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.
“I Didn’t See That Coming” April 22-28
Read Luke 24:13-35 (Action Bible pgs. 641-644)
- Have you ever experienced something like an election or ball game that turned out very differently than you thought it would? Did you end up talking with others about how stunned you were at the outcome? What was the discussion like?
- The event in our reading took place on Easter Sunday. Two disciples of Jesus were walking home from Jerusalem. Read Luke 24:13-14. What village were they traveling to? What were they talking about?
- Read vss. 15-19a. What happened? How did Jesus engage them in conversation?
- Read 19b-24. What was their story? The key to understanding their perspective on the events comes in vs. 21. What expectation did they have that Jesus did not fulfill?
- Read vss. 25-27. How did Jesus respond to them? There are many Old Testament prophecies about the coming Messiah. One of the most well known is Isaiah 53. Read this chapter. How is the resurrection presented in vss. 10-12? How might Jesus have used this chapter to explain His mission to these Emmaus road disciples?
- Read Luke 24:28-31. What did these disciples invite Jesus to do? What were they doing when they realized that He was the Messiah? What does this remind you of? (Hint: see Matthew 26:26-29 for help).
- Read Luke 24:31-35. What did the disciples do when Jesus vanished from their sight? This is a common theme. Read John 20:17. What did Jesus tell Mary to do after she saw Jesus risen from the grave? What should disciples of Jesus do today who have become convinced that He truly rose from the grave?
“From Doubt To Belief” April 29– May 5
Read John 20:24-31 (Action Bible pages 645-649)
- We have a saying in our culture: “Seeing is believing.” or “A picture tells a thousand words.” How important is it for you to see something in order to believe it?
- The Bible tells us that saving faith is different in this regard. Read Hebrews 11:1. What is different about the Christian faith than worldly faith? Read the rest of this chapter. Give some examples of biblical faith versus worldly faith.
- Read Romans 1:16-17. What does Paul say the “Christian” faith is based on? Paul talks more about this in Romans 10:17. Based on what Paul says here, why is it important to read your Bible regularly, attend worship services and participate in Bible studies?
- Read James 1:5-8. If you are a person who is struggling with having confident faith, what does James say you should do in addition to using God’s word regularly?
- Read John 20:24-25. What do we learn about Thomas from these verses?
- Why do you think it was so difficult for Thomas to believe the stories of the different disciples that Jesus had risen from the grave? (See Luke 24:21; John 12:34 & Luke 19:11). What were the Jewish people expecting the Messiah to be like?
- Read John 20:26-29. When did Jesus appear to Thomas? How did Jesus address Thomas’ lack of faith?
- What doubts or questions about God are you struggling with? Do you think that God deals as compassionately and patiently with your doubts as Jesus did with Thomas? Why or why not?
“From Death To Life” April 20-21
- Read John 20:1. Have you ever had someone you loved die? If so, how did you feel in the days following their passing? How do you think Mary was feeling as she walked to the tomb?
- Read Mark 16:1-2; Luke 24:1. Who was with Mary? What was their purpose for going to Jesus’ tomb? According to John’s account, what did Mary notice as they approached the tomb?
- Read John 20:2-10. What happened next? How did Peter & John react? What did they discover inside the tomb when they arrived? Even though we’re told that John “believed” apparently this “belief” was focused on Mary’s testimony earlier to them at the house that Jesus was gone from the grave.
- Read vs. 9. What do we learn about the disciples’ understanding of the events of the last three days?
- Read Psalm 16:9-10 and Isaiah 53:10-12 along with Acts 26:22-23. What do these passages say about the death and resurrection of the Messiah?
- Even though this was foretold in the Old Testament, the disciples refused to believe Jesus when He said that these things would happen to Him (see Matthew 16:21-22; Luke 18:31-34). Why do you think they refused to believe Him? (see John 12:34 & Luke 24:21 for help).
- Read John 20:11-13. What seems to have interrupted Mary’s crying?
- Read vss. 14-17. Who did Mary think Jesus was at first? What was her reaction when she realized that this man was Jesus? When she realized that it was Jesus, Mary probably didn’t want to let go of Jesus. Have you ever felt that way about someone special? If so, explain. Why did Jesus tell her to not keep clinging to her? According to vs.18 she heeds his request. What did she do?
“A Grand Entrance” April 8-14
Read Matthew 21:1-11 (Action Bible pgs. 612-615)
- If the President were come to Sheboygan, how would you arrange for his visit in order to provide maximum exposure: Parades? TV? Radio? What influential people would you have him meet? Where would you have him eat? Where would he stay the night?
- Read vss. 1-3. What instructions did Jesus give to his disciples? A king coming home from a successful battle would often come riding into the city on a beautiful stallion. What will Jesus ride on? What kind of image does this portray?
- Read vss. 6-9. The word “hosanna” is a Hebrew word that means “save now!” What insight does this word give us into the expectations of the people about who they hoped Jesus was and what He might do for the nation of Israel? (Note especially what they called Jesus in vs. 9). How do their hopes compare with the reality of who Jesus was (for help read John 18:33-37)?
- Read Matthew 27:15-26. Why do some of the same people who honored Jesus on Palm Sunday now cry out for His crucifixion?
- Have you ever emotionally jumped on a religious or political bandwagon and then later regret your actions? If so, explain.
- Read Matthew 21:10-11. How big of an impact did Jesus’ Palm Sunday entrance into Jerusalem have on the people?
“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?
“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?