Gospel Reading Guide -February 20-26, 2012

How do I use this guide?

John 18:15-18; 25-27

Earlier that evening Jesus interrupted his meal with his disciples to deliver some disturbing news. He is leaving and where he is going his disciples cannot follow. You have to admire Peter’s brash resolve. He announces that he will die for Jesus. Jesus, however, sees a different future for Peter and predicts that he will deny him three times that very night.

Following the meal, Jesus takes his disciples out to the Garden of Gethsemane, just outside the city of Jerusalem. While Jesus is praying (and the disciples are sleeping), Judas appears with a crowd of soldiers and to arrest Jesus. Peter tries to play the hero and cuts off the ear of the high priest’s servant, but Jesus quickly puts a stop to the Peter’s resistance and heals the servant. The disciples scatter, but Peter and one other disciple followed Jesus at a distance.

What wins out that evening, Peter’s resolve or Jesus’ prediction? Why does Peter fail? When Jesus predicted Peter’s failure, Peter offered Jesus his resolve to stay faithful. What do you think Jesus  wanted from Peter instead? Peter is a pillar of the early church. Why is his colossal failure preserved for us? What does it teach us?

John 18:28-38

The Pharisees and teachers of the law believed that entering a non-Jewish home, where Jewish law practices concerning cleanliness were not practiced, would make them unclean.  Jewish law prohibited anyone who was ceremonially unclean from celebrating the Passover. This is why the Jewish officials escorting Jesus refused to enter the palace of the Roman governor. But this only serves to expose the hypocrisy of Jesus’ adversaries. It was unlawful to enter the home of a Gentile, but it is permissable to bring trumped up charges against the Son of God.

Pilate clearly wants this whole thing to go away and commands the Jewish officials to judge Jesus according to their law. Why do Jesus’ enemies reject this suggestion? Who, according to verse 32, is orchestrating the details of Jesus’ death?

The Jewish authorities hoped to present Jesus as a threat to Roman authority, so their charge was that Jesus claimed to be the “King of the Jews”. The penalty for insurrection in the Roman Empire was death by crucifixion. Does Jesus consider himself to be a king? What makes Jesus’ kingdom different from the kingdoms of our world? What does this tell us about following King Jesus today?

Luke 18:9-14

Parables or short stories was a favorite teaching method of Jesus. What problem causes Jesus to tell this parable? Here’s a little background to clarify Jesus’ point. The Pharisees were a sect of Judaism that was well respected by the average person on the street in Israel. Their respect came from their zeal in keeping Jewish law and tradition and protecting the Jewish identity while their nation was occupied by the Romans. Pharisees were national heroes, whereas tax collectors were traitors. Not only did tax collectors work for the occupying Roman Empire, they often became rich by overcharging their own people. So these two men went to the temple to pray …

Which of these men goes home justified (forgiven and declared to be innocent)? Why? What virtue does God value most highly?

John 17:1-8

It’s the dead of night in the Garden of Gethsemane and Jesus kneels in the darkness to pray. He is desperate because he knows that the next day he will go to the cross. In a most remarkable chapter, John allows us to listen in on Jesus’ prayer.

What do we learn about Jesus’ relationship with his Father?  What do they do for each other?  How does Jesus bring glory to his Father?  How does Jesus’ obedience to his Father impact us?  

John 17:9-19

John 17 is commonly known as Jesus’ “High Priestly Prayer.”  Priests represent the people before God and in this prayer Jesus is representing us before his Father by praying for us.  Imagine.

Verse 9 tells us that Jesus is praying for his disciples, “his own.” How did these disciples come to belong to Jesus? What did Jesus do for his disciples while he was with them?  What does Jesus ask the Father to do for his disciples in his absence?  In case you were wondering, “to sanctify someone” is to make them holy, or to use Christian language, to make someone like Jesus.

John 17:20-26

This is where the prayer gets exciting.  Jesus extends his prayer beyond his disciples to those who will receive the message from the disciples.  That means us!  What is Jesus’ prayer for us?  What is Jesus most concerned about and why?

John 12:44-50
What does it mean for Jesus to be the light of the world? What does his light illuminate? Who does he point us to?

When we believe in Jesus, we also believe in _____________________.

When we see Jesus, we also see _______________________.

Jesus came to save the world. Who judges those who hear Jesus’ words, but do not keep them? Who directs Jesus’ mission and guides his words? What is the purpose of God the Father’s commands?


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