Jesus is rejected
What do we learn about Jesus’ “church-going” habits in this passage? How is synagogue the same as church? How is it different? Do you have to go to church every week to be a Christian? Why or why not? If 93% of Australians are NOT in church on any given Sunday, where are they? How might the 7% of Australian who are in church on Sunday reach the 93%?
Luke 4:18-19 has been described as Jesus’ “mission statement”. Do you think this sums up Jesus’ purpose on earth? How might it be deficient? What do you understand the phrase, “the year of the Lord’s favour” to mean?
How do you reconcile this “pragmatic” gospel with the “spiritual” gospel referred to with Nicodemus? Is one more important than the other? Which one do you find easier to “promote”?
Why do you think everyone thought Jesus was wonderful when he was quoting Isaiah but turned on him in fury when he suggested people from outside the Jewish faith were often chosen to fulfil God’s plans?
What do you think Jesus was looking for from the people of his home town of Nazareth? What do you think Jesus is looking for from us?
Who do you think the church is called to minister the gospel to?
Nicodemus visits Jesus at night
What do you think is the significance of John recounting Nicodemus visiting Jesus “at night”? Note also the other times Nicodemus in mentioned in John’s Gospel (see John 7:50 & 19:39 and think about the context of what is happening in those episodes).
In verse 3, how do you relate what Nicodemus says about Jesus with John’s emphasis on “signs” (as per last week’s sermon)?
Therefore, do you think that Nicodemus is genuine in his questioning? Why or why not?
What difference does it make to your understanding of this passage if the term “born again”, is re-rendered, “born from above”? In your own words, what do you think Jesus meant by this?
As far as John is concerned, what would you list as the key components of salvation/eternal life?
What is the big deal about eternal life? Do you think it is important? Is it important enough to talk about with people who don’t follow Jesus? Why or why not? How might you go about it and with whom?
Jesus performs his first miracle
What do you make of the interplay between Jesus and his mother in this passage? What does it tell us about Mary? What does it tell us about Jesus? Why do you think he finally goes through with it?
Why would John include this story (with all its details) in his gospel? What does it make you think about Jesus?
If you ever had a need, how does this story inspire you? (eg. What quality of response are you likely to get from Jesus? Is it worth bothering Jesus with your needs?)
John says this is “the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory”. What are some of the others? Which would say is the greatest?
Do you think you have to “see to believe” or “believe to see”? What place do “signs” have in the faith of the first disciples? What place do they have in ours?
How would you describe the relationship between Jesus, his mother & brothers, and the disciples? Where can you find that kind of relationship today?
Road to Emmaus
Take a moment to speculate on why the two disciples “were kept from recognising” Jesus. What do you think were Jesus’ intentions in that delay? What questions does he ask them? What do their answers reveal?
In verses 19-24, what do you notice about the way Luke recounts the story? Can you notice any similarities and/or differences between this and other early “confessions” (of who Christ was/is) in say the book of Acts? (ref. eg. Acts 2:22-24, Acts 10:34-43, Acts 17:24-31, 1 Cor 15:1-8)
What kind of pattern does that set for other disciples (eg. us) in knowing what to tell inquirers about Jesus?
Why do you think it was in “the breaking of bread” that the disciples finally recognised Jesus? How might it be helpful/unhelpful for there to be a process of instruction about who Jesus is before people take communion?
Whose responsibility is it to pass on what is known and believed about Jesus? What is your role? What is the church’s role?
Easter Weekend – Betrayal, Crucifixion . . . . & Resurrection! -
Mark 14 v 32-42, Mark 14 v 43-52, Mark 15 v 1-15, Mark 15 v 41-57 (See also John 18, 19 & 20)
Everything suddenly becomes very sombre.
How do you explain the betrayal of Jesus by Judas? Why do you think Jesus didn’t allow a fight for freedom? How does this challenge your feelings of injustice?
How do you react to Peter’s denial of Jesus? Have you ever denied knowing Jesus? Have you ever told anyone you know Jesus? Why do you think the same man who was ready to take up a sword in Jesus’ defence was now afraid to associate with him?
Is truth only relative? How do we determine what is God’s objective truth compared with relative truth? How does that rank on the world and society’s “stage” today? What do you think Jesus’ reaction to betrayal is today?
How do you explain the change in attitude of the crowd?
How does the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth change everything?
How do you explain what happened? How can you be sure? What do you say to people who don’t believe it happened?
No recording today