Jesus: A better way (Who is this man )
What do you truly long for, hope for, and even need? What if the answer to one simple question contains the solution that satisfies the deepest longings and needs of our hearts? Join us this Sunday as we grapple with the most important question ever.
Something To Talk About:
- Who do you say He is?: It is impossible to read the gospels without feeling the presence of Jesus. He is bigger than life. When Jesus asked His followers, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” they replied that some said He was John the Baptist, others said He was Elijah, and others thought He was Jeremiah or one of the prophets (Matthew 16:14). To be named with the great prophets of Israel was certainly a compliment, but Jesus wasn’t seeking compliments. He was searching for their understanding and looking for faith. So He asked a second question: “But what about you? . . . Who do you say I am?” (16:15). Peter’s declaration fully expressed the truth of Jesus’s identity: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (v. 16). Christians can say with Peter, Jesus is the Messiah, but does it show in your life and mine? Jesus gave all for us. He died the death we deserve to give us the life we do not deserve. Jesus faced the cross all alone but promised to be with us always to give us glory, victory, and peace with Him. So who do you say Jesus is?
- Some people complain about Jesus: Complaining frequently and stewing over disappointments can easily become an obsession that blocks one’s view of Jesus’ presence in difficult situations. Take the story of the two disappointed disciples on the road to Emmaus after the death of Jesus. They were afraid and as they walked toward Emmaus the fear migrated to sadness and complaining. The disciples had had such high hopes that Jesus would be the one who would redeem Israel, but they thought their hopes were destroyed. So they walked and complained and when the Lord arrived on the road with them they did not recognize Him. Complaining can become easy. But the Gospel story shows how very patient Jesus is with the disciples, first listening to them and then explaining things step by step until they see Him. The belief that Jesus of Nazareth is both fully God and fully man has invited indifference, intrigue, debate, speculation, mockery, and confusion for roughly two thousand years. Quite appropriately, however, this belief has also invited worship, devotion, and rejoicing all over the world since the time of His incarnation (Luke 1:41).
- Some people are confused by Jesus: Read John 7:25-36: In this passage, the crowd was confused about who Jesus was. Some said that He was a good man; others said that He deceives people. (7:12). But John is showing us the general confusion that resulted from people judging Jesus superficially by appearance. Such superficial judgment resulted in misinformation, open hostility, and mocking unbelief, although many did believe (7:31). People are still confused today. Of course, at the heart of all confusion about Jesus Christ is Satan, It’s clear Americans are very confused about God’s nature, attributes, and activity. Two of the most common unbelieving views of Jesus today are as follows: Jesus was merely a good man, or, Jesus was a myth. C.S. Lewis astutely argued in his book Mere Christianity that one cannot call Jesus a good man—Jesus never left us that option. In other words, for Jesus to make the claims that He made—to have authority to forgive sins, to be the unique way to God, and so forth—if these claims were not true then Jesus was not a good man. If that is true, it is not even necessary to defend his character at all, since he never actually existed, at least as the Bible presents him. But if indeed he really died on the cross for our sins and really rose again from the dead, then the words and promises attributed to him in the Bible are completely trustworthy, even with our lives.
- Some people are casual about Jesus: There are many things in this life that we can categorize as casual; homework assignments; a walk in the park; running errands on a Saturday. These things are casual – relaxed and informal. But one thing that is not casual is your relationship with God and thus should never be treated as if it is. Another definition for casual is “done without sufficient care or thoroughness.” Is that what your relationship with God looks like? If so, that’s a huge problem. God loves us and values us so much – so much He would leave 99 sheep to just save one of them (Luke 15: 1-7). Are we to repay that with a casual, come-to-you-only-when-I-need-you attitude? The cross and the resurrection deserve more than the feeling of a high school relationship. With our busy schedules, we tend to casually live for God. We are intrigued by His goodness, but create distance when we are required to make a sacrifice. We’ll come to God for His protection, encouraging scripture and unexplainable miracles, though we won’t give up our time or the plan we made for our lives. This is what a casual relationship with God looks like – God is kind of important, but still not more important than the things we want. There is simply no place for apathy within the walls of the unconditional love given to us by Our God.
- Why is who do you say I am such an important question?
- Why do you think Jesus asked that question?
- Why does it matter to say who Jesus is?
- Describe a time you said “No” to a friend or family member’s request. Was it for his or her own good? Explain.
- Why do you think people complain about Jesus today? Why should Christians do everything without complaining or arguing? We get rid of a complaining disposition by learning to trust God more. Agree or disagree and why? We get rid of a complaining disposition by learning contentment with God’s provisions. Agree or disagree and why?
- When did you have a spiritual breakthrough in your life of understanding who Jesus was? What happened?
- Have you ever experienced doubt, grief, or confusion that lead you to question God’s work in your life? How did you deal with that?
- Jesus’ teaching takes them through the entire Hebrew Bible (‘Moses and all the Prophets’ was used as a summary term for all of the Bible). Take a moment to reflect on passages from the Bible that draw attention to Jesus:
- How would you define a casual relationship? Jesus does not want us to live our lives experiencing only a casual relationship with Him. Agree or disagree and why? Does intimacy just happen on its’ own or does it take effort? Developing a truly intimate relationship with God takes a lot of effort and it is well worth it. What is the ultimate, most powerful way to stay close to God?
- What did you learn from this week’s sermon?
Take one thing home with you:
For centuries people have tried to disprove — even ignore — the resurrection of Jesus Christ. After all, anybody can claim to be God, but to rise from the dead is another matter. People have tried and failed at disproving the resurrection, and during the process of trying to disprove it, some have actually become Christians.
There will always be skeptics. And there will always be theories on what really happened. For example, maybe Jesus wasn’t really dead, and He just rolled away the stone Himself. But think about that for a second. A man who has been beaten, tortured, and mutilated for hours is going to lie unattended for two cold nights in a tomb and suddenly find the strength to roll away a 2-ton rock, fight off all the Roman soldiers guarding it, then show up convincing everyone that He has a glorious resurrected body. The Romans were experts at crucifying people. Blood and water flowed from His side when the soldier speared it on the Cross. In a dead body, the blood separates into massive red clots and watery serum, just as John described it. (See John 19:34.) So that theory seems pretty unlikely. Once we’ve looked at all the facts and carefully examined the arguments, we would need more faith to believe that Jesus did not rise from the grave than to believe that He did.