relation to Moses and Elijah? In John 1:14–17, to what could “we have seen His glory” refer? How does John depict the relationship between Moses and Jesus?
4. As we have noted, the Greek word translated as “departure” in Luke 9:31 is actually exodos or Exodus. According to Psalm 78:51–55, what did God do for His people in the exodus? Based on Exodus 19:1–6, how do you think the exodus provided the basis for all the future promises of God? What do the Old Testament exodus and the New Testament one of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension have in common?
5. We have already noted how the reference to Jesus’ exodus pointed to His passion, death, and resurrection. There are a number of other similarities and contrasts between the transfiguration and Jesus’ crucifixion. Read Luke 23:32–43 and identify some of these similarities and contrasts.
6. In Luke 24:4, the two angels at the empty tomb are there in “dazzling apparel,” using language similar to Jesus’ appearance at the transfiguration. This suggests a connection between the divine glory of Jesus shown in the transfiguration and of His subsequent glorification shown by the resurrection. It also points forward to the glory that we will share with Him when we are raised from the dead on the Last Day. What connection is there between Luke 24:44–47 and the transfiguration account?
7. Have you ever wondered what people talk about in heaven? Based on our lesson today, what do you think they talk about? What does this teach us about our lives here on earth?
8. What do we find Jesus doing in Luke 3:21–22 and 9:18–20? According to Luke 9:28, for what reason did Jesus go up on the mountain? What does this tells us about the transfiguration account? How could Jesus’ example apply to our own lives?
9. In Luke 9:35, the Father declares from heaven, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!” Read Deuteronomy 18:15–19. How does this passage from Moses shed light on the words of the Father at the transfiguration? The last part of the Father’s statement actually could be translated, “Continue always to listen to Him!” According to 2 Peter 1:16–21, who provided an eyewitness account of this event, and how can we continue to listen to Jesus?