You were made to
Small Group Questions – Week 3
- Service and mission are both central to a life lived following Jesus, but they tend to be words that we define very differently depending on our experiences and background. What do these words – service & mission – mean to you? And specifically, is your reaction positive or negative?
In Luke, Chapter 14, Jesus is again at the house of a Pharisee, this time he’s called “prominent,” and the house is full of guests. And once again, Jesus is up to something. Read Luke 14.1-6 together.
One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. 2 There in front of him was a man suffering from abnormal swelling of his body. 3 Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” 4 But they remained silent. So, taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him on his way.
5 Then he asked them, “If one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?” 6 And they had nothing to say.
- Jesus immediately makes this about the worth of the man. That doesn’t surprise us – it is Jesus, after all – but why do you think that the Pharisees don’t have anything to say?
- For the Pharisees, the Sabbath was serious business. Perhaps, one possible reaction to this story is that Jesus is saying, “You might have to break the rules in order to serve others.” What examples come to mind of when you (or someone you know) has had to go against the grain in order to impact someone’s life? (the grain could mean social norms, expectations of others, personal hesitancy, etc.)
Read Luke 14.7-14
7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
- Even though they may not realize it, Jesus is still talking about the guy he just healed, and he’s explaining why they didn’t have an answer. So, what do you think Jesus is trying to say in verse 11? And how does that fit into our idea of serving others?
- Jesus is relentless. Now he’s talking about inviting the poor and the crippled. For Jesus, serving goes beyond giving to the poor; it includes inviting them to our homes and to our parties. Why do think it’s important to share our lives and not just our time and resources?
Read Luke 14.15-23
15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”
16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’
23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”
- Jesus is on a roll. This group of party guests isn’t getting the message. The invitation to the Kingdom of God truly is open to everyone. In general, do you think this is the message that church-going people give? What about you? How does your life impact others’ ideas about God?
- It seems as if Jesus is saying that service and mission go hand in hand – at they’re root, they are about inviting people to experience God’s kingdom. Who comes to mind that is in your everyday life that God may be calling you to serve? And beyond those everyday people, where might God be asking you to invite folks to experience His kingdom?
*Ideas & questions with reference to
A Meal with Jesus, Ch. 4, by Tim Chester