SESSION WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY? LIFE IN CHRIST THE SETTING LUKE 9:18-26

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1 SESSION 1 LIFE IN CHRIST THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE People find different ways to define their lives. Family gives my life meaning; work gives my life purpose; life is whatever I make it to be. The truth is that we only have real meaning and lasting purpose when our lives are grounded in Christ. All things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together (Col. 1:16-17). All of life is wrapped up in Jesus. THE POINT My identity is found in Christ. THE PASSAGE Luke 9:18-26 WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY? LUKE 9: Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, Who do the crowds say that I am? 19 And they answered, John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen. 20 Then he said to them, But who do you say that I am? And Peter answered, The Christ of God. 21 And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 23 And he said to all, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. THE SETTING Luke 9 records Jesus commissioning of the Twelve disciples (vv. 1-6); the disciples traveled from village to village ministering in Jesus name. Jesus then miraculously fed over 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish (vv ). These events were bringing more and more attention to Jesus as He carried out His public ministry. About midway through His earthly ministry, Jesus gathered His disciples to discuss His identity and its implications for their lives. 88 SESSION 1 For free online training on how to lead a group visit MinistryGrid.com/web/ BibleStudiesForLife For free Midweek Options for your group, visit lifeway.com/bsflftwspr17

2 PREPARE LEADER LIVE IT OUT Life in Christ Luke 9:18-26 The fact that you re leading a group of students, helping them to grow in their faith, says a lot about you. You understand what it means to love Jesus and serve the church. But for even the most devoted among us, Luke 9:23 has a way of punching us in the face. If we want to follow Jesus, we must: Y Deny those things we would selfishly desire Y Choose to put ourselves daily on the cross Not one of us is perfect, and there are areas of our lives that, in order to please God, must be put to death. As you prepare this week, celebrate the ways God has refined you, but also be mindful of the specific sins you may be holding onto. As you humble yourself for the sake of God s purifying work in your life, you ll have a clearer perspective on how to help your students grow in their devotion to God. students grow in their devotion to God. ONE CONVERSATION ONE CONVERSATION Scripture: Luke 9:18-26 Topic: Life in Christ THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: People find different ways to define their lives. Family gives my life meaning; work gives my life purpose; life is whatever I make it to be. The truth is that we only have real meaning and lasting purpose when our lives are grounded in Christ. All things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together (Col. 1:16-17). All of life is wrapped up in Jesus. THE POINT: My identity is found in Christ. What word or phrase do people use to describe you? What are some words or phrases people use to describe Jesus today? What would your reaction have been to hearing Jesus instructions as one of His disciples? What does it look like on a practical level to daily take up a cross and deny ourselves? Discuss the following quote: The Christian life is the life of the Lord Jesus Christ lived two thousand years ago, lived now by Him in you! 1 W. Ian Thomas 1. W. Ian Thomas, At His Disposal, Christ in You Ministries, [accessed 13 September 2016]. Available from the Internet: LIVE IT OUT: Your student has been encouraged to take practical steps to take his or her faith and Live It Out in the Personal Study Guide. Here are some ways you can encourage your students to live out their faith with Christ personally, in community, and in their culture: Y Christ: Alongside your student, consider some of the sacrifices Jesus has made for you and the sacrifices He is calling you to make. Y Community: Make a commitment with your student this week to die to your self and live for Jesus. Encourage one another as you live out this challenge. Y Culture: Chose someone in your community that you and your student can be a witness to and sacrifice for the gospel. 1 2 Prepare: While you prepare for this session, it is critical to allow the truth of Scripture to challenge your heart. God works in our hearts as we teach others His Word. Follow Up: Don t forget to text a picture of the One Conversation section to parents or post it on Facebook and tag them after the session. This will equip them for further family discussion. BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 89

3 ENGAGE (15 MINUTES) THE POINT MY IDENTITY IS FOUND IN CHRIST. 1 2 Engage: Begin the session with one or more of the Engage Options on the next page (optional). Discuss: Ask students, What word or phrase do people use to describe you? 3 Guide: Call attention to The Point. Keep coming back to it throughout the session. 4 Read: Summarize the Bible Meets Life for your group. 5 Pray: Transition into the session by praying that God would help students to understand the significance of Jesus as the Messiah. 90 SESSION 1

4 ENGAGE OPTIONS LEAD WITH ACTION Have every student answer the following descriptions of themselves on separate sheets of paper: Favorite Activity, Hair Color, Height, Outfit, Eye Color, and any others you desire. Draw and read the descriptions of 10 students, and select three contestants to guess who each is describing. The one who correctly guesses the most wins. LEAD WITH ATMOSPHERE Print out words that describe Jesus and display them throughout the room. As students enter, have them spend time looking at each of the words. Say, What do these words say about the character of Jesus? The world has many things to say about Jesus, but that doesn t always line up with the Bible s description of Jesus. LEAD WITH MEDIA Search the Internet for Background Change in Photoshop Timelapse. Play the video as you begin the session. Say, It s hard to know the truth about someone at first glance, because we can create an image we want others to see. People should look at us and see Jesus, because that is where we find our identity. NOTE: Always make sure you preview any video clip you show students and ensure that it is appropriate for your church and ministry. FOR YOUNGER STUDENTS Blindfold three students on the stage. Bring up an additional student from the audience and describe him or her (height, hair color, eye color, outfit, interests, etc.). The first of the blindfolded students to guess correctly gets a point. The first student to three points wins. SECOND OPTION Play a slideshow on the screen with words that describe Jesus as the students are finding their seats. You may also accompany this with a song, such as Chris Tomlin s Indescribable. After the video is finished, say, What do these words say about the character of Jesus? The world has many things to say about Jesus, but these don t always line up with the Bible s description of Jesus. LEADER PACK ELEMENTS If you have the optional Leader Pack, consider one of the following: DVD: Play the Unit 2 Session 1 DVD opener to draw everyone to the main point of the session. Item 6: Use the Unit 2 Identity poster to begin introducing students to the new unit and the main point that our identity and life is found in Christ. BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 91

5 IMPART (10 MINUTES) THE POINT MY IDENTITY IS FOUND IN CHRIST Ask: Read the question and encourage students to respond. Read: Invite a student to read the passage aloud. Discuss: Share these introductory thoughts then ask students to fill in the blanks. Discuss their answers. John the Baptist Elijah An ancient prophet returned 4 Explain: Help students understand the significance of so many refusing to acknowledge Jesus as Savior. 5 6 Connect: Help students connect the main ideas to their lives, allowing them time to answer the final question. Engage: Encourage students to engage via social media. 92 SESSION 1

6 COMMENTARY LUKE 9:18-20 Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, Who do the crowds say that I am? And they answered, John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen. Then he said to them, But who do you say that I am? And Peter answered, The Christ of God. LUKE 9:18-20 Verse 18. Jesus is God s Son, the Messiah. Jesus was praying alone as often was His custom (Luke 5:16). The statement that Jesus disciples were with him may mean He rejoined them after His time of prayer and solitude. The question Jesus asked them required no commitment on their part. They merely had to report what they had heard regarding the crowds who followed Jesus and listened to His teaching. Verse 19. The disciples answered Jesus in accordance with His question. Some considered Jesus might be a reappearance of John the Baptist. This apparently was the view of Herod Antipas (4 B.C. A.D. 39) about Jesus at least at one point (Matt. 14:1-2). By this time, Herod had put John to death (vv. 6-12). The disciples offered the name Elijah as another opinion they had heard. Elijah was a mighty prophet who served God faithfully in the days of wicked King Ahab and Queen Jezebel (1 Kings 17 19). The prophet Malachi predicted that Elijah would appear before the great and terrible day of the Lord (Mal. 4:5-6). Perhaps some assumed Jesus played the role of Elijah in announcing the day of God s judgment. The disciples also provided a more vague answer; perhaps Jesus was one of the ancient prophets of long ago. Matthew also includes the fact that the disciples suggested Jeremiah (Matt. 16:14). We should understand Luke s commentary as more of a summary. The disciples had heard well, and were able to report to Jesus a wide range of opinion regarding His identity. How you answer this question is central to your own identity: Who is Jesus? #ChristID Verse 20. The words turned Jesus question in the direction of the disciples. The Lord asked them to respond to the question who do you say that I am? It was the most important question Jesus would ever ask His disciples, and it is the most important question we can ever answer as well. Today, many people recognize Jesus as a great moral teacher, as a prophet, or perhaps at least as a significant person of history. But is He more? Who do you say He is? The text does not reveal whether the other disciples said anything to Jesus more personal question. However, Peter answered clearly and unmistakably; Jesus was God s Messiah! By his answer, Peter affirmed that Jesus was the fulfillment of God s redemptive purpose. The Hebrew word mashiach from which we get our word Messiah literally means anointed one. Kings of Israel sometimes had this title ( anointed, 1 Sam. 24:6,10; Anointed One, Ps. 2:2). The high priest also carried this title ( anointed, Lev. 4:3). Prophets also received God s anointing (1 Kings 19:16). However, Jesus stands as God s ultimate Messiah in that He provides the fulfillment of all three of these important offices. He fulfilled a prophetic ministry while on earth as He brought God s message to His people (Matt. 21:10-11). He fulfilled the priestly office by offering Himself as the perfect sacrifice for sin (Heb. 10:10-14). He intercedes for us now as our great High Priest in heaven (7:25). He fulfills the kingly role in that He hails from the line of David (Luke 1:32) and one day will return as King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 19:11-16). BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 93

7 IMPART (10 MINUTES) THE POINT MY IDENTITY IS FOUND IN CHRIST. 1 Do: Direct students to complete the activity and discuss as a group. 2 Read: Invite a student to read the passage Summarize: Share introductory thoughts. Ask: Read the question, then allow students the opportunity to respond. Discuss: Summarize this section. 6 Connect: Help students understand the disappointment the disciples felt, contrasted by the hope found in Jesus promised resurrection. 94 SESSION 1

8 COMMENTARY LUKE 9:21-22 And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. LUKE 9:21-22 Verse 21. Jesus took up His cross for us. Peter correctly assessed Jesus identity. One might think once the disciples knew Jesus identity, He would have sent them forth to proclaim it. Surprisingly, He strictly warned them not to tell anyone. Why would Jesus instruct His followers to withhold the truth from people to whom they ministered? The answer was one of context and timing. In the Old Testament, prophecies about the Messiah were many. Some of the prophecies predicted the Messiah would establish an earthly kingdom (Isa. 11:1-10; Jer. 23:5-6). The Jewish people felt the pain of Roman oppression and longed for their freedom. Consequently, they held dear those sacred passages that spoke of a political Messiah who would one day reign over all the earth and establish Israel as a prominent nation. However, other passages depicted the Messiah as a suffering Servant. The prophet Isaiah also spoke of a Messiah who quietly accomplished God s purpose (Isa. 42:1-4). This Messiah would suffer greatly and even die at the hands of wicked people (53:7-9). He would suffer in place of God s people and for their sins (vv. 4-6). Unfortunately, in a day of Roman oppression, many Israelites probably preferred to cling to the hope of a coming reigning king who would overthrow Rome. Therefore, it is likely Jesus wanted His disciples to withhold the information about His true identity as Messiah until the appropriate day came to proclaim it. Verse 22. Jesus then began to rehearse for His disciples what events would take place in the coming days. Coming in the wake of Peter s confession, these words probably seemed out of place and certainly undesirable. Nonetheless, Jesus knew His disciples needed to hear them. Jesus described Himself as the Son of Man. The expression essentially denotes a member of the human race. Ezekiel used it to describe himself over ninety times (Ezek. 2:1; 3:1; 4:1). Daniel also used the expression to describe a heavenly being who appeared before God to receive a kingdom that would never pass away (Dan. 7:13-14). All the nations of the world would serve and worship that Son of Man! Jesus told His disciples that He must suffer many things. Again, the prophet Isaiah described the Messiah as one who would suffer much (Isa. 53:4-12). Jesus described how He would be rejected by the Jewish leadership. The term elders here denotes a group of leaders. The term chief priests designates especially influential members of the priesthood who served in the temple in Jerusalem. Jesus also mentioned rejection by the teachers of the law. These were the keepers of the sacred tradition and some comprised part of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish leadership council. Jesus would do more than suffer; He would be killed. Jesus later would clarify He would die by crucifixion (20:19). This was not something the disciples wanted to hear. Jesus also shared with His followers that He would be raised on the third day. He repeated the concept of His resurrection to His disciples on other occasions as well (v. 19; Luke 24:6-7). However, the disciples clearly failed to take it to heart. When Jesus was arrested, His disciples ran terrified into the night, unaware that the dawn of the resurrection lay just ahead (Matt. 26:56). BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 95

9 Do: Allow students time to finish the optional Action Point (p. 84) in the PSG. Read: Invite a student to read the passage aloud. Discuss: Summarize the section and invite students to respond. Explain: Share your thoughts on this section, emphasizing how the seeming contradiction is absolutely true. Ask: Read the question and discuss your responses. Do: Have students write their answers, and help them identify ways to apply these truths to their lives. Do: Direct students to complete the Action Point. Discuss your answers. IMPART (10 MINUTES) THE POINT MY IDENTITY IS FOUND IN CHRIST. 96 SESSION 1

10 COMMENTARY LUKE 9:23-26 And he said to all, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. LUKE 9:23-26 Verse 23. Following Jesus means taking up our cross daily. Jesus had just given His disciples what certainly sounded like terrible news. He was going to die! However, Jesus wasn t finished. Next, He described the life to which He called His followers. Jesus called anyone who wanted to come with Him to radical obedience. Jesus seeks people who will follow Him wherever He leads. Jesus asked anyone who wanted to follow Him to do three things. First, let him deny himself. Jesus called His followers to a life of self-denial, laying aside personal agendas and priorities so they may fully obey Him. Second, Jesus instructed His would-be followers to take up his cross daily. In other words, following Jesus means a willingness to die. We should be ready to die with respect to our own priorities and agendas. At the same time, church history, even to the present day, is full of people who have willingly paid the ultimate price to follow Jesus. Third, Jesus instructed His would-be disciples to follow Him. He provided no destination and no further details; He only instructed that they follow Him. Verse 24. The world then, as the world now, offered values conflicting with God s. Many sought wealth, power, and prestige to find meaning in life, but all of these ultimately would prove dead ends. Jesus said one who sought to save his life through doing such things would lose it. At the end of life, such people would see all their aspirations and things in which they had placed value crumble to dust. Jesus contrasted such people with the individual who loses his life for the sake of following Jesus. Such a person would save it because he or she had aligned with God s purpose through Jesus. Tip: Remind students that God wants what is best for them, but sometimes that doesn t look how they think it should. Verse 25. Jesus then clarified what He had just said. His opening words indicate where the question is going. Even if someone gains the whole world, Jesus indicated the person had no real gain, because the one who does so loses or forfeits himself. Jesus was describing someone who failed to gain eternal life because he had placed too great a value in the wrong things. He had discounted the call of Christ to pursue other things he deemed important. In the end, Jesus said, he would lose it all. Verse 26. Jesus recognized that no one could be completely sold out to Him and yet embrace all the world had to offer. Whoever found themselves ashamed of Jesus and His words would be in such a state because they woefully underestimated the value of following Jesus. Instead, they placed confidence in things the world offered them. Jesus described the sad outcome that lay ahead. The Son of Man will be ashamed of all who were ashamed of Him and His words! The expression when he comes in his glory describes Jesus second coming, when He returns to gather His people and be with them forever (Matt. 24:31; 1 Thess. 4:16-17). The majesty of that day will be shared by the Father and the holy angels. In the day of Jesus appearing, only what we have done for Jesus will matter. BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 97

11 IMPACT (10 MINUTES) THE POINT MY IDENTITY IS FOUND IN CHRIST. 1 Discuss: Read and discuss the quote with students. 2 Guide: The Christ portion of the Live It Out section encourages students to dig deeply into God s Word and examine their motives for serving others. Remember the Bible Reading Plan provides students with a custom reading plan to stay in God s Word and follows along with each session. 98 SESSION 1

12 IMPACT 3 Guide: As you guide your students through the Community section, remember to emphasize the importance of community with believers outside of group Guide: The Culture section equips students to apply this session to their lives every week. Help students see themselves and others through the lens of God s Word to develop a lifestyle of investing in others for the gospel. Pray: As you close, pray that God would reveal the areas where each student needs to sacrifice their own desires for the sake of the gospel. Follow Up: This week connect with students by sending a handwritten note to let them know you are praying for them. BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 99

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