In the Bible class I lead on Sunday mornings, we’re currently studying some of the surprising ways of Jesus. We’re using William Willimon’s fine little book entitled Why Jesus? as our outline. Following are a dozen questions I plan to use as fodder for discussion in the 20/20 class tomorrow morning. They go along with chapter 7 in WIllimon’s book.
I’ve long been a big fan of Willimon for he never fails to feed my head. However, I do believe this chapter is one of the finest things I’ve ever seen come from his pen. Access to this chapter alone is worth purchasing the book. It’s thoughtful, potent, challenging stuff. Get a copy and devour it!
1. Family is the most important thing in life for it’s the glue that holds things together. If our country was just full of healthy, happy families, everything would be good. True? False? Comment.
2. Make a list. Recall everything you possibly can about Jesus’ biological family, their interactions with Jesus, and what Jesus had to do with them. What does this say to you?
3. Make another list. What all did Jesus say about himself, family and a life following God?
4. What surprises you the most about what Jesus said about family life?
5. What is silent about regarding the family? What surprises you the most about what Jesus did not say about the family?
6. Jesus said: “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus. Turning to them, he said, ‘Whoever comes to me and doesn’t hate father and mother, spouse and children, and brothers and sisters—yes, even one’s own life—cannot be my disciple.’ I’ve come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. People’s enemies are members of their own households. Those who love father or mother more than me aren’t worthy of me. Those who love son or daughter more than me aren’t worthy of me.” (Luke 14.25-26; Matthew 10.35-37) What does Jesus mean by this? What practical and specific application does this have to you?
7. Did it cost you something in terms of your family life to become a Christian? Tell us about it; elaborate.
8. Engage this quote: “Aside to Jesus: You know, don’t you, that today’s younger generations are decidedly suspicious of institutions and organizations? They like you but don’t care for your body, the church. That you became a new family, that you located among a gathering of sinners, that you made the poor, old church to be a sign of you in the world may be the most difficult thing for them to believe about you.” Has there ever been a time this wasn’t the case? If it’s more true than ever now, how is that? What’s the best response the church can give, given such awareness?
9. Which is more like “family” to you: your immediate family or your church family? Why?
10. Engage this quote: “To become a Christian, to have your life taken over by Jesus, is to be joined into a family, a people convened by the ‘water and spirit,’ a family bigger and better than your biological family.”
11. You live in a country rife with persecution of Christians and you’re a member of an underground church. One evening your home is invaded by a small mob of people denouncing you and your faith. A child of yours is instantly shot dead before your eyes. Someone holds a gun to your wife’s head and says: “Deny Christ now or she’s dead, too!” What do you do? Why?
12. Complete this sentence: “If I love God supremely, for my family I will __________.”