(Matthew builds his Gospel primarily around large blocks of teaching materials and then alternating blocks of material where Jesus is moving, healing, working.)
How do Jesus’ teachings and healings work together to reveal the “kingdom” he’s talking about?
How do people respond to him?
When you think about your life, how have you experienced Jesus’ truth and work in your life?
(Mark tends to center his narratives around important questions about the identity of Jesus (e.g. Mark 4:41).)
What do these stories tell us about who Jesus is? What kind of authority does he have?
Why do you think it’s important to John that his readers understand this about Jesus?
Have you ever experienced Jesus’ power at work in your life in an area you didn’t think could change, move?
(Luke was a physician and tends to write about the broken… You get a sense of his compassion and care as a good doctor.)
What does Luke’s portrayal of Jesus reveal about Jesus’ character and compassion toward us?
How have you experienced God’s goodness in your life that you didn’t deserve?
(John structures his Gospel around 7 “I AM” sayings of Jesus.)
What different claims does John make about who Jesus is? What images does he use?
How do these images relate to what God has been doing throughout the Bible?
Is there one of these images that describes God’s work in your life best? Why?
(Matthew, Mark and Luke are called synoptic Gospels… meaning they look through a similar lens. John is unique in make-up. Spend some time overviewing all four).
What do you notice about John’s gospel that’s different from the others?
What differences do you notice between Matthew, Mark, and Luke? Why do you think that is?
Which gospel is the closest to how you would write Jesus’ story if you could?
Why do you think Jesus intentionally goes out into the wilderness before he preaches at all? What specifically does Satan offer him?
What is the significance of Jesus’ first one line sermon (verse 17 – “Repent [turn and go a new way], for the kingdom of heaven is near”)?
If Jesus were going to invite you to follow him, how do you think he would ask? How did you decide to follow Jesus?
How would you have felt if you’d been one of the disciples here (being asked to go do what Jesus has been doing in the face of very real opposition)?
What are the reasons Jesus gives his disciples for not being afraid?
What’s the biggest opposition you’ve ever faced in being bold about your faith?
What are the “signs” Jesus gives John’s disciples that he is the Messiah? If you had been Jesus, how would you have answered that question?
Why do you think Jesus critique people’s expectations (of both he and John)? What are people really looking for?
What characteristics might make you open to understanding what Jesus came to teach and reveal?
What would you say Jesus’ top priority was? Why did that bring conflict with the Pharisees (religious leaders of his day)?
What do Jesus’ actions in this chapter show us about the “kingdom of God” he’s been preaching about?
If you were to rate yourself in the areas of “knowing about God” and “passionately following God,” where would you fall?
What does each of these parables reveal about “the kingdom” that Jesus is bringing into reality?
Why do you think Jesus teaches in these sometimes confusing parables? Does he really want people not to understand?
What would you say it takes to be a part of the kingdom of God Jesus is teaching about?