Tag Archive: disciples

Going Deeper with Jesus

Going Deeper small (2)This weekend, we begin a new 9-month sermon series at Gloria Dei, called “Going Deeper.”

Going deeper into God’s Word.
Going deeper in a relationship with Jesus.
Going deeper in our faith.

I was thinking about this idea of going deeper when I read this passage from Luke.

Now as they (Jesus and his disciples) went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. Luke 10:38-39 ESV

A woman named Martha welcomed him into her house.

Perhaps before we can even go deeper, we must first invite Jesus to join us where we are. He promises to always be with us, but He’s not pushy. He won’t force his way into someone’s life—or somewhere He’s not welcome.

But to welcome Jesus is to want Him present with us…to want to spend time with Him.

Martha’s sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.

She sat and listened. She wasn’t multi-tasking and listening while doing something else. Her focus was only on Jesus. I can imagine her hanging on every word He said.

And I wonder, do we?

Do we solely focus on Jesus and listen to what He says?

When we open our Bibles to read His Word, does He have our full attention?

If we continue to read in Luke 10, we know that Martha was busy bustling about preparing and serving the meal. While Mary sat and listened. I think we can understand Martha’s frustration with Mary because we learn early in life that being busy is good. Being busy gets us places.

Jesus sees Martha’s busyness, but He doesn’t tell Mary to get up and help her.

But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42 ESV

Martha is stressed out. Can you relate? I can.

Martha wasn’t out of line for wanting to serve Jesus, but she let it become more important than spending time with Him.

How often do we do the same—when obligations, even church obligations, weigh heavier than spending time with Jesus?

Mary had it right. Jesus was in their home and she wanted to spend her time going deeper in her friendship with Him.

We have the same opportunity to go deeper with Him every time we read God’s Word and let it soak in. Every time we worship Him. Every time we hear Him speak to us and we stop to listen.

In getting to know Him better, our faith grows deeper…and as Jesus said, it cannot be taken away from us.


Dead Sea w.ScriptureThis week in our Unsung Heroes of the Bible sermon series, we look at Barnabas—a man we don’t meet until chapter four in Acts. Barnabas was not only an important companion of Paul—Barnabas is the one who introduced the apostles to Paul. After Saul’s conversion on his way to Damascus, he began preaching in the name of Jesus. He tried to join the disciples in Jerusalem, but they were afraid of him, not believing he was a changed man. It wasn’t until after Barnabas took Saul (Paul) to the apostles and vouched for him that he was allowed to stay with the apostles and preach boldly in Jerusalem. (Acts 9:26-28)

Think of how many people heard the Good News of Jesus and came to faith through that introduction. Barnabas was the mediator between Saul and the disciples…and we have One mediator between us and God—Jesus Christ.

Pastor Tim Phillips shares his thoughts on Barnabas below…

The story of Barnabas is an interesting one. His real name was Joseph and he was a Jew from the Island of Cyprus. The name Barnabas is a nick name which means Son of Encouragement. We first read about Barnabas in Acts chapter 4 when he is an example of someone who for the sake of the Gospel sells his property and gives the money to the Apostles. This personal sacrifice reflects the heart and character of the man we call Barnabas. Generous, quick to act, and very trusting—these are ways we can describe him. Luke, the author of Acts, describes him this way, “He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith.” The pattern that emerges from Barnabas’ life is that God used him repeatedly to bridge relational gaps. He was a connector, a peace maker and a networker.

The bottom line about Barnabas is that he was known by his actions. He lived his faith and many people were blessed as a result. As we think of that, it is good to challenge ourselves to make a similar impact. Are we known by our actions? How would others describe us? What impact are we making on those around us? What do others know about Jesus by watching us?

Photo credit: Stock Photo: Dead Sea

Week 4: How Can I Connect to God?

Plug In

How can I connect with God?

One thing I really don’t like… when I’m vacuuming the floor and the plug dislodges from the outlet.  What once was a beautiful humming machine, cleaning my house, has now become quiet and very useless (unless you consider hauling around a heavy object that doesn’t do what it’s suppose to do useful).  I get frustrated when I have to follow the cord back to the outlet and then find another outlet to plug it into.  But once I do… no longer useless.  I can go about my business and vacuum the floor.

Connecting…what is your power source?  What energizes you to go out and make a difference in this world?  What do you connect to in order to perform the way God created you to perform?  It’s easy for us to find things in this world to connect to:  sports, music, job, friends, and family.  The list can go on for a long time.  Yet, in the end, those things don’t supply us with enough power to truly live the life that God has planned for us.

God has set up a never-ending supply of power for us.  It’s called the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16).  This spirit that lives in you is God himself.  You have this source every single day, hour, minute and second of your Christian life.  God invites you every single day to be connected to Him and to be aware that He is with you.  Giving you power to live for Him.

Just like any battery, it runs down and needs to be replaced or recharged.  Our faith life is the same.  The weight of this world and the demands of life cause us to wear down.  Sometimes even to the point of giving up.  God has a promise and invitation for you.  In Psalm 34, verses 4-9, God’s word tells us to seek Him, look to Him, call out to Him, taste and see that He is good!  In order for us to stay strong in our faith, we must seek, look, call out and come to Jesus for our faith battery to be charged.  When our faith is charged up, there is nothing that can stand in our way.

Every weekend we have an opportunity to worship our God!  Every week we have an opportunity to gather together to study his word!  Every day we are invited to spend some time with him in devotion and prayer!  Every moment of our lives are connected to the powerful, loving God of the universe! How are you connecting to Him today?

IMG_0241A little bit about TK: Tim Kightlinger is a 47 year old man (48 at the end of February) and loves his wife, his four kids (and two son-in-laws), his two awesome grandkids (#3 on the way), God and sports.  Being in youth ministry for over 20 years has taught him that a life that God changes can do great things.  He just bowled his first 300 game (and is still shaking from the adrenaline).  One of his goals to land a 360 off a tabletop while snowboarding.  And just another random thing about Tim: he really dislikes the spray that come off the car tires that hit his windshield after all the snow melts.

New Beginnings (4 Perspectives)


Perspective 1- Laura Rath

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished…”

The courage of Peter.

Peter, who denied knowing Jesus three times before his death, now can’t stop himself from standing in front of the elders and rulers proclaiming that salvation is found only in Jesus Christ. Oh, and by the way guys, you remember Jesus, right? He’s the man from Nazareth, whom you crucified!

So, what’s changed in Peter? How do you go from fearing for your life to boldly confronting the very men who put Jesus to death?

Peter is no longer acting on his own. Jesus had commanded him to wait with the other apostles, for God’s gift of the Holy Spirit. And when filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter was a new man—a courageous man who wasn’t afraid to speak boldly of Jesus’ resurrection.

Jesus knew what Peter was capable of on his own, but even better, He knew what Peter would do through the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus knows us too—what we try to do on our own, but even better, what we can do through His power and strength.

Perspective 2- Pastor Ron

Twice in this chapter Peter stands up fearlessly to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus.  This is the same Peter, you may recall, that swore up and down that he did not know him when Jesus was on trial. Now he defies even the religious authority of his day to proclaim Jesus’ resurrection. What gives? The Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit gives confidence. He gives words and persuasive arguments. He gives inspiration and courage. The Holy Spirit came at Pentecost and it was Peter, who was filled with the Holy Spirit, who addressed the crowd. The next time we read about the Holy Spirit filling Peter is when he is before the High Priest and his family. This would be like the royal family in the religious world of the Jews. After healing a lame man Peter and John are hauled off to prison. The next day they are in court. The writer of Acts makes sure that we know Peter and John are just ordinary people and not very well-educated. Yet, Peter gives the speech of his life—no really, he probably saved his and John’s life that day. Actually, it was not Peter, but the Holy Spirit who inspired him and gave him the words.

It is the same Holy Spirit today as it was back then. I know this from personal experience—every time I give a message. I know it is the Holy Spirit who is using me, and I really cannot take any credit. If you think about it, you know the activity of the Holy Spirit in your life, as well. Have you ever been with a friend who was hurting deeply, with no idea what to say, and then the words just came? That would be the Holy Spirit. Have you ever said nothing and just listened? That would be the Holy Spirit. He is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow, just as the Father and the Son.

Perspective 3- Barb Miles

In this chapter, we read where Jesus returned to earth to teach the disciples to be his witnesses.  After Jesus’ suffering and resurrection he returned to earth for forty days before he ascended into heaven.  He spoke numerous times to the apostles he had chosen and taught them the Kingdom of God was for whomever believed.  Jesus prepared the apostles for going out to profess their faith in the one true Lord and to perform miracles.  There were situations through this time that caused tribulation and celebration.   Stephen and Saul were both apostles who came to share God’s word but one was stoned to death for his witness and one was allowed to witness after first loosing his eyesight.

This story is truly amazing to me.  With this small group of followers before Jesus’ persecution that heard Jesus say that he would fulfill the Old Testament prophesy, that he would be arrested, killed and in three days rise, we celebrate the glories of Easter.  Jesus returned to earth to empower the apostles to teach and witness!  Jesus did not give up on them!  Jesus has not given up on anyone.

Perspective 4- Dan Petrak

The Resurrection (4 Perspectives)

He is Risen

Perspective 1- Dan Petrak

Perspective 2- Diane Schmidt

What a great and glorious chapter! The Resurrection! Jesus fulfilling his mission, the reason he became human. As I read this chapter, thinking about writing a perspective, I kept seeing the disciples’ and women’s reactions to the resurrection. Jesus appears to Mary but she doesn’t recognized him. He appears to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, same thing, they don’t recognize him. He appeared in the room with the disciples but they doubted him. Thomas gets credit for being the doubter but he wasn’t the only one. How so we today are like the disciples.

Jesus appears to us, each day, through his Word and through the witness and lives of other Christians. But often we don’t recognize him. He speaks to us but we don’t hear or believe. We say we trust him but do we, really? In this chapter we read over and over that Jesus made a promise, told us how it would be accomplished and he kept that promise. Today we can trust him, too. He tells us his promises and he delivers! He is risen. He has conquered death and sin. We are his chosen people, wholly and dearly loved!

We can be like the disciples and spread the Gospel. Jesus appeared to them on the shore and shared breakfast with them. Then what did he do? He told them to “feed my sheep,” “go and make disciples” and “I am with you.” And today we can have breakfast with Jesus (daily devotions) and go out and make disciples, by the very life we live and the witness that we are to others. Jesus is with us! His is risen! He is risen, indeed!

Perspective 3- Pastor Phil

Easter is my favorite day of the year. The resurrection is the reason we celebrate and it happens to be the reason we go to church every week because we celebrate the resurrection. This chapter was a culmination of the earthly ministry of Jesus and he never disappoints.

I love how the chapter ends.

“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. But these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

We have four gospels that shed light on the life of Jesus. We could easily assume that what they wrote is all there was about Jesus. But John’s Gospel tells us that there was soooo much more than what he wrote or even the other gospels wrote. He did other things, said other stuff…but they captured exactly what God wanted them to capture and conveyed what God wanted them to convey to the reader. The conclusion to all these things: these things were written so that you might believe. Through the Holy Spirit we are enlightened and can finally see the truth…by that faith we have life in Christ. Our God is a big God capable of doing things beyond our imagination or comprehension. Look no further than the resurrection to see that Jesus coming back shows God’s power and might. May you look upon the resurrection this year and witness God’s power in your life.

Perspective 4- Barb Miles

So much happens in this chapter of The Story.   One of many familiar stories was when all the disciples but Thomas had seen Jesus.  When the other disciples told him they had seen The Lord, Thomas replied with “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my fingers where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”  He’s called ‘Doubting Thomas’, right?

Later when the disciples were gathered Jesus appeared to them and he went over to Thomas.  Jesus asked Thomas to feel his side and his hands.  Jesus said “Stop doubting and believe.”

Can you imagine the look on Thomas’ face as he said “My Lord and my God!”  What feelings were rushing through his mind?  Was he still convincing himself, was he in awe, was he sorrowful for needing visual proof, did he question his faith?

Jesus’ response seemed like a critical statement “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”  Our faith has blessed us.

He Is Risen.  He Has Risen Indeed.

Who is this Jesus?

Jesus photo

In “The Story” chapter 25, Jesus asks his disciples who people say he is. They mention John the Baptist back from the dead. Others say Elijah the prophet, the one who would come before the messiah. People get a small glimpse of who Jesus is when they see him or hear him but when they actually open their mouth we can see they really are not grasping the big picture. This establishes for us an understanding that Jesus was not completely understood by everyone he came into contact with.

Jesus then turns to his disciples and he asks the important question “Who do you say I am?” It is not about what everyone else thinks right now. You have seen me, heard me…so tell me if you got it. Peter speaks first and makes the profession that he is the Christ – the anointed one. Peter correctly identifies Jesus as the Messiah, and the Christian reader today celebrates that someone has finally got it right in the midst of all those who have been off. But the celebration doesn’t last long because Jesus then immediately says that He must suffer and that He must die. Whoa!!!! Reverse that train and put it back in the station…he must do what?

The idea of a suffering Messiah, although present in the prophecies, was never even considered by the Jews. He was to come to defeat evil government and reign supreme. The people of Israel were supposed to be elevated to a place of prominence and how could they do that with a dead messiah. Thus comes the harsh rebuke from Peter as he pulls Jesus aside to tell him, that is not what the messiah is supposed to do. Once again, Jesus will not conform his mission to fit the Pharisees, his family or his disciples ideal vision of who they want him to be. He tells Peter, “Get behind me Satan.” He will not allow Peter to distract him from what he came to do. The Messiah must die and will rise again.

This is a big chapter because we have seen opposition from the Pharisees. Their message is wholly different from what Jesus is proclaiming, so we get why they clash. The disciples finally hear plainly the destination to which Jesus is headed towards and they seem to be opposed to it. Jesus will offend both the religious and irreligious…which is why we know that Christianity is not just for one people or one culture but the Gospel goes across all cultures and speaks to every sinful heart.

The beautiful part about all of this, is that through Jesus things change. The transfiguration (metamorphosis) of Jesus in this chapter shows his divinity (Godhead) but also that with his change he will also change the hearts of all those who believe. Jesus changes us! This is stuff no mere man could do. So, who is this Jesus? You need to answer that for yourself.

So who do you say Jesus is? Have you still been trying to create him in your own image like the Pharisees and his disciples? How can you discover and hold to the true confession of Jesus?

No Ordinary Man (Bible Study)


Chapter 24 recap

One thing about this Jesus:  He never invited neutrality.  His followers called Him the Christ.  His contenders called Him a blasphemer.  Some were drawn to Him, while others could muster nothing in His presence but contempt.  His teachings were revolutionary and His miracles undeniable.  He claimed nothing less than equality with God and proclaimed Himself as the long expected Messiah.  Jesus never left sitting on the proverbial fence as an option.

He attracted criticism in spades, but He also drew crowds.  He often taught the people in parables, pithy stories that drew spiritual lessons from everyday life to reveal the “secrets” of God’s kingdom. With simple illustrations, Jesus taught that in Him, God’s kingdom had come, while exposing the religious leaders’ misguided view of religion.  Jesus’ trilogy on lostness told of a lost sheep, a lost coin and a lost son and demonstrated the value God places on a repentant heart.  In the story of the lost son, Jesus exposed the hard-heartedness of the Pharisees as the older brother’s indignity, angered by his father’s compassion.  Like this father, Jesus’ concern for sinners created an ever-widening rift with the Pharisees.  His popularity increased and so did His opposition.  Yet Jesus’ teaching ministry to the masses continued, and in the Sermon on the Mount, He taught them how to live by faith in close relationship with God.

Jesus was a great teacher, but even His closest disciples struggled to grasp His true identity and purpose.  He authenticated His words with miracles that made His authority irrefutable.  The disciples were awestruck when Jesus calmed a raging storm at sea.  The people were confounded when he expelled demons from a possessed man into a herd of pigs, who promptly drowned themselves.  Who was this man?  He certainly wasn’t looking or sounding like a Messiah should.  The desperate came to Him for healing, and weren’t found wanting.  Jesus healed a woman with a bleeding disorder, while pausing to restore her dignity and commend her faith.  Meanwhile, the daughter of a synagogue leader named Jairus died.  Jesus established His authority over death by raising her back to life.  He healed two blind men, and the Pharisees exposed their own desperate lack of vision by crediting such miracles to the prince of demons.

News about Jesus spread through villages and cities, homes and institutions.  Even King Herod grew interested.  He was haunted by the fear that John the Baptist might have returned from the dead, for he had ordered John’s execution. Wherever He went, people gathered around Jesus.  After one especially long day, Jesus fed more than 5,000 with five loaves of bread and a couple of fish.  The miracle was meant for more than filling empty stomachs.  He had come to fill empty lives; the real point was that He is the “bread” of eternal life.  As a result of his teachings, the people were divided.  Many turned away, but those who truly believed remained.  In one of His finest moments, Peter announced, “You have the words of eternal life…you are the Holy One of God.” 

Many came to Jesus with Lower Story needs, but Jesus’ mission was greater than any had imagined. He’d come to offer an Upper Story life, to fulfill the promises that began centuries ago with Abraham and David.  He’d come to offer a life of faith – faith in unseen realities, faith in who He is, and what He could do for them eternally.  The offer still stands.

Jesus’ Authority:  His Teaching and His Tests

Jesus preached the gospel of God, saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”  (Mk. 1:14-15)  As people watched and listened to Jesus, they responded, “What is this?  A new teaching with authority!” (Mk. 1:27)  No one could argue that Jesus was a controversial figure.  From the beginning, He opposed and exposed the religious establishment who despised Him.  He shattered Jewish paradigms by declaring that relationship to God is based on faith and obedience rather than flesh and blood (Mk. 3:35, Jn. 8:39).  He challenged the crowds.  He even confounded His closest disciples.  As we study the gospels, we find ourselves digging through Jesus’ teachings and in wonder of His miracles.  Many times we have been taught or studied these gospel stories in small bites because the big picture is hard to grasp.  But Jesus’ message and His miracles are not independent of one another.  His miracles do not prove that He is anything more than a great prophet or even a false one (Deut. 13:1-3).

Moses and Elijah worked great wonders too.  Even Pharaoh’s magicians were able to duplicate the first three plagues that Moses did.  The key is the combination of words and works, the message and the miracles.  Moses himself taught Israel that a wonder-worker whose words betrayed his God was not to be followed (Deut. 13:1-3).  But Israel should look for a prophet like Moses.   This Prophet must be listened to for He would speak God’s words (Deut. 18:15-19).  Moses warned that those who refuse to listen to this unique Prophet would be judged for rejecting God (Deut. 18:19).  It is within this context that Jesus’ message and miracles must be understood.  His miracles authenticate His message.  That is the situation we find in Mark 4-5.   This lesson aims to help us understand the relationship between Jesus’ teaching and His tests, and it aims to help us develop better Bible study skills so that we can better comprehend what Jesus did, why He did it, and what is the message of the gospel writer.

I.    Jesus taught…   (Mark 4:1-34)

The parables

A. Much of Jesus’ teaching was in parables.  Parables are short stories that draw comparisons to spiritual truth.  These stories come from common experiences that the original hearers would have easily understood—farming, shepherding, kings, banquets, and commercial elements such as money, debts and builders.   There are at least 35 parables in the synthesized gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.  All of His parables teach something about Himself, about His kingdom or about His followers.

B. In Mark 4:1-34, or p. 277-278, Jesus taught a large crowd by the lake, so large that He actually had to get into a boat in order to teach them many things in parables.  He urged them to listen carefully, presumably because He expected a response afterwards.   Jesus’ teachings were never haphazard or random.  They always served a purpose that contributed to His overall mission.

C. Parable of the Soils—He described the various soils upon which the farmer scattered his seeds.  Not all the seeds produced a harvest.  Some were scattered and eaten up by birds.  Some sprouted quickly and were scorched and withered.  Others were choked out.  But some fell on good soil and produced an amazing bounty.  Jesus provided an explanation to His disciples privately explaining that the farmer sows the word and the soils represent the various responses of the hearers of the word.  And what is the word?  Mark 1:14-15—the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel!  This parable explains why so many Jews rejected Jesus.  It reveals God’s gracious and universal offer of salvation as preached by Jesus alongside the mixed responses and results.   The truth is timeless—people today reject Jesus for the very same reasons.

D. Every teaching of Jesus anticipates a response.  He had expectations that hearers would respond to His teaching either by faith or rejection.  And indeed they did.  Because He understood the eternal gravity of His teaching and peoples’ responses, He encouraged everyone to listen carefully.

The purpose

A.    To reveal

  1. To those who believe, Jesus revealed the “secret of the kingdom of God,” that is in Christ Jesus.  God’s kingdom or rule was taking on a new form.  While scholars may debate what exactly is that form, there can be no arguing that Jesus’ assertion of the change in the kingdom was a “secret” or “mystery,” which means it was not previously revealed.  God allowed His believers to see in Jesus this secret, for they too would become “farmers” or “sowers” of the seed.  Those who heard and believed would receive more reason to believe in Jesus, while those who were in unbelief would continue in their unbelief.
  2. Nevertheless, even these believing disciples struggled to understand Jesus’ parables.  While the stories are simple, the spiritual truths that they teach are not.  They are quite deep and require thoughtful consideration.

B.     To conceal

  1. This idea is difficult for us to understand.  Why would Jesus deliberately conceal His teaching?  But by understanding His Isaiah reference, we are enlightened to this concealment.  At the time Isaiah prophesied, Israel was given the word of God to repent and return to the LORD.  They were spiritually blind and deaf.  In spite of all the words of the many prophets, they refused to really “hear.”

  2. Jesus is saying that the people of His day were like the Israelites of Isaiah’s day—spiritually blind and deaf. They were not denied the possibility of understanding and believing in Him.  But they persevered in closing their minds of His message and continued in their rejection.

II.    Jesus tested.  (Mark 4:35-5:43; The Story, p.283-286)

A. While The Story has inserted material from the gospels of Matthew and Luke, Mark’s account is continuous.  Jesus followed His teaching that day with miracles.  These two chapters are one continuous story and one continuous message. These Lower Story truths also convey Upper Story truths.  But the sheer volume of material of these four “tests” makes it difficult to apprehend the big picture.  Gospel writer John tells us that the works of Jesus were so numerous that all the books in the world could not contain them (Jn. 21:25).  Therefore the good Bible student must ask himself or herself why were these particular events selected to be written down.  An analysis of the four miracles will help to answer that question.  A chart is an excellent Bible study tool.  It helps us organize material so that we can take a big picture view of it to discern its meaning.

B. These miracles serve as tests for what Jesus has already taught. He just explained that on good soil, the words are heard, accepted and fruitful.  This is not new.  God tested Abraham with Isaac AFTER He had promised Abe a seed.  God tested Israel in the dessert AFTER He had spoken to them and demonstrated His power in such a grandiose deliverance. Now, Jesus authenticated His teaching by demonstrations of His authority.
I have a blank chart and a filled in chart right after this lesson to show you what it would look like to take a story and chart it out. If you have any questions about this, please ask.

  1. People:  Who is involved?  Is there a connection between the people involved and the sphere in which the miracle occurred?
  2. Method:  What method did Jesus use to carry out the miracle?
  3. Sphere:  What sphere(s) was involved in the problem and the miracle?  Was it a physical problem?  Emotional?  Or spiritual?  Was it a combination thereof?
  4. Result:  This is a Lower Story category.  This looks at the details of the Lower Story event.  What was the result of Jesus’ actions?  Could the result be explained in another non-miraculous way?
  5. Faith:  What elements of faith show up in the people involved in this story?
  6. Authority:  This is the Upper Story category.  It gives us insight into the bigger picture and helps convey the author’s reason for including the Lower Story event.  Over what does Jesus demonstrate His authority?

C. After filling out the chart, we can see horizontally that these elements or categories help us break down each individual story into manageable parts.  Vertically, we can use it to maximize our study time as it helps us draw conclusions.  Is there an increase in intensity in the problems?  In the miracles?  In the faith response?  In authority?  Is there a message that these trends help communicate?

D. Application questions to gain from this exercise:  What practical issues do these passages deal with?    Which person’s faith response is most like my own?  Is there a change required of me from this lesson?  Can I better trust Jesus because of these things, and if so, why?








Calming the Storm


The Demon-possessed Man

Woman with the Bleeding

Jairus’ Daughter

















Calming the Storm




Disciples (fisherman used to storms)

Spoken word Physical Perfectly calm waters What faith?  None


Over the natural world



The Demon-possessed Man





Pig herder



Spoken word Mental


Man became normal (right mind), clothed, Man wanted to follow Jesus,

People fearful and reject, care more about $ of pigs than man

Over the supernatural realm, ruinous kingdom of Satan–death and destruction



Woman with the Bleeding






Touch Physical

Emotional (unclean outcast)    Lev. 15:25-30

Instant healing Her faith healed her in that it caused her to seek Jesus Over sickness










3 Disciples



Spoken word and touch Physical



Instantly revived, stood, walked and ate Jairus’ faith in 2 stages, showed great faith Over death—the climax of the set of miracles

III.       Applications

A. I can develop better Bible study skills so that I can mature in my faith.

B. Like the original hearers, I must consider Jesus’ message and miracles and make a decision to believe.  Jesus is expecting a response of faith.

C. I can trust Jesus in the midst of my storms—emotional or physical.

D. Jesus is sovereign over the natural world.  Even the worst of storms has been filtered through His hand.

E. Jesus is sovereign over the supernatural world of demonic forces.  I can trust Him to protect me.

F. Jesus is sovereign over sickness and death.  I can know for certain that He can heal but there is no promise that He will heal.  While He raised Jairus’ daughter, He allowed John to remain dead.

G. I can trust that Jesus is who He says He is because He has authenticated His message with miracles.

H. Like Jairus, I can cling to Jesus even when the Lower Story appears hopeless.  When it is hopeless, I need to cling even more to the only One who holds the power of life and death

I. Like the woman, I should seek Jesus in my desperate times.

J. Like the disciples, I may now “get it” all the time, but as I continue to follow Jesus and know Him more and more, my faith and understanding will continue to grow.

K. Like the farmer, most of the seeds I sow will not be fruitful.  But God is in charge of the harvest and has entrusted me with the task of sowing.

Chapter 24: The Unclean Woman

A Touch

We are now at the point in our study when you will need to open up your Bibles and look at the Word. Today we will be studying the woman with the uncontrollable bleeding. Jesus in his earthly ministry dealt with many issues of the flesh and he never turned and ran from anyone. Jesus wasn’t ordinary; He didn’t run, and He didn’t hide. Real-life suffering touched Him to the core.

I. What happened?

Any investigator will talk to every witness to get to the truth. There are three different points of view in this story. We can learn much by investigating the events that took place from the viewpoint of the unclean woman, of Jesus, and of the disciples.

The Unclean Woman. Matthew 9:20—22; Mark 5:25—29, 33-34; Luke 8:43-44, 47-48

1.  What was her problem and how serious was it?

2.  How did she know who Jesus was?

3.  What did she do to have the courage to approach him? Matthew 9:21; Mark 5:28

4. What did she do and what happened to her body?

5. How did she react when Jesus revealed that she had touched him?

6. What made her well?


Jesus.  Matthew 9; Mark 5; Luke 8

The Gospel accounts give Jesus’ itinerary for approximately 48 hours before the encounter with the woman.  He had maintained a grueling schedule of healing and teaching, including the press of the crowds that were following him.  Remember, the Apostle John wrote that “the whole world would not have room to contain the books that would be written” about all of Jesus’ activities (John 21:23).


1.  Go to the three passages that record this event and glance back at Jesus’ activities just before he encountered the unclean woman; briefly list what Jesus had been doing in that short time.

2.  Try to imagine the strain and pressure Jesus would have endured from this crowd.  Explain what you think the toll was on Jesus.

3.  What was on Jesus’ mind when this incident occurred? (Where was Jesus actually heading next?)

4.  What did Jesus realize the moment the woman was healed?

5.  What question did he ask?  Explain what he did as he asked the question.

6. Did Jesus pay any attention to the apostles’ comments?  Explain his attitude toward them.

7.  What did Jesus say to the woman?  Explain his attitude toward her.

8.  From Matthew 9:35-38, describe how Jesus viewed the people around him.


The Disciples. Matthew 9:37; Mark 5:31; Luke 8:45-46

1.  Describe the reaction of the disciples to Jesus’ question, “Who touched me?”

2. What do you think the disciples thought as they observed Jesus and heard his teachings during this hectic period of time?

3.  From Jesus’ ‘debriefing’ with his disciples in Matthew 9:35-38, what could the disciples have perceived about their question in Mark 31?

In the space of a few seconds, a woman was healed; Jesus knew it; he was chided by the disciples; and he responded to them, as well as to the woman.  No angry reaction to the stress—to the questioning—to the presumption of the woman.  For Jesus it was business as usual.  The biblical accounts describe a kind and compassionate man, calm in the midst of a whirlwind.

II.  Conclusions.

1.  What can the actions of the unclean woman teach us?

2.  What can the actions of Jesus teach us?

3. What can the actions of the disciples teach us?

III.  Touching Jesus.

The real-life story of the unclean woman is also a real-life story of every person who comes to Jesus.  What we experience when we come to Jesus is not unlike what the woman experienced.  Not only does faith lead us into a saving relationship with Christ, faith leads us to cling to Him in order to faithfully walk with Him every day. With the metaphor of the unclean woman in mind, meditate on the changes in our lives when we draw near to Jesus.

1.  Fill in the blanks: (The first letter of each word is provided from the NIV)

Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came t___________________ and

f__________ at his feet.  In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how

she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her “Daughter your f____________ has healed you.

Luke 8:47

2.  Sin brings every kind of suffering.  Make a note of some of the suffering that has brought you to Jesus with fear and trembling. (Hebrews 4:15-16)

3.  What is the proper response to the spiritual healing and freedom that salvation brings?

4.  What knowledge do we have to base our faith upon?

5.  How much faith do we need to respond to Jesus?  (Luke 17:5-6)

Key Question:  What courageous thing will require you to cling to Jesus in faith?

For additional reflection:  The unclean woman was not the only person who summoned the courage to reach out to Jesus.  In each of the examples below note what qualms they might have had to overcome in order to ask Jesus for help.

Mary- John 2:1-22

Nicodemus- John 3:1-21

The Official- John 4:43-54

Come and See!


“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there? Nathanael asked. Come and see, said Philip”

Philip found Nathanael and told him that he had found the one Moses wrote about in the law. That is a pretty big claim to put out there. No wonder Nathanael was a little bit leery of the whole thing. This is a subject you don’t mess around with, we’re talking about the Messiah, and not just some street corner prophet.

I love this story and the interaction that takes place. Philip didn’t have all the answers to Nathanael’s objections. He didn’t even try to fumble his way through some theological jargon to convince him otherwise. It was as simple as “Come and See!”

Do we have the same interaction with people around us? Have we lost the joy of discovery? We have a real fear that we need to know everything about Jesus and how to defend every objection before talking about him with anyone. Philip obviously didn’t know everything and neither do I, but it shouldn’t stop us inviting people to see who Jesus is for themselves.

What does this invite include? I believe people are skeptical today of anything that smells like organized church. An invitation to know Jesus means I have to sit in a strange place, with strange rituals, and often times strange people. Instead, invite them into a relationship where you can sit down one-on-one to talk about and discover together who Jesus is, what he said and if this is true what does it mean for your lives. It still might be scary but be open to discuss the topics and questions that arise and find out what it all means.

An interesting parallel exists in chapter 23 of “The Story.” Throughout the chapter, people are looking to discover who this guy Jesus is. The end of chapter 22 points to this fact as it says,

“Who was this Jesus? A New prophet? A scholar destined to be a great rabbi? Perhaps a political leader with the charisma to finally send the oppressive Roman armies, who controlled Judea, back across the sea?”

We are invited to discover who this Jesus is as we ask the questions, but it is followed up when we hear from him in his own voice but also hear from the eye witnesses to the story.

To emphasize this point, Jesus has a face to face interaction with a Samaritan woman at the well and after the conversation she goes back to her village and says, “Come, see…” We are invited into a discovery. It is not a lecture given, but a journey of exploration that will last a lifetime.

Are you ready for the ride of your life? Come and See!

Jesus’ Ministry Begins (4 Perspectives)


Perspective 1- Kelsey and Laura Rath (Mother/Daughter Duo)

Have you ever faced temptation?

Jesus did here on earth. After having fasted for 40 days in the desert, the devil tempted Jesus to change stones into bread. Even though He was hungry, Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Jesus relied on His Father and resisted temptation. Do you turn to God when you’re tempted, or do you rely on your own strength to resist, and sometimes give in?

God understands temptation. He knows what we go through when we’re trying to resist and do what’s right in His eyes. He knows because He experienced it here on earth.

Perspective 2-Pastor Ron

The overall theme of the chapter this week is the fact that Jesus is no ordinary man.  He is a man, but certainly not like any other man, because He is, in fact, God also.   The pages are filled with Jesus performing incredible miracles and great acts of compassion.

One particular incident recorded in this chapter was the topic of a short discussion I had this week with Rev. Dr. Bob Newton. Rev. Newton is a District president in our Synod and I was with him at a meeting the early part of this week. He brought a new angle to this story that I had not thought of before. I had forgotten it was in this chapter until I read it in the airport waiting for my flight to return home. The incident? The women at the well.

Much has been made of the fact that Jesus spoke to the woman at the well, particularly because she was a Samaritan, and Jews do not associate with Samaritans. Much has been made out of the fact that she lived in shame, thus she was at the well in the heat of the day. The shame has been associated with the fact that she has had 5 husbands and we conclude that she is some kind of woman of ill repute. Yet, women of ill repute don’t get married! So what is her shame and why has she had 5 husbands. The clue comes in the fact that there is no mention of her having children.

The culture of day was such that if a woman was barren, she was not considered to have any value. It was commonplace for a man to divorce a woman who could give him no children. Could it be that 5 men had divorced her because she could not have children? Could her shame be that she has no children therefore is not welcome at the well with the other women? Maybe the reason she is not married now is she has found a man who will at least offer her a roof over her head, but he will not give her his name.

The story takes on a whole new look. Perhaps for the first time, or at least the first time in a long time, a man is talking respectfully to her. Jesus offers no words of rebuke to this woman, instead he offers the living water of the Gospel. She tells the town not that this Jesus called her out and condemned her, but instead says, “Come see a man who told me everything that I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”

Indeed He is the Messiah. The Messiah who knows everything you ever did. Who has not come to condemn the world, but to save it.

Perspective 3-Barb Miles

As I read the Bible references to this chapter I realized just how many times Jesus came into so many different situations where a crowd had gathered.  So many had questions about who he was and why was he was there.  Jesus did not limit his ministry to those who were well dressed, he ministered to all; children, women, people with deformities, and on and on.  There was no criteria for who he would witness to or heal.  Beyond His powers of healing, He also dined with tax collectors and sinners who were not popular people.  Jesus said when questioned about his dinner companions “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners.”

Another point brought to my attention was how many times Jesus went away to pray in solitude.  I have been reminded in my reading and studying to set quiet time in prayer.  It looks like I have just been reminded of that very priority.  Jesus felt regenerated and ready to again go on for the day.  What a role model!

One other contrast I found in the Bible references for this chapter was that Jesus started selecting his disciples from men who he observed fishing.  I wondered if the qualities of a fisherman that would be patient, quiet people, and able to look for new “spots”  for supplies of fish would be similar to the qualities of those who “fish for people to share God’s word?”   When we are looking for sharing our faith, we must be patient, quiet and good observers, and always be open to fish in new spots for witnessing.

Perspective 4-Dan Petrak

Who do you say I am: results

I spent some time “out on the street” last Friday with my friend Karen as the cameraman. We walked around a local mall and asked people two questions. What comes to mind when you hear the word Jesus? and Who do you say Jesus is? (Please read the blog post with the same title to get the larger picture of what we were trying to accomplish)

Two simple questions but as you can see in the above video that it brings about different responses. We talked to a lot of people but some didn’t want to be on camera. We did not come in contact with anyone who was hostile or angry that we would ask them questions like these. We also did not take this opportunity to correct them or debate with them on their comments. I simply wanted to get some raw feelings and feedback when it came to the subject of Jesus.

I think there is a lot to learn from the responses in the video. I shared with you a few things I learned at the end of the video. But I want to hear from you. After watching the video did you learn anything from the responses? I know the sound could have been better, we are working on that for next time.

If you accepted the challenge of asking three people you didn’t know, what did you find out?

I will look forward to hearing back from you. Thanks!

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