This week's Small Group Guide is composed of questions from this week's GPS Guide. The questions relate to the Scripture for that particular day. You can download the full week's GPS as a printable document for the context of each question below (in the printable version, the recommended small group questions are marked with a special bullet point).
The light, the vision of Moses and Elijah, the dazzling white clothes--all were impressive. But the deepest impression came from the voice that said, "This is my Son, whom I dearly love. Listen to him!" With ups and downs, the disciples obeyed that voice for the rest of their lives. What does it mean for you to listen to Jesus today? Are you willing to do it?
Wright noted that we need Jesus' teaching as much as his first-century disciples: "Jesus is not leading us on a pleasant afternoon hike, but on a walk into danger and risk. Or did we suppose that the kingdom of God would mean merely a few minor adjustments in our ordinary lives?"* What adjustments has Christ called you to make so far in your ordinary life? What kinds of "danger and risk" might you face in our tolerant 21st-century culture?
Some people see Mark 10:11-12 as making any remarriage after divorce wrong. But when Matthew expanded on Mark’s account, he added that Jesus stated a “faithfulness” exception (cf. Matthew 19:9). Paul saw abandonment as another valid reason for divorce (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:15). And Jesus' outreach to an oft-married woman (cf. John 4:16-26) showed that nothing in our past cuts us off from God’s grace and love. What makes it important to know that God never wants anyone stuck in a severely hurtful marriage? Given that, why is there value in making and seeking to keep marriage vows with integrity?
To help us understand the specific focus of Jesus' words, it’s important to remember that God did NOT tell every affluent person in the Bible to sell all they had (e.g. Abraham in the Old Testament, Zacchaeus in Luke 19). What was the heart issue Jesus wanted the young man to face up to? What made it so hard for him to respond to Jesus' call? This story, including Jesus' at first startling images, confronts us with the hard question, “Which of my possessions, if any, are so precious to me that I’d choose them over following Jesus?” We know how the young man answered the question, turning away from the “treasure in heaven” Jesus offered. Have you ever seriously wrestled with that question? How would you answer Jesus?
* N. T. Wright, Mark for Everyone. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004, p. 112.
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