828 King's Highway, Suffolk VA 23432

757 255-4168 stjohns1755@verizon.net Worship Service: Sundays at 10:30am
Welcome to St. John's community. We are honored to serve Christ, and to open our doors to all. Please feel free to join us for worship. St. John's can trace its history to the founding of Jamestown. The parish is over 350 years old, and the church building itself has stood for 2 and a half centuries. St. John's saw the American Revolution and served as a camp ground for troops during the Civil War. Through it all, St. John's has been a place of worship and a home for those seeking communion with Christ. St. John's has a rich and abiding history. Today, it is as it was... a place to find and be found by Christ.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Christian Formation for Sunday April 7 - Acts 5:27-32; The Apostles are Persecuted

April 7, 2013 – 2 Easter
Acts 5:27-32
The Apostles Are Persecuted
Background: The Acts of the Apostles is a unique book in the New Testament. This book is the companion to the Gospel of Luke and provides much of the history of the early church. Acts presents much of the theology of the Apostles and Disciples in the first century as the Christian Cult was gaining stature.
Theme: This section is a portion of 7 chapters describing the beginning of the Church and the spread of the Gospel in Jerusalem. Much of the setting in this story is early post-Resurrection and shows much of the continuing oppression and dissent between the Jewish religious system and the Disciples of Jesus. The Holy Spirit has been moving in the lives of the Apostles and new converts – much to the chagrin of the Jewish religious leaders.
Questions to Ponder:
* Please read all of Acts 5:17-42. Briefly describe the setting for this passage.
* Who are the principle players in the story? What was the relationship between the Sadducees and the high priest and Pharisees? Who is Gamaliel (a speaking part in the next portion of the chapter)?
* What are the beliefs of the Sadducees and Pharisees and how do their differences impact the Jewish (and Christian) faith?
* Why do you think the Apostles are on trial before the high priest and the Sadducees?
* From whom do you think the Apostles received their command to tell the story of Jesus in the Temple? How do you think they were assured that was in fact what God intended and not their own decision or something they chose to do to make themselves appear more important?
* When do you think the Apostles first received their command to preach the gospel boldly?
* What do you think convinced the Disciples to behave in the manner they did; boldly preaching the gospel even though the religious authority forbid them from doing so?
* Why do you think the high priest and the Sadducees accuse the Apostles of trying to bring Jesus’ blood on them? Do you think the Disciples were instrumental in these two groups being blamed for Jesus’ crucifixion? Why or why not?
* How does contemporary society encourage us to not proclaim the Gospel boldly? Do you think they are effective?
* What do you think Peter’s rebuttal to the high priest and Sadducees’ accusation was? What do you think led Peter to rebut their accusation in that manner?
* To whom or what did the high priest and the Sadducees attribute their putting Jesus to death? For what reason did the Disciples and Peter attribute the high priest and Sadducees’ decision to crucify Jesus?
* To whom do you think we attribute Jesus being put to death in Jerusalem?
* How do you think the Disciples could claim authority for disregarding the Sadducees by their witness and the witness (and authority of the Holy Spirit)? Does their assertion seem to make logical sense in this situation? Why or why not?
* How might this story be good news for the Christian faith in the 1st and 2nd century under oppression by the Romans?
* What is the good news for us today in this passage?

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