Revisiting the Passion – And Beyond
1. At the end of the last study, there wasn’t much doubt about the fact that Jesus had died. But crucifixion could take days. Why did he die so quickly? Read Mark 15:44
2. Crucified bodies were often left on display to discourage crime. Why was Jesus buried so quickly? Read Mark 15:42
3. Who witnessed Jesus’ death? Who witnessed his burial? Read Mark 15:42,47, John 19:39
4. Who witnessed his resurrection? Read Matthew27:62-66, 28:4,11-15
5. How did the Roman soldiers respond to the resurrection? Do you think they believed what they’d seen? Do you think they convinced themselves of the story they told? How easy is it to talk ourselves out of supernatural experiences?
6. How did the priests and elders respond to the resurrection? Do you think they believed what the soldiers told them? Do we ever tell people not to say something in case it throws doubt on our faith?
7. How did the angels respond to the resurrection? Read Matthew 28:2-7. Did the women obey them? Do you know which women were there? Read Luke 24:10.
8. How did the disciples respond to news of the resurrection? Read Mark 16:11. It’s easy to think we would have believed the news, because we already know how the story continues. But are there still times when we fail to believe good news about God’s actions in our world? What sort of stories do we easily doubt? Is doubt necessarily a bad thing?
9. Who sees the risen Lord first? How does she react? Read John 20:11-18. When do we feel despair? When do we take refuge in looking for human answers? When are we tempted to cling instead of taking action?
10. Who sees the risen Lord next? How does Jesus minister to them? Read 24:13-16,27. How do we respond to modern Christians who deny the authority of the Old Testament? Why does it matter?
11. What is Thomas famous for? Read John 20:24-29. Again, is doubt necessarily bad? Read Mark 16:14
12. Jesus commissions his disciples, and presumably us, to tell the whole world. What else are we to do? Read Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:15-18. How comfortable are you with this? How comfortable do you suppose the disciples were? What would they have taken it to mean?
13. John ends his gospel with a gathering of fish, and with Peter forgiven. How might this be an appropriate place to stop? Where would you stop the story if you were asked to tell someone about Jesus’ earthly life? Why?
14. Mark and Luke end with the ascension? Why is this an appropriate choice of stopping place? What message does it convey to you?