4th Sunday of Easter, Apr 17
1. Who or what is your shepherd—who do you trust to guide you? According to the psalmist, what are the benefits of allowing God to be your shepherd (v. 1)? Where have you been led at times by false shepherds (v. 2)? When you read verse 2, of what does it remind you? What does it mean to have your soul restored (v. 3)? Is your soul in need of restoration? What path are you following (v. 3)? Why does God offer us restoration (v. 3)?
2. Why is Psalm 23 often used at funerals (v. 4)? Describe some dark valleys you have encountered (v. 4). Do you ever fear evil? How do you get past that fear—where do you find comfort? Do you believe God is with you (v. 4)? What does the psalmist mean in verses 5-6? In what house do you dwell now and where would you like to dwell (v. 6)?
3. The festival of the Dedication commemorated the rededication of the temple by Judas Maccabeus in 164 BC. What was Jesus doing in the temple and who gathered around him (v. 23)? What question did these people have for Jesus (v. 24)? How does Jesus answer (vv. 25-26)? It is not clear that Jesus had told them (see 4:26, 8:25). Why does Jesus say they do not believe (vv. 26-27)?
4. How does Jesus describe his listeners (v. 27)? Do you take time to listen to Jesus speak to you? What message do you think Jesus was sharing that the Jews in power did not hear or want to hear? Does Jesus say his followers will fall aside (v. 28)? What happens, however, when you quit listening to Jesus? What statement by Jesus really upsets the Jews (v. 30)?
5. Who is reported to be in Joppa—what is her name and how is she described (v. 36)? What else was the person known for doing (v. 39)? What had happened to this person and for what had she been prepared (v. 37)? How did people react (v. 39)? How do you react when someone you love or have relied upon dies? How do you grieve?
6. Who was called for help (v. 38)? How does Peter respond when he arrives at the house (v. 40)? What happens to the woman (vv. 40-41)? Why do you think God allowed the woman to be revived? What other form of death might the scripture passage mean? When someone you love dies, do you no longer remember that person or does he or she remain alive in your thoughts? What happens if you do not move past your grief over time?
Fourth Sunday of Easter, April 24, 2016