Title and Text: “The Jesus We Worship” – John 12:1-19
- What is the most precious, costly gift you’ve given to Jesus? [It doesn’t have to be a material gift, but could be something valuable but intangible].
- Picture yourself at the dinner at Lazarus’ house with his family and Jesus and the disciples, recorded in vv 1-8. What do you see? Smell? Think? Do?
- What does Jesus mean to convey by his oft quoted statement in v 8? What attitudes and actions toward the poor do you think would characterize Jesus if his earthly ministry was among us today?
- The crowds had it in their minds that Jesus would be a military hero, a political savior. But Jesus, rather than riding on a horse (the symbol of war) rides on a donkey. Jesus also quotes from Zechariah 9:9-10. Read those verses and discuss if they speak of Jesus as a political liberator/warrior or a healing savior. Is Jesus’ reign brought about through violence against opponents? Is his kingdom characterized by destruction or renewal, by war or peace?
- In v 16, John tells us that the disciples didn’t understand what had happened until Jesus was “glorified” (his death and resurrection). How is the cross/resurrection the central interpretive lens for what it means to know and follow Jesus?
- Read and discuss the following statement by Dr. Greg Boyd, a pastor and author: “Following Jesus’ example we’re to place our trust in the power of the cross—the power of self-sacrificial love—not the power of the sword. We’re to trust the power of Calvary, not Caesar. And this is why I believe those who spend their time and energy trying to control the political arena ‘in Jesus’ name’ are profoundly missing the point. Our job is to love, serve and sacrifice for sinners—not argue about passing laws against them. For we are to know that, whatever sin we see in others, our sin is much worse (Matt. 7:1-3).”
- Ask yourself, “What Jesus do I worship?” Repent of worshiping a culturally conditioned or politically motivated Jesus. Look for how you can embrace the way of the cross (sacrificial love, service, powerlessness) in your daily life for the healing of the world and the glory of God.