Study Guide Week One
A key thought here is that spiritual habits are good but we can easily forget the purpose for them; then the habits, instead of bringing life, just become rituals.
Jesus came to do three basic things. First Jesus came to die as a sacrifice for our sins and to bring us to God. Second Jesus came to build a team of followers and train them to build God's kingdom once He was gone. Thirdly Jesus came to demonstrate to us what it means to have a relationship with God and how to live a life for God.
In other words Jesus came as an example for us to imitate.
The Jews had drifted far away from God's purpose for them (to be a light in a dark world) and instead turned a relationship with God into a list of rules and rituals - a religion. All of the conflict that Jesus faced in His time on earth was related to this basic issue. The issue is 'what does God require of us?' The Pharisees and teachers of the law believed that by following rules they would please God. Jesus taught that the 'rules' rightly understood were ways that God used to restore us and empower us to restore others in this broken world.
Some Background Information
Jesus came to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God (salvation), to heal the sick, and to deliver those controlled by evil forces and demonic spirits. The Kingdom of God is to demonstrate God's power. The following are a few of the miracles found just in the book of Luke; 7:21; 13:13; 17:14; 2:51. There are many more in the other gospels (Matthew, Mark, John). The followers of Jesus - his disciples - also performed works of power in Jesus' name (Acts 3:7; 5:16; 9:34; 14:10; 16:18; 19:12; 28:8).
The church and followers of Jesus have the same power available to them today. Our call is to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, heal the sick and deliver people from evil. We must guard ourselves from turning an amazing and exciting movement of God into just a boring ritual or habit we do on Sundays.
Digging Deeper Questions
As a group, come up with a one sentence purpose statement for the Christian life.
Do the same for a church, and for your Point of Light group.
Describe and discuss the scene in verses 1-5. What are your insights?
Describe the scene and action in verses 6-11?
Put yourself in the place of the man with the shriveled hand. What do you think he was feeling before Jesus spoke? After Jesus called him to stand? When Jesus told him to stretch out his hand? After his hand was healed?
What was the point Jesus was making in this incident? Put the point in today's terms.
Why was there opposition to Jesus' point and message?
What opportunities do you see in your life to do good and effect someone else?
This Week’s Victory Challenge:
Pray and look for opportunities this week to do good to others in Jesus' name. Report on your week at the next meeting.