WEEK OF APRIL 8TH, 2018
The times since the Day of Pentecost have been tumultuous for the disciples. Peter and John have healed a lame man in the temple, and as recognition of this powerful act they were put on trial before the Jewish Council. Although the Jewish Council decided to let Peter and John go, it was with the warning that they were never to speak or teach in the name of Jesus again. To which Peter and John replied that it was better to obey God rather than man. This episode had the effect of closely uniting the Christians, to such an extent that they all bonded together as one family, sharing freely with those in need among them, even selling property and giving the money to the apostles in order that it could be distributed to those in the Christian family who needed it.
Read Acts 4:32-35
The word great is used twice. What is described as great?
What is the result of both great things?
What kind of atmosphere is in this text?
This account in Acts is telling how the initial witnesses responded to the Good News. Do you think this is an exact description of how we should always live as Christians?
Do you hear in other places in the New Testament that this is the pattern for how Christians always must live in response to the Good News?
What ideas and attitudes should we take from this account in Acts?
Brainstorm together what this looks like for your family, Church.
Take turns talking about ways you can share your goods with those in need and then make a plan to act on it!
Close with prayer for each other and living in light of God’s Good News for you.
Our text picks up at evening on the first Easter Sunday, and we find all of the disciples gathered together in one place, behind locked doors. Why locked doors? They feared that they were going to suffer the same fate as Jesus. But suddenly Jesus is standing in their midst and bids them peace. After showing them His pierced hands and feet, the disciples are are delighted to see their Lord again. With that, Jesus tells them that He has now completed the mission that His Father had given Him, He is sending all of them out on the same mission, with authority to forgive sins.
Thomas was not there when this all happened. So when he finally appears they tell him that they have seen Jesus. Thomas declares that he is not going to believe them until he has the hard evidence in front of him. Thus, when Jesus appears to them a week later, when Thomas is present, Jesus instructs Thomas not to doubt but to believe. John concludes today’s reading that Jesus did many other signs and miracles in the presence of witnesses, but these are included that we may believe that Jesus really is the Promised Messiah, the Son of God; and that by believing we will have eternal life with Him.
Read John 20:19-31
Talk about the difference between what our Easter celebrations are like and what this 1st celebration must have been like?
Peace is mentioned 3 times in this reading. When is it mentioned? Why do you think that is important?
What sticks out to from the reading?
How does Jesus in this reading encourage you?
Talk through all the ways this text stresses the ‘realness’ of Jesus ressurection. Why does that matter to our faith?
Do you know anyone who needs Jesus’ peace right now?
Talk about ways you can be the real presence of Jesus in someone’s life this week.
Pray with each other about opportunities for that and God’s continuing peace for each other.