Week 3 - Shaped by the Reign
Fellowship – Snacks (10 minutes)
Gathering Time (5-10 minutes). In pairs or groups of three, finish the following sentence: “When I encounter change, I feel . . .”
Read: Luke 21:5-19
- It is hard for us to enter into the disciples’ shoes to grasp just how shocking Jesus’ declaration about the temple’s destruction (which did occur roughly 50 years later) would have been. This temple, built mostly by King Herod the Great, would have been a wonder of the world due to its architecture and size. It was also the central hub for Jewish religious life. Jesus gives neither a timeline of when such destruction might occur nor a promise of physical protection (verse 18 can’t mean physical protection because Stephen is martyred in the book of Acts; see also Luke 12:4-7). Rather, he gives examples of events that continue to occur even today. How does Jesus use the disciples’ question at the temple as a teaching moment? [He encourages them into a discipleship of endurance and abiding.]
- What is not as hard for us to grasp is the thought of false prophets proclaiming, “I’m the Messiah” or “The end is near!” We, too, continue to live in a period of turmoil and wars. What do Jesus’ instructions in verses 13-15; 18-19 teach us about the nature and shape of our discipleship? [Our hope is grounded both in what God has done in Jesus and looks forward to the full coming of the reign/kingdom of God. Being a disciple of Jesus does not mean all our troubles will end. In some ways, discipleship to Jesus might make some aspects of life more complex.]
- We are all likely to encounter difficult and dark times. How has your faith helped you to hold on during these times? Have you ever felt the presence of God abiding with you during such dark times?
- What events, routines, or patterns give shape to your life? [Work, school, kids, parents, shopping, leisure activities, etc.] How might the values of the kingdom/reign of God shape how you go about those activities?
- How might trusting in and hoping for the coming kingdom/reign of God invite you to re-evaluate how you go about those activities? Perhaps one way to ask the question is, “Do our activities obscure our ability to notice and extend compassion to others (especially those on the margins), or do our activities enable us to see clearer the hurts and needs of those around us, so that we might be able to extend God’s love?”
- How might the way we live our lives be a witness to our faith in God and the hope we have in the coming kingdom/reign of God?
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes). End by praying the following or similar prayer:
Lord, in ways that we do not understand, your grace is working within us and remaking us into your image. Guide us as we journey from home to work to leisure to friends and family, that we would be mindful of the ways we might be a witness to and for ways your kingdom/reign is bursting among us. Amen.