justice & judgment

He Washed Their Feet (John 12:44-13:17)

Jesus said, “I did not come to judge the world”. While many today use that statement to justify tolerating all kinds of sin in the church, is that what Jesus meant? In this lesson we also look at the famous incident where Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. Afterward, He called them to follow His example. Did Jesus intend for us to take that command literally (washing each other’s dirty feet), or figuratively (performing the most humble acts of service for one another). Or should we do both?

Better for One Man to Die (John 11:45-57)

After Jesus has raised Lazarus from the dead, the Jewish leaders see Him as a growing threat. They convene the council at which Caiaphas, the high priest, speaks. In making the case to kill Jesus, Caiaphas unknowingly utters a prophecy: it is better for one man (Jesus) to die than for the whole nation to perish. In this lesson we look at related prophecies that one man would die for many; and that death would bring catastrophic consequences to the Jewish nation, which were fulfilled in AD 70. We also consider whether God can speak and act through wicked people.

I Am the Door (John 10:1-10)

Jesus has healed a young blind man who stands up to and is rejected by the Pharisees. To put this in perspective, Jesus tells a parable about a sheepfold, a shepherd, thieves and robbers, and explains that He is "the door of the sheep." This confuses his hearers, but Jesus' teaching is profound and reveals deep truths, foreshadowed throughout the Old Testament. We also consider how Jesus’ subsequent promise of “the abundant life” for his followers has been terribly distorted by many, and what Jesus' promise does (and doesn’t) mean for His Church.

Jesus, our Judge; and the Resurrection of the Dead (John 5:18-30)

In John 5 Jesus’ enemies accused him of “working” on the Sabbath in healing a paralyzed man. In His response, Jesus “doubles down” and puts himself on the same level as God. Jesus also tells his opponents that the Father has committed to Him, the Son, the role of judging all men. In this lesson, we take a look at an aspect of Jesus many prefer to avoid: Jesus, the great Judge of all men on the Last Day. This carries important implications for several areas of our lives. Here Jesus also introduces teaching on the resurrection of the dead: considered a foundational teaching in the early church, yet commonly misunderstood among Christians today.   

The Goodness of God

Many wrestle with the goodness of God. If God is good, why does He allow evil things to happen? This might lead one to conclude that God is not all powerful, otherwise he certainly would stop evil from happening. In fact, it often seems good people experience much bad, while people who engage in evil seem blessed. This lesson explores the nature of God, what the Scriptures teach about His goodness, and how He works to bring about both justice and mercy in His timing. 

Teachings on Judgment, Pt. 1 & 2

Hebrews 6 tells us that there are six elementary doctrines (teachings) of the Christian faith, which the Hebrew writer appears to assume Christians should master before moving on to maturity. Two of these are the resurrection and judgment. We recently taught on the resurrection. What about judgment? What does Jesus teach about it? Why is this teaching important? Why do we rarely speak about judgment? What can we learn about God through Christ's teaching on eternal blessings and punishment?  The goal of this two-part lesson is to help us to understand what the Bible teaches about judgment and to better equip us to teach this to others.

1 Corinthians 4 - Building Church Unity and Judging Your Brother

PDF of Lesson Outline

In 1 Corinthians 4, Paul builds on his teaching on church unity from the first three chapters. Paul addresses the Church's boasting, envy, and strife.  This lesson tackles the important questions of what Paul meant when he says not to judge and what he meant when he says imitate me.  This lesson calls us to serve the Lord in humility and without comparing ourselves to others.