Week 2: See All the People
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, tell a story of when you felt overlooked. If your group is willing to be vulnerable, ask the group members to share a story of a time when they might have overlooked somebody else.
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes)
- When Jesus saw the crowds, in v. 36, what did he see? [People in need of guidance and in need.] What is the difference between seeing with our eyes and seeing with our hearts when it comes to truly seeing others? [We can “see” with our eyes without full consciousness and awareness of others’ needs due to many factors, including being preoccupied with our own busyness, self-interest, or issues. When we “see” with our “heart,” we are conscientious of others’ needs and desires. It often takes deliberate attentiveness to truly “see” others for more than how they can benefit us.]
- After Jesus notes the size of the harvest and the lack of laborers, what does he do next? [Jesus authorizes and sends out the twelve in ministry.] Do you think they were ready? How might that relate to how ready we feel to be sent in ministry?
- Why might it be important that Matthew lists the names of these twelve disciples? [Gives specificity. Since there are twelve, it is a deliberate echo of the twelve tribes of Israel.] Among other things, we learn by Matthew’s listing these names that they are a diverse group (fishermen, a tax collector, and even a Cananean. Matthew, a tax collector, and Judas, who betrayed Jesus and elsewhere identified as Iscariot, would likely have been on the opposite end of the political spectrum of the time.) What might this say about the make of disciples today? [They come from all walks of life, nationalities, and from across the political spectrum.]
- In verses 9:35 and 10:7, the content of preaching, whether from Jesus or the disciples, is the “kingdom of heaven.” Take some time as a group to talk about what the “kingdom of heaven” would have meant then and what it means now. [The Jewish people held a diverse set of beliefs about the Temple, about the Torah, and about Israel’s relationship with Rome. They all desired God’s kingdom to come in fullness. Jesus’ message matched their deepest desire and hopes. Yet, Jesus’ teachings (Sermon on the Mount, Parables, etc.), life, and death illustrate that the kingdom would look different from the way these groups expected. It would come through the seemingly insignificant (mustard seeds, etc.) but would be worth giving their lives for. It was being birthed among them (“the kingdom of God is at hand”), as signified in acts of healing, (as we see in verse 8). The kingdom of God was achieved when all creation would come into order, justice, and righteousness, led by the divine king who would defeat the forces of evil. Today, kingdom language is awkward, especially for those living in a democracy. Yet, we too long for order, justice, and righteousness and for the forces of sin and death to be defeated. We live, praying for God’s kingdom (dominion or realm) to come in fullness, even while experiencing glimpses of it now.]
- What might it look like for your church to be more intentional about seeing all the people in your community?
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes). Ask for a volunteer to lead the group or read the following prayer in unison:
God of compassion, you have given yourself to us in Jesus Christ and you continue to be present to us through the Holy Spirit. Give us the eyes of faith to see those who are in need, those who are hungering, those who are grieving, those who are suffering from the weight of isolation, and those in need of your healing presence. Help us to serve, not with the intent to fix or solve, but as you have modeled for us, to be present. Amen.