Small Group Questions

Heroes: How To Be A Hero   

Introduction:

We have been talking the last few weeks about heroes. What defines a hero? The most frequent answer is a person who fights for justice, defends the weak, and defeats the villains. Others say a hero can be an ordinary citizen who helps the poor and those in need in the community. But what if status and praise were not part of the equation? What if personal sacrifice was needed to be a hero. A strong commitment often requires deep personal sacrifice. Only one individual was perfect, sinless and completely innocent, and yet willingly gave His life for the greatest cause of all—laying down His life as a sacrifice for all humanity that we might live! He was the Son of God, and He gave His life for the sins of the world (John 3:16).

Bottom Line: Sacrifice always brings life.

Something To Talk About:

Jesus is infinitely higher above all other heroes – He is the Son of God; there can be no hero that compares. Heroes come and go, but only Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah. No hero, except Jesus, was anticipated for thousands of years before His birth and remains a hero two millennia after His death (and Resurrection). God has called each of us to live as a superhero. Your superpowers are not found in yourself. They are found in God. Remember that:  

  1. It’s not all about being the biggest, the strongest, the best: When I read about Jesus in the Bible, I see the Son of God. But I also notice that when the powerful men of His day question Him, He remains silent. When they demand signs and wonders, He refuses. When flattered, He rejects praise. Jesus spends His time with the people on the edges – the lepers and tax collectors, women and fishermen. These folks don’t come looking for fancy talk and impressive signs; they are too desperate for that. They know their need for healing, daily bread and compassion. Jesus meets these crowds and miracles happen. But our society doesn’t train us to expect a hero like Jesus. We have been taught to expect strong heroes who can beat up the bad guys, save the earth, save the girl, and do it with style and éclat. If that is our perception then we are missing the simple acts of heroism that are taking place every day by millions of people who are willing to make a sacrifice. This kind of heroism is not for a special elite; it is for anyone who is willing to get their hands dirty in small, daily acts of service to others. This is the type of heroism that we can only see when we understand what it means to sacrifice for others. 
  2. It’s all about sacrifice: The sacrifice theme is woven throughout the story of Jesus Christ’s birth, teaching, suffering, sacrifice, death, and resurrection. Jesus is the biggest hero because He makes an infinite sacrifice. He gives His life of infinite value and He gives it for the sins of all mankind. He chooses a horrible death freely (John 10:18), saying,  “there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13). Heroes are often considered heroes when they save people. Jesus offers salvation for all mankind. Jesus did something that no one else could do. He bridged the gap that sin had made in each of our lives. He was able to bring us back to God. Jesus’ journey of suffering, sacrifice, and resurrection is not only His journey; it is tied to our own journey because without Jesus we can do nothing: ”Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” But, with Christ and His Sacrifice, we too can be superheroes, “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).

Discussion Questions:

  1. Does this week change your opinion of what a hero is or is not? Explain.  
  2. Think of a moment in a movie or book you love when the hero is called to give up everything for the sake of the thing he or she most wants. What kinds of things might God call us to sacrifice? 
  3. Sacrifices always bring life. Agree or disagree and why?
  4. Christian behavior is living as our identity as people resurrected by Christ and living in Him. It’s being people who have been changed as a result of the journey we’ve been on. Does that make us heroes?
  5. Without Jesus, you are not what you were made to be, and only He can help you become that. Do you feel like you were made to be a hero? Why or why not? 
  6. If  we want something more or better or different for our life, we need to try harder or________? 
  7. What are the main barriers that keep you from making sacrifices?
  8. What can we do this week to live in such a way that others see God’s love, mercy and compassion in how you live and relate to others?

Take One Thing Home with You:

There is something about sacrifices that celebrates what’s best in mankind. And according to the Bible, God wants us to live like that. “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13) Jesus told that to His disciples. If you really want to love your friends, you have to lay down your life for them. Then Jesus did just that for us. We need to remember that the best sacrifices are those done as an act of love. We make sacrifices for ourselves all the time, but the best sacrifices are ones done as an expression of our love for others. God wants us to experience the richness of living sacrificially. So I want to challenge you to examine your life in the way you live sacrificially for God and others.

Now I’m not saying it’s easy to sacrifice. We don’t seem to have  enough time or resources to sacrifice. Sometimes we get angry when people don’t acknowledger all that we do or when we are not recognized for our efforts. Then we think to ourselves, “Why am I doing this?” We do this because sacrifice always brings life.  And because Jesus Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for us.