For the leader: Before you begin, pick and choose from the questions below. Ask yourself: “Which of these questions will get conversation going and fit our group best?” You won’t have time to do them all.
Option 1: Use your story cards. Have group members pick a card that represents how they feel about the word “faith.”
Option 2: Have group members think of a time they have done something just because someone dared/told them to. Pick a card that reminds them of that time (this is a good time to channel your inner middle/high schooler 😁)
Beginning with first-century followers of Jesus, trusting in Jesus has been a response to evidence—not simply in hoping something is true. The gospel writer John referred to the miracles of Jesus as signs that give evidence of who Jesus was. The first sign John documents is when Jesus—with a nudge from his his mother—attended a wedding and turned water into wine.
We hope that this conversation leads us to freedom, as we begin to understand that God does not ask us to stop thinking as we choose to follow Him. In fact, He gives us tons of evidence in scripture that He is who he says He is. Today, we are going to talk about one of those pieces of evidence!
- What is something you once believed without any evidence? Why did you believe it?
- What is something you have believed simply because of who taught it to you? (ex: 8X8 = 64. Teacher says it, so it is true.)
- Where have you experienced two conflicting opinions from two reliable sources? Have you ever experienced this in the faith context?
- Who first taught you about Jesus? Do you think who they were played a role in whether you believe in Jesus or not?
- “Faith” and “Belief” are so often confused in the church setting. We tend to believe based on evidence and we tend to also believe because confidence in the person delivering the information. Therefore, how would you describe the difference in faith and belief?
What About You?
- Religious faith and belief are often divorced from reason and confused with hope. The problem is that hope and belief are two different things. Has anyone ever told you that you just “need to have faith” even if that faith doesn’t have reason? What was this like for you, and what was the end result?
- Frank Turek says, “The reason so many people are so easily talked out of Christianity, is that they were never talked into it in the first place.” Do you feel like your decision to become a Christian was based more on just faith or faith because of evidence?
- Have you ever personally experienced what Frank Turek describes above?
Look It Up
- In the gospel of John, John didn’t just tell us what happened when Jesus was alive, but why it happened, and why we should believe it. In fact, John shared the stories of Jesus on purpose, so that we would believe in Jesus! For a reminder of why this book was written, read John 20:30-31 together. How does awareness of the purpose of this book change the way you read it?
- To support his purpose for writing, John lays out sequence of coming to faith:
- Recorded Events (pointed to signs about Jesus)
- Signs (Those signs pointed to evidence that Jesus was who he claimed to be)
- Evidence (The Evidence led John to believe Jesus was who he said he was)
- Believe that (Because I believe that to be true I could trust in Him)
- Trust in
- John didn’t just put his trust in Jesus and hope it would work out. It wasn’t faith that moved him. It was what he heard and saw. Therefore, he hopes that what he heard and saw would be enough evidence for us as well. How have you found this sequence of coming to faith relevant to your own story? Has the story of another person’s coming to faith been a catalyst for increasing your own faith and belief in Jesus?
- The apostle John describes coming to faith as a process that starts with seeing actual events that served as signs of who Jesus was. Today, we can only hear or read about those events. Should the fact that we are not eyewitnesses to Jesus’ miracles affect the process of someone coming to faith? Why or why not?
- John intentionally organizes his writing around seven signs intended to be evidence of Jesus’ credibility so that we would believe in Jesus. What is the difference between a sign vs a miracle?
- The first sign was Jesus Turning water to wine (John 2:1-12). Based on what we learned from Andy in the message, what was the importance of the Jars? How does understanding the importance/meaning of the Jars indicate that this story is more than just a miracle, but rather a sign?
- Read John 2:2–11, where the apostle John recounts the story of Jesus turning water into wine.
- How familiar is this story to you? Is there anything you just read that stands out as new information?
- What are some details about this story that would lead a reader to believe that this actually happened?
- In verse 9, how would you have reacted if you were “one of the servants” at the wedding and just witnessed what Jesus did?
- In verse 10, consider the master of the banquet’s statement. How might that be a foreshadowing of the coming shift from the sacrificial system to Jesus being the ultimate sacrifice?
- John ends this portion of the book by saying, “What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him (John 2:11).” What “sign” in the scripture has meant the most to your belief in Jesus?
- Unlike John, our faith does not often come by seeing, rather it comes by hearing. We don’t have to just believe by faith. We are invited to believe what happened based on the testimony of the people who were actually there. People like John. How does John’s account of this first sign affect your understanding of Jesus?
- With a greater understanding of “Why” John wrote this book, how might it change the way you read it?
- John, from experience, gave us the famous words in John 3:16. It’s almost as if he is saying , “Because of what I have seen and heard, I am convinced that God so loved the world, that whoever believes in Him will be saved.” John didn’t make this statement just by faith, but because of what he had seen. What new meaning does this verse take on as a result of understanding how and why John wrote this book?
- Does looking at this story as a “sign” instead of just a “miracle” change anything about your view of God? How might it shape how you approach the miracles of Jesus?
- Are there parts of your faith story that feel shaky because you accepted them because someone told you to? If so, how does this conversation today encourage you?
Stealing From God: Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case by Frank Turek (Book)
The Beloved Disciple: Following John to the Heart of Jesus by Beth Moore (Book)
John: 90 Days with the Beloved Disciple by Beth Moore (Bible Study)