Welcome to week seven of our fall sermon series called A Doubter’s Guide to Jesus. This week we look at what it means that Jesus became the new temple. This conversation helps us see what he did, who he claimed to be and what that means for us.
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
If you could visit one religious site in the world (temple, cathedral, church) what would it be? Why?
Where would you like to grow spiritually in the next month? How can your group be praying for that?
Taking next steps toward Christ together.
Chapter Nine of John Dickson’s book A Doubter’s Guide to Jesus is called “Temple: The Relocation of God’s Presence.” Flip back through the chapter and share with your group what stuck out to you.
As a group, take turns reading Mark 2:1-13 aloud. Recap what’s going on in the story.
A Holy Space
The temple was laid out with different courts where only certain people could enter. What are some of the courts the temple had? How did these courts shout “I don’t belong there”?
The temple served as the center of religious life. What did you have to do to be forgiven in the first century? How do you think this made the average person feel? What would you feel like if you had to do something like this today?
A Shocking Claim
The paralyzed man is lowered into the house. What does Jesus say to him? Is that what you would’ve expected Jesus to say? How do the people react?
What does Jesus bypass by offering the man forgiveness? What does Jesus do next to show he has the power to forgive sins?
John Dickson says Jesus functioned as a “mobile temple.” What does he mean by this? What other Jesus stories show him acting as a “mobile temple”?
According to Romans 10:13, what do we need to do to be forgiven? What does it mean? How can we do it?
Have someone read aloud Ephesians 2:13. How is Jesus’ message radically different from the message of the temple?
Have someone read Galatians 3:28 aloud. What temple barriers does this passage imply that Jesus changed? How should it change the way we relate to people? Where do you need to remove barriers between people in your life?
Jesus changed the way we relate to God. Instead of God dwelling in a sacred space, his presence is everywhere his followers are. God in his people makes it sacred—not the space. How is this different than worship in the first century? What about other religions? Why is this important?
Discuss the following statement: Everybody enters by the same door—desperately lost, deeply loved, and rescued by grace.
Through his death on the cross, Jesus opened up the chance for us to have a relationship with God. He asks us to draw near to him. What are some ways we can draw near to God? How do you draw near to God in your life?
Today’s conversation was about Jesus as Temple. What was new to you? How does Jesus as temple change your view of Jesus? What’s a step you can take this week to accept his offer to forgive sins, break down barriers or draw near to God?
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 discussing how our group could serve those around us. Continue that discussion today. Has someone owned it? Is it scheduled? Continue to work toward a specific time and place where you can put this plan into motion. What steps need to be taken after today?
Download a printable PDF here.