new testament men

Peter - Restored

Focus Passage:  John 21:15-25

Jesus' first words to Simon Peter were "Come, follow me" (Mark 1:17). His last words to him were "You must follow me" (John 21:22). Every step of the way between those two challenges, Peter never failed to follow—even though he often stumbled.When Jesus entered Peter's life, this plain fisherman became a new person with new goals and new priorities. He did not become a perfect person, however, and he never stopped being Simon Peter. We may wonder what Jesus saw in Simon that made him greet this potential disciple with a new name, Peter—the "rock." Impulsive Peter certainly didn't act like a rock much of the time. But when Jesus chose his followers, he wasn't looking for models; he was looking for real people. He chose people who could be changed by his love, and then he sent them out to communicate that his acceptance was available to anyone—even to those who often fail.

 

   1.   When did you ever have to restore a broken relationship?

 

   2.   What did Jesus ask Peter three times? (21:15-17) How did Peter feel after Jesus had asked him the same question three times? (21:17)

 

   3.   What did Jesus predict about Peter's future? (21:18-19) What concern did Peter raise? (21:20-21)

 

   4.   With what did Jesus want Peter to concern himself? (21:22)

 

   5.   Was Peter restored to honor, to service or to both? Why?

 

   6.   How was the restored now called to restore?

 

   7.   Is there someone you know who needs to be restored? How might you do that? Who around you might help?

John the baptist - Preparing others

Focus Passage - John 1:19-28

There's no getting around it—John the Baptist was unique. He wore odd clothes and ate strange food and preached an unusual message to the Judeans who went out to the wastelands to see him. But John did not aim at uniqueness for its own sake. Instead, he aimed at obedience. He knew he had a specific role to play in the world—announcing the coming of the Savior—and he put all his energies into this task God has given each of us a purpose for living, and we can trust him to guide us. John did not have the complete Bible as we know it today, but he focused his life on the truth he knew from the available Old Testament Scriptures. Likewise, we can discover in God's Word the truths he wants us to know. And as these truths work in us, others will be drawn to him. God can use you in a way he can use no one else. Let him know your willingness to follow him today.

  1.   What are the characteristics of a humble person?

     2.   Who did the Jews think John was? (1:20-21) What did John say about who he was? (1:20-22)

   3.   How did John "make straight the way for the Lord"? (1:23)

   4.   Who did John say was coming after him? (12:27) What did John say he was not worthy to do? (1:27)

   5.   In what ways can you honor Christ with your accomplishments?

   6.   If you had been John how would you have felt about your role?

   7.   What are some areas in which you struggle to be humble at this time in your life?

Nicodemus - Persistant

Focus Passage: Mark 10:46-52
 

Bartimaeus had heard of Jesus and his miracles, and learning that he was passing by, hoped to recover his eyesight. In coming to Christ for help and healing, we should look to him as the promised Messiah. The gracious calls Christ gives us to come to him, encourage our hope, that if we come to him we shall have what we come for. Those who would come to Jesus must cast away the garment of their own sufficiency, must free themselves from every weight, and the sin that, like long garments, most easily besets them, Hebrews 12:1. It is not enough, however, to come to Christ for spiritual healing, but, when we are healed, we must continue to follow him; that we may honor him, and receive instruction from him. Those who have spiritual eyesight, see that beauty in Christ, which will draw them to run after him.

             

   1.   When has persistence paid off for you?

  

   2.   How does the blind man address Jesus? (10:47-8) Why did the people rebuke the blind man? (10:48)

  

   3.   How did the blind man respond to the criticism from the crowd? (10:48) What do the blind man's actions tell you about his character and his attitude toward Jesus? (10:48)

  

   4.   How did the crowds of people treat Bartimaeus after they found out Jesus had called for him? (10:49) What is the mood of Bartimaeus after Jesus calls him?

  

   5.   When have you persistently prayed for one particular request? What happened?

  

   6.   What does it mean to be persistent in prayer? What role does persistence play in prayer?

  

   7.   What connection is there between a person's faith and whether God answers their prayer?

  

   8.   What is one request that you will commit yourself to pray for regularly this week?

Nicodemus - Open to Jesus

Focus passage - John 3:1-21

God specializes in finding and changing people we consider out of reach. It took awhile for Nicodemus to come out of the dark, but God was patient with this "undercover" believer. Afraid of being discovered, Nicodemus made an appointment to see Jesus at night. Daylight conversations between Pharisees and Jesus tended to be antagonistic, but Nicodemus really wanted to learn. He probably got a lot more than he expected—a challenge to a new life! We know very little about Nicodemus, but we know that he left that evening's encounter a changed man. He came away with a whole new understanding of both God and himself. God looks for steady growth, not instant perfection. How well does your present level of spiritual growth match up with how long you have known Jesus?

   1.   When have you felt like you wanted to start life all over again?

     2.   At what time did Nicodemus visit Jesus? (3:2) Why did Nicodemus believe Jesus was from God? (3:2)

     3.   What did Nicodemus think Jesus meant when He said that a person must be born again? (3:4) Why should Nicodemus have understood what Jesus said? (3:10)

     4.   What is required to enter the kingdom of God? (3:5-6) What evidence do you see of that change in Nicodemus?

     5.   How did God demonstrate His love for the world? (3:16) Why did God send His Son into the world? (3:17)

     6.   How would you describe what it means to be born again to someone? Why must someone be open to God for this to happen?

Joseph - Faithful and True

Joseph is a central figure in the Christmas story, but who was he really? What made him a good candidate to be the father of Jesus. The first time we see him in Matthew 1, he sets himself apart and shows us what it means to be a child of God. 

Focus passage: Matthew 1:18-25
 

The strength of what we believe is measured by how much we are willing to suffer for those beliefs. Joseph was a man with strong beliefs. He was prepared to do what was right, despite the pain he knew it would cause. But Joseph had another trait—he not only tried to do what was right, he also tried to do it in the right way.Joseph knew Jesus was someone special from the moment he heard the angel's words. His strong belief in that fact, and his willingness to follow God's leading empowered him to be Jesus' chosen earthly father.

   1.   How do people typically react when facing embarrassing situations?

     2.   What happened to Mary while she and Joseph were engaged? (1:18) What do you think Joseph initially thought upon hearing this news about his bride-to-be? (1:18-19)

   3.   What positive character qualities did Joseph possess? (1:19) How does Joseph show those qualities in the way he plans to handle this delicate situation? (1:19)

    4.   How did Joseph respond to the angelic message? (1:24)

     5.   What would have been your reaction had you been in Joseph's situation? How do you imagine the "grapevine" treated the Mary-Joseph situation?

     6.   How does our desire for approval or acceptance keep us from doing the right thing?

     7.   Why do you think Joseph remained faithful even though it was such a tough thing to do?

     8.   What difficult, hard-to-swallow command of God do you need to obey today?

Matthew - A Changed Man

Focus Passage: Matthew 9:9-13

 

Today we begin a study of what God can do for us by looking at a series of men in the New Testament. The Bible studies are simple and don't provide you with all the answers. My hope is that the questions will help you to just look at the Bible passage in a new light. Let me know if they are helpful in the comments.

I think that more than any other disciple, Matthew had a clear idea of how much it would cost to follow Jesus, yet he did not hesitate a moment. When he left his tax-collecting booth, he guaranteed himself unemployment. For several of the other disciples, there was always fishing to return to, but for Matthew, there was no turning back.

Two changes happened to Matthew when he decided to follow Jesus. First, Jesus gave him a new life. He not only belonged to a new group; he belonged to the Son of God. He was not just accepting a different way of life; he was now an accepted person. For a despised tax collector, that change must have been wonderful! Second, Jesus gave Matthew a new purpose for his skills. When he followed Jesus, the only tool from his past job that he carried with him was his pen. From the beginning, God had made him a record-keeper. Jesus' call eventually allowed him to put his skills to their finest work. Matthew was a keen observer, and he undoubtedly recorded what he saw going on around him. The Gospel that bears his name came as a result.

   1.   What past misdeeds would disqualify someone from your job? Elected office? The Supreme Court? The ministry?

  

   2.   What did Jesus tell Matthew to do? (9:9) What might you be willing to give up for Jesus?

  

   3.   What kind of people joined Jesus and His new follower for dinner? (9:10) What did the Pharisees think of Jesus' attendance at Matthew's social function? (9:11)

  

   4.   What did Jesus tell His listeners they needed to learn? (9:13) What did Jesus say He had come to earth to do? (9:13)

  

5.      What changes took place in Matthew's life so that he could let Jesus in?

 

6.      What dangers do we face when we befriend non-Christian

 

7.   What would you change in your life so you could be closer to Jesus this week?