John 4:9
For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.”

A few years ago, I was in Serbia speaking at a conference for some of the local churches. On the last day of our trip, we were invited by one of the pastors to visit a Gypsy village, where he had been ministering to the families for some time. Upon arriving, we broke up into groups, and began visiting some of the homes of the sick, and gathering with many of the children. After about an hour, a woman from a nearby town approached us. She stood out to us because she was wearing a beautiful purple dress with a purple overcoat. One of the other pastors approached her; she asked him who we were and what we were doing here. He responded that we were from America, and had come to Serbia to teach the Bible and share Christ. Her response was quite shocking. She said, “I meant what are you doing in the Gypsy’s village. No one cares about the Gypsies.” We were a little shocked by her statement, but began to share with her that Jesus loved all people, even those who were despised by the world. She made a decision to receive Christ that day because of His love for those whom no one else cared.

The world has always been filled with “Samaritans”. Even today, there is no shortage of people about whom no one seems to care. People, whose lifestyle has isolated them from society. It is important to keep in mind that Jesus was always drawn to those who the world rejected. Two thousand years later, and Jesus still “must go through Samaria.” He wants to use us, His church, to reach them with His love.

Keep your eyes open; there is a world out there in need of Christ. A world filled with neglected, even rejected people, who Jesus loves and died for.

Pastor Jim

Questions for John 4

  1. Where was Jesus travelling from, and where was He travelling to?  Where did he need to pass through on His journey?
  2. Sometimes we get the impression that things were always easy for Jesus because He was God.  How did Jesus feel after His journey? (verse 6)
  3. What time was it?  What was it probably like outside?
  4. According to verse 9 what was the relationship between Jewish people and Samaritans?  Do such relationships exist today?  Was Jesus subject to these cultural patterns?
  5. In talking with the Samaritan woman, Jesus used the natural (the water from the well) to transition to the spiritual (living water).  What are some of the natural qualities and uses of water?  How would these natural qualities translate to the spiritual?
  6. Is location a primary consideration in worshiping God?  What are the most important parts of worship?  (verse 20-24)
  7. What did the woman do when she left Jesus?
  8. Jesus continues the natural to spiritual comparisons with food, this time while talking to His disciples.  What are some of the qualities of food?  What was Jesus’ food?
  9. Consider verses 39, 41, and 42.  What are the different ways that people came to believe in Jesus?
  10. Jesus is capable of doing miracles at any time, but does not always.  Sometimes people are pursuing signs and wonders and not pursuing a relationship with the Lord.  What was the ultimate effect of Jesus healing the nobleman’s son? (Note verse 48, 50 and 53)

Old Testament:
Numbers 25- Friendship
Numbers 26- Inheritance


John 3:13
No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.”


I remember as a sixteen year old asking myself, “What happens when we die?” Then just as quickly I answered, “We go to Heaven.” Then I asked, “What is Heaven?” Again I answered, “Heaven is doing whatever you like to do forever.” Then I asked “Who gets to go to Heaven?” And again I had an answer. “Those who are good.” Finally, I had to ask, “Who was good?” My answer was that I was good, and anyone who did not kill, or rape, but lived a life like mine, was also good. This answer satisfied me. If anyone had asked what would happen if I died I was convinced that I had an answer. The problem was, it was completely made up. It was the product of my imagination.

There is only one person who knows what awaits man on the other side of the grave. That man is Jesus; the one who came down from Heaven. All others are like me, using my imagination to guess what death holds. No matter how deliberate a religious system may become, no matter how many followers it may have, all others have this in common, they have never been to the other side and back. They are only guessing about eternal life based on the experiences of this life. Then there is Jesus. The one who came from heaven and declares to man:

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life
.” John3:14-15

What great joy! To prepare for eternity, all we must do is believe on Jesus Christ and receive His free gift of eternal life.

Pastor Jim

Questions for John 3

  1. According to verse 1 and 10, what was Nicodemus’ job?
  2. Why do you think Nicodemus came to visit Jesus at night?
  3. As Nicodemus speaks with Jesus (verse 2, 4, 9), how would you describe his reactions and understanding of what Jesus is saying?
  4. Jesus speaks of a need to be born again.  How is a person born again?  Look up John 1:12.
  5. There are four “action” words in John 3:16:  loved, gave, believe, have life.  Which of those are God’s part?  Which are ours?
  6. John 3:16 is a very famous verse, but verse 17 is an important one as well.  According to this verse what did Jesus notcome to do?  What did He come to do?
  7. People claim many reasons for not believing in Jesus.  But behind these excuses there is one ultimate reason why people will not come to Him.  According to verse 19 and 20, what is this reason?
  8. In verse 30, John the Baptist declares a truth concerning our relationship with God:  He must increase, we must decrease.  Do you pursue those ends in your relationship with God?
  9. Eyewitness testimony is valuable in a court of law, because it gives us access to information we could not gain otherwise (because the events are past).  Consider verse 31 and 32 in light of this.  Why does what Jesus say about God, salvation, and eternal life carry more weight than what anyone else says?
  10. According to verse 36, what is essential to “having life”?  Can anyone have life who does not have this essential?

Old Testament:
Numbers 23- Different Point Of View
Numbers 24- Victory

Beginning Of Miracles

John 2:11
“This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.”

John tells us, the miracle of turning the water into wine was the first of Jesus’ miracles, and its purpose was to make His glory known. The word “glory” is used synonymously in the Bible with the word “name” and speaks of a person’s character. When Moses longed to know God more, he asked God to “Please, show me Your glory.” (Exodus 33:18) God responded, saying, “I will cause My goodness to pass before you and declare My name.” It is in that passage we learn much of the merciful and gracious character of God. Here, at this wedding feast, John tells us that we are to learn something about the character of Christ.

John also tells us, this was the first miracle Jesus accomplished. Think about it. The Son of God, who came to save the world, is going to accomplish His first miracle, and He chose to provide refreshments at a wedding reception. Why? I think it is because He wants us to learn that He did not come for the masses, but the individual. He wants us to understand, He loves and cares about each of us. In the grand scheme of things, a family being embarrassed by running out of refreshments at the reception does not mean much, but it would mean a lot to them, and so it meant a lot to Jesus.

What a blessing to know that Jesus never loses sight of the individual. He knows and cares deeply about each of us and the struggles we are facing. I think it would be wise of us to take the advice of Mary and “Whatever He says to you; do it.”

Pastor Jim

Questions for John 2

  1. Who was invited to the wedding?  Who else that Jesus knew was there?
  2. What did they run out of at the wedding?  Who asked Jesus to do something about it?
  3. What did Jesus do?  Did he do it well?  Was it better before or after Jesus worked? (Verse 10)?
  4. According to verse 11 how many miracles did Jesus do before this one?
  5. What is the significance that Jesus’ first miracle was at a wedding?  Consider your marriage or the marriages of people you love.  Take time to pray that they would regularly invite Jesus into their marriage and that the end would be better than the beginning.
  6. Jesus has a strong reaction to those doing business in His Father’s house.  Why?
  7. Jesus’ anger was not Him losing control.  He did not immediately react. Consider:  How long did it take Jesus to make a whip of cords?  When you are rightly angry about some injustice or wrong, do you still demonstrate self-control (a fruit of the Spirit)?
  8. In verse 18 and 23 the Jews and the people were focused on the same thing. What was it? Compare this with Matthew 16:4.
  9. When Jesus spoke of a temple being destroyed and rebuilt, what was He really talking about?

Old Testament:
Numbers 21- Look At That
Numbers 22- Distorted View

The Light

John 1:4
“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

Jesus was magnetic! People from all walks of life were drawn to Him. Lepers, paralytics, rich men, beggars, fishermen, and even Pharisees were drawn to Jesus; to meet Him, hear Him speak, and be touched by Him. At times, we read of massive crowds that gave up all other pursuits, to listen for hours as He spoke about the Kingdom of God. What was it that drew people to Him? John tells us that His life was like a light in the darkness.

Often, when I come home at night, my route into the house is through the garage. The problem is, the light switch is on the far end of the garage, near the kitchen door. Skateboards, bikes, shoes and other sports equipment are scattered across the floor, and in the darkness, facing these dangers, I am drawn to the light that shines from the house. In the same way, people facing the pitfalls of life were drawn to the light that came from Christ. John points out what that light was:

“In Him was LIFE and that was the light of men.”

John tells us, the light which shone forth from Christ was the life that He possessed. Jesus later stated that we, His followers, would be the light of the world; that through us the world would be drawn to God (Matthew 5:14). Just as the life of Christ drew men to Himself, the life that we have is what will win others to Jesus. The more we surrender to Christ, the more we allow Him to cut away, the more closely we follow Him, the greater life will come out of us; like a brilliant light drawing others to Christ.

“Let your light so shine before men that they see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Pastor Jim

Question for John 1

  1. We are introduced to a character named “The Word” in chapter 1.  In verses 14-17 His identity is revealed.  Who is He?
  2. In verse 1 we are told three things about the Word; what are they?
  3. According to verse 3 and verse 10, what was the extent of the Word’s role in creation?
  4. We hear the phrase “born again” in the Scriptures.  According to verse 12 and 13, how must a person be born into God’s kingdom?
  5. Verse 17 tells us of a critical difference between Jesus’ ministry and Moses’ ministry; what is it?
  6. In verse 6 we are introduced to a new character; who is he, and according to verse 7 what is his role?  Can you find some verses later in the chapter where he does this?
  7. John refers to Jesus as the Lamb of God.  What was His role as “the Lamb” according to verse 29?
  8. Throughout the rest of the chapter, a number of disciples begin to be gathered to Jesus; who are they?
  9. In verse 39 and 43 we see two of the statements Jesus uses to call men to Himself; what are they?  How can you personally do this today?
  10. In verse 42 Andrew does a wonderful thing for his brother Simon; what is it?  Who are you doing this for?
  11. Read John 1:51 and Genesis 28-10-16.  By comparing these passages, what is the ladder from Jacob’s dream that connects earth and heaven?

Old Testament:
Numbers 19- Sacrifice
Numbers 20- Striking The Rock

Seek Him

Luke 24:1
“Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning…”

Crucifixion was a violent and public form of execution. The display was designed not only to punish the condemned, but to dissuade others from violating the law of Rome. It is difficult for me to comprehend the emotions that would flood those who watched, as Jesus was beaten and crucified.

These women were not casual observers, they did not watch the events as spectators or journalists, they were some of Jesus closest friends, and Mary was His mother. Watching the events of the cross must have filled her with fear, confusion, sorrow, anger and even hate. Her own Son had been betrayed by one of His close friends, He had been falsely accused, condemned, beaten and violently killed. It would be reasonable for us to read that Mary shut down, or she was filled with sorrow, wept, and questioned the love of God. Instead, we read she rose early, went seeking, and found Christ was risen from the dead.

What pains are you enduring today? Are you struggling with the emotions caused by loss, confusion, or disappointment? Are you allowing your emotions to keep you from God, or like Mary, are you willing to rise early and seek Him? I wonder what we are missing out on when we fail to take time to seek Christ.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Luke 24

  1. How did the women find the tomb of Jesus when they came in the morning?
  2. What did they find in the tomb?
  3. What were the women reminded of by the men in shinning garments?
  4. As the women told the apostles what they found, was their words well accepted?
  5. Who had to see for himself these things?
  6. Verses 13- 32 record for us the revealing of Jesus to two disciples as they traveled to a village called Emmaus. What do we observe about the two disciples when Jesus first draws near to them?
  7. At what point did the two disciples recognize Jesus?
  8. Read verse 45. This is a great verse to memorize and make a prayer every time you study the Bible.
  9. Now read verses 46-49. Then turn to Acts 1:8. Jesus is calling us to go into the entire world in the power of the Spirit and preach the gospel. The Apostles were to start in Jerusalem. Jerusalem for us would be our home town. Pray right now that God would give you boldness to be a witness for Him everywhere you go starting with the people that are around you.

Old Testament:
Numbers 17- Miracles
Numbers 18- Behind The Scenes

The Veil Was Torn

Luke 23:45
“The veil of the temple was torn in two.”


The veil of the Temple was designed by God; and it was beautiful. Moses describes it for us in Exodus 26:31

“You shall make a veil woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen. It shall be woven with an artistic design of cherubim.”

As beautiful as this curtain was, its beauty would be overshadowed by its purpose. The veil was not designed as a work of art to be gawked at, but as a symbol of the separation between man and God. Even the angels portrayed on the veil spoke not of accessibility, but of separation. Remember the angels that were posted outside the garden? They carried flaming swords and were set as guards to keep Adam and Eve from entering the garden (Genesis 3:24). What about the angels around God’s throne? We read, they constantly sing of His holiness; a character trait of God making it impossible for sin to remain in His presence. As much as man needs God, and as much as God loves man, our sin stands in the way. Access to God is barred by sin, and the veil was a constant reminder of that.

As a result of the cross, all that would change. Jesus was not dying for Himself, He was dying as a sacrifice. By doing so, He was paving a way for sinful man to come to a Holy God. The tearing down of the veil represents the access that is available to all mankind through Christ. While it remains true that we are all sinners, it is also true that there is now a way to God. What a joy must have filled the heart of Luke as He penned these words,

“ . . . and the veil of the temple was torn in two.”

He took advantage of the access. What about you? The cross is not the end, it is the beginning. Through it, we have access to the throne, and to the presence of God.

Hebrews 10:19-22

“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

Pastor Jim

Questions for Luke 23

  1. Who was Jesus led to next to be questioned?
  2. What was Pilates conclusion concerning Jesus?
  3. Why did Pilate send Jesus to Herod?
  4. Why was Herod glad to see Jesus?
  5. What was happening while Herod was questioning Jesus?
  6. Jesus was ultimately sent back to Pilate and Pilate wanted to let Him go. But the voices of the chief priest and the scribes and their accusations would ultimately prevail. Who was released instead of Jesus?
  7. Who helped Jesus carry the cross up to Calvary?
  8. What was the difference between the two criminals and Jesus?
  9. Who else recognized this difference when Jesus died?
  10. Who went to Pilate to ask for the body of Jesus?
  11. Everything in history pointed to this moment, when the Son of God would be crucified on a cross as the once and for all sacrifice for sin. The significance of this chapter is huge. Take some time and consider the events leading to the death of Jesus.   As you do just thank God for His unending love demonstrated through the giving of His Son for you. Now take a moment and read Romans 5:8.

Old Testament:
Numbers 15- Oops, I Did It Again!
Numbers 16- Small Things

In Remembrance

Luke 22:19
“This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”


Everything in the life of Christ was working toward His final hour. A moment in time when He, through His death, would provide life for all who believe. Prior to the events of the cross unfolding, Jesus took time to have a last meal with His closest followers. It was at this meal that He established the sacrament of communion. He told his disciples the bread was to represent His body which would be broken to provide healing, and the fruit of the vine would represent His blood, that would be shed for the removal of sin.

A few conditions are given to those who partake of communion. First, communion is for those who believe. The sacrament has its value in what it represents. The religious activity is of no value unless you are one who has received Christ as your Savior. Second, Paul spoke of partaking in an unworthy manner, meaning, if we have sin that has not been confessed and repented of, we should deal with it before we partake (1 Corinthians 11:27-29). Finally, Jesus tells us, the primary purpose of communion is remembrance. It is a time to focus on the Lord. As we hold the bread and the cup, we should be looking back to the cross, looking up to the Lord, looking forward to His return, and looking out at those who have not yet received Christ. Remember, Christ saved you through His work on the cross, and the day is coming when He will call you home.

Let’s be ready…

Pastor Jim

Maybe tonight around the dinner table you, as a family, should partake in communion together. Simply read through this passage, pass the elements, and pray.

Questions from Luke 22

  1. Who conferred with the chief priest?
  2. How did Peter and John to know which house to go to and prepare for the Passover?
  3. What are the two elements that were distributed to the disciples while seated at the table with Jesus?
  4. Why is each element significant?
  5. Who did Jesus say was at the table with them during the Passover meal?
  6. In verses 24-37 what behavior does Jesus establish as the behavior of the follower or disciple of Jesus? (Read Matthew 20:28 and Mark 10:45)
  7. Which disciple was about to be tested?
  8. It was normal behavior for Jesus to pray all night. The disciples had seen him do that often. As Jesus would pray in the garden this night after the Passover meal, what would be different this time?
  9. How was Jesus betrayed?
  10. How many times did Peter deny Jesus?
  11. After Jesus was beaten and mocked he was questioned by which group of people?
  12. What was their accusation?

Old Testament:
Numbers 13- Follow The Leader
Numbers 14- Rejection God’s Plan

Speak Up

Luke 21:13
“But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony.”

As the world approaches the end times, difficulties will increase. The believer is reminded that these difficult situations are the perfect backdrop in which to share Christ with the world. This is a principle to live by. We do not need to wait until the end to have an impact upon the lives around us. The present circumstances which you face have been designed by God as the best conditions for you to grow as a Christian, and have an impact upon others for the kingdom of Heaven. In addition to reminding the disciples of the opportunities He will provide for them, Jesus also gives a promise of success:

“I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.
” (Luke 21:15)

We often find ourselves face to face with an opportunity to share Christ with someone. Perhaps the door begins to open while watching a sporting event together, having a coffee during a break at work, or hanging together as our kids play at the park. Whatever the setting, as we see the door opening, we immediately feel as though we do not know what to say. What a wonderful promise Jesus gives. He promises to give us irresistible wisdom. This is a wisdom you will not find until you open your mouth and begin to testify of Christ.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Luke 21

  1. Who is contrasted as Jesus looked on at those putting gifts in the treasury?
  2. What was Jesus talking about when he said, “Not one stone will be left upon another that shall not be thrown down”?
  3. What two questions did the disciples ask in response to Jesus?
  4. The rest of the chapter is a response to those two questions that the disciples asked. For the disciples, the answers that Jesus gives are future events. For us, half of Jesus’ answer is future and half is history. In 70 AD the Romans, under the command of Titus, destroyed the temple and fulfilled the prophecy of Jesus concerning the temple and the stones. It’s important to look at Matthew 24 and Mark 13 and find the differences between the three accounts.
  5. Take time now and reread verses 34-36 and consider how you spend your time and energy.
  6. Now read Ephesians 5:15-17.

Old Testament:
Numbers 11- Living In The Outskirts
Numbers 12- Personal Conflict

They Marveled

Luke 20:26
“And they marveled at His answer and kept silent.

We are introduced to a group of men who are examining Jesus. They have taken the time to carefully observe Him in action, dissect His teachings, and even quiz Him on a variety of difficult subjects. Their conclusion is worth noting. We read, “they marveled.” The word “marveled” means to be amazed by, and even to admire. It is a word that would commonly be used of a person standing in a museum observing a beautiful work of art. In that case, the proper response would be to admire the work and protect it from being harmed.

These men are acting like curators and treating Jesus like a museum piece. They knew a lot about Him. They could give His opinion on a variety of subjects. They could explain how He treated the sick, blind, lame and sinners. But rather than receiving Christ and watching as He transformed their lives, they simply “marveled and remained silent.” They were content with treating Him like a museum piece.

What about you? Are you an expert on the things of Christ, or a follower of Jesus? Are you only interested in learning about the things He did, or are you determined to see Him do those same things in and through your life?

All that Jesus is and does is marvelous. We are right to be in awe of Him; but awe alone is not what He desires of us. Let’s be sure that we are following after Him.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Luke 20

  1. Who confronted Jesus in the temple?
  2. How did Jesus answer their question?
  3. Who was the next parable directed towards?
  4. Why did the spies try to trick Jesus in His words?
  5. What was the spy’s reaction to Jesus words?
  6. In verse 27 we see that the Sadducees deny that there is a resurrection. What is interesting about their question to Jesus?
  7. What story does Jesus reference in His answer to prove, that there is a resurrection?
  8. Jesus at the end of the chapter warns us of the scribe’s behavior. What would you say is the root sin for this kind of behavior?
  9. What is the outcome of the scribe’s behavior?
  10. Here’s something to consider. The scribes were experts at projecting a religious image, but a religious image before man isn’t enough. Are you really a servant of Jesus Christ, or are you more like one of these scribes?

Old Testament:
Numbers 9- Being Led By God
Numbers 10- Reach Out

Here Comes the King

Luke 19:11
He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately.”

Jesus rebuked the leaders of His day for being able to discern weather patterns, yet failing to recognize the signs of the times. He also exhorted His followers to carefully observe the condition of the world, and to live in anticipation of His soon return.

Today, it is not difficult to ignore the similarities between our world and Jesus’ description of the world when He returns. Things like a one world currency, government, and religion, which seemed impossible to past generations, are unfolding before our very eyes. All of this, makes this parable even more applicable to His church.

Notice the parable was given because they were expecting His kingdom to be established at any moment. Their problem was not failing to LOOK for the kingdom, but failing to LIVE for the kingdom. In the story, Jesus exhorts His followers to serve Him.

Like the characters in the story, we have all been given different gifts, talents, abilities and resources. They are given that we might use them for the furtherance of His kingdom. Too often, we look around at what others have been given, and think, if we had their gifts we would serve the Lord. If I had their wealth, I would give. If I had their voice, I would sing, if I had their time, I would serve… Notice, Jesus only expected the servants to use what they had been given. They were rewarded or rebuked depending upon how they used the gift they had received.

Jesus is coming back! He will set up His kingdom. He will reward those who have surrendered, submitted, and served Him. The question remaining for us is, how are we waiting? Live today in light of the fact that there is a day coming when we will be face to face with the King of kings. He will look at us with His eyes like flames of fire and say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

Pastor Jim

Questions for Luke05 19

  1. How is Zacchaeus described?
  2. Read verse 10. Take a moment and memorize this verse.
  3. Why did Jesus speak the next parable?
  4. Take note that the citizens and the servants in this parable are different from each other. This is important because of the outcome of the citizens (enemies) in verse 27. With that in mind what happened to the 3 servants when the master called them to him?
  5. What one word sums up this parable?
  6. What did Jesus ask His disciples to do when they arrived at the Mount of Olives?
  7. As Jesus came near to Jerusalem and wept, what was He prophesying would happen?
  8. What did Jesus do as he entered the temple?
  9. Then what did Jesus do next?
  10. Read verse 48. Are you attentive to hear the voice of Jesus? Ask the Lord to right now to change your mind and heart so that you would become more attentive to His voice.

Old Testament:
Numbers 7- The Right Way
Numbers 8- Cleansing