Welcome to the first week of our summer series, Dinner with Jesus. This week, we discuss Jesus’ invitation to Levi and the events surrounding it.
Building healthy and life-giving relationships.
What has been new or challenging in your life since last time the group met? Spend 20–30 minutes checking in with each other.
Share Part of Your Story
What’s a memorable dinner party you’ve attended?
An important part of a safe environment is correct expectations. If you haven’t already, take some time to discuss your group rhythm for this summer so everyone is on the same page.
Taking next steps toward Christ together.
Have someone read Luke 5:27-32 aloud. What are the key events?
Levi is a tax collector. How did people feel about tax collectors? What was the reputation of a tax collector?
Jesus mingled with outsiders. This can sound a bit warm and fuzzy until we realize that some people are outsiders because of the hurt or damage they have caused, like tax collectors. Why do you think Jesus hanging out with these people was a challenging issue for some of the people around him?
Sometimes we think we don’t measure up to Jesus’ standards. Or, we think we’ve made a mistake so big Jesus could never love us again. How does Jesus’ invitation to Levi challenge those thoughts? Do you feel like there is something in your life that keeps Jesus from accepting you?
Levi got up, left everything and followed Jesus. Pastor Jeff Manion challenged us with the idea that you cannot “follow” without “leaving.” Is there something in your life that you feel like Jesus is asking you to leave? What would it look like for you to take a step this week to leave that?
Luke portrays Jesus as either coming from a meal, eating a meal or going to a meal. It appears that one of Jesus’ strategies for reaching people was to eat a meal with them. Why do you think Jesus ministered to people through meals?
Pastor Jeff said there is a massive opportunity to use shared meals for relationship building in which spiritual growth and turnarounds could take place. What do you think he means?
How does our culture value or devalue eating meals with others? Is it something you feel like you do regularly?
What are some steps you could take to begin incorporating sharing a meal with others into your regular schedule? How could you keep it simple?
Why is it such a big deal that Jesus and his followers are eating with tax collectors and sinners?
What did the religious system of that time say you had to do before you could be accepted? How is this different from the message Jesus brought?
Jesus seemed to be willing to eat with people as they were changing, while they were changing, before they changed and with the hope that they would some day change. How does it make you feel hearing that? How can we follow Jesus’ example?
Discuss the statement, “everybody’s lost, everybody’s loved and everybody’s welcomed at the table.” What does that statement mean to you? How can that be an invitation that you extend out to those around you in a practical way?
Jesus’ invitation to Levi and the meal that follows show us his love for all people. Where have you been challenged through this conversation? Who are you going to share a meal with this week?
INVEST IN OTHERS
Valuing people outside the group and outside the faith.
Discuss how you and your group can better engage the people in your life outside your small group.
Summer is a good time to invite someone to join your small group. While your group may not be meeting as regularly, often the social get-togethers provide a friendly environment for someone new. As a group, consider whether there is anyone you could invite to join your group this summer.
Download a printable PDF here.