Scary Ghosts. Evil Demons. The Living Dead. (Part 2 of 5)

Bible Lesson / Teen Bible Lesson.

Spiritual Alternative to Halloween. / Teen Bible Lesson.

This time of year, ghosts and goblins appear everywhere. I have selected 13 real-life stories from the Bible for those of you who want an alternative to the scary fiction floating around. Or if you want to use this time of year as an opportunity to focus attention on Christ. 

I have also included discussion starter questions for each episode. All Scripture references are from the Easy-To-Read Version of the Bible. There is no expiration date for the multiple-choice (poll) questions. And of course, if you wish to share your thoughts or comments on this blog, you are more than welcomed to do so.

Get ready to hoot and howl! Part 2.

There was no rain, so after a while the stream became dry. Then the Lord said to Elijah, “Go to Zarephath in Sidon and stay there. There is a widow there that I commanded to take care of you.”

So Elijah went to Zarephath. He went to the town gate and saw a woman there gathering wood for a fire. She was a widow. Elijah said to her, “Would you bring me a small cup of water to drink?” As she was going to get the water, Elijah said, “Bring me a piece of bread too, please.”

The woman answered, “I promise you, before the Lord your God, that I have nothing but a handful of flour in a jar and a little bit of olive oil in a jug. I came here to gather a few pieces of wood for a fire to cook our last meal. My son and I will eat it and then die from hunger.”

Elijah said to the woman, “Don’t worry. Go home and cook your food as you said. But first make a small piece of bread from the flour that you have and bring it to me. Then cook some for yourself and your son. The Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘That jar of flour will never be empty and the jug will always have oil in it. This will continue until the day the Lord sends rain to the land.’”

So the woman went home and did what Elijah told her to do. And Elijah, the woman, and her son had enough food for a long time. The jar of flour and the jug of oil were never empty. This happened just as the Lord said through Elijah.

Some time later the woman’s son became sick. He became worse and worse until he stopped breathing. Then the woman said to Elijah, “You are a man of God. Can you help me? Or did you come here only to remind me of my sins and to make my son die?”

Elijah said to her, “Give me your son.” He took the boy from her and carried him upstairs. He laid him on the bed in the room where he was staying. Then Elijah cried out to the Lord. He said, “Lord my God, this widow is letting me stay in her house. Will you do this bad thing to her? Will you cause her son to die?” Then Elijah lay on top of the boy three times. He prayed, “Lord my God, let this boy live again!”

The Lord answered Elijah’s prayer. The boy began breathing again and was alive.Elijah carried the boy downstairs, gave him to his mother, and said, “Look, your son is alive!”

The woman answered, “Now I know that you really are a man from God. I know that the Lord really speaks through you!”

Then Jesus made the followers get into the boat. He told them to go to the other side of the lake. He said he would come later. He stayed there to tell everyone they could go home. After Jesus said goodbye to the people, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. It was late, and he was there alone. By this time the boat was already a long way from shore. Since the wind was blowing against it, the boat was having trouble because of the waves.

Between three and six o’clock in the morning, Jesus’ followers were still in the boat. Jesus came to them. He was walking on the water. When they saw him walking on the water, it scared them. “It’s a ghost!” they said, screaming in fear.

But Jesus quickly spoke to them. He said, “Don’t worry! It’s me! Don’t be afraid.”

Peter said, “Lord, if that is really you, tell me to come to you on the water.”

Jesus said, “Come, Peter.”

Then Peter left the boat and walked on the water to Jesus. But while Peter was walking on the water, he saw the wind and the waves. He was afraid and began sinking into the water. He shouted, “Lord, save me!”

Then Jesus caught Peter with his hand. He said, “Your faith is small. Why did you doubt?”

After Peter and Jesus were in the boat, the wind stopped. Then the followers in the boat worshiped Jesus and said, “You really are the Son of God.”

At noon the whole country became dark. The darkness continued for three hours.About three o’clock Jesus cried out loudly, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” This means “My God, my God, why have you left me alone?”

Some of the people standing there heard this. They said, “He is calling Elijah.”

Quickly, one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled the sponge with sour wine and tied the sponge to a stick. Then he used the stick to give the sponge to Jesus to get a drink from it. But the others said, “Don’t bother him. We want to see if Elijah will come to save him.”

Again Jesus cried out loudly and then died.

When Jesus died, the curtain in the Temple was torn into two pieces. The tear started at the top and tore all the way to the bottom. Also, the earth shook and rocks were broken. The graves opened, and many of God’s people who had died were raised from death. They came out of the graves. And after Jesus was raised from death, they went into the holy city, and many people saw them.

The army officer and the soldiers guarding Jesus saw this earthquake and everything that happened. They were very afraid and said, “He really was the Son of God!”

Many women were standing away from the cross, watching. These were the women who had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for him. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of James and John were there.

Questions:

What is the significance of the supernatural events accompanying Jesus’ death? What is significant about the words of the army officer and the soldiers?

How have you tried to guard against God breaking in your life? Why? What happened?

From the elements here, how would you describe to someone what Jesus’ death was all about? How does it make a difference in your view of sin and failure? Your confidence in God’s love?

Jesus’ death has special paradoxical meanings. In what sense was Jesus’ death . . .

  • Necessary, yet voluntary?
  • Triumphant, yet tragic?
  • Pre-ordained, yet avoidable?
  • Lifted up, yet laid down?
  • Unjust, yet just?
  • Finished, yet ongoing?

Jesus said, “There was a rich man who always dressed in the finest clothes. He was so rich that he was able to enjoy all the best things every day. There was also a very poor man named Lazarus. Lazarus’ body was covered with sores. He was often put by the rich man’s gate. Lazarus wanted only to eat the scraps of food left on the floor under the rich man’s table. And the dogs came and licked his sores.

“Later, Lazarus died. The angels took him and placed him in the arms of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. He was sent to the place of death and was in great pain. He saw Abraham far away with Lazarus in his arms. He called, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me! Send Lazarus to me so that he can dip his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am suffering in this fire!’

“But Abraham said, ‘My child, remember when you lived? You had all the good things in life. But Lazarus had nothing but problems. Now he is comforted here, and you are suffering. Also, there is a big pit between you and us. No one can cross over to help you, and no one can come here from there.’

“The rich man said, ‘Then please, father Abraham, send Lazarus to my father’s house on earth. I have five brothers. He could warn my brothers so that they will not come to this place of pain.’

“But Abraham said, ‘They have the Law of Moses and the writings of the prophets to read; let them learn from that.’

“The rich man said, ‘No, father Abraham! But if someone came to them from the dead, then they would decide to change their lives.’

“But Abraham said to him, ‘If your brothers won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen to someone who comes back from the dead.’”

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