Study Guide - Changing the World God's Way - Week 2
What is God like? We don't see God so how can we know what God is like? People have many different opinions and ideas about what God is like. One of the reasons Jesus came was to show us what God is like. Hebrews chapter 1 verse 3 says this: The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being. Thus by looking at what Jesus did and said we learn what God is like.
Followers of Jesus are called to be like Jesus. This is called being Christ-like. So a key point is to know what Jesus is like so we can be like him. The four books in the Bible known as the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) give us a great picture of what Jesus was like. By studying them we learn what God is like and what God wants us to be like. Jesus was constantly teaching His followers lessons in teachable moments. In this incident in Luke 5:12-16 (also recorded in Matthew 8:2-4 and Mark 1:40-44) Jesus teaches His followers a powerful lesson about compassion for others.
Some Background Information
Leprosy was a skin disease that had no cure and was contagious meaning it spread on contact. People with leprosy were considered unclean and were completely avoided by other people. I fact they were required to yell out "Unclean, Unclean" when they came near people as a way to warn them. In fact it was against the law for a person with leprosy to come into a town or be near healthy people. This man was thus violating the law.
Religious people particularly had nothing to do with people who had leprosy. The religious people considered people with leprosy unclean and cursed by God. If a religious person touched a person with leprosy then the religious person would be considered unclean also.
Luke who was a doctor notes that the man was full of leprosy and thus a very bad case. Jesus by healing this man reveals that God is compassionate and suffers with those who suffer. Jesus also shows that no disease is beyond his ability to cure. Jesus tells the man to present himself to the priest and make the offering required by the Jewish law thus indicating that Jesus did not intend to get rid of the law but rather show that mercy and compassion are not opposed to the law and that the law must be combined with compassion.
Digging Deeper Questions
1. As a group come up with a definition of what it means to be compassionate. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest) where would you rate yourself in terms of compassion?
2. Describe the scene and action in verses 12-16. Discuss the significance of the fact that the man had leprosy. What must his life have been like?
3. What was the man's attitude and question when he came to Jesus?
4. How does Jesus respond? What does Jesus do? What do we learn about Jesus from this scene? Why did Jesus touch the man?
5. Who are some outcasts in our society today? How can you show compassion to them?
6. What effect did this incident have on the people? Why do you think Jesus withdrew to quiet places to pray with so much need all around Him?
7. What do you learn about God from this study? What do you want to apply?
This Week’s Victory Challenge
Be deliberate this week as you go through your week and look for opportunities to show compassion to people.