Icebreaker: What did you guys think of the solar eclipse? Did you watch it?
Purpose: The purpose of this lesson is to reveal Jesus to us in His different appearances and how we can tell others about our encounter with Him.
“And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.” Mark 16:20 NLT
Discussion: We wait and wait for miraculous signs from God sometimes. We sit and we seek something that we may not ever see. Even the men and women of the Bible only ever saw or heard directly from the Lord a handful of times. We get so busy looking for God in grandeur, we miss him in the ordinary. It doesn’t take a whole lot to see the presence of God. He has told us in His word that if we can see the world around us, we can see Him. So why have we built up His appearance to us to be this overthought event? Maybe because we are doing exactly that. We are overthinking it. We overthink who we are, where we are, and what we have. We allow our thoughts to drown out the simple presence of God and of His love. We think we don’t deserve it. If we are being honest, we don’t; but that is why we have the glorious cross. The matchless sacrifice of Jesus that built the bridge from a sinless God to a sinful mankind. Thank God, we can experience Him and all His glory! Thank you, Jesus, for making a way!
Q1: What are some ways we have overthought the presence of God?
Q2: What are some ways we can appreciate and acknowledge His presence simply?
The four appearances of Jesus
1. Mary Magdalene
“After Jesus rose from the dead early on Sunday morning, the first person who saw him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went to the disciples, who were grieving and? weeping, and told them what had happened. But when she told them that Jesus was alive and she had seen him, they didn’t believe her.” Mark 16:9-11 NLT
Q3: What is the significance of Jesus appearing the Mary Magdalene first? How do we relate to Mary Magdalene?
Q4: Mary was an ordinary person who had extraordinary past issues. Do you think her past is why the disciples didn’t believe what she said? Why or why not?
2. Two followers of Jesus on the road
“Afterward he appeared in a different form to two of his followers who were walking from Jerusalem into the country. They rushed back to tell the others, but no one believed them.” Mark 16:12-13 NLT
Q5: Just like Mary Magdalene, the disciples didn’t believe that the men had seen Jesus. Why do you think that is?
Q6: These men weren’t seeking Jesus, they were merely walking to their destination and He appeared. Have there been times in your life you were walking towards a destination and Jesus showed up? What were those times?
3. The Eleven Disciples
“Still later he appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together. He rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief because they refused to believe those who had seen him after he had been raised from the dead.” Mark 16:14 NLT
Q7: Why do you think the first thing Jesus did was rebuke the disciples?
Q8: Why did Jesus appear to the disciples last? Do you think He should have appeared to them first?
4. The fourth appearance
“These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages.” Mark 16:17 NLT
Q9: Jesus left us His power and the Holy Spirit to continue His work here on earth. Now that we’ve studied these scriptures, what are some ways we can still see Jesus working on earth and through us?
Q10: Believers who walk in unity and in love are the fourth appearance of Jesus. They are His representatives. How can we be better representatives of Jesus starting today?
Declaration: I am a reflection of the goodness of God. My faith in Jesus and my good works will show the world that Jesus is alive and still working. My character and integrity are important. I will be the only appearance of Jesus that some people will see. I am not perfect. I am an ordinary and flawed person. But I am perfectly qualified to be used by God and for Him to appear to me. Jesus is not looking at my past. Jesus has His eyes set on my future. God equip me to remain faithful to you. Guide me to be the appearance of Your presence that You want the world to see.
Application: Take a moment every day this week to sit and reflect on the presence of God. Listen to Him speak to you and show you His love. Acknowledge that He is working all around you and in you all the time. Step out in faith and share His goodness with someone.