- To understand who Jesus is and the amazing life he lived
TEACHER’S GUIDE (tap to view)
PURPOSE OF STUDY
Each study in this series builds on the ones preceding it. Thus far, you’ve covered The Bible, Jesus, Sin and The Good News of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Each of these is an important part of the call to discipleship, and it is here in the series when we present Jesus’ call to “come follow me.”
BOTH LORD AND CHRIST
Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah and our Savior, and we’ve discussed that in the previous studies. In this study, we focus on how he is Lord (King and Master). We cannot accept him as the one and not the other! We point to six passages that all illuminate what it means to really be a follower of Jesus. And since Jesus is our Savior, and since he has come to rescue us from our sin, why wouldn’t we want to be his disciple?
TAKE UP YOUR CROSS DAILY
We point out in Luke 9:23-26 that a disciple takes up their cross daily. What does that phrase mean? It certainly meant a lot more to Jesus’ original audience than it typically does to us. When you ask the person you are studying with how they think these people would have understood Jesus’ call to take up their crosses daily, take that opportunity to remind them about the previous study (The Good News). Those hearing Jesus state these words would have seen crucifixions like that of Jesus. They would know that carrying their cross wasn’t simply to put up with inconveniences or deny themselves some desire. To carry our cross is a death sentence, and one that involves a complete annihilation of self.
IF ANYONE DOES NOT HATE…
The Greek word for “hate” in Luke 14:25-26 certainly does mean to “hate” or “have a strong aversion to.” However, it is also used in the New Testament where it seems to have the sense of “disregard or disfavor,” where preference of one thing is held over another. God is to be held over money (Matthew 6:24). We should live for the eternal life over the present life (John 12:25). Jacob was chosen over Esau by God (Romans 9:13). This is indeed a very strong word, and “hate” is an appropriate translation. But as in these other uses, the point is that Jesus comes before even family!
THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT
Why do we follow Jesus, learn from him, put him first in our lives and deny ourselves? Why do we go and make disciples? Because we love God and love our neighbors! Matthew 22:34-40 is a great verse to conclude a study on discipleship. When asked what matters most, Jesus spoke of love. It’s what matters most to God, and it is the reason we do all that we do as disciples.
MATTHEW 16:13-16 | WHO IS JESUS?
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Q: Who do you say Jesus is?
JOHN 1:1-4, 1 JOHN 1:1-4 | JESUS WAS BOTH HUMAN AND DIVINE
JOHN 1:1-4: 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 1 JOHN 1:1-4 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our[a] joy complete.
- John is speaking of Jesus as “the Word.” Jesus was with God in the beginning, but more than that – he “was God”. Through him all things were made, and he brought the light of God into the darkness. Jesus spoke the very words of God.
- Jesus was also fully human! He could be heard, seen and touched. His followers walked with him, and their message was about all they experienced of his very human life.
Note: Jesus’ teaching and his miracles speak to his divinity (Matthew 4:23-25).
MARK 1:1-8 | JESUS WAS EXPECTED
The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah,[a] the Son of God,[b] 2 as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way”[c] 3 “a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”[d] 4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 6 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptize you with[e] water, but he will baptize you with[f] the Holy Spirit.”
- Many scriptures written long before the time of Christ looked forward to his coming (Isaiah 40:3 is referenced here). God’s people had expected and looked forward to a messiah for many generations!
- John’s God-given role was to prepare the way for Jesus. Imagine hearing the teaching of John – the Messiah was about to arrive!
Q: After generations of waiting, how might it have felt to know that the Messiah was about to arrive?
MATTHEW 7:24-29 | JESUS WAS A REVOLUTIONARY TEACHER
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” 28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
- Jesus’ teachings set him apart, and those who heard him were often amazed! He taught unlike anyone else because he taught with authority.
Let’s look at some of what he taught:
His teaching on purity (Matthew 5:27-30)
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’[a] 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
His teaching on loving your enemies (Matthew 5:43-45)
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
His teaching on the love of money (Matthew 6:24)
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Q: How are Jesus’ teachings still revolutionary for our world today?
JOHN 4:4-9 | JESUS DREW ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE TO HIMSELF
4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. 7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])
- According to the prejudices of his day, Jesus shouldn’t even have been in Samaria, and he certainly shouldn’t have been talking to a Samaritan woman!
- Jesus welcomed and spent his time with children, lepers and social outcasts such as the Samaritans and tax collectors. He loved those who many considered unlovable. He was often ridiculed for the time he spent with “sinners.” Jesus drew all kinds of people to himself, and he is drawing you!
Q: How do you feel about the idea that Jesus is drawing you to himself?
JOHN 13:1-5, 34-35 | JESUS LOVED BEYOND MEASURE
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him… 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
- Washing feet was a humble act of service, a dirty job reserved for lowly household servants. Jesus humbled himself greatly by doing this for his disciples.
- Jesus taught a new standard of love by his actions and called us to that same love.
Q: How is this kind of love different than what we see in the world around us?
MATTHEW 4:18-25 | JESUS CALLED PEOPLE TO FOLLOW HIM
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him. 21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. Jesus Heals the Sick 23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis,[a] Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.
- Jesus called people to follow him, to walk with him, to learn from him and to imitate his life. People of all walks of life and lifestyles followed him. His calling is no different for people today.
- Jesus’ life and teachings inspired people to leave everything else behind and follow him.
- What strikes you the most about the life of Jesus and who he is?
- Going back to Jesus’ question in Matthew 16, who do you say Jesus is? Do you believe in him?
Note: Encourage the person you are studying with to read the Sermon on the Mount in its entirety
Matthew 5-7 Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount
- John 3:14-17 Jesus came to save the world through his death
- 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 Jesus will come back for his followers
Hebrews 4:14-16 Jesus was tempted as we are
Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus offers rest for the weary and burdened
John 7:37-38 Jesus offers to quench our spiritual thirst
Colossians 1:15-20 Jesus was and is supreme in every way