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.
To look up Bible verses, click here to go to BibleGateway.
“Jesus Calls People From Death To Life!” March 18-24
Read John 11:1-44.
- Where do you turn when you need help? Do you suppose that God can use even the worst of events to strengthen faith? What event has God brought you through, or that you are currently in the midst in, that has strengthened your faith?
- Lazarus, who was a follower and good friend of Jesus, and brother of Mary and Martha, becomes sick. Why does Jesus delay in going to see him? What does Jesus say about his illness (verse 4, 11, 14-15)? When you compare these verses, what was Jesus’ point? Why was Lazarus going through such a thing?
- Why might Martha have run to Jesus? When Jesus and Martha are speaking about the resurrection, do you think she is anticipating what Jesus might do, or is it at the end of time? Previously, Jesus identified himself as the bread of life (John 6:35-39). What does He say He will do on the last day?
- Jesus has another “I am” statement. What does He call himself in verse 25? Read 1 Corinthians 15:20-21. How do we know He can raise the dead? Read Genesis 2:17, Romans 5:12, 6:23. What is the consequence of sin? What does Jesus say will happen to those who have faith?
- In verse 39, what was Martha’s concern? Even though she came to Jesus, she thought raising Lazarus was impossible. Who did she confess Jesus to be in verse 27? Did she understand what He could do? What comfort can we know, reading that even Martha, who knew Jesus and questioned his ability, had a miracle performed for her? Why did Jesus do this miracle? Read 14b-15. How might God be using tough times to help you? What does going through struggles cause you to do?
“A sacrificial Act of Worship” March 25-31
Read Matthew 26:6-13
- We open the story with Jesus at a home in Bethany, in the home a man named Simon who was a leper. A Leper was someone with an incurable skin disease that was normally separated from society. For him to have a home, for Jesus to be there means what?
- What famous family lived in Bethany? Who is this woman who appears among a group of men, and anoints Jesus with expensive ointment/perfume? Read John 12:1-3.
- Why were the disciples angry about the woman’s action? Why would they have seen this as waste? Read Mark 10:21-22, Mark 14:41-44. This perfume was of great value, why would they have wanted to sell it? Were they really looking out for the poor or were they concerned about something else?
- Jesus had taught them for many years about how to treat the poor and the widows and orphans. Read Matthew 26:14-16. Although Matthew doesn't tell us which disciples were indignant, John tells us Judas Iscariot was the culprit. Does this shed light on their motivation?
- Read Mark 16:1-2, Luke 23:56. A body was traditionally wrapped with spices when? What does Jesus say this woman has done?
- Jesus says, “Wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her?” Why? What was she doing? What had she given Jesus by anointing Him with a very expensive perfume?
“Jesus Cleanses the Temple” - April 1-7th
Read Matthew 21:12-17
- Read Matthew 21:1-11. Jesus goes to the temple right after what important event? Why would he go there? The temple was the center of life in Jerusalem. And what does he find?
- The Gentile Court or outer court of the temple was a place for Gentiles to come and worship, to remind them that they too could be included in God’s plan of salvation? What have they turned the Gentile, or outer court into? What were the merchants doing? Why was Jesus so upset?
- Jesus then proceeds to heal many in the temple? What was Jesus proving by doing these things? What was the reaction of the crowds? Who did they recognize him to be?
- The Pharisees, the leaders of the temple are upset? Why? How were they treating the temple and the people by allowing such robbery to take place? Jesus calls those who recognize Him children. What was insinuating about the Pharisees and temple leaders?
“Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?” March 11-17
Read Mark 5:21-43.
- When bad things happen, we all have questions that start to race around our minds. We begin to ask “Why would God allow this?” or “Why would a good God allow something so bad, so evil, to happen to such a good person?” Think back on your own life. What events have made you ask similar questions?
- There is perhaps no greater question in the life of a follower of Jesus than the title of this section. We all struggle and ask some deep questions in the midst of hardships and pains. Why? Are we truly looking for an answer? Are we trying to comfort ourselves and others?
- Jairus (a Synagogue ruler) was a man who was peers with those who put Jesus to death. He has a 12-year-old daughter who was dying. Why does he come to Jesus? What must he have heard to convince him that Jesus could help? By what means does he ask Jesus to help (verse 23)? Read Mark 7: 24-30 and Matthew 8: 5-13. How else had Jesus healed people?
- Suddenly a woman interrupts the event. What was she suffering from? If you had been bleeding for 12 years and tried all the remedies, what would you do? What did she do in faith? What does Jesus say was the source of her healing?
- While Jesus is on His way to Jairus’ home, they are interrupted. What has happened? What does Jesus say is the girl’s condition?
- What should we do when bad things happen? Where should we go with our questions? What should we turn to? How can God work through bad things that happen to us and loved ones? Read Acts 2:22-24, 4:8-12, Romans 5:3-5
“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?
“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.)
“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
“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 _____________________________________________________________