Term 1 2021
The Man Who Is God
Who is Jesus, and why did he come?
This term we’ll take a fresh look at Jesus through Luke’s eyes. We’ll see how Jesus describes his mission as he starts his public ministry, and how his mission plays out in preaching, healing, casting out demons, prayer, and relationships with friends and foes. We’ll think about where we fit into Jesus’ mission in 2021.
What Jesus Did Not Come To Do Luke 5:27-32 28th March
- As a tax collector, Levi collected taxes for the occupying Roman forces and took his cut on top of that. How would he have been viewed? Can you think of a modern parallel for Levi?
- The Pharisees were very serious in reading the scriptures and applying them to every aspect of their lives. They kept the rules fastidiously. Why is it that they so often seem ‘the bad guys’ in their encounters with Jesus?
- Where are we like the Pharisees? What are the rules we set up that tempt us to be self righteous and to condemn others?
- Why are the people Jesus chooses to eat with the grounds for such scandal and controversy? Why did Jesus eat with ‘notorious sinners’?
- What does this passage say to the person who thinks they are beyond God’s mercy – that if he knew what they had done they would never be forgiven?
- What does Levi leaving everything say to the person who wants to follow Jesus but only on certain conditions? What place does repentance have in this passage and in Jesus’ teaching? How do we hold on to both God’s grace and repentance?
- What does this passage teach you about Jesus?
Who Can Forgive Sins? Luke 5:17-26 21st March
- What reasons may the Pharisees and teachers of the law have had for being with Jesus when these events took place? v17
- What is the significance of the phrase “the power of the Lord was with Jesus”? v17
- Why is the faith of the friends of the paralysed man significant? v20
- Might the faith of an ill person’s friends lead to healing today?
- Why do the Pharisees and teachers of the law label Jesus “blasphemous”? v21
- What is sin?
- Is it true that God alone can forgive sins? v21
- Later in Luke, Jesus instructs His disciples to pray, “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sin against us” (Luke 11:4). Is God’s forgiveness of our sins contingent on us forgiving those who sin against us?
- On what basis does God forgive sins?
- Why does Jesus tell the Pharisees and teachers of the law “that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”? v24
- What is the relationship between illness and sin?
The Power For Change Luke 5:12-15 14th March
- Look at Leviticus 13:45-46 and the surrounding verses. Apart from the physical affliction itself, a leper was ceremonially unclean and so unacceptable to a holy God. What do these verses show us about what life was like for lepers? Can you think of a modern analogy for this ‘uncleanness’?
- The leper says ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean’. Why do you think the leper seems to focus on Jesus’ willingness rather than say, his power? What might that show us about Jesus’ character?
- Imagine being in the crowd. How would you react when Jesus touched the leper? (5.13) What does this show us about Jesus and holiness?
- What is the greatest benefit the leper receives from the healing? How would his life have changed? What does the healing of this leper show us about Jesus’ mission to restore sinners to God?
- Why does Jesus send this man to the priest? (See 5.14). What is the testimony in 5.14 – is it about the man, or Jesus, or both? How might the priest have reacted to this testimony? (Hint: have a look at who is in the crowd in 5.17 and how they react at 5:21)
- What is the main point of this passage? What does it teach you about Jesus?
The Call For Change Luke 5:1-11 7th March
- Jesus, in Luke 4:38-39, healed Simon Peter’s mother-in-law. How do you think that healing influences how Peter responds to Jesus in Luke 5:1-11? How do our own experiences influence how we respond to Jesus?
- Peter says, “because you say so, I will let down the nets.” Peter trusts Jesus even though he, as a fisherman, knows the likelihood of catching fish at the Lake of Gennesaret during the day, and in the deep water would have been extremely low. How do you decide when trust someone? Do you think you could trust Jesus in that circumstance?
- Why does Simon Peter respond in verse 8 with “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man”? How aware do you think he is of his sin? What is Jesus’ response to him?
- ‘Fish for people’ is an odd phrase. What are the varying responses these people might have to it?
- A child in kindergarten?
- An evangelist?
- An introverted and shy Christian?
- A non-Christian who is angry at Christianity?
- What does following Jesus mean to you?
The Messiah’s Mission Luke 4:38-44 28th February
- How would you have felt if you had been present for the events described in 4:38-44?
- Is sickness and suffering a bug or a feature of life? Should we accept terrible suffering or rage against it?
- In 4:40-42 Jesus has a remarkable ministry which is giving him popularity and honour, but in 4:42-44 we see that he leaves it. Why does he do this, according to v43? Why is it important that he does this?
- What is God doing about suffering in this suffering world? (See Hebrews 2) When does he promise to fix all suffering? How should that help us pray for the sick?
Powerful Words Luke 4:31-36 21st February
- How do Sydneysiders think of evil spirits, demons, ghosts, magic and satan? A frightening spiritual reality or a silly superstition? What part does our cultural background play in these beliefs?
- Are you tempted to believe in ‘the dark world’ and ‘evil powers’ too much or not enough?
- How does the way Jesus deals with the unclean spirit differ from magic or exorcism? How do Jesus’ words affect the demon and the crowd?
- Should we be fearful of evil?
- ‘If our gospel message is all about God and sin, but doesn’t talk about angels then people might hear only morality but not a bigger reality – spiritual transcendent truth’ Discuss.
Hometown Blues Luke 4:22-30 14th February
- What were the expectations of first Century Jews about the Messiah? What problems did that pose for Jesus?
- When Jesus read from the scroll of Isaiah, what part of Isaiah 61:1-2 did he leave out? Why did he leave it out?
- ‘No prophet is accepted in his home town’ (v24). Why is that? Can you think of examples from the Old Testament, apart from those Jesus mentions? Can you think of any contemporary examples?
- Why was Jesus so negative in v23-27?
- Discuss some examples of your outrage against people who have done bad things. Can we reconcile a desire for justice with the Lord’s favour being for everyone regardless of their conduct? What kind of people do you struggle to view as being eligible for receiving the Lord’s favour?
- What is the take home message of this passage for you? Pray about it.
Good News Luke 4.14-21 7th February
- Jesus went into the desert (v1) and returned from it (v14) in the power of the Holy Spirit, then he reads from Isaiah, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me’. Why does Luke emphasise the Spirit here?
- In the Old Testament priests, prophets and kings were anointed with oil by people, as God instructed. Jesus implies he is anointed by the Spirit of the Lord (v18, 21). Discuss.
- It was Jesus’ custom to attend synagogue on the sabbath day (v16). Why would Jesus have had that custom? Why would Luke mention it if, as is thought, he was writing his Gospel for non-Jews? What are the advantages and disadvantages of customs or habits in relation to church attendance for us?
- Both synagogue in Jesus’ day, and church in our day, are focussed on the scriptures. Why? What is the relationship between Word and Spirit?
- What do the poor, prisoners, the blind and the oppressed have in common? Why is Jesus so interested in them? Should we take ‘the poor’ literally or figuratively? Why?
- The ‘year of the Lord’s favour’ may refer to the year of Jubilee: one year in every 50 all debts were cancelled, and slaves were free. Compare v19 and 21 with Mark 1:15.
- Write out v18-19 in your own words and, if you wish, share them with the group.
- If you had only three words to describe Jesus’ mission from v18-19, what would they be?
- Why do you think everyone’s eyes were fastened on Jesus (v20)? How can we ensure we fasten our eyes on him?