Jesus Heals a Man with Deformed Hand

Entering into the Story…

As you read and reflect on Jesus stories, you will find that Jesus is always healing people. In fact, in a couple of places it says that Jesus healed everyone that was brought before him. This story unique because of when Jesus heals. 

The Story…

Jesus went into the synagogue again and noticed a man with a deformed hand. Since it was the Sabbath, Jesus’ enemies watched him closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath.

Jesus said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” Then he turned to his critics and asked, “Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” But they wouldn’t answer him.

He looked around at them angrily and was deeply saddened by their hard hearts. Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! At once the Pharisees went away and met with the supporters of Herod to plot how to kill Jesus. (Mark 3:1–6 NLT)

Adding depth…

First century Israel had strict laws about working on the Sabbath (the set apart day of rest, which was Saturday). Healing would be considered work and so the religious leaders, like they typically did, wanted to find a way to accuse Jesus. 

Asking Questions…

  1. How would you re-tell this story in a 21st century context?
  2. What does Jesus say to the leaders by healing the man’s hand on the Sabbath?
  3. What do you think is really important to Jesus?
  4. How can you live out the example of Jesus today in your actions towards others?  

The Woman Caught in Adultery

Entering into the Story…

We all find ourselves with different baggage we carry in our lives, some of us have backgrounds that we feel disqualify us from true community and some of us have a spirit of judgement. In this story Jesus deals with both someone who is caught in an act of sin as well as a bunch of people caught up in judgement. How he deals with them both is very revealing about the nature of God.

The Story…

Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

“No, Lord,” she said. 

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” (John 8:1-11)

Adding depth…

There are two things of note within this story to help give it clarity: first, when it says, “the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees,” it means, the religious leaders. Often, this is the group that attacks Jesus. The second, that adultery was a capital offence in first century Palestine, so the typical response to a woman being caught in adultery is to be stoned to death. It is also a very male dominated society and while a man could also be stoned for adultery, it would not typically happen. 

Asking Questions…

  1. How would you re-tell this story in a 21st century context?
  2. Who do you most associate (the woman, the crowd, the religious leaders) with within the story and why? 
  3. How can you live out the example of Jesus today in your actions towards others?  

Jesus Calls Peter

Entering into the Story…

From the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, he was constantly surrounded by crowds of people. They wanted to learn from him and see him perform miracles. Jesus almost always spent time with the crowds, but Jesus also began to develop a smaller group of people to walk with him and learn from him and they were called disciples. This is a story of Jesus beginning to call his disciples. 

The Story…

One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”

“Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.

When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.” For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him.

His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed. Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.

(Luke 5:1-11, NLT)

Adding depth…

It is implied within the story (and in other references to Simon) that Jesus already knew Simon at some level. So, his asking Peter to use his boat to teach from would not have been uncommon. What would have been uncommon would have been a Teacher (called in Israel a Rabbi) asking a fisherman to go back out and fist some more. The center of the story is that Peter does what Jesus has asked and the response to what happens when he does. 

Asking Questions…

  1. How would you re-tell this story in a 21st century context?
  2. What happens when Peter and his associates go back out to fish? What is significant about Peter’s response to the large catch?
  3. How would you react to a miracle like this happening in your life?
  4. Do you think Jesus might be calling you into something? Why or Why not?

A Wedding at Cana

Entering into the Story…

The goal of the Sobremesa Dinner Group is about great friends coming together around good food and deep dialog. The story that we are going to read today shows us that Jesus loved these things as well. In fact, the Bible is full of stories of Jesus gathering with great friends around good food while experiencing deep dialog. As you read the story put yourself in the shoes of the people who are attending the party and think about what it would be like to have Jesus do the things he does. Enjoy the story!

The Story…

The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.”

“Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Standing nearby were six stone water jars, used for Jewish ceremonial washing. Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” When the jars had been filled, he said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions.

When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!”

This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

(John 2:1–11 NLT)

Adding depth…

This story is the first miracle of many that Jesus preforms in the Bible. It is important to note that Cana is an out-of-the-way village of no significance, it was at this place that Jesus preforms his first miracle. It is also important to note that when Jesus mother ask him to do this there is an implied idea that she knows Jesus has the ability to do miracles. Some people get caught up on Jesus not wanting to do the miracle, but most believe this is simply because he had just begun his ministry and did not want to reveal himself yet. 

Asking Questions…

  1. How would you re-tell this story in a 21st century context?
  2. Even though Jesus is reluctant at first to solve the problem of the host of the party, he still does what his mother asks. What does this reveal about the character of Jesus? 
  3. How would it feel to be a guest at that party?
  4. How can you live out the example of Jesus today in your actions towards others?