Matthew - Discussion

WEEK : Out of the Wilderness

Read this overview 

Jesus is Immanuel, God with us. He is Messiah, the long awaited king of Israel and the world. Jesus came to usher in a new era of human history called the kingdom of God and to show us a new way to be human. This is good news for all of us. Join us as we walk through the Gospel of Matthew and encounter the Jesus who changes everything.

Begin with silence and prayer
5 min

Gather together as a LifeGroup, as a family or find time alone in a comfortable setting (around a table, on the couch, the floor of the living room, etc.). Invite the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time. Then spend a few minutes in silence. 

Why silence, even while together? Because we live in a busy, noisy world, under a non-stop assault of distraction. In the midst of all the chaos, it’s hard at times to hear the voice  of God, and that of our brothers and sisters. As we gather together as a family, we want to hear what the Father is saying to and through each of us, and respond in turn. A great way to do that is to begin each time with silence and prayer.

Reflection on Sunday’s Sermon
15-20 min

If you are in a LifeGroup of 10 or more, divide into small groups of 5 – 7 people each (ideally same gender). Spend a few minutes catching up on life. Then talk about the following debrief questions:

1. What thoughts or reflections do you have about the sermon?

2. Was there anything about the spiritual realm or spiritual beings that was striking to you or raised any questions or thoughts?

3. Were there any specific things you heard from God?

Open the Bible together
15-20 min

Have somebody read Matthew 4:1-11.

Discuss the following questions:

1. The passage begins with Jesus being led into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted or tested. Why was this testing was necessary? What is the significance that the Spirit led him to be tested?

2.  In Deuteronomy 8:2-5, Moses writes, “and you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” How does this experience of Israel after they left Egypt, correlate with what Jesus is experiencing in our passage from Matthew 4? How is Jesus different than Israel?

3. Re-read the offers that the devil makes to Jesus. Why would these things be tempting for Jesus and how or why is he able to resist? What does his resistance tell us about who he is?

Work through these reflection questions
10-15 min

As David began his sermon his central thought centered around the question, “what is the message of John and how is it good news for us?” There were 4 aspects of his message that we explored: repentance, confession, judgment, and hope.

1. In this time of trial and testing, how is Jesus an example for believers today?

2. How does this passage emphasize to us that Jesus is our savior?

3. In the sermon, David emphasized the way “we need hope in this life. Because like Jesus, there will be times in the wilderness… There will be voices that come to you and say, you’re a child of God? Doesn’t look like it to me. Look at what you’ve done. How many times have you promised this was the last time? You think God really loves you, look at your circumstances? Look at what has happened to you. If God loves you, would he let you suffer like this?” Do you recognize that voice for what it is? When it comes, what do you do?

4. What then is our hope in life? How is that secure in Jesus Christ?

Close in prayer
5-10 min

Share prayer requests and end with this collect from the Prayer Book.

O God, you know that we are set in the midst of many grave dangers, and because of the frailty of our nature we cannot always stand upright: Grant that your strength and protection may support us in all dangers and carry us through every temptation; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.