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Word One Bible Study: Easter 4 Epistle

Taking the Squeeze with Ease

Text: 1 Peter 2:19-25 for the fourth Sunday in Easter, Lectionary Series A

Download a PDF of the Word One Bible Study for Easter 4 Epistle.

Participants will:
1. Recognize how Jesus responded to the offenses directed at Him during His life and especially during His Passion in order that we might be saved from our sins.
2. Be encouraged to respond to the offenses directed at them in a Christ-like manner.

Materials Needed
Two clean, large sponges
Two bowls of water (one clean and one with a small handful of dirt/soot/ash mixed in)
Two shallow baking pans
A drying towel
Newsprint and markers

Group Guidelines
Divide into groups of 6-8 people. Choose as leader the person who is sitting closest to the door through which everyone entered. The leader's job is to keep the group discussion moving through the material and ensure that everyone has a chance to share. Participants are always encouraged to share, but may pass if they do not feel comfortable sharing a response.

Building Community
1. Have everyone share a time when the behavior and/or attitude of someone else made it difficult for them to maintain their composure in a God-pleasing and Christ-like manner.
2. After everyone has shared their situation, go back and reconsider each one and ask, "How do you think Jesus might have responded if He were in that same situation?"
3. Do the following activity:
a. Take one sponge, submerse it in the clean water until saturated and place it on one of the baking pans. Take the other sponge, submerse it in the dirty water until saturated and place it on the other baking pan.
b. Just by looking at a sponge, you cannot always tell whether it holds clean water or dirty water. What would be one quick way to find out what's inside each of these sponges?
c. Have one individual squeeze one sponge and then have someone else squeeze the other.

Getting into Scripture
1. Starting with the person to the right of the leader, take turns reading 1 Peter 2:19-25.
2. On a sheet of newsprint, make three columns. Title the columns: "Resentment/Retaliation," "Aggression," and "Christ-Like Response."
3. Without stating it in a way that is repulsive, list in the first column some of the ways in which people typically respond when someone else has done something offensive or has been abusive to them.
4. In the next column, list ways in which this world is openly offensive to and abusive towards Christians and Christianity. Include some of the ways in which you personally have been openly abused and offended by others, especially because you are a Christian. Recount some of the ways in which Jesus was treated by an unbelieving world (Matthew 26:57, 59, 66-68, 27:1-2, 27-31, 34-44).
5. In the last column list the four "No/Not" statements in 1 Peter 2:22-23 which summarize the manner in which Jesus responded to the aggression and unjust suffering which was directed at Him.
6. If Jesus had shown resentment and given in to acts of retaliation, especially during His crucifixion, what would have become of our forgiveness and salvation?
a. For what reason and purpose, then, was Jesus able to endure such immense and unjust suffering?
b. Who benefits from Christ's patient endurance of suffering and death and what are the results?

Reinforcing What Has Been Learned
1. Reread 1 Peter 2:24 and focus on the significance of the words "by his wounds you have been healed."
a. In what ways do harboring resentment and following through with acts of retaliation wound and do more damage to those who dispense it than it does to those toward whom it is directed?
b. Rather than harboring resentment and giving in to acts of retaliation, if we would respond in a Christ-like manner, what positive results might it have for others? ...for yourself? ...for Jesus?
2. Reread 1 Peter 2:19, 21, 25. In order for you to respond in a Christ-like manner, Christ must first be in you and must be the focus of everything you say, do, or think.
a. What benefits do you see toward this that come from the study of God's Word, remembering your Baptism and going to the Lord's Supper?
b. What insight might be drawn from the imagery of our being sheep and Jesus being our Shepherd?
3. Have one person take the dirty sponge and submerse it in the dirty water until it is saturated. Have him/her take it out of the water and squeeze into the dirty bowl as much of the dirty water as they can.
4. Now have each person, in turn, submerse the sponge in the clean water until it is saturated. Have them take it out of the water, hold it over the bowl of dirty water, and squeeze out as much of the water as they can.

Close with a circle prayer asking everyone to say a one-sentence prayer concerning what they have learned.

Originally published in Discovery Bible Studies 8, studies on the Epistle readings for lectionary series A, in 1995.

Republished and revised in March 2014 for youthESource.

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