Wednesday Night Bible Study / Discipleship Materials

Evangelism and Discipleship Stories
Compiled by Amyy Schumer

The following material is not copyrighted. Feel free to share and distribute as necessary.

* * *

Two Kinds of Evangelism

Type #1 – Evangelizing to folks with a “Christian background”:

Acts 2:14-40 – Peter’s sermon at Pentecost

“But Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed to them: “Men of Judah and all you residents of Jerusalem, let me explain this to you and pay attention to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it’s only nine in the morning. On the contrary, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

And it will be in the last days, says God,
that I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity;
then your sons and your daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
and your old men will dream dreams.
I will even pour out My Spirit
on My male and female slaves in those days,
and they will prophesy.
I will display wonders in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below:
blood and fire and a cloud of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the great and remarkable Day of the Lord comes.
Then everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.

“Men of Israel, listen to these words: This Jesus the Nazarene was a man pointed out to you by God with miracles, wonders, and signs that God did among you through Him, just as you yourselves know. Though He was delivered up according to God’s determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail Him to a cross and kill Him. God raised Him up, ending the pains of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it. For David says of Him:

I saw the Lord ever before me;
because He is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart was glad,
and my tongue rejoiced.
Moreover, my flesh will rest in hope,
because You will not leave me in Hades
or allow Your Holy One to see decay.
You have revealed the paths of life to me;
You will fill me with gladness
in Your presence.

“Brothers, I can confidently speak to you about the patriarch David: He is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn an oath to him to seat one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing this in advance, he spoke concerning the resurrection of the Messiah:

He was not left in Hades,
and His flesh did not experience decay.

“God has resurrected this Jesus. We are all witnesses of this. Therefore, since He has been exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, He has poured out what you both see and hear. For it was not David who ascended into the heavens, but he himself says:

The Lord declared to my Lord,
‘Sit at My right hand
until I make Your enemies Your footstool.’

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah!”

When they heard this, they came under deep conviction and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: “Brothers, what must we do?”

“Repent,” Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” And with many other words he testified and strongly urged them, saying, “Be saved from this corrupt generation!”

*

NOTICE: Peter uses stories and phrases that would have been familiar to his Jewish audience, who would have grown up memorizing stories from the Old Testament. His goal was to show them that in order to be faithful to the God of Israel, they needed to worship his son, Jesus.

* * *

Type #2 – Evangelizing to folks with no “Christian background”:

Acts 17:22-34 – Paul’s sermon at the Areopagus

Then Paul stood in the middle of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that you are extremely religious in every respect. For as I was passing through and observing the objects of your worship, I even found an altar on which was inscribed:

TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.

Therefore, what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it—He is Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in shrines made by hands. Neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives everyone life and breath and all things. From one man He has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. He did this so they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said:

For we are also His offspring.’

Being God’s offspring then, we shouldn’t think that the divine nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image fashioned by human art and imagination.

“Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, God now commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has set a day when He is going to judge the world in righteousness by the Man He has appointed. He has provided proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.”

When they heard about resurrection of the dead, some began to ridicule him. But others said, “We’d like to hear from you again about this.” Then Paul left their presence. However, some men joined him and believed, including Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

*

NOTICE: Paul’s audience of Greek philosophers were not familiar with the Old Testament, so he primarily references popular pagan philosophers, and other things that would have resonated with them.

* * *

The first seven passages that we are covering throughout this series are often called the “Seven Stories of Hope.” Missionaries frequently use them in cultures with minimal exposure to Christianity, and they have become increasingly useful for use in discipling Americans who are new to the faith, or are not believers. My friend Amyy Schumer compiled these stories from our several years making disciples in a largely unreached neighborhood in Oklahoma.

The latter stories deal with issue relevant for new believers, like “Baptism,” “Repentance,” “Witnessing,” and so on.

* * *

“Seven Stories of Hope”

Luke 7:36-50 – Wednesday, Feb. 27th

A Pharisee named Simon invited Jesus to come to his home and dine with him.  Jesus accepted the invitation, went to Simon’s house and was reclining at the table.  Soon a woman of the city who was a sinner (most likely a prostitute or a promiscuous woman), hearing that Jesus was at Simon’s house dining, came into the house and brought with her a flask of ointment.  The woman stood behind Jesus at his feet and she began to weep.  The tears from her eyes fell onto Jesus’ feet and the woman began to wipe his feet clean with her hair, began kissing His feet, and then anointed his feet with the ointment that she had brought with her.

Simon the Pharisee, who had invited Jesus to dine at his house, saw the woman doing these things, and he thought to himself, “If this man were indeed a prophet, he would have known what type of woman this was who he was allowing to touch him.  She is a sinful woman.”  Jesus then spoke to Simon, saying, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”  Simon replied, “Say it, teacher.”

Jesus then spoke, saying, “A man who was a moneylender had loaned money to two different men.  One man was indebted to the moneylender for the amount of 500 denarii while the second man was indebted for the amount of fifty denarii.  Neither man was able to repay his debt.  The moneylender, discovering that these two men were unable to repay the money they had borrowed, cancelled the debt of both men.  Simon, which of these men would love the moneylender more.” 

Simon answered, “I suppose it would be the man who had the larger debt cancelled.  Jesus said to Simon, “You are correct.”  Jesus then turned to the woman and spoke again to Simon, saying, “Do you see this woman?  I came into your house and you gave me no water with which I could wash my feet, but she has washed my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.  You gave me no kiss, but since I came to your house, she has not stopped from kissing my feet.  You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.  Therefore, I tell you that her sins, which are many, are forgiven for she has loved much.  The person who is forgiven little loves little.”

Jesus then spoke to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.”  Upon hearing Jesus say these words to the woman, the other men who were at the table began talking among themselves, saying, “Who is this man who can forgive sins?”  Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

*

Luke 18:9-17 – Wednesday, March 6th

Jesus told a parable for those who were prideful, thinking they were righteous by their own doing, and, as a result treated others around them with contempt.

Jesus said, “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one was a religious leader – a Pharisee – and the other was a tax collector.  The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed this way: ‘God, I thank you that am not like other men who extort money, who are unjust, who are adulterers, who are like this tax collector over there. I fast every week and I give 10% of all that I get.’

At the same time the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes toward heaven.  He beat his chest, saying, ‘God, have mercy upon me, for I am a sinner.’

Jesus continued, saying, “I tell you the truth.  It was the tax collector rather than the Pharisee who went home justified because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

Now people were bringing even young infants to Jesus so that He might touch them.  When the disciples saw the people doing this, they rebuked the people.  However, Jesus called the young children to come to him, saying, “Let the children come to me; do not try to stop them because the kingdom of God belongs to such people.  Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter into the kingdom of God.”

*

Luke 15:11-32 – Wednesday, March 17th

A man had two sons; and one day the younger son said to his father, “Father, give me the share of the inheritance that belongs to me.”  So, the father divided his wealth between the two sons.  Not many days later, the younger son gathered everything his father had given to him and went on a journey to a distant country.  There he squandered his inheritance in reckless living.

Now when he spent everything, a severe famine arose in that place where the younger son was, and he began to be in great need and had very little to eat.  Therefore, he went to work for a citizen of that country who sent him out to the fields to feed the pigs.  The younger son longed to fill his stomach with the food that the pigs were eating, but no gave him anything.

One day the young man came to his senses, and he said to himself,  “All of my father’s servants have more than enough food to eat, yet I am dying here of hunger. I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I have brought shame to you and our family. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; I ask that you hire me on as one of your servants.’”

The younger son got up and came to his father.  But, while the younger son was still a long way off, his father saw him, had compassion on him, ran and embraced him, and kissed him..  And the son said to the father, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I have brought shame to you and our family. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”

The father said to his servants, “Go quickly and bring out the best robe and put it on him; and put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  Then, bring a fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and be merry, for this son of mine was dead, and is now alive; he was lost, and has been found.”  And they began to celebrate.

Now the elder son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what was happening. And the servant said to him, “Your brother has come, and your father has killed the calf because he has received him back safe and sound.”

But, the older son became angry, and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and pleaded with him.  But, the older son said to his father, “Look for so many years I have been serving you, and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat that I might dine and celebrate with my friends.  However, when this son of yours came, who has devoured all your wealth with prostitutes, you kill the fattened calf for him.”

And the father said to the older son, “My child, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours.  However, we had to be merry and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.”

*

Luke 10:25-37 – Wednesday, March 20th

After Jesus spoke a lawyer stood up and asked a question of Jesus.  This lawyer was seeking to test Jesus. The lawyer asked, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  Then Jesus spoke, saying, “What is written in the law?  How do you read what it says in the law?”

The lawyer responded, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, with all your mind, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Jesus answered the lawyer saying, “You have answered correctly.  Do this and you shall live.”

He lawyer who was seeking to justify himself, said to Jesus, “Teacher, who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied with a story:

A man was travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho, and while he was travelling he was robbed by group of thieves who not only took all his clothes and money, but also beat him, leaving him near the point of death.  A Jewish priest was travelling along that same road and he came upon the man.  Seeing the man who had been beaten lying by the side of the road, the priest passed by on the other side.  A little later, a Levite (priest’s assistant) who was travelling the same road also came upon the man who had been beaten.  The Levite, too, passed by on the other side. 

Finally, a man from Samaria travelling the same road came to the spot where the man was lying.  Instead of passing by and ignoring the man, the Samaritan responded with compassion. He bound up the man’s wounds, cleaning them with wine and oil.  Then the Samaritan on his donkey and took him to an inn where he continued to care for the man.

The next day, the Samaritan took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, “Take care of him, and whatever else is needed to care for this man, I will repay you in full when I return from my journey.”  Jesus, finishing the story then asked the lawyer a question, “Which one of these men, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to this man who had been robbed and beaten?”  The lawyer answered, “The one who was merciful toward the man.”  Jesus simply replied, “Go and do the same.”

*

Luke 5:17-26 – Wednesday, March 27th

One day while Jesus was teaching in a house, there were in the crowd of people some religious leaders and teachers of the law that had heard about Jesus and had come from Jerusalem and from many of the villages in the rural areas.  Great power from God was upon Jesus, and he healed many. 

There were in the crowd some men who were carrying a bed with a paralyzed man lying on it.  They sought to get through the crowd of people to bring the paralyzed man to Jesus so that Jesus could heal him.  However, they could find no way through the crowd, so they climbed up on the roof of the house where Jesus was.  Then they removed some of the tiles in the roof so that they could then lower the man on the bed down through the roof and set him in front of Jesus. 

Jesus saw what they were doing and was impressed by the faith of the paralyzed man’s friends.  Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the paralyzed man, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”  The religious leaders and the teachers of the law who were there in the crowd began to talk among themselves, saying, “Who is this man who speaks blasphemies?  Besides God, who has the authority to forgive sins?”

Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he said to these religious teachers, “Why do you question and doubt in your hearts?  Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’?  You need to know that the Son of Man does have authority on earth to forgive sins.”  Then Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, pick up your bed and go to your home.”

The man immediately got up off of the bed, began walking, picked up his bed and carried it to his home. As he returned home he began glorifying God. All who saw what had happened glorified God as well.  They were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”

*

Luke 22:66-24:12 – Wednesday, April 3rd

The next morning after Jesus had been arrested, the religious leaders of the Jews brought Jesus in to meet with them.  They said to Jesus, “If you are the Messiah, the Christ, then tell us.”  Jesus answered them, saying, “If I tell you, you will not believe. If I ask you, then you will not answer me nor will you let me go. Soon the Son of Man will sit at the right hand of God.”  Then the religious leaders asked him, “Are you the Son of God?”  Jesus replied, “You say that I am.”  The religious leaders then spoke, saying, “We need no further evidence for we have heard I from his own lips.”

Then those who had arrested Jesus brought him to Pontius Pilate, but Pilate sent Jesus to face Herod.  Herod, upon meeting Jesus, was pleased because he had heard about this Jesus and he desired to see Jesus perform a miracle.  Herod asked Jesus many questions, but Jesus refused to answer.  The religious leaders continued to accuse Jesus in front of Herod.  Herod and his soldiers also treated Jesus with contempt and they mocked him, then they put a nice robe on Jesus.  Then, Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate. Ironically, because of the situation surrounding Jesus, Herod and Pilate, who before detested each other, now became friends.

Upon being brought in front of Pilate a second time, Pilate spoke to the religious leaders, saying, “I have not found this man to have committed any crime.  Neither has Herod found any guilt in this man, which is why he sent him back to me.  Therefore, he has done nothing to deserve death, so I will punish him then set him free.”

But the religious leaders said to Pilate, “Take this Jesus away and release to us the prisoner who had been arrested for taking part in a rebellion against the government and who had committed murder.”  Pilate told them he was going to release Jesus, but the religious leaders cried out for Pilate to crucify Jesus. Pilate gave in to the demands of the religious leaders and released the murderer.  Then Pilate had Jesus taken away to be crucified. 

They led Jesus to a place called ‘The Skull’ and there they crucified him.  They also crucified two criminals with him – one on his right side, the other on his left.  While hanging on the cross, Jesus cried out, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”  There were Roman soldiers and others standing around, and they began to mock Jesus, saying, “He saved others, now let him save himself, if indeed he is the Messiah.  If you are the king of kings, then save yourself.”  They also put a sing above his head that read, “This is the king of the Jews.”

One of the criminals who was crucified with Jesus said to him, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us with you.”  However, the second criminal spoke up in defense of Jesus, saying, “Do you not have any fear of God at all?  We are being crucified justly for we are receiving the punishment for the crime we have committed, but this man has done nothing wrong.”  Then the second criminal said to Jesus, “Jesus, please remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  Jesus responded, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”

About noon on that day, darkness covered the land for several hours.  Jesus then called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Then Jesus breathed his last breath and died.  One of the Roman soldiers who witnessed everything, said, “Certainly this man was innocent.”  After Jesus died. His body was buried in a tomb that had never been used before.  Some women who followed Jesus wanted to prepare spices and ointment for the body but it was the beginning of the Sabbath, so they returned to their homes. 

On the first day of the week at dawn, the women returned to the tomb bringing with them the spices and ointments they had prepared to anoint the body of Jesus.  However, when they came to the tomb, they found the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.  They went inside and found that the body of Jesus was gone. Then the women saw two men who stood in front of them in dazzling light, and the two men said to the women, “Why do you seek the living among the dead.  He is not here, but He has risen.  Remember what he told you earlier – that the Son of Man would be crucified but on the third day he would rise from the dead.”

Then the women told the disciples of Jesus what they had witnessed, but they did not believe the women.  One of the disciples went to the tomb to see for himself, and when he got there all he saw was the linen cloth with which they had wrapped Jesus’ body for burial.  He went back home marveling at what had happened.

*

Luke 12:13-23 – Wednesday, April 10th

While Jesus was teaching, someone in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to dividethe family inheritance with me.”  Jesus replied to the man, saying, “Man, who made me your judge or the arbitrator over you?”  Jesus then spoke to the people, “Take care; be on your guard against all kinds of covetousness.  One’s life does not consist solely in the abundance of possessions.” 

Then Jesus told them a parable, saying, “A man had some land that was very productive, making the man very wealthy.  Seeing all that his land had produced, the man said to himself, “What shall I do, for I do not have enough storage areas for all my crops.  I know what I will do.  I will tear down the barns that I have and build larger ones. Then I will have enough space to store all my crops and my possessions.  And then I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have plenty of goods stored up for many years, now you can relax, drink and be happy.’”

But God said to the man, “You fool!  This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared and stored up, whose will these things belong? So it is with those who lay up treasure for themselves and are not rich toward God.”

Then Jesus spoke to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be worried or anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor be anxious about your body, what you wear.  For life is more than food and the body more than clothing.”

* * *

“Stories for Further Discipleship”

Luke 19:1-10 – Wednesday, April 17th

Jesus entered Jericho, and as he was passing through there was a crowd of people who had gathered to see Jesus.  In the city of Jericho, there was a tax collector named Zacchaeus.  Not only was he a tax collector, he was the chief tax collector in that city.  And, he was very wealthy.  Now, Zacchaeus also wanted to see this man named Jesus, but he was a short man and unable to see above the crowd.

So, Zacchaeus ran on ahead to a place where there was a sycamore tree.  He climbed up the tree in order to get a glimpse of Jesus.  Jesus, coming to the place where Zacchaeus was in the tree, looked up and spoke to Jesus, saying, “Zacchaeus, hurry up and come down from the tree, for I must go to your house today.”  Zacchaeus, hearing what Jesus said, quickly came down and escorted Jesus to his house.  When the religious leaders and the people saw where Jesus was going and that it was the house of the chief tax collector, they grumbled, “He has gone to be a guest of a man who is a sinner!”

When Jesus was in the home of Zacchaeus, Zacchaeus stood up and spoke to Jesus, saying, “Look, Jesus, I am going to give half of all that I own to the poor. Furthermore, if I have cheated anyone of anything, I will restore and repay that person four times the amount I took from him.” Jesus, upon hearing Zacchaeus’ confession, said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he is also a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save those who are lost.”

*

Acts 8:26-39 – Wednesday, April 24th

Now an angelof the Lord said to Philip, “Arise and go toward the south to the road that connects Jerusalem with Gaza, which is in the desert.  So, Philip arose and went.  When he arrived in that place, there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the queen of Ethiopia who was in charge of all her treasure and wealth.  This eunuch had traveled to Jerusalem to worship, and now was returning to Ethiopia.  The eunuch was sitting in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah.

The Holy Spirit spoke to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.”  Philip ran to the eunuch’s chariot, and when he came near he heard the official reading the prophet Isaiah. So, Philip asked him, “Do you understand what you are reading?”  The eunuch replied, “How can I understand unless someone helps me?”  Then the eunuch invited Philip to come up onto his chariot and join him.  Now the passage that the eunuch had been reading was this:

“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth.  In his humiliation justice was denied him; who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.”

Then the eunuch asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask, does the prophet say this about – himself or about someone else?”  Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this scripture passage from Isaiah, he began to tell this Ethiopian official the good news of Jesus Christ.

As they were traveling along the road, they came to some water.  The eunuch spoke to Philip, “See, here is water.  What hinders me or prevents me from being baptized?”  Then Philip commanded the chariot to stop, and both men went down into the water where Philip baptized the eunuch from Ethiopia.

After they came up out of the water, the Holy Spirit of God carried Philip away and the Ethiopian eunuch never saw him again.  However, the man went on his way back to his country rejoicing.

*

Matthew 6:5-15 – Wednesday, May 1st

Jesus tells his disciples, “When you pray, you should not be like the hypocrites who love to stand up and pray out loud in the synagogues and on the street corners so that other people can hear them pray. I tell you the truth they already have received their reward.  However, when you pray, go up into your room and shut the door.  Then pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees you in secret will reward you.”

Jesus continued, saying, “And when you pray, do not pile on empty phrases upon empty phrases like the Gentiles do, for they think that they have to use many words in order to be heard.  Don’t be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”   Then Jesus said, “Pray like this: 

          Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name.

          Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

          Give us this day our daily bread.

          Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

          Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Finally, Jesus said, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will forgive you.  However, if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive you your trespasses.”

*

John 4:1-42 – Wednesday, May 8th

Jesus, on his way from Judea in the south to Galilee in the north, had to travel through Samaria. As he was passing through Samaria, Jesus and his disciples came to a town where Jacob’s well was located.  Jesus, who was tired from the journey sat down by the well.  It was noontime.  While Jesus was resting by the well, his disciples went into the town to purchase some food. 

A woman from Samaria came to draw water from the well.  Jesus, seeing the woman drawing water, said to her, “Give me a drink.”  The woman replied to Jesus, saying, “Why are you asking me for a drink?  You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman.” 

Jesus answered the woman, saying, “If you knew who it is that is speaking to you and asking you for a drink, you would ask him to give you living water.”

The woman said to Jesus, “Sir, you do not have anything with which to draw water, and this well is deep.  From where will you get this living water?”  Are you greater than our father Jacob?  He gave us this well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his animals.”

Jesus said to the woman, “Every one who drinks the water from this well, will become thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I give him will never be thirsty again because the water that I give to that person will become in him a well of water springing up within him for eternal life. The woman then said to Jesus, “Sir, give me this water so that I can drink it and never be thirsty again or never have to come back to this well to draw water.”

Jesus then said to the woman, “Go, call your husband to come here.”  Then the woman replied, “I have no husband.”  Then Jesus said, “You are correct when you say that you have no husband; you have had five husbands and the man with whom you now live is not your husband.  So what you say is indeed true.”

The woman spoke again, saying, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.  So I have a question for you.  Our father worshipped on this mountain, but the Jews say that people ought to worship in Jerusalem at the temple. Who is correct?”

Jesus answered her, saying, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither will people worship on this mountain nor in the temple in Jerusalem.  But, the hour is coming, and indeed the hour is already come, when true worshippers will worship God the Father in spirit and in truth. God is spirit and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

The woman then spoke, saying, “I know that the Messiah is coming who is called the Christ. When he comes, he will tell us all things.”  “I, the one who is speaking to you, am the Messiah,” Jesus replied.

At the moment, Jesus’ disciples came back.  They were surprised to see that he was talking with a woman, but no one said anything nor did they question as to why Jesus was talking to this woman.  The woman then returned to town, leaving her water jug behind at the well.  When the woman returned back to the town, she spoke to the people, saying, “Come, meet a man who told me all that I ever did.  Can this man be the Christ, the Messiah?”  Many of the people came out from the town to where Jesus and his disciples were.

Many Samaritans from that town believed in Jesus on account of the testimony of the woman when she said, “He told me all that I ever did.”  When the Samaritans came to Jesus they implored him to stay with them, and he stayed with them for two days.  And many more believed because of his word.  They told the woman, “it is no longer because of your testimony that we believe in this man, but now we have heard for ourselves and we know that he is the Savior of the world.”

*

Matt. 25:31-46 – Wednesday, May 15th

Jesus began teaching his disciples another parable, saying, “When the Son of Man returns in all of his glory along with his angels, He will sit on the throne of glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and He will separate the people from one another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And the Son of Man will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.”

Jesus continued saying, “Then he will say to the sheep who are on his right, ‘Come, those of you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of time. For I was hungry, and you gave me food to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me; I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear; I was sick and you visited me; and I was in prison and you came to me.’”

“Then the righteous,” Jesus said, “will answer the Son of Man, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and give you food to eat; when did we see you thirsty, and give you something to drink; when did we see you as a stranger and welcome you; when did we see you naked and give you clothes to wear; when did we see you sick and visit you or in prison and come to you?’”

“The Son of Man will respond to them, saying, ‘Most assuredly I say to you that as you did these things to the least of these, then you have done it to me.”

Jesus continued, saying, “Then the Son of Man will say to those goats on his left, ‘Depart from me, those of you who are cursed; go into the everlasting fire of punishment prepared for Satan and his evil spirits. For, I was hungry and you did not give me any food to eat; I was thirsty and gave me nothing to drink; I was a stranger and you did not welcome me; I was naked and you gave me no clothes to wear; I was sick and in prison, and you did come and visit me.’”

“The goats will ask the Son of Man, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or sick and in prison, and did not minister to you?’   The Son of Man will answer them, saying, “Most assuredly, I say to you that as you did not do these things to the least of these, then you did not do it to me.”

Jesus concluded the parable, saying, “The goats will go to eternal punishment, but the sheep, who are the righteous, will go into eternal life.”

*

Luke 22:7-20 – Wednesday, May 22nd

The day of Unleavened bread had arrived.  This was the day in which the people of Israel prepared the Passover Lamb as they readied themselves to celebrate the deliverance from slavery in Egypt.  Jesus told Peter and John, “Go and prepare the Passover meal for us, that we may eat it.”  Peter and John responded, “Where do you want us to go to prepare it?’ 

Jesus answered them, saying, “When you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house that he enters.  Then you are to speak to the master of that house, ‘The teacher sent us to ask where is the guest room that I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’ The master of the house will show you the room, which will be upstairs; go there and prepare the Passover meal for us.”

So, Peter and John went and prepared the Passover meal.  When the hour arrived for the celebration of the Passover, Jesus was reclining at the table with his disciples.  Jesus then spoke to his disciples, saying, “I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I have to suffer.  I tell you the truth, I will not eat it again until the kingdom of God is fulfilled.”

Then Jesus took the cup of wine, gave thanks to God and said, “Take this and divide among yourselves, for I tell you the truth that I will not drink this wine again until the kingdom of God comes.”  Then Jesus took the bread, gave thanks to God, broke it in half, and then distributed it to his disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you.  Eat this bread to remember me.” In the same way, Jesus took the cup again after they had eaten the bread, saying, “This cup represents the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you.”

After eating the Passover meal, Jesus said, “The one who will betray me is eating at the table with me.  The Son of Man goes as it has been determined for him, but woe to the man who betrays him.”  After hearing these words of Jesus, the disciples began asking among themselves which one of them would be Jesus’ betrayer.

*

Acts 4:32-5:11 – Wednesday, May 29th

Everyone in the church was united in one heart and one soul.  No one in the early church had the attitude that the things they possessed were their own.  As a result, the people shared all things in common.  There was no one in the early church who had need.  Many who had lands and houses would sell their land or house and bring the proceeds to the apostles. The apostles then would take the proceeds and distribute to those who had need.  There was a man who was a religious leader (Levite).  He had a piece of land, sold it, and brought the money to the apostles.

There were a husband and wife.  The husband was named Ananias and the wife was named Sapphira.  They owned a piece of land, and they had a plan.  They sold their land, and kept back some of the money they received from the sale of the land.  Then they brought the rest of the money and gave it to the apostles.  Ananias brought the money and placed it before Peter.

Peter immediately spoke to Ananias, saying, “Ananias, why have you allowed Satan to lead you to lie to the Holy Spirit of God by keeping back part of the money you received from the sale of your land? When you had the land, it was yours.  When you sold the land, the money was yours. Why, then, have you conceived this thing in your heart?  You have not lied to men, but you have lied to God.”

Ananias, hearing these words of Peter, suddenly fell down and died.  Those who heard what had happened were filled with great fear.  Some young men came, wrapped up his body in cloth, carried him out and buried him.

Now about three hours later, Sapphira came to where the apostles were.  She was unaware of what had happened to her husband.  Peter, upon meeting Sapphira, said to her, “Tell me; did you and your husband sell your land for his amount of money?”  Sapphira replied, “Yes, that is correct.”

Peter then confronted her, saying, “How is it that your husband and you have agreed together to test the Holy Spirit of God?  Look, the feet of the young men who buried your husband are there at the door, and they are coming to do the same to you.” 

Immediately, Sapphira fell down and died.   The young men came in, wrapped up her body, carried her out and buried her next to her husband.  Everyone in the church who heard what had taken place was filled with great fear.