(Delete the portions in red when handing out questions to students.)
Bible Study 4
What was the reaction of Jesus when He was confronted by a sinful woman (a prostitute)? Why was Jesus unwilling to let her touch him even though she was unclean?
(Luke 7:37-39 NIV) When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
Jesus accepted the woman’s act of adoration and did not condemn her or try to distance Himself from her. This shows that God readily accept sinners who come to Him in repentance.
Jesus was not afraid to let her touch him. There was another incident whereby Jesus touched someone unclean. This story is recorded for us in Luke 5:12-16 when a leper asked Jesus for healing. A leper is considered unclean in the Jewish society and anyone who touches them would also be considered unclean. Jesus reached out and touched the leper even though he did not have to as his words alone could heal the leper. Jesus extended his hand to the leper to show love and acceptance to him and also to demonstrate to us that he does not become unclean by touching the unclean. On the contrary, the unclean that came into contact with Jesus became clean.
What was the reaction of the people when Jesus forgave the sin of the sinful woman?
Luke 7:48-50 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
The people thought it was blasphemy as only God can forgive sins. There is another passage in the Bible that shows the same reaction of the people when Jesus claimed to be able to forgive sins.
(Luke 5:18-26). Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
As human beings we can only forgive someone who has wronged us. But when that person has done something wrong to God, only God has the power to forgive that person. Jesus claimed to be God when he declared that he too was able to forgive sins.
Jesus performed many miracles while he was on earth. What was the purpose of demonstrating those miracles?
Matthew 11:2-5 When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.
The miracles are a sign to the people that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah. The Quran also teaches that the many miracles of Jesus were signs.
Surah 2.87 We gave Moses the Book and followed him up with a succession of messengers; We gave Jesus the son of Mary Clear (Signs) and strengthened him with the holy spirit.
Jesus taught the people the Parable of the Sower.
(Luke 8:4-8 NIV) While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”
(Luke 8:11-15 NIV) “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
What is the reason Jesus gave for some people hearing the Word of God but still not believing? What must we do to help our loved ones to see the truth?
The Word of God did not reach them because the devil came and took the Word away.
(2 Corinthians 4:4 NIV) The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
In order for our loved ones to see the truth, it is not enough to share the gospel with them, we need to pray for them constantly that the spiritual blindness be removed.
What are the reasons why people received the Word but do not bear fruit?
Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.
There are two things that can cause us to fall away even when we have received the Word.
- We don’t have root. Even a tree that does not have strong roots could fall off when there is a storm. We develop roots by continually grounding ourselves in God’s Word and studying the Bible.
(Psalm 1:1-3 NIV) Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.
- We let the distractions of life choke our spiritual growth.
(1 John 2:15-16 NIV) Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.
The verses above speaks of three categories of things that can distract us – sexual lusts (lust of the flesh), materialism and love of money (lust of the eyes) and pride.
Interesting, when we read the newspapers today, we see people, even prominent men, fall due to sexual sin or money matters.
What is the common message in the way today’s video started and ended?
(Luke 11:27-28 NIV) As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
(Luke 8:19-21 NIV) Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.” He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”
The common message is that we need to hear the Word of God and put it into practice.
When you read the Bible it is not about gaining head knowledge. Of course, it is important to learn more about God and His will. But more importantly, it is putting into practice what we have learnt.
This is one method (the acronym “SPACE”) that could help us to focus on the application of what we have learnt.
S – Sin to avoid
P – Promises to keep
A – Attitudes to adopt
C – Commands to obey
E – Examples to follow