Sunday, April 16th
While skeptics may often ask “why,” doubts and questions are not inherently bad—questioning can actually lead to a solid faith. In fact, the opposite of faith is not an unending list of questions, but rather a lack of trust in God. The followers of Jesus were full of doubts and questions that first Easter, yet they found reasons to believe. The truth has nothing to fear—so what are your questions?
Work through the following Scriptures and questions on your own, and get together with your running partner, Life Group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning!
- Are you someone who tends to ask “why” a lot? What types of things do you find yourself questioning most often?
- Is there a particular biblical prophesy or foretelling related to Jesus that you find strengthens your faith?
- Read Romans 5:8. What aspect of the Easter story or the life of Jesus communicates that God loves you and wants you to know him?
- Read Isaiah 53:2-3. What traits would you expect of a leader? Why might people reject God’s leadership?
- Read Isaiah 53:4-5. What evidence would help you to differentiate between a God who condemns and one who has mercy and forgives?
- Read John 10:10. Are you tempted to believe that God wants to rob us of life? What do you think Jesus meant when you read the promise that He offers a “full” life?
- If Jesus is telling the truth and Easter was real, what do you have to lose? What step will you take this week to demonstrate your trust in Him and your desire to follow God’s will?
Romans 5:8 — But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Isaiah 53:2-3 — He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Isaiah 53:4-5 — Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
John 10:10 — “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
What are the Dead Sea Scrolls?
In our Easter message, we heard reference to an important historical discovery—the Dead Sea Scrolls. Perhaps you are wondering about the details and true significance of such a finding. Here’s an excerpt from an online article called, “What Are the Dead Sea Scrolls?” by Josh McDowell that might help answer some of your questions:
…discoveries began in 1947…Until this time, scholars had only the clay tablets of Babylon and the Egyptian papyri to help them understand background information on the Bible, since no ancient Old Testament manuscripts were known to have survived.
However, all that changed with a discovery of some scrolls in caves along the northwest corner of the Dead Sea. These scrolls brought to the world manuscripts of Old Testament books 1,000 years older than any previously in existence….
Before the discovery of these scrolls, the oldest complete copy of the Old Testament in Hebrew was Codex Babylonicus Petropalitanus from a.d. 1008, more than 1,400 years after the Old Testament was completed. Fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls now closed the gap by a thousand years and left the world waiting to see if the text had been transmitted accurately. The answer was a resounding yes.
The Dead Sea Scrolls demonstrated unequivocally the fact that the Jews were faithful in their transcription of biblical manuscripts. This reverence for the Scriptures was summed up long ago by the first century Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus:
“We have given practical proof of our reverence for our own Scriptures. For, although such long ages have now passed, no one has ventured either to add, or to remove, or to alter a syllable….”(“Flavius Josephus Against Apion,” in Josephus, Complete Works, translated by William Whiston, Grand Rapids, Kregel Pub., 1960, p. 179, 180).
The attitude that Josephus related is borne out by the comparison of the Massoretic text, which is the basis of our Hebrew Bibles, and the scrolls from the Dead Sea. Among the fragments discovered are complete copies or parts of every Old Testament book except Esther, and the variations in the text after a thousand years of copying are minimal. Thus any appeal to the Dead Sea Scrolls as casting doubt on the Bible’s reliability is invalid.
Spiritual Outcome — Relate to God