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Unusual Healings Personal Reflection Guide: Unusual Gospel for Unusual People - Studies from the Book of John
     

Unusual Healings Personal Reflection Guide: Unusual Gospel for Unusual People - Studies from the Book of John

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by Adam Thomas
 

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In the Gospel According to John, Jesus never tells people that they are healed. He never says, “Your faith has made you well.” He never spits on the ground to make mud nor lays his hands on anyone nor notices anyone laying hands on him. And yet, he heals no fewer than five people over the course of the Gospel. How can this be? How can Jesus heal people

Overview

In the Gospel According to John, Jesus never tells people that they are healed. He never says, “Your faith has made you well.” He never spits on the ground to make mud nor lays his hands on anyone nor notices anyone laying hands on him. And yet, he heals no fewer than five people over the course of the Gospel. How can this be? How can Jesus heal people without speaking a word of healing or letting them know that they are healed? And how do the healings speak to the lives of contemporary Christians?

Each session begins with an opening prayer, followed by the text of the day being read aloud. The group will enjoy a 5-7 minute video where Adam shares his thought on the Scripture and its "unusual" focus. The group will spend time discussing focus and the session will close with prayer.

The new and exciting aspect of this particular Bible study series is the blending of traditional weekly Sunday school with modern, daily-delivered digital content, which will keep readers connected with the material throughout the week. Between the daily communication and the group gatherings, participants will immerse themselves in the Good News.

This book will help participants reflect on ideas encountered in DVD, daily emails and during group discussion in order to nurture their relationship with God and growth in faith.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781426776007
Publisher:
Abingdon Press
Publication date:
04/15/2014
Series:
Unusual Gospel for Unusual People Series
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.10(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Unusual Healings Personal Reflection Guide


By Adam Thomas

Abingdon Press

Copyright © 2014 Abingdon Press
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4267-8505-4



CHAPTER 1

Session 1

"Get up and walk"

Noticing When Healing Happens to You


John 5:1-15

After this there was a Jewish festival, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate in the north city wall is a pool with the Aramaic name Bethsaida. It had five covered porches, and a crowd of people who were sick, blind, lame, and paralyzed sat there. A certain man was there who had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, knowing that he had already been there a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?"

The sick man answered him, "Sir, I don't have anyone who can put me in the water when it is stirred up. When I'm trying to get to it, someone else has gotten in ahead of me."

Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." Immediately the man was well, and he picked up his mat and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath.

The Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, "It's the Sabbath; you aren't allowed to carry your mat."

He answered, "The man who made me well said to me, 'Pick up your mat and walk.'"

They inquired, "Who is this man who said to you, 'Pick it up and walk'?" The man who had been cured didn't know who it was, because Jesus had slipped away from the crowd gathered there.

Later Jesus found him in the temple and said, "See! You have been made well. Don't sin anymore in case something worse happens to you." The man went and proclaimed to the Jewish leaders that Jesus was the man who had made him well.


DOODLE OR WRITE ABOUT YOUR RESPONSES TO THE BIBLE READING.

What words or phrases shimmer for you?

What inspires you?

What challenges you?

What makes you curious?


How do you respond to the following statements?

"Each one of us is being healed. Right here. Right now."

"We are broken and God yearns to make us whole."

"We get stuck in ruts."

Are you stuck? How?

How can God help you get "unstuck"?


REFLECT AND RESPOND

If Jesus were to say to you, "Do you want to get well?" what would be the first words to come out of your mouth?

When Jesus approaches him, the man is focused on the singular possibility of the pool. When in your life have you been so focused on something that you missed the presence of Christ?

When you heard the phrase "paralysis of complacency" in the video, what was the first thing to come to your mind? Describe a time in your life when you have been paralyzed in this way.

What does it mean to exist rather than to live?

How do you feel when you notice Jesus healing you? When do you notice this healing? During? after?


IMAGINE yourself as the following characters.

Respond to the questions as you think they might respond.


THE MAN BY THE POOL

What was it like to have the use of your legs again?

When Jesus told you to "get up," what was the first thing to go through your mind? the second?


JESUS

Why did you return to the Temple and find the man again?


PRAY THIS PRAYER ...

Gracious God, you offer us healing and new life each day of our lives. Grant us the grace to notice your presence, hear your invitation to rise up out of complacency, and accept the healing that you offer to all people. Thank you for the opportunity to study your Word, share the wonder of your movement in this gathering, and be that movement as we depart into the world; all this we pray in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, who invites each of us to get up, pick up our mats, and walk. Amen.


OR WRITE YOUR PERSONAL PRAYER ...

CHAPTER 2

Session 2

"Go and wash"

Noticing an Identity You've Always Had


John 9:1-12, 35-38

As Jesus walked along, he saw a man who was blind from birth. Jesus' disciples asked, "Rabbi, who sinned so that he was born blind, this man or his parents?"

Jesus answered, "Neither he nor his parents. This happened so that God's mighty works might be displayed in him. While it's daytime, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." After he said this, he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and smeared the mud on the man's eyes. Jesus said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (this word means "sent"). So the man went away and washed. When he returned, he could see.

The man's neighbors and those who used to see him when he was a beggar said, "Isn't this the man who used to sit and beg?"

Some said, "It is," and others said, "No, it's someone who looks like him." But the man said, "Yes, it's me!"

So they asked him, "How are you now able to see?" He answered, "The man they call Jesus made mud, smeared it on my eyes, and said, 'Go to the Pool of Siloam and wash.' So I went and washed, and then I could see." They asked, "Where is this man?" He replied, "I don't know" (9:1-12).


Jesus heard they had expelled the man born blind. Finding him, Jesus said, "Do you believe in the Human One?" He answered, "Who is he, sir? I want to believe in him." Jesus said, "You have seen him. In fact, he is the one speaking with you."

The man said, "Lord, I believe." And he worshipped Jesus (9:3538).


DOODLE OR WRITE ABOUT YOUR RESPONSES TO THE BIBLE READING.

What words or phrases shimmer for you?

What inspires you?

What challenges you?

What makes you curious?


WHO IS THIS MAN?

The man returns from the pool of Siloam able to see, and people don't recognize him (verse 9). Say what? He hasn't grown a beard or dyed his hair or lost weight! What's going on here?


IT'S ME!

The man says a curious thing: "Yes, it's me!" (verse 9). Well, that doesn't look very curious, but the original Greek has more punch. What he really says is "I am." Jesus says the same two words over and over again throughout the Gospel. Each time, Jesus reveals a further piece of his divine identity. (READ EXODUS 3:13-15.)


WHO AM I, REALLY?

So when the man echoes Jesus with his own "I am," we can almost hear him saying, "I have had an encounter with Jesus in which Jesus helped me see myself for who I really am. He helped me take on the identity that is truly mine. I am because he is!"

WHO ARE YOU?

HOW DO OTHERS SEE YOU?

HOW DOES JESUS SEE YOU?

WHO ARE YOU, REALLY?

REFLECT AND RESPOND

What do you consider to be your defining characteristics (physical or otherwise)? When other people look at you, what do you think they see?

How does being a follower of Jesus Christ influence your identity? How does claiming Jesus' identity impact your life?

Describe a time when you judged someone by a small piece of his or her identity. What did you learn about yourself from that encounter?

What does it look like to wash off the grime covering Jesus' identity within you? What practices do you engage in to participate in this kind of healing that Jesus is working in you?

What has Jesus taught you about his identity? What have you learned about your own as a result?


IMAGINE yourself as the following characters.

Respond to the questions as you think they might respond.


THE MAN BORN BLIND

What was the first thing you saw when you opened your eyes after washing them in the pool of Siloam?

How did you feel when your neighbors didn't recognize you after you regained your sight?


A NEIGHBOR

Why did you have trouble recognizing the man when he returned with his sight?


PRAY THIS PRAYER ...

Gracious God, you offer us an identity founded on your divine identity. Grant us the grace to claim your identity as our own, even when it is unusual to do so; and help us recognize your identity in everyone we encounter. Thank you for the opportunity to study your Word, to share the wonder of your movement in this gathering, and to be that movement as we depart into the world; all this we pray in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, who invites each of us to proclaim how he is moving in our lives. Amen.

OR WRITE YOUR PERSONAL PRAYER ...

CHAPTER 3

Session 3

"Come out of the tomb"

Noticing the Gifts God Gives You


John 11:17-44

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Bethany was a little less than two miles from Jerusalem. Many Jews had come to comfort Martha and Mary after their brother's death. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him, while Mary remained in the house. Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn't have died. Even now I know that whatever you ask God, God will give you."

Jesus told her, "Your brother will rise again."

Martha replied, "I know that he will rise in the resurrection on the last day."

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though they die. Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

She replied, "Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, God's Son, the one who is coming into the world."

After she said this, she went and spoke privately to her sister Mary, "The teacher is here and he's calling for you." When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to Jesus. He hadn't entered the village but was still in the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who were comforting Mary in the house saw her get up quickly and leave, they followed her. They assumed she was going to mourn at the tomb.

When Mary arrived where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn't have died."

When Jesus saw her crying and the Jews who had come with her crying also, he was deeply disturbed and troubled. He asked, "Where have you laid him?"

They replied, "Lord, come and see."

Jesus began to cry. The Jews said, "See how much he loved him!" But some of them said, "He healed the eyes of the man born blind.

Couldn't he have kept Lazarus from dying?"

Jesus was deeply disturbed again when he came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone covered the entrance. Jesus said, "Remove the stone."

Martha, the sister of the dead man, said, "Lord, the smell will be awful! He's been dead four days."

Jesus replied, "Didn't I tell you that if you believe, you will see God's glory?" So they removed the stone. Jesus looked up and said, "Father, thank you for hearing me. I know you always hear me. I say this for the benefit of the crowd standing here so that they will believe that you sent me." Having said this, Jesus shouted with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out, his feet bound and his hands tied, and his face covered with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Untie him and let him go."


DOODLE OR WRITE ABOUT YOUR RESPONSES TO THE BIBLE READING.

What words or phrases shimmer for you?

What inspires you?

What challenges you?

What makes you curious?

WHAT ARE SOME HINGEPOINTS IN YOUR LIFE?


MARTHA AND MARY

If you had been here, my brother would not have died.

How would you finish this sentence?

If you had been here ...


WHEN GOD CALLS, GOD GIVES.

Jesus gives Lazarus the gift of life so that he can shuffle out of the tomb when Jesus tells him to.


GOD'S COMMANDS CARRY GIFTS.

If God's call were an e-mail, God would never forget to include the attachments.

Jesus' commands are opportunities to discover new gifts and new talents.


WHEN GOD CALLS YOU, GOD GIVES YOU GIFTS.

New life unfolds every time we realize we are using our God-given gifts. When have you discovered your God-given gifts?


REFLECT AND RESPOND

Jesus gives Lazarus the gift of life so the dead man can obey Jesus' command. What gifts has Jesus given you so that you could more fully live into your call as his follower?

Describe a time you did something you thought was impossible. How was God present in that circumstance?

Martha's practicality gets in the way when they arrive at the tomb. When has your practicality overridden your ability to notice your God-given gifts?

What are the gifts God has given you? What do you think is God's dream for you?


IMAGINE yourself as the following characters.

Respond to the questions as you think they might respond.


MARTHA

What was going through your mind when you were on your way to your brother's tomb?


MARY

How did you respond when Jesus wept with you?


LAZARUS

What was it like to wake up in the dark of the tomb?

What happened when you heard Jesus calling to you?

How has your life changed since Jesus gave it back to you?


PRAY THIS PRAYER ...

Gracious God, you give us each a calling and you give us the gifts we need to accomplish that calling. Grant us the grace to receive all the gifts you give us and use them not for our own glory, but for yours and for the healing of your creation. Thank you for the opportunity to study your Word, share the wonder of your movement in this gathering, and be that movement as we depart into the world; all this we pray in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, who invites each of us to take the first step on a new adventure with him. Amen.


OR WRITE YOUR PERSONAL PRAYER ...

CHAPTER 4

Session 4

"Feed my sheep"

Noticing When Christ Heals You for Mission


John 18:15-27; 21:15-19

DIALOGUE:

Narrator: Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Because this other disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest's courtyard. However, Peter stood outside near the gate. Then the other disciple (the one known to the high priest) came out and spoke to the woman stationed at the gate, and she brought Peter in. The servant woman stationed at the gate asked Peter,

Reader 1: "Aren't you one of this man's disciples?"

Reader 2: "I'm not."

Narrator: The servants and the guards had made a fire because it was cold. They were standing around it, warming themselves. Peter joined them there, standing by the fire and warming himself. Meanwhile, the chief priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered,

Reader 1: "I've spoken openly to the world. I've always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews gather. I've said nothing in private. Why ask me? Ask those who heard what I told them. They know what I said."

Narrator: After Jesus spoke, one of the guards standing there slapped Jesus in the face.

Reader 2: "Is that how you would answer the high priest?"

Reader 1: "If I speak wrongly, testify about what was wrong. But if I speak correctly, why do you strike me?"

Narrator: Then Annas sent him, bound, to Caiaphas the high priest. Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing with the guards, warming himself. They asked,

Reader 1: "Aren't you one of his disciples?"

Narrator: Peter denied it, saying,

Reader 2: "I'm not."

Narrator: A servant of the high priest, a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off, said to him,

Reader 1: "Didn't I see you in the garden with him?"

Narrator: Peter denied it again, and immediately a rooster crowed.

Narrator: When they finished eating, Jesus asked Simon Peter,

Reader 1: Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?"

Reader 2: "Yes, Lord, you know I love you."

Reader 1: "Feed my lambs."

Narrator: Jesus asked a second time,

Reader 1: "Simon son of John, do you love me?"

Reader 2: "Yes, Lord, you know I love you."

Reader 1: "Take care of my sheep."

Narrator: He asked a third time,

Reader 1: "Simon son of John, do you love me?"

Narrator: Peter was sad that Jesus asked him a third time, "Do you love me?" He replied,

Reader 2: "Lord, you know everything; you know I love you."

Reader 1: "Feed my sheep. I assure you that when you were younger you tied your own belt and walked around wherever you wanted. When you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and another will tie your belt and lead you where you don't want to go."

Narrator: He said this to show the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. After saying this, Jesus said to Peter,

Reader 1: "Follow me."


DOODLE OR WRITE ABOUT YOUR RESPONSES TO THE BIBLE READING.

What words or phrases shimmer for you?

What inspires you?

What challenges you?

What makes you curious?


"I am."

John 9: Man born blind links his identity with Jesus' divine identity.


"I'm not."

John 18: Peter disconnects himself from Jesus' identity by denying any share in that identity within himself.


"Do you love me?"

John 21: Jesus repairs the holes in Peter's identity made by Peter's denials.


JESUS HEALS PETER FOR MISSION:

FEED MY SHEEP


JESUS HEALS US FOR MISSION:

HEALING OUR PARALYSIS

FINDING OUR IDENTITY

DISCOVERING OUR GIFTS

RECEIVING OUR MISSION


REFLECT AND RESPOND

Describe a time when you figuratively said, "I am not," like Peter does in our first passage. What were the words you said and actions you took that led to your denying Jesus' identity within you?

How have you experienced healing for times that you have denied Jesus' identity within you?

When you hear Jesus ask, "Do you love me?" what is your response?

What is the mission Jesus is healing you to do?

The four stories in our module move from paralysis to identity to gift to mission. How have you experienced this progression in your life?


IMAGINE yourself as the following characters.

Respond to the questions as you think they might respond.


PETER

Where did you go after the rooster crowed? What did you do between then and the morning when you went to the tomb?

When Jesus asked to speak to you after breakfast, what was going through your mind?


JESUS

How did it feel to hear Peter say that he loves you?


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Unusual Healings Personal Reflection Guide by Adam Thomas. Copyright © 2014 Abingdon Press. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

Adam Thomas was ordained to the Episcopal priesthood in 2008 at the age of 25, making him one of the first priests from the millennial generation. His unique voice in the faith community emanates from a combination of his youth, honesty, humor, and tech-savvy nature. Adam is a nerd and a gamer and a preacher and a follower of Christ. He serves God as the pastor of St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Mystic, CT, writes the blog Where the Wind, and lives a hectic but beautiful life with his wife Leah and their one-year-old twins. His Abingdon Pressresources include Unusual Gospel for Unusual People Series, Coverage: Who is Jesus, Letters from Ruby, and Digital Disciple.

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Unusual Healings Personal Reflection Guide: Unusual Gospel for Unusual People Studies from the Book of John 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
District 1 and Cato's girlfriend. Plans to kill Katniss as soon as possible.