While I was in student ministry, Rebecca Pippert and Ada Lum helped many of us by showing us how to do simple, investigative Bible studies with seeking and sceptical friends.
Ada used these simple questions when doing an investigative Bible study about Jesus’ encounters with people:
- What’s the situation?
- Who are the people and what are their needs?
- What’s Jesus’ solution?
- What are their responses?
Under the leading of the Spirit, these questions acted like flood lights that would help people see Jesus so much more clearly.
Let’s ask these questions of Luke 8:40-53
What’s the situation?
Jesus, surrounded by a crowd, responds to Jairus' pleading for prayer for his dying daughter. He heads for her house. The crowd engulfs him. It’s a heaving herd of people; pressing, pushing into Jesus, pulsing forward.
Who are the people and what are their needs?
A woman who’d been bleeding for 12 years. A woman who couldn’t be healed. A woman, who would have felt the cold shoulder of her culture. A woman, who out of incredible shame, lived in the shadows and knew the sidelines of life. A woman who needed healing and hope. A woman who puts her faith in Jesus.
What’s Jesus’ solution?
Jesus stops, he notices this touch is not like the avalanche of pushing and shoving he's been surrounded by. Then he asks "who touched me?"
With the woman trembling at his feet, he tenderly acknowledges her, “daughter, your faith has healed you, go in peace”.
I’m deeply moved by Jesus here, the tenderness of his tone. The woman is already healed, but by stopping and acknowledging her faith publicly Jesus is restoring her dignity.
Jesus is re-affirming her mana, Jesus is returning her to her place in her community.
What are the responses (and what’s my response)?
Peter doesn’t understand what Jesus is doing, the person from Jairus' house doesn’t appreciate who Jesus is.
It’s clear from the crowds laughing at Jesus that they don’t see who he is.
In the upheaval of the story only two people amongst the horde of the crowd see who Jesus is: a man with a dying daughter, and a woman who is broken and battered by crippling illness.
If you are interested in pointing friends to Jesus, through the gospel, from the Scriptures, do have a look at Rebecca Pippert's new book “Uncovering the Life of Jesus” studies you can do with seeking or sceptical friends.