Week 2: The Word Is Near You
Fellowship – Snacks or a Meal (10 minutes with snacks; longer, obviously, if there is a meal).
Gathering Time (5-10 minutes). In pairs or groups of three, share something that you are celebrating or that you are excited about.
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes)
- As in last week’s passage from Matthew, we see Jesus take time to be alone. What is the difference between isolation and solitude? [In isolation, we feel alone and possibly even abandoned. In solitude, we are confident of our status as beloved, while being assured in our relationships, even as we are not physically present with others.] How can solitude be a gift?
- What did the sea represent for Jews at this time (and many other ancient people groups)? [The sea was a terrifying place that was absent of God and a source of death.] How might this explain the disciples’ fear in verse 26? How does this also reveal the faith displayed by Peter in verse 28?
- Why might it be significant that this story ends with the disciples in the boat worshiping Jesus? [They were Jews who know only to worship God alone. It reveals their growing awareness of who Jesus was.]
- What do we learn about the disciples from this story? What do we learn about Jesus from this story? [Jesus has power even over the sea!]
- In Romans 10, Paul counsels his readers that the righteousness of faith is not seen in extraordinary acts (ascending into heaven or descending into the abyss), but by living in faith (v.5). Notice Paul’s repetition of the word “proclaim” (or “preach” in some translations). Beyond the assurance that the word is near us (v. 8), Paul is also instructing his readers that they are to be proclaiming the word that is near us. How is this affirmation by Paul that the word is near us, both comforting and a challenge? [It is comforting that the word is near us. It is challenging in calling us to proclaim it!] Why are so many American Christians hesitant to proclaim the hope they’ve found in Jesus? What might it look like for you to proclaim the good news and have “beautiful feet” (v. 15)?
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes). Ask for a volunteer to lead the group in prayer or read the following prayer in unison:
Almighty God: As we saw in Jesus’ rebuke of the winds and waves, we too rightfully fall down in amazement and worship, knowing your power extends over all. May we take comfort in knowing that you are for us and not against us and that your presence is nearer to us than our very breath. Embolden us to be your messengers with the beautiful feet of the gospel message. Amen.