This is the eighth small group study for the Christianity series (by Marty).
Theme: Jesus the true king
Throughout Matthew’s gospel Jesus is called ‘The Son of God’ and also ‘Son of David’. This refers to Psalm 2, where David is called God’s son. Jesus is God’s anointed king, who comes to rule and reign over God’s people. What he does, He does as the King.
He is also the fulfilment Isaiah 61. Isaiah 61 foretells of a future leader of Israel who will be empowered with God’s Spirit to liberate God’s people and restore them.
‘The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor, He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives...’
The passage goes on to say that the result of Israel’s restoration will be that ‘aliens’ and ‘foreigners’ will be included in their society, and that Israel will become ‘priests of the LORD’.
These passages show us that Jesus is foretold as the King of the Jews, who comes to liberate God’s people by reigning over them. As He reigns over them He will restore them to wholeness, and also enable them to live out their calling.
1. Read Matthew 10. 5-7. What does this show us about Jesus’ mission (in Matthew)?
2. How will His mission be achieved? Make a list of the tasks Jesus commissions His disciples to do. How does this fulfil Isaiah 61.
3. Skim over chapters 8 and 9 and identity the ways in which Jesus Himself has just done these things.
4. Read Matthew 8.1-4.
What does the leper call Jesus, and what action does he perform? What does this show about his attitude to Jesus? (You might also compare this to what the centurion says in to Jesus in the following story)
In chapters 8 and 9 some people receive from Jesus the King, and some people do not. Based on the responses of the leper and the centurion, how do we need to come to Jesus in order to receive from Him.
5. Think about the leper in Matthew 8.1.
What struggles would he have had as a Jewish man? How does Jesus restore him (not just in terms of physical health, but in terms of his Jewish identity)? How do you think he would have felt about Jesus?
6. Read Matthew 26.6-13. John 12.1-8 also tells us that the dinner was being held in Jesus’ honour. Lazarus is present, along with his sisters Martha and Mary.
- Consider the change in Simon, since Jesus has healed him. What is he now enabled to do? What does this show about his heart towards Jesus?
- Why do each of these people want to honour Jesus at this dinner?
- What does Mary do at the meal? In John’s account he tells us ‘and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume’. Why do you think John says this?
7. Consider this story as an image of Jewish people gathered around their Jewish King.
- How is this a fulfilment of Isaiah 61?
- Think about the promise from Isaiah: God’s Annointed King will reign over God’s people to restore them, and this will extend to the pagan nations. How does this small gathering extend to the pagan nations (read Matthew 26.verse 13)
8. Compare this dinner to your Soma MC. Are there things you can put into practice in your mc, based on this example of these disciples of Jesus?
- What is the focus of the meal, for these disciples?
- What motivates Mary’s offering to Jesus?
- How could you feel this towards Jesus?
- What do you need to receive from Jesus?
Pray and speak to God about these things.
- You might begin by acknowledging Jesus’ Presence.
- You can thank Him for the things He has already done for you.
- You might want to ask Him for what you need-if you receive, then you will probably love Him more.
- Then you might want to think of ways you can honour Him, as Mary does.