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Discussion Questions: Luke 7:18-35

For the message, What Are You Looking For? given by Pastor John Ferguson at New City Church on November 10, 2013

These discussion questions are designed to help you reflect upon and apply the message from the Scriptures. You can use these by yourself for reflection, or you could use these with your family or small group for discussion.

Introduction: In some Christian circles, it seems taboo to admit that one is struggling with doubt, disappointment, and disillusionment with God and/ or with Jesus? Why do you think this is? Has there been a time in your life when you have struggled with questions like, Lord, what are you up to? Why are my prayers going unanswered? How come my hopes are being dashed? I thought you would come through for me. Describe that moment. What were the circumstances? Questions: 1. The reports of Jesus incredible miraclesincluding the raising of the deadhave made their way back to John the Baptist. In response to this astounding news, he sends some disciples to ask of Jesus, Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another? Does this question strike you as odd? Why or why not? Look up Luke 3:15-17. This is the account of John the Baptists message as he was preparing people for the coming of Jesus. What was he expecting? 2. Jesus responded to his question in two ways: (1) Through an incredible display of kingdom power (vs. 21); and (2) through a verbal declaration of kingdom power (vs. 22). What was Jesus communicating? You may want to look up Isaiah 26:19; 29:18ff; 35:5ff, and 61:1 to here the predictions of the coming Messiah over 700 years before the arrival of Jesus. 3. In verse 23, Jesus said, Blessed is the one who is not offended by me. Pastor John made mention that the Greek word offended is the same word from which we get the word scandalized. Considering that John was offended / scandalized because Jesus was not doing what he thought Jesus should be doing, what is Jesus saying here? State it both positively and negatively. 4. Jesus said of John, I tell you, among those born of women, none is greater than John. Yet, the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. Considering John as the forerunner and messenger of the Kingdom of God in Christ Jesus, how do you make sense of this? It may help to think of it like this: How is the person who is an actual participant in a celebration in a greater position than the mailman who delivers the invitations to the celebration?

5. Luke gives us a parenthetical comment in verses 29-30 illustrating how the lowly (the people in general and even the dreaded tax collectors) are blessed with the kingdom while the mighty (the Pharisees and lawyers) are not. What was the difference between them? 6. In a cryptic reference to a school yard taunt (vv. 31-32), Jesus illustrates how some people (like the self-righteous Pharisees) simply do not like the good news of the Kingdom of God in Christ Jesus. The invitation from John is rejected because hes to pessimistic. The invitation from Jesus is rejected because hes too optimistic. How is Gods wisdom displayed in those who respond to the invitation of the Kingdom of God? Read 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 for another passage the helps shine light on this passage. 7. The Pharisees thought Jesus was too joyful because he came eating and drinking. The celebratory nature of Jesus was too much to handle. Look at him! they say. A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners! No doubt with this slur, the Pharisees are trying to paint Jesus in the most negative light possible. Since Jesus was without sin, we know that he was never drunk or gluttonous. Yet nevertheless, he seemed to be partying with all the wrong people. How is it Good News if you are a tax collector or a sinner that Jesus wants to be your friend? That he wants to celebrate with you? How does that illustrate the nature of the Kingdom of God? Notice: this note beautifully sets up the next passage in Luke (vv. 36-50) in which Jesus forgives a woman who everyone knew to be a sinner. What do we learn about Jesus movement towards us in this? Could there be any better news than that Jesus is the friend of sinners? 8. In the application section of this study, Pastor John said, Prize Christs Kingdom above your own. What did he mean by this? How do we sometimes confuse our own little kingdoms with Christs? 9. In a poem by Bobbie Mason, the words relate something very powerful: God is too wise to be mistaken / God is too good to be unkind / When you dont understand / When you cant see his hand / When you cant trust his plan trust his heart. How does this help illustrate what is at stake when we are tempted to doubt God? How does the Cross of Jesus Christ forever settle for us the goodness and trustworthiness of God? Conclusion: What is the one thing you want to take away from this study to remember or to make a change in your life? How does this text help you understand your need for Jesus? How does this text challenge you to follow him?

Renewing your mind: John 15:13, 15 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.