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Lesson 2: Jesus Is the Bread of Life

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Lesson 1 covered Jesus as the “I am.” He is the answer to the spiritual needs of every person. In this lesson, we will look at Jesus as the bread of life.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never go hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35 NET)

Paint Color #2: Purple

Today, we are painting with the color “purple.” What does the color purple mean to you, or what do you associate with the color purple?

Throughout history, the color purple has often been associated with kings, queens and other very rich people. Kings and emperors dressed in purple clothing to display their importance because purple dye was quite expensive. Only the wealthy could afford to have clothes dyed with purple. So, purple as a color represents abundance—having plenty of everything, including food so that your hunger was being satisfied.

1. Consider the word satisfied. What does it mean to be satisfied?

2. Give examples of feeling satisfied because of having abundance.

One day Jesus saw a huge crowd of people coming towards Him as He was teaching. He knew they would be hungry so His disciples found a boy with 5 small loaves of bread and 2 small fish. That’s all Jesus needed to feed the crowd of more than 5000. Do you remember what happened?

3. Read John 6:5-15. If you were a reporter, what parts of this event would really stand out to you so that you would write about it?

Did you notice that Jesus fed every one of those people as much as they wanted to eat so that they were satisfied? For that day, at least.

The next day, the crowd was hungry again so they searched for Jesus. When they found Him, Jesus fussed at them because they were only looking for Him to give them more food, not to believe in Him as the Son of God. He said they should not be hungry just for physical food but for the bread that comes down from heaven to give life to the world.

4. Read John 6:25-34.

  • When they asked Jesus what works they must do to please God (verses 28-29), how did Jesus answer?
  • What kind of bread were the people thinking Jesus was offering to them (verse 31)?

5. Read John 6:35. How did Jesus answer them?

6. Have you ever gone without eating for a whole day or longer? What was that like?

Without food, your body begins to get weaker. Food is one of our basic needs; we all must eat to live.

In most of the countries of the world, the main food source for people is bread made from some kind of flour. That’s been true for the past 4000 years or so. People have eaten bread for breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with some other things like cheese and fruit. To them, bread means life. Without it, they starve. When their grain crops fail because of drought or disease, they have no bread. That was true for the people in Jesus’ crowd. There were no grocery stores.

Today, we don’t depend on just bread in America because we have so many different kinds of food. But we still need food to live, whether bread or not, so food sustains life. Jesus was telling the crowd that He is even more important to them than their daily meals.

7. Reread John 6:35.

  • What does Jesus promise to those who come to Him?
  • Do you think Jesus meant that you don’t have to eat food or drink water every day?

Jesus must have meant something else. During this story in John chapter 6, Jesus says 6 times that He is the bread who came down from heaven to give life to the world (verses 33, 38, 41, 50, 51, & 58).

Since bread is usually meant to be eaten, that means you must personally take it into your body so that it nourishes you for life. That’s physical bread giving physical life. Jesus refers to Himself as spiritual bread that gives spiritual life through a relationship with God.

8. God creates every human being with a hunger for a relationship with Him. How have you tried to satisfy this hunger in the past?

Sometimes people try to satisfy that hunger by staying very busy or doing good works or following a set of rules. The Jewish people followed many rules. But, Jesus didn’t say, “I am the bread of life. He who completely follows the rules will never go hungry again.”

9. Read John 6:35 again. What invitation does Jesus give in this verse to satisfy our hunger?

That’s an invitation to have a relationship with God because Jesus is God. It’s not through just following rules. And, Jesus promised that no one who comes to Him would ever go hungry. The food He gives will never spoil. He will never run out of it. That’s abundance. Look at this promise He makes to everyone who comes to Him.

10. Read John 6:36-37. What does Jesus say He will never do?

Wow! Isn’t that wonderful? He wants you to be close to Him, and He will never reject you. Never push you away. That’s eternal life. Knowing Jesus as your best friend. And, His love for you is abundant and satisfying.

You will not feel hungry for God’s love because you will have it constantly.

Jesus is our bread of life. His abundant love satisfies our hunger for a relationship with God. Next time you have lunch or dinner, think about how that never lasts long. You always get hungry again. But, Jesus said if you come to Him for your spiritual food, He will satisfy the hunger in your heart for a relationship with the God who made you.

11. Think about it, in what areas of your life do you not feel satisfied?

So, the question to ask is this, “How do I go to Jesus for spiritual food so that I can be satisfied?“

  • First, by trusting in Him to take away your sins. You only need to do this once in your life. After you have done that…
  • Follow Him every day by reading your Bible, especially the parts that talk about Jesus—the books called Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Those will tell you all about who Jesus is. The “Filling in the Portrait of Jesus” at the end of each lesson suggests that you read through the book of John, a couple of chapters at a time.
  • Talk to Him through prayer. Prayer is simply conversation with Someone who loves you dearly. Jesus is always there for you. Will you do that this week?

Following Jesus

1) Bible verse to learn:

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never go hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35 NET)

2) Response in prayer & praise:

Talk to Jesus about any feelings of spiritual hunger or thirst that you might have. Tell Him you are ready to begin to experience being satisfied by His abundant love that He gives to those who come to Him and follow Him.

3) Filling in the portrait of Jesus:

Christianity is Christ so spend a few minutes each day reading the verses and reflecting on Jesus—His life, His relationships, and His teaching. Get to know Him well—this One who loves you dearly.

  • Read John 3:1-21. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 3:22-36. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 4:1-26. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 4:27-54. Reflect on what you read.

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Lesson 3: Jesus Is the Light of the World

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In Lessons One and Two, we painted the portrait of Jesus with two ways He described Himself to those listening to Him.

  • Jesus is the “I Am.” He is the answer to the spiritual needs of every person.
  • Jesus is the Bread of Life. His abundant love satisfies our hunger for a relationship with God.

In this lesson, we add another paint color as we see Jesus as the light of the world.

Then Jesus spoke out again, “I am the light of the world. The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NET)

Paint Color #3: Yellow

Today’s paint color is yellow since we’ll be talking about light. Would you agree that the sun is the biggest yellow object you know? Bright sunlight warms us up and helps us to see the world around us. At night, the sun is shining on the other side of the earth so it is dark here. When it’s dark, you might feel afraid or alone. You might feel confused because you cannot see where to go. You can stumble and fall without light to guide you.

Light helps us to see where we are going so we can keep going in the right direction and not get lost. Think of how a light at the end of a dark hallway directs you to the doorway so you don’t keep bumping into the walls. So, for this lesson the color yellow represents light and direction.

In our world, we depend on electricity to give us light in the dark. Just turn on a lamp or a switch and get instant light. When Jesus lived on the earth, there was no electricity. People depended on candles and oil lamps for light at night. Imagine what it would have been like to look out your window at night without any streetlights—anywhere! Consider how dark it could have been.

1. If you have been in a very dark place, what was that like?

2. How does darkness make you feel?

Jesus understood how much we need light to direct us in the darkness. One day He was attending a big festival in Jerusalem during the fall. A major part of that festival was the lighting of huge lamps that illuminated the entire temple area. Those weren’t the small oil lamps most people owned. They were really big ones that shone light all over the temple building. The people would gather together in that light to sing praises to God and dance. Right in the middle of that time of singing and dancing, Jesus told the crowd something about Himself.

3. Read John 8:12.

  • What does Jesus call himself?
  • What is the promise to those who follow Jesus?

You already thought about darkness and how it makes you feel. Sometimes scared, sometimes confused, and sometimes lonely. When there’s darkness all around us, light gives us direction to follow the right path. Light gives us security and makes us feel less lonely. Light helps us to see clearly.

Suppose I turned on a flashlight and pointed it at various objects in a dark room while asking you “What do you see?” After looking at several objects and hearing your responses, I could ask, “How did you know what I wanted you to see?” You would probably answer that the light directed your eyes. The light helped you to see each object better. Light gives us direction.

4. What do you think Jesus meant when He said He was the light of the world? (Consider the flashlight example above.)

Darkness in the Bible usually means not knowing God and His love. But, Jesus promises His light leads to life. Life in the Bible means spiritual life—knowing God and His wonderful love for us and living a life that pleases God. Light gives us direction. So, our yellow paint represents both light and direction.

Not too long after that festival of lights with the huge lamps, Jesus was in Jerusalem walking around. As Jesus went along, He saw a man who was born blind. That man had never seen the sun or the sky. You might know someone who is blind. Most of the time people who are blind can’t see any light at all. They are always in the dark.

5. If you couldn’t see with your eyes, what would you miss the most?

6. Read John 9:1-7.

  • What did Jesus’ disciples think was the reason the man had been born blind? [Note: That’s what many people of Jesus’ day thought.]
  • What was Jesus’ response (verse 3)?

God wasn’t angry with the man and punishing him. God allowed this man to be born blind for a special purpose. Then Jesus said these words again, “I am the light of the world.

7. Looking at John 9:6-7 again…

  • What did Jesus do next (verses 6-7)?
  • What happened then (verse 7)?
  • How do you think the man felt to finally be able to see through his eyes?

8. Read John 9:8-34. How did other people who knew the blind man respond to the knowledge of his being healed?

The blind man’s neighbors could hardly believe it. They kept saying, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “Yes.” Others said, “No. He only looks like him.” But the man who had been blind, let’s call him the ex-blind man, kept saying, “I am the man. The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go…and wash. So I went and washed. Then I could see.” But the ex-blind man didn’t know what Jesus looked like or where He was.

Some of the Jewish leaders who didn’t believe in Jesus found out what happened to the man. Instead of praising God for the healing, they refused to believe that Jesus was God. And, they got angry with the ex-blind man and threw him out of their church building. Can you believe that!

9. Read John 9:35-39.

  • When Jesus heard that the Jewish leaders had thrown the ex-blind man out, what did He do?
  • When Jesus found him, what did He say (verse 35)? [Note: “Son of Man” was something Jesus called Himself.}
  • How did the ex-blind man answer (verse 36)?
  • When Jesus revealed Himself, how did the ex-blind man respond?

10. How did Jesus as light of the world give light to the blind man?

11. How do you think the man’s life changed after this?

To follow Jesus means to believe in Him, trust what He says, and trust what He tells us to do in the Bible.

12. In what areas of your life do you need light and direction?

13. What do you think it would look like to follow Jesus in those areas?

Jesus is the light of the world. His light directs us to follow Him. And when you follow Jesus, you are never alone because He is always with you just, like turning on a lamp in a dark room makes you feel less lonely.

No one can put out the light that Jesus brings into the world.

Following Jesus

1) Bible verse to learn:

Then Jesus spoke out again, “I am the light of the world. The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NET)

2) Response in prayer & praise:

Are you willing to trust Jesus as the light of your life and follow Him this week? Go ahead and talk to Him about how to follow Jesus in your life today.

3) Filling in the portrait of Jesus:

Christianity is Christ so spend a few minutes each day reading the verses and reflecting on Jesus—His life, His relationships, and His teaching. Get to know Him well—this One who loves you dearly.

  • Read John 5:1-30. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 5:31-47. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 6:1-24. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 6:25-71. Reflect on what you read.

Related Topics: Women's Articles

Lesson 4: Jesus Is the Gate for the Sheep

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So far, we painted the portrait of Jesus with three ways He described Himself to those listening to Him. Remember these truths about who Jesus Christ is and what He does for you.

  • Jesus is the “I Am.” He is the answer to the spiritual needs of every person.
  • Jesus is the Bread of Life. His abundant love satisfies our hunger for a relationship with God.
  • Jesus is the Light of the World. His light directs us to follow Him.

In this lesson, we will paint Jesus as the gate for the sheep.

Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep…whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. (John 10:7, 9 NIV)

Paint Color #4: Orange

The color in this lesson is orange—a color often associated with safety. You may have seen a highway construction worker wearing an orange vest. Highway workers also use orange cones and barrels to tell the driver which lanes are open and which are closed for repairs. In fact, the shade of orange used is called “Safety Orange.” The United States government requires that certain construction equipment must be painted “safety orange.” So, what does “Safety Orange” have to do with Jesus?

In John chapter 10, Jesus described Himself as a shepherd for sheep. It is common in the Bible for kings and priests and other leaders to consider themselves shepherds of the people, their sheep. In this lesson, we’ll learn what it means when Jesus called Himself a gate for the sheep. In the next lesson, we’ll cover Jesus as the good shepherd.

1. Read John 10:1-10. How does Jesus describe Himself in verses 7 and 9?

You might be thinking, “That sounds weird. Why does Jesus call Himself a gate or door? What does a gate have to do with being a shepherd?” Actually, it made a lot of sense to the people listening to Him.

Every community would have a sheep pen with high walls and one doorway. Some countries today still have these kinds of sheep pens. Several flocks of sheep would go in the sheep pen at night to keep them from wandering and getting lost. The sheep inside the walls would be kept safe from wolves and thieves who tried to break in and steal them. A watchman would guard the opening all night long.

Here’s what happened every day if you were a sheep. In the morning, you and your sheep friends see the shepherds come through the doorway to get their sheep. As the shepherds are calling out to their sheep, you hear your own shepherd’s voice calling the special name he’s given to you. Yay! You run on your little sheep legs to where he is. He leads you and your flock mates out of the sheep pen. Then, he leads the flock to the pastures. You follow close behind him.

Once you get to the pastures, you see a small fenced area. The shepherd takes his place in the doorway or entrance of the fenced area and functions as a door or gate. You can safely go out and munch on grass for as long as you want because your shepherd is watching over you. But, if you get tired or frightened, you can go into the fenced area where it is safe and secure. Your shepherd is still watching over you. He is the gate.

2. Reread John 10:9. Look again at what Jesus said He does as the gate. What does Jesus promise to anyone who enters through Him as the gate?

See that phrase “will be saved?” The Bible teaches that every person needs to be saved because of sin. Remember that God loves everyone. But, every person has done bad things called sin. God says that sin separates us from Him forever. He didn’t want that to happen so He sent His Son Jesus to take the punishment for your sin and my sin so we don’t have to be separated from God forever.

When you trust in Jesus and what He did to take away your sin, you are saved. You are saved from being separated from God, and you are saved from being punished for your sin. That’s what it means to be saved.

When Jesus says, “Anyone who enters through me will be saved,” He was telling the people that anyone who trusts in Him will be saved from being separated from God forever.

3. Notice what the sheep can do within this “safety” zone.

Being able to come and go to find pasture presents a picture of freedom and fulfillment, doesn’t it? Jesus offers that to us as His sheep as well.

The phrase “will be saved” can also be translated “be kept safe.” To those who already trust in Jesus and are already following Jesus like sheep follow their shepherd, Jesus promises to keep you safe. Now, people are not really sheep. But, every person needs to feel safe. There are enemies out there who want to hurt Jesus’ sheep.

4. Reread John 10:10.

  • What do the enemies want to do to the sheep?
  • That’s not good for sheep, is it? What does Jesus promise His sheep?

5. What is your concept of abundant or full life that is rich and satisfying?

Abundant life is life that is so satisfying that it is like a cup overflowing. Better than any sheep could ever dream about. As a follower of Jesus, He promises you life that is full and satisfying. The Bible calls it eternal life. We sometimes think it only starts when we die and go to be with Jesus in heaven. But, you have eternal life while you are here on earth, too.

This life with God that Jesus provides for you is good and satisfying. You only need to follow Him to enjoy it here.

Jesus is the gate for the sheep. There is safety in following Jesus and doing life His way. Notice that Jesus said He was the gate for the sheep, not the jail keeper. 

6. Reread John 10:9. Why should you consider Jesus to be someone who offers you freedom to live a fulfilling life rather than someone who is restrictive?

Following Jesus

1) Bible verse to learn:

Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep…whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. (John 10:7, 9 NIV)

2) Response in prayer & praise:

You can feel safe in Jesus’ loving arms knowing He cares so much for you and is watching over you while you enjoy the freedom He provides. Thank Him for doing that for you. Ask Jesus to direct you to His way of doing life. Following Jesus’ way of doing life can help to keep you safe from enemies in your life. Do you recognize other voices trying to get you to follow them? What would it look like in your life to choose to follow Jesus as your shepherd rather than anyone who tries to keep you from following Him?

3) Filling in the portrait of Jesus:

Christianity is Christ so spend a few minutes each day reading the verses and reflecting on Jesus—His life, His relationships, and His teaching. Get to know Him well—this One who loves you dearly.

  • Read John 7:1-24. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 7:25-53. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 8:1-30. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 8:31-59. Reflect on what you read.

Related Topics: Women's Articles

Lesson 5: Jesus Is the Good Shepherd

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In our lessons, we have painted the portrait of Jesus with ways He described Himself to those listening to Him. Remember these truths about who Jesus Christ is and what He does for you.

  • Jesus is the “I Am.” He is the answer to the spiritual needs of every person.
  • Jesus is the Bread of Life. His abundant love satisfies our hunger for a relationship with God.
  • Jesus is the Light of the World. His light directs us to follow Him.
  • Jesus is the Gate for the Sheep. There is safety in following Jesus and doing life His way.

In this lesson, we will paint Jesus as the good shepherd.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and my own know me.” (John 10:11, 14 NET)

Paint Color #5: Green

Our color for this lesson is green. We’re going to learn about Jesus as a shepherd again. It makes sense to choose green to represent all the good grass the shepherd provides for the sheep to eat. But, green is also associated with peacefulness and rest. Jesus told His followers, “Come to me and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28-29).” So, green will represent relationship. We can enjoy a relationship with Jesus as our shepherd. We can know and belong to Him as His sheep. This satisfies our need for a relationship with our God.

In the last lesson, we learned that Jesus told His followers that He was a gate of protection for His sheep. Let’s find out more about Jesus as a shepherd.

1. Read John 10:11-15.

  • What does Jesus call himself in verses 11 and 14?
  • Do you think every sheep wanted a good shepherd?
  • Jesus described Himself as the good shepherd who does what for the sheep?
  • What could it mean for a shepherd to give his life for his sheep?

Jesus was talking to His followers who knew that their greatest enemy was being separated from God because of sin in their lives.

Jesus gave His life for us, His sheep, when He took the punishment for sin by dying on the cross. He did this so that anyone who trusts in Him will have all of their sins forgiven, will receive eternal life, and will never be separated from God again.

But, that’s not the only way Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Look at what else He says. “I know my sheep, and my sheep know me.” That’s all about relationship. Jesus wants us to enjoy a personal relationship with Him.

Shepherds of Jesus’ time were devoted to their sheep. They talked to them and even sang to them. The shepherd cared so much for every sheep in his flock that he gave a special name to each one.

So, if you were a sheep in the sheep pen, not only would you hear the sound of the shepherd’s voice, you would also hear him calling your name. Remember the last lesson?

2. Read John 10:3-4. The shepherd calls out to the sheep. What is the responsibility of the sheep?

The shepherd calls those sheep who belong to Him. Jesus knows every one of us who have believed in Him and trusted in Him to take away our sins. He knows each one of His followers by name. We each have a personal relationship with Jesus, our shepherd.

Not only do we have a relationship with Jesus, it’s a forever relationship. One we can never lose. He will never turn His back on His sheep. We belong to Him, and He belongs to us. Read with me what He says about our security with Him

3. Read John 10:27-30.

  • What does Jesus give His followers?
  • When Jesus says, “they will never die,” does Jesus mean your body will not grow old and die?
  • If you are Jesus’ sheep, who can steal you out of His hand?
  • So, does that mean you will always belong to Him?
  • Can there be a time in the future when you don’t belong to Him?

Remember that we said in the last lesson that you don’t have to wait until you die to get eternal life. Eternal life begins the moment you trust in Jesus to take away your sins. There isn’t anything that can make you not belong to Jesus any more. You are in a forever relationship with Him as His sheep. That is great news, isn’t it?

When Jesus talks about His father, He is talking about God. The Bible teaches that there is one God who exists in three persons. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. When Jesus says, “My Father,” He’s talking about God the Father. Jesus is His Son, so Jesus is God the Son.

4. Reread John 10:27-30.

  • According to Jesus’ words, who is greater than anyone?
  • Can someone take you out of God the Father’s hands?
  • Is anyone stronger or more powerful than God?
  • Are you more powerful than God?

8. So, once you trust in Jesus to take away your sin and become one of Jesus’ followers, one of Jesus’ sheep, is there anything you can do to make yourself not belong to God any longer?

Remember this. It’s not the sheep that are holding onto the shepherd. If you have ever seen a sheep, you know they are not very strong creatures, are they? It is the power of the shepherd holding onto the sheep.

Jesus knows that His followers are not as strong as He is. You belong to Jesus forever because of His powerful grip holding onto you.

9. Does knowing that truth make you feel safe?

10. Read Romans 8:38-39. What additional confirmation about God’s hold onto you do you get from these verses?

The Bible teaches that nothing that happens during your lifetime, nothing that happens after you die, nothing that you do right now, and nothing that you do in the future can separate you from Jesus.

11. If you are already one of Jesus’ sheep, you are in a forever relationship with Him. God continually loves you until the day your body dies, and then God continually loves you afterwards as you live in heaven with Him.

  • So, if a family member says to you, “You are not perfect. I saw you do something wrong. Surely God doesn’t love you anymore.” How do you answer that?
  • If you trusted Christ to take away your sin last year, and someone says to you, “Well, you’ve done some bad things since then. You do not belong to Jesus anymore.” How do you answer that?
  • If you dream about something evil taking you away from Jesus, of what should you remind yourself when you awake?

Jesus is the good shepherd. We can enjoy a forever relationship with Him. Once you trust in Christ to take away your sins and give you eternal life, you belong to Jesus forever. Forever never ends. And, Jesus wants you to enjoy your forever relationship with Him.

12. If you have put your faith in Christ and trusted Him with your life, are you confident now that you are Jesus’ sheep forever?

I hope you are confident. Jesus knows you by name. He calls to you, not so that you hear it in your ears but so that you hear it in your heart. He speaks to you as you read the Bible. The words in the Bible are His words to you. The sheep hear the Good Shepherd’s voice and know it is true. Our hearts tell us to listen to Jesus and follow Him because He can be trusted.

13. Is this your response to Jesus as your shepherd? Do you want this to be your response?

Following Jesus

1) Bible verse to learn:

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and my own know me.” (John 10:11, 14 NET)

2) Response in prayer & praise:

Ask Jesus to help you listen for His voice with your heart and follow Him as your shepherd by reading His words in the Bible and obeying Him as Jesus obeyed His Father.

3) Filling in the portrait of Jesus:

Christianity is Christ so spend a few minutes each day reading the verses and reflecting on Jesus—His life, His relationships, and His teaching. Get to know Him well—this One who loves you dearly.

  • Read John 9:1-12. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 9:13-41. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 10:1-21. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 10:22-42. Reflect on what you read.

Related Topics: Women's Articles

Lesson 6: Jesus Is the Resurrection and the Life

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In our lessons, we have painted the portrait of Jesus with ways He described Himself to those listening to Him. Remember these truths about who Jesus Christ is and what He does for you.

  • Jesus is the “I Am.” He is the answer to the spiritual needs of every person.
  • Jesus is the Bread of Life. His abundant love satisfies our hunger for a relationship with God.
  • Jesus is the Light of the World. His light directs us to follow Him.
  • Jesus is the Gate for the Sheep. There is safety in following Jesus and doing life His way.
  • Jesus is the Good Shepherd. You can enjoy a forever relationship with Him.

In today’s lesson, we will paint Jesus as the resurrection and the life.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even if he dies, and the one who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26 NET)

Paint Color #6: Blue

Our color for this lesson is blue. When you think of things that are blue, what comes to mind?

Blue sometimes refers to a feeling of sadness. Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m feeling blue today?” The phrase “feeling blue” goes back to a custom on sailing ships. When a captain or other important crewmember died during the ocean voyage, the ship would fly blue flags and paint a blue stripe along the outside wall of the ship as it sailed home. When the families on the shore saw that blue flag on the ship entering the harbor, many wondered if it was their loved one who died.

Blue has a happier meaning, though. In the Bible, the color blue is a heavenly color. God told His people to make the curtains in the Tabernacle and the Temple out of fabric woven with blue, purple and scarlet yarn (Exodus 26; 2 Chronicles 3). When the prophet Ezekiel had a vision of God in heaven (Ezekiel 1:26), he saw God sitting on a blue colored throne. So, blue reminds us of being with God in heaven. As we have already learned, our life with God is called eternal life.

So, the color blue will represent for us “the hope of eternal life.”

1. If someone very close to you became sick and died, how did that make you feel?

2. When you hear about someone dying, does that make you afraid about what might happen to you when you die?

Jesus understands the hurt we feel when someone close to us dies. He also understands our fears about death itself. He makes a wonderful promise to His followers about life and death. Let’s find out what that is.

Jesus had 3 special friends—Lazarus and his two sisters, Martha and Mary. One day Lazarus became sick. By the time Jesus arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had already been dead and in the tomb for four days. He was very definitely dead, not just sleeping.

3. Read John 11:17-27.

  • When Martha discovered that Jesus was close by, what did she initially do and say (verses 20-22)?
  • How did Jesus answer her?
  • How did Martha answer Jesus' question, “Do you believe this?”

4. Read John 11:28-35.

  • What happened next?
  • How did Jesus respond when he saw how sad Mary felt?

Death of someone you love is usually a very sad thing. Jesus cried alongside His friends Mary & Martha. He understands how much that hurts, doesn’t He?

5. Read John 11:38-44.

  • Mary and Martha took Jesus to Lazarus’s tomb. What did Jesus do and say?
  • What happened to Lazarus?
  • Imagine the joy that followed that event. How do you think Mary and Martha felt?
  • How do you think Lazarus felt?

One thing we know, everyone in that town was talking about it. As a result of this incredible miracle, many people started believing in Jesus.

What Happens at the Death of a Believer

Let’s go back to what Jesus told Martha about Himself. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.”

6. What does He promise to anyone who believes in Him?

When Jesus promised life, He was referring to eternal life. The Bible tells us that your soul goes to heaven to live with Jesus instantly after your body dies. That’s what Jesus means. Who you are on the inside will continue to live on with God in heaven. When you as a Christian die, it will be as though you go to sleep in this body and wake up in heaven with Jesus.

7. Do you feel confident that death for a believer is like going to sleep on earth and waking up in heaven with Jesus nearby?

8. Read Psalm 30:11-12. How do these verses relate to our hope of heaven?

The word “resurrection” always refers to a dead person receiving a new physical body that will never die again. Lazarus was not resurrected. He was given a healed body but not a new body that would never die again. Lazarus’ body died later on, just like everyone else who has lived on the earth.

Jesus was the first person ever resurrected from the dead. On the third day after His body died, God raised Him up from the dead and gave Him a brand new body that would never die again. His new body was the same in many ways as His old body—it was human, could be seen and touched, could walk and talk, and could eat food.

Jesus’ body was also different in that He didn’t look exactly the same, He could appear and disappear in rooms without going through the doors, and He could not be hurt or sick anymore.

After Jesus spent 40 days on earth in His new resurrected human body, He left the earth to live in heaven. Today, He is sitting in heaven next to God the Father in His perfect human body. When you go to heaven and see Jesus, He will be human just like you and I are. He has two arms to hold you. He has two eyes to see you. Isn’t that delightful?

Jesus goes on to say that after your body dies you will be very much alive and can never die again. That’s because God will give you a new resurrected body just like Jesus’ resurrected body that can never ever die again. It’s a promise.

Jesus is the resurrection and the life. He gives to His followers eternal spiritual life now and eternal physical life in a new resurrected body after death.

Eternal life begins the moment we believe that Jesus is the Son of God and trust in Him to take away our sins. It’s yours now. It’s eternal because it is God’s life living in you. Forever.

This is our hope. All humans need hope. You should feel confident in your spiritual life now and your future eternal physical life in a new resurrected body.

9. What do you think it will be like to have a resurrected body like Jesus’ body?

This is the hope of our future. Isn’t that a wonderful promise? Nothing is too difficult for God to do!

Following Jesus

1) Bible verse to learn:

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even if he dies, and the one who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26 NET)

2) Response in prayer & praise:

We can be joyful now about this hope. We can look forward to dancing with joy one day in heaven. Thank Jesus for His wonderful plan that takes away the fear of death.

3) Filling in the portrait of Jesus:

Christianity is Christ so spend a few minutes each day reading the verses and reflecting on Jesus—His life, His relationships, and His teaching. Get to know Him well—this One who loves you dearly.

  • Read John 11:1-16. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 11:17-57. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 12:1-19. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 12:20-50. Reflect on what you read.

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Lesson 7: Jesus Is the Way, the Truth and the Life

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We have been painting the portrait of Jesus with descriptions Jesus used for Himself to those listening to Him. Remember these truths about who Jesus Christ is and what He does for you.

  • Jesus is the “I Am.” He is the answer to the spiritual needs of every person.
  • Jesus is the Bread of Life. His abundant love satisfies our hunger for a relationship with God.
  • Jesus is the Light of the World. His light directs us to follow Him.
  • Jesus is the Gate for the Sheep. There is safety in following Jesus and doing life His way.
  • Jesus is the Good Shepherd. You can enjoy a forever relationship with Him.
  • Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. To His followers, He gives eternal spiritual life now and eternal physical life in a new body after death.

In this lesson, we will paint Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life.

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NIV)

Paint Color #7: Red

Our color for today is red. Many people like red as a favorite color. It’s a bright color. Red is also the color that alerts you to danger. Flashing red lights at railroad crossings, red stoplights, and red stop signs all signal that the setting could be dangerous if you don’t watch out. You need to stop whatever you are doing to avoid the danger. Sometimes in the Bible, red is used for the color of sin. That’s God’s way of saying sin is dangerous.

Red has some positive meanings, too. It is the color of love. Around Valentines’ Day, red hearts are everywhere because red hearts represent love. Red is also the color of life. Blood is red; blood represents life. Without blood, we die. The American Red Cross is an organization that helps people during disasters. In fact, it is the largest supplier of blood and blood products in the United States. Its symbol is a red cross that represents blood as the gift of life.

In the Bible, the color red often connects love and life as it represents God’s promise to His people to forgive their sins when a blood sacrifice was made. God made the promise because He loves us and wants to give us spiritual life that lasts forever.

Red is also the color of celebration. Sometimes a red carpet is rolled out on special occasions so the people walking along it feel special and important.

So, we’ll say that red represents love, life, and celebration. Knowing how much we are embraced by God’s love for us and receiving Jesus’ life given to us now is certainly cause for celebration, isn’t it? Anticipating our life in heaven one day is also a cause for celebration.

“In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10 NET)

1. Read John 14:1-6.

  • Jesus spent some time talking with His disciples about heaven. What did Jesus tell His disciples about where He was going (verse 2)?
  • What did He promise (verse 3)?

2. Jesus told them that He was going there soon, and they could follow because they knew the way to get there. But Thomas wasn’t so sure about this.

  • What did Thomas ask Jesus?
  • What was Jesus’ answer to Thomas and everyone else?

In this “I Am” statement, Jesus said He was three things—the way, the truth, and the life.

3. Based upon what you have already learned, what do you think Jesus means by that statement?

We can confidently say this: Jesus is the way to know God as Father because He shows us the Truth about God in His life, and He gives His life to anyone who believes in Him. Knowing Jesus is the only way to have a relationship with God. That’s the way to heaven. Let’s look at each one of those words—Way, Truth, and Life.

Jesus is the Way

Jesus is the way. The question to ask is, “What way?”

4. Reread John 14:6. Jesus is the way to what?

Jesus says He is the only way for any person to have a relationship with God the Heavenly Father. How? By believing in Jesus.

5. Read Acts 4:12. What did Jesus’ disciple Peter say about Jesus as the way to know God?

The first Christians were so convinced of Jesus being the only Way to know God and taught this truth everywhere so they were called “Followers of the Way.” As a “Follower of the Way,” the apostle Paul traveled all over his world preaching that Jesus is the Way to know God, the Way to receive forgiveness for your sins, and the Way to live a life that pleases God. Anyone who asked him, “How can I know God?” Paul would answer, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.” He’s the Way.

6. Based on this understanding, would you identify yourself as a “Follower of the Way?”

Other people may try to tell you that there are many ways to get to heaven. Not just one way. Or, they might say there are other gods out there besides the God of the Bible.

But, you can tell them only one man died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. Jesus. Only one man was ever resurrected from the dead with a new body that will never die again. Jesus. Only Jesus was truly God. Anyone who believes in Jesus can now have forgiveness of their sins and a relationship with God.

No other religious leader has ever been resurrected from the dead. They are all in their graves. Jesus is not in His grave. He was resurrected from the grave, given a new body, and is sitting in heaven on His throne as king of planet Earth ready to welcome you and me when we trust in Him.

Jesus is the only way for any person to have a relationship with God. You have to start with that and believe that. Jesus said He is the way. Jesus also said He is the truth.

Jesus is the Truth

After Jesus told His disciples that He was the way, the truth, and the life, the very next thing He said was very important.

7. Read John 14:7.

  • What did Jesus tell the disciples?
  • Who is His Father?

Jesus goes on to say that anyone who has seen Him (Jesus) has seen God the Father. When Jesus was on earth, He showed everyone what God was like. Jesus was loving and kind, showing us God is loving and kind. Jesus was always good showing us that God is always good. Jesus showed us that God answers prayer and that God hates sin. Jesus was the living truth of God.

Because Jesus is God, believing in Him is the way to have a relationship with God. You can’t believe in any other famous name or any other religious person to have a relationship with the God of the Bible, the one true God. Only through believing in Jesus.

8. Read John 8:31-32. What did Jesus tell those who were listening to Him?

Jesus was the truth of God back then and is still the truth of God. Truth never changes. Jesus is the truth. Jesus is also the life.

Jesus is the Life

Anyone who believes in Jesus not only has a relationship with God but also receives eternal life. Remember that we said eternal life starts the moment you believe in Jesus and lasts forever. It can never end, and no one can take it away from you. Great news!

9. Read Romans 8:11. What is the promise?

Even though your body dies, your soul lives on in heaven where you will one day receive a brand new body just like Jesus’ new body, one that will never ever die again. That’s eternal life. But, when Jesus said He is the life, He meant even more than that.

10. Read Galatians 2:20. How is Jesus your life today?

As part of God’s family, God’s Spirit comes to live inside you. God’s Holy Spirit gives to you the joyful life of Jesus.

God’s Spirit enables you to live a life that pleases God your Father. He changes the way you think and feel to be more like the way Jesus thought and felt when He was on earth.

It’s as though Jesus’ life just bubbles up from inside of you so that everyone can see that you love Him.

You have become a child of God the Father, completely loved and accepted by Him. Isn’t it a great thing to be so very loved and accepted by the God who made you?

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus gives us His life so that we are completely loved and accepted by God our Father. Celebrate!

Following Jesus

1) Bible verse to learn:

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NIV)

2) Response in prayer & praise:

Use any creative means to express your celebration of Jesus’ life in you—drawing, painting, prose, poetry, song, or prayer. Or, you can pray the prayer below that celebrates Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life:

How absolutely amazing is your loving plan, oh God, that takes care of my need to know you! Help me to hold onto the truth that Jesus is the only way to have a relationship with God as my Father. Help me to believe that I am truly your child, completely loved and accepted by you the moment I trusted in Jesus. Fill my heart with joy and celebration because Jesus’ life is inside me.

3) Filling in the portrait of Jesus:

Christianity is Christ so spend a few minutes each day reading the verses and reflecting on Jesus—His life, His relationships, and His teaching. Get to know Him well—this One who loves you dearly.

  • Read John 13:1-17. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 13:18-38. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 14:1-14. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 14:15-31. Reflect on what you read.

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Lesson 8: Jesus Is the Vine

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In our lessons, we have painted the portrait of Jesus with ways He described Himself to those listening to Him. Remember these truths about who Jesus Christ is and what He does for you.

  • Jesus is the “I Am.” He is the answer to the spiritual needs of every person.
  • Jesus is the Bread of Life. His abundant love satisfies our hunger for a relationship with God.
  • Jesus is the Light of the World. His light directs us to follow Him.
  • Jesus is the Gate for the Sheep. There is safety in following Jesus and doing life His way.
  • Jesus is the Good Shepherd. You can enjoy a forever relationship with Him.
  • Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. To His followers, He gives eternal spiritual life now and eternal physical life in a new body after death.
  • Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He gives us His life so that we are completely loved and accepted by God our Father. Celebrate!

In this last lesson, we will paint Jesus as the vine.

I am the vine. You are the branches. If you remain in me, and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5 NIV)

Paint Color #8: Brown

Our last color is brown. Consider the things in nature that are brown such as dirt, tree trunks, dead leaves, and some animals. Good healthy dirt for growing lots of vegetables and flowers is usually a nice dark brown—sort of crumbly and not too hard. Great garden soil combines regular dirt plus stuff called compost, which is decomposed organic matter like leaves, grass clippings, or cow manure. Some call compost “brown gold.” It is so valuable because it transforms the dirt in your garden into a “plant-growing machine.” Suddenly your tomato plants are producing so many tomatoes you can’t pick them fast enough. Flowers bloom continuously, and grapevines produce lots of grapes. When it comes to growing things, brown represents nourishment to bear fruit.

1. Read John 15:1-5.

  • What does Jesus call himself in today’s “I am” statement (verse 5)?
  • How does He describe His followers?
  • What were the branches supposed to do?

We’ve learned that Jesus used images to describe Himself that the people listening to Him could readily understand—bread, light, shepherd, and now a vine. The Jews were familiar with vines. There were grapevines everywhere planted in rows on farms called vineyards. At a vineyard, the vine keeper trims the branches or props them up off the ground so they will bear more fruit. If any branch gets bent or broken off from the vine, the vine wouldn’t be able to produce grapes through that branch.

When you think about a vine and branches, the vine has its roots in the ground. It gets the nutrients it needs from the dirt and carries them to the branches connected to the vine. The vine nourishes or feeds the branches. It’s easy to understand this image of Jesus giving life to His followers. Jesus is referring to the spiritual life He gives to believers now while they are alive on earth. That life inside of us should bear Jesus fruit in our lives. The purpose of the vine is to bear fruit through its branches. Jesus chooses to bear fruit through His followers.

Think about how fruit is produced on a vine. In the spring, the vine wakes up from its winter’s sleep and first grows new leaves on its branches. Pretty soon, flowers appear on those branches. Then, in a wonderful way, the flowers are transformed into tiny fruit that keep growing all summer long until they are ripe for picking. The vine has done what it is supposed to do—give nourishment to all its branches so they can bear the fruit the vine wants to produce on them.

You know the kind of vine that you are growing by its fruit. You would pluck grapes from a grapevine, kiwi fruit from a kiwi vine, and blackberries from a blackberry vine. So, the fruit should match the vine. That’s what Jesus is saying about His followers, also. Their lives should match the kind of vine they are attached to—a Jesus vine. Anything that looks like what Jesus did when He was here on earth would be Jesus fruit. Jesus produces fruit through those who trust in Him and are His followers—the branches of His vine. Let’s talk about what Jesus fruit would look like.

2. Jesus loved people. What would that kind of Jesus fruit look like in you?

3. Jesus talked to God His Father in prayer often, asking God to do whatever God wanted in His life. What would that kind of Jesus fruit look like in you?

4. Jesus spent time reading and studying God’s word in the Bible He had, believing it and obeying it. What would that kind of Jesus fruit look like in you?

Jesus fruit in you is you looking more like Him in how you live your life every day. Jesus lived His life to please God His Father. Jesus fruit in you can be seen as you live your life to please God your Father. There’s a key to doing this. Look at our verse again.

5. Reread John 15:5.

  • What must we as Jesus followers do in order to bear Jesus fruit in our lives?
  • Why?

The “apart from me you can do nothing” in this verse refers to bearing Jesus fruit—living your life so that whatever you do or say looks more like what Jesus would do or say. Then people could say, “Hey, I can see that you are attached to the Jesus vine.”

The world will try to convince you that you’ve got power within yourself to do a lot of great things without relying on Jesus to do it through you. You can run a marathon on your two feet without being attached to the Jesus vine. You can do hundreds of math calculations without Jesus. You can be a top salesperson without Jesus. But, you can’t love people as Jesus loved them. You can’t trust in God as Jesus trusted in God. You can’t understand the Bible and obey it as Jesus did. You can’t live your life to please God as Jesus did. You can do none of those things without receiving something from the Jesus vine. Jesus said to His followers, “You need something from me continually. You’ve got to remain joined to me.”

6. What do you think that could mean—to remain or abide in Jesus?

First, let’s talk about what it cannot mean. We have already learned that once you trust in Jesus to take away your sin, you have a forever relationship with Him that can never be taken away or lost. You have eternal life that begins now and continues forever that doesn’t stop. And, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside you forever. So, this doesn’t refer to eternal life. You cannot become "unjoined" to Jesus and lose the life He’s given to you.

The word “remain” (or, abide) in this verse means to “dwell” in a certain place, to “make one’s home” in that certain place or with that certain person. To remain in Jesus is to “make our home” in Him, just as He also “makes His home” in us.

7. Think about your home, the place where you live. What are the benefits of having a place to call home? What makes it special to you?

Home is where you can relax, where your family is, where you feel loved, and where all the things that are truly important to you are.

Home is where you get nourished with food and sleep so that you have the strength and encouragement to make it through the next day. It’s where you learn how to grow up and live life that is worthwhile.

Even when you are at work or school, you are still connected to your home. If you share your home with others, they are likely thinking about you and caring for you when you are away.

That’s what Jesus wants to be for you as His follower—your home, your dwelling place. Not a building like a house but a relationship like you have with a loving family at home. And, it’s in that relationship that we grow as branches and bear Jesus fruit in our lives. Not by ourselves, of course. We have the Holy Spirit within us doing that, nourishing us with Jesus’ life.

When you trust in Jesus Christ to take away your sins, His Spirit comes to live inside of you. You can’t see Him but He is there from the moment you trust in Jesus. His job is to help us bear Jesus fruit so that we look more like Jesus in what we do and say every day. That’s His job.

The Bible says that the Holy Spirit transforms us to become more and more like Jesus. Just like the life of the vine transforms the flowers into fruit that represents the vine. We begin to look like we are attached to the Jesus vine, bearing Jesus fruit in our lives.

The Bible describes some of that Jesus fruit in Galatians 5.

8. Read Galatians 5:22-23. What kind of Jesus fruit does the Holy Spirit produce in your life?

All of the fruit in that list were produced in Jesus’ life when He was on earth. He wants to produce this same fruit in your life. If you have these characteristics in your life, others will recognize that you are connected to the Jesus vine and that the Holy Spirit inside you is nourishing you with Jesus’ life to transform you into someone who looks like Jesus in whatever you do and say.

One famous teacher put it this way:

“Jesus Christ gave His life for you so that He could give His life to you so that He could live His life through you.” (Ian Thomas, The Saving Life of Christ)

9. Read John 15:8. When we bear Jesus fruit, who is honored?

This honors our Father God and pleases Him. You as a person always please God because you are His child. But, what you do (attitudes, thoughts, words, actions) may not always please God. As you bear Jesus fruit, though, your life will please God every day.

Jesus is the vine. He nourishes us with His life so we can bear fruit in our lives that represents our connection with Him.

Following Jesus

1) Bible verse to learn:

I am the vine. You are the branches. If you remain in me, and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5 NIV)

2) Response in prayer & praise:

Thank Jesus that He nourishes you with His life so that you can bear Jesus fruit for Him. Recognize that you can do nothing that pleases God apart from Jesus. Nothing on your own. You need nourishment from Jesus to live a life that pleases God and bears Jesus fruit. Tell Jesus that you choose to stay closely connected to Him through depending on Him to live His life through you.

3) Filling in the portrait of Jesus:

Christianity is Christ so spend a few minutes each day reading the verses and reflecting on Jesus—His life, His relationships, and His teaching. Get to know Him well—this One who loves you dearly.

  • Read John chapter 15. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John chapter 16. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John chapter 17. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John chapter 18. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John chapter 19. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John chapter 20. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John chapter 21. Reflect on what you read.

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Satisfied by His Love: Selected New Testament Women

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This Bible Study is part of the Graceful Beginnings Series of Bible studies specifically designed for anyone new to the Bible—whether you are a new Christian or you just feel insecure about understanding the Bible. The lessons are basic, introducing you to your God and His way of approaching life in simple terms that can be easily understood.

The Satisfied by His Love lessons will show you how you were created by God with a built-in thirst for a love relationship with Him—a thirst that cannot be satisfied by another human. Only God can satisfy every spiritual need of your thirsty heart through a relationship with Jesus Christ. You don't need to go anywhere else! Jesus promises to fill you with everything you need to feel satisfied. Will you let Jesus satisfy your heart with the goodness of His love?

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Introduction

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The Graceful Beginnings Series of Bible studies are specifically designed for anyone new to the Bible—whether you are a new Christian or you just feel insecure about understanding the Bible. The lessons are basic, introducing you as an inexperienced Christian to your God and His way of approaching life in simple terms that can be easily understood.

Just as a newborn baby needs to know the love and trustworthiness of her parents, the new Christian needs to know and experience the love and trustworthiness of her God. Graceful Beginnings: New Believers Guide is the first study in the series, laying a good foundation of truth for you to grasp and apply to your life. The other books in the series can be done in any order.

Some Bible Basics

Throughout these lessons, you will use a Bible to answer questions as you discover treasure about your life with Christ. The Bible is one book containing a collection of 66 books combined together for our benefit. It is divided into two main parts: Old Testament and New Testament.

The Old Testament tells the story of the beginning of the world and God’s promises to mankind given through the nation of Israel. It tells how the people of Israel obeyed and disobeyed God over many, many years. All the stories and messages in the Old Testament lead up to Jesus Christ’s coming to the earth.

The New Testament tells the story of Jesus Christ, the early Christians, and God’s promises to all those who believe in Jesus. You can think of the Old Testament as “before Christ” and the New Testament as “after Christ.”

Each book of the Bible is divided into chapters and verses within those chapters to make it easier to study. Bible references include the book name, chapter number and verse number(s). For example, Ephesians 2:8 refers to the New Testament book of Ephesians, the 2nd chapter, and verse 8 within that 2nd chapter. Printed Bibles have a “Table of Contents” in the front to help you locate books by page number. Bible apps also have a contents list by book and chapter.

The Bible verses highlighted at the beginning of each lesson in this study are from the New International Version® (NIV®) unless otherwise indicated. You can use any version of the Bible to answer the questions, but using a more easy-to-read translation (NET, NIV, NIRV, NLT, ESV) will help you gain confidence in understanding what you are reading. You can find all these translations in Bible apps and online.

This study capitalizes certain pronouns referring to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit—He, Him, His, Himself—just to make the reading of the study information less confusing. Some Bible translations likewise capitalize those pronouns referring to God; others do not. It is simply a matter of preference, not a requirement.

New Testament Summary

The New Testament opens with the births of John the Baptist and Jesus. About 30 years later, John challenged the Jews to indicate their repentance (turning from sin and toward God) by submitting to water baptism—a familiar Old Testament practice used for repentance as well as when a non-Jew (often called Gentiles) converted to Judaism (to be washed clean of idolatry).

Jesus, who is also known by the title “Christ,” is God's Son, fully God and fully man. Jesus publicly showed the world what God is like and taught His perfect ways for 3 – 3½ years. After preparing 12 disciples to continue Christ's earthly work, He died voluntarily on a cross for mankind's sin, rose from the dead, and returned to Heaven. The account of His earthly life is recorded in 4 books known as the Gospels (the biblical books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John named after the compiler of each account).

After Jesus’ return to Heaven, the followers of Christ were then empowered by the Holy Spirit and spread God's salvation message among the Jews, a number of whom believed in Christ. The apostle Paul and others carried the good news to the Gentiles during 3 missionary journeys (much of this recorded in the book of Acts). Paul wrote 13 New Testament letters to churches & individuals (Romans through Philemon). The section in our Bible from Hebrews to Jude contains 8 additional letters penned by five men, including two apostles (Peter and John) and two of Jesus’ half-brothers (James and Jude, whose mother was Mary). The author of Hebrews is unknown. The apostle John also recorded Revelation, which summarizes God's final program for the world. The Bible ends as it began—with a new, sinless creation.

Religious Leaders in Jesus’ Day

The Pharisees were a religious society of ~6,000 men who strictly obeyed the law of God as interpreted by the teachers of the law (also called scribes). This law consisted of the written Mosaic Law (found in the first five books of the Old Testament) plus the tradition of the elders (the oral law), containing hundreds of rules and prohibitions that were equally important to God’s Law. They considered themselves to be Israel’s spiritual leaders.

The scribes, also called lawyers or teachers of the Law, were an upper-class group of learned Jews who thoroughly knew and, therefore, interpreted the Mosaic Law. They were associated with the Pharisees. Many of them taught in the local seminary in Jerusalem. According to the tradition of the scribes, there were "secrets" of interpretation that they did not share with the common people thinking that God intended to leave the mass of people ignorant of His reasons for requiring certain things under the Law.

The Sadducees came from the leading families of Israel (e.g., the priests, merchants and aristocrats). The high priests and most powerful members of the priesthood were mainly Sadducees. The Sadducees rejected the tradition of the elders and did not believe in angels or miracles. They tended to be more upper class as comfortable compromisers with the Roman rulers. It has been estimated that in Jerusalem alone there were more than 20,000 associated with the Sadducees. Pharisees, by contrast, were middle class and more religious than the Sadducees.

The Chief Priests usually came from the class of Sadducees. This group included all the temple officers, including the High Priest and the captain of the temple.

Representatives from all these groups sat on the Sanhedrin, a religious governing body of 71 Jewish elders. They were elected, and then ordained by the laying on of hands. Their responsibilities included governing the Jewish community in religious matters related to the Law.

Satisfied by His Love

The Lord Jesus demonstrated in His life on earth how much He loved and valued women. He showed them compassion, taught them truth, forgave their sins, freed them from bondage, gave them hope through dire situations, and assured them of His love for them. Because His care for them was so countercultural to what they had previously known, women responded with love for Him and a desire to serve Him.

Many of them had walks of faith that brought challenges as well as times of joy. They focused on following Jesus and serving Him in their daily lives. Jesus Christ entered into the midst of their lives, visibly representing God to them, loving them dearly, and changing their lives forever! He does the same for you and me today.

My heart’s desire is to encourage you through this study to have an authentic, loving relationship with Jesus Christ for yourself so that your heart is truly satisfied with good things by His love. Hopefully, you will then be willing to share that experience with others around you. Just relax, trust in Him, and begin an adventure that will transform your life and others as well.

Are you ready for adventure? It’s going to be a great journey. And, I’m so glad to be walking beside you!

Elements of Each Lesson

This book covers the lives of several New Testament women. And, to help them seem more like real women, I suggest names in the lessons for those who are nameless.

Each lesson begins with a Bible verse that relates to the focus of the lesson and a prayer. Prayer is just talking to God as conversation with someone who loves you dearly. The beginning prayer simply asks Jesus to teach you through the lesson. This is followed by a brief description of the cultural influences that affected the lives of the women who lived then. Work through each lesson, reading the scripture passages that tell each woman’s “Story.” You’ll be encouraged at the end of each lesson to write something about your own faith experience that relates to what’s learned in the lesson. Your faith walk is your story, your biography of God’s faithfulness to you and your response back to Him. A “Jesus Satisfies” teaching session follows each lesson and encourages your heart to be satisfied by an aspect of Jesus’ love for you. Every “Jesus Satisfies” section is followed by a “Reflect” time for you to respond to what you learned and a prayer of trust that Jesus will satisfy your heart through knowing Him.

Suggested Leader Guide for Group Discussion

1. Pray for the Holy Spirit to teach you what He wants you to know through the lesson.

2. Work through the lesson together, reading the Bible verses and discussing the questions.

3. Read the “Satisfied by His Love” summary paragraph and share responses to the application question that follows.

5. Read through the “Jesus Satisfies” section. Reflect on the teaching.

6. Pray for the group members – ask Jesus to satisfy your hearts through knowing Him. Thank God for His grace toward you and His love for you.

7. Remind each person to do the next lesson before the group meets again.

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Lesson 1: A Woman Needing Compassion

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“The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” (Psalm 103:8)

Pray: Lord Jesus, please teach me through this lesson.

The Need to Be Satisfied

Some say that a woman’s greatest need is to have her heart’s desires satisfied by love, security, and significance.

The quest for satisfaction became the driving force behind women of the ‘80s and ‘90s. As women tuned into the highly mobile, high-tech society around them, they began to turn their energies to new frontiers. To excel, to succeed, even to surpass the accomplishments of their male counterparts, has been the goal of many women who have challenged men’s domain.

Now, however, as women examine who they have become, many are wondering where they really belong. It has become painfully clear that achievement and success have not delivered the payoff of personal satisfaction that women seek. In the brief reflective spaces sandwiched between their frenzied commitments, women are now realizing that external accomplishments do not satisfy their deepest inner longings. So, the search for satisfaction continues.

What many don’t realize is that each woman is created by God with a built-in spiritual need for a relationship with Him. This spiritual hunger and thirst is as real as physical hunger and thirst. The way to have it satisfied is just as real though not always obvious.

Yet, the desire to satisfy this hunger and thirst draws women toward the spiritual arena. I was that woman in 1972 when I was invited to join a small women’s Bible study group at college. There, I met Jesus in the pages of the Bible. As my relationship grew with Him, I recognized a deep sense of being satisfied. My longing to know God was being fulfilled. It still is.

Regardless of your age or stage of life, circumstances or personality, you were created with a built-in spiritual hunger that only God can satisfy. God sent His Son Jesus to live as a man and die for your sins so that you can have your deepest needs satisfied just by knowing Him. To get there, you need to know the answers to these questions, “Who is Jesus Christ, and why did He come?” You also need the answer to “How did He treat women, and can I as a woman know Him today?”

Perhaps you are the one thinking, “Why don’t I feel satisfied in my life? How can I get my deepest needs and longings satisfied?”

Today begins your journey to answer those questions. Let’s start here:

1. How have you tried to satisfy your built-in spiritual thirst? (It’s okay to say, “I don’t know.)

2. How did that work for you?

The God Who Satisfies

3. Read Psalm 107:4-9. (The book of Psalms is in the Old Testament.) The writer of this psalm (a prayer or song) describes those who are wandering, seeking something to satisfy their hunger and thirst.

  • What are the wanderers experiencing (verses 4-5)?
  • When they cry out to the Lord (verse 6), what does He do for them (verses 7 and 9)?

If our God created us with a spiritual thirst for a relationship with Him (as the Bible declares), a relationship with another human cannot satisfy that thirst. Only God can satisfy the thirsty heart.

His plan to do that included coming to earth to take on a human body and to live as a man among us. Enter Jesus. As the radical rabbi, Jesus treated women as no man had ever treated them before. His warmth, personal attention, tenderness, sound teaching, and compassion toward women were revolutionary. He openly demonstrated His love for each individual He met—both men and women—for whom He would ultimately die. A relationship with Jesus satisfies every person’s built-in spiritual thirst.

Connecting with New Testament Women

To fully appreciate Jesus’ approach to women, we need to resist our impulse to approach the Bible from our twenty-first century cultural perspective. Our understanding is more accurate if we step back in time—into the shoes of the women of the first century AD.

It was tough to be a woman living around the rim of the Mediterranean during Jesus' time. In both Greek and Roman cultures, women held a second-rate status. Their legal rights were few, and women were generally treated like property. Jewish women fared slightly better than their contemporaries in surrounding cultures.

You may have limited knowledge of the New Testament so these women may be strangers to you. When you read the gospels, you can easily think, “What’s written in it happened so long ago! What do those women have in common with me? They didn’t live in my world.” Yet, they were still women like you and I are.

As everyday women, they cooked meals, did laundry, and raised children. They had responsibilities inside and outside of their homes. They experienced hormone fluctuations and menopause. They laughed with their friends, differed with their mates, and cried when a loved one died. I bet they all found ways to use their 20,000 words per day.

At one time, they were 20-somethings, then 40-somethings, then 60-somethings and more. They wore beads, earrings, and ankle bracelets. Their hair needed to be combed and fixed, and it turned grey as they aged. No doubt, some of them, if not all, had something on their bodies that sagged!

These women also experienced fear at various times just like we do. They faced rejection from peers, sick family members, and disappointments. They faced trauma and surprise houseguests. They even had “bad” days when things didn’t go right, sometimes due to their own choices. These were everyday women, just like we are.

4. As women, what kinds of life experiences for them might have been the same as your own?

5. What kinds of deep longings did these women have that you may also experience?

Their stories—snippets of their biographies—are preserved for us to get to know them and to know their Savior who is also our Savior. Jesus is the ever-faithful Son of God whose character never changes and who acts on our behalf to satisfy every hunger and thirst that we have. One of His character qualities that is evident as He acts on our behalf is compassion. Every woman needs compassion from Jesus, whether she knows it or not.

A Woman’s Need for Compassion

"Compassion is understanding the troubles of others, coupled with an urgent desire to help…Compassion is a heart's response to a person's need combined with a helping hand that offers mercy and grace." (Carol Kent, Becoming a Woman of Influence, p. 109, 111)

Compassion is not just feeling. It is doing something to ease someone’s pain, whether it’s for this week or more. Compassion is proactive. Psalm 103:8 says, “The Lord is compassionate and gracious.”

6. When do you need the Lord’s compassion?

Jesus embodied God’s compassion to those He met. The gospels record many incidents of Jesus expressing compassion towards people. Let’s look at just a few of them.

7. Read Matthew 14:14. For whom did Jesus feel compassion, and what did He do?

8. Read Matthew 15:32-37. For whom did Jesus feel compassion, and what did He do?

9. Read Mark 6:34. For whom did Jesus feel compassion, and what did He do?

Let’s look at the life of one woman who certainly needed the compassion of Jesus. Since she is from Nain, we will call her ‘Nancy.’

A Little Bit of History

In the Jewish culture, great celebration occurred at the birth of a son. Providing a son gave a woman value in her husband's eyes as the son ensured that the family wealth and name would continue to the next generation. It would also be his responsibility to care for his aging parents, and especially his mother once widowed. Having a son was the hope of every Jewish woman. Jesus was well into His ministry when He met such a woman.

After healing a Roman centurion’s servant, Jesus and His disciples headed to a city called Nain, about 10 miles southeast of Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth. As He entered Nain, a funeral procession for a “young man” (18-30 years old) was leaving town. Funerals were often held the same day as the death because of the heat and lack of embalming. Bystanders were obligated to follow a funeral procession, with hired mourners adding to the wails of friends. The body was wrapped in cloth and carried on a stretcher. After the funeral, mourning continued for 30 days. If you have experienced the death of someone very close to you, you probably understand the widow’s state of mind when she encountered Jesus.

10. Read Luke 7:11-17. Put yourself in ‘Nancy’s’ place, what could she have been feeling and thinking when Jesus first saw her?

11. According to verse 13, when Jesus saw her, what did He feel and say to ‘Nancy’?

12. What happened next?

  • Verse 14—
  • Verse 15—

13. Put yourself in ‘Nancy’s’ place, what could she have been feeling and thinking after her son was restored to her?

14. What other lives were impacted by Jesus’ compassion on ‘Nancy’ (verses 16-17)?

Jesus could have just passed by and assumed the town would meet ‘Nancy’s’ basic needs of food and shelter. But, He didn’t.

When Jesus said not to cry, He wasn’t being mean or saying that crying is wrong. He was telling her she could stop because He was going to heal her hurt. Jesus had compassion on her and took action to relieve the suffering. Jesus represented His Father’s heart for people. And, Jesus’ encounter with ‘Nancy’ and her son ended up touching many lives.

Satisfied by His Love

When Jesus entered Nain, He saw a woman who was obviously a widow walking next to her dead son in a coffin. He knew this was her only son. He knew and understood her deep hurt and fear about what would happen to her. His heart went out to her, and He compassionately gave her son back to her. When Jesus said goodbye to ‘Nancy,’ He left a woman who no doubt felt satisfied by His love and compassion for her.

Isn’t it comforting to know that when you are in pain, God’s heart goes out to you? He feels your pain. He cares for you. He comforts you. He acts on your behalf. He is not a cold, distant, helpless Deity but is a loving, compassionate God.

Jesus personally invites you to bring your deepest longings, heartaches, and anxieties to Him today, just as men and women did in the ancient past.

Are you confident that you can go to Him and openly express your deepest needs? Often, Jesus responds by giving you a Bible verse to grasp. Or, He sends someone to alleviate your suffering through bringing a meal, visiting, calling, providing clothes, or just listening and giving counsel and prayer.

Christians often do not know what to say to someone who is grieving, or they say things that hurt more than help (for example, “You can have another child” or “She’s in a better place”). One of the nicest things someone wrote to me in a card after my father died several years ago was this, “Knowing you, I look forward to meeting your dad in Heaven one day.” I cherish that card.

15. What hurts do you have today? Talk to Jesus and tell Him about your hurts, knowing He has compassion for you.

Jesus Satisfies Your Heart with Compassion

To fully appreciate Jesus’ approach to women, we need to step back in time—into the shoes of the women of the first century AD.

It was tough to be a woman living around the rim of the Mediterranean during Jesus' time. In both Greek and Roman cultures, women held a second-rate status with few legal rights.

Jewish women fared better than their Roman contemporaries. Married women with children held a place of honor as wife and mother, but even that position was tied to her ability to produce male children. In an agricultural society, fathers needed sons (lots of them) to help them work the land. At the birth of a son, all celebrated. Not so much at the birth of a daughter.

Jesus—the one who wants us

Jesus Christ entered into the midst of this culture with a radically different value system from that of His culture in the way He regarded women. His compassion for women elevated their position in society and gave them equal relationship with Him. Reading through the gospels, you can see that…

  • He spoke to women publicly when a rabbi wouldn't speak publicly to his wife.
  • He let them travel with Him during His public ministry and support Him with their own money.
  • He taught women openly and continually when the rabbis didn’t consider them able to be educated.
  • He defended them when they were criticized.
  • He was sensitive and compassionate toward women and healed their loved ones.
  • He made them the first witnesses to His resurrection when women were considered to be unreliable as witnesses.

Jesus never spoke condescendingly to women, made derogatory jokes about women, or humiliated women. And women who knew Him loved Him, wanting to follow and serve Him!

Jesus treated women as no man had ever treated them before. His warmth, personal attention, tenderness, sound teaching, and compassion toward women were revolutionary. And why shouldn’t He be compassionate toward women? Jesus is fully God, and He created us!

Jesus—the one who understands us

He was there in the beginning when God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26).

As Creator, He designed us with a mind to know God, emotions to love God, and a will to obey God. Our female minds need to be filled with the knowledge of Him so that our hearts may respond with great love for Him and so that our wills can choose to obey Him.

Jesus knows us backwards and forwards—our emotional nature, our need for security and significance, and even our hormones! He understands our need to nurture and to be loved—both from those humans closest to us and from our Creator God. And even though His culture neglected to give women the worth they deserved, He could do no less than show that He loves men and women equally—for whom He would ultimately die.

Here’s a key truth I want you to grasp. A relationship with Jesus satisfies every spiritual need that you and I have. Every one of them. You don't need to go anywhere else to get those deep needs satisfied.

Jesus—the one who meets our needs

The writer of Psalm 103 lists benefits that you may receive from God as He meets your needs. Let’s look at them.

“Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:2-5)

Do you need forgiveness? Jesus does that. Do you need healing and hope for dire circumstances? Jesus does that. Are you in bondage to something? Jesus frees you from bondage. Do you need assurance that you are loved? Jesus crowns you with His love and compassion. To be crowned with compassion means to be surrounded with it so that you have a sense of God’s favor and protection. The widow had that. You can, too.

Our God promises to satisfy your heart’s desires with good things. You will be so satisfied that you will feel renewed and released to soar like an eagle. Have you watched an eagle soar on an updraft of air? You and I can soar as our God lifts us up from the pit where our souls are so hungry and thirsty, and He fills us with everything we need to feel satisfied. Satisfied by His love.

Our God created us with a spiritual thirst for a relationship with Him. A relationship with another human cannot satisfy that thirst. Only God can satisfy the thirsty heart. As the Bible promises,

“for He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” (Psalm 107:9)

A satisfied heart senses God’s favor and compassion. Let Jesus satisfy your heart with the goodness of His love.

16. As you reflect on Psalm 103:2-5 (see above), where in your life might you need Jesus to “satisfy your desires with good things?”

Response in prayer and praise:

Ask Jesus to satisfy your heart through knowing Him. Trust Him to work in your life to bring you healing, hope, and freedom. Thank Him for His grace toward you and His unending love for you.

Discover more about Jesus:

Christianity is Christ so spend a few minutes each day reading the verses and reflecting on Jesus—His life, His relationships, and His teaching. Get to know Him well—this One who loves you dearly.

  • Read Luke 1. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read Luke 2. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read Luke 3. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read Luke 4. Reflect on what you read.

Related Topics: Christian Life, Women, Women's Articles

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