Effective Gospel studies or sermons begin (and perhaps end !) with questions that open doors of hope and creativity. Here are some suggestions, using Jesus' Feeding of the Five Thousand in Matthew 14:13-41.
- How do you think the first audiences of Christians would have heard this feeding story?
- What, for you, is a key word or phrase in this passage? Why?
- Note that Jesus tells the disciples, "You give them something to eat." How do you hear this directive?
- What do you make of the passage when it states "all ate and were filled?" (14:20a)?
- How might this story's message be heard among those living in poverty vs. those living in relative wealth? Does it really matter? Why?
- What does it mean for you to have enough? For our life together?
- How might the bread and fish that Jesus Christ gives fill you?
- How might your life be changed as a result of hearing this story? How would we live and share differently?
There is always a great temptation in answering these questions as you would a Bible quiz, such as listing what one must or should believe about Jesus and miracles. Try to resist this approach for yourself- and invite others to think for themselves too.
List as many possible responses as you can for each question. The open-endedness will allow more space for the Spirit to speak- and so that everyone may see entirely new and different possibilities for fruitful and faithful action moving forward.