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Jesus is Compassion
April 9, 2008, 12:45 am
Filed under: Bible Studies, Uncategorized

Jesus is Healing and Compassion

Hook Questions

Do you know someone who everyone goes to for help with personal problems?

What makes that person a magnet for people who are hurting?

Would you consider yourself to be a person like that?

Checking out the Truth

Read Mark 5:21-42

What two types of people came to Jesus in this passage?

Describe what you think the synagogue leader’s life would have been like.

What would some of his privileges have been?

What did most church leaders think about Jesus as far as you have read in the gospels?

Why do you think this guy was different?

What do you think his life was like with a sick daughter?

Have you ever known someone who lost a child? What was life like for them?

What was life like during their illness?

How did Jairus approach Jesus?

How does he demonstrate faith?

How did Jesus respond?

Who met them along the way to Jairus’s house?

What was her life like? What had she been through in the past 12 years?

Try to paint a picture of a woman suffering for 12 years. Do you know anyone who has a chronic illness? What is his/her life like?

How did she approach Jesus? Why do you think she came at him from behind?

How did Jesus respond?

How did he know someone touched him when there was a huge crowd around?

What did it take for the woman to admit she had touched Jesus?

How did Jesus respond to her honesty?

During the interchange with the now healed woman how did the plot change for Jairus? What bad news did he receive?

How did Jesus respond?

Ever have a bad situation go from bad to worse? What was your circumstance?

When Jesus got to the house how did people receive him?

What did he do in the house?

Who did he invite to witness the miracle?

Have you ever gone to Jesus in a situation that you thought was hopeless? What was the situation?

How has Jesus met you with compassion when you were hurting?

What kind of people go to Jesus? Read Mt. 9:12

What does Jesus ask of us? Mt. 9:13

Sticking to the Truth

Do “sick” people go to your for healing and compassion?

Why or why not?

How should we be extending mercy?

What sacrifices would you have to make to be available to people who are hurting?

Do you know someone now who is hurting and needs compassion?

How can you help them?

Jesus is compassion. It is who he is and so our lives should be characterized by compassion in His name.

Reflecting on the Truth

In the story of the Jairus and the sick woman Jesus shows us that we are to extend mercy to the hurting. He is saying that we need to open our eyes up to folks who are in need and hurt with them and meet them in their need and walk alongside of them. He does not just want us to bring a sacrifice to his altar to try to appease Him. God wants all of our hearts to extend His heart of mercy to the hurting. In this story we see two people from two very different circumstances come to Jesus. They have one important thing in common: they are both hurting and they both have the faith to run to Jesus for compassion and healing.

The synagogue ruler has a position in society that is respected. He has friends, family, a home, and a place in society. He has it all, except one thing he lacks. He does not have the power or the authority to free his daughter from the illness that is taking her life. Can you imagine being a man who everyone looks to for leadership and yet you are powerless to change the one thing in life that really matters. He has known the answers. He can remember the scriptures because he has committed them to his memory. He has studied, he knows that God met Moses on the mountain and gave him the law. He knows Israel was delivered from the slavery of the Egyptians. He knows that David defeated the lion and the bear before he faced Goliath. He knows that God is good. He knows that God is holy and powerful. He knows all the right answers. He is a leader in the synagogue. Only the chosen few rise to such heights. He is a man who has arrived. Can you imagine his pain in knowing so many things about the scriptures but being utterly incapable of bringing healing to his 12 year old daughter? She has just now begun to live. She is just now becoming a woman and looking forward to marriage and babies. She is at the beginning of a beautiful life in a loving home. The pain comes in knowing that just as his daughter is about to begin life she is wrapping it up. It seems to be an ending for her and not a beginning. The pain and desperation led Jairus to do something that not many synagogue leaders have ever done. He runs up to Jesus and falls on his knees and cries out in faith “My daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.”

The sick woman has always caught my attention. I can feel her desperation and the sadness of her heart as she sneaks up on Jesus for one last shot at healing. She just wants to touch the hem of his garment and receive enough healing power to put her out of her long misery. She has faith that Jesus can heal, she just does not realize that Jesus wants to heal her hurting heart as much as he wants to heal her hurting body. Take a look at her life. She has been sick for 12 years with bleeding. This means that she has been considered ceremonially unclean. Anyone who touched her would also be considered unclean until they took a good bath, washed their clothes, and waited until evening (Lev. 15:25-27). Who would want to go through the trouble? In fact every seat she sat on and every bed she lay on would also be unclean. She was a walking disease. She had tried everything to get well. She spent all of her money on doctors and she only got worse! Mark says that “she suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors”. She was expending all of her resources and they were not helping. Maybe you know someone who has spent all their resources on doctors and has not gotten better. I do. It hurts my heart to know that at the end of all the effort to be better my friend still struggles in pain. So the sick woman, lonely, depressed, outcast, makes her way through the crowd. She presses her way in to touch Jesus.

Jesus is so sweet. He stops in his tracks and turns around and asks “Who touched my clothes?” I love it. The disciples are in a hurry and they are a little impatient with Jesus. They tell him everyone is touching you and let’s keep moving. Jesus does not budge. He has unfinished work to do. He presses until she confesses. Our friend, the sick woman, has been healed by the power of Jesus and now comes to him and tells him her story. She confessed to needing his power to bring her the healing for which she longed. And our loving Jesus says to her “daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering”. He calls her daughter. Years of being an outcast and now the healer she longed to touch calls her daughter. The word must have fell on her like a sweet rain after a drought. Daughter. Can you see her tears flow down her cheeks with the acceptance that the word daughter implies? Jesus stopped for her, he called her to come forward, and now he calls her daughter. The long night is over. The pain has ceased. Jesus has moved in his compassion and has reached into a hurting heart and brought a tender acceptance, a cleansing. He tells her to go in peace, her faith has healed her. She was not healed by her money or her effort to be well. She was healed by her faith in Jesus. So go in peace. She hasn’t known peace in so long; it has been at least 12 years. Oh, to know that peace that only Jesus can give. He is so full of compassion. He could have let the healing power leave him and just walked on to Jairus’s house, after all there was a girl about to die, but he stopped for an outcast and he called her daughter. He healed her physical illness, and he healed her hurting heart. She was well now, and with an identity that she found in Jesus. She was daughter and she walked away in peace.

Do you feel Jairus getting a little nervous now? While Jesus took the time to love our hurting friend Jairus’s daughter was taking her last breaths. They got a bad report that she had died and so don’t bother Jesus anymore. Jesus is not fazed by bad news. He says “don’t be afraid, just believe” and they pressed on to bring healing. They were met at the house by mourners who were lamenting the death of the little girl. He invited Jairus and his wife and Peter, James, and John into the room with him to meet the little girl. I am so glad that her parents were there to see Jesus raise their little girl. He just told her to get up and she started walking around. Everyone in the room was amazed by the power of Jesus. Imagine their joy. They thought they had lost her and Jesus brought her back to them. Their time of suffering ended with a great healing and their preteen daughter probably ready to go shopping.

Jesus is loving and kind. He is full of compassion. He stops to take time with people who are hurting and he gives them a new identity. He does not seem to mind if you are the most popular person or the least, he will meet up with you. He is not motivated by our status in society. He is motivated by love and compassion for us. Would you have stopped to love on the unclean woman if you were on your way to the synagogue leader’s house? Would you have been concerned to make a good impression on the person in power or would the pain of an outcast have stopped you in your tracks? Do people go to you when they are hurting? Do they find compassion in your eyes and acceptance in your listening ears? The compassion of Jesus amazes me. I pray that God would give us the kind of compassion that would draw a hurting person to us because they know that if they come we would meet them with love and concern. We would be like Jesus and take the time to stop and minister to the pain. You may never raise the dead, but you can bring hope to a hurting heart. You can listen. You can apply the scriptures as a salve to the wound. You can pray in the name of Jesus Christ and your prayers will be powerful and effective. Take some time to stop. Be the compassionate child of God you are called to be. Let Jesus love on some folks through you. Imagine the blessing. You may see some one’s heart healed.

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Jesus is the Bread of Life
April 9, 2008, 12:43 am
Filed under: Bible Studies

Jesus is the Bread of Life

And He involves us in His provision

Opening “Hook” questions

Have you ever been overwhelmed?

What was it that overwhelmed you?

What were your circumstances?

What do people do when they are overwhelmed?

Summarize for the class what they spoke about in their opening discussion.

Checking out the Truth

Read John 6:1-5

Describe the scene. If you were there what would you see, hear, and feel?

Why are people following Jesus?

What is Jesus doing?

Read John 6:5-13

What does Jesus ask Philip?

Why did Jesus ask Philip about buying bread?

Why would Jesus care about feeding them?

How did Philip respond?

How would you have felt? What solution would you have dreamed up?

Do you think you would have sent the people home hungry?

Why did Jesus decide to feed them? (hint is in John 6:35—Jesus is the bread of life. He has a passion to see people fully satisfied)

What did Andrew offer?

Read Mark 6:38

Why do you think he even bothered to mention such a small amount of food?

How did Jesus respond?

How did Jesus handle the loaves and fish?

Do you give thanks to God for the small things in life, even if they seem insignificant? Why or why not?

What happened after the blessing?

How much was left over? Why is that significant?

Reflecting on the Truth

In this story we see a great need with a seemingly small resource. The disciples were ready to send the people home and who could blame them? They did not realize who Jesus was and they had never seen 5,000 people eat from five loaves and two fish. They surveyed the situation and it seemed reasonable to send the people packing. Jesus had a different plan and he involved them in it. It is also amazing that he involved a little boy and his lunch. Isn’t that good of Jesus to allow this young fellow the opportunity to give all he had to Jesus, and then to watch Jesus take it to feed thousands. I am pretty sure that for the rest of his life that little guy told the story of how Jesus used his lunch. Jesus takes our small offering and multiplies it for his kingdom. He uses our lunch to feed others for our joy, so we can say that we played a part, so we can say that we were involved in the miracle.

Do you have a story like that? Can you think of a time that you were in an overwhelming situation and God met the need miraculously? How has God used your lunch to feed the masses? How has he taken your small offering to bless others in a big way? Perhaps you went on a mission trip and you felt so insignificant to share the gospel but you gave it your best shot and you saw God move. You may have wondered at times, who am I and what difference do I make? I have nothing to offer to God. So God says, well give me your lunch. Give me the small offering you hold in your hands and watch me make it into a miracle. Just this past summer, our youth group went on a mission trip to Mexico. We prepared for months before our trip with training in Spanish, evangelism, and creative ministries. We had folks who could do puppets, sing, dance, give testimonies and we even learned to read Spanish language tracks. We had packed our lunch but still did not feel as though we had what it took to see a miracle. The problem was that our expectations were so much smaller than God’s plans. We had hoped for a few people to come to know Christ and to encourage the believers even a little bit. We had no idea that God would use our offering to bring over a hundred people to salvation. Every where we went in Mexico God went before us. He took the small lunch that we had packed and he passed it out on the streets like we had prepared a feast. People received the message with open hearts and confessed their need for Jesus and their desire to follow him. We were all completely amazed by the miracle of God using our small offering to bring so many souls to salvation.

So why does God do it? Why does he feed the masses and use our lunch in the process? He feeds them because that is who he is. Jesus said in John 6:35 “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” The bread of life does not let a group of folks go hungry. In this situation it was real physical hunger. The people needed to eat food so they would not pass out on their way back home, and so they could stay to hear more from Jesus. Don’t be mistaken, Jesus is more than just the divine baker ready to fill an empty stomach. He is the bread of life that feeds an empty soul. When the creep devil was tempting him to turn rocks into bread Jesus told him “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Mt. 4:4). He is the one who meets our heart’s greatest need. Jesus is the bread of life. Jesus is satisfaction.

The more difficult question is why does He use us in the process? In this story Jesus could have fed the people out of nothing, or he could have turned a stone into bread or anything his all creative all powerful mind could have thought up. He did not have to use a little boy’s lunch; Jesus chose to use the lunch. He uses our lunch because in his grace he involves us in the story. He has given us a role to play. Can you feel the delight of playing a part? Listen to Jesus as he urges us in the parable of the talents to not bury your gifts in the sand. Hear Him as he calls out to you to go and make disciples of all the nations. Feel the wind in your face and smell the salty air that surrounded Peter and Andrew when they heard Jesus say “come follow me and I will make you fishers of men”. Can you hear Jesus calling out to you? Give me your lunch. Let me take your offering and watch me work a miracle through the few bites you held in your hand. Your offering is always enough when it is all you have. Don’t hold back—Jesus wants your lunch!