Welcome to week ten of our fall sermon series called A Doubter’s Guide to Jesus. This week we take a look at the bold claims the gospel writers make in pitting Jesus as the perfect Caesar.
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 are you doing for Thanksgiving this year?
What does it look like for your group to support each other through the holidays?
Taking next steps toward Christ together.
Work together to read through Luke 2:1-14. What are some of the words the angels use to describe Jesus and what he will do?
The Kingdom of Rome
What do you know about the Roman Empire? What comes to your mind when you think of it?
How was the Kingdom of Rome built?
The empire revolved around the emperor. Who was the emperor thought to be?
Discuss this statement: Jesus begins to speak on a stage that was cluttered with the propaganda of the Roman war machine and the Kingdom of Rome.
The Kingdom of Christ
What words do the angels use that would be something that might be said of the emperor?
How do you think a reader of Luke’s gospel would feel when they read those words? What are the angels claiming?
What are some parts of the crucifixion story that include kingdom and king images?
Kingdoms in Conflict
Have someone read aloud Matthew 6:33. What do you think “seek first” implies?
If Jesus is setting himself up as the true king, what does it mean to follow him? What gives him the right to make that claim?
The imperial mechanism of the first century told you to worship and follow the emperor. Today, our culture tells us what we should do and what we should value. What are some things our culture tells us we should do? How is that different from what Jesus tells us to do and value?
Today, our government isn’t an empire or kingdom. We don’t have to worship or swear allegiance to a person. How does that make you feel when you hear the idea that Jesus should be your king or emperor? Do you feel like you know what that actually means?
Discuss this statement from John Dickson’s book, A Doubter’s Guide to Jesus, “The imperial descriptions of Jesus remind us that he is Lord over all things…He has claims, so the New Testament insists, over my finances, my career, my politics, my sex life, my intellect, my leisure, my ambitions, and my family. In short, confessing Christ as emperor is about giving him free reign in one’s life”
Pastor Jeff Manion used a pie tin illustration in his sermon. What was it about? Do you feel like you are giving God a slice or is he the pie tin?
Today’s discussion is mainly about one thing, whether or not we give Jesus reign over our lives. If you’ve never done that, consider giving him control this week. If you have done that in the past, what is one area you find yourself holding back that you want to give Jesus control over? How can you take a step in that direction 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.
This month we are thinking about what it means to connect someone unconnected to our group. Spend some time thinking about the different people you know. Maybe it is a co-worker, a former small group member or someone you serve with. Who might need what your group has? Come up with a plan to invite them to join your group.
Download a printable PDF here.