PDF format is at: April 18, 2021 Bible Study
Adult Bible Study
April 18, 2021
God Is with You in the Ordinary
Writer’s block. The “glass ceiling.” A fork in the road. A tire in the mud. Everyone knows what it feels like to be stuck. Stuck in a rut…….stuck at home….stuck in a hospital bed….stuck in a dead-end job. It’s a helpless and hopeless feeling.
Perhaps you can relate. Maybe you’re at the end of your rope. You’re out of options, resources, and patience. You’re trying to get out of a tough situation, but everything you’ve tried hasn’t worked. Or perhaps you’re stuck because you just don’t know what action to take. Or maybe—and this one is hard to admit—you don’t want to take action because you’ve gotten comfortable in your stuck-ness. It has become comfortable for you…..predictable. And what would happen if you got unstuck? The prospect is more unnerving than exciting.
Today, we will look at two different miracles that John relates in his Gospel. In each story, the recipient was stuck. One had done everything he could to get help for his dying son. The other had been unable to walk for thirty-eight years. Both of their circumstances seemed unlikely to change. Yet this did not deter Jesus. As is the case with all of his miracles, he was not satisfied to simply heal the physical needs presented to him. He went straight to the heart.
Where do you find yourself today? Are you stuck because you’re at the end of your rope? Or stuck because you’re afraid of what healing would look like? Either way, Jesus accepts you. He wants you to come to him with your problems. He wants to help get you unstuck no matter the reason you were stuck in the first place. But know that he won’t leave it there. Our God is in the business of changing and softening hearts to become more like his.
When you find that you stuck in an area of your life, what are some of your strategies for getting unstuck?
- Read John 4:46-54
- 46 So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” 49 The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. 51 As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. 52 So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 53 The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. 54 This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.
- John writes about a royal official from Capernaum that was stuck. What are the reasons for his stuck-ness? How have you ever felt stuck in similar ways?
- Why do you think Jesus performed this miracle as he did-by not returning with the man? Why do you think we sometimes have to wait before we get unstuck?
- How did the man respond to Jesus’ instructions (see verse 50)? How can waiting on God increase our faith? On the other hand, how can increased faith help us wait on God?
- Read John 5:1-9
- 1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. 3 In these lay a multitude of invalids–blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” 9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath.
- The man beside the Pool of Bethesda had been sick for thirty-eight years. What is the longest period of time you have felt stuck? What were the causes of this man being stuck?
- How do you feel about Jesus’ question: “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6). What do you think Jesus was getting the man to realize by asking the question?
- Jesus’ message was radical for the Jews of his time. He was claiming to be the Messiah, sent from God. He was claiming God was his father. This would have been a big deal to adherents of Judaism who took God’s name seriously and revered him greatly. The Jews were experiencing what we all experience at times: the threat of change. Even if it’s good change, it’s natural for us to want to protect ourselves when our lives are shaken up. Do you feel resistant to change in your life right now? Particularly a change that could make you unstuck from a certain situation?
Think about the power of making small changes. What small change could you make in an area of your life that you feel stuck?