This is the tenth small group study in the Christianity series. (By Marty Gee)
*This is a long study since there are several important aspects of following Jesus. You could break this study into sections, depending on what fits with your mc or dna.
Portrait of our Rabbi
In his sermon, Barry Buiriski said that we needed to regain a Hebrew understanding of discipleship. He said that disciples would enter into a close personal relationship with their Rabbi:
‘Let your house be the meeting place for your Rabbi. Cover yourself in the dust of your Rabbi and take in every detail of their mentorship.’
In Matthew chapters 4-10, Matthew gives us a portrait of Jesus as our Rabbi who calls us into our true identity in community, teaches us, gives us His own example, and then commissions us to do kingdom tasks as He Himself does. A climax of this section comes in Matthew 10, where Jesus says
‘The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters.’ (Matthew 10.24-25).
Knowing God as Jesus reveals Him.
Throughout the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reveals how God sees us and how we are to see God.
- Read Matthew 6.4, 6.6-7, and 6.18. What do these verses show us about the heart of our spiritual life?
- Read Matthew 7.9-11
How does Jesus want us to imagine ourselves as we come before God? (Consider the tangible example He gives in verse 9). How do your respond when Jesus makes such a generous offer on behalf of the Father? (‘Ask for something and it will be given to you…’)
When you think about these verses is your response to qualify what Jesus says (to explain and put conditions on His promise), or is it to begin thinking of things you should ask God for?
- Extra. Read Matthew 11.25-28.
- Jesus says that ‘these things’ have been hidden from wise and learned people, but revealed to little children. What things is He talking about?
- In verse 29 Jesus says we should learn from Him and following His teaching and His example (His yoke). Based on verses 25-29, what is the whole point of Jesus’ teaching? What will we gain if we follow Him?
- What can you do this week that will help you to be more aware of God as your Father? How can you rest and receive from Him?
Being the family of Jesus.
Read Matthew 12.46-49.
- How would Jesus’ statement have come across in His Jewish context? (Think about the nature of that culture and what was important. How would Jesus’ own mother and brothers felt if they heard Him say this?)
- What does this indicate about our commitment to our own family or household when compared to our commitment to the family Jesus is building?
- Consider the fact that many people had to leave their lifestyles in order to follow Jesus. In Matthew 4.18-22, some fishermen have to leave their father’s business (and leave their dad, while he is working). Imagine what this would have meant for them.
What is important in our culture, and what do we need to re-evaluate if we are to leave our lifestyle and follow Jesus? What things do you spend most of your week on? Which of these things should you re-evaluate in order to prioritize what Jesus is doing?
Doing the work that Jesus does.
Read through Matthew 4.23-25.
- What tasks does Jesus do? Who is He with?
- Skim through Matthew chapters 8-9. What tasks does Jesus do, and who does He spend His time with?
- Read through Matthew 9.35-38
Matthew returns to his snapshot of Jesus’ work (like Mt 4.23). But he adds two new things-in verse 36 and verse 37.
- What is Matthew emphasizing in verse 36. Can you find an example of this in chapters 8 and 9?
- What point is Matthew making by quoting Jesus in verse 37? What does it say about what true disciples of Jesus are meant to be like (think about both 36 and 37 in answering this).
Read Matthew 10.1 and Matthew 10.5-8.
- What does Jesus give his disciples in verse 1?
- What specific tasks does Jesus commission His disciples to do?
- Are the equipping Jesus gives, and the tasks only for these 12, or subsequent disciples too? Justify your answer with a specific verse from the Bible. You might consider John 14.1-14.
Have you had any experience with any of these discipleship tasks? What is your reaction to the teaching that we are commissioned and empowered to do the same tasks today? What practical steps could you take to learn about these tasks and to be used by God in these ways?
The people Jesus spent time with
Read Matthew 9.10-13.
- Based on Matthew’s portrait of Jesus (in this section, but throughout chapters 8 and 9) who does Jesus spend most of His time with?
- How does your current lifestyle compare with Jesus? Who do you spend most of your time with?
- Think about what Jesus says to a Pharisee in Luke 14.12
‘When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives or rich neighbours….but when you give a banquet invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind…’
Think about the last time you had dinner with people in Soma and people in your mc. To follow the example of Jesus in Matthew 9.10, and His explicit teaching in Luke 14.12 - what could your mc do?
Is there a difference between inviting your non-Christian contacts and inviting the kinds of people Jesus mentions in Luke 14.12?
- What practical steps could you take to be more like Jesus in your community? What will you commit to doing?