Dr. E. Dale Locke and Rev. Trevor Johnston
Palm Sunday – How to Stand Out from a Crowd
pdf file for printing: 03-25-2018
- Take some time to talk as a group about “Momentum” and read the letter from Pastor Dale, if you haven’t done so yet. Pray together about whether your group should break from what you’re doing to do Financial Peace University as a group right after Easter. If your group decides not to do it, check out the 6 options of large-group classes, which will be available at our two campuses at communityofhope.church/momentum.
- Talk with your group about who you might invite to our Easter services, and then pray as a group for the courage and opportunity to invite them. Pray also for them to be open to attending, and pray for God’s Spirit to work in their hearts drawing them to Himself.
3. Imagine you are visiting Community of Hope for the first time on Easter. What are some things that COH regular attenders could do that might help you want to come back?
4. Practice the memory verses for this series together as a group: Philippians 3:10-11: “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.”
5. Read Matthew 21:1-11: As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: 5 “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'” 6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” 10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
What questions or comments come to your mind as you read this passage?
6. “Crowd Psychology” is a branch of social psychology that seeks to explain how the thinking and behavior of a crowd differs from that of individuals. “Deindividuation” is when people in a crowd act much differently than they normally would – even acting in opposition to their normally held beliefs about right and wrong.
For example, Pastor Dale shared about the “Steve Bartman incident” on October 14, 2003 during a post-Season game between the Chicago Cubs and the Florida Marlins. It was the 8th inning, and Chicago was ahead 3-0, and Steve Bartman, a life-long Cubs fan, stuck out a hand and deflected the ball causing Cubs player Moises Alou to miss it. Talk about what took place and what it teaches us about human behavior.
7. Read Mark 6:5-6: He (Jesus) could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.
Why wasn’t Jesus able to do miracles in this place?
What does Mark mean when he says that “Jesus was amazed”?
8. Just as overfamiliarity with spiritual things has its dangers, unfamiliarity can tempt us to miss Jesus altogether. What did Pastor Dale mean by this?
9. Jesus fulfilled hundreds of Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah, yet many people missed it. Notice in Matthew 21:10-11 that the crowds assumed Jesus was a prophet, though He never claimed to be a prophet. Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. C.S. Lewis pointed out that there are only three logical possibilities regarding Jesus’ claim to be God: Either He lied; He was a lunatic; or He really was the Lord of all creation, as He claimed. But this is challenging for people to believe. Name some ways that Community of Hope seeks to help the “unconvinced” be able to believe this about Jesus.
10. Describe how you went from being unconvinced to being convinced about Jesus. What helped you on your journey?
11. Names some ways that Community of Hope seeks to help the “over-convinced”?
12. Pastor Dale quoted Soren Kierkegaard, who said: “One of the greatest fears of the Christian church would be where each of us come to treat the Gospel and the message of Jesus just like any other piece of information. Where passion for the Gospel message is replaced with descriptions of passion. And if we do that…the result might be compared to that of reading a cookbook to a starving man.” What is he saying?