Dr. E. Dale Locke & Rev. Trevor Johnston
Week 1: The Elephant in the Room
- When it comes to miracles, where do you tend to be on a continuum between “very easy to convince” on the one side and “very skeptical” on the other? Talk honestly about how you usually feel when you hear a report of a miracle – whether in the Bible or in the world today – and why you feel that way.
- Begin to memorize our theme verses for this sermon series together with your group – Ephesians 3:20-21: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
- What thoughts or questions come to your mind when you read these verses?
- List some miracles that occur in the Christmas story. To refresh your memory, glance through Matthew 1:18-2:18 and Luke 1:1-2:21.
- Read Matthew 13:53-58: “When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. 54 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?’ they asked. 55 ‘Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?’ 57 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.’ 58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.”
- What comments or questions come to your mind when you read this passage?
- What misunderstanding might people incorrectly take from verse 58?
- What are some true implications of verse 58?
- Mark 6:6 says that Jesus was “amazed” at their lack of faith. How does this add to your understanding of the relationship between our faith and God’s miracles?
- My Unfamiliarity – Matthew 13:54 indicates that the people in this situation didn’t even seem to know Jesus’ name, but simply called him “this man”. What happens if a person tries to judge whether miracles are possible without getting to know Jesus personally?
- Read what Paul writes in Philippians 3:10-11, where he says: “I want to know Christ – yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” In light of Paul’s words here, how much do you really want to know Christ? How are you living out that desire to know Christ better?
- My Over-Familiarity – Notice from Matthew 13 that the people of Jesus’ hometown were so familiar with him that they didn’t feel like he deserved any special “honor”. People today can also get over-familiar with Jesus and forget to honor him. Have you ever seen that in yourself or in others? If so, describe how that tends to affect a person’s relationship to faith.
- How can a person honor Jesus?
- What are some things you could do during this coming year to help God get bigger and more honored in your life?