Read Matthew 3:13-16 and consider Jesus’ Baptism.
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
1) What does it mean to you for Jesus to be the Son of God?
2) Is your answer to this question unique or different than others? How so?
3) In what ways does your faith community reflect this understanding of Jesus as the Son of God?
Read Matthew 16: 24-27 and consider the character of Jesus.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.
1) In what ways does Son of God offer a helpful picture of Jesus’ character?
2) What would your faith tradition add or remove from this depiction?
3) If you made a movie about the life of Jesus, how would you develop his character?
4) What would be the most important elements in your telling of his story? Why?
5) How does your understanding of the person of Jesus shape the way you live as a person of faith?
Read Luke 6 and reflect upon the Sermon on the Mount.
Looking at his disciples, he said:
“Blessed are you who are poor ,for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
1) Who are the “poor” and “hungry” in our community?
2) Recognizing our real differences, how might partner together to bless them?
3) Do we have any common “enemies” to whom we might respond in love?
4) In what ways does our shared love of Jesus urge us to work together for the common good?
5) What are the real hurdles in this endeavor? What might be the benefits?
Mark 6: 35-44 and reflect upon Jesus feeding the multitudes.
By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”
But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”
They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages[e]! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”
“How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”
When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”
Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.
1) In what ways is God’s economy defined by abundance rather than scarcity?
2) Name a time in your life where you experienced God’s abundance.
3) What practical steps can we take to live as people of abundance in a world of scarcity?