Week 3: Open-Mouthed Tourists
Fellowship – Snacks or a Meal (10 minutes with snacks; longer, obviously, if there is a meal).
Gathering Time (5-10 minutes). In groups of two or three, have participants respond to the question, “What are you most easily distracted by?”
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes). Read: Luke 21:5-19.
- It is hard for us to enter the disciples’ shoes to grasp just how shocking Jesus’ declaration about the Temple’s destruction (which did occur roughly fifty 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 to lead lives of 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 do we learn about God from this passage?
- What do we learn about humanity from this passage?
- How might we be called to engage our community after reading this passage?
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes). End by praying the following or a 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 witnesses to your ways. Amen.