05 Apr Discussion Guide: Jesus: The King Who Suffers – Week 4
Before We Get Started
For our discussion today we will be using the sermon series discussion guides. If you would like to follow along you can access this discussion guide on the website at mosaicchurchaustin.com and then select “community group resources” in the menu options.
Because the main goal of our time together is to establish relationships and learn how to walk with one another in all that God has called us to be and do, we’d like to begin by praying for one another. So, does anyone have anything you’d like us to pray for, or anything to share regarding how you’ve seen God moving in your life that we can celebrate together.
This Week’s Topic
This week we continue on through the Gospel of Mark as we are in the last part of a three part series looking at Jesus: The King Who Suffers. We will be taking at look at Mark’s claims regarding the life of Jesus and how this Jesus of Nazareth not only changes lives, but has changed history itself. Today’s discussion is going to be a bit of a testimony session as we discuss when, how and why our faith journey began and how, if you’re a Christian, following Jesus has impacted your life.
What’s the biggest impact (positive or negative) COVID-19 has had on your life??
“And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.”
How would you define Love?
How does the cross of Christ prove God’s love for you?
What is forgiveness (real forgiveness)?
Why is real forgiveness so hard?
How does the cross of Christ prove God’s forgiven you?
How does God’s love and forgiveness change you?
Love and forgiveness are perhaps the only two forces in all of creation powerful enough to truly change a person. But how? Well, if we, as human beings, are made in the image and likeness, made to bear the image of, the God who is love (1 John 4:8) then it stands to reason that the deepest need we possess is knowing that we are loved. Not just loved in the sense that someone is attracted to us, or that someone has warm feelings for us, but unconditionally loved, knowing that even at our worst we are still valued and desired by someone. It is the fear that this kind of love does not exist in our lives, or at the very least has not been extended to us by others, that drives every act of sin and evil humans partake in. Why do we lie if not to portray an image different from our reality so that others might accept us, or at least not reject us? Why do we steal if not for the purpose of wanting something we do not possess that we are certain will bring about our acceptance and cause us to be the envy of others? Why do we continually spend money on things we don’t need if not for the same reasons? Why do we murder (both literally and with our anger) if not because we fear that person has taken something from us that might prevent us from being loved and accepted? Why do we rebel against our parents if not because we fear that what they have asked of us is coming from a place of selfishness rather than unconditional love for us?
Every sinful act can be traced back to some form of idolatry, the worshipping of creation rather than creator, and every idol can be traced back to some kind of fear of rejection. There’s a functional hell we seek to avoid and therefore we reach for a functional savior to keep from going there. The Cross of Christ is the only thing in this world with the power to uproot our fears and idolatry because the cross tells us that even at our worst, not just when we didn’t deserve God’s love but when we actually deserve the opposite, that even then God was loving us as His own, calling us back to Himself to belong to the most loving Being in in the Universe. The cross tells us that the punishment we deserved for our idolatry was taken by Christ, swallowed down and paid in full so that we can approach God now with a boldness and a confidence. The cross tells us that we have peace with God which means that any suffering we may experience in this life is not, and cannot be, punitive and therefore we can rejoice in our suffering knowing that God is using it to make us into who He has intended us to be all along, conformed to the image of Jesus.
When you experience that kind of love it reaches down deep into the core of who you are and begins to put things back together, back to the way God intended you to be from the beginning as His image-bearer. When you experience that kind of love all your fears are cast out and you no longer live for the approval of others, rather you can now live to give approval away to others, to love others out of the endless supply of unconditional love you have already received from Christ.
John Piper, Spectacular Sins: And Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ
“God did not just overcome evil at the cross. He made evil serve the overcoming of evil. He made evil commit suicide in doing its worst evil.”
How does the cross of Christ demonstrate that what the enemy meant for evil God has purposed for good?
How have you seen that truth played out in your own life?
Dionysius, bishop of Alexandria (During the Plague of Cyprian 249–262 AD)
“Most of our brother Christians showed unbounded love and loyalty, never sparing themselves and thinking only of others. Heedless of danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ, and with them departed this life serenely happy; for they were infected by others with the disease, drawing on themselves the sickness of their neighbors and cheerfully accepting their pains. Many, in nursing and curing others, transferred their death to themselves and died in their stead. But with the heathen everything was quite otherwise. They deserted those who began to be sick, and fled from their dearest friends. They shunned any participation or fellowship with death; which yet, with all their precautions, it was not easy for them to escape.”
In what ways can we possibly demonstrate God’s goodness and faithfulness in the midst of our current reality with this health crisis?