Devotional for Worship Series
God's Rescue Plan - New Testament
NOTE: Please use the devotional studies below to help you prepare for the upcoming weekend worship services.
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“The Best Saved For Last” February 18-24
Read John 2:1-12 (Action Bible pages 552-553)
NOTE: Weddings at the time of Jesus were often community events where relatives and towns- people would gather to celebrate for up to an entire week. To run out of wine would have been a great social embarrassment.
- What was the most fun you have ever had at a wedding? What made it such a good time?
- Do you identify more with Jesus or Mary in this story? Why?
- Read Luke 1:30-33 and Luke 2:25-34. Why do you think that Mary went to Jesus when the wine ran out at the wedding at Cana?
- What do you think Jesus meant in John 2:4 when He said “My time has not yet come.”?
- Read John 2:7-8. What do you think the servants were thinking when Jesus told them to take out some of the water they had just filled the stone jars with? Would you have done it?
- Read John 2:9-10. What was the bride groom commended for?
- Read John 2:11. What does John say was the significance of this miracle? What did it say about Jesus? Now read John 20:30-31. Like happened to the disciples when they witnessed Jesus first miracle, what does God want our reaction to be as we read about Jesus’ miracles?
- Read Amos 9:11-15. This prophecy is about the restoration of Israel or God’s people. Notice how much wine is spoken of in this brief prophecy about the restoration of God’s people. That restoration occurred when Jesus came to redeem mankind from sin through His death and resurrection. The flowing of New Wine signaled the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who would bring abundant life to Judaism which, like the wedding, had run out of life and had become spiritually empty. Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” -John 10:10
“The Compassionate Heart of Jesus” February 25– March 2
Read Matthew 14:13-21 (Action Bible pgs. 577-579)
- People react in different ways when they mourn the death of someone they love. How do you generally respond? A) I keep busy in order to take my mind off of things. or, B) I try to find some place where I can be alone to think and grieve.
- Read Matthew 14:1-12 to understand the context for our focused reading. Now read vs. 13. Why did Jesus withdraw to a private place to be alone? What was the response of the crowds of people when Jesus withdrew for some alone time?
- Read vs. 14. How did Jesus respond to the persistence of the people? Why did He respond this way? (Read Matthew 9:36 to gain more insight into why He responded as He did.)
- Read vss. 15-17. Describe how the disciples seem to have felt in this situation? Why do you think Jesus at first challenged the disciples to provide the meal for the people?
- Read vss. 21. Why do you think Jesus included the disciples in distributing the food to the people? How much food was left over after everyone had eaten?
- Read John 6:14-15. What does John say was the reaction of the people to the miracle? Why did they react in this way? (Read John 6:25-26 for help.). Why do you think Jesus rejectedthis effort of the people (after all, any politician today craves this kind of popularity with the people.)
“Discipleship: Becoming Like Jesus” March 4-10
Read Matthew 14:22-33 (Action Bible pages 580-81)
NOTE: In this Jewish culture, there were many rabbis who had disciples of their own who followed them like we see the 12 doing with Jesus in the Gospels. As disciples followed their rabbi around they would walk behind him. It was a dirty, dusty environment with no paved streets or sidewalks. Those who walked behind would inevitably get dirty from the dust of their rabbi walking ahead of them. There was a saying back then among disciples in this culture, “May you be covered in the dust of your rabbi.” This meant that the disciple wanted to imitate his rabbi and become like him in every way possible.
- Have you ever had an idol– someone you greatly admired and who you wanted to be like? Did you choose any clothes like they wore or have your hair done like they had it? Did you try to imitate how they talked or use expressions they used? Is so, why did you act like this?
- Last week we saw Jesus perform the miracle of the “Feeding of the 5,000.” This week’s reading picks up immediately on the heels of that event. Read vss. 22-24. What did Jesus have the disciples do while He dismissed the crowd? Then, what did He do?
- Read vss. 25-27. (The “4th watch of the night” was the period of 3– 6 am.). What did Jesus do early in the morning? Why do you think the disciples reacted the way they did? Do you think you would also have responded this way? Read Job 9:8. What is one of the things that Job says God does? What does this act of Jesus say about who He is?
- Read Matthew 14:28-30. In light of the NOTE above why might Peter have done what He did? At first Peter succeeds in walking toward Jesus. What changed that caused him to be afraid? What kinds of things cause you to take your eyes off of God’s promises to you and make you afraid?
- Read vss. 32-36. How did the story end? Has God ever rescued you? How did you react to God’s rescue?
“A Lesson In Humility” February 11-17
Read Luke 18:9-14
- Where is your favorite place to pray? Why?
- When have you been like the Pharisee in this parable? When have you been like the tax collector?
- Read James 4:6. How does this passage help us to understand what should motivate our confession of sins? Why do you think God rewards those who are humble?
- Read Philippians 2:1-11. How did Paul describe Jesus’ attitude? Why should we seek to follow His example?
- Read Psalm 32. How did David describe the weight of his sins before he decided to confess them?
- How do you think the tax collector would be received in our church? Why?
- Read Psalm 51. How does David portray the condition of his heart before God? Have you ever felt completely broken because of Your sins? How did you deal with that situation?
- What promise does God make to us in 1 John 1:8-9?
- Read the following passages. How does God picture forgiveness of sins in each?
- Isaiah 1:18 _______________________________________________________________
- Micah 7:19 _______________________________________________________________
- Psalm 103:12 _____________________________________________________________
“God’s Passion for Finding the Lost” - February 4 -10
Read Luke 15:11-31.
- Luke 15 says that “tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to Him.” Why is this a problem for the Pharisees and scribes? What does this say about how the Pharisees and scribes viewed themselves and those who Jesus was eating with (a very intimate act in the first century)?
- Luke records a series of parables in Luke 15 culminating with the story of the Prodigal Son. Read all three. How does each parable build upon the next? What does it say about God’s desire for those who are lost?
- When the younger son asks his father for his portion of the inheritance, what is he really saying to his father? What does this say about the heart of the younger son?
- When the younger son comes to his senses, what does he begin to do? When the Father comes out to greet him and receive him back, how does the words he had planned change?
- What do the Fathers actions prior to the sons return say about the heart of the father? How do the actions of the Father in verse 22-24 show what God does when a sinner comes to faith?
- How does the older son react to the generosity of his Father? What does he say to the father about their relationship? Who was the older son focused on?
- How do we react when we see God’s grace being given to those we consider to be not worthy of such a gift? When we do, where is our heart focused? Who is worthy of God’s grace?